How mobile are 500lb machines on bases?

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Forum topic by StevoWevo posted 09-15-2021 09:32 AM 279 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 62 days

09-15-2021 09:32 AM

Hi guys, I’m trying to squeeze an 8” jointer and 19” bandsaw (both grizzly) into my tiny work space. It’s just a spare bedroom for now, I don’t think I will have a garage for at least another year but I would really like to have these tools to help me out right now. I know I will have to shuffle things around so are these tools too big if I have to move them a few feet regularly? Thanks for your thoughts

15 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile (online now)


2259 posts in 2862 days

#1 posted 09-15-2021 09:54 AM

How easy is a matter of the size of the casters. Most are too small or the wrong material. You can get those flip down jobs in several sizes. I have the smaller ones, as sold by Bora as tool bases, on my DP and jointer, but the bigger ones of Amazon on my work bench. Much bigger, much easier.

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Fred Hargis

7185 posts in 3706 days

#2 posted 09-15-2021 10:23 AM

Well, I agree small casters are a pain, but you said a “few feet”. I have my 8” jointer and my bandsaw (MM16) on casters and they are quite easy to move a few feet. Crossing the shop takes some though, like sweeping the floor clean, even a small pebble can be a problem if it hits a tire. I have other tools just as heavy on casters as well….you’ll get by just fine.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View StevoWevo's profile


26 posts in 62 days

#3 posted 09-15-2021 10:36 AM

Yeah the jointer has it built in so does anyone have a GO858 jointer they could comment on? The BS would get one of the bear crawl bases I guess. I don’t see anywhere on the website about what wheel size these things have.
Thanks TV

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4859 posts in 2707 days

#4 posted 09-15-2021 10:52 AM

500lbs? No Problem.
Tool has to be over ~1000lbs before it becomes challenge for mobile bases. With right design and larger wheels, anything is possible. Body shops routinely roll 2000 lb car body mounted to a rotating mobile base.

Success depends on quality of base and type of floor the castors need to endure?

IME – If moving heavy 400+ lb tools, you want high capacity mobile bases. For best rolling performance, suggest using a base rated at least 50% higher than tool weight.

Have an 700+lb 20” planer on 800lb rated base. While it moves OK, there is enough flex in frame that I would not want tool to be any heavier. Even with 5” castors, it is hard to start moving something weighing 700lbs. My ~300lb 8” jointer and 17” band saw are trivial to move around by comparison.

Everything in my shop is on wheels. Smaller 3” castors are royal PITA for rough surfaces, or rolling over large protuberances. Due to severe 1” crack stop grooves in concrete, my shop has 4” min castor size, and most bases use 5” wheels.
My recommended mobile base are: Grizzly Bear Crawl or Shop Fox bases for smooth floors, and Rockrap All Terrain Base for rough floors. FWIW – Did a review on All Terrain Base, compared to other bases I own. Can see the lower portion of my 8” Jointer in the review.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View tvrgeek's profile (online now)


2259 posts in 2862 days

#5 posted 09-15-2021 11:24 AM

These are the “larger” ones I used on my workbench. ( weighs a couple hundred)
As was noted, it depends a bit on the floor. A smooth hard cement floor, bb;s would work. Expansion joint, threshold, carpet? Bigger the better.

When I put my jointer up the first time, the wheels were narrower than the base. I found it a bit tippy, so I redid it with a deeper stance. Now wheels are as deep as the base, but it still feels tippy, so I am going to make a deeper base. My BS used wheels in the back, casters in the front. If I moved it more than in and out, I might make a wider base. It is when turning things feel tippy.

View StevoWevo's profile


26 posts in 62 days

#6 posted 09-15-2021 11:26 AM

Thanks for the reassurance Fred.
Cpt.K I wish I had a 20” 800 pound planer to worry about. I have my little lunch box for now. I have plywood over most of the floor now so I will have to fill the rest in and it sounds like I can make it work.
TVG I am looking at having all four swivel on the BS because I’m not sure what kind of movement I will have to do just yet

View WhyMe's profile


1410 posts in 2774 days

#7 posted 09-15-2021 11:48 AM

If you use four swivel casters get ones where the swivel can also be locked on at least two of them.

View Lazyman's profile


7801 posts in 2600 days

#8 posted 09-15-2021 12:28 PM

If you have a smooth floor with no deep grout or grooves, an air sled that uses the exhaust on your shop vac might be an option. I made one for my 17” Grizzly bandsaw for short moves. I should have used 3/4” instead of 1/2” plywood for the base. I think that the 1/2” flexes too much. It slides pretty effortlessly. For a jointer, because of the long base, you might need one at each end so that it lifts efficiently. Look at Silac’s other projects for more information. If I needed to move my bandsaw more frequently, I would remake it out of 3/4” plywood and do a better job to center the load to make it easier to move.
Note that there are Airsled appliance movers but were too pricey for occasional use.

Before I made the shop vac air sled I actually made a prototype air bearing based upon these Airfloat ones out of plywood and an old tire inner tube but I abandoned the idea because I only had a pancake compressor that didn’t have enough volume to be able to sustain the lift for more than about a minute. I could stand on it and as long as I kept my weight centered, I could easily slide around. I think you could make 4 smaller ones for each corner and be able to move 1000 lbs pretty easily. This is what large industrial facilities use to move tons of machinery. There are some pretty cool videos showing how they work.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Kudzupatch's profile


275 posts in 2421 days

#9 posted 09-15-2021 01:15 PM

As was said it is all about the size and quality of the casters. Well, and the smoothness of the floor.

I move this around by myself no problem. You can’t see the casters to well but it rolls pretty easy.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats*

View Sylvain's profile


1349 posts in 3712 days

#10 posted 09-15-2021 04:53 PM

“the smoothness of the floor.”
Where I was working, we once contracted a specialized mover to move machinery.

They always swept the floor thoroughly.
If there is a particle on the ground, the caster has to climb above it, which adds a lot of resistance to movement.

If the floor is smooth, the casters don’t have to be of a large diameter.

The hovercraft principle is also interesting. It works better with a skirt to pass above small floor irregularities.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View therealSteveN's profile


8640 posts in 1787 days

#11 posted 09-15-2021 05:05 PM

Yeah the jointer has it built in so does anyone have a GO858 jointer they could comment on? The BS would get one of the bear crawl bases I guess. I don’t see anywhere on the website about what wheel size these things have.
Thanks TV

- StevoWevo

I have an 8” Grizz jointer that is the model number before this newer model. pretty much same specs, just made at a different place. Probably one Harvey made for them when that was all they were doing. It will move short distances well. My gripe with that type of mobility is the dead straight line front casters, and the waggin it’s ass around rear caster. It works well for locking, and unlocking, but rolling it to a new position more than a few feet is a PIA, especially in tight confines.

My preference is something like the Bear Crawl with all 4 wheels locking, and able to go 360, you can steer them in a tight confined area like a sports car. Those on the jointer are “free’ but they aren’t great. In a situation like you are talking about I’d buy 2 Bear Crawls, and take the free crap off the jointer. Especially if you had to move it a lot, in a tight space.

-- Think safe, be safe

View pottz's profile


20075 posts in 2197 days

#12 posted 09-15-2021 06:05 PM

i use the rockler all terrain mobile bases bases,hold 800lb’s and rolls over cords or uneven surfaces very well.ive used most and this is the best ive tried.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Loren's profile


11253 posts in 4861 days

#13 posted 09-15-2021 06:31 PM

500 lbs is fine with the bigger casters but much above that and the machine takes a lot more effort to move. I have a 700 and an 800 lb machine on bases and they’re not so easy to move.

View wingless's profile


91 posts in 955 days

#14 posted 09-15-2021 06:48 PM

The Herculift that is part of my ~400lbs Ridgid R4511 makes relocation within the shop a snap, followed by easy caster retraction for secure operation.

View Madmark2's profile


3057 posts in 1801 days

#15 posted 09-15-2021 06:54 PM

I’m reminded of the early days of computers when “portable” meant it had a handle (somewhere) and it didn’t need a “Wide Load” permit on the highway…

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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