Suggestions on Press Moving

Hi All, I am starting a community print studio in Bozeman, MT. Recently a community micro-funding event provided the money to purchase a Heidelberg Windmill. Another press has been donated. The Universal I is in the basement of an old elementary school turned artists’ studios and theater. It either needs to go up a ramp to a 90ยบ turn through a door, or it needs to go up a flight of stairs to ground level in order to put it on a trailer or truck and drive it the 23 miles to its new home.
The local moving company will charge $1500 or more to move the press, which I haven’t got. Any suggestions on how to move a Vandercook Uni I up a flight of stairs or up a ramp and out a narrow (30”) right turn door, PLEASE let me know!
Thank you, Stephanie

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Possibilities (my usual ramblings with apologies?) as you imply there is one flight of stairs, presumably straight pull up and out, follows:- Assuming there is line of sight beyond the top of the flight of stairs, i.e. no corners, 1 of 2 options up the stairs, either baulks of timber (well greased) to take the weight over the Risers of the stairs, OR steel tubes, (lightly greased) comparitevely friction free, for sliders.??

Again assuming it is possible to *Shackle off* a winch above and beyond the flight of stairs, i.e. another part of building(s)
substantial doorway with horizontal cross brace, heavy Transport truck, (in gear brakes on etc) any remote secondary anchor/shackle point, etc. etc.

And then just one *TIRFOR* winch to supply the motive power.
*Tirfor* winches come in an amazing array of capacity,s to pull/lift/winch from a few hundred Kilos to Many Tonnes, from Auto engines, up to securing Earth movers onto Transporters, including Steel cable equipped Or Heavy duty chain equipped. = Hire Shop.?
Possibly accompanied by an ordinary Auto Trolley Jack to lift the front of the press up on to the Timber/Sliders and to lift the back of the press up, to navigate the apex of the stairs,
The professionals tend to use *TOE* jacks but are very heavy in their own right.

Also used (borrowed) machinery moving *Skates* which are in essence tiny Chain style tank tracks, work extremely well on flat surfaces or where distance is involved.

Ramblings may prompt BETTER advice, and Good Luck.

If you are a not for profit- See if the moving company can make a tax deductible donation and invoice you services in exchange for a donation.

If you are not a not for profit- find a way to pony up the money.
That sounds like a (somewhat) simple move for an experienced person/couple of people who is/are capable of laying it out and executing it, a few boards and some blocks, a truck with a tow winch, some strapping, and a bit of muscle with some pipes would get it up the stairs.
But a lot can go wrong.

Moving Companies (should) have insurance and if anything should go wrong- can cover it. In the event you have any problems with them, that is.

Anyhow, unless you or someone on your staff are experienced with machinery moving- or you can call in a favor- I would suggest leaving it to the professionals and finding a way to go that route.

Either way, you’re still looking at renting a tow truck or truck with a winch for a few hours to get the press up the stairs. Think about this expense and subtract it from the movers fee; then consider how much of a headache the extra $XXX is worth consoling…

You might consider contacting a printing company nearby that has a quantity of large printing presses or other businesses with an interest either in the community or printing, and ask if they can help by donating the cost of moving or getting their machinery mover to donate services. If you have a presentation you can make to executives about your studio project and its purpose (non-commercial and benefiting the community) that would probably help your cause.


At dead worst, if you can’t fund raise to pay the movers, the traditional way to move a Vandercook would be to remove the carriage (taking special care to mark it’s relationship to the bed rack) and move in two pieces. You may have to take more parts off (motor etc—not a Vandy expert here) and then move the bed on end with a motorized refrigerator dolly (if that can be rented in Bozeman). If you can’t find a motorized dolly, a regular one (that you can strap to the bed) will work, just requires extra manpower to get up the stairs/ramp.

The Vandercook website should have more information regarding your press, and how to move it.