Setting Up Machines on Wood Floors
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  1. #1
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    Default Setting Up Machines on Wood Floors

    I've recently relocated and I am looking for a space to set up shop in the Portland, ME area.

    One of the places I'm looking at is in a building converted from an old textile mill. I don't know the exact age of the building this potential space is in, but construction on the complex began in the 1850's.

    The floors are wood, and apparently this is industrial factory wood flooring. I believe the top layer is maple and I was told the floor has three layers. There are vertical steel columns that are not too widely spaced.

    At the moment I only have one heavy machine: A Hardinge HLV-H lathe weighing approximately 1700 lbs.

    Fortunately the Hardinge does not require very precise leveling.

    What needs to be done to properly set up a machine on a floor like this?

    Are there any limitations to weight or the type of machine that can be set up in such a space?

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    I've run bridgeports on the second floor.

    Didn't give me trouble.

    Machines get heavy fast, tho.

    I personally value square footage by first floor concrete floor.

    Everything else is worth squat

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    I personally value square footage by first floor concrete floor...
    This space is on the first floor with access to a loading dock. The first floor is wood. This was a former textile factory (no idea how much textile machines weigh, but I doubt they're light.

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    I’ve been in a few old wooden floor factories. No way I’d even consider it without a engineer certification of max floor load, and a engineer probably wouldn’t touch it. I’ve seen a forklift fall through a second floor, it’s not pretty, and they were very lucky nobody was hurt or killed.
    Who knows what the real condition of the floor is, since it is 3 layers and you can’t see the middle layer or the top or bottom of the other 2 layers.

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    I d be more worried about fire..........forklifts are a very destructive concentrated load......many operators wont carry them on a steel decked semi.....I would think 1700lb would not be a worry......textile machinery ,and stored cloth are both very heavy.....if you have worries about the floor,either get it ultasonically tested,or auger a hole in it when no one is lookin.The chips will tell if its rotten.

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    The building owners have an on-site contractor. I'll ask them about the floor. They ought to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cinematechnic View Post
    I've recently relocated and I am looking for a space to set up shop in the Portland, ME area.

    One of the places I'm looking at is in a building converted from an old textile mill. I don't know the exact age of the building this potential space is in, but construction on the complex began in the 1850's.

    The floors are wood, and apparently this is industrial factory wood flooring. I believe the top layer is maple and I was told the floor has three layers. There are vertical steel columns that are not too widely spaced.

    At the moment I only have one heavy machine: A Hardinge HLV-H lathe weighing approximately 1700 lbs.

    Fortunately the Hardinge does not require very precise leveling.

    What needs to be done to properly set up a machine on a floor like this?

    Are there any limitations to weight or the type of machine that can be set up in such a space?
    1700 lbs is not heavy! My little puppy of a Sheldon 12" shaper is over 1800. Even so, floors move. Resonant vibration what you'll want Lord o/e feet for. Lord - and many competitors - make a whole lot more than just the one type.

    Load is prolly OK on even modern admin-office grade floor space @ around 150 lbs /SF or better rating. I've had far heavier Xerox-brand Xerox machines. Any idea what even a modest row of full-up filing cabinets mass?

    Odds are the floor is sound and more than strong enough, but.. also OLD.

    So get a sign-off from an RPE unless your inch-hoorance underwriter is au fait with it from prior coverage. As they can be, some New Inkland inch-hoorers being 'bout as old as the building. Call them first and ask. They may have a RPE already a regular resource.

    In which case, go and find some other building they WILL cover if you must.

    There's your challenge. Load or fire, either one. Not so much any genuine risk of machinery or floor fail as it is way higher insurance premiums, year after year, or outright denial of coverage.

    Liability. The big rocks. Not equipment loss or damage. The small beans.

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    I used to run a large cincinati vertical mill (50 taper) with a 6" face mill
    on most of the time.

    It was on the second floor, but all concrete and steel construction.

    As the forklift wizzed by, me and the machine would "bobble" up and down.

    Big signs stating "max. floor loading 250 lbs"

    I'm normally standing in a 1' sq (and weigh 300) and the machine had a foot print of maybe 3' x 4'.
    So I look at the maker plate on the side "13,500 lbs"

    Yikes !

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    Are you looking at the mill in Saco/Biddeford? It's a nice complex, but there are better light industrial spaces if you're going to have heavy equipment. Most of the tenants seemed to be professional/crafts last time I was in there.

    If you're looking at closer in, there are quite a few good light industrial spaces out towards the Westbrook line. Also a decent number in South Portland. The stuff closer in to the peninsula is much more expensive.

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    About wood building complexes......one of the spaces will have a fire.....FD will discover asbestos......the whole place will be shut up......you wont be able to enter.....all your stuff will be at the mercy of scavengers and teen vandals.....alright ,same thing..........find a space in a single story steel shed with a concrete floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    I used to run a large cincinati vertical mill (50 taper) with a 6" face mill
    on most of the time.

    It was on the second floor, but all concrete and steel construction.

    As the forklift wizzed by, me and the machine would "bobble" up and down.

    Big signs stating "max. floor loading 250 lbs"

    I'm normally standing in a 1' sq (and weigh 300) and the machine had a foot print of maybe 3' x 4'.
    So I look at the maker plate on the side "13,500 lbs"

    Yikes !
    Aye, and then there is "static load" and "dynamic load" and.. and ..why we have two Registered Professional Architects and a Lawster in the family, one generation down, HKG side.

    More work around than a little bit.

    Wise they all did study in UK, France, Oz, USA, Canada, too, Hong Kong don't soon get its s**t back in order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    ...Resonant vibration what you'll want Lord o/e feet for. Lord - and many competitors - make a whole lot more than just the one type.
    Thanks, Thermite... I found lord.com, but can't find the product you seem to be referring to.

    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    About wood building complexes......one of the spaces will have a fire.....FD will discover asbestos...
    These buildings were recently renovated. I’ll ask about asbestos. They’ve got half a megawatt of photovoltaics on the roof. It would not make sense to have solar power like that and not have mitigated the asbestos.

    However, from the multiple mentions of the possibility of fire, it seems like a fire safe would be a good purchase once my finances recover.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielG View Post
    Are you looking at the mill in Saco/Biddeford? It's a nice complex, but there are better light industrial spaces if you're going to have heavy equipment...
    The HLV-H is the only heavy equipment I have. My mill weighs 200 lbs. There may be better light industrial spaces but I need to start small and as inexpensively as possible. Escaping the P.R.C. took every penny I had.

    ...Remember when "economic refugee" referred to people immigrating from -outside- the United States?

    I can always move on in a few years. But I need to operate profitably for a while (something that was not possible for me in the Los Angeles area) before I can consider that.

    However, I am not committed to this space yet, if you know of anything I should be considering please let me know.

    Thanks for the all the helpful posts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cinematechnic View Post
    Thanks, Thermite... I found lord.com, but can't find the product you seem to be referring to.
    Machinery Mounts | LORD Corp

    They have competition. Plenty of it. Also good tech info to educate, guide selections.
    seems like a fire safe would be a good purchase once my finances recover.
    Pilot's flight case will carry the important papers & laptop to-home, back in the morning more cheaply.

    Compare used fire safes to used "data" safes. Fire safe uses gypsum - like drywall does - that releases steam as is degrades from heat. Keeps papers too wet to burn - see rating for how long - but may make an unholy mess of them without careful recovery methods, after. Or even so, depending.

    Data safe stays dry. Meant for mag tape, floppy disks, etc. "back in the day". Cambridge/Bos beltway pre-dated "Silly Cone-head Valley" , so should be some around, used, because stuff is on memory cards, USB, or "in the cloud" now.

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    As far as asbestos goes, most people consider it "out of sight, out of mind" and it really causes no hazard if it is in a location where it won't be disturbed. That is why most people, when doing renovations and the like, will just leave it be, if they aren't disturbing it during construction.

    On the subject of safes, no safe is "fire proof". All safes will have a rating of X degrees for X minutes. Bottom line is, unless you spend a huge amount of money on a really heavy safe, it won't hold up if the whole structure burns down around it. The safe could very well still be intact, but the heat inside will have destroyed anything in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m16ty View Post
    The safe could very well still be intact, but the heat inside will have destroyed anything in it.
    It gets worse than that. A serious fire, wood becomes ash and eventually vanishes altogether as combustible gases, concrete spalls and fails, steel beams overheat and sag.

    Safes above ground level drop into the basement, gravity being an unforgiving bitch, if at least a predictable one. Safes already IN the basement join them in being flooded - even submerged - by water used to attack the fire that cannot readily escape for fire-debris clogged drainage systems.

    So why bother at all?

    Because:

    A) MOST fires are brought under control whilst still localized to only a subset of the whole structure, and reasonably quickly.

    and

    B) When NOT? By making the attempt to protect, and with UL-listed protective goods, at least one's inch-hoorance underwriter will grudgingly pay the damage claim. No attempt to protect? Poor chance of payout.

    Besides.. and this is actually the "Big One", decision-maker-wise. actual fires being thankfully rare, the annual inch-hoorance premium costs can be lower and coverage better, year after year after year... for very LONG years.. if you do "all the right stuff" w/r fire protection and safety all-around.

    That, after all, is "where the MONEY is"... recur-forever annual fees.

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    Update: I took possession of the space 5 days ago. Still cleaning up and moving stuff in, no machines for now. Turns out the space is larger than they claimed so it is an even better deal.

    The busy Pepperell center overlooks my windows and the top 3 floors of my building are residential, so that will add to security (there is no time you could go in there to burglarize without the possibility of someone seeing you).

    It seems that the building has support beams lined up on the long axis of the largest of my rooms and there are two vertical columns. So setting up machines on the line between the two columns would put them on the strongest part of the floor.

    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    (lord.com)

    They have competition. Plenty of it. Also good tech info to educate, guide selections.
    Looks like 4 of the the lattice mounts would work well under the HLV-H with something under them to spread the load over a larger area of floor. Seems like no one lists the prices of those mounts online.


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