Monday, February 22, 2010

New England Milling Machine

The Nichols

We are slowly assembling all the gear we need for the frame building shop in the store, and the piece we really wanted was a nice milling machine. We had been watching the Busy Bee specials and had decided we would get a small bench top mill (made in China) for $699. This wasn't the ideal machine for us, but with our limited space we should have been able to squeak by with it. We went out pick the machine up but alas they were out of stock. So instead we put down a deposit and resigned ourselves to a month and a half wait. The wait turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

While we waited I decided I would try and figure out which hole saws we need and other bits and pieces to get the mill set up for tube mitering. After lots of phone calls to tooling shops and confusing info I decided to give Toby at Hot Tubes a call, Thom and I took framebuilding classes with him last year and he is a wealth of knowledge.

Toby and I at Hot Tubes

During our conversation he asked what kind of mill we were using I told him we were getting this bench top mill, to which he promptly replied that we should forget that piece of #%*** and come down to his place and pick up a Nichols horizontal mill that he had just acquired that morning. Well it took Thom and I a total of 5 minutes to decide we had to make this happen, especially since it was going to cost us less than half the Busy Bee. This mill was the same type we had used to build our first frames in Toby's shop so we were somewhat familiar with it.

1244383682">Thom enjoying one last Timmies stop before crossing the border.

A few days later we were on the road in a pick-up truck destined for Boston hoping to heck the mill was going to fit in the truck bed without causing some major catastrophe, it weighs 1200lbs.

Dicey manuvering

It was quite the production to get the beast into the back of the truck, luckily there was a local forklift operator who Toby managed to commandeer.

ize="1">Seriously weighed down

There was lots of creaking and groaning on the way home, causing a number of nervous stops to check the straps.

Then the big question of how to get it off the truck without a forklift. The answer was with our friendly ATS driver, his hydraulic tailgate and my dad's huge winch.

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A treacherous operation

Wheeling her in

2" border="0">Winching her upright.

It took me another full day to strip off
all the hydraulic automatic feed adjusters, and then scrub all the old oil off the body of the machine, thank goodness for respirators. After that, a coat John Deere green paint and it's looking pretty good.

Stripped and scrubbed

The final product


David said...

What a fantastic story! And with photographic evidence to boot! Not only does "blessing in disguise" fit wonderfully, but also "they don't build 'em like they used to", a nice "twist of fate", and something about "serendipity"! The collaborative solution finding at the delivery end is something else!

Matt Surch said...

This thing is viscios looking. I can't wait to see it in action. I propose a name: The Hulk.

Steelwool Will said...

The Hulk...I like it.

grove69 said...

THe hulk - perfect!

Pascii said...