How to move a Mill & other heavy equipment

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A couple years ago I was lucky enough to trade a RV for some (new to me) used tools for the metal fab shop.  Since I’d not used the RV since acquiring it the trade made sense! However, after the trade life got busy, and I wasn’t able to use the new Lagun Mill or Lathe I’d acquired.

Unloading the Mill & Lathe would have been IMPOSSIBLE had I not had a tractor.

Unloading the lathe was very easy as it weighs about half as much as the mill, and my backhoe was capable of lifting it off, and placing it in the shop, and once inside two people could slide it across the concrete rather easily.  Now, the mill on the other hand was impossible to lift and maneuver with the backhoe as the max lifting capacity for the backhoe was right around what the Lagun Mill weighed.  We ended up repositioning the Mill on the trailer with the Front End Loader and some straps, and then lifting it up about 2″ and driving the trailer out from under it.  From here we carefully moved the Mill into the shop with one person keeping it steady while the other drove the tractor.  Once inside the shop it was set down on the concrete floor, and the tractor was re-positioned so that the backhoe could push the mill back into the shop as far as it could reach. The mill has been there for over a year or two now, and here is how we moved it into position.

 

After dealing with unloading the heavy lagun mill I thought that moving it into position into the very back of the shop was going to take 3-4 guys, and a good hour + of time. LUCKILY I was wrong, and here’s how we moved it very quickly, securely, and without straining the back.

 

Tools Needed:

  • 3 Pieces of 1-1.25″ Tube (that’s thick enough to withstand the mill weight and not get crushed.)
  • 1 Pry bar that’s got a gentle curve or a heavy equipment moving pry-bar that has a hump on the backside.
    The pry bar is to lift the equipment so that it’s high enough to slide the tube under it.
  • 1 buddy to make it easier, and quicker. While you could do it with 1 person or a child assisting I wouldn’t suggest it as it would be less safe and take longer.

 

These are a couple pieces of the scrap tube we had on hand to assist in rolling, and scooting the mill back, and then sideways!

Here is a picture of the prybar we had on hand to do the lifting of the heavy mill.

 

The mill moving process is rather simple.

  1. Pry the front of the mill up, and have someone slide in the 1st piece of tube behind the pry bar.
    You want the mill or equipment you are moving to be CENTERED on the tube so that it won’t fall off while moving.
  2. Go behind the mill and pry it up and over the tube, and insert the second pry bar, you can also use a 3rd one too.
    Make sure the 2nd one is towards the middle, and the 3rd is on the very edge this will provide most movement without having to reposition.
  3. Now that the mill or other heavy equipment is on top of the tube you can roll it back.
  4. You want to roll it so that right after the tube comes out you reposition it to the front this way you don’t have to pry anymore once it’s on the tube it just continues to roll.
  5. Once in position (forward/back) you can then move it left/right.
  6. Unlike step #1 you want the tube to only stick out 1″ in the direction you are moving away from.
  7. If you are moving the equipment to the right then stick out 1″ tube on the left.  We used two pieces of tube for this a few inches in from the front and back.
  8. Depending on the size of the equipment you may want to pry near the front tube, and then pry near the back tube and walk it along the tube. For the Lagun Mill I was moving I was able to pry it in the center, and move the entire thing at once.
  9. Once you do this within 1″ of the edge in the direction you are moving then pry from the front and re-adjust the tube, and then pry from the rear and readjust the tube so that 1″ is once again sticking out on the side in which you are moving away from.  This is where a buddy comes in handy because moving the tube while having the 2000 pound+ equipment lifted is a rather hard task to do alone.
  10. Do these steps until it’s in the position of the shop you want to keep it, and then step back 5-10′ and eyeball it and make sure it’s exactly where you want it.
  11. Now would be the time to make minor adjustments with the pry bar at the front or back.  You can adjust it on the ground but while on the tube it’s very easy.
  12. Once in position simply pry the front and remove the tube, and then pry the back and remove that tube.

Depending how far you need to move the Mill or other equipment the process may take   10-30 minutes.  We had to tweak it around some support columns, and walk it     a bit more than I would have liked but it worked!

Here’s a picture of my Lagun Republic mill moved into back of my small home shop.

Be sure to leave enough room to move the mill around any obstacles while in use.  I can move it back and forth without hitting the back wall, and left and right until it collides with the 2×4 under the stairs.  Unfortunately the support column visible on the left made it impossible to keep it positioned to the left more, and thus I won’t have full range of motion for doing any off-table work.  Due to my shop size, and layout I wouldn’t be able to get anything back there anyway.

Soon I will finish painting, adding lights, and adding some tooling cabinets, and other storage cabinets to the right of the mill.

 

Overall, moving the mill was a LOT easier than I thought it would be, and I wouldn’t be afraid of moving any other heavy equipment in the future.  Even in a tiny shop with two people moving these things can be done, and aren’t something to freak out about :)

Raceline Wheels & A To Z Fabrication

4x4 Parts 1 Comment »

I’ve been in need of some new beadlock wheels for my rock crawler and decided to contact Zach at A To Z Fabrication to help find the perfect set of rims. After talking to Zach we decided the Raceline Beadlocks would be perfect match for my 42″ Super Swamper IROK tires, and should be able to handle abuse in the rocks, and racing. Zach was more than helpful, and got my rims shipped out to me in record time. I actually think they arrived in less than a week which is VERY FAST considering I live 2 hours away from the nearest shipping depot, and we regularly have delays. Zach is a man of his word, and was able to deliver the rims I wanted in a time frame even faster than I needed them in.

Here are a bunch of pictures of the raceline beadlocks.

The machine work on the bead locks is great, the bolts fit  great, everything lines up like it should! It’s funny to even have to comment on these, but anyone who’s used beadlocks over the years know that many companies  are not “perfect”, RaceLine were GREAT. I would suggest the rim to anyone. How they hold up, well they have been holding up so far so good only time will tell.

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Ballistic Fabrication banned from pirate4x4.com

Ballistic Fabrication 1 Comment »

Members of  Pirate4x4.com may notice a few less threads popping up it he “Bad Sellers” section as the larger than life fabrication company Ballistic Fabrication was banned recently. You will remember Ballistic Fabrication as being a small startup fabrication company in the off-road industry, as time passed they expanded into other areas acquiring military contracts, and much larger jobs.  Everyone also remembers the larger than life automated robots, and other electronic devices used to take measurements and copy items.  Many industry insiders were questioning their growth as their customer service and wait times had become an issue long before the expansions. With growth came challenges, and the leader of Ballistic could not steer the small fabrication company in the right direction.  After numerous personnel replacements attempting to remedy customer service, and deliverability problems Ballistic Fabrication did not meet the requirements set forth by Pirate4x4.com and their private forum (which they were paying for) will be removed, and numerous employee accounts have been banned as well.  Pirate4x4.com is known not to put up with shady businesses and always has their eye on their customers/visitors!

ballistic fabrication banned

 

Plasmacam System Information

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The PlasmaCam Cutting System opens up a world of opportunity to the metal artist to design and manufacture unique structures from artwork that they have created.

In addition to traditional metal signs and artwork, this cutting system allows the vintage hot rod artists to produce custom pieces for the parts that can no longer be found or manufactured. 

PlasmaCam is located in Colorado City, Colorado and has focused all of their business attention on one CNC plasma cutting system. They have built this system from the ground up as a plasma cutting system only. Their cutting system was first engineered in 1994 and quickly became a best seller.

The PlasmaCam system comes with everything needed to begin creating custom artwork, signs, car parts, and other unique metal creations. All you need to provide is the plasma cutter and a Windows-based computer to run the design software. You will also need a hand-held torch.

The plasma cutter that you choose to go with your system, should best suit the needs of your business. This decision will be based on what size thickness that you would like to cut. Virtually all hand-held plasma torches can be mounted to the machine.

PlasmaCam recommends using a Hypertherm brand plasma cutter because of their overall performance. The Hypertherm plasma cutters are considered the most advanced system available. They are known for their precision metal cutting and reliability.

PlasmaCam sells the complete system and because there is no middleman for parts, motors, or software, they are able to sell their systems at wholesale pricing. The efficiency of their manufacturing adds cost effectiveness to the entire unit.

PlasmaCam offers a video demo packet that is beneficial in providing information about the system, a demonstration of the machine, and full specifications, along with cutter and computer recommendations. A full color brochure provides more details.

PlasmaCam Design Edge software ™ creates the designs and directly controls the machine for precision cutting. An optional product is the PlasmaCam Art Discs that contain artist created designs and patterns for use with the cutting system. The designs can be used to create any number of decorative metal work silhouettes using your plasma cutter.

The Design Edge software ™ allows you to work with your own line-art by scanning it in, or to utilize fonts on your system to create custom signs. It will convert any artwork from raster to vector and is scalable. This is the only CNC plasma cutting machine that allows you to work directly with the images that you want to cut. It controls and tracks the machine in real-time.

The Design Edge software ™ has a simple Computer Automated Drawing (CAD) system built-in which enables precise onscreen drawing and the importing of files from other CAD software with a DXF extension. Automated functions allow for lead-ins and offset edges for accurate assembly.

PlasmaCam Cutting System adapts to other tools beside the plasma cutter, including routers, mig welders, markers, and vinyl cutters. It also has Digital Height Control ² ™, which ensures a precise distance from the cutting tip to the metal.

PlasmaCam has an owner’s community and forum to allow for the exchange of photos and ideas, as well as collaboration on projects. Membership to the community is automatic upon registration of your system.

 

What is a Plasmacam Cutting System?

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Quite simply, the Plasmacam Cutting System is an automated cutting machine tool operated by use of programmed commands derived from encoded abstracts stored as electronic media. This differs from most shop tools that are typically controlled with levers or handwheels or cams. Since the birth of this type of servomechanism, going back to the 1940s and 1950s, they have been developed along with the advances in the technology of the times, including the augmentation of analog, and finally, digital computers. The modern CNC plasma, or “computer numerical control” plasma cutter has singularly revolutionized the processes of at home steel cutting.

The very same qualities that make metal parts durable, strong and resistant to damage are the qualities that make it difficult to manipulate these materials. For this reason, plasma cutters have become the most popular choice in cutting out metal parts. Ideal for cutting metals of greater thicknesses, the plasmacam is preferred over the laser cutter for at home users due to cost, and the ability to cut thick precise parts for under ten thousand dollars. Most CNC Laser cutting machines start at 100,000 dollars and up thus putting them out of reach for most at home shop owners.

The CNC plasma cutter has had some time to develop more refined features that continue to improve performance. A smaller nozzle and a thinned plasma arc have further improved the power delivered to enhance production and mimic laser quality cuts. Once considered a high-end specialty device in workshops, these cutters have now found a useful place in all manner of fabrication, from automobile manufacturing to air conditioning manufacturers to garages, welding shops, locksmiths and more.

As with all mechanisms that bring such powerfully popular and effective innovation, they continue to undergo refinements in their operation as they reach a level of functioning that truly becomes state of the art. Adapting the orientation of the cutting table from horizontal to vertical and going to built-in cutting tables that possess multi-axis cutting ability are innovative improvements that have resulted in safer operation with greater flexibility proving to be more efficient in their operation. Many could not perform the volume and quality of work to which they have become accustomed as a result of having the advantage of using their plasmacam cutting machine.

Going beyond the dazzling visuals of beautiful scroll or detail work that appear as if cut from a laser, the PlasmaCam Cutting System is capable of cutting out any shape that can be adapted and stored in digital format. Highly automated end-to-end component design is achieved in either computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program applications. These computer generated files are the means by which the CNC plasma cutter is able to follow the commands needed to engage the particular components through a postprocessor, after which, they are loaded into the plasma cutter for production. This high-tech functioning is a complex series of steps from which parts, that are produced through automation, closely match original CAD designs.

When deciding on what equipment to purchase, there are many options available, from new to used. While the idea of being able to get more machine for the money buying used equipment, the wise buyer looks at the potential hidden costs with older machines. Again, technology advances so rapidly, especially where computers are concerned. It is important to examine the elements of the plasma cutter being considered. Over the past 10 years there have been at minimum three variations to the PlasmaCam cutting system – when buying your next machine make sure you compare specifications as each revision to the Plasmacam has increased complexity, and abilities.

Some things to watch out for are as follows:

• Check the CNC control unit on the system – buyers need to educate themselves about the technology of these devices.
• Beware of retrofitted or updated parts – machines that are older than 5 years may pose difficulties in obtaining parts or service
• Check the plasma power source – old plasma may cost less to buy but more to operate than a newer, more advanced unit
• Check the mechanical components – wear items such as bearings, rail systems, drive pinions, and gear rack can take a beating from use. These are all of the elements that provide free moving linear function.
• Invest in professional installation – dealing with such high tech equipment deserves the proper start and training for operators to become proficient to get a quick start with less difficulty

With a PlasmaCam Cutting System, anyone can have their very own private industrial revolution right in their own garage or workshop.

 

What is a Torchmate CNC Plasma Cutter?

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A Torchmate CNC plasma cutter is a powerful tool that allows industrial artists, engineers, and even just home users to cut precision shapes out of metal. Whether used to create custom automobile or machine parts, durable metal doors, or one-of-a-kind metal art pieces, the Torchmate CNC line of plasma cutters offers users a wide range of customization options combined with the durability and dependability that make Torchmate one of the world leaders in plasma cutters.

CNC Plasma Cutter Information (PlasmaCam/TorchMate/ETC)

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The CNC Plasma Cutter

The plasma cutter is a device that is able to quickly cut through metal surfaces by directing heated gas onto the surface. The cutting implement itself is sometimes called a torch, and it comes in different forms depending on the size and capacity of the cutter. High capacity plasma cutters can be quite large, but cutters can also be so small as to be hand held. The internal components are essentially the same in all plasma cutters. The key components are the electrode which serves as a torch, the electrical arc, the gas that is converted to plasma, and the nozzle through which it finally passes onto the surface to be cut. The gas is generally standard shop gas such as nitrogen, argon, or oxygen.

Ballistic Fabrication Company Overview

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Ballistic Fabrication is an off-road based manufacturing company based in Tuscon, Arizona that manufactures a number of products related to off roaders, cars, trucks, and similar recreational auto equipment. These products include axle housings, battery boxes, bead locks, cage and bumper parts, tube adapters, misalignment spacers, and other products. The company markets its products to amateur enthusiasts and small manufacturers around the country, from people interested in personal applications to entrepreneurs and lovers of the outdoors with profit making intentions. A significant part of their customer base comes from truck, 4 x 4, and car enthusiasts who purchase their products to improve the off road performance and aesthetics of their vehicles.

Ballistic Fabrication maintains an active online presence that includes a detailed inventory of all of the products available within the company. However, recent activity on popular forums such as Pirate4x4.com suggest that product availability and wait times have gotten much worse. The company directory includes a frequently updated section that describes which products are newly available as well as those that should be available in the coming future. A range of products from large shocks and steering components to small bushings and knuckle bolts may be purchased directly from the company.

Part of the appeal of Ballistics Fabrication is likely the high degree of customizability and flexibility available in their product line. They advertise their warehouse as one of the largest in the country for car enthusiasts. They have moved in recent years to establish themselves as a supplier of products that are not readily available from the direct manufacturers of the vehicles in question. They have also built a niche of providing commonly available products at cheaper prices, which is particularly appreciated by car enthusiasts in a difficult economic climate where luxury and discretionary items may be more difficult to purchase.

A small but growing section of Ballistic Fabrication is their “swag” line, which involves a line of hats, shirts, stickers, and miscellaneous equipment that enthusiasts and fans of the company may purchase to demonstrate their customer loyalty and appreciation of the company. It is possible to order these items of clothing and posters directly from the company directory, and many of these items include free or discounted shipping, adding to their appeal. Similarly, a catalog is available each year for viewing that describes all of the latest products present within the company. The catalog also describes the latest goings on in the off roading community and the future plans and directions of the company.

Ballistic Fabrication has also made efforts to establish a community of enthusiasts in the auto modification subculture. They link to a number of off road enthusiasts and describe themselves as high level sponsors for particular off roading forums and communities. These communities and forums, in return, are likely to promote Ballistic Fabrication and engage in large buy efforts, through which certain products from the company are purchased in bulk for significantly less than they would otherwise be available. This reciprocal relationship is beneficial to both the company and to the communities it supports.

Customer reviews of the company are generally positive, with complaints on the rise.  Customers who are in favor of the company praise the shipping rates and wide availability of a range of products related to off-roading. Others praise the quality of the craftsmanship of products delivered by the company. Customers with complaints are most likely to complain about the times required for shipping, which can sometimes extend significantly beyond the estimates that are provided by the company.

PSC MotorSports – Shop Information

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PSC Motorsports is an online retailer that has a dual focus of off-roading and circle track motorsports. While they offer many fine products from many manufacturers, their specialty is their renowned steering systems, available for a variety of platforms.

PSC steering systems are organized by make and model and are available for engines made by GM, Ford, Suzuki, Toyota, Dodge, and Jeep. These acceptable engines may be limited by specific models based upon their year of manufacture. PCS list applicable model years as: Dodge Truck 79-11, Ford Truck 70-11, Ford Bronco 66-96, Ford Car, GM Car 58-96, GM Truck 68-11, Toyota Truck, Suzuki, and Jeep 72-11

The PSC steering specialization serves both their off-roading and their circle-track customers, and they have a large assortment of steering kits and accessories available. Their primary components are high-performance steering pumps, of which they offer several options for most vehicles. Since the high-performance steering pumps that PSC sells are often more sensitive and higher maintenance than standard pumps, PSC also provides products to upgrade the efficiency of the steering system and the products needed to maintain them.

To support the steering pumps, PSC sells high quality shafts, tie rods, hoses and other important accessories needed to get the entire steering system operating on a higher level. As high-performance steering systems typically over-heat steering fluid, PSC also sells fluids coolers to protect the integrity of the system. They also sell professional steering wheels with the applicable columns and hooks.

Their website hosts a large amount of industry news and a gallery of photos of customers putting their products into action. They also host a special technical section that includes dozens of topics about the specs and installation of each type of product that they offer.

They can be contacted at their website http://www.pscmotorsports.com/. They are also available through their support line at (817) 270-0102. They can be mailed at their address

PSC Motorsports
11468 FM 730 S Azle, TX 76020

 

Poison Spyder Customs

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Poison Spyder customs is an off-roading retailer that focuses on components and accessories for a variety of Jeep models. The company is owned by Larry McRae and his wife Cheri, life-long devotees to 4-wheeling who recently purchased the company from Clifton Slay. McRae, who holds several national championship titles in off-roading, manages his business in a way that reflects his love for four-wheeling, and for the four-wheeling community.

Poison Spyder specializes in providing hardware options for the Jeep Models: CJ, YJ, TJ-LJ, and the JK. For each model, they offer a series of customized option for both the interior and the exterior. Their interior accessories include such items as straps, grab handles and harnesses for fire extinguishers.  Their exterior options include a wide variety of cover plates, stingers and other varieties of armor and damage prevention.

Armor is one of the primary focuses of Poison Spyder, and as such they offer many specialized types for each part of the vehicle. Their armor is classified under: Bumpers and stingers, Front Fender, Rocker, Rear Corner, and undercarriage. Most of these options are available for all the Jeep models. Poison Spyder also offers different types of roll cages for each model and the tool kits to install them.

Poison Spyder exterior option also includes many different heavy duty lighting options, as well the mounts to install them properly. They also provide decals for customers who wish to advertise their affiliation with the company. Customers looking for the best deal should check out their “Garage Sale” section, which offers heavily discounted revolving specials.

For customers looking to show off their love for the company and the sport, there is a wide assortment of branded swag. Headwear is available for both men and ladies in a variety of styles such as beanies and ball caps. There are also several different styles of shirts and sweatshirts available for purchase. Non-clothing options include playing cards, calendars and raffle tickets for other merchandise.

The Poison Spyder website can be found at http://shop.poisonspyder.com. They can be reached at the following mailing address:

Poison Spyder Customs, Inc.

1143 W. Lincoln St., #20

Banning, CA 92220 USA

They can also be reached at the following number:

(951) 849-5911

Fans and interested customers can find them on Facebook, and their website has recently been upgraded to allow for a specialized smart phone experience through both Android and Iphone.