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Author Topic: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!  (Read 1811 times)

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Offline ajsawyer

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Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« on: September 21, 2021, 03:04:39 PM »
Hello all, I am in the process of designing/building a mill and have been digging up old threads from others who have done the same. I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of pictures/video on one thread, along with some other info, so here we go...

stats on mine (feel free to use the same format)

Reason for building: to make something I can use to make lots of things.
Max log width: 54"
Max log length: 33'
Engine info: Kohler KDW1003 24hp diesel
$$$ spent: $2800 so far
Hours spent: about 60 so far
Lessons learned: diablo steel demon blades are amazing.

https://youtu.be/wkBvWv1_1Wg



 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Offline tacks Y

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2021, 08:11:26 AM »
Sorry I have a Baker mill, not home made. But looking at your pics do you have a way to hold carriage on the tracks? If not may be make it farther between the rollers? Looks like it could tip off.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2021, 08:59:04 AM »
Sorry I have a Baker mill, not home made. But looking at your pics do you have a way to hold carriage on the tracks? If not may be make it farther between the rollers? Looks like it could tip off.
I machined 3" diameter wheels with a 3/8"x3/8" groove in them. They will ride on 1/4" thick 1" angle iron, I just have to get some 20' sections and weld them to the track (which is 4"x6"x3/8"). The wheels are spaced 36" apart front to back, it is a lot sturdier than it might look. I placed the vertical posts (4"x4"x3/16") towards the cutting side so that with the motor installed the center of mass should be close to the middle.

Sitting on the ground without wheels on it it is not easy to get it to start tipping at all - with everything installed the rolling saw assembly will be pushing 1800lbs. The part I'm not sure about is if I ever get a 48"+ diameter log on there, how much lateral force will there be when making a first cut so close to the top of the saw. I guess I'll find out sooner or later.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2021, 11:20:06 AM »
One thing I haven't decided on yet is the clutch, whether I should go with a centrifugal clutch or a lever operated belt tensioner like the cooks mills have. Have any of you experienced both setups? 

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2021, 03:40:04 PM »
I put a clutch on mine with a 22hp engine and it has been great. I did have to deglaze it after a day sawing with a friend who was being a bit rough on it but other than that I've never looked at it again. Open throttle and it goes.

One thing I wish I did on my mill is capture the carriage to the bed. It has been fine and sawed many logs without it but recently I had it trip and caused a bit of damage.

I bet you'll want your lift to move a lot faster than that too! Hard to see how quick it was moving but mine is 3-4x quicker I'd say. Hiking up to start new logs or over opening cuts before dragging slab off won't be much fun.

Offline KenMac

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2021, 09:52:48 PM »
One thing I haven't decided on yet is the clutch, whether I should go with a centrifugal clutch or a lever operated belt tensioner like the cooks mills have. Have any of you experienced both setups?
My Cook's has the belt tensioner style drive. I like its' simplicity and durability. The only downside I see is the blade runs most of the time from starting a log to finish. It's not as convenient to stop blade rotation as a clutch, but to me that's a trade-off I'll go for every time.
Cook's AC3667t, Cat Claw sharpener, Dual tooth setter, and Band Roller, Kubota B26 TLB

Offline John1946

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2021, 04:38:58 AM »
ajsawyer, your mill looks like a " Texas Ben" offspring. Are you using his plans? I used his plans with some mods to build my mill. Are you going to be portable? What are you going to use as a log turner, at 54" I hope it isn't manual.
 

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2021, 08:23:00 AM »
ajsawyer, your mill looks like a " Texas Ben" offspring. Are you using his plans? I used his plans with some mods to build my mill. Are you going to be portable? What are you going to use as a log turner, at 54" I hope it isn't manual.
 
That's right, I figured I could save a lot of trial and error by modifying his existing plans to fit my needs. Would love to see how yours turned out!

I'm going to use my tractor to move the mill around the property if necessary, and to load and turn the logs. My neighbor has a skid steer with a grapple he'll give me a hand with if needed. I'm making a log hauling trailer as well so I'll be able to go pick up about 6k lbs at a time when I have the chance. I'm doing this for the lumber and not for the money per se, so I'm not sure I need to put an axle under the mill just yet.

The reason I went with 54" max width is that I have a 50" red oak that fell down a couple of years ago on the back of my property. I'm glad I did because one of my coworkers has a 56" water oak that she's getting cut down and is giving me the logs. Here's a picture of that oak, as well as the log pile that's waiting for me.  



 


Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2021, 08:27:32 AM »
I put a clutch on mine with a 22hp engine and it has been great. I did have to deglaze it after a day sawing with a friend who was being a bit rough on it but other than that I've never looked at it again. Open throttle and it goes.

One thing I wish I did on my mill is capture the carriage to the bed. It has been fine and sawed many logs without it but recently I had it trip and caused a bit of damage.

I bet you'll want your lift to move a lot faster than that too! Hard to see how quick it was moving but mine is 3-4x quicker I'd say. Hiking up to start new logs or over opening cuts before dragging slab off won't be much fun.
Can you elaborate on what happened to make your mill trip?

I'm also curious about how your belt drive is set up and whether you've had any issues with that? If I go with a clutch, I'm considering the dual belt type. 

The lift was a bit slow in the video because the battery hadn't been fully charged, I figure I can also play with the sprocket sizes if I want more speed. Either way I was thrilled that it worked the first time - I'll take slow over hand operated!

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2021, 10:46:49 AM »
One thing I wish I did on my mill is capture the carriage to the bed.

This is one feature I would like to see on ALL mills.  Budget friendly, home built or otherwise.
HM126

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2021, 11:02:08 AM »
I've got the pictures but it isn't done yet .Anyway the frame is from a salvaged straight truck that hauled NFL foot balls all over the USA .Long rascal 28 feet ,8" frame .The rollers on the carriage are 4" heavy duty V-notch from an obsolete robotic loader I got on a scrap pass at work .These things have 1" axles .I had to widen the notch to be able to ride on the angle iron guide track and they were hard as  rock .Had to use carbide lathe tools on them .The only things I have yet to do is the saw and set works and bed clamps .In other words a works in progress ,rather slow at that .

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2021, 02:16:50 AM »
A little bit of negligence on my part, I had a short offcut laying across the track I thought would just snap and it built up tension and sent the carriage into a slight wheel stand when it sprung back. Front wheels missed the tracks on the way back down (offcut pushing from one side only) and splattered.

Happened in a split second, I couldn't believe what was happening for the brief microseconds it was happening.
Easy feature to add anyway, peace of mind, who knows what will happen. I've never had any instability while sawing, even way up at max height.

Definit need two belts, whichever way you do it. One B or even C I wouldnt think, just won't cut it for 25hp.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2021, 06:36:46 AM »
You're going to want something to keep the head from coming off the track.
I've never had a problem sawing the log and staying on the track. I've only had a problem 3-4 times. It involves when I am coming back with the head. Seems like it hits the cant/log and somehow gets knocked off the track. I forgot the details. I will let you know more when I do it again.  :D ::) All mine has is some angle pieces, on each side of the head, that goes under the bed rails. This keeps it from falling all the way off.
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Offline Wudman

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2021, 11:18:29 AM »
This one has been around a while.  It's a 4 post design using 5 thread per inch Acme rod.  The two sides are connected by #40 chain.  It has a steering wheel on one axle for fine adjustment.  I set a cordless drill on the other side to make large moves.  Works pretty well.  I'm running an electric motor that I pirated off a grain auger.  It is about a 1960 vintage rated at 5 HP.  I set a modern 5 HP on it and it wouldn't pull the mill.  I have 24 feet of track and can cut about 22 feet max length.  It is 27 inches between the blade guides at full opening.  Axles are Ford 9" (turned down to fit a pillow block bearing).  Tract is 4x4 angle with bearing casters riding on top.  I have a LogRite cant hook and and old model with an 8 foot steel handle to turn logs.  



 

Log stops and dogs are on the same axle.  Slide them up and they bind.  Threaded rod tightens it up.



 

The contraption will cut.



 

Before the wooden guards went on.........



 

My best production in a day was about 800 bdft of 6/4 yellow poplar.  They were ideal sized logs for a manual mill.

Wudman
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2021, 12:07:21 PM »
Just for general information .Electric motors are about like lawn mower engines and log splitters .It's became a popular thing to  over rate them. The only true way to find out the actual power is using 746 watts per horse power .

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2021, 09:10:43 AM »
This one has been around a while.  It's a 4 post design using 5 thread per inch Acme rod.  The two sides are connected by #40 chain.  It has a steering wheel on one axle for fine adjustment.  I set a cordless drill on the other side to make large moves.  Works pretty well.  I'm running an electric motor that I pirated off a grain auger.  It is about a 1960 vintage rated at 5 HP.  I set a modern 5 HP on it and it wouldn't pull the mill.  I have 24 feet of track and can cut about 22 feet max length.  It is 27 inches between the blade guides at full opening.  Axles are Ford 9" (turned down to fit a pillow block bearing).  Tract is 4x4 angle with bearing casters riding on top.  I have a LogRite cant hook and and old model with an 8 foot steel handle to turn logs.  


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

Log stops and dogs are on the same axle.  Slide them up and they bind.  Threaded rod tightens it up.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

The contraption will cut.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

Before the wooden guards went on.........


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

My best production in a day was about 800 bdft of 6/4 yellow poplar.  They were ideal sized logs for a manual mill.

Wudman

Very nice, I like your log dog idea!

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2021, 09:22:47 AM »
I picked up the water oak logs on Friday, I'm glad I went with 56" max width! 



 

 

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2021, 09:30:21 AM »
I used an electric clutch on my dedicated slabber build.

If I were to fabricate a band mill, Id use a belt tensioner design instead of an electric clutch. Much simpler, less long term maintenance.

Here is a link to the post where I show the design.

https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=76301.msg1158070#msg1158070
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
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and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Online Crusarius

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2021, 10:00:12 AM »
At first I was thinking your mill was all wood. then closer examination showed texas build :)

My mill is 24' bed length roughly 20'-4" cut length. will fit a 48" diameter log. running 22 hp predator with centrifugal clutch.

During my design phase I felt that capturing the carriage to the bed was a great idea. So I added a piece of cutoff 2x6x.188 all it does is wrap the 3/8" rail I welded to the main beam. its just tight enough the head cannot come of the track. I have had some close calls.

Check you my signature for the build and my gallery for all of the pictures.
https://forestryforum.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=7990

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2021, 11:55:23 AM »
Got it painted last night after spending all Sunday de-greasing, acid etching, and applying POR-15. Hopefully it will last!


 
 

 


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