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Moving the Shop

Moving the Shop 2

 

 

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Moving to a new shop - part 2
December 31, 2011

In the last cliff-hanging episode, our hero had packed up his Grizzly mill and was ready to make the drive through the wilds of Northern Virginia to the new workshop.  Hero? Wilds of Virginia?  OK, give me a break.  I spent New Year's eve day stacking firewood, then came home and loaded the surface grinder on to the trailer. Editing some photos and writing up the latest installment of our move isn't exactly the craziest New Year's eve I've spent, so forgive my little attempt at some excitement.  Come to think of it, loading a two and a half ton grinder is probably less exciting than driving in Northern Virginia on New Year's eve.

A couple weeks ago I finished clearing out my basement workshop and loading the mill, table saw and many boxes of tools on to my "new to me" trailer.  The 20 mile drive to the new home shop was uneventful.  The trailer tracks a lot better with weight on it than it does empty.  I could probably help the bouncing when empty by lowering the tire pressure a bit, but for the 30 minute drive, it's not that bad.  Since it's a tilt trailer, it's real easy to judge when you're starting to put weight on the tongue.  Pull the locking pin and move the load forward until the trailer tilts to its level position.  Move the load a little further forward to put more weight on the tongue.  My Dodge diesel handles the load easily, though the mileage drops substantially from its usual 19.5 MPG combined city/highway average. Running 5 loads to the new shop and 5 empty trailer returns (200 total miles out of the usual 500+ mile range of a full tank) brought the mileage down to 15.2. The optimistic trip computer reported 15.7.

With all of the boxes and smaller tools unloaded from the trailer, it was time to unload the mill.  Since the 2 X 10 skids slide so well on the trailer's metal deck, all I needed was to use my 2 ton come-along to slide the mill to the end of the trailer so I could lift it off with the engine hoist. Since the mill had been lightened by removing the stand and head, the hoist had no trouble lifting the estimated 600+ pounds and rolling it to its new place in the shop.

The mill's stand had already been set up and leveled, so it was just a matter of unbolting the 2 X 10" skids and attaching the mill to the stand.  The mill's head was light enough that I could drag the piece of carpet it was moved on to the edge of the trailer and lift it with the hoist.  I had previously found that looping the nylon sling under both ends of the head, then running an additional loop between the V-belt enclosure made it quite easy to lift the head from resting on its side and then have it hang vertically from the hoist's chain without any additional adjustment  This made it a pretty simple task to lift the head and reattach it to the mill. The whole job of removing the mill from the trailer and bolting it all back together took about an hour working alone.

The last job I had was to move the grinder.  Over the next couple weeks, I built and mounted the skids for moving the DoAll surface grinder.  Getting the skids and cross-braces bolted in place of the leveling feet was time consuming, but pretty straight forward.  I used four - six foot 2X10 pressure treated pieces of lumber that I had let dry in the garage for a month and a shorter, five foot piece that I had used for another project.  Two of the six footers were bolted in place of the grinder's leveling feet. These were oriented front to rear.

Getting the two boards attached was a bit of a juggling act.  The grinder weighs around 5000 pounds.  My China made engine hoist says it will lift 4000 pounds with the boom in the fully retracted position, so I'd have to lift one end at a time and block it up high enough that I could slide the 2 X 10s under the grinder and attach them with carriage bolts.  To compound the lifting issue, the legs of the engine hoist weren't wide enough to allow me to get the boom in line with the lifting chain when the boom was in the two-ton position.  I'd have to use the one and a half ton position.  I had already had to do this a couple years ago when I added cushion pads under the grinders leveling feet.  The hoist will make the lift, but it doesn't seem to be particularly happy to do so.  I just try to keep myself out of harm's way while pumping up the hydraulic ram.

I lifted the grinder from each end, then slid some three inch thick blocks under each end of the grinder.  With the blocks in place, I was able to slide the two skids under the grinder.  I then raised each end up another inch or two to allow me to get the carriage bolts through the board and into the leveling feet attachment holes.  With all of the bolts tightened down, I called it quits for the evening.

The next step was to add the three skids that the grinder would slide on.  Two six footers on the outside and a five footer in the center.  The two outer skids had their ends cut at 45° angles to help them slide from the floor to the tilted trailer.  I used two carriage bolts at each end of each board, along with some large fender washers.  Even though I had let the pressure treated boards dry out for a month, there was a big difference in how much the newer lumber compressed compared to the couple year old five foot piece I used in the center.

Lifting the grinder high enough that I could attach the bottom skids presented its own challenges.  The legs of the hoist with their casters underneath weren't tall enough to allow the skids to mount flush with the two supporting boards.  My solution was to use a couple small pieces of board to raise the casters a couple inches higher.  Not exactly the best way to support the hoist when making this heavy of a lift, but I took my time and triple checked each step I made.  Once all three skids were attached, I left it sit for a few days, then retightened all of the carriage bolts.

On the day before the loading, I lifted each end of the grinder once again and positioned some 3/4" iron pipe under the skids.  I tried to slide the grinder out a bit from the wall using a six foot steel digging/pry bar, but couldn't get enough purchase between the bar and the slick finish of the concrete garage floor.  I resorted to using combinations of 2 X 4s and bricks braced against the cinder block garage footing as a fulcrum and slowly moved the grinder away from the wall.

With the grinder moved a few feet from the wall, I was ready to pull it on to the trailer.  I hooked up my new Badlands 9000 winch to the receiver mount I had added to the front of the trailer.  I ran the 2/0 welding cable turned battery jumper cable from the winch to the Dodge's battery.  I wrapped a tow strap around the lowest point of the surface grinder body and hooked it to the winch cable.  Since the grinder wasn't in line with the rear of the trailer, I added a chain and snatch block to the left side of the trailer and fed the winch cable through it. My hope was that this would pull the grinder to the left enough to line it up with the trailer's ramps.  I laid some blankets over the top of the winch cable to slow down the whiplash if the cable or sling broke.  Time to make the pull.

I hit the "In" switch on the winch remote and took up all of the slack in the cable, then started the pull.  The grinder began to roll on the pipes.  The next few minutes were split between hitting the button, making sure that the cable was being wound evenly on the winch drum and adding pipes under the skids as the grinder crept forward toward the left side of the trailer.  Once I had the grinder positioned directly behind the trailer, I removed the snatch block.  Now I had just a straight line pull to get the grinder on to the trailer.

Once the skids reached the end of the garage, they hung over the two inch drop to the driveway.  I added a two inch steel pipe between the drop-off and tilted trailer ramps.  A couple more clicks of the button and the skids had dropped on to the two inch pipe.  I added a three inch pipe in front of the two inch pipe and pulled some more.  The skids climbed the larger pipe.  From there, all that was left was to pull the grinder up the tilted trailer.

I put the winch in free-spool and pulled out about twenty feet of line.  Using some heavy leather gloves to apply friction to the cable,  I rewound the cable and made sure that it was tight and evenly around the winch drum.  I hit the switch to begin the pull.  Without any apparent strain at all, the grinder started moving up the trailer.  I repositioned the pipes a couple times and started adding the 3/4" pipes as the grinder inched up the trailer.  In less than 5 minutes, the grinder was fully on the trailer.  Another few minutes and it had reached the area of the pivot point.  Another few clicks of the button and the trailer started tilting back to it's flat position.  Once the trailer was flat, I installed the bed locking pin and pulled the grinder forward another foot or so to put some weight on the tongue.  I watched the clearance between the Dodge's tires and the rear wheel well.  When I saw that the clearance had been reduced by about a half inch, the pull was complete.  By now it was dark.  Enough for one day.  I left the winch cable attached to the grinder, cleaned up my tools, and covered the grinder with a tarp.

January 1, 2012 - Happy New Year

Last night we had a lot of cloud cover and a passing rain shower.  This was both good and bad.  The good was that the temperature at 7:00 AM was in the mid-fourties.  The bad was that the trailer deck was wet.  I waited until the sun had dried off the deck a bit and got to work securing the grinder for its ride to Catlett.  I used 3/8" chains and two racheting load binders to secure the base of the grinder to the trailer bed.  I then realized that I hadn't cushioned the grinder ways for the trip.  I slackened the chains and cut eight pieces of thick carboard.  With the help of my wife, Susie, I used a pry bar to lift the grinder table up as she slid a piece of cardboard between the ways at each end of the table.  We repeated the process on the grinder's saddle ways.  Since I had spent all of the time to rescrape the ways on this machine, I didn't want them banging together on the drive to the new shop.  For the vertical ways, I just lowered the head down and lightly rested an old grinding wheel on a block of wood on top of the magnetic chuck, then tightened the gibs so that it wouldn't bounce around.  I retightened the chains and added some two inch nylon ratcheting straps to hold the table and saddle tightly to the grinder.  The ways on the grinder are V shaped and nothing but gravity keeps the saddle and table from moving around, so to prevent damaging the ways, cinching them tight to the base was necessary.  I double, then triple checked all my work.  By noon, we were ready to make the trip.

The drive to Catlett was uneventful unless you happened to be in one of the cars behind me.  I'm afraid that those folks wished that they were anywhere but behind me.  Yes, I drove slowly.  Much more slowly than I normally would have, even when towing a trailer.  I tried to steer around bumps and dips in the road.  I slowed to a crawl for turns.  When we finally made it to the gravel road that ends in our driveway, I put the truck into 4WD low and crept along in third gear.  We were passed by turtles taking a Sunday stroll.  When we got to our driveway, I shifted down to "creeper low" and slowly climbed the dirt and gravel driveway that was still wet and slippery from the last night's showers. I backed the trailer up across the lawn and parked it with the ramps extending into the concrete floor of the workshop.  So far, the whole operation had been nearly flawless.

Unloading the grinder wasn't as easy as loading it.  I had planned to sink a one inch bolt into the floor of the workshop so that I could attach the snatch block and use that as the pull point.  I had forgotten to do that and my masonry drill was at the other house.  Darn.  Rather than drive back to Gainesville, I opted to do without.  I attached the snatch block to a chain and hooked it on the end of the trailer ramp.  At least I'd be able to pull the grinder to the edge of the trailer, or maybe not.  The process of pulling the grinder to the end of the trailer took a couple hours and by then an unanticipated rain shower arrived.  Though I was getting a bit wet, it didn't dampen my spirits.  Once the grinder reached the over-center position of the trailer, I unhooked the locking pin and slowly pulled the grinder just far enough that the trailer tilted. I then realized that once I put the pipes under the skids, the grinder might take off on its own.  That wouldn't be good.  I had been planning on not using the pipes until the grinder was in the shop and letting the friction between the skids and the trailer deck slow its descent.  Now that I would have to use the pry bar to make the transition from trailer deck to shop floor, I figured I'd need the pipes.  I unhooked the winch cable from the snatch block and reattached it so that it held the grinder from sliding down the tilted deck.  I used the pry bar to lift the front skids enough to insert the pipes under them, then put a little slack into the winch cable.  I used the pry bar to force the grinder down the trailer enough to take up the cable slack, adjusted or added another pipe, then gave the cable some more slack. Repeat, shampoo, rinse, repeat again.  Pretty slow going, but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry.  When the skids were almost to the concrete, I added the larger pipes and slowly pryed the grinder on to the shop floor.  Slow work and I was now a bit wet, but by 4:00 PM I had the grinder inside the shop far enough that I could close the garage door.  I'd move the grinder into its designated spot after I purchase a large automotive style drip pan to go under it.  Between the coolant the grinder splatters about and the way oil that ocassionly drips off the ends of the table ways, the grinder had left some stains on the old garage floor.  I would like to keep the stains to a minimum in the new shop.

After months of planning and a lot of money spent, the last of my equipment was in the new shop.  As I said, I have lots of stuff to organize and put away, but the shop move is done.  The best part is that aside from one easily repairable broken handle on my old table saw, everything arrived intact.  I also have acquired most of the tools necessary to do some more moving when I start looking for some industrial sized equipment for the new shop.  A larger lathe and an older horizontal miller would be nice.  I'd love a metal planer, too.  We'll see how that goes.

moving18
Using a come-along to pull the mill to the end of the tilt trailer so I can grab it with the engine hoist.
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Lifting the mill with the hoist.  Aside from being a cold day, the unloading couldn't have gone more smoothly. Being able to back the trailer up to the shop is a heck of a lot easier than it was when moving the mill across a lawn to the walk-out basement of the old home.
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The mill is attached to the stand. I still don't know if I like my initial layout for the tools, but the present goal is to get the equipment into the new shop.
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Attaching the milling head to the base.
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Back at the old house.  Attaching the 2 X 10s that will become the moving skids for the DoAll grinder.
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Lifting one side of the grinder so I could add the second layer of skidding.  I have the boom set on the 1.5 ton position as there wasn't enough clearance to use the 2 ton position. The hoist wasn't too happy, but made the lift without the boom bending.  I stayed well clear until I had the grinder set on some cribbing.
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Three 2 X 10 skids on the bottom with 3/4" cast iron pipes as rollers.  The Badlands winch cable was run through a roller bearing snatch block to help center the grinder for the pull up the tilting trailer.
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I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the grinder rolled on the pipes when being pulled by the winch. Conversly, using a six foot pry bar, I could only move the grinder an inch or so at a time.
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I've got the grinder pretty close to centered.  It's time to remove the snatch block and make a straight pull.
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The pull begins. Sorry for the blurry pic.
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A couple minutes later, the grinder is on the trailer.
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After pulling the grinder over the trailer's pivot point, the weight of the grinder tilts the trailer bed to its locked position. Easy as it could be.
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After many weeks of planning and worrying about everything that could go wrong, the loading of the grinder went as well as I could have hoped for.
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All done for the night.  Time to cover it with a tarp and have some dinner.  Tomorrow morning I'll chain it down and make the trip to the new shop.
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Using cardboard to protect ways on table.
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More cardboard between the saddle ways.
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The DoAll arrives at the new shop.
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The unloading is about to begin.
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Another view.  Not a whole lot of clearance between the top of the grinder and garage door.
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Badlands 9000 winch with the cable routed through a snatch block hooked on to the end of the trailer. Ready, set, pull.
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Rear view.  The fun begins.
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The grinder has passed the tilt trailer pivot point and the ramps are on the floor.
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Getting ready to switch the cable from pulling position to where it's holding the grinder from moving on its own.
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The rain has begun, but the grinder is about off the trailer.
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A 2" pipe helps the transition from trailer to floor.
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In the new shop safe and sound.
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The grinder will be rolled next to the coolant tank (on right) for the time being.


Moving the Shop 1
Moving the Shop 2