How to move a Mill & other heavy equipment

4x4 Shop By: Add comments

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 🙂

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