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A moral question on a Bridgeport mill to ponder

ihv800

Plastic
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Hello all!

I'm an aspiring hobby machinist, at the moment I don't really have much for equipment. I've wanted to find a good Bridgeport style mill for a long time, I've actively looked for around 5 years. Most everything has either been simply not quite what I wanted, wore out, or too much money. I live in Colorado, so they seem a little harder to come by than closer to coasts, and I don't do Facebook so I think that really limits my finding of more local listings.

I did find what I think is a good mill, spec'd how I want, fairly priced, and it comes with a toolbox full of the tooling which is a huge plus for me to get started. It's a 1 1/2hp Varispeed head, runs smooth, has a Servo powerfeed on the X, the table feels good and snug and doesn't tighten up at the extremes, the original flaking is there and has only very negligible wear in the center of travel. The only real issues I see is there's a fair bit of backlash in the X-axis, and there's a few broken handles and knobs that are easily replaced. My experience with them is very limited, but I did my best to give it a good inspection and feel it is the machine I have been looking for. It spent it's life doing maintenance work and prototyping, so it was not used all day everyday.

It belongs to a business that is closing up that particular location, two of the employees are handling the sale of everything that's left and struck me as fair people. It's a pretty good drive away from me, so I wanted to inspect it before dragging my gooseneck trailer and tractor all the way to get it loaded. They agreed to hold it for me with a down payment and gave me a signed receipt stating such.

Now here's where things get interesting. No shady dealings are happening, just a unexpected curve ball. One of the guys calls and says out of the blue a son of the guy that started that particular company showed up after hearing the location was closing. He was hoping to find some of his fathers tools, he found his fathers Bridgeport. Needless to say, he would like to have it back. Now, since I have a deposit on it, it is my mill to come pick up and pay in full until next week and they made that clear to me. But asked if my heart wasn't set on it if I would let it go back to the son. I would get my deposit back, plus a few hundred dollars for the time and gas money I spent to go take a look at it.

What would you guys do? To me it is just a mill, but I I'll be pretty hard pressed to find one in similar condition and specs with a nice assortment of tooling to go with it. It's not impossible, and I'm sure another will come my way someday, but who knows when. For him, it's his dads. My father is still around, but I certainly understand. I have some things from both my grandfathers and they mean a great deal to me. Together with my dad we were able to find and get back a tractor of my grandpas that was sold after his passing, so I know what it's like to get an item like that back in the family.
 

Conrad Hoffman

Titanium
Joined
May 10, 2009
Location
Canandaigua, NY, USA
There are people who would say a deal's a deal and go to the ends of the earth to get it. They wouldn't lose a minutes sleep over it. I'm not that guy and would give it up and enjoy the couple hundred bucks. I'd sleep well. Just depends on who you are.
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
You disobeyed the prime rule of used machine hunting: bring cash, pay in full, and haul away now. If not the entire machine, just the most expensive part.
 

ignator

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Location
Marion, Iowa
Haul the mill home. You've been looking for one too long. And I would not trust any story told to me about some emotional connection to a commercially made piece of machinery.
 

crickets

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
I had a similar experience buying a piece of industrial machinery. Sale was negotiated and agreed on, but before I was able to pick the stuff up relatives of the person making the sale blocked it. When getting the gear for personal use those deals get a bit personal and emotional, so when it doesn't go through it is quite upsetting. But, it is just gear - even when the other party is somewhat at fault, I would rather take a loss than live with the thought that I screwed somebody over or compromised my integrity or reputation. In the end, it's a personal choice though, not everyone lives to the same standards as me :D
 

beckerkumm

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Location
Wisconsin Rapids WI
You should ask to talk to the son and make your decision rather than asking strangers what we would do in a hypothetical case. No one really knows how he will handle greed until presented with a real opportunity. If you talk to the son, do what feels right. I remember the years when i needed money enough to be tempted and am now old enough to know what matters. Dave
 

ihv800

Plastic
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Thanks for the replies! Some good thoughts. I think Mr. Hoffman's first post on how you sleep at night is right on point. I also think beckerhumm's suggestion to get in touch with the son is very good advice, I hadn't really thought about asking the guys I've been dealing with about that. Feeling that out sounds like the best route to an answer. I am positive the story is legitimate and why this guy would have some emotional connection to the machine.

I'm not sure what the odds are, but this same thing happened to me as a seller on a car I had. Guy was super interested, wanted me to hold it. I said okay as I had no other bites for the month or so it was listed. The day before he came to get it the lady that drove it to high school found my ad. Her grandmother bought it new, the name she gave me was an obscure one but exactly matched the original paperwork I had on it. I let the guy I promised it too take it as I had given him my word on it. I wish I could have sold it to her. Seems I have all the luck in this area!:fight:
 

Yan Wo

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Location
South Jordan, Utah, USA
Haul the mill home. You've been looking for one too long. And I would not trust any story told to me about some emotional connection to a commercially made piece of machinery.

With respect, ignator, I would trust the story because I DO have emotional connections to commercially made machinery.
 

texasgeartrain

Titanium
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Location
Houston, TX
I don't really trust anyone, my first thought is they got a higher offer. Even with that, I'd still take my deposit back in the off chance its true.

5 years is too long looking for the perfect machine. You're being too picky imo, but thats me. All used machines need work, if they didn't, they wouldn't be for sale.

I'd have to pull the trigger on something much sooner and just do the repair and/or rebuild myself. Forward progress, and you learn fine details of the machine as you go through it. Some can turn into a real project, but you end up with something you rebuilt.

Even if you spent a year rebuilding in your spare time, you'd be 4 years ahead of the game, and know the machine better.
 

CJD

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Personally, I'd take the cash. With CNC's taking over manual Bridgeports are going down in value, so another will come along.
 

Tony Quiring

Titanium
Joined
Nov 5, 2008
Location
Madera county california usa
I would ask to speak to the "son"...

Google the company and learn things first.

The true person should have known it was closing before you did unless he was noton speaking terms.

If you are in a dessert and it still has the flaking indicating little wear and it is good price go for it.

Sent from my SM-G781V using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
I would rather take a loss than live with the thought that I screwed somebody over or compromised my integrity or reputation. In the end, it's a personal choice though, not everyone lives to the same standards as me :D
On the other hand .... one night, late, raining, really hard to get a taxi in the rain. Taxi finally pulled up, we were about to get in when three people came running up, "Our friend was just in a fight and got hurt, we have to go to the hospital right away, can we have this taxi ?"

Okay, fine .... as they drove off we could hear them laughing about how they fooled us.

I've become a little cynical about sob stories since then. This thing with "it was my dad's mill" sounds fishy to me.
 

ihv800

Plastic
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Well, some phone calls were made, the mill will be going to the son. I understand the concerns of whether or not the claims are legitimate; I'm sure that happens but just simply isn't the case here. It's a unique situation to say the least but I'm glad he is ending up with it. Sucks to miss out on a good deal for a nice machine but there will be others. Like Mr. Hoffman said in the first post, I will sleep fine at night.

Anybody in the eastern half of Colorado have a nice 2J head Bridgeport that's not plum wore out they want gone? :rolleyes5:
 

Antarctica

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Location
Annapolis, Maryland
Take the mill home. Take the guys number. Tell him when he finds one that you're willing to accept in trade (i.e., better than what you've found), you'll let him have his 'dad's' mll back. I bet he'll never call.
 

crickets

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
On the other hand .... one night, late, raining, really hard to get a taxi in the rain. Taxi finally pulled up, we were about to get in when three people came running up, "Our friend was just in a fight and got hurt, we have to go to the hospital right away, can we have this taxi ?"

Okay, fine .... as they drove off we could hear them laughing about how they fooled us.

I've become a little cynical about sob stories since then. This thing with "it was my dad's mill" sounds fishy to me.

Yes, that kind of petty nonsense happens to me all the time. I just figured it's not worth my energy to guard against those, got to focus on not being screwed over with big stuff. Little evil things will eventually catch up to the people doing them.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Haul the mill home. You've been looking for one too long. And I would not trust any story told to me about some emotional connection to a commercially made piece of machinery.

But how about the offer of deposit returned with a bonus ?
 

AdamC

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Location
SE PA
But how about the offer of deposit returned with a bonus ?
Agree.

Realizing it's too late, I feel the moral question was the sellers: He accepted a deposit, he (presumably) gave his word. Something else came up, maybe he felt he shouldn't have given his word. He's acted in haste. If he needs to back out of the deal, he needs to find a way to compensate the buyer (OP) that he gave his word to. Maybe he needs to help find you another mill, or move it.

I'm sentimental. I care about family legacies etc. But just for the record, compensating you for gas is poorly done in my opinion. I would have expected more from the fine citizens of Colorado. The son should have come forward sooner. Maybe the son should have bought the mill from you had he felt so strongly about it.

I think you were taken advantage of. I think the seller's word is meaningless.
 








 
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