Moving a Windmill

Good evening friends of Letterpress,

do you have some hints on moving a windmill?
I already read about the holes in the base – I just found one, not two!? Or is it hidden behind those large springs? (It’s a 1953 build).

Thanks in advance

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A thing i can add is they used to transport them with the machine close. Seems it makes the center of gravity move to the center of the press. Good luck.

There are two pairs of holes, towards the front and back of the pedestal.
Also, there is a hole through the frame near the top, to be used with a large eye for lifting. (Not included of course.) Undo the two screws holding on the cover with the fountain numbers, remove the chase clip and there it is. The lifting eye would be put in from the top, and the securing hardware would be threaded onto it by reaching up through the hatch on the back.

Contact Alan Runfeldt of the Excelsior Press. He has moved numerous “windmills” with basic tools and a pallet jack, by trailer and truck. I helped him move one yesterday. He should have photos of that move up on his website in a day or two. I’m sure he can give you some good information and advice.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

I finally got my windmill! here is a picture of it on it’s way home. Thanks for helping!


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What was your method for getting it onto the pallet?

Oh, a good question! I actually wasn’t there, when this happend. It was done by a machine-moving-company. I guess, they have some special device for doing this.
The Heidelberg still is on the pallet, so I won’t risk using it—just cleaning and polishing!
I will need the help of that company (and that magic device) to get it on the floor. I’ll make photos of it!


the guys that moved my press just used a tiny hydraulic lift, a crowbar and a lot of different sized blocks of wood. they said they use the same equipment to move larger presses as well.

flickr-set of my press arriving at my tiny studio:

taken a few weeks later:

Hi polychroma,

I just took a short glance at the photos and stumbled upon that comment about imitating the windmill-sound – great! Even my son runs through the house doing that.

Grüße nach Hamburg!

PS nice Tigel, nice photos!

Finally I took the time to post the photos I promised.
I attached the principle-drawings for lifting the machine again.

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Please imagine a reverse order of the uploaded files.

Not sure I would agree with the riggers choice of jacking points—especially since I know those holes are there (and make for even easier jacking). Still, what do I know, having seen others pick up Linotypes and other equipment at even stranger locations. The bar method is ideal for getting a Windmill off a pallet and or putting a drip tray beneath.

Congrats on your new press!

When lifting a WM from the back be very careful because they are front-heavy and will tip over to the front.
Do not lift a WM from the flywheel spindle (left side of press)
WMs are also top heavy and will tip over from/to either side.
It’s OK to lift the front (under the main table) it won’t tip over to the back.
The absolute best ways to lift are using the steel rods thru the base/with wide pallet jack, or the center eyelet/crane method mentioned before.

Great post! The pics are great Max.

I have a similar issue - well actually I have the press in my possession already. It is currently sitting on two 4x4 planks of wood for ease of moving in the future, but I had since been told it was not safe to operate it while it is sitting on the wood.

If anyone has any thoughts on thisI would really appreciate hearing them. And assuming I am moving forward with taking it off the wood, what is the best way to get it flush with the ground? A Jack?

Hope things are going well with the press Max!

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Vanessa, i know a man who has two windmills, both are bolted to 4x4’s, he has run these in a commercial shop for years. If you are planning to move in the future i would leave the 4x4’s as long as they are bolted to the press. Good Luck Dick G.

Thanks Dick! That is a huge help. I think I will bolt the press to the 4x4. I guess as long as it is bolted down it doesn’t matter what kind of bolts are used?

Thanks again!!

i think they call them lag bolts, made to screw into the wood. Dick G.

Wondering if anyone has had any luck using helium dirigibles or blimps to move a press or any heavy object for that matter. I’ve only experimented by using hundreds of balloons to lift flywheels in to place while I tapped it onto the shaft of my Chandler and Price. Thoughts?

Pull the other one, printmaster45!

Those photos look great - but unfortunately i’m still at a loss as to how I’m going to move my Windmill.

It’s currently on its drop tray on a pallet. I’m not sure i would be able to get a hydraulic lifter in under the pallet wood. I do have a pallet jack.

Anyone have any ideas on how i can get it safely on the ground? I need the idea to be reversible - ie one day when i decide to move I will need to be able to stick it back on a pallet.

Open to any suggestions. Thanks.

I have no experience with Windmills, but shouldn’t it be as simple as inserting metal rods into the four aforementioned holes, jacking the press up with a pallet jack a few inches, slide some supports under the bars so once the pallet jack is removed the pallet will come with it and then lower the press into place by jacking one side up at a time with a bottle jack or even a pry-bar?

It really is as simple as modernman says it is. If you have a low car jack (the kind on wheels from on autoparts store and lots of blocking, (a cut up pallet should provide plenty) you can do this. You do need the long steel rods, but with that it’s just a matter of jack and block, lifting no one corner more than an inch or so above the others. Work side to side, front to back and keep the lifting even.

I had to roll my press into position with just a bar and pipe rollers, then used to borrowed rods to get the press up soa I could slip a drip pan underneath. Very doable, but if you really aren’t sure, and nobody you know is, then get a rigger to take if off. There is no guarantee that we know you are going to be comfortable or capable of doing this.

Take care, take your time and have fun.

Michael Seitz
Missoula MT

What is the easiest way to get a drip pan under a windmill? I’ve never done it, and I have two that need them.

I had to move my Windmill again and again I (and a friend) took photos. This time, i lifted the machine by myself (no rigger) with my new hydraulic jack. Then the crane came and told the windmill to fly … Details/pictures later.

@ScottMC: You have to lift it! Especially concrete floor doesn’t like oil.

Here are the pictures of the last move this weekend.
last week I ordered some wood at a fellow carpenter, two days later I took my hydraulic jack and lifted the machine on the planks and bolted it securely.
The last step was done with a pallet jack: I could lift the complete machine and add zwo planks on each side.
I removed the metal cover over the platen and skrewed in a big bolt for the crane. There it was carefully fixed.

Hope, I can stay there for longer!

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that looks amazing Max!! how did you acquire the rod that you hooked it to?

Vanessa, the red thing is a lifting eye nut, suitable for lifting weigths up to 4 tons, a normal eye nut goes only up to about 1500 pounds, not enough for a windmill! The yellowish-loking bold is a property class 8.8 threaded bolt (M16), fixed with four washers and three nuts from the inside and two washers and one nut from the outside of the machine.
I had to remove the cover with the fountain numbers and the case clip—thanks Watne! There is a hole for just this purpose. Getting the nuts and washers inside the machine is kind of tricky, using only one hand for reaching, holding and skrewing without seeing what you actually do. Unfortunately the bold doesn’t reach the hole with washers and nuts fixed because of a rib inside the machine so I had to do it that way. Get a helping hand for holding or skrewing the bold–you need extreme long arms doing it alone.

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Wow. That is just amazing Max. I know a guy who did that but had never actually seen the device itself. Thank-you so much for that.

Wow!!!! very cool, I have never used the lifting eye before. But what I really want to see is someone moving a 13x18 windmill, boy that’s a chalange. any one out there with experience in this area? thanks, Carl.

Thanks for the ideas everyone. I went with the steel pole idea and after an hour and a bit my Windmill is now safely on solid concrete.

To hoist the poles i used a 2000kg Hydraulic Car Jack and 4 x Car Axles. Once the Car Axles couldn’t go any lower i used some bricks and scraps of wood.

When we originally picked the machine up we also utilised the central lifting eye (I’ll take photos later). Similar to Max’s but no where near as pretty ;o).

I have a really silly question but where is the serial number on a Windmill? I found another post that suggests under the delivery tray but i cannot for the life of me find it.

Found a pic - this is my new Windmill at her temporary home (she has since been moved). I found her on ebay for an absolute bargain price. She was in full working order - just very dirty.

I have since had the motor changed to a brand new single phase unit and have spent countless hours cleaning her. I have finally found the Australian equivalent of Mobil DTE Extra Heavy (FYI it’s now called Vacuoline 528) and tomorrow will be oiling her up.

Then the fun starts - trying to work out how to use her.

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if you look at the delivery, the piece on the right, follow it down to the table and your serial number should be in front of it. good luck Dick G.

I just posted a piece on my blog about moving a black ball into my shop. I used a jack and blocks to get it on a pallet and then moved it around with a pallet jack. I rented a truck with a lift-gate to get it on the ground.


Here is a detail of the bolt I used, see the attached photo.

Jason, that looks kind of daredevil!

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Haha. It looks a lot worse than it really was. I had the press anchored securely to the frame of the truck to keep it from falling forward, but the lift-gate had a terrible lean under the weight of the press. I tightened and loosened the right straps to keep it in place as it came down inch by inch. I think it took longer to move it down 5 feet as it took to drive it 45 miles to my shop.

Oh my. You’re as crazy as I am, ThousandPoundPress. This is bringing back some horrible memories of sagging lift gates and uneven loading docks.

Our solution to the sagging lift gate was to mount an eye bolt in the floor of the truck and to use a come-along to try to keep it level while lifting the thing. I’m not sure what would have happened if the thing flipped over the end. Probably would have snapped the line or pulled the eyebolt out and whacked me in the face.

Now we rent forklifts. But if you need a lift gate, I recommend the 25’ Penske trucks. They have very nice aluminum lift gates that don’t sag.

Good to know. I don’t plan on moving again any time soon, and I have vowed to get a forklift when I do!

I finally got my Heidelberg Windmill!

I was really in anxiety for moving it, the day before the moving I waked up at 5 am, the day of the moving at 4am..still cannot find a concrete solution for the moving. I was afraid something can go wrong.

At the 7,30 am I was beyond the shop and the transporters arrived to lift the windmill.

They used a steel bar to lift a bit the press and put under every corner a little piece of wood. Than they used a little hydraulic jack and inserted some bigger wood blocks blocks under the press.

At this point the pallet jack moved the windmill on the door and inserted 2 steel bars into the 2 holes at the base of the windmill and lifted it.

A miracle.

When I take pics I’ll post them :)

Max— I’m trying your method. What’s the approximate length of threads necessary from the bottom of your lifting device? [In your case it is (from bottom to top): 3 nuts, 4 washers, x = height of the machine hole under the chase clip, 2 washers, 1 nut]
Or to those others of you with a Windmill, what’s the distance from top to bottom of the hole in the frame? The one beneath the chase clip from which the press will be lifted.

The answer is about 4” is necessary at bottom, so a 12” threaded rod is sufficient. You can do it with Grade 8 threaded rod and lifting eye nut, washers and nuts, components are easily available from McMaster-Carr:

Lift Eye Nut 5/8”-11 #3274T43 $11
12” length Rod 5/8”- 11 #93565A254 $18
Get 5 or 6 5/8”-11 nuts and some 5/8” washers too.

These are sold as Grade 8 items and are installed easily: Once the chase clip is off, the rod fits into the vertical hole in the main body of the press, intended for this lifting use. Once the nuts at the bottom and the one tightened down on the press are on, there is about 8 inches of threaded rod sticking up vertically. See photos above. The lift eye screws on the top of the rod. Use at least a nut tightned up against it to secure it against rotation.

Your rigger guy will be happy with you. Be careful. Like, disconnect electricity before anybody sticks a hand in the back to install the rod. Think ahead — Safety First.

Has anyone used 1” rebar to serve as lifting bars? I need to get my windmill up enough to clean up some oil underneath and then slide a drip pan in. Is it strong enough?

Once I have the bars in, would you use 4 jacks to slowly raise the press up? I’m a little unclear from some of the photos what you’re using as the lifting point with your jacks.

The only problem I can see with the rebar would be the little raised lugs on it that give the concrete a good grip. A small pressure point like that bearing on cast iron with that kind of weight could pressure-flake a piece of cast iron off. But the rebar should be stiff enough. If you had some hard rubber, like some old tire tread from the highway, to cushion it, that should make it safe.


Good idea with the rubber. I’ll check around, maybe an auto parts store.

If you have a highway near you that’s used by many trucks, you shouldn’t have to go more than a few hundred feet on it to find a piece of tire tread thrown off by a truck. That would probably be all you need. Or a cut out from a scrap car tire. You don’t need much.


Here is how I moved my press with utilizing the holes at the base for steel bars to help raise the press to assemble skids underneath then using a pallet jack to move it around:

Question about the actual transport of a windmill, once it’s on a truck- Is it necessary to support any part(s) of the press for a cross-country drive?

I want to be sure the unexpected bump along our 2000+ mile drive doesn’t cause damage. The only part I can think of that might be a problem is the flywheel, but I want to hear from the experts before I assume anything!

Just moved a 13x19 windmill, it was already on 4x4s, so that helped. Didn’t know we needed to close it, or remove/support the flywheel. So I reckon we got lucky, we strapped it as best as possible, drove carefully, had no problems.
We did have the thought, that most of these trucks you just strap to the walls. If a 5500lb press decides to move, it’s just gonna take the wall with it.

Hello! I have a “new” 13 x 18 Windmill GT and as stated above, it only has one hole in the front. Any photos on where to wrap a strap around the back end to use with a gantry?