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milling machine

Discussion in 'Workshop and Home Improvement' started by El Cazador, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. El Cazador

    El Cazador

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    Anyone have a milling machine they use in the course of their cruiser mods or anything else? Wonder what you have, whether it's 3 phase, etc., what it cost, and how it's held up. My dad's business probably junked more of them than I could count and now that he's retired I want one. Go figure.
     
  2. Waorani

    Waorani

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    I've got a Bridgeport that I use occasionally for cruiser stuff. You can see it in one of the photos in my build thread. Its 3-phase and I run it off a rotary phase converter. I think I paid about $2K for it 7-8 years ago back in my early ebay days. You can probably get a decent one for half that now - I guess because everyone that wanted one has probably gotten one by now. General feeling among a lot of folks is that a used Bridgeport (or other major US mfg) that is anything but just completely worn out - will be better in the long run than any of the cheap imported carp.
     
  3. zebrabeefj40

    zebrabeefj40

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    Best places I know to look for info related to machining are Home Shop Machinist and Practical Machinist. There's been plenty of the same questions you're asking here already answered there.

    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi

    For most Bridgeport sized machines you can get a solid state phase converter that lets you run the 3 phase machine on the single phase current typically found in a home shop.

    Couple other brands you might consider are Burke/Powermatic (smaller than a typical Bridgeport but just as useful - Junk has one: PM him for more info), Cincinnati (the Toolmaster is their small knee mill - nice machine, ran one at a shop I used to work for) plus a couple others.

    I have a Cincinnati #4 High Power Horizontal mill but at 10K pounds just to move it :eek: it's in another class compared to a Bridgeport. :D

    Buying the machine is only the first step toward making stuff though. You'll still need collets, end mills, workholding stuff (vise and milling clamps) and precision measuring tools to really make a go of it IMHO. But then your dad can tell you all about that stuff!

    Word of warning...machine tools can be just as addictive as Cruisers! I have the mill I mentioned above plus an equally large lathe (old Monarch with a 24" chuck), a small hobby lathe, sheet metal shear, drill press plus all the normal shop tools. Keeping an eye peeled for a 24" shaper, a radial drill (trying to get a beater radial drill from work when it gets retired) and whatever else I can lay my hands on and move home safely.

    Good luck!
    Nick
     
  4. honk

    honk

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    I have a Bridgeport too - a 2 hp variable and run it's 3 phase motor with a VFD (variable frequency drive). Don't let 3 phase spook you, the VFD's make running any such motor easy without the power lost by using one of the static phase converters.

    A couple of popular sources for motor control:

    http://www.driveswarehouse.com/

    http://www.factorymation.com/s.nl/sc.1/.f

    I use the mill for all sorts of making pieces, gunsmith stuff, and sometimes even use it for woodwork. Can't beat it for cutting dados :)
     
  5. 78Crusher

    78Crusher

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    I have a SUNRI , Bridgeport knock off.
    Got it for 1500 cause its 3 phase
    Aquired a 220 frequency drive for a GM tuned port intake that converts single phase into 3 phase.
    Currently using it to machine a steering arm for a high stear set up I saw on NIBLIKS thread.
    Pics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Johnnymiz

    Johnnymiz

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    i have a vernon mill (1940's vintage). right next to my old south bend 9" lathe. got the mill for $400 (moving sale)....lathe was free.:D
    DSC_0475.JPG DSC_0477.JPG DSC_0476.JPG
     
  7. LukeZero

    LukeZero

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    I bought a SuperMax a couple years ago (decent Bridgeport knock-off). Power feed in the X axis, step pulleys (wish it had varispeed) 3 phase for $400, but it had to be moved that day. No read out, digital or otherwise. Had the motor rebuilt because of noisy bearings. It also has some pretty good backlash slop in the X axis from many years of use.

    Our shop here is 3 phase so that opens up the possibilities for me that lots of home, garage type guys don't have.

    To follow up on zebrabeefs ideas. I'd say that if there is a local community college or trade school that offers night classes in machine tool technology- get as much experience as you can. When I was starting out- I broke endmills, drill bits, reamers, just about anything that can be broken- I broke it. I was just lucky enough that the tool maker I was apprenticing with was a real jerk- but knew there was a steep learning curve. Now I only break stuff occasionally. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Junk

    Junk

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    I'll dig out some pics of my Powermatic/Burke Millrite. It's about 3/4 size of a bridgeport. Perfect for my needs. Paid $300 for it and got plenty of tooling with it and it came with the static phase converter he had wired it to. I have another static phase converter for the lathe and the unisaw I recently picked up is 3 phase as well.
     
  9. El Cazador

    El Cazador

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    Thanks for the insight. I've run an old band saw on 220v 3 phase so that doesn't bother me. It's mostly the finding a place for it, doable, and finding something that I can move. For a Bridgeport-sized mill how do you get that thing where you want it? With the band saw I got one end of the base up and put 3/4" pipe under it and rolled it. Assume the mill could be moved the same? But getting in onto and off a trailer or . . .?
     
  10. Waorani

    Waorani

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    I think a Bridgeport weighs about 2,000 lbs so moving is an issue. I've got a couple of forklifts I picked up cheap so not a problem for me but I'd hate to think about doing it without one. There are equipment riggers that do it for a living but I'd guess they're not cheap.
     
  11. FineWynsFJ40

    FineWynsFJ40 Eff-Jay-Farty

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    Since I'm in the manufacturing/machining program here at Ferris, I kinda have hit the jackpot for parts manufacturing for my cruiser :D Gotta love a fully complimented lab facility!
     
  12. nat

    nat

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    I have an older Jet Mill/drill combo. Jet isn't the best, but my older model is quite nice. I can't do some of the heavy maching like on a knee axis mill, but so far I have been able to make anything I have wanted. A bridgeport type will be in my future after I buy a better lathe.
     
  13. Junk

    Junk

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    That's exactly how zebrabeefj40 and I moved the mill. Just gotta be carefull and go slow. It's also the same way I moved the clausing lathe as well. Pipe and digging bar.
     
  14. zebrabeefj40

    zebrabeefj40

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    For a Bridgeport-sized mill you can just have a rollback pick it up and deliver it to your house. Once the tow driver sets it on the driveway you can roll it into place with pipe.

    Junk and I used a landscape trailer with a drop down gate. Rolled the mill out on pipe and up the ramp onto the trailer. Used a come-along to drag it up the ramp. Opposite deal at his garage.

    A stout engine hoist could also do the job. Lift the mill just high enough to pull the trailer out from under then set the mill down.

    Bridgeports are pretty easy to take apart too. They can be stripped down and moved in the back of a pickup in a couple trips if needed.

    Nick