Shipping antique computers

Todd Goodman tsg at
Tue Jan 20 07:36:00 CST 2015

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that if you specify top load only (that
they can't stack things on top of it) then there's sometimes an extra
charge for that too.  They make cardboard pyramids to tape to the top
too to keep them from stacking on top without flattening it (though I've
never had problems with just a label on each side saying "top load only"


* Ian S. King <isking at> [150119 17:08]:
> I have a fair amount of experience with this, too.  When acquiring a
> system, often there are a few large cabinets and a bunch of loose items
> like cables, media and documentation.  Put the loose things into boxes,
> which can then be stacked on the pallet and shrink-wrapped to keep them
> secure.  There's also a pallet called a 'gaylord' that's a cardboard box
> with a pallet base, which is good for loose items.  Depending on the
> condition of the large cabinets, I would usually ask for cardboard under
> shrink-wrap.  If there are protruding switches, I would either remove those
> switch panels, wrap them liberally in bubble wrap and put them in the
> gaylord, or if they couldn't be removed I'd use a thick block of styrofoam,
> sometimes carved out a bit, taped and shrink-wrapped to the cabinet.
> One thing to ask: will the cabinets be upright the entire time?  With a
> PDP-15 I had shipped, it was far cheaper if they could ship it on its
> side.  So the seller used styrofoam to ensure that the Flip Chips stayed in
> place, and got a commitment that it would be shipped on one particular
> side, i.e. not rotated (he was worried about the power supplies ripping
> loose).  It got to Seattle in fine condition.
> There are two things about doing your own prep vs. having the shippers do
> it.  For one, if you do it you pay less money (but there is your time).  If
> they do it, there is the question of whether they are competent and/or open
> to your input.  I stopped using MoveIt when I got a crew that didn't give a
> wet slap about my instructions - it was the first time I received items
> with e.g., broken casters.  (They denied responsibility because of the age
> of the equipment!)  After that I used EMOtrans pretty exclusively, and they
> were great whether the job was from CA to WA or from Western Australia.
> Just my random neural firings….  -- Ian
> On Sun, Jan 18, 2015 at 12:33 PM, Todd Goodman <tsg at> wrote:
> > * Marc Verdiell <marc.verdiell at> [150118 12:24]:
> > > Actually I need to learn more about this. What do they exactly do when
> > they "palletize" things? Does that include wrapping/protecting the item and
> > lifting/anchoring it on the pallet? How small and how large an item can
> > they deal with? How much does the service cost? How do you "unpalletize it"
> > at the other end? Do you need a forklift or a hydraulic pallet moving
> > thingy on the receiving end?
> > >
> > > Marc
> >
> >
> > I've palletized and shipped computer stuff as well as pinball machines
> > as well as received both on pallets.
> >
> > Usually the shipper does the palletizing (unless they pay a pack and
> > ship type place to do it for them.)  You put the item or items on the
> > pallet and usually band them to the pallet (there are all different
> > kinds of bands you can use.  Plastic bands with an S-clasp are easy to
> > use but there are metal bands you crimp a clasp onto too as well as all
> > kinds of others I'm sure.)  I usually shrink wrap the items too.  Often
> > with cardboard around them.  Sometimes crate them with a plywood box
> > around the whole pallet.  None of these will stop a forklift fork from
> > going through but help with scuffs from pallets getting moved around.
> >
> > I've received pallets with just shrinkwrap holding items on the pallet.
> > They've made it to me but the items tend to shift when moved around a
> > lot.
> >
> > All the shipping I've done is based on the cubic size of the pallet with
> > items on top.  I believe if you go over the "standard"-ish sized pallets
> > most probably have an additional charge (I've received some pallet
> > shipments that required longer forks for the forklift than standard.)
> >
> > On the receiving end they can send a lift gate truck for a charge.  Most
> > freight companies want to know if it's coming and going to a residential
> > or business address.   By business address they usually mean a place
> > that has a forklift or loading dock to unload.  Residential usually
> > means they'll send it on a lift gate truck and usually will call to
> > arrange a delivery date and time (if it's a business delivery and they show
> > up during business hours to deliver and no one is there there's usually
> > a "redelivery" charge.)
> >
> > Amost all the freight companies I've dealt with will not go down a
> > residential driveway (mine is 1/2 mile long so they definitely won't go
> > down it.)  Most send a tractor trailer to deliver.  I meet them at the
> > road with either a tractor with forks or my pickup truck (if they have a
> > liftgate.)  I've rented telehandlers (rough terrain telescoping boom
> > forklifts) before too (wish I could get myself one of those!)
> >
> > The driver will have a pallet jack (a wheeled tool with two forks to go
> > into/under the pallet and hydraulics that can lift it off the ground an
> > inch or so to move the palleted items around.
> >
> > All freight companies I've dealt with will either get the pallets to the
> > edge of the back of the truck (for business delivery) or onto the
> > liftgate and onto the ground.  Then it's up to the receiver to take it
> > from there.
> >
> > To unpalletize it yourself it depends what it is.  If it's really heavy
> > then I'd move it close to it's location and then use a hoist or lift to
> > get it off.  Obviously if it's smaller items (maybe multiple boxes of
> > items on the pallet) then it can just be pulled off one at a time.
> >
> > As other people have said palletizing stuff is *really* convenient for
> > moving it around and isn't too hard to do.  Around here there are many
> > places that offer free pallets or for little money (though around here
> > some people burn wood pallets so there's some competition to get them.)
> > Most "chain" stores around here return their pallets so won't give them
> > away but plumbing and heating, computer recyclers, and other places will
> > often give them away.
> >
> > Places like (among many others) sell banding and shrinkwrap
> > supplies that will last a lifetime if you're only shipping occasionally.
> >
> > Just my experience with it.
> >
> > Todd
> >
> -- 
> Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS
> Ph.D. Candidate
> The Information School
> University of Washington
> An optimist sees a glass half full. A pessimist sees it half empty. An
> engineer sees it twice as large as it needs to be.

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