This Old Mill

The journey of a guy getting an old CNC milling machine up and running in his garage…

Delivery Day

Well now it’s real…the day the mill shows up at my house.  The folks I bought it from worked with a couple gentlemen that operate a vehicle towing service.  mill_delivery_1Turns out the flat bed tow trucks they use to move cars and trucks with are equally good at moving 2000+ pounds of heavy metal goodness.  In my case I had no way of moving the mill once it arrived, so delivery included a forklift too!

For those curious about what I paid for delivery, these guys picked up the mill and forklift from the place I bought the mill from, drove 80 miles to my house, unloaded the mill and forklift, loaded the forklift back up on the flat bed, and drove back to the place I bought the mill from to unload the forklift.  So 160+ miles round trip, not including the mileage to their place of work.  All of this for $400.  I dunno about you, but that seemed like a fair deal to me.  Regardless, I had no way to easily haul it myself, so I don’t feel like I had a lot of options.  I have a pickup truck, but you can’t put a 1+ ton milling machine in the back of a Toyota Tundra.  I guess if I had access to a car trailer I could have hooked that up to the Tundra and towed the mill and forklift myself.  That idea seems sketchy at best to a fella like me.

mill_delivery_2As you can see from this picture, or maybe you can’t, the smart guys I purchased the mill from actually strapped the forklift to the mill.  These flat bed style tow trucks have a big ole wench at the front of the bed, so they just wench’d the whole mess up on the bed when loading.  You can’t tell from this picture, but you’ll see in the following, is that these flat beds also tilt to the ground.  A pretty handy feature for getting vehicles loaded.

Anyway, once things were where they wanted it on the bed of the truck, they used heavy chains and straps to keep the mill and fork lift from going anywhere during transit.

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In this picture you can see we’re finally getting somewhere.  There are some things to take note of here.

First, even though you can see a nice guy on the forklift, don’t think for a minute he’s just using the forklift to drive the mill down the tilted bed of the tow truck.  That would be dangerous and dumb.  The forklift and mill, strapped together, are being lowered down the bed with the wench attached to the front of the bed.  The guy on the forklift is just operating the forklift to steer it a bit.

Second, it would probably be a good idea to drain the filthy coolant and sludge from the base of the milling machine before tilting it like this.  The tan colored ooze flowing down the bed of the truck leaked out all over my driveway.  Oh well.

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I included this picture to show how important it was for the tow truck to have an articulating feature about a 1/3 of the way up from the back of the bed.  Since forklifts don’t have a lot of ground clearance by design, this pivot point allowed things to come off the bed without dragging on the driveway.

The forklift and mill are detached from the tow truck’s wench at this time.  The nice guy operating the forklift raised the mill up a bit to help with clearance issues as well.

Maybe all flat bed style tow trucks have this articulating feature? I dunno, but if the mill was loaded onto the bed via a loading dock, you wouldn’t know this could be a potential issue until it arrived.

mill_delivery_6Well alright, the mill and forklift are off the flat bed thank goodness.  Nothing was damaged and no one was hurt during this process, so even better.

The mill is delivered, just as I expected, a filthy greasy mess.  Oh well, I knew what I was getting into I think.

I don’t have a picture to show this, but I got lucky and the height of the mill up on the forklift barely fit under my garage door, even with the garage door disconnected from the garage door opener.  This is all important stuff to consider when trying to stuff one of these in a residential style garage.  I would have felt bad if the folks helping were ready to go home and they’re waiting on me to take portions of the mill apart to get it inside the garage.

Lastly, here she is, still a filthy pig, but in place in the garage.  Where you put yours is up to you, but I put mine close to the electrical panel (can’t see in this picture).  Regardless, these big suckers take up a lot more space than you think.  The big box on the back of the mill contains most of the control stuff, so I had to place the mill away from the wall so I could get access.  In hindsight I probably would have kept it farther away from the wall than shown in this picture to have better access.  Now that the forklift is long gone, I’ll have to get pallet jack or something if I decide to move it around in the garage.

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