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Thread: Walkie Stacker

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    219

    Walkie Stacker

    I have zero experience with walkie stacker, forklift, and such similar equipment. I do claim familiarity with a pallet jack! The machines that I am looking at are getting heavier and heavier. My back is not getting any younger, the opposite exactly. In a perfect world, I would have a huge shop with a forklift, but it ain't so. So, I am looking at the walkie stacker as an investment in this love affair with heavy power tools. My reading online is informative, but I feel I don't get the entire picture. I have looked at most of the brands (there are so many) such as Clark, Toyota, Crown, Hyster, Big Joe, Raymond and a few others whose names escape me at this moment. Locally, there is a Crown and Clark dealer. Across the mountains, Toyota. The Toyota dealer's waning interest seems to relate to my scale of operation, single boy shop with interest in purchasing 1 piece of equipment. The local Crown dealer is the most professional and has an open invitation for me to visit to play with whatever they have on their floor with one of their technicians. This is a very good sign for on-going service needs after purchase, IF (huge IF) I ending up buying because the price quoted for one lift that I am interested in (4000 lbs lift capacity, 14 feet lift height, mass <80 inch) gave me a long pause (with the price quoted, I can buy quite a few Japanese kana with iron from some really good blacksmiths). "But it's an investment!" my better half told me. Stay away from the ER and the surgeons, she commanded.

    So, I go seeking more advice and education here. Does brand matter? Is there a large distance in the spread of the prices? I prefer to buy local to support the local shops and also to access local support, but if the local after-sale support is nonexistence then mail order is acceptable. What are the salient points of buying something like this? Which of the specs are important? Location of manufacturing, USA vs Taiwan vs China vs mixed (most common it seems)?

    I guess this is considered "power tool" and related to woodworking!?

    WS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Central WI
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    5,268
    I have a walkie stacker that lifts 3000 lbs 3' high. Electric and a little jumpy as it doesn't feather down like a pneumatic cylinder but still handy. Not easy to push with one person and 3000 lbs but doable. The distance between the feet is important so you can get it under whatever you need, including either between or around the tires on a pickup. There are also scissor style pallet jacks with a 3' lift that may be a better option. An electric pallet jack is also very handy. All can be had used for much less than new if you watch and are patient. My walkie was about $800 used and the electric pallet jack, 1500 used but almost new. Batteries are not cheap so factor that in when looking at used. Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    484
    What kind of equipment are you moving or thinking about moving? Its hard to beat the safety and effectiveness of a low trailer and a pallet jack, but i realize all situations are different. A walkie stacker or forklift would be nice to have on lumber delivery days, no doubt about that.

  4. #4
    Check any local used equipment dealers as there may be serviceable used equipment that would do the job for you at a reduced price.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Upland, CA
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    I bought a used Yale Walkie Stacker at a Builders Emporium Auction in 1993. It was $720. I'm still using it. A couple of points:
    A walkie stacker means you walk behind or in front of it and manually move the tiller to turn. Depending on what you are doing this can mean it is more or less useful for in and out of tight spots. I can get in to some tight spots that would be inaccessible on a regular forklift.
    It also means that they were designed to run around on smooth level concrete. They don't have the ground clearance to go out a door if the pavement outside drops away too quickly. They also don't tilt so you can only get into a pallet if the pallet is on level ground also.
    Any unit capable of lifting high weights a significant height will require a unit with a lot of weight and much of that is accomplished with a big battery. An significant height will also require it to be a Straddle Stacker, which means you have the front wheels go around the pallet. This limits pallet max width. The battery in mine weighs nearly 2000 pounds and cost nearly $4000. They still only last 5-7 years.
    If you are moving the stuff now with a pallet jack and only don't want to push the load around, there are powered pallet jacks for a lot less money.
    What exactly are you moving around? Now that I reread your original question, I'm not sure you mean you were fixed on a Walkie Stacker.
    Last edited by Greg R Bradley; 08-21-2019 at 3:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    219
    My garage is my shop, but it is not a dedicated shop space. The driveway has a slight slope that gets progressively steeper toward the street, but not too bad; I haven't measured/calculated the angle. It's flat and whoever poured it used durable concrete mix. It's 30+ year old and no crack. So, a walkie stacker can venture out into the driveway no problem. Naturally, some of these machines will get moved around when I get to spread out and work. I absolutely think my narrow-fork pallet jack is one of the best tools I bought. I can move a FK700 with one hand. So what will I move around?

    1. Lumber. 12/4, 10 foot rough boards are a bear to pick up by myself. Even the 8/4 10 footers are heavy.
    2. Plywood, MDF, melamine...moving from my little trailer to the shop. I am building boxes non stop it seems.
    3. Some Felder machinery like the KF700. A FB710, A951L and D963 are arriving some months away. The FB710 is too big and heavy for residential lift gate, so need to be removed from the truck with a fork lift. Then it has to be erected. Yadda, yadda...
    4. A Bridgeport-style mill and metal lathe
    5. fill-in the blank heavy junks I buy in the future
    6. Myself. I was told the newer ones has remote control that you can use to operate it from a distance.

    Oh! and for when and if we move, you know, to the property with a huge shop!

    I think of this as in "investment" because the anticipated service period is close to forever, until either one of us croak. So, the amortization of the cost is slightly more acceptable, although still painful and needs close examination. From what I read, it can be used for all sort of things, not just moving them heavy machines, and is very useful. I also can think of a few other things I can use it for already. For starter, I can bring stuffs stored up above the garage without having to rig up a hoist. Nice! So, yes, there is a convenient factor associated with this.

    Straddle walkie stacker is a more correct descriptive term. It has straddle legs that are width adjustable.

    Question. Is in-activity a problem for the electrical system and battery? I do not have a fulfillment center, so average # of use per week probably a few times, maybe less even.

    Buying used. Like I stated before, ignorance is the rate limiting step here. I haven't a clue how to assess a used straddle walkie stacker. I know how to buy used cars, not straddle walkie stacker.

    WS

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    1,245
    Powered walkie stackers I used in my day job had almost zero hill climbing ability. They are incredibly expensive, and the ones that lift 3,000 pounds are incredibly heavy and long! It will take up as much room as a table saw with extension table. You must have one hell of a garage! Make really good covers for the metal working machinery. Sawdust and way oil make a real mess of metal working machinery!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    319
    I am single man shop with some occasional workers, my workshop is my garage, and I have a incline on my driveway, I have 2 pallet movers, they are great.

    I've considered walkie stacker/electrical forklift/manual forklift... etc before I bought my internal combustion engine forklift that burns petrol.

    to me, walkie stacker cant climb, limited stacking height, so its a no go
    electrical forklift is expensive to replace batteries, altho alot less moving parts than petrol/diesel forklift, but I can not leave it outside in the weather.
    manual forklift, well, its manual. and no it can not climb..

    my forklift is super convenient, its like a car, I used to park it inside the garage, but now I just leave it out.

    Any forklift mechanic can service a convention petrol/diesel engine powered forklift, some you can even do it yourself, over the last few days I swapped out an alternator on my forklift.. so its not that hard.
    Last edited by Albert Lee; 08-21-2019 at 6:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Upland, CA
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    I can't imagine using this in a regular garage. A stacker will also get ugly going in and outdoors.

    Here is a very poor pic of the one I bought for $720 in 1993. I'm using it to mount a sign in one of my businesses in the mid 1990s. It will go up high enough to just step up on the 19' roof. Notice the low clearance to the straddle bars. Now that the wheels are worn a bit it won't go in/out one of those warehouse doors since as the straddle bars hit the edge of the concrete as it goes from flat to angled down before it ever gets to the asphalt.

    In order to get a pallet out of the back of my truck, I have to make sure the truck and stacker are on a flat area. I just don't want you to believe you will unload something out of the back of a truck without some work in making sure the truck is parked in exactly the right spot. We have had to put levels in the floor of delivery trucks and put a tire or two on a shim to level the trailer. A pallet that is 42" deep only has an inch of extra clearance and you can use that up if the pallet and the stacker are not on the same plane. My pickup is worse because the load can change the angle of the bed and I've had to use shims on the front tires in order to unload a heavy pallet. You can't get the forks into the pallet if its on a slight angle. And if the pallet is heavy then the angle changes and you can't get the forks out. The ability to tilt on a normal forklift is invaluable once you start talking about using the unit outside of a flat concrete floor in a warehouse.
    They don't have the power to pull loads up much of a hill as they were designed never to go outside a warehouse. Just think how they use a riding stacker, also called an order picker, in a Lowes or Home Depot.

    Don't assume they have limited stacking height. I use that one to put 2500 pound pallets on the top shelf of 12' high pallet racking.

    Forgot to address the question on rare use and batteries. I think all of them are Lead Acid Batteries just like a car. They go bad in a certain number of years without a great difference on use.
    Yale.jpg
    Last edited by Greg R Bradley; 08-21-2019 at 6:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    N. Texas
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    1,334
    Quote Originally Posted by Wakahisa Shinta View Post
    ....Question. Is in-activity a problem for the electrical system and battery? ...
    Look at trickle chargers ($40). Pig-tail installed on the battery, and this quik-connects to a 'wall-wart' charger. It keeps the battery of my seasonal use equipment topped up and ready to use.

    I can't be much help on selection, or care and feeding of electric lifts, but I kept a full-time mechanic busy on a fleet of ~10 propane IC forklifts once upon a lifetime ago. Pretty sure I kept Hyster in biz for 2-3 years just on parts. (Amazing how much abuse a 170lb operator can dish out to a 4000lb machine.... Especially if they don't care.)
    Molann an obair an saor.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
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    3,000
    The battery needs a maintainer to hold up not just a trickle charger. For your use a few truck batteries will probably be enough since it only needs to run for 30 minutes or less between charges. If you have to replace the big expensive one piece battery with a few truck batteries you will have to add ballast to maintain balance.
    I would look at the site "Practical Machinist". they have a sub forum on material handling including lift trucks and cranes.
    Bil lD

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    219
    Thanks all for answering my post with your voice of experience. I am getting the feeling that a straddle walkie stacker is good for flat, even surfaces. In my circumstance, it will be restricted to indoor use and about 10 feets of driveway outside the garage with minimal slope, but that is dicey having to cross over the door threshold. I am re-thinking my strategy.

    My problems with the forklift is space and again, inexperience. I'd like a forklift, but it's like a car and needs its parking spot. If I ever move from this home to a place with a dedicated shop, I probably will consider buying a forklift to move the machines to the new place and keep it for future use. My gut feeling is to rent the forklift for a day, unload the machines, set them in a semi-permanent spot on skid, and use my pallet truck to push them around the shop. Machine on skid has been my strategy up to this point and works just fine. Actually, it works better than having the machines on wheels.

    I read practical machinist forums. Good point about their sub forum on material handling and rigging.

    WS

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    1,245
    There is no better machine mover than a roll-back wrecker. Costs me a $100 bill (those guys love cash for some reason LOL) each time, but the machine comes off the flatbed right onto the shop floor. I've brought some really heavy equipment off the bed right onto steel pipe. Just make sure you hire one with a steel bed. The really heavy equipment doesn't like to slide on aluminum.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    Richard, thanks. I have read about those. I will look into them. However, Felder plans to deliver all 3 machines via a semi-dedicated truck to my place. I prefer to have them deal with the transport so that if anything happens, it is covered under their insurance. I feel that is the simplest way and least amount of risk. For my part, I need to get the crates off of the truck. Then, they become my problems. Another option is to look around for someone with a forklift for hire. The logistic of time might be tricky getting two parties on the same site at the same time as delivery time is a window and often later than stated.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hill, NC
    Posts
    2,269
    I bought a used Crown stand on double reach truck about 8 years ago. It is an invaluable tool in the shop. Crown is a great brand with good parts availability. Mine has required very little maintenance. It's really great for loading lumber onto pallet racks.

    The big ticket expense item is the battery pack. A new one is several thousand dollars. Usually they can be refurbished which extends the life by several years.

    Mind can carry a 4000 lb load up a shallow grade, but it is only good for operating on a slab.

    Drawback to them is the mast height. Mine is around 10', which means that it isn't suitable for use in a garage. However it will pick quite high (18' or so).

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