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Need Advice on my First Bridgeport Purchase

mrplasma

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
I have been using a 6" x 26" import mill for the past 35 years. I've decided to follow the advice of many on the forum and move up to a Bridgeport. There's a spot in my garage with 220 volt single phase power where it will fit, and I would probably use a VFD.

I am 81 years old, and have been holding off on my decision because of the bulk and weight of most of these machines. A local dealer now has a 9" x 32" Bridgeport with a 1/2 hp 3 phase motor. My import has a 1 hp motor, so this seems somewhat inadequate. Yet if it is inadequate, why would Bridgeport have used it? It also has a #7 Brown & Sharpe taper on the spindle. The mill only weighs 1,250 lbs, which is a big plus for me, as I could move it with an engine hoist and dolly if necessary.

I would welcome any advice, particularly on the hp and spindle taper. Thanks!
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
A dealer should be able to put it under power and show you that everything works as it should.
If not then you are not much better off than just buying one at auction.

QT Op: [I am 81 years old], then you deserve a decent machine. Are you running job parts or just for your own projects?

Decent BP likely $3,000 to $8,000...Clunker to good $900 to $3000.
 

mrplasma

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
I have known the dealer for many years, and would be able to see it under power before a purchase. My main concern is the 1/2 hp and the availability of tooling for the spindle, which I know nothing about. Also, what would be involved in switching to a bigger motor on these guys?

I am retired, and do only my own projects, most of which involve trying to come up with new metal fab. ideas. This one is priced at $3,500, which is within my budget range.

Bridgeport 9x32.jpg
 

talvare

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Location
Sacramento, Ca.
I am well aware that machine tool prices are very much dictated by the region and I have no idea what the availability of machine tools is in your area, but where I live, $3500 for an old M head Bridgeport mill is outrageous. The M head machines with the round ram are not the most desirable mills. You should be able to find a nice J head machine for that price. Also, the B&S #7 taper will be more difficult to find tooling for than the much more common R8 configuration. Not trying to rain on your parade, just my two cents.
Ted
 

PmGRacer

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
Oakland Twp. Mi
If you are savvy with Facebook Marketplace there are always a wide selection of Bridgeport’s and clones for sale. $3500 may find you a 9”x 42”or 9” x 48” 1 or 2J head which uses R8 collets and 1 1/2 to 2 HP 3phase motors. Power feed on X and a read out could also be had in that price range. Just need to be patient. Also look on eBay. There are always mills for sale there. Prices may be high but will give you an idea what is out there.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Homebrewblob

Stainless
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Location
Cincinnati
Here in Ohio that round ram is a 1500$ tops!

3500$ will get you a good mill, the bs7 spindle is dated, my index has the bs9.

Hold off on that mill for 3500$
 

Superbowl

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Too much $$$ for an old M head. Buy a 1 hp J head, not for the additional 1/2 hp, but for the R8 spindle and the dovetail ram. No need for a variable speed J2 head if you use a vfd. Find a machine with a dro, much easier to use especially with older eyes. $3,500 should get you a "good" machine. $5,000 should get you a "great" machine. $7,500 should get you a "like new" machine. That old M head is a $1,500 machine at best.
 

seagiant

Cast Iron
Joined
May 24, 2005
Location
Central Fla. USA
I am well aware that machine tool prices are very much dictated by the region and I have no idea what the availability of machine tools is in your area, but where I live, $3500 for an old M head Bridgeport mill is outrageous. The M head machines with the round ram are not the most desirable mills. You should be able to find a nice J head machine for that price. Also, the B&S #7 taper will be more difficult to find tooling for than the much more common R8 configuration. Not trying to rain on your parade, just my two cents.
Ted

Hi,
THIS!
 

Homebrewblob

Stainless
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Location
Cincinnati
Get a BP with the Dovetail ram, power feed, DRO, R8, variable speed and you will want it buried with you.

Bonus if it has a vertical shaper on the back
 

thermite

Diamond
I have been using a 6" x 26" import mill for the past 35 years. I've decided to follow the advice of many on the forum and move up to a Bridgeport.

Your history being well-covered. my first impression is "this does NOT compute".

- 35 years of a competant innovator with "mill X" means it got the job(s) DONE and you are as familiar with it as ever was.

- An "M" head BirdPort is only a step UP if you have NO mill at ALL. Faced with that? I'd take a "Wrong Fu" instead. M-heads are just that badly short of merit.

EVERYTHING else BirdPort made since is MUCH better. And I would not have one as a gift even so. Better mills are legion. Many are also less worn, and less expensive to acquire. Prime condition BirdPorts command PREMIUM prices. Prime condition alternatives much lower prices. Ergo better "value for money" in better condition, and noooo. they are not all "orphans" nor necessarily overly massive nor bulky.

- Torchmate was CNC. You MUST have been more than casually CNC competent then and would still be, yet today?

Why would the replacement for the 35 year old mill NOT be a CNC "capable" vertical?
Better yet a VMC?

Nits and grits:

7 B&S has near-as-dammit identical grip to Are Ate. It's just two orders to four orders of magnitude harder to FIND. China still makes collets for it, but apparently only once a year as a BATCH. The few US distributors have, then do not have, in a longish cycle.

- Same sources for my #9 B&S collets, but whilst #9 B&S tooling is not EASY to find, it was and is far more common as to surviving spindles that use it. I'm good for the three holes that fit it.

-M-head (my first-ever vertical, MT tooled) can't cut s**t before it reminds you it has a round ram that is happy with being positioned just about anywhere. Whether that "anywhere" was in YOUR plan or never. Just don't.

Next mill was an R-8 snout first-gen "dovetail ram" they NOW call a "1J". Night and day improvement! Our one had even been fitted wih a "pre-DRO" precision engraved stainless rule with a big-arse optical magnifier and crosshairs.

Wasn't HALF bad as a sub for a jig-bore, small dies & fixtures as we made for ever-smaller hearing-aid manufacturing.

I might even still tolerate BirdPorts .... save that my THIRD vertical was a Cincy "Toolmaster", and on heavy mining and rail tasking a BeePee would have struggled to do at all, let alone as well.

Not "perfect", a Toolmaster. Just enough better I have only looked forward, since, never back!

:)

"Budget?'

Welll .... where there's a value, there is usually a way... or several.

Did I say "re-think the M-head?" Harshly, even?

Whatever gave you THAT impression?

:D
 

KevH

Plastic
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Power feed and dro will be single phase usually 110v. VFD straight to motor and You'll need another supply voltage to transformer in your control box
 

KevH

Plastic
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
If I buy a 3 phase with a power feed and/or a DRO, are they 3 phase also? Could I use a single VFD for the machine?

Power feed and dro will be single phase usually 110v. VFD straight to motor and You'll need another supply voltage to transformer in your control box
 








 
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