Monday, August 25, 2008

Rong Fu Report (RF45) - 1: Moving and uncrating

When I was deciding upon a mill I found reports from others very helpful. If you are interested in art and philosophy - stop reading now - this is about moving and set up.

The stand was delivered a week ahead of the mill and assembly was straightforward. The sheet metal seemed a bit flimsy to support the 800# mill however the stand was well designed to handle the weight. The stand is used for several models of mill-drills and came with instructions for an RF30 or 31. The shipping carton itself, however, had instructions for the RF-40/45. The top of the stand is a chip tray with gutters for flood coolant leading to a hole in the back where one can attach a hose. The top of the stand has 8 holes, 4 aligned for the RF30 models and a different set of 4 for the RF 40 models. There are rubber plugs for the holes that do not get used. Assembly was straightforward - no written instructions but the graphics were clear enough.

I paid extra for a lift-gate delivery so the mill was delivered to my yard. It was on a pallet, crated with mdf. The mdf was a bit scuffed, but everything was in order. I used a long 2 x 4 to pry up the crate, put some 2" pipe under it, and pushed it into the garage. A one person operation although it would have been a little easier to have a second person to place the pipe.

The next step was to uncrate the mill. It came assembled except for the table handles. The entire mill was in a big plastic bag. All of the the exposed metal had the usual grease which was covered with plastic sheeting. I removed all of this, wiped the grease off, and cleaned it further with kerosene. Kerosene is OK but not my favorite smell so I wiped everything as dry as possible and then oiled it lightly.

I started debating how to lift it with the shop crane without damaging the mill - or me! Fortunately the instruction manual had an illustration showing it should be lifted with a sling around the head.

I only had one, relatively short sling, so I put it right at the collar and when I lifted it, the mill tilted slightly to the back so I did not have to worry about it slipping out. While I maneuvered the shop crane, my wife graciously pushed and pulled the mill to align it with the bolt holes. Finally all the bolts were in place and secured, and then I remembered the 4 rubber plugs for the holes that were not used. I decided to push them through from the bottom rather than lift and then realign the mill. The way the gutters are designed I think the inside will stay dry however time will tell.

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