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Author Topic: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.  (Read 2948 times)

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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« on: July 16, 2014, 12:33:51 PM »
I had a bit of an accident with my homemade mill last night and figured I would post it here to maybe prevent someone else with a homemade mill from having the same problem.

I was sawing through a log with the head raised about 15 inches.  A foot or so into the log the entire head and carriage started to tip backwards toward me rather slowly.  Luckily I ran away from the mill rather than trying to prevent it from falling.   After a few seconds the blade came off the wheels and the head slammed into the rails it broke off every fin from the flywheel and sent them out like bullets.  It took about 30 seconds for the pieces to stop flying before I felt it was safe enough to go near the mill to shut it off.

It took a while to figure out what had happened.  It looks as though the cable I use to raise and lower the head had came unhooked from part of the carriage causing the head to want to fall but since the blade was in the wood it couldn't fall down it had to fall backwards.

There are two things I could have done to prevent it.  Making better connections between the cable and the carriage and having some type of hook on the carriage that goes under the rails so it couldn't have come off even it did start to tip.


So far it looks like the only real damage to the mill was the blade, one wheel that the blade bit into, the flywheel (hopefully the crankshaft isn't bent) the gas tank, quite a bit of the wiring, one blade guide, the cable, the water/solvent system and the engine shroud.  It could have been a lot worse, like I said I am posting this to maybe prevent it from happening to someone else.

Offline HI Rancher

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 12:45:32 PM »

So far it looks like the only real damage to the mill was the blade, one wheel that the blade bit into, the flywheel (hopefully the crankshaft isn't bent) the gas tank, quite a bit of the wiring, one blade guide, the cable, the water/solvent system and the engine shroud.  It could have been a lot worse, like I said I am posting this to maybe prevent it from happening to someone else.


Yikes!  Would the list of stuff not messed-up have been shorter :o?  At least you had the presence of mind to get recognize what was going on and get the heck away from the mayhem. 

Best of luck pulling it all back together and gittn back in the saddle.

Mike

Offline Magicman

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 01:08:31 PM »
Also a flange or whatever riding beneath the rails to prevent the head from lifting off of the rails.
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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 01:17:36 PM »
Also a flange or whatever riding beneath the rails to prevent the head from lifting off of the rails.

That is what I meant when I said some type of hook under the rail,  I just didn't describe it as well as you did. 

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 02:05:56 PM »
OK, and I missed your "hook" statement.   ;D
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Offline StimW

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 03:02:03 PM »
What kind of engine is it?
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 03:56:14 PM »
That is too bad, But thanks for the warning. The Thomas that I have just has a piece of flat stock under the rail,just for that reason.
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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 04:33:39 PM »
What kind of engine is it?

A kohler 321.  I found a flywheel for it on craigslist for about $55 including shipping and I figure I should be able to beat the dents out of the cowling.  If more than that is damaged, I have a 20 hp Briggs that I could use but would require changing the engine mounts so I don't want to do that unless I have to.

Offline scully

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 05:18:52 PM »
Your post is very valuable ! There is much to be learned here with what happened ,home made mill bulders will bennifit from your experiance . Good move getting back ! I can imagine it was sorta like a helicopter crash and they suck
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Offline ladylake

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 05:34:04 PM »

 I'd move the rear track rollers back farther so it wouldn't want to tip back. A hook under the rail is fine for safety but not for sawing unless it was real tight as you wouldn't want the head tilting back even a little bit when sawing.  Steve
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Offline schmism

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 05:38:52 PM »
There are two things I could have done to prevent it.  Making better connections between the cable and the carriage and having some type of hook on the carriage that goes under the rails so it couldn't have come off even it did start to tip.

Ditch the failure prone cable arrangement and go with a lead screw setup.   Sure its more expensive but medical bills from accidents like the above are certainly much more expensive.

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Offline 36 coupe

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2014, 06:17:17 PM »
Thats the problem will home  made work.Little concern with safety,Most home built mills have no blade covers.My Thomas mill has hooks to keep it on the tracks.Plus stops on both ends of the track.

Offline ladylake

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2014, 06:28:09 PM »
There are two things I could have done to prevent it.  Making better connections between the cable and the carriage and having some type of hook on the carriage that goes under the rails so it couldn't have come off even it did start to tip.

Ditch the failure prone cable arrangement and go with a lead screw setup.   Sure its more expensive but medical bills from accidents like the above are certainly much more expensive.

http://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/01206184



 If you use acme treads on any mill use bronze nuts, the really hard nuts on my TK lasted real good with the lighter Kohler gas engine it came with but the acme rods wore out way to fast after I put the way heavier diesel on the mill maybe 500 hours with the diesel.  After switching to bronze nuts I haven't had to replace either the rods or nuts in over 2500 hour and the rods still look like new, I don't know about the nuts as I can't see them. One advantage of acme threads is once stopped they stay put.   As I mentioned above get those rear rollers far enough back so the head won't tip back when sawing hard.   Steve
Timberking B20 15000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Suffolk  setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

Offline Nomad

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2014, 07:07:51 PM »
     Good advice given.  And glad to hear you got out of harm's way!
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2014, 07:46:59 PM »
sounds like a crazy day! glad you are ok!
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2014, 08:18:56 PM »
This underlines the importance of a kill switch and an unobstructed escape route. Frank C.
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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2014, 09:01:04 PM »
This underlines the importance of a kill switch and an unobstructed escape route. Frank C.

In this case a kill switch wouldn't have done any good unless it was something like a boat has where one end gets clipped to the driver and the other end to the switch.  When it started to tip my first reaction was to get away not turn off the key.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2014, 10:16:57 PM »
Yikes is right! :o
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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2014, 12:00:01 AM »
! I can imagine it was sorta like a helicopter crash and they suck

Scully,

My father in law totaled a really nice Bell when he laid it down on a glacier in Alaska during a white out, was actually some pretty impressive flying as 5 other birds went down in the same spot and nobody walked away from those.   The subsequent paperwork sucked more than the crash. 
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Offline 36 coupe

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Re: Sawmill head came off the rails while running.
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2014, 06:01:01 AM »
That is too bad, But thanks for the warning. The Thomas that I have just has a piece of flat stock under the rail,just for that reason.
The Thomas mill will drop to idle speed if the throttle is released and stop the blade.Good safety feature.If a cable did let go you would let go of the throttle fast.A toggle type kill switch can be added to any mill.


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