I built a very heavy duty pallet for my mill (2000lbs) and use a pallet jack to move it around when I need to. I don't worry about level on it at all. A real machinist would, probably, if the level plane was going to be used as a set up aid. But for a garage shop it seems to work. The problem with designing for the maximum space needed is that 95% of the time the mill will be working on a 6" piece,4% of the time on a 12" piece, and only 1% of the time on anything longer. Think about putting it on some heavy duty locking castors, so it can live in the 99% space and be pulled out for the long stock. 300lbs is not that much.Voila.
Grizzly sells for it. You'll note the new wood drip pan is over against the left wall, and the lathe is rotated like in the shop layout in that last update. While I was figuring out how to lift the 350lb lathe and base cabinets with the shop crane (those red legs on the left), the diminutive Mrs. Graybeard got behind it and found she could push it on the smooth floor. Between the two of us we pretty effortlessly rotated the lathe 90 degrees to the direction it was, and slid it toward the right. Guess that means I don't really need the mobile stand I bought for the lathe but hadn't put together.
The lathe is 30 inches from that window on the back wall, which should be ample room to put a barrel in the lathe should I need to do some sort of barrel work. While there's enough room to get between the lathe and the mill with the drip pan in place, once the CNC build out is done, the mill will be pushed farther into that corner except for those times that I need to get behind it.
The plan now is to go ahead and take the mill apart, then start swapping out the parts I made for the ones that are there. This is where the adventure really starts, because if I did something wrong and need the mill to fix it, I'm SOL. My big remaining jobs are:
- Fix/build/buy a computer to control this CNC mill. I'm almost definitely switching over to LinuxCNC for this from Mach3, which says the computer will be Linux instead of another XP box like I have. (I use Mach3 to run my Sherline CNC mill and lathe). This needs to be a priority now, because I'm going to need the CNC controller to control the next part:
- Build the box to hold the hardware for motion control. I think I have all this hardware, mainly the stepper motors and their controllers from Automation Technologies. I have an emergency stop switch, limit switches, connectors for cables, and all those niceties. The limit switches get built into the next part:
- Do the CNC conversion to the mill. That's replacing leadscrews with ballscrews on all three axes and adding their stepper motors. This is where all the metal parts I built go. I'll need to take the mill apart to the subassembly level for this - maybe not to individual pieces of hardware. I'll need to modify the base of the machine with a drill and angle grinder.
- While the system is apart, I need to add the oiling system, which will pump light oil onto the leadscrews and a few other places. I have the oil fittings, but not everything, just most.
- When the system is back together and cutting metal, that's the time to build the enclosure and cooling fluid system. I have most of those parts, too.