Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The mill has been successfully moved!

It's been five years in the making... but the milling machine is finally moved from St Louis to Kyle, TX. I'm really happy about that. I still have a great deal of work to do putting the electronics back together and getting it all calibrated. But overall... very happy and excited. It was an epic trip... we had delays, engine problems, and more delays... but all said and done... it's home.

I'll post more when I get the electronics up and the new computer loaded and calibrated. I'm hopeful to have some really cool projects in the near future. A special thanks to my friend Riley for all the help, putting up with me, and for doing a great job. I also want to thank Mitch Bergsma for loaning me a second GoPro camera to do the time-lapse videos... that really made the video great.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moving the Mill - 3500 pounds, 890 miles - The big haul

It's moving day... we are pulling the mill from the spot it has been since 2002 and moving it 890 miles from Overland, MO to Kyle, TX.

Driving from IL to MO with the new trailer... nice view.

We needed to buy a new trailer because U-Haul won't allow the larger ones to go cross-country. Eve was very helpful in finding a great deal... I owe her a lot for that. So, $830 later... a new trailer.

The main body of the mill... the rest is in the truck.

The trailer is rated for 2,900 pounds (1315 Kg) but the whole mill and electronics weigh 3,500 pounds (1587 Kg) so we had to tear down the mill into "smaller" parts. Size is relative...  the motor alone is a "holy crap this is heavy" part... but compared to the "block-o-iron" that is the mill body... it's lightweight.

Seriously... did I just call a 75 pound (35 Kg) motor lightweight??

A 1989 truck pulling a 1987 milling machine... old school, epic, and awesome.

So the adventure begins... I'm in the hotel waiting for Riley to wake up... seems he needs more than 4 hours of sleep. (The slacker.... kidding!) But here was the mood last night when we finished loading up...

Hopefully we can get everything there in one piece... the trailer is 98% of it's rated weight. But they told me that it actually has a 3500 pound rating... but if they specify anything over 2900, it has to have it's own brakes. The trailer is fully refurbished... new bearings, wheels, etc. So... the adventure begins.  (It's the VERY LAST thing I had left in Missouri... whoo!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Traveling Man - Lots of stuff going on...

I'm going to Virginia tomorrow... was supposed to go home, but I got a last-minute repair job call.

I know my boss is wondering why I groan a bit when I have to go from a programming job to a repair job... but I have my reasons.  When I program, I need a second monitor... so I have one suitcase with a monitor and my ever-present GoPro just in case I see neat stuff to video... and one suitcase with a week's worth of clothing and such.

When I go on a repair job, I don't need the second monitor... but I do need test equipment, spare parts, stuff like that... and my usual suitcase for clothing and such.

So what happens when I have to do both jobs on the same trip? 

I become Mr. Pack Mule.

Yes... each one of them is just under 50 pounds. MY original laptop is having issues... so I have it and my new one... plus the one for the test equipment... yup... three laptops. Gotta pull each one out and put it into a bin at security... that's gonna look like a small parade of trays with my shoes, phone, etc. I plan to get there early.

The Mill - The saga continues...

I tried to get the milling machine shipped next week... I raised the price, had an interested party, then all I needed to do was click "BOOK" and it would have been locked in. Before making it final, I asked if he could do the pickup between the 19th and 22nd because I would be in Missouri... He said he was broke down right now, and could I put the mill on a palette so he could pick it up tomorrow.

Just put it on a palette...

Well... IF I owned a forklift and could put it on a palette... I could put it on a trailer and take it myself. (Which is what I will have to do now.)  I never heard back from him again...

I just got a BID REJECTED message and that was it.

So... Plan-B.

I'll get some TX friends, buy an engine hoist... and do it myself. I think I see a YouTube video in the works. Yeah... pretty sure. More on this adventure later... I'm taking some friends to dinner to discuss when I get back.

Ya gotta plan ahead when you are going to move 3,200 pounds (1450 Kg) of equipment.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

A reflection of 2013 - posted a bit late.

I started writing this around November of 2013, but I never clicked the "Publish" button so it sat here until today, May 4th. Now I suppose it is a bit of reflection as as much as my thoughts for that time as it is still relevant; and I thought it should be included as part of my ramblings.

 In June I turned 53, and on my birthday, June 12th, my aunt Sandy Clark... my lifelong mentor, guide, and friend suddenly had a fatal heart attack and was gone. It reminded me that life is a temporary thing, a gift that we only experience for a relatively short time in the eternity of existence.

 I met a new friend around that time, someone who would become a big influence to me. He is a fellow YouTube videographer... and to put that into perspective, where I had 200 subscribers he had almost 80,000. His name is Mitch Bergsma, and this is his YouTube channel.

 He is very active whereas I found myself doing less and less. He motivates me, and I guess I inspire him when we build and create. It is an odd mix...he is 20 years my junior... but somehow it works. 

An example is when we went to Jacobs Well in Wimberly, TX. It's a very deep hole... 30 feet at the main column with a cave at the bottom. I would not have imagined myself free diving to the bottom... and yet I did.

I think we all need someone in our lives that does that... pushes our limits a bit more, drives us to be better in life.

I have found this drive and energy in Eve... we fight constantly... but in the wake of our arguments it forces each of us to look at things with a better perspective... and in the end, that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

I love her... honestly I do... and I'm hopeful that through it all we both become better people from the experience. So far, my life has been evolving each passing year... generally not as smoothly as I would like... but always for the better as we move through the years.

2014 - I got Married (again!) And the mill is ready to ship... what a great year!

Hello folks... is anyone really out there?

Lots has happened since my last post... I got married again... 3rd times the charm right?

Another big event is that I am now in a position to get my milling machine down from St Louis. As fate would have it... I needed to go to St Louis for work... so while here I prepped the huge machine for shipping.

Before Prep Work

 After Pulling the motor and prepping.

The machine weighs about 3,200 pounds (1450 Kg)... yes folks... that's 1.5 tons of fun. The garage door is 81 inches tall (2.05 Meters)... with the 5HP motor and Z-axis mounted... 95 inches (2.4 meters) it was NOT going to fit through the garage door. Taking them off just got it down to size.

78 1/2 inches tall. (About 2 meters)

Nothing about this machine is small... here is the power supply for the machine... it has a 220 VAC to 70 VDC system. I had it running from 115 VAC and was getting about 30 VDC for the motor drives... but on the reinstall, I'm going to go for FULL POWER and even higher speed. (Scary stuff.)

Power Supply

It took three of us to get the motor unmounted and on the floor safely... it weighs at least 60 pounds (27Kg) by its self, the biggest issue was getting the belt off the V-belt tension unit and lifting the motor off the mounting plate. (See below)

 Motor Mounting Plate

To do it, you have to stand on top of the mill, put a steel bar through some chain rings, then lift the motor while a second person uses a screwdriver to work the belt of the pulley. Then you and a partner have to lift it off and balance it on the head of the mill. The other person shifts position to the front of the mill, and you heft this motor up and over... handing it down to the two people on the ground to receive it. (Like I said... nothing on this machine is easy.)

Motor (Left) and Z-Axis (Right)

Afterward I decided to lay the Z-Axis on the bed and wrap with packing plastic to keep it from getting beat up. I wrapped the motor as well as possible too to protect the spring plate and pulley assembly too. 

All prepped and ready to go. Motor in foreground wrapped in plastic.

I manually turned the screws and cranks... still feels fine... everything still moves smoothly. I guess my packing EVERYTHING in a thick coat of grease worked well. Once I get it shipped home, I'll have to strip everything on the mill down, and while doing that, I'll rewire it and install new limit switches and other safety features. It's gonna be a HUGE project... so if you like machines... stay tuned.

 Hummm... I should do a video... or two.