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Author Topic: Collin's Mill Build - V2.0 is long overdue  (Read 11299 times)

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Offline Hoopty5.0

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Collin's Mill Build - V2.0 is long overdue
« on: August 19, 2019, 09:21:58 AM »
Hi all,

I've posted a couple of topics about buying mills, but finally gave in and decided to build one to indulge my metal fab tendencies. I am a true cheap-o as well so I was having a hard time justifying buying a new mill.
Being a commercial GC, I was able to procure some 3"x5"x0.25" angle and 36' of 11ga 2"x2" tubing from a subcontractor who had extra stock laying out in the yard. I ordered some V-groove gate track rollers off Amazon for $10/ea and tractor supply supplied the 1/2" nuts and bolts for the feet. I'm currently at $62 invested, not including consumables. I do still plan on using the Linn Lumber kit.

Here's where I got this weekend, hoped to do more but I threw my back out putting the welding gas bottle in the truck on Friday morning, of all things.
The base is only 11'6" long for now, which only gives me about 6' of sawing ability, so I'll definitely need to grab some more angle. It's 38" wide, track to track, which I hope will be fine considering the saw head has a 30" cutting width.



 



 



 



 


So, the plan is to loosely follow Crusarius' lead and mimic what he built. I need to buy some more metal for log dogs/clamps/etc. which won't be free, but I plan on coming in around $1500-$1800 to get up and running initially.  (<--- Setting a budget is laughable in the car building world, I'd imagine it's the same here).

As always, I am interested in thoughts and concerns from the collective experience.

Thanks,
Collin

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2019, 09:43:27 AM »
I set a budget and was able to stay pretty close to it. Unfortunately, as always its the little nickel and dime stuff that you do not think about always gets ya.

I am not a fan of the angle bed because it will have alot of potential twist in it. Are you going to mount that to a trailer any time?

Good start. Let me know if you need anything.

Offline Hoopty5.0

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 09:57:10 AM »
I set a budget and was able to stay pretty close to it. Unfortunately, as always its the little nickel and dime stuff that you do not think about always gets ya.

I am not a fan of the angle bed because it will have alot of potential twist in it. Are you going to mount that to a trailer any time?

Good start. Let me know if you need anything.
Not planning on trailering it at the moment. It will be on a concrete pad. I have considered trailering it previously, but I'm not sure I have the time nor the interest in milling for others at this point, as my career and other interests keep me plenty busy!

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 05:51:41 PM »
Staying within budget requires patience I find that's what gets me 😬. Doing nothing while waiting on the deals that you know will eventually come up.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 07:09:41 PM »
It will be on a concrete pad.

I think the reason Crusarius is asking is that you already threw your back out.  Leaning over the low bed will be a killer!  You may end up building up some blocking to raise it up to a comfortable height.  My log bed is about 24" up.

Its a trade off of being able to manually load logs and saving your back.  I happen to have equipment to load logs.

Also, I tend to overbuild.  My mill is 2x4x.25 box (upright) with 2x3x.25 angle on top.  In your case, I would have put the angle with the large dimension going up and your really nice adjustable legs as close to the bunks as possible for the best support.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2019, 07:34:04 PM »
Actually the trailer idea was to stiffen the angle iron frame. But yes. I hate bending over :)

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2019, 09:38:35 PM »
I have 2X4 rectangular tubing under mine Thomas mill. That thing is rigid!!!
I just posted on another thread,go long.I can cut a 20 foot log on mine mill. Never have,but it allows me to get the head of of the way. I have 4 feet to play with instead of inches when I saw 16 feet. Yes,it cost more but my convenience is worth something!!!
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline RAYAR

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2019, 10:15:28 PM »
Mine is built using 2" X 4" X 3/16" tubing for the frame with 1" X 1" X 1/4" angle for the track and 1/4" X 4" flat bar for the log bunks. It's quite solid, but will only squeeze out a 13' log, really made for 12' logs. I plan to eventually make a fold up bed extension at some time, possibly 5'.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2019, 07:21:05 AM »
I agree with cfarm. since 2x6 comes in 24' lengths that is what I made my bed. unfortunately I made the legs on the mast 39" so I lost alot right there. My max cut length is 20'-4.5" That was truly a pain in the but to figure out. But the customer was happy with the outcome. 

I have talked about putting a fold out extension on each end of the mill. just strong enough I can roll the head onto it. The log should never rest on the extensions I just need a place for the head to go. Then I will be able to cut a full 24' length. Not often will I need that, but its nice to be able to do it.

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 08:24:11 AM »
Thanks all for the input.

I will go longer when more material comes available. I really couldn't saw much more than 6' as it sits which is pretty much useless. Should have some more in a few weeks when he has another job wrap up in Houston and he can bring more material down.

There's also some 4x4" square tube on my job site being used as a temp support that I'm sure will get trashed when it's done. Just need to make sure it doesn't find it's way to the dumpster, haha. That would do well in supporting the angle.


As far as progress goes, I did order the Linn saw head yesterday, so that should be in the mail soon. I also stopped by the metal supermarket and rummaged through their remnant pile and left with 2x 5' pieces of 1 7/8" OD sch 40 pipe and 1x 16" piece of 2" ID sch 40 pipe to make the sliding rails for the saw head. I left there for $45 (still seems high for cutoffs, right??) so I'm all in for $1510.00 right now. The only "major" component left to buy is a motor. I've been keeping an eye on FB marketplace and there's a few 10-13 hp motors on there that need some clean up and tuning for $150ish. I'd imagine I could haggle them down more when I get ready to buy. I think my initial guess of having a running mill for $1800 is attainable, but will more than likely need modification once I figure out how to make it better.

Here's how I left it last night, only had an hour or so to work. I could really use a tubing notcher, using the angle grinder to cut out radii is for the birds.




 

Poor photo quality, but you get the idea. Will keep on it tonight.

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2019, 09:24:42 PM »
I got a lot done this past weekend. The Linn saw head came in and I have it 80% complete, I'll get some pictures up this week.

The kit is very high quality, the instructions are very low quality!

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2019, 08:19:02 AM »
I definitely agree with that.

Offline Hoopty5.0

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 09:50:17 AM »
Alright, pictures finally! I had sinus surgery last week and it really put me out of commission for a while.

Here is the kit in unassembled form:


 



 



 

It came in 3 boxes, and was pretty much what I expected: A bunch of steel pieces with no apparent ryhme or reason. So I started looking through the literature that was sent, which consisted of 3 separate packets vaguely labeled and short on verbage - Picture 4 stacks of CAD drawings. There was a CD in there as well and it was quasi-helpful, but again, was not specific to the basic sawframe kit which I purchased. It's basically a video of them building an entire mill and you have to figure out what's relevant to what you are doing.

I'd go so far as to say that if you don't have any creativity or willingness to "make" something work, this kit is definitely not for you.

So anyway, I got to it as best I could on the unlevel floor of my garage with my $100 TIG welder.



 



 



 




 


Hindsight:
- I should have waited to build this until my shop was finished and I had a fab table to make sure everything was square, I had room to work, etc.
- I should have lined the pulleys up with string before marking and drilling the holes. that was a common sense error on my part!
- the fact that they tell you it is possible to tap a 1/2" coarse thread hole with a single tap is 110% BS. I spoke with a milwright buddy after 30 minutes of trying to get the tap started and he laughed and said good luck. Apparently it's a 3 step process and what I had was best suited for chasing threads that already existed.  So, I ended up overdrilling the holes from 27/64" to 7/16" or something... Forgot exactly, but then overdrilled the top 1/4" of the hole to 7/16" as a "taper" so that the tap would start. It was an ordeal that took hours instead of minutes had I known I needed a different tool set.
- I'm sure there will be much more to add to the hindsight section soon, I just haven't had time to work on it much.

the carriage is still tacked together. I've had to cut it apart and adjust it several times, so I'm glad that I had the foresight to tack weld there. It's finally where it needs to be (I think?) so I will weld it up and add more bracing where the saw frame attaches to the carriage next. From there, I need to design the lifting/lowering mechanism. I have a hand winch, just need pulleys and some hardware to attache the cables to the saw frame.

This has been a great challenge and have found myself scratching my head a lot and re-doing a lot of work to get it right. This is good for me, as I'm pretty notorious for a "close enough" approach to getting things done. I'll keep the updates coming for anyone whose following along.

Thanks!
Collin

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 10:17:01 AM »
woh. dejavu....

Were the cut ends on your square? I had to true all of my ends up in the mill. they were quite a ways out of square.

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 10:33:29 AM »
woh. dejavu....

Were the cut ends on your square? I had to true all of my ends up in the mill. they were quite a ways out of square.
They seemed to be square enough for me to not notice any deficiencies. But then again, my abilities are crude at best and very few of my parts are level/plumb/square. I feel like if I had a fab table and could really lay everything out and clamp it correctly before welding - as well as the use of a chop saw instead of a porta-band - it could alleviate a lot more of my troubles regarding fitment.

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2019, 10:44:28 AM »
Good news is nothing in that setup is high precision. The sliding part has all the adjustments you need to true everything up. As long as you drilled and tapped all the holes they had in the plans.

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2019, 11:30:37 AM »
Good news is nothing in that setup is high precision. The sliding part has all the adjustments you need to true everything up. As long as you drilled and tapped all the holes they had in the plans.
Still working on that. I may invest in a real tap set to make it easier.

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2019, 12:36:21 PM »
buy 3 or 4 good 3/8" taps. use a good tap handle and do your best to have some type of guide.

I did find that tapping the 3/16 wall tubing you could just put the tap in the drill and run it through if the jaw could hold the tap from spinning.

Most of my tapping was done by hand right after drilling the hole on the vertical mill. Took more time but that way I was sure the holes were perfect. I used a tap guide in the collet.

Offline charles mann

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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2019, 02:42:08 PM »
29/64 bit is what is needed to tap for a 1/2 hole. Using course for 3/16 metal doesnt give you many threads to engage, plus oversizing the hole wont help either. If you using a bottom tap, that will impact you getting the tap started. Im tapping 1/2-1 thick using a 1/2x20 starter tap and it does good. My tap handle is a bit on the small size and after 5 holes, it takes its toll on my hand palm, even wearing gloves. I just got done tapping 37 1/2 holes in 3/4 of metal. I would get a few threads started, back out and move on to the next hole. Once i had all holes started, i went back with a 3/8 dr long handle ratchet and finished the holes out. 
For that thin of metal, i would highly recommend fine threads for all your hdwr. Even my 3/8 holes, i used a 3/8x24 in my 1/4 material. I wanna ensure i have plenty of grab. Iv also been plug welding 1/2 flat bar or plate in locations that will have a good bit of stress/tension on the metal. 
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Re: Collin's Mill Build
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2019, 08:45:02 AM »
I finally felt well enough to go into the garage and make an attempt at being productive last night. For anyone considering sinus surgery, it is the purest from of hell I have  run across in my short 32 years.

Anyway, I didn't get a whole lot done. I spent a lot of time flipping between packets trying to figure out which one had the best description of how to build the blade guides:


 

After an hour, I think I got most of it figured out, less a couple of holes I still need to drill/tap.



 

Still need to finish the bases for them that attach to the saw frame, I only got a few holes drilled for them before my juice ran out.



Cruisarius - I have a couple of questions for you that I can't figure out:

1) There's a bolt sticking up on the end adjustable blade guide above the wheel itself:


 
It's drilled and tapped into the square stock with a jamb nut, and for the life of me, I can't figure out what it does. Any ideas?

Also, is the kit supposed to come with 2 of these pieces? The instructions are kind of vague.


 


I can make due without, but the adjustable hole for the blade guide seems pretty important, unless the fixed guide is adjustable that way?


Thanks for your help! The instructions are just about worthless.



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