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Thread: Mobile base for milling machine???

  1. #1
    gpurviance Guest

    Post Mobile base for milling machine???

    Well I decided to go for it and got the Grizzly G3616 mill before they raised their prices. How do you guys move large tools in small shops? I borrowed a pallet jack from work to get the mill off my tilt bed trailer, now I need to figure out how to get it off the pallet? Then I need to have means to move it around the shop.

    I have definitely exceeded the space in my shop/garage for tools and workspace. I view this as a good problem. (I already have a full woodshop set up.) All of my large woodworking equipment is on moblie bases. Can I do the same for the mill? I don't want this thing walking on me, is that likely with milling operations? I have a good spot to put it out of the way, but I just can't use it in that location.

  2. #2


    Mine isn't mobile (not on casters) but it is on a wooden base made from 1/2" ply and 2x4 legs which is quite a bit lighter than most recommend. It does not move even though it is on a slightly sloping garage floor (the slight slope being for drainage). I expected it might "walk" a bit - it doesn't.

  3. #3


    Second thought - if you do put is on casters be very careful about it tipping over - compared to wood machinery it is very top heavy. Use a wide wheelbase and big casters with solid tires (polyurethane?).

  4. #4


    My Maximat 7 is on an IBM Line printer stand. The original line printer was for a system/4 and weighed 2 tons - we have placed cars on this thing and moved them around in a shop with it. That being said - it is a very stable base 48"x30" and only 5 inches below desk height. I used it only because I presumed that I was going to end up in a wheel chair. I don't like it, and intend to change it to a 4" drill stem pipe stand eventually so I can run coolant if I like - I run dry only now.

    The only way to move equipment safely is with a forklift or hand jack so that the when the unit is dropped to the concrete it is on solid footing and cannot move around - this is for safety considerations only. Forget castors - the unit can be on a transportable frame, but should have proper leveling pads to adjust for uneven floors. Also consider that in most locales wiring of "portable machines" like this may be costly as it may require a fusable disconnect at each machine as a an emergency shut off - you must comply with local and national electrical codes to insure that your insurance is not cancelled in the event of fire or mishap. Otherwise the machine has to be hard wired to the circuit making mobility impossible. Adequate outlets and cabling are also required - another added expense. Not a cheap alternative to a cozy spot in the shop!


  5. #5


    I made a frame using 4x4x1/4 angle with four casters and jack bolts fot my Bridgeport. I put the mill in the frame, rolled it into position in the garage and then jacked it up using the jack screws and put 4x2x1/4" steel tubing under the frame and leveled it up using shims. This worked great for me.

    As for electrical wiring - - I have a VFD mounted directly on the mill, 220v single phase supply comes from an extension cord (10 ga.)and drier style plug. The start/stop button is mounted on a bar next to the mill head. I can't say that this meets code but it seems reasonably safe. Everything is grounded and wired securely. It can be unplugged and moved safely although leveling can be a pain!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    SW Michigan


    I've done a couple things along this line. The first is a set of wheels for a small horizontal mill. Two non-swivel wheels on the motor side that are mounted such that when the machine is sitting level on the floor the wheels don't carry any weight. On the other end is a single swivel castor hinge mounted and with a lock to hold it down. There is a tube welded to this plate on top of the caster to insert a lever (round bar) with which to lever the hinged caster downward raising that end of the machine up. As soon as it comes up a bit the rear wheels start picking the back up as well (just not as high of course). On a relatively level shop floor it can be rolled easily, but then it is sitting solidly on the floor when in use. Shimming may be required if the floor is not level to keep the machine level.

    The other thing I have I also made. I made two side frames from heavy channel and put a fixed (i.e. stupid, er that is swivel challenged) caster on one end of each and a swivel on the other. These are placed on either side of my vertical mill and then are tied together with two 2 inch square steel tubes with end plates that bolt to the side channel frames. In these tubes were drilled some holes that correspond to the holes in the base of my mill. By lifting the mill with a crow bar I can get nuts under them to engage threaded rods which go up to the cross frames. By tightening the nuts on top of the cross frames I raise the the thing just enough to clear the floor and roll it away. Think screw jacks, basically; one in each corner. Used it to bring the machine out of a basement once using planks and a come-a-long.

    It would be akward to use however with this thing still wrapped around it. But maybe you could make a modified version that keeps the front wheels tucked in a little closer to the machine than mine are. You would give up some stability when rolling it of course.

  7. #7
    gpurviance Guest


    I completely agree with the safety issues. My plan is to always get the mill off the casters once I have it in position. I just don't want to bolt it to the floor as that would make it harder to move out of the way when I switch gears from metalworking to woodworking.

    As far as the wiring issue the mill is a single phase 220V 2HP motor. I have a 10GA extenstion cord. I feel comfortable with this arrangement as it is the same configuration I have been using form my 3HP tablesaw and 2HP bandsaw for several years now. I will descreetly inquire to the actual local codes to see what is requried. I certianly don't want the hassle of cancelled insurance.

    Now to ask a newbie (ie. probably dumb) question: What is the reasoning for leveling the machine? I know my floor is not very flat so I understand shimming to make it stable. If it is stable by not quite level, does that affect the operation of the equipment?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Thrud:
    Also consider that in most locales wiring of "portable machines" like this may be costly as it may require a fusable disconnect at each machine as a an emergency shut off - you must comply with local and national electrical codes to insure that your insurance is not cancelled in the event of fire or mishap. Otherwise the machine has to be hard wired to the circuit making mobility impossible.
    In any case I am aware of in the US for normal 120V 20A or 30A single phase equipment, the plug is an acceptable disconnection means. And it is normally "visible from the operator's position" as required. The disconnect is intended as a positive disconnection of power for servicing, not an "emergency switch".

    The circuit protection (fuse or CB) is adequate protection for the wiring etc. And, you can always put a fuse at the machine if desired.

    If you have a 440V 3 phase machine, you normally can STILL use a properly rated plug, if one is available.

    If you have a special circuit for the machine, and more than a 30A CB, you may be required to put in a visible. lockable disconnect and hard-wire. But that isn't a "portable" machine situation.

    I would suggest a GFI, they add safety on a normal basement or garage situation, and regular motors etc should not trip them. My whole shop is GFI protected, and I have never had one trip from a machine. From a newfangled electronic ballast flourescent light, yes (got rid of them, back to iron ballasts!)

    [This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 01-06-2005).]

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    York, PA


    It is a little off the subject. I am thinking about installing fluorescent light fixtures in my basement workshop and in the non-heated garage. Recently I learned that there are fixtures with magnetic or electronic ballasts. What are advantages and disadvantages of each?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    North Central Texas


    The ones I have with electronic ballasts come right on when cold and don't buzz. I haven't had to replace a single bulb in the 3 years since I installed them.

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