Support BladeForums! Paid memberships don't see ads! Some of you may have noticed I've been somewhat absent from the forum these last few days. We've been making some upgrades to the shop. It's not an interesting story but I'll tell it for those who are interested anyways: We're expanding and streamlining our layout to be better suited to knife making and this includes another machining center to increase capacity and reduce repeated setup change overs between steps. We already had three machining centers but the small one, a three ton Romi D400 mini mill, lacks the balls to do well in 3V. It's difficult to justify a new high-end machining center for knifemaking and a new inexpensive linear way machine like a Haas isn't built right to do 3V the way we want to, so I was eyeing some older but low hour heavy Japanese iron such as Makino, Kitamura and Mori Seiki. After some false starts, Jo and I eventually found a low hour Mori in Alabama that was coming out of a medical device manufacturer with very good measurements and wear comps and a Fanuc OM-C control which is one of my favorite controllers (this is my 3rd in that particular flavor). The Mori MV40 is a 16X30 machine, which is a mid size mill, but it's heavy for its size. This particular specimen weighed 14,200 pounds without the sumps which is more weight than I've ever lifted. Complicating things, we need an off-road fork lift. The 10,000 pound rated off-road lifts are pretty common but a 15,000 pound rating is the largest Sunbelt has and harder to come by. Coordinating the truck and the lift on the same day got a little dicey. Since we're expanding we added another vibratory tumbler, some tool boxes and now have four vertical machining centers (yay) so we're spreading production into a building in the back we'd been using for storage, so I bought a used shipping container to stick behind that building to use for storage. So, last Friday morning we had this large lift delivered and started out by sitting that container on a foundation then moving the Kia VMC and a Gorton tracer mill into the rear building, though this required moving the Romi out of the way by sitting it in the yard (next to the kid's pop-up pool, lol). The truck with the Mori arrived at lunch time and early Friday afternoon we unloaded it. This is where things got sketchy. I lifted the Mori up off the flatbed and the driver drove out from under it, leaving me holding the Mori up high in the air. I'd carefully reviewed the lift truck specifications and capacities documents before renting it and was well within its capabilities, but it had a problem with its hydraulic system (I'm guessing a leaking check valve or cylinder seal) where the forward tilt wouldn't hold weight and couldn't lift while fully loaded which cause it to droop forward while the Mori was in the air. I had to sit the mill on the road to reset the tilt then drive a little ways and finally sat it down in my driveway. I locked the forward tilt with a chain, but the chain developed a lot of tension and I got a little nervous so we went to town and got a heavier chain with a 5,400 pound working load. At this point it was getting late so we tarped it and went to bed. On Saturday, with the tilt chained, I picked the Mori up again and started backing up the drive when the CV joint (the drive axle) on the lift truck broke, leaving bits of bearings and chunks of cast iron laying in the road. The four wheel drive was now a three wheel drive so I drove it back into the drive way and set it down and called Sunbelt to tell them their lift was broke. Due to the relative rarity of the large lift they had to truck one in from out of town so it took a while, but we did get another lift on Saturday. When it arrived and was in place I went ahead and chained that forward tilt to reduce risk of a screw up. I lifted the Mori again and backed up the drive without incident, made the turn onto the road, backed up to the turn and as I was backing off the road that damn chain broke. I'm here to tell you folks, that's a frightening thing when a big chain breaks. It's my own fault. Doing the math on the load and the leverage I may have been into the safety factor on that chain a little, but the way I had it wrapped through a hole was bending a link, and I hadn't considered the inertial loads (driving across a ditch isn't exactly static). So, we went to town again and got the biggest chain with a working load around 6,400 pounds and got two of them and put a chain on each side of the tilt. Between that and the fact the new lift was working properly so I could keep adding tilt when I'd see tension start to come up on the chain we were reasonably safe. It's worth noting here that I try and stay under the radar and I don't want neighbors to be aware of what I have coming in and going out. So, it was about this time when we were ready to pick the mill up off the goddamn road and drive it to the shop that a new neighbor building in the field across the street walked over to see what we were up to when one of those freak afternoon thunderstorms popped up above us and started to hammer us with heavy rain and lightening. We threw a tarp over the mill and I got to meet my new neighbor while under a tarp leaning against the mill I didn't want him to be aware of. The storm passed but with all the rain on the freshly chewed up surfaces and a combined weight of 47,000 pounds, we got to do some interesting slow motion mud bogging setting the mill. By the time it was in and safely on the floor it was late so we called it a day. On Sunday we learned how much it sucks to roll around and position such a heavy machine by hand so it was pretty late by the time we had things mostly in place where we could put the Romi back in. We've spent the last week positioning, jacking, leveling and installing the machines and reassembling the shop. Joy. It has been a long week. Jo and Mark have been super cool about it. I'm about two shades more gray.