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Looking at a 1930s Bridgeport -- am I crazy?

shaggy

Hot Rolled
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Location
Oakland CA
Talk about tight space...

The first time my mill homed to the x limit it dented my wife’s car. She got a lot of honey do mileage out of that mistake! I look as tight space as less floor to clean chips after every job!??

Limitations aren't always a bad thing. Probably why the home shop is more fun than work :) Make whatever you can dream up, w/ no boss looking over your shoulder (wife notwithstanding).
I still need to figure out where it's gonna go. I doubt it'll go where the Rockwell sat (without disappearing through the floor, anyway). Nevertheless, I'm gearing up (trailer hitch, portable A-frame/gantry, chain hoist, etc) to be able to dismantle/transport/reassemble a BP-sized mill. I now regard it as an essential experience -- a paying of dues, as it were. Gonna be some fun (and folly, no doubt) :)

PS -- I might carry this train of thought over into a new thread. A BP-shaped object has caught my eye, and the price seems right... I've been negotiating. The problem is it's over 100 miles away, and I'm still waiting on my new trailer hitch :confused:
 

jccaclimber

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Location
San Francisco
The control cabinet on that one looks even more cumbersome than the one on mine.
I’m always a little suspicious when a machine has clearly been repainted without bothering to mask off what should be unpainted surfaces. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it, but it is a minor flag. Are you willing to take a road trip to LA to look a it, and would you be able to decouple your emotional investment of ha omg driven so far if it isn’t the right one for you?

BTW, are you planning a VFD, RPC, or do you actually have 3p power?
 

shaggy

Hot Rolled
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Location
Oakland CA
The control cabinet on that one looks even more cumbersome than the one on mine.
I’m always a little suspicious when a machine has clearly been repainted without bothering to mask off what should be unpainted surfaces. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it, but it is a minor flag. Are you willing to take a road trip to LA to look a it, and would you be able to decouple your emotional investment of ha omg driven so far if it isn’t the right one for you?

BTW, are you planning a VFD, RPC, or do you actually have 3p power?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking of getting it, I was just putting it up for comment so I might learn a little - perhaps of what NOT to buy. Of course to drive 400 miles for a look-see, when I know nothing yet about CNC BPS would be nuts. (Not that I'm *not* nuts, but..) :D

No 3-phase. I have 220V. A VFD might be easiest. I've also got some big 220V DC motors that might be adaptable w/ the right controller.

My gut says get a manual, step-pulley BP (or BP-shaped object) -- something I already feel comfortable with. A CNC BP right now is a bridge (or three) too far.
If I ever go down the CNC road, it'll probably be on a smaller machine, hopefully already working, with current software. Sorry if that sounds like wimping out, but I've got enough on my plate (slim to none budget, still working/not retired, etc).
 

IBLSKeith

Plastic
Joined
Oct 1, 2011
Location
Maine, USA
This rascal from 1940 does everything I need for my hobby needs.
It helps build little steam locomotives, restore pipe organs and make things for an antique Indian Motorcycle. And it fits under the low ceiling height in my basement.

Keith
742CD37F-427D-4A53-AADA-057DAB5149AC.jpg

1D6A3924-309E-4BD1-B740-903DF2729922.jpg
 
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spaeth

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Location
emporium pa
Keith,
Low overhead was exactly the reason I bought my round ram M head Bridgeport in 1979. It was not in the best of shape but had a factory power feed on the X. I scored a very nice M head which is on the rebuilt one I posted pics of earlier in this thread. In 2016 traded the worn machine in on a completely rebuilt one of the same era without the head. Like you said it can handle a lot of jobs.
spaeth
 

IBLSKeith

Plastic
Joined
Oct 1, 2011
Location
Maine, USA
Thanks, Keith - Cool. What'd you pay for your BP, and in what condition? Can you post some larger pics?

I’m not sure how to post a bigger image. The jpeg in my photos file is 2 megabytes in size.

But when I click upload all I get is the thumbnail.

Keith
 

Peter Colman

Stainless
Joined
Sep 22, 2004
Location
Rugeley UK
This has turned into a bit of a saga, op is a semi pro/hobby machinist, has limited funds and no miller. He is in an area where suitable machines are scarce so for his work with a small shop the BP is ok.
Buy it at the best price you can, get it home, use it and keep looking for a newer machine and trade up later.
I have used one of these early BPs and provided you are sensible, you can get good results. You may find a modern head that you can graft on at a later date.
A lot of good work was done on these machines on plastic moulding tools, they are not meant to be used for ploughing through vast lumps of metal but I suspect that op is not too worried about that.
 

shaggy

Hot Rolled
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Location
Oakland CA
Thanks for your advice, Peter. I've actually got a couple of very decent small benchtop mills right now that get me by pretty well (a 1954 Benchmaster vertical, and a 1950s 'Precise' with a shop-built ram and spindle).

I could use something bigger though, and yes, even that ancient BP offers much-increased capacity, though probably not the rigidity I'm aiming for.

The SF Bay area isn't all that bereft of machine tools, though people do tend to ask too much for them. I'm confident the right one will turn up sooner or later.

(PS -- I'm only too happy to put this saga to rest for now, btw - but many thanks to everyone for their input.)

--cheers
 
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seagiant

Cast Iron
Joined
May 24, 2005
Location
Central Fla. USA
Hi,
I actually looked for years trying to find a decent BP at a decent price.

Looked at a LOT of clapped out mills for $3000+

Put an ad in this Forum and got a lead on a 1965 Classic Series I pully J-Head for $2000, only 30 miles away from me.

Not a lot of nice used BP Mills in Florida like up North.

Just put a Chi-Com DRO on her and she does everything I need.

All I had to do was clean her up and go to work.

Good luck they are out there!
 

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IBLSKeith

Plastic
Joined
Oct 1, 2011
Location
Maine, USA
Second try

Trying again.

IMG_0165.jpg

I think if you click on the thumbnail you will get a bigger image.
But I could be wrong.....I usually am, just ask my wife.

Keith
 

WranglerRouser

Plastic
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
The company I work for is having a Retirement (going-out-of-business) Sale after 38 years and liquidating their entire machine shop. Lots of SOLID equipment with plenty of life still left in them including a couple of nice Bridgeports (Lot # 96 & 98), a Clausing (Lot # 79A) and a BEAST of a Cincinatti (Lot # 93); they don't make them like this anymore! Know anyone with a need or room to give them a second lease on life?
Grossman Inc. | Injection Mold Machine Shop lotsMoore.jpg
Bridgeport Series 1.jpg
Clausing.jpg
Cinci No3.jpg
 

shaggy

Hot Rolled
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Location
Oakland CA
The company I work for is having a Retirement (going-out-of-business) Sale after 38 years and liquidating their entire machine shop. Lots of SOLID equipment with plenty of life still left in them including a couple of nice Bridgeports (Lot # 96 & 98), a Clausing (Lot # 79A) and a BEAST of a Cincinatti (Lot # 93); they don't make them like this anymore! Know anyone with a need or room to give them a second lease on life?
Grossman Inc. | Injection Mold Machine Shop lotsView attachment 292532
View attachment 292533
View attachment 292534
View attachment 292535

Note to Self:
Move to the Mid-west. Get bigger truck :)
 
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