We had a big day in the shop yesterday, moving two 1800-2000 lb pieces of machinery into the shop from across town.
The Bridgeport mill & a Logan manual lathe belong to Phil, who I used to work with at Intense. He taught me a lot about machining there, using equipment very similar to the stuff we just moved into the Siren shop. I’ve been on the lookout for a manual mill for a little while, and his equipment has been in storage for the past 10-15 years. Once we put our heads together we were able to come up with a mutually beneficial solution- improved machining & mitering capabilities for Siren, easy access & use of machines for Phil.
Both pieces have lived in production environments before, cranking out parts at a casting company most recently. I’d like to know where else they’ve been, they’re full of tell-tale scratches from busy days past. Machines like these were the workhorses of the manufacturing industry in the days before CNC, and they still have their place in even the highest-tech facilities for one-offs & prototypes. The new lathe might be overkill for the work we’ll be doing with it, but it’ll be nice for tooling & other odd jobs. It’s about 4 times larger than my old one. The Bridgeport, on the other hand, has long been the #1 item on my wish list. I have a feeling the Bridgeport will be the MVP of the shop, especially for some of the parts on the Song. We’ll likely move all our tube mitering over to this machine as well. To those of you who have orders in right now, your tubes will likely be cut on these machines!
Preparations for the move started a few days ago. With more snow in the forecast, we had to move quickly. Kenny plowed the snow from the street- we don’t have a driveway, just a twisty path between trees. I moved everything to the back half of the shop fortunately we’re not too settled in yet so most everything is on wheels. Phil, Bret, and I juggled everything in his storage unit to get the machines closer to the door, thanks to a borrowed pallet jack from the hardware store.
Yesterday I met up with Steve from Idyllwild Garage to come up with the game plan. He’s the master when it comes to moving heavy items, and has a good eye for how things will go once they’re dynamic. You don’t want a 2000lb chuck of iron swinging around too much! The lathe was very awkward, with its center of gravity way off to one side, thanks to the head & motor. It took about 45 minutes of adjustment & rigging to get it all set in place.
Once we had all the rigging set we made the move. Steve’s tow truck was a really tight fit getting past the trees in front of the shop, but he made it fit with literally not more than 3 inches to spare. Again, this guy is the master of his machine. He set the lathe down on a pallet & we positioned her in her new home. Today we’ll be lowering her down to concrete.
Moving the mill was much easier. I had to rotate the head 90 degrees to the side to clear the door in Phil’s storage unit, then drove the table down & in to keep the mass nice & low. We slung it by the ram & hoisted it up with no problems at all. The challenge with the mill was getting it deep into the shop. Once again, Steve’s expert use of his truck paid off here- he was able to negotiate truck, mill & boom all the way past the trees & into the shop, setting the mill down exactly where I wanted it. Bravo!
I’m really proud to have such storied machines in the shop. It’s gotta be good karma.
Night was falling & the temp was dropping by time this all came to pass. Mary & Dave cozied up by the fire & we worked on holiday cards… and I did some internet research on the sly. 😉 These machines will need some serious TLC (torque, lubrication, cleaning) before we fire them up. The goal is have them up & running by the end of the week.