1943 Rockford Planer "The Beast"
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  1. #1
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    Default 1943 Rockford Planer "The Beast"

    About a month ago PM Member ariyama (Andy) and I were looking over the bed of his Bridgeport mill as it was being inspected during our scraping class. Andy had just gotten a price of 1250.00 to grind that table and we were trying to come up with ideas on how we could handle it ourselves. A few ideas were tossed about and I said "I sure wish we had a planer".... And that is how this whole story started

    The search for a planer started soon after the class ended. Ebay, craig's list, and auctions sites were searched with nothing suitable found. I even tracked down the sister of a man that passed away 5 years ago asking if she still had his old planer! Just as things were looking bleak johnoder mentioned the gbent had a old hydraulic planer stored in a shed at a secret location somewhere south of Canada. He suggested that I contact the man and work something out, which I did.

    Saturday Andy drove over from Austin and we set out on a long trip to disassemble and bring the Beast to Navasota..

    We arrived at the secret location just before sunset after 12 hours of nonstop driving. The planer had been living in a machinery shed for a few years and were anxious to have a look at the machine.

    20160305_203912.jpg

    Andy was standing back watching as we climbed all over the machine and remarked that any machine that could handle two men climbing all over it was a Beast! The name stuck

    To protect the innocent almost all names have been changed in this story. (Andy is not an innocent) Our Host, Jose, had another Forum member, Hose B, visiting him and he was a great help in loading the beast for the return trip to Navasota. In fact without the generous help from Jose and Hose B this project would have never happened. Their knowledge, skill and hard work made a very difficult project look like child's play. Thank you gentlemen, I will forever be in your debt.

    Andy and I arrived at Jose's farm very tired and without a place to sleep. It seems that softball is a very popular sport in that area and all the hotels (3) were booked. Jose's wonderful wife invited us in for dinner and soon fixed us up with reservation at a small hotel in town. The food was GREAT and soon after the meal we passed out for the night.

    Sunday morning we started moving the Beast.

    The Beast weighs right at 22000 pounds, is 22 feet long and 10 foot high. The bed is 32 inches wide and has a stroke of 93 inches.. We just didn't have the budget for hiring riggers and a semi to haul the machine 800 miles so we had to use our own resources. My trailers and pickup can haul 24500 pounds total GVW so we needed to break the machine up to fit my weight restrictions. This move is going to require two trips. The plan was to remove the column from the bed and transport it on the trailer while using the bed of the truck to haul the hydraulic pump assembly. I had also planned on removing the table from the bed to reduce the weight of the bed if needed. As it turned out the column was 7600 pounds and the pump weighed in at 2350 pounds which was close enough to my target weight.

    Right now the first load is at my shop and we plan on making the second trip in a couple of weeks. Our second load consists of the tooling and the base of the machine. For that load I'm taking a 22' tilting bed gooseneck trailer. The planer bed is in a location where we can back right up to the end, tilt the trailer and winch the bed up using pipe rollers. The hard work was all done on the first trip where it took 6 hours to disassemble and load up.

    The Beast is going to live at my shop, exactly where I haven't a clue Andy and I are going to go through the machine cleaning and repairing items as we find them.

    Here are a few more pictures..

    Last edited by swatkins; 03-07-2016 at 06:49 PM.

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    More pictures...

    20160306_095356_resized.jpg20160306_095451_resized.jpgimg_20160227_083909_297.jpg20160306_095409_resized.jpg20160306_085549_resized.jpg

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    And more...

    20160306_095409_resized.jpg20160306_113125_resized.jpg20160306_113632_resized.jpg20160306_114819_resized.jpg20160306_123452_resized.jpg

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    Someone I know has one the same size as that one, that is brand new. He got it from a local high school, it has 3 heads and all the original tooling. He moved it by himself. He also got a like new King VTL from the same place, it was used once a year to take one cut. He also moved that basically by himself. They sold those items because the new shop teacher was too scared to even turn them on.

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    Where theres a will theres hopefully a way. You guys have found both. Brilliant!

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    Congratulations. I'm truly envious, and hope to, one day, own a planer....perhaps not quite as big as that one.

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    Very nice mr swatkins, i need to pay u a visit to your place sometime. U have a very nice machine there.

    A lil bigger than that 16" cincy shaper u traded me lol

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    Good story and a nice planer find. Eight foot stroke seems like a handy size, big enough to do lathe beds etc. The old Terex looked like that 7600lb column wasn't much of a load for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roll-a-leblond View Post
    Very nice mr swatkins, i need to pay u a visit to your place sometime. U have a very nice machine there.

    A lil bigger than that 16" cincy shaper u traded me lol
    Can you be here by 8 AM? That's when we start to unload

    Quote Originally Posted by ronr View Post
    Good story and a nice planer find. Eight foot stroke seems like a handy size, big enough to do lathe beds etc. The old Terex looked like that 7600lb column wasn't much of a load for it.
    That Terex was a mighty handy machine. The column was balanced pretty well after it was unbolted from the base of the machine and sitting on the ground. The column has 4" holes near the top that allows a pipe to be used for picking the machine. Using these lifting points the center of balance was shifted by the weight of the arm. The Terex had a huge bucket that allowed us to run another chain to control the arm.

    Having a planer this large opens up a new world of projects that can be tackled. Everything from lathe beds to 8 foot straight edges are now easily handled

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    Where is it going to go? Have to move some machines around in the machine room ? Or going to build a new building? Did you or Andy buy a Biax 1/2 moon flaker? If not after next weeks class I can lend you mine if you need one. I always wondered what Jose's place looked like. He was a Great student too. I would love to see his shop too. Now you can plane all those machines your young neighbor has that are rusting away. :-) Great job for you and Andy!
    Rich PS: Your John Deer going to be able to lift the column?

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    Rockford always built fine machine tools. I am glad you were able to save that planer and will be putting it to good use. NYC Watersheds had a smaller Rockford Hy-Draulic (Rockford always hyphenated "hydraulic" as their tradename) openside planer. They had been using it to re-grind knives for wood chippers, with a large toolpost grinder mounted where the clapper box should have been. NYC watersheds decided to do away with their machine shop. The Rockford Planer was within 15 miles of my house and I knew the machine, having seen it a number of times in NYC watershed's shop at Ashokan. I had too many irons in the fire, and no space for it. NYC watersheds could not give it away. It went for scrap. A sad end to a potentially fine machine, no telling how much abuse it had what with the continued use as a grinder, and with the platen used as a welding table more often than not.

    We did get a Rockford 24" Hy-Draulic shaper from the powerplant where I worked. It had almost no time on it. Towards the end, no one wanted to use it, and the mechanics were intimidated by it. We got it donated for a steam locomotive restoration project. Rockford seemed to put a lot of extra iron and extra thought into their machine tools. The hydraulic shaper is a great machine tool, and the hydraulics really work well in an application like a shaper or planer. The shaper has Vickers hydraulics, some of parts of which look like they were custom built by Vickers for Rockford.

    All I could think of when I saw the pictures and youtube was: "there's gonna be a lot of stoning of the mating surfaces before that column goes back onto the bed". Just the way I was taught, if parts with ground or scraped-in surfaces on a joint came apart, we stoned them as a matter of course before we put things together again. Seeing the scraped surfaces on the parts of the planer, as it does on any sort of machine tool, makes me a bit sad in the realization that building fine machine tools in the USA of that sort is almost extinct. Heavy, well designed castings with plenty of iron to maintain rigidity and dampen out shocks and harmonics, and all the work of designing and building a machine tool like that are something I never fail to appreciate when I see a "classic" older machine tool. Despite claims about modern CNC machine tools and the accuracy and repeatability they are capable of, there are some jobs best left to a planer.
    Not too many planers are left in working US machine shops, so bringing one back to life is a really good thing.

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    Hose B here, guy in blue plaid jacket.

    We had a GREAT time nothing got Bent or broken and no one got hurt that was the main thing.

    It was sure nice to meet Steve and Andy, I would like to go to south Texas some day to see the old girl in action when the get her cleaned up.

    It was a great weekend glad to be a part of the move, and did I mention the great food?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    Where is it going to go? Have to move some machines around in the machine room ? Or going to build a new building? Did you or Andy buy a Biax 1/2 moon flaker? If not after next weeks class I can lend you mine if you need one. I always wondered what Jose's place looked like. He was a Great student too. I would love to see his shop too. Now you can plane all those machines your young neighbor has that are rusting away. :-) Great job for you and Andy!
    Rich PS: Your John Deer going to be able to lift the column?
    The final placement of the machine is not determined at this time. I can move some machines around in the machine room and fit it in there but I really want to add on a room in the back of the shop so if I can get approval from SHMBO that's where it will go. Until then I'm going to place the machine between the uprights of my two post car lift. That way I can use the lift to help reassemble the machine. My Tractor is too small to lift the column upright. I'm planing on using the car lift to lift the column off the trailer and then use a 5 ton chain fall to pivot the column upright.

    Unless Andy is holding out on me we do not have a flaker yet..

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    All I could think of when I saw the pictures and youtube was: "there's gonna be a lot of stoning of the mating surfaces before that column goes back onto the bed". Just the way I was taught, if parts with ground or scraped-in surfaces on a joint came apart, we stoned them as a matter of course before we put things together again. Seeing the scraped surfaces on the parts of the planer, as it does on any sort of machine tool, makes me a bit sad in the realization that building fine machine tools in the USA of that sort is almost extinct. Heavy, well designed castings with plenty of iron to maintain rigidity and dampen out shocks and harmonics, and all the work of designing and building a machine tool like that are something I never fail to appreciate when I see a "classic" older machine tool. Despite claims about modern CNC machine tools and the accuracy and repeatability they are capable of, there are some jobs best left to a planer.
    Not too many planers are left in working US machine shops, so bringing one back to life is a really good thing.
    Thanks for the tip on stoning the surfaces Joe, we will make that happen! This machine might not be used too often but it will have a good home

    Quote Originally Posted by true temper View Post
    Hose B here, guy in blue plaid jacket.

    We had a GREAT time nothing got Bent or broken and no one got hurt that was the main thing.

    It was sure nice to meet Steve and Andy, I would like to go to south Texas some day to see the old girl in action when the get her cleaned up.

    It was a great weekend glad to be a part of the move, and did I mention the great food?
    Hose B I'll get you some honey in the mail sometime this week! Thanks again for your help....

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    Another vote for stoning the joint surfaces before assembly. You don't want any little nicks or bumps to affect the fit.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Probably should pour a decent foundation for it. Bolt it down, etc.. Do it properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RC99 View Post
    Probably should pour a decent foundation for it. Bolt it down, etc.. Do it properly.
    If I move it onto an existing floor I'll press piers under it at the very least.

    Jose had the original manual for the machine.. all it mentions for a foundation is that concrete would be better than dirt 1943 Rockford Planer "The Beast"

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    On the issue of pad for it to sit on, it would be interesting to know what the manufacturer called for. I've seen an installation manual for a Powerturn lathe, they called for a slab 10 inches thick, this old girl would need quite a bit more, I'd guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rj1939 View Post
    On the issue of pad for it to sit on, it would be interesting to know what the manufacturer called for. I've seen an installation manual for a Powerturn lathe, they called for a slab 10 inches thick, this old girl would need quite a bit more, I'd guess.
    The manufacturer wrote the manual I have.. they only talk about the machine being level and give no specifications for the foundation . They only state that concrete would be better than dirt.

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    The design of a concrete foundation depends on the type of soil or "subgrade" in the shop where the planer is to be located. The foundation serves three purposes:

    1. provides a solid support for the bed and column of the planer

    2. spreads the load out from the bearing surfaces on the bed & column bases, converting what is more of an "edge load" to a uniformly distributed load

    3. acts as an inertia block to absorb the energy of the planer strokes and stopping of the platen, particularly on the quicker return stroke

    4. Adds mass to dampen any vibration during interuppted or heavy cuts

    5. In areas where frost is an issue, particularly in unheated shops or shops where the heat is on only when the shop is working, a foundation extending below
    the frost line assures the machine will stay levelled and aligned.

    Rockford used some "cushion" type valves on their hydraulics to de-celerate and soften the ending of the strokes. Even so, the planer platen is a significant mass of iron to bring to a stop and reverse direction of travel. If the planer is to be located in a shop in Texas, hard winters and frost may not be the issue they would be in the Northeastern US or in the Upper Midwest. I'd suggest putting down a bed of perhaps 6-10" of number 2 crushed stone, then pouring a reinforced concrete "mat" to sit the planer upon. The "mat" might be a 10"-12" thick slab, reinforced with two grids of rebar. Number 5 or 6 bar, on 12" x 12" centers at the top and bottom of the slab would provide good reinforcement. Rebar mats should be set so there is about 1 1/2"-2" of "cover concrete", and a poly sheeting placed on the number 2 stone before setting the rerod and placing the concrete. Anchor bolts can be drilled in once the planer is landed on the slab.

    Another quick way to set a machine tool like this is to use "Adhaesium", a felt impregnated with an adhesive resin. I've designed settings for heavy machine tools where, instead of the usual chipping of the concrete and placing of grout, we used Adhaesium. As long as the shop floor does not get wet, this product works. What I've done on other machine tool setting jobs is to design "sole plates" cut from A-36 hot rolled plate, top and bottom faces milled off to remove mill scale and get a good surface. A hole is drilled thru the middle of the plate, a bit larger than the required anchor bolt. The machine tool base is set on these sole plates, and the sole plates are set on Adhaesium felt, which is on the concrete. The machine tool is then lowered onto the plates so the weight of it compresses the Adhaesium felt. This squishes to conform with the concrete and bonds the sole plate to the concrete. Once the Adhaesium has set, we drilled thru each anchor bolt hole in the machine tool base, thru the clearance holes in the sole plates and into the concrete. We then used epoxy resin grout in each hole and inserted B-7 grade all thread rod anchor bolts. The nuts were run down to hold each bolt plumb and approximately centered in each mounting hole in the machine tool base. Once the resin grout had set, we jacked up the machine tool and shimmed on top of each sole plate as needed using shims with a "slotted hole.

    This gave a very solid mounting and allowed us to level and align larger, heavy machine tools. It saved us from having to chip off the concrete floor in the plant and use cementitious grout. It made a neat and solid job and the machine tools stayed levelled and aligned once we got done with the final shimming and levelling.

    On a big (60" swing over the cross slide) LeBlond wide bed lathe, we used a true inertia block foundation, and that was 36" deep. We were planning to turn jobs that might have some imbalance, and the weight of each job was 5500 lbs + 600 lbs of balance weights. We went for the inertia block to be sure. On a planer mill, we poured a similar inertia block to be sure.

    The other advantage to a foundation is it can be used to isolate a machine tool from the surrounding building. If some activity in the shop, such as precision grinding, is going on while the planer mill is in use, the inertia block absorbs the energy from the planer mill. By isolating the concrete inertia block from the floor slab of the shop, the energy from the end-of-stroke on the planer mill is not transmitted to other machine tools.

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    Default More pictures

    Moving out of the shed....
    2016-03-06-08.27.19-small.jpg

    ... a little bit at a time.
    2016-03-06-08.28.00-small.jpg

    Out where we can work on it.
    2016-03-06-08.32.08-small.jpg

    Jose had this little crane to load the power plant into the truck bed.

    2016-03-06-08.54.15-small.jpg

    That was easy. A few straps to hold it down and we'll be good.
    2016-03-06-09.00.44-small.jpg


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