We left the story (and the milling machine) sitting in the middle of the hallway, about 100 feet from the shop.
Wednesday, I got impatient with that, and decided to solo-move it. The door to the shop is a standard 36″ door and the machine was about 42″ wide, so something had to go. Fortunately, removing the table end and the feed drive was pretty simple:
The seller said that the feed drive was “making a smoky smell” last time he tried it, so I am going to look into replacing the drive with a new one (about $250) and selling the original part on ebay; there are people who want gear in original condition who are willing to pay extra for old stuff. I can get an end-plate for the table for about $20 and not have a feed drive at all; that’s also fine.
It’s surprisingly easy to move a 2,300lb machine once it’s up on steel pipes; you just shove it along and occasionally pry with a pry-bar, stopping every foot or so to put the next roller in place. It took about a half an hour to cover the entire distance to the shop. Another thing that’s interesting – the roller method goes over door-sills and missing floor-tiles very efficiently. The roller stops rolling and you just slide the machine forward onto the next roller and continue. It’s remarkable and I had lots of time to think about it and realize that Egyptian pyramid-builders probably figured out all the nuances of roller-moving large objects. There’s a certain amount you can spin an object when it’s up on the rollers, and a certain amount you can change its direction by adjusting the rollers’ angle.
I managed to navigate the doorway amazingly smoothly with 1/2″ to spare on both sides, then did a sort of 3-point maneuver to put the machine in place and get all but the last roller out from underneath of it. To get the last roller out, I had to tie a string around the end of the roller, loop it around the neck of the surface grinder, put another roller behind the machine as a fulcrum, and then stand on the pry-bar to lift the machine so I could tug the remaining roller out with the string. I get very happy when I am able to do difficult things effortlessly thanks to the creaky and sputtering thing I call my brain.
I spent a lot of time walking around everything, making sure I could get to outlets and whatnot without getting too close to the nasty bits of a machine or the burning bits of a forge.
Next up, the machine will get a good scrub-down with oil and solvent, and I’ll put the table controls back. I’m super relieved that I did not need to remove the table; they are delicate for something that’s made of 300lbs of steel.
The electrical system looks like it could be improved. I don’t like reaching up over the mill to turn it on, and that old toggle forward/reverse switch is pretty gnarly-looking, as is the utility outlet bolted to the side of the neck. Yes, that’s an aluminum baking tray on the top of the machine – the original cover doesn’t fit on the 110volt motor set-up.
After that I rounded off my day by returning the engine hoist (for a full refund!) and buying 500lbs of sand for the sand tray. So, that means:
- load 500# of sand onto the shopping cart at the supply store
- unload 500# of sand from the shopping cart into my truck
- unload 500# of sand from my truck onto my dolly at the shop
- unload 500# of sand from the dolly into the sand tray
So, Wednesday, I “pounded sand” – it’s OK I need the exercise, it keeps me mean and angry.
Before I put the sand in the tray I carefully and repeatedly checked the ergonomics of the work-space. They’re just about perfect – I can work with the press or hammer at the anvil, and I’m a nice distance from the mouth of the forge, and I can easily move from one to the other. There’s nothing behind where I’ll be standing unless I step back 15 feet to admire my handiwork (and step into the milling machine, which will not be running).
I have had several people ask me “WTF?” about the sand tray. I have to be honest: I’ve never heard of anyone doing that, before, but it seemed like a good idea so I did it. I dropped one piece of steel I was pulling from the forge and it bounced in my direction and that got me thinking that it would be nice if there was something non-flammable, non-valuable, bounce-dampening, disposable, and easy to renew, between the forge and my work-zone. Besides, I can make one of those little zen rakes and put some rocks in it and make a little zen garden to noodle around in if I get bored. Plus, maybe I can just claim it’s a great big 4’x8′ incense burner.
The remaining bit that I don’t like is the routing of the propane hose; I’m going to replace the stock hoses with braided stainless, and run a longer hose along the wall (in brackets) under the blackboard chalk-holder. with an additional cutoff ball-valve just to the side of the press.