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Swapping gearboxes


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  • Swapping gearboxes

    Is it worth the time and effort to swap a gearbox out if I've got a spare?

    Previously, I've only ever changed single assemblies (1:1, detector, etc) on the machine at a time, which can be a real pain if you run into any issues. With a full gearbox swap it seems like the only things that I would have to do is run through the adjustments. That doesn't seem too bad, especially if I know all the parts are good and won't throw off my adjustments.

    Also, how do I get the dang thing off the machine and the new one up there without becoming the hulk? I was thinking of using a chain lift looped around the rafters, but there might be a better way that doesn't involve suspending a very heavy (and expensive) object 7 feet in the air.
    Ethan Campbell
    Technician 2
    Main Event Entertainment - Plano

  • #2
    I've changed a few. Unfortunately no mechanical advantage, had my ring hanging out. If you're young and have a friend or two to help it can be a quick solution. Sounds like you have the facilities to arrange a block and tackle setup, if so, go for it.
    Certainly much easier and quicker than replacinf 1:1 on machine.

    Good Luck


    • #3
      You can make a makeshift beam trolley out of tubing or wood. Put your chain hoist or cum-a-long on it and get it off the machine. The last one we did at the rear wall house was fun as it had to come out the front, (hence rear wall machines). Rigged it with a pipe so two people could muscle it out, (not me, I don't have muscles anymore). If memory serves me the total change out with adjustments took about 4 - 5 hours. There were a lot of adjustments to be made as this machine had suffered catastrophic damage years before when one of the bolts came out of the deck lift shaft and the machine was hanging on a 45. The mechanic at the time got it to run by "tweaking" all the major adjustments. They now had to be "Untweaked". Oooo, a new word.

      Beam Trolleys.jpg

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      • #4
        Harbor Freight truck bed crane bolt or clamp to standing plate on machine it will pick it up and swing around and lower it. It becomes a one man job with this.


        • #5
          It is much easier to change a gearbox than try to replace any assembly on the machine.
          Make yourself a crane/lift, or pay a couple younger people to hoist the units in and out.


          • #6
            That be true. Time wise it is quicker if you know you have a good one your putting in. I left the detector on also. I had a helper who lifted the front up by the detector and another on the catwalk and one on the platform next to the gear box to grab the front when it was lifted up. The guy in back held on to the clutch assembly. After we got it on the catwalk 2 went below on the floor while the other came around and helped lift it down. Yes it was a rough go but if you don't have a hoist that's all I could do.
            Pain is the weakness leaving body
            Courage is the other side of Fear


            • #7
              I talked to Steve Stafford about it, he said he made a gearbox "crane" out of a Harbor Freight truck winch, (sku 60731/61522) welded to a 3/8 or 1/2 inch steel plate that fastened onto the catwalk. I'll try making it, I'll post an update with the measurements and materials needed when I get it completed. If I make it right it could be used on both wood and metal catwalk elevators, so that way some of the other centers in my company could use it. It could prove to be a very handy tool that saves a lot of time, and it could feasably be done with just one or two mechanics. I think the materials will come out to just over $200, depending on where you source the metal plate.

              After thinking it over for a while I don't think hooking a chain lift to the rafters is the best idea, because I don't want to be the guy to rip a hole in the roof and drop a gearbox on someone. I think it would still work, but the risk is too much for me to feel comfortable doing it. I'd have to get a building engineer to check that the loads would be acceptable.

              In regard to moving it by hand, that seems like a lot of work and could go south pretty fast. With the way larger companies are moving towards more safety I don't think that would fly. I'm sure it works, but I wouldn't want to risk it.
              Ethan Campbell
              Technician 2
              Main Event Entertainment - Plano


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