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IndustryArena Forum > WoodWorking Machines > DIY CNC Router Table Machines > Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?
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  1. #1
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    Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Hiya,

    I'm a pretty weedy-ass woman, and I'm getting tired of asking for help every time I have to lift a sheet of 1/2" MDF onto the CNC Router, especially as the amount of sheets I'm dealing with is turning into dozens at a time, rather than just the one or two in a week. I need some kind of method to store 50 sheets of MDF on their side, and easily as one person take one sheet from the load and place it on the CNC Router.

    I was thinking of moving the gantry all the way to the back of the router to clear the table from the side, and having some kind of wheely cart that could be moved up and down to handle the lifting. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    I do not know about 50 sheets at a time, but there is a cart made that would hold 10-15 in a vertical position. From vertical you can tip it horizontal and lock it in place. You then pump a foot pedal to raise the stack so you can slide the top one off the stack. There is a company that I have seen ads for in the different wood magazines that make all types of carts, sorry I do not know the name. Hafle in the uSA sells a knock off for about $475. I use it when cutting a lot of plywood on my Altendorf table saw, works great!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    MDF is pretty heavy to begin with, so this isnt an uncommon problem. How you solve it depends a great deal upon how you are set up in your shop right now.

    For example one approach would be a lft cart or mechanism that can take a full pallet of MDF and station each sheet at machine level. Such sheets can then be slide on to the router table with the lift mechanism moved up each time a new sheet is needed. With a bit of effort the gantry could be rigged to pull the sheets onto the table.

    There are many other ways to address this issue but it really depends upon the installation and the machine. By the way dragging the MDF isnt always aceptable.

  4. #4
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    You could modify a drywall panel lifter, as it is the height is too high.
    Just a thought.
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...B&&FORM=VRDGAR

  5. #5
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Jet tools makes a cart at JET | Scissor Lifts for Warehouse & Dock . I think this could work for you

  6. #6
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Look into a vacuum panel lifter. A bit spendy, but so is an injured back.

    Always store MDF horizontal if you can.

    Rob

  7. #7
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Dont know what your overhead ceiling construction is but a guy built a small gantry system on a rail to load his machine. It was on here a few years ago. It would pick the sheets from a pile leaned along the wall and transfer to table top. It was pretty ingenious.

  8. #8
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  9. #9
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    The simplest solution is to put your horizontal MDF rack as close to the CNC as possible, and roughly at the same level. The first cabinet shop I worked in had this setup next to the table saw, one guy (or the "weedy-ass woman" who kept up with the young guys) could easily slide a 3/4" MDF panel off the rack and onto the outfeed table.

    Oh, and congratulations on the growth in business that has led you to this fortunate problem!

  10. #10
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Another thing to consider looking into is die carts used in the plastics and die casting industries. The only problem here us that a die cart large enough to safely support 4 x 8 sheets will likely be heavy itself. However if you take the approach described above and position it close to the table, semi permanently, moving the cart isn't a problem.

    In any event the thought here is that a die cart already has the lift functionality built in. That is they are designed to lift very heavy metal objects to a specific level for transfer into a machine. You would load the cart with a fork lift and the raise it each time a new sheet is required.

    Now for something different. I do see situations where sliding the sheets around just wouldn't work due to the possibility of face damage. In such a situation i believe your best solution would be a jib crane with a large swing. Provide the crane with a vacuum lifting fixture or a reliable mechanical gripper.

    Such a crane would be a bit slower but would greatly reduce damage from sheet placement. There are some advantages though. For one it can reduce congestion near the machine making part off loading easier. If needed you can have a variety of stock located near the machine to enable quick loading of alternate sheet goods (if that is even needed).

    Again a lot depends upon your room layout and work flow. In an ideal world one big gantry crane would run the length of your shop. Most of us can't afford such luxuries. The trick is to choose something that fits the building and your work flow.

  11. #11
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Vacuum lift.

    Or go to the gym .

    Also don't store MDF on edge it'll only get damaged and move.

  12. #12

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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    A related task is flipping 4' x 8' sheets when doing two-sided machining (e.g. router table). The fact that the heavy lifting (or rotating) can take a toll came up during a site visit. Much of the wood working industry is new to me so I could use your help. Can anyone chip in on:

    1. Are you (or someone at your shop) flipping sheets or panels regularly for two-sided machining?
    2. What are existing solutions?
    3. If you don't have a solution, what is a reasonable cost for one?

  13. #13
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    Our solution is to NOT put full MDF sheets onto the machine. The sheets are precut into panels (for doors, sides, and other furniture parts) with a panel saw or a CNC sawing center. Then the panels are arranged on individual spoilboards that hold from 1 to 4 parts each, depending on the part size.

  14. #14
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    I've never did 2 sided machining on 4x8 sheets. If I did, I'd try to cut all the way through from the first side, and do the second side individually, so your not flipping the entire sheet.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  15. #15

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    Re: Storing and lifting 4' by 8' sheets onto machine?

    That's one way to do it, if at all possible. Avoid the problem all together. Thank you ger21 and CitizenOfDreams for the feedback.

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