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  1. #1

    How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    I read Scott's detailed writeup here http://www.toolandfab.com/forum/show...ridgeport+move on moving his mill into the new shop, and picked up some good tips on how to move it around on pipe, etc..

    I'm hoping someone here has some insight or experience on how I might get my mill from my (unheated) garage where it is now down to my basement shop. I have a stairway from the garage down into the basement and plan to use my portable shop crane to disassemble the mill into managable pieces and move them over to the top of the stairs. I plan to screw down a couple 2x12's on top of the stairs to create a slide, and then using my 2 ton cable winch, slowly let each piece slide down the stairs to the bottom where my shop crane can pick them up and reassemble. I'm feeling pretty comfortable that I can handle all the smaller pieces (head/motor, table, knee and ram) myself, but I am stuggling with how to manage the (1,000 lb) base down this slide. In particular, how to manage the transition of the base on the shop crane at the top of the stairs as I lower it and try to get it started down the slide on the stairs. Any help here from someone who has done this, or something similar would be much appreciated.

    And before anyone suggests "wouldn't it be easier just to build a ground floor shop" ... I wish that were an option ... but my lot is just not large enough to do so, and while my 2-car garage would be (barely) large enough for my shop if I were to heat it, my wife insists on parking her car in there so that's not an option. Bill

  2. #2
    Registered User Neuswede's Avatar
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    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    Yes, Scott did his move very safely. I've moved 650 lb air compressors and my 750 lb. mid-rise lift to my shop, and it's no picnic either. Your biggest challenge is negotiating the stair well. I would probably look at building a sleigh or sled type apparatus, then laying the Bridgeport down on that. By the time you get down to the landing, it would be a major issue trying to tip it back enough to clear the doorway header. I would think that strapping it to a skid would allow it to ride the stairs easy enough, and still dispense the load across several stair treads at a time.

    I would borrow Scott's idea of a ramp truck, (I borrow one from a friend when I need one) and back up as far as possible into the garage, angled at the stairwell. At the end of the ramp bed on either side is a slot for a snatch block. Running the winch cable through a snatch block would give you the angle you need to allow the winch cable to travel down the center of the stairwell. If you have any trouble visualizing this, I can probably doodle a sketch to better describe my thoughts.

    I would probably enterain some kind of wheeled thing at the bottom of the stairs in order to then move it into position. You would then need your crane in order to lift the Bridgeport into vertical position.

    This is the kind of move that has the potential to KILL someone, so I would go through everything a multitude of times ensuring that you have the necesary clearance, the tools and devices you make are up the the task of this kind of load, and picking INTELLIGENT helpers who can anticipate problems and work in a safe manner. This is definitely not a project for a dim wit or a joker....a lack of concentration or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could have a very deadly consequence.

    Marc

  3. #3

    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    Thanks for your comments Marc. I totally agree this needs to be well thought out and executed safely. The more I think about this, the more I'm leaning toward a method I thought of much earlier, but initially dismissed. That is removing the stair treads and risers all the way up to open up the stairwell hole, since it has a concrete floor. Then simply lowering the base from the garage floor into the hole below and setting it on a 4-wheeled cart to roll it over to the doorway. I might even remove the door and it's frame and sill so I can roll the base from the stairway well right into my basement floor without any further lifting. Then just screw the stair treads and risers back down on the stringers until the next lift is needed down the road.

    There is also a 12" I-beam running across the width of the garage which goes over the well about 2' in from the top edge. You can see a 6x6 steel post (beige) just to the left side of the stairwell opening that supports it. The I-beam is currently enclosed in drywall, but I'm thinking I should uncover that and hang my chainfall from there. I'm thinking this might be the safest way to pick up the base from the garage floor in front of the stairwell with the chainfall and simply lower it to the basement level below. Bill

  4. #4
    Registered User Neuswede's Avatar
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    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    I didn't know how feasible the removal of the stairs might be, so I didn't suggest it. I think it would give you alot more room to work once you get it to the basement floor level.

    As for getting the Bridgeport into the stairwell, how much clearance do you have from the top of the machine to the garage ceiling? Suspending that much weight and moving it over the stairwell will likely be the biggest challenge.

    Depending on your machine height, maybe a small boom-style tow truck might work. The challenge there is going to be having enough ceiling clearance to lift the machine, then backing the truck far enough into the garage to reach the stairwell. Some have a moveable boom, so once the truck was in place, you could lift the machine, then extended the boom until it reaches over the stairwell. If you laid the machine down, then attached pick up straps, that would afford you more lifting clearance...the truck boom could come out almost horizontally and have plenty of clearance to lift it over the stairwell.

    I am not in favor of a chain hoist type of lift, in that it doesn't allow for moving the machine over the stairwell easily or safely, unless I am missing something.

    Marc

  5. #5

    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neuswede View Post
    I didn't know how feasible the removal of the stairs might be, so I didn't suggest it. I think it would give you alot more room to work once you get it to the basement floor level.

    As for getting the Bridgeport into the stairwell, how much clearance do you have from the top of the machine to the garage ceiling? Suspending that much weight and moving it over the stairwell will likely be the biggest challenge.

    Depending on your machine height, maybe a small boom-style tow truck might work. The challenge there is going to be having enough ceiling clearance to lift the machine, then backing the truck far enough into the garage to reach the stairwell. Some have a moveable boom, so once the truck was in place, you could lift the machine, then extended the boom until it reaches over the stairwell. If you laid the machine down, then attached pick up straps, that would afford you more lifting clearance...the truck boom could come out almost horizontally and have plenty of clearance to lift it over the stairwell.

    I am not in favor of a chain hoist type of lift, in that it doesn't allow for moving the machine over the stairwell easily or safely, unless I am missing something.

    Marc
    Marc, I've got enough head room I think. The garage has 10' to the ceiling, and 9' to the bottom of the I-beam that passes over the stairwell about 2' in from the front edge. I am not comfortable lowering the whole mill in one piece as it's over 2,000 lbs ... I would be disassembling it in pieces and lowering the base separately, which is 1,000 lbs and just over 5' high. So I am imagining moving the base over in front of the stairwell (steps removed), and then with my chainfall hanging from the I-beam above, raise the base off the garage floor slightly until it swings over the hole directly under the I-beam. By raising it slowly, I will be able to control it to a "gentle" swing ... since it will be moving horizontally about 4' from the place on the floor where it starts to directly under the chainfall. And finally just lower the base to a dolly below that I can roll right into the basement. I have decided I will cut the doorway sill plate off on each side so I can remove it temporarily and then just drill a couple holes in it so I can re-attach it to the floor with a couple long screws and anchors.

    I think this approach is the safest way for it to be done, and something I can basically do by myself. The idea of a tow truck boom/winch is an excellent one if I didn't already have the I-beam and a chainfall above the stairwell. And if I later decide just to take the 48" table off and leave everything else assembled for the lowering, I would definately use a tow truck to do the lowering as the weight would be close to 1,800 lbs and would be putting my chainfall near is safe working limit. Bill
    Last edited by Nightshift; 06-02-2009 at 11:04 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Neuswede's Avatar
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    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    Bill:
    OK, now all the pieces are coming together. I hadn't visualized the I-beam being directly over the stairwell, so that is very convenient. The picture is becoming much clearer, now.

    Can I assume that you already know the beam is rated for this amount of load? Sorry, but I felt the need to ask the question. I tend to do this alot because a few of my friends tend not to ask these kinds of questions, making me a little jaded at times.

    Sounds like you have a fairly good plan of attack.

  7. #7

    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neuswede View Post
    Bill:
    OK, now all the pieces are coming together. I hadn't visualized the I-beam being directly over the stairwell, so that is very convenient. The picture is becoming much clearer, now.

    Can I assume that you already know the beam is rated for this amount of load? Sorry, but I felt the need to ask the question. I tend to do this alot because a few of my friends tend not to ask these kinds of questions, making me a little jaded at times.

    Sounds like you have a fairly good plan of attack.
    I'm not sure about the I-beam rating Marc ... I'm assuming it can handle an additional 1,000 lb. load safely, especially since there is a 6x6 support post on the left side of the stairwell opening and the building wall on the right side of the opening. Since there is only 3' between the two supports, there would be no flex. Out in the middle of the garage floor where the I-beam is exposed, I have lifted fairly heavy things (probably in the 500-600 lb range) with no problem from the middle of this beam which would have over 10' of (unsupported) span on each side of the load. So a weight from this well supported section should be no concern. I appreciate you asking the question though ... it's an important consideration for sure. Bill

  8. #8
    Registered User Neuswede's Avatar
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    Re: How to Move a Bridgeport Mill to Basement Shop?

    Bill:

    I am not an expert on I-beam ratings and load capacity, so I might be inclined to google for a calculator just to make myself feel better about it. stepping up to 1000 lbs. from 600 lbs is still a sizeable increase. I agree that the 3 foot span should handle it, given that you've handled sizeable loads with less support.

    Wish I was closer...this is one that might be a fun challenge to help out.

    Marc

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