(Topic ID: 144130)

Moving a Pinball - Solo?


By markp99

3 years ago



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  • 70 posts
  • 44 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by koen12344
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    #1 3 years ago

    I see lots of tempting adds for pinball machines near enough to me to easily drive to pick-up. I work from home with a flexible schedule, so can usually leave at the drop of a hat if needed. My problem is I have no one to call to assist to lug a new machine from a seller's home and into my basement workshop. None of my neighbors are home during the week, or folks I'd be comfortable asking to assist.

    Here's my current thought process:

    At home, not much issue. Up and down the ~6 step concrete bulkhead to my basement workshop, eased down on a plywood sled using a carabiner & climbing rope; or pulled up/out with a come-along, both lashed to a conveniently located tree. A furniture or appliance dolly would assist to get it too and from my Jeep pretty easily.

    My primary worries:

    1. Solo-hoisting a 250 lb beast into and then out of my Jeep. Yes, leaning and lifting lets the Jeep carry some of the weight, but still a HEAVY lift and push/pull. A similar carabiner/come-along approach using that sled might work here too, attached somehow to the rear door frame/latches (?)

    2. Most concerning would be removing a machine from a sellers home with more steps, or a less accessible situation than mine. There is no way could imagine doing this solo. I called my local rental place & uhaul; they do not have a stair climbing dolly (would be perfect); they only have appliance dollies.

    3. I'm sure I am missing other concerns.

    Question:

    Have you ever moved a pinball machine solo? Any advice, short of hiring a moving company or one of their burly guys?

    I once hired 2 guys who work for a PODS type company, $40 apiece to empty nearly the full contents of my 2nd floor my house into the pod. Best money ever spent. They hustled and got the job done with no issue or damage. Unfortunately, I cannot image getting these guys to drive with me and assist on very short notice, but you never know.

    Suggestions, cautions??

    #3 3 years ago

    Yes, exactly, but how would I get my hands on one on short notice?

    #4 3 years ago

    I think he's suggesting that you buy one!

    #5 3 years ago

    I pretty much only move games by myself. Dolly and some straps and you're good to go. I use a truck and it's really easy to get stuff in and out of. If there are more than a few stairs at the sellers house, I for sure need help though.

    #6 3 years ago
    Quoted from jdoz2:

    I pretty much only move games by myself. Dolly and some straps and you're good to go. I use a truck and it's really easy to get stuff in and out of. If there are more than a few stairs at the sellers house, I for sure need help though.

    On your truck, you just lean on the tailgate, LIFT and PUSH? Not too much for one average (non weightlifter, non piano mover) person?

    #7 3 years ago

    ive moved dozen of games solo. leverage is your friend.

    #8 3 years ago

    Just buy one of these. If you collect pins, it will pay for itself in no time:

    amazon.com link »

    #9 3 years ago
    Quoted from InfiniteLives:

    ive moved dozen of games solo. leverage is your friend.

    Agree. This is my thought, mostly. But, at some point with stairs you are either hoisting or dropping the ~full weight the height of that next step. Right?

    #10 3 years ago

    I almost always end up moving my games by myself, too impatient to wait for a buddy. Go to your local hardware/home store and get a stand to help with supporting one end of the pin when getting the rear legs/off and on and find a good dolly/hand truck. Once that's strapped down, moving them isn't that hard. I found I can get even the big old William's widebodies in and our of my truck bed without herniating too many discs. Granted I am 6'3" and 230 lbs - just make sure the pin is close enough to the back of the vehicle so when you lift it up it doesn't slide back and then off of the end of the vehicle...

    #11 3 years ago

    Stairs suck. I've bought and sold dozens of pins, and haven't had to deal with them yet, thank goodness.

    I always move pins by myself. I use a cheap hand truck with pneumatic tires. I hoist the game into my 4-Runner using leverage - though this gets harder the older I get.

    #12 3 years ago

    harbor freight lift table FTW.

    #13 3 years ago
    Quoted from markp99:

    Yes, exactly, but how would I get my hands on one on short notice?

    Buy one. It's the only way you can go up stairs solo. Even with two people, going up isn't a cakewalk. The ESCALERA is truly effortless. Look for a used one and you could save big $$$.

    #14 3 years ago
    Quoted from SadSack:

    harbor freight lift table FTW.

    What is the max height possible with a lift table? I wonder if it would it match the tailgate of my Jeep? Might be a perfect idea that that part of the move.

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from markp99:

    On your truck, you just lean on the tailgate, LIFT and PUSH? Not too much for one average (non weightlifter, non piano mover) person?

    Exactly. Im younger than majority of people in this hobby, but have VERY average upperbody strength

    #16 3 years ago
    Quoted from markp99:

    What is the max height possible with a lift table? I wonder if it would it match the tailgate of my Jeep? Might be a perfect idea that that part of the move.

    28.5". My Jeep's gate is ~32. Pretty good match. I think I can handle that last 4".

    #17 3 years ago

    BTW - if you are using a truck, I found using a 1" wood dowel about 36" in length is super handy. Once you are lifting the pin in the back and the front edge comes down onto the bed, if the dowel is underneath it is super easy to just roll the game up to the front of the truck. Then if you tie it down corner to corner it's nice and secure. I always use a 4" foam block on the front to make sure the shooter rod doesn't get messed up.

    #18 3 years ago

    Check out Northern for an appliance dolly. I bought the aluminum one which seems well constructed. You may still need help but can probably manage for 6 steps.

    #19 3 years ago

    I have one of these:

    #20 3 years ago

    U-Haul appliance dollies have stair rollers. I wouldn't be moving them up and down steps alone, but you don't need anything fancy to get the machine out of the sellers house if you have the seller's help. I personally use a HF lift table to load and unload my vehicle. Just jack the game up, take of the legs, slide it straight into the truck. No leverage needed.

    #21 3 years ago

    I move most of my games solo. Don't bother getting an appliance dolly. I hear tons of people suggesting that but they are so heavy that they add a ton of weight to the game. Get a nice magliner light weight aluminum dolly with stair sliders.

    http://www.magliner.com/hm-53cua45

    I can pull a game pretty easily out of a persons basement by myself. Typically I have them stand behind it on the bottom just as a safety measure. I can also carry a game myself into the basement with that dolly. You just tilt the machine back and the stair sliders just glide on the edge of the stair tread. It is so easy.

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from ronaldvg:

    I have one of these:
    » YouTube video

    Now thats handy!

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from jdoz2:

    Now thats handy!

    It's brilliant. I can move my machines to all places, get the legs off, put it in the car easily (it has rollers to make that easier) it can do stairs etcetera.

    edit: I do not make these, just giving the information. It has been designed especially for Pinball machines. I saw them being used by the guys of Dutch Pinball in 2014 and wanted to have one. Contact the guy of the video Iposted

    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from ronaldvg:

    It's brilliant. I can move my machines to all places, get the legs off, put it in the car easily (it has rollers to make that easier) it can do stairs etcetera.
    edit: I do not make these, just giving the information. It has been designed especially for Pinball machines. I saw them being used by the guys of Dutch Pinball in 2014 and wanted to have one. Contact the guy of the video Iposted

    Looks cool! Is there a website with details/cost etc? I assume shipping may undermine the deal for many in the US but would still be interesting to learn more about it.

    #25 3 years ago

    Even if you find friends that are available, they will stop picking up your phone calls after you have them help once or twice. All of mine got smart and will only call me back after two or three days when I was calling for help.

    I bought an escalera, a good appliance dolly with the rubber belts that run on the stairs, and a Harbor Freight lift table. I would not be without any of them.

    I ask the seller where the pin is located and choose accordingly. I picked up a STTNG from a person and only brought my lift table, the pin was on the same level as the driveway. I will only bring the escalera if over ~3 stairs are involved. Otherwise the appliance dolly is lighter and easier to use.

    If you are going to be moving many pins you will find and escalera or equivalent to be a bargain. Ask people with various back and body injuries how much medical care costs and how much they would pay to not be in pain everyday. Good tools like the above three items will last you a lifetime and they are useful for many projects besides moving pins. Also, you can often find these carts for sale used at a good discount.

    #26 3 years ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    Looks cool! Is there a website with details/cost etc? I assume shipping may undermine the deal for many in the US but would still be interesting to learn more about it.

    Not that I know of. I ordered it from this guy that is on the German Pinball forum, sorry. It is the same guy that has posted the youtube clips

    #27 3 years ago

    Here are three escalera's for sale, ALL three for $500 total! Only two appear to be the stair climbers and they may need some repairs, but there is not much to these carts if they needed repaired (my guess is the batteries are just bad).

    If I were closer I would buy them just to have extras. If I really needed one I would ask the guy to put all three on a pallet and I would pay to have them shipped to me and still have them at a bargain.

    oklahomacity.craigslist.org link

    #28 3 years ago

    I've been selling the Escalera for while now and you can find me at a lot of the Pinball shows. Call me or email me with any questions you might have about them and definitely check out my website where I demo moving a pin and using the forklift accessory.

    larry@flipnoutpinball.com

    #29 3 years ago

    I've got tight stairs and a dolly won't work. If you want to easily move a pin up any flight of stairs by yourself; take it apart.

    Step 1. Take pictures of the boards in the backbox.
    Step 2. Disconnect the wire harness from the boards in backbox.
    Step 3. Remove backbox from cabinet.
    Step 4. Remove lock bar and glass.
    Step 5. Carefully remove Playfield. Set it aside, don't break anything.
    Step 6. Remove legs.

    Bring each part up the stairs and put it in your jeep. Use your pictures to make sure the connections go back to the right spot. Put the Playfield back into the cabinet to transport it. The head can be left off until you get home.

    It takes some time, but you can get a pin outta anywhere by yourself.

    #30 3 years ago

    I know this doesn't work for everyone, but to move games by myself (which I do all the time) I have a truck with a lift gate and a Escalera. These are expensive options, but I would like to avoid any back/spine issues when I get older.

    #31 3 years ago

    I rarely have any help moving machines. I remove the legs and back box and then just use a regular hand truck and some straps to hold the cabinet to it. Then I carefully lug it up or down the stairs step by step. I have 13 steps down to my mancave.

    Then I carry the back box down or up by itself. On flat surfaces I use a pinball cart (it also tilts the cabinet nicely to stand it upright).

    When I lift the cabinet with the cart mechanism it places it at the right height to slide it right into my cargo van.

    I move machines all the time. You just have to be careful but it does take some muscle.

    Here's a nice appliance hand truck from Harbor Freight:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/600-lb-capacity-appliance-hand-truck-60520.html

    #32 3 years ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    I've got tight stairs and a dolly won't work. If you want to easily move a pin up any flight of stairs by yourself; take it apart.

    It takes 20min to pull it apart, 10 min to carry down my 17 steps and 60 mins to reassemble. I'm 54 and have 3 stints, no problems

    #33 3 years ago

    I take it apart. If solo, I take the playfield, cab, and backbox up separately using an appliance dolly. This is up 3 flights of stairs.

    #34 3 years ago
    Quoted from ronaldvg:

    I have one of these:
    » YouTube video

    Dude this thing is awesome, Dolly and lift table in one. I must have!

    #35 3 years ago

    would love to see the game being stood up vertical in the video . it ends before its actually stood back up and transported.

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from silver_spinner:

    would love to see the game being stood up vertical in the video . it ends before its actually stood back up and transported.

    Evidently, you then need to add a couple of pieces to turn it into Optimus Prime:

    #37 3 years ago

    With an appliance dolly and some will power I have moved a few pins by my self now. Load them into my truck and out all by myself.
    It sucked but and I don't recommend it but it can be done. Just be careful.

    #38 3 years ago
    Quoted from T-800:

    BTW - if you are using a truck, I found using a 1" wood dowel about 36" in length is super handy. Once you are lifting the pin in the back and the front edge comes down onto the bed, if the dowel is underneath it is super easy to just roll the game up to the front of the truck.

    Use two large pieces of cardboard. The top one will slide right over the bottom no problem and serves as a bit of cushion for the ride.

    #39 3 years ago

    I agree with what everyone is saying: pinball lift, escalera, cardboard. I would also add, used by me all the time: sawhorse, plywood.

    Cut a .5" thick ply wood and place in back of car. It makes it easy to slide the pin in and out of the car.

    Saw horse to the hold back end of pin when taking off the legs.

    #40 3 years ago
    Quoted from nikpinball:

    Dude this thing is awesome, Dolly and lift table in one. I must have!

    I know

    #41 3 years ago
    Quoted from highdef:

    Evidently, you then need to add a couple of pieces to turn it into Optimus Prime:
    » YouTube video

    Hi, you do not need the extra wheels. They are only intended to help climbing and decscending stairs. You can use it perfectly without the extra wheels or the extra handlebar as a Dolly. I bought those two extra's but have not used them yet.

    #42 3 years ago
    Quoted from T-800:

    BTW - if you are using a truck, I found using a 1" wood dowel about 36" in length is super handy. Once you are lifting the pin in the back and the front edge comes down onto the bed, if the dowel is underneath it is super easy to just roll the game up to the front of the truck. Then if you tie it down corner to corner it's nice and secure. I always use a 4" foam block on the front to make sure the shooter rod doesn't get messed up.

    I use this same trick to load pins into my station wagon. I lay down 4 dowels near the lip, with a thickness greater than the lip (so you can glide over it) The dowels space themselves out as you roll it in.

    Then I stuff blankets front and back so it can't move in transit.

    #43 3 years ago

    Bring a dolly, I made the mistake years ago thinking the seller would help me load it in back of my truck. 1979 Gottlieb's Genie widebody, heavy as hell, when I showed up the seller was a 98lb starving artist beta male hipster from Portland Or. He said he had a bad wrist and could not help. Lesson learned.

    #44 3 years ago
    Quoted from Pinplayer1967:

    the seller was a 98lb starving artist beta male hipster from Portland Or. He said he had a bad wrist and could not help.

    This is why you shouldn't drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. The process involved in opening their cans is the leading cause of carpal tunnel in the hipster community. It's a growing epidemic and the number of related injuries has increased tenfold since the beer came back on the scene in the early 2000s. This may explain why this man had to give up his pinball career (and Genie pin).

    #45 3 years ago

    I've been moving pinballs around without issues for over 40 years by myself, leverage is your friend. I always try to work smart.

    Steve

    #46 3 years ago

    Buy an escalera with the forklift attachment. I have one without the attachment and can move them by myself (up or down stairs) but the forklift would make it even easier. If you buy more than one game a year and have steps its crazy not to get one...if you decide you dont need it they hold their value pretty well. A back injury is WAY more expensive than a dolly. As always YMMV

    2 weeks later
    #47 3 years ago

    the problem is with an escalera and forklift attachment, it only works where you have the dolly. if you need to load at someone elses place where you pick up a pin, how in the heck can you transport the heavy escalera with forklift attachment. thats more of a stay at home unit. not easy to take places. the stair climber by itself yes, but not the entire unit.

    the hardest part about breaking down or setting up a pin,
    SETUP:
    is when you have it vertical, put on front legs, lay machine down so front legs are touching the ground and back end is still on floor with no legs, then somehow you have to get the back end of game up off the ground and onto a chair or something to put the back legs on. same goes when you break a game down. the first thing you have to do after folding the head down is put the back part of a game on a chair or similar, them remover back legs and set back of game on floor. that is the part that needs to be figured how to do alone. i see some people over 6 foot tall that use their knee to set machine on because when they kneel down their knee is tall enough to hold and support back of game, but not everyone can do that.
    someone who can do it all alone please post THAT video.
    breakdown and set up a dmd all alone. without the use of the magic dolly not found in the USA

    #48 3 years ago

    silver_spinner

    You need to check out my website flipnoutpinball.com. I show videos of me loading a game into the back of my truck by myself using the pinball plate attachment, something I developed with Escalera. I also show lifting the game so you can easily remove the legs. I also use it to lift the game if I put the legs on first. I simply roll the Escalera under the game and crank it up to install the back legs.
    As to your concern about the weight of the forklift model, I have the solution to that as well. I sell the LH-3 lift hitch accessory so that you can easily transport the forklift model using the hitch receiver on your vehicle. I use this and have hauled my Escalera all over the country to pinball shows at 80 mph. Its extremely easy to use and makes transport this model very easy.

    #49 3 years ago

    I've used a Lectro-Truck for at least ten years now. Highly recommended.

    #50 3 years ago

    i didnt see a video on the hitch accessory. would love to see it. also, would like to see a video from beginning to end from a fully setup dmd pin with one person breaking it down all alone and getting the machine into the vertical position ready to move with a vertical dolly, then set game back up the same. begin to end both scenarios. not the stair climbing part. just breakdown and setup of a machine one person. i already have an escalera so moving up and down steps im good with . would love to add the hitch accessory if it will work with how i transport pins.

    Quoted from flipnout1:

    silver_spinner
    You need to check out my website flipnoutpinball.com. I show videos of me loading a game into the back of my truck by myself using the pinball plate attachment, something I developed with Escalera. I also show lifting the game so you can easily remove the legs. I also use it to lift the game if I put the legs on first. I simply roll the Escalera under the game and crank it up to install the back legs.
    As to your concern about the weight of the forklift model, I have the solution to that as well. I sell the LH-3 lift hitch accessory so that you can easily transport the forklift model using the hitch receiver on your vehicle. I use this and have hauled my Escalera all over the country to pinball shows at 80 mph. Its extremely easy to use and makes transport this model very easy.

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