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Moved my VMC

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  • Moved my VMC

    From one side of the shop to the other, that is. Some might remember my shop in disarray:

    I had a little time and decided to rearrange, which meant I had to slide the VMC back about 10 feet into the corner. Of course, it's like one of those puzzles where you have to slide the squares around to get them in order... I wish I had stop-motion pics of how many times I had to rearrange. Anyway, the results:

    This machine is pretty heavy and had a narrow footprint. In fact, it's something like 6000 pounds and is 22" wide where it sits on the floor. This is typical for bed mills.
    Many bed mills have the bottom part of the enclosure/chip pan made of sheet metal bolted onto the central frame, but Hurco didn't do it that way. The floor of the chip pan is cast as part of the central frame, and is not removable (the sides are sheet metal and can easily be removed). Were it removable, access to the central frame would be a piece of cake and I'd have considered rol-a-lifts or something like that.
    I used rollers to move it, made of 1/2" rod. Of course, the bottom of the machine is irregularly shaped so rollers can't be directly used. Instead, I used two 4x4's under the machine to make a track for the rollers. I was concerned about the rollers sinking into the 4x4's so I attached a piece of 1/8" steel plate to the bottom of the 4x4's. So, I had good contact on the machine from the wood, and good rolling from the steel plates!

    I used between 5 and 7 rollers per side, depending on where the rollers were. One side of the machine is heavier (has the toolchanger), and I kept more rollers in play there.

    I levered the machine along about 1/2" at a time, checking to make sure the rollers were tracking well after each 4" or so. It got a little boring, which is what I was hoping for! The floor is not nearly as level as it looks, so I was pushing uphill for the last 4 feet or so. Still, it went very easily, much more easily that I had expected. I had a bit of a time putting new rollers under as I went along, I should have made the steel continuous to the end of the wood and beveled the steel's edges. I ended up having to pry up the end of the 4x4's to insert the new rollers. Not too much trouble, in the end.
    Steering by angling the rollers worked well, almost too well. I zigzagged quite a bit, what with the slope and my errant steering. At the end I found that I could lever the machine sideways about as easily as forwards, so that's how I straightened it out.

  • #2
    When I got where I wanted it, I jacked up the machine using two 12-ton bottle jacks and suitable cribbing. I slid out the steel plated 4x4's and put in the feet. It looks pretty flimsy, but it seems fine. The feet are about 4" high, and are drilled on the top for the leveling screws. Yes, only 4 leveling screws, it is a small machine. The 4" lift is needed to fit the coolant pan and roll-out chip tray under the enclosure.

    You can see the damage to the two-part epoxy floor paint. This was caused by the rollers, and shows that my concerns about the rollers sinking into the 4x4's are valid. The light-blue color on the feet is what the machine is supposed to look like, the greenish tinge on the machine itself is 20 years of soluble coolant with a dash of chips mixed in. The grunge actually comes off very easily with some dilute simple green. The two wires are the power and encoder to the Y axis servo which I had to disconnect to get the jacks in place, while the big thing in the foreground is the connection from the electrical cabinet to the control pendant.
    I rough leveled the machine with a carpenter's level. As I said, my floor is sloped a lot more than I expected, and I've have spent forever starting with the precision level. As it turns out I did pretty good with the carpenter's level, I was only a couple divisions out on the precision level.

    The pic is after fine leveling. I will leave the machine sit overnight and recheck tomorrow. That level is very nice, by the way. It's a "Vis" made in Poland, 0.0005"/10".
    Those circular spots on the table are the places where the previous owner's fixture plate had holes drilled in it. The spots look bad, but they are actually just below the surface of the table and don't really cause any problems.
    Last edited by fasto; 05-15-2010, 12:51 AM.


    • #3
      Glad that worked out well for you. When I moved my sharp in 3 years ago I slid it sideways on steel pipe for about the last 5 feet which was surprisingly easy. One thing that I have also found that helps is to put some dish soap on the pipe - works almost as well as oil and cleanup is a lot easier. I have to move my two Okumas across the shop today (one is about 9000 pounds and the other about 9600 with the 4th axis installed). I found that a pair of low profile floor jacks will lift each end and I can rent machinery skates down the street for $35 a day, so I am going to try that one.


      • #4
        Well I moved the machines today and I hate Hilman skates and I do not want to ever use them again. Both machines had to go about 30 feet and then turn 90 degrees and it was a mother of a job. They did stay under the machines but they would start turning in random directions after about 3 feet so you have to stop and then straighten them out. I ended up finding a couple of big u-bolts and attaching a bar across the back pair and they worked better, but nylon rollers would have been much easier. To lift the machines I used a pair of 5' long 1.5" round stressproof bars and a couple of heavy floor jacks (much easier than toe jacks plus there is a lot less of you down there when you are lifting) through the lifting holes in the base. It took a solid 4 hours plus a couple of buddies pitched in for an hour when the were actually moving. It was a lot of work but the space is much more useable. I am going to move my Sharp in a couple of months and I think I am either going to roll it on rods like the OP or just call the riggers.


        • #5
          Well I moved the machines today
          Glad it worked out!
          I regularly move my horizontal mill (4k pounds) and bridgeport with my pallet jack, and I thought about moving the Hurco that way... I couldn't get the pallet jack under where I think the CG is, close enough to the Z column, from the side. The base is too short. Can't get close enough from the front because of the chip pan. Also, I don't think my 5,500 pound rated pallet jack can really handle 5,500 pounds judging how much it groans with the horizontal mill on it.
          I, too, hate the hillman skates. Much too likely to slip out, in my opinion. I really like the Rol-a-lifts, moved my lathe with them, but really can't get close enough to the VMC to make them work.
          So, rollers it was!
          my two Okumas
          Were you asking anbout chip pan holes being too big? I have a pair of strainers that fit the holes in the Hurco's chip pan that lead to the roll-out chip tray. They look like they'll work out great for keeping "medium fines" under control. They're about the same mesh as window screen. I won't know until I get the flood coolant set up.


          • #6
            That was me asking about the chip pan holes. I am going to try some heavy screen before I break out the welder, but I am going to keep my eyes open for some weld in material. Those pans have about 10x the hole area of my Sharp and as long as the pan was not overflowing with chips, it drained OK so the Okumas should be fine.

            I have a set of Rol-a-lifts but they will not work on the Okumas with all of the sheet metal around them. It sure would have been easier though. I have to level them out tomorrow morning (left my level at the house on Saturday) so I get to spend an hour or so in dripping oil and other crud land. The front and back sets are not too bad, but the middles ones kind of suck to get at.


            • #7
              What size is the hex on top of the leveling screws?


              • #8
                About 27 to 30mm. They are big and hollow which makes locating the pads a little easier. I guess they are made to through bolt down into the foundation if you are in earthquake country.