What's New


Workshop Stuff


Moving the mill

Spindle Noises

ShumaTech Digital Readout

ShumaTech DRO Continued

DRO-350 Repairs

South Bend 9" Lathe

South Bend 405 Lathe Bench

Grizzly Mill Revisited

Surface Grinder Rebuild

Surface Grinder Continued

Grinder April 6, 2008

Grinder April 20, 2008

Grinder August, 2008

Grinder September, 2008

Grinder November, 2008

Grizzly G3103 Mill

Grizzly G3103 Mill
Rebuild - Part 2

Moving the Shop

Moving the Shop 2

Bringing Home a Sheldon 12" Shaper

Sheldon 12" Shaper 2

Sheldon 12" Shaper 3

Sheldon 12" Shaper 4

Sheldon 12" Shaper 5

Sheldon 12" Shaper 6

Sheldon 12" Shaper 7

Sheldon 12" Shaper 8

Sheldon 12" Shaper 9

Way Alignment Tool



Email Jim


Moving to a new shop
December 09, 2011

After what can only be described as the real estate transaction from hell, on September 28, 2011, we closed on our new home.  It is now almost mid-December and we're still moving.  Half the reason we're still moving is that we've been in the current home for 21 years and have a lot of stuff. (Boy, do I have a lot of stuff!)  The other half is that the new home needs some TLC and we've been working our butts off trying to get as much as we can done before the weather turns too cold.

Over the last few weeks, I have been 'ramping up' on getting the workshop moved.  It's coming along slowly but surely.  I'm to the part of the move that I was most concerned about - the moving of the machines.  Especially the surface plates, mill, lathe and surface grinder.  Of the group, the surface grinder is the biggest challenge at about 2.5 tons.  Fortunately, it's in the garage and not in the basement.

When I acquired the grinder, the largest piece of equipment I had moved was my 1/2 ton Grizzly mill and I moved that from the garage to the basement by stripping it down to individual pieces with the help of a engine crane and a heavy duty hand truck.  For the grinder, I borrowed a dual axel trailer and rented a forklift.  The grinder was loaded on to the trailer where I purchased it and all I had to do was unload it and roll it on pipes to it's resting place.  Since the trailer I borrowed moved with its owner to South Dakota, I needed a trailer of my own.  I had also decided that if I had to spend money to move this stuff, I might as well have something to show for the money besides the machines being in their new home.  Renting a forklift wasn't exactly inexpensive.

After months of searching, I finally found a dual axel tilt trailer with a metal deck that had a gross weight rating of 14,000 pounds.  Aside from a little surface rust and being in need of a little paint, it was in great condition.  At $2700, it was a little more than I had hoped to pay, but I had run out of time.  All told, it was a fair deal for both of us, but with the amount of stuff we needed to buy for the new home, I had hoped to spend less.  Anyway, I now had a trailer.  Along with the trailer, I needed to buy a new hitch ball adapter as my other one was only rated at around 3 tons.  I also had to figure out how I was going to get the grinder on the trailer.

After posting a question on my local metal working group listserver, I was surprised by the number of good ideas I received.  Everything from building/renting a gantry crane (which I would love to own), to using a winch mounted to the trailer, to some offers of help by some guys who were more experienced riggers.  After researching some more and some thought for what would give me the most use after this move, I decided on buying a winch.  Which winch?  More research, more questions, then I found a coupon to get the Harbor Freight Badlands 9000 pound winch for $260 (it's expired now).  With the price of a name brand winch about 4 to 6 times more, what was I getting for that money?  These winches are pretty new and have replaced an older winch that had gotten mixed reviews.  The only real "shootout" review I could find on the Badlands said that it had problems out of the box.  However, talk in the off-road forums seemed to be somewhat positive.  HF had upgraded the motor from permanent magnet type to series-wound type, but the duty cycle is only 5%.  That means 45 seconds of pulling and 15 minutes of waiting for it to cool down when doing a maximum pull.  Workable, but nothing to brag about.  All told, it sounded like one of the better Chinese made winches.  Maybe not as strong or reliable enough for a hard core off-roader, but for my occational machinery move or pulling trees out of the new property, it sound like it was worth a chance.

After more reading and considering HF's 30 day money back guaranty I finally decided to take a chance on the Badlands.  I also ordered the receiver hitch adapter from HF and a bolt on receiver from McMaster-Carr for the trailer deck.  Now I'd be able to use the winch from the rear of the truck or the deck of the trailer and if I decided to splurge, I could buy or fabricate another receiver for the front of the truck and one for the tractor as well.

The next step was to figure what to use to wire it up.  It's a little less than 24 feet from the dual batteries on my diesel truck to the point that I added the receiver on the deck of the trailer.  Voltage drop is the consideration here.  To keep the voltage drop from going too much over the 10% maximum voltage drop, I'd need size 2/0 wire.  With the price of copper, this wasn't going to be cheap.  After seeing prices for as much as $7 per foot (times 50 feet - ouch) for 2/0 flexible welding cable, I opted to bid on a 50' new piece of 2/0 gauge fine stranded welding cable.  For those who haven't thought about it, the finer the strands, the more flexible the wire.  When you get to size 2/0, which is a little less than 1/2" diameter of copper, not having flexible wire makes it really tough to route.  Welding cable is usually very flexible and has nice heavy insulation. I got it for a little under $2.80 a foot and also purchased some Anderson SB350 connectors so I could just plug the winch in rather than mess with nuts and bolts.

Over the course of the next week, all the parts trickled in.  My first impression of the winch was good.  It was packed well enough that even the rough handling of a heavy item going through UPS shipping got it to me in one piece.  The box was a little ragged, but the foam prevented even a scratch on the winch.  If you've purchased HF stuff before, you know that sometimes the equipment looks good and sometimes not so good.  This winch was one of the better looking tools I've seen them sell.  I was impressed with the fit and finish of the winch.  The roller fairlead looked a little lighter duty than I would have liked - but passable and the mounting of the relay box could have been better, but overall it looked like it was well designed and decently assembled.  I read over the manual.  Lots of the usual warnings, but also some good clear assembly pictures and a nice exploded view of the inner workings. I got it assembled and hooked it up to a battery to make sure it wasn't DOA.  It seemed to be fine.  The winch operated in both directions and the free-spool worked smoothly.  I soldered up the connectors for the 25 foot long extension lead and I was ready to pull something.

That something turned out to be the trailer and my Deere 317 garden tractor.  I had hooked up the trailer to the little tractor and moved it to the sliding doors on the walk-out basement. I got my 4' X 8' wooden layout table loaded on the trailer when it began to rain.  I covered everything with a tarp and hoped the rain would stop.  That didn't happen.  We got rain - heavy rain - for 5 of the next 7 days.  The back yard was now looking like a swamp.  We finally got a stretch of 4 days of no rain and a forecast of more rain on the fifth day.  So even though the ground was still a bit soggy, I attempted to drive the tractor, with trailer in tow, up the hill to the front yard before the next batch of rain would arrive the next day.  I didn't succeed in doing much more than digging holes in the lawn when I got part-way up the short hill.  By the next span of dry days, I had the winch.  I would get the trailer out this time.

With my wife Susie manning the winch remote and me driving the 317, we tested the new winch.  Within a half hour, setup included, we had the trailer in the street again.  Granted that the trailer with table was less than 3000 pounds and the little Deere another 900 or so (liquid filled tires), but the winch did its job. At the end of the pull, the winch motor was just barely warm to the touch.  The size 2/0 electrical cables were stone cold.  I wish we had pictures of the event, but between the two of us, we had our hands full making the pull while we tried to keep our curious cats from getting under foot.  I think it's going to pull the surface grinder on to the trailer easily.

Winch testing finished, I set my sights on moving 21 years of hobbies and tools out of the basement.  Did I say that I had acquired a lot of stuff?  After a few weeks of trailer and truck loads, I had enough room to start on moving the bigger stuff.  The lathe ended up being easy.  It only weighs a few hundred pounds and with it bolted to its new table, but unhooked from its stand, I could lift the whole thing - motor, chuck, tailstock and all - with the engine hoist.  I had purchased a metal garden cart from Tractor Supply and made up a hitch so I could tow it behind the Deere.  This helped out quite a bit.  I had read that these carts had wheel bearing problems, so I paid attention to them when I assembled the cart.  In what seems to be typical for China grease, it had turned hard and chunky.  I loosened the bearings up with oil and then repacked them with quality grease.  So far, so good.

The surface plates were a little more of a chore to rig.  I had gotten help with the 3 new (still in boxes) plates.  We moved them before my son shipped out to Afghanistan again, but now it was just me alone against the tools. The 18" X 24" Rahn plate is only about 4 inches thick and has ledges, so it wasn't too tough to make a sling for, but with nothing to tie off to, one wrong bump could result in a broken plate.  The 6" thick Starrett plate also has ledges, but is substantially heavier.  Again I made a sling to hold the plate and moved slowly.  All of the surface plates are now safely in their new home, but I got a few more gray hairs in the process.

Early in the week, I started the disassembly of the mill so I could move it around to the trailer later in the week after the rain stopped.  Another two days of heavy rainfall.  I used the engine hoist to pull the head assembly after disconnecting and marking all of the electrical connections.  One of these days I'll solder in proper connectors to make this job easier.  I pulled the head and stored it on the garden cart. I then attached some straps to some 5/8" bar stock inserted through the lifting holes to lift the mill's base off of its stand.  I bolted some 4 foot long 2" X 10" boards on the bottom of the column base to make it less likely to tip.  I actually remembered to raise the knee so that the knee lifting screw was above the bottom of the boards.  Failure to remember this could result in bending the acme screw.  That would ruin my day! I set the mill on the basement floor until it was time for its ride to the trailer.

I removed my old Craftsman cast iron table saw from the strong but ugly base that came with it.  Maybe I should build a new stand for it sometime after all the other projects are done?  I broke down some more shelving and boxed up all the mill accessories and waited for a break in the weather.

Finally on Thursday we got our first day of sun.  The yard was still soggy, but I needed to get the trailer loaded for the weekend trips to the new house.  Moving the mill head was quick and easy.  While it's a little heavy to lift without help, it's easy enough to lift one end at a time and walk it across the boards from the cart to the trailer.  Both are about the same height and a couple 2" X 10" boards made a good ramp between the two.  Next was the mill base.  I was going to move this intact.  However, I did remove the mill vise.  I used the engine hoist to lift the mill on to the cart, strapped it down and got the tractor around back.  I then realized that the mill table was too wide for the sliding glass door.  After removing both glass doors, I backed the tractor into the basement and hooked up the cart.  I took it very slowly, leaving deep impressions in the muddy grass.  The trailer is supposed to be able to handle 1000 pounds, but those are Chinese pounds.  I figure that the part of the mill I was moving was between 600 and 700 pounds.  Not that heavy, but heavy enough.  At the top of the hill that leads to the front yard and driveway, there's a sharp uphill turn.  If I was going to tip over the cart, that would be the spot.  I swung the tractor as wide as I could, moving as slowly as possible and parked the cart inches from the rear of the trailer.  Good show.

Getting the mill off of the cart would have been easier if the engine hoist was available, but it was in the basement and unless I wanted to break it down and carry it around to the driveway piece by piece, it was going to stay there until I could carry it on the cart that now had the mill on it.  I suppose that I could have hooked up the new winch, but that was over-kill for the weight involved.  I ended up using my ratcheting cable puller to slide the mill from the cart to the trailer.  Slow going, but now it's sitting on the trailer waiting to make the trip to it's new home.

Here are some pictures.  When I get around to it, the next installment will be the surface grinder move.  I will take pictures of the process.  Wish me luck.

New Workshop
The new workshop. Three bays in front and one on the side.  There's also a narrow room for my metrology tools and a computer.
The deere 317 and garden cart carrying some surface plate stands.
The South Bend lathe, surface plates, stands, tool boxes and the necessary cart and crane.
Full shot of the trailer with a load.
New Workshop 2
New shop taken from second bay door.
New Workshop 3
Facing more left from the shot above.  I have lots of stuff to put away.
New Workshop 4
The doorway to the small room.
New Workshop 5
The small room will house all my measuring, scraping and drafting gear.
New Workshop 6
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to set up the tools. In this area, I have about double my previous floor space from my basement, but have to include the tools from the old garage as well. The side loading bay (not shown) will house my wood tools.
The wires from the mill head are unhooked and marked so I don't forget where they go.
Ready to remove the head.
Head is off.
Base has had boards attached to prevent tipping.
Ready to lift.
Pretty easy lift.
Make sure that the knee elevation screw won't hit the ground. Don't forget this.
My old Craftsman cast iron table saw.
The mill base goes for a ride.
Another view.  The lawn is taking a beating.
Unloading the mill on to the trailer.
Using the cable puller to assist.  Cat is supervising.
Almost there.
Neatly stowed. Little screwdriver for persuasion.

Moving the Shop 1
Moving the Shop 2