Towsleys Manitowoc MLC650 Crawler Crane – Part 1 Assembly – by Cranes Etc TV

Towsleys Manitowoc MLC650 Crawler Crane – Part 1 Assembly – by Cranes Etc TV


The Manitowoc MLC650 made its debut at the ConExpo exhibition in 2014 it’s a high capacity crane nominally in the 650 ton class, and a feature of it is the moving variable position counterweight. This model of it has been made by Towsleys in China and it’s been engineered by Weiss Brothers. It is delivered in a big outer shipping carton and inside that is the Manitowoc branded box. With a box this size and weight you really need a crane to handle it, but not to worry the Cranes Etc team is made up of beefy tough guys. There are three big trays of parts and they’re all nicely wrapped in soft paper. That’s the top tray so let’s have a quick look at the middle tray and under that is the heavily loaded bottom tray, so there’s a lot of assembly to do and in this video we’ll just concentrate on the assembly. Thankfully there’s a high quality manual included and that has a full itemized parts list and there are step-by-step instructions which are largely pictorial. It shows you almost everything and there is just a couple of parts missed, and there are no reeving diagrams for the hooks, but overall it’s very good and it only concentrates on the one configuration of the model using up all of the parts. Cranes Etc has made over a thousand reviews and reports so if you like what we do please support us and help us continue by making a pledge via Patreon. A link is on the screen and in the video description and in return for your support you can get various rewards including news, early access, discounts and other benefits, and know that your support will keep us going. Let’s get building and a nice touch to start with is that all of the smaller parts such as screws come in their own individually labeled bags so that makes it easier. We begin by mounting the car body onto the frame that spans between the tracks and that drops easily into place, but we need to secure it in position and if we look underneath there’s a hole for a screw. Mow with any parts on a model like this it’s best to tap the screw in first before mounting the parts and assembling it, and that just makes life easier if access is difficult to a part. In this case if the screw is not magnetic there’s a little trick we can use and apply a bit of plastic putty to the screw head then we can push the screwdriver into the plastic putty that means we don’t have to employ a 1/50 scale mechanic to get inside and fit the screw, and you can feel smug as you imagine everyone else struggling to fit it. So once the screw is in we need to tighten it up and it’s important to check that the car body rotates properly without any rocking. Here comes the next part and it’s the rotating bed assembly and it’s still got some packaging which we need to remove later. To make things easier the four fixing screws have been partially screwed in before mounting the assembly and then as long as the holes are carefully lined up we can drive in the screws. Next we are on to the moving counterweight mechanism, and we start by fixing the small actuator assembly to the beam assembly and that’s fixed in place by some mildly awkward plastic pins. So here we have the so called VPC-Max assembled and it’s a sliding part which fixes onto a rail on the rotating bed assembly. It gets pushed all the way in and then it hooks on to stop the end drooping down. The counterweights will need to rest on something and here it is, it is the counterweight tray assembly and that’s also a sliding part and again it hooks in onto a rail. Let’s take a break from the weighty matters of the counterweight and look at something that’s not in the manual. There are four jacks on the body which would be used for self assembly and to complete the model the pistons with the pads on the end get pushed into the jackets. Once that’s done you can stop them waving about because there are some small pins that you can insert into the ram jackets to hold them in place. These pins are small and it’s one of the first bits of micro assembly that we have to do. It’s back to the heavy end of things and we need to put a big stabilizer pad that hangs off the end and again that’s fixed into place with some slightly tricky-to-fit plastic bolts. Let’s now add a bit of detail and that includes a set of steps and a plate that fits on either side and they just neatly drop into place. OK then, back to more weighty matters let’s add a very small pin on both sides of the counterweight mechanism and then we can add the counterweight boxes themselves. They are all separate pieces and they just stack on the counterweight tray but heavy though they are they need to be strapped together to stop them toppling over and the model includes sets of chains to do this. It can’t really fix them tightly so perhaps it’s more for show and here the hook end of the chain is hooked into the other end and then it’s all just hung over the lifting tabs on the counterweight boxes and that all makes for a nice enough looking detail. Now it is time to get on to the big stuff and that’s the boom, the mast, and the luffing jib. They all come as separate pieces just like the real crane and you have to bolt them all together. To do this there are tiny black nuts and bolts and it’s best to get a tin to put them all in when you start your work. Tools are also provided to help you do the task and one piece takes the nuts that you can just put into the end, and the other tool is a bolt holder. You feed the bolt in and it’s tight enough that it doesn’t just drop out. After that you can guess the rest. You put in the bolts you add the nut and tighten it up but there’s no need to over tighten it. Then you just repeat the operation many, many times.And here we are we’ve preassembled the big main boom and it is big. Actually it’s very big. We can follow that with the mast which is not quite so big, and lastly we have the luffing jib which is quite big. It’s all very well but where are you going to drink your coffee and for that you need a cab and it’s time to fit that on the model. It comes as a separate part and it’s a good idea to line up the holes using a screwdriver before you try to insert the pin, and there is the steel pin ready to be pushed down and home. There is also a secondary pin to insert, and for that we fold out the small brackets, line it up and then drop the pin in, and there we have it done. So now we move onto the big stuff and we start by adding on the mast. Once it’s more or less in position, again it’s good to line up the holes using a drift or screwdriver and then it’s secured on both sides using a large steel pin. One good thing on the model is that the live mast comes ready reeved, but the spacer that’s used to keep the lines taut prevents the back stops of the mast being seated, so we’ll have to do a temporary bodge job and use an old screwdriver. We’ll then press on and attach the main boom and again that’s an easy fit with large steel pins to secure it in place. The next bit of assembly is to attach the various straps. Fortunately these do come in assembled lengths so there’s not a bazillion nuts and bolts to do up. They are made of ductile metal so they will bend easily so you have to be a little bit careful how you handle them, and don’t force anything. If the connections are too tight just loosen them off a bit to straighten out the straps. After that you need to follow the manual closely to get the right straps in the right place and to get the right end, at the right end. We now need to go in for some careful maneuvering to get the live mast attached to the back mast, and we’ll start by carefully removing the packaging from the reeved lines. Let’s move the back mast forwards temporarily and then we come to the tricky part which is moving that spacer towards the back and here we fast forward to the spacer moved, and now we can lower the mast so that the back stops get seated properly. With that done we can then attach the hanging straps from the mast and we’ll attach the first pair to the VPC beam assembly. We now need to attach the second pair to the live mast and to do that we’ve got to raise the live mast up a bit and that’s a little bit tricky. The trick is to keep the lines taut whilst you unspool the drums and keep it that way whilst you attach the straps and then remove the spacer. With that done we can now move on to everybody’s favourite and that’s the reeving operations. To start with we’ll take some line off of the winch on the back mast and run it up over the top so we can start the reeving of the boom luffing gear. This is probably most easily done up in the air so to facilitate that we put in a temporary arrangement by tying off the boom and the mast so that’s held fixed in place so we can start the reeving of the luffing gear and much fun awaits us.Now it’s done and we also used a second temporary support on the luffing bridle and with the work done the temporary supports can be removed. So the last major assembly to do is to attach the luffing jib and that’s quite easy to do on this model. It pops into place so there can be a screwed connection at the pivot point, but also helpfully there were a couple of ratchet bars on the back stops, and you can press those into the top of the boom which makes the luffing jib self-supporting, and that’s a minor godsend because it enables the luffing jib to be self-supporting whilst we reeve it up. And here we go again happily running the rope through the pulleys…Damn, it’s popped out again. Damn. Damn.Oh god I can’t believe it! I’ve done it! After a bit of work the reeving is done and the luffing jib is supported. There’s still a bit more rope work to do and here we’ve hung the heavy hook block from the main boom and that’s quite an easy hook to reeve up, and from the luffing jib we’ve hung a smaller hook block which was actually is a bit more fiddly to do. We are near the end of the assembly now so there’s one or two things to attend to, and firstly we need to detach the pins and free up the lower end of the live mast, and by winding in on the winch drums you can see that it’s opening up. The final things to do are adding some detail and we’ll start by adding some covers to the holes in the bodywork and those holes are there to allow you to operate the live mast winches. The covers are plastic, and they clip into place. Finally there’s an array of walkways and platforms that have to be fitted on both sides of the crane and these press in and are a decent fit with only one or two being slightly loose. And that’s it! The assembly is complete, and we can stand back and look at our model. This is a big crane so let’s do a dim check and to the top of the main boom it’s about 55 inches or 140 centimetres, and here to the top of the luffing jib it’s around 80 inches or 2 metres, and the jib is not even pulled back to its highest position. So that completes the assembly. For the detail, features and overall rating see Part 2 of this video series.

17 thoughts on “Towsleys Manitowoc MLC650 Crawler Crane – Part 1 Assembly – by Cranes Etc TV

  1. Been following you since 2013 love all the videos huge fan. You guys do an awesome job at describing all the models in great detail ten stars in my book

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