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How To Move A 350lb. Machine By Yourself (Using the Harbor Freight 35915 46766 2-Ton Foldable Shop Crane aka Engine Hoist aka "Cherry Picker")
The X2 mini-mill can be moved by yourself with little struggle. Having recently moved a 750lb. round column Rong-Fu RF40 clone benchtop mill in pieces with some soreness the day after as well as a full-sized Bridgeport clone knee mill also in pieces, it was time to get smart and use mechanical advantage. f
The X3, weighing in at around 350 lbs., could easily be maneuvered if we disassembled the mill. That's too much work! Sure, we'll need to clean off the red grease and such before running it, but, it's probably not necessary to do full teardown to get things running.
So, we looked in the Harbor Freight circulars for a deal on their 2-ton foldable shop crane (35915 and 46766) and found that it as on sale for $159.99 at the stores. Unfortunately, the store had run out (as usual)... While we were there, we picked up some hauling straps like their 2"x20' heavy duty nylon tow strap (on sale for $9.99) which we'll use later for moving the knee mill's base and knee, and the webbing sling 1-ton (item #44847). The purple webbing sling at 6.5' long was the perfect length to strap the X3 mill around the bottom of the base to the mid-positioned head. We'll get to that a bit later. BTW, their 6" calipers were on sale for $15.99 - a great deal!
On the drive back, we pondered buying the crane on the website for $179.99 and waiting for some time for the freight to be delivered. We also checked Grizzly's G8713 and G8712($74.00 freight and probable a week's wait), NorthernTool ($200+ freight!) and some other places. On a whim, we checked Craigslist and found some used hoists, but they were all priced close to the a new model. That is until we spotted the post for an engine hoist for $160 delivered. Now, that's a deal!
A day later, the crane arrived. It was a Harbor Freight clone (imagine that!). In reality, they all come from the same factory/factories in some industrial district in southern China. This model was branded "King" Cherry PIcker Foldable Engine Crane model 1082-0.
Another view of the box:
At net weight of 60kg (60*2.204 = 132.25lbs.) for just the long bits and pieces (including the 8-ton hydraulic ram), it seems lighter than the HF versions. However, HF specs on their website aren't bankable numbers to begin with, so it's hard to say how much the entire assembled crane weighs. Our King crane probably better resembles the G8713 given the dimensions listed on their website. Plus, our crane isn't the HF orange; it's a nice red color all around.
After spending a few minutes assembly the crane using the 1-sheet instructions that came with the item, we were ready to hoist the X2 mill onto the new workbench made of 2"x4"s. This was an easy task to give the crane its first workout.
Next, we were ready for the main event - moving the X3 mill.
We strapped the purple sling under the base and around the sides of the head. While still on the skid, we had to lift the mill enough to gain access to the two bolts holding the mill to the skid. To be safe, we chocked some 2x4 scaps underneatch just in case the crane lost its holding power and dropped the skid and 350lb. mill onto our hands..
After the two bolts were removed, it was time to lift!
Maneuvering a swining weight takes some getting used to. Positioning the crane with its long "feet" is also challenging for those who are space-challenged. At the 1-ton setting, we lifted the mill high enough to clear the 36" tall workbench:
Now, for the reveal...
We like these comparison pictures. We'll have another one beside the RF45 mill in the near future. You can see the X2 mill head on the X3 mill table (on the left). We wouldn't say that the X3 mill is substantially larger than the X2 mill unlike the 7x12 mini-lathe and 8x12 small-lathe:
We would recomend having a shop crane of some sort (or beam-mounted hoist) to ease the moving of machinery of this size. It saves your back and takes care of the heavy lifting.
That's it for now. Remember, to stay safe!
Back to the inspection of the mill.