I'm planning to get an IH manual mill (with DRO), and I'm trying to figure out how best to get it into my basement shop. I'm planning to pick it up at IH and transport it in a pickup truck.
The approach I'm considering is to remove the table, drain the oil, crank the head down as far as it will go, and transport the mill on its back. I'd make a custom skid for holding it in that position: a piece of 3/4 plywood and 2x4s around the edges to stop the mill from sliding. I'd use nylon straps to hold it down on the skid and discourage it from tipping sideways.
Picking up the mill at IH, I'd probably need to use their forklift to get the skid up into the truck, but once it's there, all the remaining transport would be downhill on ramps (with a winch) or horizontal on a cart. I have an engine hoist to tilt it back upright and get it on the stand.
Is this approach practical? I haven't managed to find any side-view or rear-view pictures that show what it would be like lying on its back--are the castings flat there, or will it wobble? And if it's not flat, would it be plausible to stick some shims in (shingles, maybe?) to stop the wobbling? Will I need to make any special arrangements for the table, or is it light enough (under 200 lbs?) that it can just be wrapped with moving pads?
Alternatively, is there a better approach? I have to negotiate a fairly stairway with low headroom, so I don't think it's practical to move it standing up, and I have to take the table off because it's too wide for the stair. I'm not eager to disassemble it more completely, as I'm afraid I'd irretrievably screw up alignment putting it back together.
Also, can someone tell me the actual dimensions of the base, and of the height from the base to the top of the column, so I can make a skid that will fit properly? When the head is cranked all the way down, is the top of the motor (VFD motor) above the head of the column, and how far?