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Modern 935 Mill Landed

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#1
All this Modern Meetup talk is making me feel guilty for not posting my mill move, now a few months past. Sorry about that. Family matters reared up & had to be dealt with. After committing to take the plunge on this particular mill last fall, it was time to figure out what it was going to sit on & related moving logistics. I figured I would share my experience & thoughts in case you go down a similar path.

It became apparent that several folks preferred this particular (baby Bridgeport) machine to be elevated a bit as the table working height can seem a bit low for even average height people. I only had my RF-45 mill to compare but I thought that would be a good idea. My garage has a slope so some kind of leveling base was required anyway. The mill’s casting base is basically hollow shell & the mount holes are on the upper surface, so it doesn’t lend itself to mounting pillar legs or feet. It either has to sit directly on the floor or be mounted or resting on a base frame. Some pictures & ideas I collected were quite neat, integrating mobility. I don’t have a welder & wasn't too sure about access space so tried to keep it simple & a bit compact.

I came up with this Roman numeral II layout made from 3” x 2” x 0.25”wt square tubing. The lateral members have 4” diameter machinery mounts on the ends, 400-600 pound capacity each, M16 threaded studs (KBC). These provide vibration dampening & allow leveling. Resultant height gain can be 4-6” vs stock base. The frame members were pre-drilled to align the casting holes. I used 0.5” dia bolts which pass through the 5/8" threaded casting holes, secured with coupler nuts & lock washers hidden inside the tube. Here I have to give a big shout out to John Conroy who not only assisted sourcing material, but facilitated fabrication & welding. He was the cook & I was the bottle washer. It was a pleasant drive to Oilers territory, got to see his shop, BS a bit & transport a nice stand home in the back of a Mazda hatchback.

I gave it a couple coats of Tremclad oil based paint using EVLP (Extremely Very Low Pressure) aka a foam roller (HaHa). On delivery day the mill+base was lifted from the truck using their picker & placed on their ‘jacking plates’ which in turn were pre-placed on the pallet jack with some rubber sandwiched in between. The jacking plates are steel bars with threaded holes for bolts on either side. Now the mill was easily rolled into position from driveway into garage using the pallet jack. We lined up 4 steel floor protection plates under the jacking bolts & sequentially screwed them evenly to elevate the mill. The pallet jack was then rolled out & the rubber feet inserted & mounted from underneath the frame. Then the jacking bolts were lowered back down & removed, leaving me to final leveling the feet. That was about it. Probably 45 minutes from curbside to final position. Safe & steady, no drama. Big shout out to Moderns moving crew for professional work & lots of useful input along the way. There’s a hundred different ways to move machines depending on your resources & constraints, but I was very pleased with this outcome.


Footnotes

I could have knackered myself big time because I initially only considered my ceiling height which had lots of clearance to motor top. However, I failed to factor my garage door tracks which is a foot lower than the ceiling. Luckily they didn’t interfere with my elevated height, I have (only) an inch to spare. The moral is make sure you consider the motor position & ram action pathway doesn’t interfere with anything.

If you can trust your casting pattern hole layout 100% (and apparently this is a big if with offshore machines) it might be better to just weld nuts to the top of the frame & engage the bolts into them. I opted for through holes in the frame to give me wiggle room, but this also made it kind of fiddly mating the base to the casting & getting nuts in from underside. Maybe folks make a template or weld the rest of the stand in position, I'm not sure. My thinking was to keep the bottom surface clean of any fastener hardware so the weight of the machine was never resting on protrusions, which might also complicate rolling the machine on pipes like Egyptian style moving. Anyway, maybe room for improvement here.

As you can see I did not make provisions to move the mill around the shop floor like some of the nice ideas I’ve seen with wheels, either permanent or removable/retractable. Once I saw those jacking plates & knowing pallet jacks can be rented, I opted for this simpler layout. But there are pros & cons to this decision.

The rubber leveling pads seem suited to this machine. But getting them up under the frame requires the whole mill assembly to be elevated >6”. Possibly one could mill lateral slots in the tubing from the end so they could be slid in from the side. But I’m not sure slots are conducive to jacking properly like holes? It would be better if the bolt threaded down through the top of frame into a homebrew floor puck.

The base is a bit narrow so it felt right to extend the sides. In hindsight I could have widened the stance of the leveling feet a bit more in order to sneak the pallet jack forks in between, thus mitigating the jacking plates all together. The key bit here is I was not aware they had the narrow 19" fork model until later. But I also think those skinny ones seem less common, to rent at least. Another possibility is using only 2 support members front & rear & omitting the fore-aft side members. But I think my 4-member welded base has more rigidity.

The 3” wide tubing has the mount hole centered at 1.5”. But it resulted in the front edge of casting feet corners to barely contacting full steel. This was a head smack error on my part. I forgot to factor the bullnose profile of the tubing. I could have either used wider stock or adjusted the hole positions to compensate.

Think that’s about it. Hope this helps someone. Ask if anything is not clear.
 

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RobinHood

Active Member
Premium Member
#2
Thanks for the write-up PeterT. I have almost the same base, minus the fore/aft bracing. Mill came with the big machinery pads, so i just reused them under the leveling bolts.
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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#5
HaHa, trust me, those were selective views. Mayhem was behind the photographer in order to clear a path. After the mill got positioned & things put back, I moved things around all over again to accommodate some electrical work.

I do like things organized though. Less time hunting for stuff = more time making things. I want to build a table with some simple storage shelves & bring my grinding/sanding into a common area. Nothing fancy, 2x4 & plywood stuff. To be continued...
 
#7
Glad to see you had the foresight to put it on a base. I have the same mill and didn't. The down side of that mill is the low table height so I stoop over all the time. Very hard on the back. Every bit of height is a bonus.