Moving a Bridgeport Milling Machine – Recreational Rigging
One of my goals for this year is to add some real machining capabilities to my shop. I've been in the market for a milling machine since the beginning of the year and when I saw a Bridgeport series II CNC mill pop up on Craiglist for $1000 I decided to jump at it.
This is an older CNC mill that is in great shape as far as the iron is concerned but, according to the seller, had exhibited some flakiness with the controller after being moved. These things are pretty primitive TTL logic cards feeding power Darlington output transistor that drive stepper motors so I have no doubt that I will be able to fix what ever may be amiss–most likely the boards just need to be re-seated.
If I have too much difficultly resurrecting the BOSS controller I will very likely convert the machine to use the EMC2 Linux based controller. In fact, I will probably convert regardless, but I need to study the pros and cons first.
The machine itself weighs in at about 3500Lbs. Each of these forklifts is rated at 3000Lbs. Some creative positioning and the addition of a strap finally got the machine high enough so that I could back my flatbed trailer under it.
I was a bit nervous about the prospect of using two forklifts in concert. All of us here are folks who know how to do things, but the fellow on the fork truck to the left is a man who knows how to get shit done and he directed the action.
Once on the trailer I used a come-along to skid the machine up over the axles. My trailer has electric brakes and set at %60 they did a nice job of stopping the rig. This is important because the milling machine weighs about the same as my Toyota Sienna. The Sienna huffed and puffed up hills but had no real issues hauling the rig the 6 miles to The Workshop.
Had to pull the bus out so I could store the machine out back while I went to The Steampunk World's Fair and Maker Faire the following two weekends.
The weekend after Maker Faire I started by constructing and erecting a gantry crane to unload the machine. The crane used (2) 2x10x12' and (2) 2x6x12' pieces of lumber for each leg. The 2bys were screwed together with 3" drywall screws every couple of feet.
I cut the flange off of an I-beam with my Oxy/Acetylene torch so I could sandwich it between the boards.
Then lifted it into place with a come-along.
Next step: back the trailer under the crane.
Up we go!
The machine is too tall to fit through the garage door so I un-bolted the head.
Finally, I lifted the machine and slide several lengths of 1/2" black iron pipe under it and dragged it into the garage. If I had to do it again I would build the crane as close to the door as possible because the most difficult part of the job was getting the machine to move over the sun heated and softened asphalt driveway.
Next weekend I will clear a wall for the machine and place it in it's final spot. Then I need to buy or build a rotary phase converter to convert my household 240 VAC to the three phase power this machine needs.
Slick move. I like the gantry.
Since I usually work alone and wanted to move my machines with a trailer and winch I made this simple setup to make handling easy. Your mill is heavier than mine but the world is full of appropriate wheels and spindles for any size machine. Total cost was about twenty bucks for hardware. Casters and steel were scrounged but would have been worth buying if needed.
I really enjoyed reading about how you managed to not only load this machine, but also get this into your garage. I’m very impressed. I went through something similar with my uncle not too long ago getting a very heavy planer from 1910 loaded into his workshop and installing a 3 phase converter.