I’ve got a problem. I live in Bellingham, just a few miles from the Grizzly Industrial Headquarters. And in recent years their annual scratch-and-dent sale has occured the same week as my birthday. So, the sale has become a birthday-week tradition. Now, my first experience at the scratch-and-dent was fantastic. I had spent about five years convincing my wife how important it would be for me to purchase a new cabinet saw. Finally, she agreed to let me puchase one at the Grizzly tent sale for my birthday in 2011. I got the G0690 with router-table attachment and I love it.
But, this year I had no serious plan, just a vague notion that I might like a milling machine for building woodworking tools and I thought I might look at some of the smaller, cheaper benchtop machines. My next-door neighbor and I were in line by ~5:00 AM – early enough to be right near the front. We raced in when they opened the doors at 8 AM and I was bewildered by all the milling machines. I didn’t know how to use any of them but a big one caught my eye and in an unusual move, I just bought it without really thinking.
Now, as far as I can tell, this is a terrific milling machine. But, it weighs 700 pounds.
I convinced my neighbor who owns a tractor to lift it out of the back of the truck and set it onto a rolling cart so I could push it into my shop. We did it. And broke the cart.
Using several clamps creatively, I managed to straighten the wheels enough to drag the machine into the shop where it sat for a week. What was I to do with a 700-pound milling machine on a broken cart? I don’t have room for it in my shop, I don’t know how I am going to get it off the floor of the shop, and even if I did mannage to lift it, I don’t know how to use it anyway.
So, I built a heavy-duty bench on wheels with 1000-lb capacity. Then, I built a hoist just outside of my shop. The hoist stands on 10-foot 4×4s and has double 2×8s across the top. A bolt through the 2×8s accommodates the hook for a 3-ton hoist. But, after building it, I realized it was too tall for me to lift it upright. Of course, I could have called my neighbor with the tractor, but I was determined to solve this problem using my own somewhat limited ingenuity.
I used ropes and an improvised block and tackle to lift the hoist and I clamped it and tied it in place. I then lifted the milling machine off the broken cart (I fixed the cart.), set it onto my table, and rolled it into my shop.
The final photo shows the milling machine in its temporary location in the shop. It’s temporary because it is in the way of several other machines but it is the only space I had available with 220 power nearby. Now that I’ve got my machine on its table it looks like I’ll need to remodel the workshop to accommodate it. I have a feeling this impulse purchase has not finished causing me headaches.
Oh, and one more thing… Does anyone out there know how to use a milling machine?
-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA