I was on the Practical Machinist forum the other day and came across a post about machinery heading to the melting pot. I clicked on it and found out that a scrap yard had bought out a closed down machine shop. The scrap yard planned to smash them all but wanted to give folks a change to buy them before hand. Not to mention, he’ll make more selling them whole than in pieces. Shockingly, the scrap yard was outside of Tallahassee which is relatively close to me. Usually, this kind of thine happens in the Midwest or some other far off place. The owner posted some pics of the machinery and I spied a vertical mill that I was interested in. There was a whole lot more machinery including some horizontal mills, saws, and Hardinge lathes.
I was just going to pick up a mill but Gill kept going on and on about the Hardinge lathes. Eventually, that took hold in my head. Gill is an enabler!
In a whirl, I secured a truck from my friend, reserved a trailer and talked Chris into going to Tallahassee. We drove over there and dove into the sea of machinery. When they unloaded the tools, they packed them into a corner under a lean to as you can see below. The mill is on the outside but the lathe was buried back in the corner.
Luckily, the folks at the scrap yard had a fork lift and were able to extract the machinery. They set the lathe on the trailer first.
Next, came the milling machine. They used one of their big machines to get the mill onto the trailer. My confidence is a little lacking when it comes to lifting straps and I kept my fingers crossed during the move. Happily, everything worked out without issue.
I also grabbed a small Ex-cell-o grinder I thought would be useful. Chris picked up a granite surface plate seen on the front of the trailer in the pic below. With it all on the trailer, we strapped it down and went to pay. I tend to use an excessive amount of straps because it beats the alternative of not using enough.
I’d rented the trailer for a day and really wanted to get it back before getting charged for the second day. I’m cheap like that. So, even though it was dark when we got home, we started unloading. We used my engine crane and pinch bar to get the machinery off the trailer. We walked the lathe to the back of the trailer, lifted it, and drove the trailer out from under it. Then we lowed it onto the engine crane’s legs and used it as a dolly to take the lathe inside. The mill was more difficult. To get it to the back of the trailer we put the engine crane on the trailer and first used it to turn the mill around. Next, using the crane and a come along we walked the mill to the back of the trailer. When picked up by the next, the bottom of the mill swings forward. We used this to slowly inch the mill forward and slightly turn it. The mill was lifted, the trailer was driven out from under it, and it was set down in the driveway where it stayed for the night.
Here’s a better view of the Hardinge Lathe. It’s a HLV tool room lathe that has a good reputation. Hopefully, it’ll just take some cleaning up to get it going.
The mill is a German made Fritz-Werner mill. There’s not much on the internet about them that I could find but what was there indicated they were good machines. It’s smaller than a Bridgeport and should work well for me. No, I didn’t lose the front hand wheel. It’s just been removed temporarily.
The mill has a 415V 3 phase 50 Hz motor. I have 240V single phase coming out of the wall. So, one of the things I’ll be building soon is a rotary phase converter with a step up transformer. The lathe takes 440 as well. Der motorplaten.
I also grabbed a bunch of taper shanked drill bits, tool holders for the mill, and other related items. Some are too big for me to use and I hope to sell them off to pay for some of this.
As you might imagine, my small garage is now overflowing. It’ll be getting reorganized soon while I start to clean up the machinery. I’ve also got the word out to folks who might stumble across the parts I’ll need to power the mill and lathe. It looks like I’ll be busy for a while.