[4]

Bolting a mill down vs leveling feet

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#1
I'm considering putting leveling feet under my new Acer 3VSii mill (full size Taiwanese Bridgeport clone) much like the pic below. However the feet will be spaced a little farther apart to also allow rolling a pallet jack underneath from the front occasionally. The leveling feet are rated at something like 4500lbs each. The feet would be adjusted "low" for the leveling and then adjusted "high" for rolling the pallet jack under. The steel tube is 2" x 3" thick wall, oriented flat wise

I'm anticipating some setups where the leveling would be advantageous.

So they would serve two functions: leveling, and "adjustable cribbing" for the pallet jack.

There are lots of pics on the web of people doing similar but not much discussion of how well it works over time. Can anyone advise first hand experience doing something similar?


Bridgeport_leveling_feet1.jpg
 
Last edited:

Richard King 2

Master Machine Tool Rebuilder & Instructor
H-M Supporter - Commercial Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
365
Likes
349
#2
Not many professional shops bolt them down and some never level Knee type turret milling machines. I like them level so I can use a precision bubble level on the work when setting the part on the table or vise before traming it in. Do they have hard rubber pads glued to the feet? If not I would suggest setting them on some thin leather or hard rubber to eliminate and vibration. Many times machine will never move so I glue the vibration pad to the floor. How thick is the concrete floor by the way? ? In advising you on weather to bolt it down would depend on weather you will be turning the ram / head around or advancing it past the center of gravity and it could turn over. That would be your choice. We can't advise you to do something dangerous, or I won't anyway. I suggest you follow the manufactures recommendations first.. There are all sorts of free downloads on the net with Bridgeport manuals. If I owned the mill I would secure it to the floor and have a vibration pad under the feet.
 

Kernbigo

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 8, 2012
Messages
723
Likes
206
#3
set them on vibration pads that is all you need , worked machine repair for 37 years that is all we ever did
 

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#4
OP here:
Yes they do have rubber pads.
 

Doubleeboy

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
747
Likes
415
#5
What ever you do stay away from Mason brand leveling pads, they ought to rename them Shakeamatic feet. They may work for conveyors and the like but for lathes and mills they are a disaster.
 

Richard King 2

Master Machine Tool Rebuilder & Instructor
H-M Supporter - Commercial Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
365
Likes
349
#8
I have also seen those cheap ones that are real cushy move. For years we set the machines on steel plates and no rubber at all. Oh and I have been rebuilding, leveling and aligning machines for over 50 years which doesn't matter because technology changes. I still suggest reading manuals and use what the machine builder suggests. Vintage machine has several copies of machine manuals that you can get for free or do them a favor and donate a few bucks. Be sure to read the weight capacity of the thick rubber ones before wasting your money.
 

Doubleeboy

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
747
Likes
415
#9
I just bought these last week for my lathe (haven't yet gotten them installed). I'll report back when I do.

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/86435021
Those are the ones I was referring to. I have never met anyone who has happily used them on a lathe or mill. I tried for months to be happy with them on a quality lathe. Finally gave up and mounted the machine on grade 8 bolts with nuts , washers and homemade small pad of steel, no cushion of any kind. I respect and defer to Mr. King and his wealth of experience on the subject, but those Mason feet are a waste of money for a lathe or mill IMO.
 

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#10
OP here:

Below are the ones I have, but I can't find any Mfgr name.

They are extra long because they would need to reach through the steel tube and be extended to roll the pallet jack underneath. The rest of the time they would be retracted.

Now I'm having second thoughts about the steel tube possibly "drum heading", with the mounts separated by approx 34 inches, and the point pressure on my 4inch reinforced concrete floor.

My Bridgeport used to shimmy a little bit on it's blocks and shims. My Acer is a heavier machine, but these mounts have 4500lbs capacity each and are quite stout, but they might conceivably collapse under lateral loads.



McMaster_leveling feet.jpg
 
Last edited:

Ray C

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
5,215
Likes
1,410
#11
I once had a surface grinder that had threaded holes in the cast iron base but the threads were butchered-up beyond repair. In pinch, I drilled-out the holes and put 5/8 threaded rod thru with adjusting nuts at the top and bottom. Furthermore, I welded some 3/8 plates to the threaded rod then, set it down on top of 4 rubber hockey pucks; one under each leg. It worked perfectly and cost almost nothing.

Ray C.
 

randyjaco

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
786
Likes
307
#12
The only place I bolted my machines down was in California because of the possibility of earthquakes. Here in Texas they go on adjustable mounting pads.

Randy
 

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
5,402
Likes
5,734
#13
Earthquake country is the worst place to bolt down machines unless you can make it VERY strong and solidly part of the building. If you look at videos of machines (and other stuff) in an earthquake, they slide all over the room but usually stay vertical unless they trip on something. The hold down bolts trip them immediately. The floor moves, the machine wants to stay, so the top stays relatively stationary while the base moves sideways. That puts the machine immediately over on it's side. The issue is similar if a forklift runs into a machine. If it is free on the floor, it usually just moves sideways. If it is bolted down, it tips over. I really cannot see bolting down machines unless a lot of reciprocating mass will be moving, or a large mass revolving off center. If the machine wants to move due to machining forces, for the machines in our hobby shops I say let it move. It is easier to move it back to where it was than to pick the broken machine up off the floor.
 

dfsmoto

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
109
Likes
110
#14
Those are the ones I was referring to. I have never met anyone who has happily used them on a lathe or mill. I tried for months to be happy with them on a quality lathe. Finally gave up and mounted the machine on grade 8 bolts with nuts , washers and homemade small pad of steel, no cushion of any kind. I respect and defer to Mr. King and his wealth of experience on the subject, but those Mason feet are a waste of money for a lathe or mill IMO.
A lathe is a whole other animal. It needs to be bolted down and also have jack bolts next to each hold down to true up the ways.
A bench top lathe would be fine to use leveling pads on the base as you are truing it on the bench, but a floor standing one needs to be leveled by jacking or pulling down on anchors to take any twist out of it.
 

Cheeseking

Active User
Registered
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
724
Likes
302
#15
I'm considering putting leveling feet under my new Acer 3VSii mill (full size Taiwanese Bridgeport clone) much like the pic below. However the feet will be spaced a little farther apart to also allow rolling a pallet jack underneath from the front occasionally. The leveling feet are rated at something like 4500lbs each. The feet would be adjusted "low" for the leveling and then adjusted "high" for rolling the pallet jack under. The steel tube is 2" x 3" thick wall, oriented flat wise

I'm anticipating some setups where the leveling would be advantageous.

So they would serve two functions: leveling, and "adjustable cribbing" for the pallet jack.

There are lots of pics on the web of people doing similar but not much discussion of how well it works over time. Can anyone advise first hand experience doing something similar?


View attachment 264017
The pic you posted is my BP. Normally I would not suggest doing it this way vs just plopping it on a couple thin, dense anti-vibe pads or just shims. I did it primarily to allow me to easily get underneath and move it if need be with a pallet jack. Plus I had the surplus HD pads and tubing on hand. Its been 5 years now and so far so good. No shakes or wiggles and its as level as when I first installed. I don’t care for the extra height it adds but fortunately I am tall enough to still reach the drawbar and basement has 8’ clear to the floor joists.
 

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#16
The pic you posted is my BP. Normally I would not suggest doing it this way vs just plopping it on a couple thin, dense anti-vibe pads or just shims. I did it primarily to allow me to easily get underneath and move it if need be with a pallet jack. Plus I had the surplus HD pads and tubing on hand. Its been 5 years now and so far so good. No shakes or wiggles and its as level as when I first installed. I don’t care for the extra height it adds but fortunately I am tall enough to still reach the drawbar and basement has 8’ clear to the floor joists.
Hi Cheeseking
You say that "Normally I would not suggest doing it this way" but then go on to say "Its been 5 years now and so far so good. No shakes or wiggles and its as level as when I first installed".
My main motivation for doing it is making it easy to level, secondarily, as you say, to make it easier to get a pallet jack under it, particularly from the front. The height would normally be set low for every day use (don't mind the added nominal height), and raised only when needing to move it with the pallet jack.
I already have the thick wall tube and the leveling feet. Can you advise of any reason not to do it?
 

Cheeseking

Active User
Registered
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
724
Likes
302
#17
Nope if it work for you I would say go for it. Only pointing out there are pluses and minuses to the approach. The downsides are added working height (which could be a plus but who knows) and the possibility of it being not as stable, rigid etc. If I was to do it over I’d go with 3/4” x 2” CRS bars vs the tubing simply to reduced height. Again, had the tubing said wth lets use it. Assuming your pads are strong and not jiggly and the tubing is strong you will have no problems. “normally” may have been the wrong choice of words. Everyone’s situation and needs are different. A thought I had was to miter the tube ends 45deg thereby making more use of the threaded studs when raising it up. The way it is now I only have about 1/4-3/8” of adjustment and Im out of threads on the stud.
Like this...
 

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#18
Good info Cheeseking, thanks.

The studs on my leveling feet are 6 inches long so I've got plenty of adjustment on my 2in x 3in tube (oriented flat-wise), even after allowing for the height of the forks on the pallet jack. The feet will need to be spaced widely enough to clear the 27 inch wide forks (approx 32 inches allowing for some maneuvering room).
 

Cgantner5150

Swarf
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
5
#19
I used a treated 4x4 across the front and rear of my Bridgeport, spaced to allow the pallet jack to come in under from the sides. Lag bolts in from the top.
Works well so far (1 year).
 

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#20
I used a treated 4x4 across the front and rear of my Bridgeport, spaced to allow the pallet jack to come in under from the sides. Lag bolts in from the top.
Works well so far (1 year).
I do the same thing, but my lathe is on one side of my mill and toolboxes on the other, so approaching the side of the mill with the pallet jack is problematic. Approaching from the front is the best option for me.

I'm going to proceed with my leveling feet idea, so I can approach from the front, since I have all the materials on hand. I'll post pics of the "adventure" here later.

I can always do something different later if I don't like it.
 
Last edited:

JPigg55

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
713
Likes
205
#21
Question for you guys who don't bolt down your mills. Ever had any issues with tipping over ???
I bolted my 8520 down because it looks like it could get tippy side to side when the table would be off center with a heavy work piece on it.
 

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
5,402
Likes
5,734
#22
Question for you guys who don't bolt down your mills. Ever had any issues with tipping over ???
I bolted my 8520 down because it looks like it could get tippy side to side when the table would be off center with a heavy work piece on it.
I would not bolt it to the floor, but I would bolt it to some members that will spread the load over a wider area. There is no advantage to bolting a hobby lathe or mill to the floor, IMO. There are multiple disadvantages.
Edit: I have never heard of a mill tipping over in use, even with asymmetric loading, though that could happen with overloaded or side loaded bench mills. Mills tip over when they are being moved. Deal with that issue.
 
Last edited:
R

Robert LaLonde

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
#23
I think bolting and shimming to level is easier than installing the feet. After the feet are installed its much easier to level than bolting and shimming however. Its also easier to move. I have my big mill (2 ton KMB1) bolted down and shimmed to level. To be honest I see no difference in any of the cutting. Before it was just setting on the floor where I plugged it in and I had no issues. The only advantage I found to actually leveling it was I was able to use a level to setup a job once. A non critical job.

Now on a lighter machine like a benchtop leveling the top of the base, then leveling the machine, then leveling the table at front and back of travel may help reduce some bed twist. Tormach even posted a video on that on their YouTube channel.
 

jmarkwolf

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
327
Likes
194
#24
The pic you posted is my BP.
Hi Cheeseking.

Out of curiosity, what are the bolts through the base of your Bridgeport threaded into? Did you tap the tube for the bolts, or weld on some weld nuts, or what?

Arguing with myself as to what to do here.
 

Cheeseking

Active User
Registered
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
724
Likes
302
#25
They are tapped 1/2-13 directly into the tube.
 

Low tech

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
Messages
19
Likes
12
#26
All of my machines (11” Logan , Leblond servo shift , Bridgeport mill , Reid Brothers SG , 20” Cincinnati shaper ) sit on heavy steel plates under the leveling screws . The Cincinnati shaper is the only one that is bolted down .
 

P. Waller

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
420
Likes
268
#27
We have a 4020 Fadal mill, someone had a 100" long piece of 2" X 3" steel bar in it held in 3 Kurt vices with 50" hanging off one end of the table.
It made a rapid move forward (200 IPM) to change parts and struck a pipe roof column and rotated the machine, fortunately it was not bolted to the floor and nothing was damaged. This machine weighs 12,000 LB's
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top