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Buying A Genuine RF-45 eMachineTool.com?

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AndySomogyi

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Have any of you guys dealt with eMachineTool.com?

I’m leaning towards an RF-45, and they sell what they claim is a genuine Taiwanese Rong Fu RF-45 for $2900 whereas most other places like MSC sell them for closer to $5000. eMachineTool said this is a 100% Taiwan made one.

How can eMachineTool be that much cheaper?

eMachineTool.com RF-45 link:
http://www.emachinetool.com/new-machines/mills/drill-mill-mill-drill/rong-fu-rf-45-mill-drill

I’ve also read that quality of the RF-45 has gone downhill, per the second link.

Would I be better off getting a Precision Matthews PM-932M and just hand scraping the ways and gibs?

Note , I Don’t Have Room For A full-sized Bridgeport, I have a tiny 1 car garage that already houses my project car.

New RF-45 quality link:
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/rongfu-45-not-what-they-used-to-be.70008/





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Downwindtracker2

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I don't know how, I think they might be a representative without a warehouse, the 'e'. The Aussies buy machines out of China that way. But that's purely a guess. I also have that site bookmarked as I need new traverse nuts. My RF-45 had been used as a CNC and all the adjustment in the nuts is used up. BTW the power feed option on the Z axis allows the mill to do boring without the ridges that hand feeding would induce. That makes it the most valuable option you can get, including X power feed and DRO. This makes it a real mill. I'm wondering if I can retrofit, likely, and sweet talk the Chief Financial Officer, more of a challenge. . We are retired so we are on a budget. In years back I would just do OT during the shutdown.

I would have a custom rifle made by Bill each shutdown. I did the stock and he the metal work. I would ship him a sad FN Mauser 98 from the early 50s or a P-17, not as easy , to rebarrel and fix the action. Besides being an excellent machinist, he could work wonders on the scrap iron I shipped. I tell you this because his mill was a RF 45. He liked it except when he had to flute barrels, chuckle. But he had bought his new from Thomas Skinner, the local importer and dealer. When I went to them to get parts to put mine back to manual, they told me they didn't handle Rong Fu anymore. I live near Grizzly so used Grizzly parts. Inside the Grizzly showroom I sure saw the difference between mine and who Grizzly bought from.
 

AndySomogyi

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From what I understand, most of the Chinese ones are all made at the same factory. The difference is companies like Precision Matthews has QA inspectors on sites and the pick the best specced ones. Than Grizzly gets the rejects, then finally Harbor Freight buys the garbage that’s left after everyone else had their pick. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve read a number of places.

The genuine Rong Fu ones are *supposed* to be made in Taiwan.

I don't know how, I think they might be a representative without a warehouse, the 'e'. The Aussies buy machines out of China that way. But that's purely a guess. I also have that site bookmarked as I need new traverse nuts. My RF-45 had been used as a CNC and all the adjustment in the nuts is used up. BTW the power feed option on the Z axis allows the mill to do boring without the ridges that hand feeding would induce. That makes it the most valuable option you can get, including X power feed and DRO. This makes it a real mill. I'm wondering if I can retrofit, likely, and sweet talk the Chief Financial Officer, more of a challenge. . We are retired so we are on a budget. In years back I would just do OT during the shutdown.

I would have a custom rifle made by Bill each shutdown. I did the stock and he the metal work. I would ship him a sad FN Mauser 98 from the early 50s or a P-17, not as easy , to rebarrel and fix the action. Besides being an excellent machinist, he could work wonders on the scrap iron I shipped. I tell you this because his mill was a RF 45. He liked it except when he had to flute barrels, chuckle. But he had bought his new from Thomas Skinner, the local importer and dealer. When I went to them to get parts to put mine back to manual, they told me they didn't handle Rong Fu anymore. I live near Grizzly so used Grizzly parts. Inside the Grizzly showroom I sure saw the difference between mine and who Grizzly bought from.



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Downwindtracker2

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Mine has an '01 motor, so it would be from that period. It's got made in Taiwan on it. I'm not sure about all from the same factory, but that is a good story and does explain QC.. Between mine and Grizzlys there are differences, both in the fittings and dimensions.

Machine tools should be hand fitted not just assembled. Even with Chinese labour rates , that costs. One of the local tool stores brought in some lathes, QC6125, a 10x22, or more correctly 250x550mm. They were welders not machinists so they didn't know what they were doing . To get a lower unit cost from XIMA ,they didn't add options , like the thread dial , so as to compete with BusyBee ( Canadian Grizzly) . It didn't work out for them and they clearanced them. My son and I went together to get one. To find the options I researched the web and found out there were two factories making them, SEIG and XIMA . The SEIG ones that were sold by Grizzly and others was merely assembled where as the XIMA ones had excellent test numbers,suggesting hand fitting. I found another importer and got the options. When my son moved out, he took it with him, that's why I have DF 1224g,a better lathe, now.
 
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Cooter Brown

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#5
You are in Indiana, why would you want to spend $5000 of a chinesium machine like that you can find a real American old iron machine within 200 miles for far less than $5000 and then spend the rest of it on tooling...

Clausing 8530 Vertical Milling Machine

I have a friend with that exact same mill at his shop by his is branded by Baileigh and he absolutely hates it he was been beging his boss for a more ridged machine for the past 4 year now...

His machine is like this one but without the power feed...

https://www.baileigh.com/vertical-mill-drill-vmd-45g
 
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Downwindtracker2

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Even a new Bridgeports are not considered ridged by machinists. Baby Bridgeports take 50% more floor space than a RF 45 or a clone. From my experience with my well used mill, it has almost paid for itself I've used it that often, I would suggest new. Any slop will directly shows up in your results. I'm thinking I may have to learn scraping. chuckle. Really, I think the problem your buddy and I are having with the RF-45 or his clone, is the combination of the powerful motor and the gearhead, there is no belt slippage to smooth out the cut. I'm not a machinist, but I am a millwright.
 

AndySomogyi

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I’ve got about $3000 max to spend on a mill.
All my tooling is R8.

If I could find a decent Millrite or Rockwell, I might go for one of those. The Clausing looks nice but only has Morse taper, and they have a tiny motor. I’ve looked into a used Enco (Taiwan copy if a Clausing) but it was in **** condition, every single part worn out and like 0.05 slop in the spindle, spindle splines worn, etc...

You are in Indiana, why would you want to spend $5000 of a chinesium machine like that you can find a real American old iron machine within 200 miles for far less than $5000 and then spend the rest of it on tooling...

Clausing 8530 Vertical Milling Machine

I have a friend with that exact same mill at his shop by his is branded by Baileigh and he absolutely hates it he was been beging his boss for a more ridged machine for the past 4 year now...

His machine is like this one but without the power feed...

https://www.baileigh.com/vertical-mill-drill-vmd-45g



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Downwindtracker2

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Mills are handy, I find I use mine more than my lathe. In comparison to mill tooling , lathe tooling is peanuts. I would go with something with power Z axis, being able to bore expands your horizons. Oh, BTW that PM shown is lighter duty than my RF-45
 
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mksj

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Agree on issues encountered with the current production Rong Fu RF-45, it ended up getting returned, maybe contactFc91c. https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/rongfu-45-not-what-they-used-to-be.70008/#post-586612

Seems like the older ones were better made, but the newer ones have more quality issues. Without getting photos or inspecting a current production model, I would be hesitant to recommend it. Other mills in this category, but more expensive would be the PM-833T and equally expensive PM-932 PDF. The Chinese machines have gone up in price due to the tariffs, so the price gap has decreased relative to similar Taiwanese machines.
 

AndySomogyi

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I’ve read Fc911c’s thread about the RF45. But I’ve also looked at the detailed parts list of the PM932 vs. the genuine RF45, and all of the bolts are bigger on the genuine RF45, it uses more bolts, and is heavier.

The one thing I really don’t like about the RF45 is it used a rack and pinion instead of a lead screw for the Z, which means you won’t be able to acuratly position the head.

I don’t know, I’ve spoken with precision Matthews, and the seem like really straight shooters. But the extra rigidity of the genuine RF45 is very very appealing. But I can’t seem to find much info about eMachineTools, as to how reputable are they.
 

mksj

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I know a few people that have had both mills, either one will be rigid, I have not heard of any issues. I typically expect the Taiwanese machines to be built better, but the RF45 seems to have declined in quality. I also could not find anything on emachinetool.com, although they have been around for a while. They seem to be a clearing house for different machines, probably drop ship from the manufacturer. My main concern is support and parts should there be any issues. I had that problem with my last bench top mill, the company that sold it stopped carrying the model and the few parts I needed took many months to be delivered. The RF45 should be ok for parts. There was a period of time when Enco sold Rung Fu, and they could be purchased for much less, but now they are sold through companies like MSC at inflated prices.

Many of us have purchased machines from Precision Mathews, and they are top notch for service and parts. I have also heard positive reviews for Eisen, Acra and a few other primary distributors. Grizzly seems to be slipping a bit in the service and parts, but they do have a wide range of machines.I had looked at the Grizzly G0720R a long time ago as a heavier rigid mill, but at their current price (4K) I would go with the PM-833T which a number of HM forum members have purchased and seems like a quality mill.

It if getting tougher and more costly to get a decent machine these days, let alone service after the sale. If you do decide to get an RF-45, I would get pictures of the machines they are selling in advance of purchase. Another possibility is a smaller knee mill either used, or something like the PM-835. Space wise, a smaller knee might take up 25% more floor space then a 932, positive side is you save the cost of a stand.
 

AndySomogyi

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I’ve found out some of the differences:



** Rong Fu RF-45 **

- more expensive, $2900 from eMachineTool.com
- weighs about 100 lbs more, likely thicker castings
- larger bolts, and more of them.
- 5 20mm bolts hold on the column
- rack and pinion instead of lead screw moves the head
- little known supplier



** Precision Matthews PM-933

- cheaper, $2200
- lighter, fewer ribbing in the castings
- smaller bolts, only 4 16mm bolts hold the column
- lead screw moves the head
- reputable company, Matt is a straight shooter.

Both seem to have less than stellar finishes, the the RF does appear to be made with better materials, and possibly less porous castings.

The big advantage with a lead screw is you can very accurately position the head, and easy to convert to ball screws for zero backlash, for plunge cuts and dead accurate head positioning. Can’t do that with the rack and pinion on the genuine RF. I can also convert the PM to 3D CNC, and I don’t think it’s possible to use the backlash prone rack and pinion for CNC.

The genuine RF has thicker castings and much larger bolts, so it’s going to be a more rigid and accurate machine.

So I just don’t know which one is a better choice. The PM-835 sure looks like a nice machine, but it’s getting out of my price range, and is a bit bigger.
 

mksj

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#13
Rung Fu RF-45 is 800 lbs w/o stand
PM-932 is 850 lbs w/o stand
PM-833T is 954 lbs w/o stand
PM-940 is around 1250 lbs w/o base

The bolt size is only a small factor, the column size, base, ribbing, material, etc. are all factors. I would contact members that have these mills and see what they say, in general they are quite rigid in this size category.

The killer thing on the RF-45 and PM-932 for me is the Y travel of only 8", the other travels are about the same between these two. Add a DRO or larger vise and it really becomes a limiting factor. Had that on my last mill (and that was with the DRO scale on the front of the table), and was always frustrated with the Y travel for this size machine. PM-833T Y travel is 11", the PM940 is 12", quite a bit more relative to the PM-932/RF-45, they also have more travel in the X and Z. If used manual, PM-8833T would be my first suggestion, otherwise for CNC (or manual) the PM-940 at the same price as the RF-45 and it also has a power head for the Z drive (a must for these size heads). I would look at the PM-940 (vs. the current RF-45) or save up for an PM-833T. Just my suggestion, I started out with a bench top mill (BF-30) and ended up with a full size knee.

If you are going CNC, then I would get a bare bones PM-932/940 since everything gets stripped out including the gearbox. You will need an automatic oilier, ball screws, new motor, belt drive, etc. a different animal/different cost level. Lots of CNC conversions with these mills, and some pretty impressive CNC machining. So strong support base for the conversion of this model.
 

NortonDommi

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Have a look at CNCcookbook for some info and ideas on these mills. I have one and when I finally build new shed I intend to Epoxy Granite fill it. Perfectly adequate for my needs as is but I figure mass is always good in machines.
https://www.cnccookbook.com/epoxy-granite-cnc-machine-fill/
 

AndySomogyi

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*Eventually* I will want to build my own CNC (including z axis control), but right now, I just want a usable manual mill so I can start making some parts.

My last mill was a mistake, a Grizzly G1005z, which was a complete pile of crap, really only suitable for aluminum. So I want to make sure I get something rigid enough to do some decent sized steel, but I’ve also got serious space limitations. I need to have everything on retractable wheels because I only have enough room to use one piece of equipment at a time.

I don’t know, should I shell out for an PM-833T? Currently I’m just making parts for me and my friends, but I’d like to turn this into an custom automotive design, engineering and fabrication business.

My day job is I’m a research scientist in bio-physics, but I don’t have a huge amount of interest in it, and building cars from the ground up has always been my passion.

And BTW, I learned to mill on a full-sized Bridgeport, my degree involved a lot of fabrication of laboratory equipment, and I my uncle was a machinist and I worked for him during high school, milling and turning.




Rung Fu RF-45 is 800 lbs w/o stand
PM-932 is 850 lbs w/o stand
PM-833T is 954 lbs w/o stand
PM-940 is around 1250 lbs w/o base

The bolt size is only a small factor, the column size, base, ribbing, material, etc. are all factors. I would contact members that have these mills and see what they say, in general they are quite rigid in this size category.

The killer thing on the RF-45 and PM-932 for me is the Y travel of only 8", the other travels are about the same between these two. Add a DRO or larger vise and it really becomes a limiting factor. Had that on my last mill (and that was with the DRO scale on the front of the table), and was always frustrated with the Y travel for this size machine. PM-833T Y travel is 11", the PM940 is 12", quite a bit more relative to the PM-932/RF-45, they also have more travel in the X and Z. If used manual, PM-8833T would be my first suggestion, otherwise for CNC (or manual) the PM-940 at the same price as the RF-45 and it also has a power head for the Z drive (a must for these size heads). I would look at the PM-940 (vs. the current RF-45) or save up for an PM-833T. Just my suggestion, I started out with a bench top mill (BF-30) and ended up with a full size knee.

If you are going CNC, then I would get a bare bones PM-932/940 since everything gets stripped out including the gearbox. You will need an automatic oilier, ball screws, new motor, belt drive, etc. a different animal/different cost level. Lots of CNC conversions with these mills, and some pretty impressive CNC machining. So strong support base for the conversion of this model.
 

Cadillac STS

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If CNC retrofit is even a remote future possibility get one with a Z axis leadscrew.

Second to that key thing is to look into models that people have already converted to CNC and there is specific info on how to use that machine or maybe even a retrofit kit available.

That way you have the manual machine and know you have the hardware needed for later. And be able to keep an eye out over time to snag a part along the way if a deal shows up.
 

Cooter Brown

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I went to my friends shop today and asked him how much he would pay for this machine, he said $600 max, when I told him how much they sell for he laughed at me... The motor has died twice and everything made of plastic has broken, the Z axis is very difficult to crank, it can't run an end mill larger than 1/2" and fly cutters pretty much don't work on anything ferrous...

20181205_163455.jpg
 

Downwindtracker2

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I guess I should do a bit of a write up using RF-45 . I'm a retired millwright, not a machinist, so in some ways I'm better qualified . A chunk of iron is a chunk of iron., Which is a way of saying engineering practices are pretty universal, whether it's a high speed paper machine or a wire drawing machine. Rong Fu made these to a price point. I love working on old Mercury outboards, it's like working on a Swiss watch, a RF-45 is no Swiss watch. But it's much better finished than say the Grizzly clones. I thought it was pretty decent when we got a RF-45 at work. The Grizzly showroom is just across the border, so I do get to look at their showroom examples and pick which parts I can use. At work they purchased a new Rf-45 in the mid '90. They got a mill with tooling for about the same price as rebuilt Bridgeport with outtooling. New over used. I'll come back to that. When I retired four years ago, I wanted an 8x32 mill. A baby Bridgeport or a RF-45 clone. The baby Bridgeport was out, it cost too much both in dollars and space. BTW I quoting prices in Canadian dollars. I saw only once a RF-45 clone for $1500, prepaid before importing price, retail generally was twice that. On CL I did see the round column RF-30 styles from $500 to $2000. A new King brand were about $1000, then. So when I saw on CL a 12x24 lathe and a RF-45 I jumped on them. I got the pair for $1750. I now had a machine shop. That was the only genuine RF-45 ever to show up on CL. I don't think I've ever even seen a clone . So that the back story on how I got one. We are not in an iron rich area.


The one I got was a good looking '01, but missing dials and the crank handle on the left side which I later found out secured the feed screw on that side. There was hole on the top of the column and the raising mechanism had been worked with. This suggested CNC . It lacked it's mag switch, as well. With Grizzly parts , it was up and working. This machine has paid for itself, how many hobby machines can you say that about them ? But it had issues from it's previous production life, wear in the center of it's dovetails and worn out nuts.. With a gearhead and a powerful motor there are no belts to slip , so under load I got shuddering and complaining . I call the mill the Drama Queen. This doesn't make for accuracy if you work her . And if I'm gentle , I'm thinking a sharp file might have been just as quick.

When someone suggests a used production machine like say a Bridgeport, I think they should also suggest a surface plate, straight edge, scrapers and a scraping class.
 

NortonDommi

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#19
The motor has died twice and everything made of plastic has broken, the Z axis is very difficult to crank, it can't run an end mill larger than 1/2" and fly cutters pretty much don't work on anything ferrous...
Sounds like your friend has a very bad case of Americanitice. I have a RF-45 clone and it handles a 20mm endmill with ease. Of the little plastic on it nothing has broken. For the price I think I got a bargain so do the millions of others who have them and with very little work transformed them into custom machines to suit their needs. They are a favorite choice for homebuilt CNC.
It seems you are biased against "chinesium" because of country of origin which is a blinder to many Americans. I think you would be flabbergasted at the products labeled 'Made in America' that are in reality "chinesium'. Under USA laws a product only has to be packaged in USA to be classed as 'Made in America'. Much of the larger items are brought in as sub-assemblies and merely bolted together and put in a box with a 'Made in America' sticker or printed on the packaging. Up to a few years ago your prized Hardly Makeitsons were 90% made in Japan, Italy, Korea, Britain and Germany. Kawasaki made most of the engine castings. Today having a bias based on perceived country of origin is not a smart idea.
 

Downwindtracker2

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Norton, I think he was only talking about that model, which isn't even a good clone of the RF-45. You can tell the poor quality from just that grainy photo. It's that bad.
 

NortonDommi

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Norton, I think he was only talking about that model, which isn't even a good clone of the RF-45. You can tell the poor quality from just that grainy photo. It's that bad.
I noticed that. I'm not sure that it is an RF-45 clone as I get the feeling it is smaller.
I stand by my comments about Americanitice though as is comes through very strongly in many forms of media. The English have it with Britainitice and the Germans are infected as well.
I have seen utter crap produced by just about every nation and also some stuff that sets a standard so high it is hard to surpass. These days with globalisation and global corporates manufacture is routinely shifted to wherever is the cheapest and as the decision makers often don't even know what the product is quality can be variable.
At the end of the day quality costs money but a streamlined manufacturing process can lower cost relative to other manufacturers.
Japan got its boost after WWII by adopting the work practises devised by a couple of Americans who were laughed at in America. I don't think anyone making anything wants to produce rubbish and every manufacturer starts off small. Some have reasonable standards and stick to them and hopefully succeed. Some just dive in without care and fail.
My main point was that giving a blanket condemnation of a product just because of where it was made is a subjective, blinkered opinion that has no basis in fact. I know that the 'Made in China' tools I have are not top end toolroom standard and for what I paid I don't expect them to be but they are certainly not rubbish, do what I want them too and I am happy. If I had spent more I would have gotten 100% handscraped to 0.00001" ways and tolerances so fine I couldn't measure them.
Making a statement that a machine can't do something based on a hearsay subjective opinion by someone who may have a distinct bias against the machine does not sit well with me. Just saying.
On 'chinesium' I saw an interesting video on the You Tube:
It has English subtitles for us uneducated monolinguistic low lifes and I think is a very good indication of real life.
Me? I'm going to continue to buy the best that I can afford regardless of where it was made, after all engineers are engineers.
 

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#22
My son and I went together a few years back and bought a discounted CQ6125 lathe, it was stripped down version , imported by a buyer who had been a welder.. So I looked them up to find out about them and a dealer for the missing options. I found there were two factories making them XIMA and SEIG . The SEIG ones were assembled , the XIMA, from the test results, were fitted. Even at Chinese labour rates, fitting cost money. Ours was a XIMA . You know where most 10x22s come from. Oddly enough, heresy alert, it was a better lathe the Maximat 8 it was a copied from. It didn't have plastic gears.

Thou I'm fond of Canadian made machinery, since most of our stuff is imported, so if it's German, American, Japanese or even Chinese, it's still just imported. The truth is , if I listen to the Chief Financial Officer , I can't even afford cheap Chinese. chuckle
 

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Here’s what I ended up buying, a Grizzly G0678. It’s a Taiwanese made 8x30 knee mill.

Initial impressions are the quality is superb. All the mating surfaces are precisely ground, and the column is like 3/8” thick cast iron in the thinnest part. Very solid and rigid feeling.

This really feels like a small version of a “real” mill as opposed to a toy joke like my old round column mill.

The knee is also so very nice to use, because of the weight, there’s zero backlash and you can do some very precise positioning in the Z.





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AndySomogyi

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#26
What would we do without our engine hoists? It sure looks sweet.
I tell you, it was a nightmare getting this thing in with that hoist. I've got the smallest, ****tiest hoist, a 1-ton Horrible-Freight model, with a short boom. I couldn't get the trailer all the way into the garage, and because the boom is so short, had to winch the mill to the end of the trailer. Then, the boom with hit my garage door, so had to drag and move the mill in like 1/2" steps.

Finally, and about 5:00 AM, got it unloaded, and got a couple hours of sleep before returning the trailer the next day before a late-return fine.

I'm currently making a cradle for the mill, with retractable casters, so I can move it around, and retract the casters and let the mill rest on the leveling pads when in use.

I really need to get rid of this hoist and buy the 2 ton model with a longer boom.
 

Downwindtracker2

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#28
For my mill, I made machine a cradle , the name escapes me now, like those ones you buy. Only I used 4"x 1/4 angle iron. And rigged the 4" iron casters with that same angle iron upside down, out rigger style. To level and secure I used machinery leveling pads, only I made my own out of hockey pucks and 3/4" redirod. I dimpled the hockey pucks, a mill is handy, and rounded the redirod.
 

NortonDommi

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#29
I tell you, it was a nightmare getting this thing in with that hoist. I've got the smallest, ****tiest hoist, a 1-ton Horrible-Freight model, with a short boom. I couldn't get the trailer all the way into the garage, and because the boom is so short, had to winch the mill to the end of the trailer. Then, the boom with hit my garage door, so had to drag and move the mill in like 1/2" steps.
Never overlook the humble roller. I have a bin full of 1" and 1&1/2" sched 40 pipe cut mostly at 40" but some at smaller lengths also a dozen of so bits of 4" for use outside.
Rollers, a large prybar and a come-along are all that are needed to move large objects.
With any luck Santa is going to bring me a Skyhook for the Solstice.
P.S. Very nice looking mill.
 

Cadillac STS

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#30
Never overlook the humble roller. I have a bin full of 1" and 1&1/2" sched 40 pipe cut mostly at 40" but some at smaller lengths also a dozen of so bits of 4" for use outside.
Rollers, a large prybar and a come-along are all that are needed to move large objects.
With any luck Santa is going to bring me a Skyhook for the Solstice.
P.S. Very nice looking mill.
For moving the Bridgeport around it is easy to use 2-3 one inch steel pipes. Standing in front you can push the top back and it will tip the base up. Push in one pipe far back and leave another pipe closer to you. Tip the machine onto the pipes and you can roll to around the shop for cleaning the area or just moving to another place.

I have a building that a truck can drive into so a chain fall lift to the top of the shop can lift it out of a pickup or trailer.
 
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