Becker Brainard No.2 Plain
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  1. #1
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    Default Becker Brainard No.2 Plain

    I purchased this mill last year to restore, I'm finally going to pick it up this weekend, there is little information on these mills and I can't find anything specific to this particular model, I'm guessing it's 1920s possibly older.

    The thing that throws me off is the gears on the back vs the belts used on most of these machines built around in the early 1900s, maybe an upgraded version of the No.25? Then again it has both Becker and Brainard on the side vs Becker Machining Co. I believe I read these two companies teamed up then became Becker Machining Co. Around 1906, so with both names on it has me questioning the date as well.

    Anyways I'm just excited to go get this beast of a machine home and start restoration, any thoughts, opinions, or information is more than welcome.

    This is my first mill and probably the largest machine I have attempted to restore to date.

    Thanks
    Eric




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    Last edited by EricsIron; 02-10-2020 at 12:49 AM. Reason: After thoughts.

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    Get all, repeat ALL the rust off that over-arm before even THINKING about trying to move it. I mean bright and "as new" shiney, any dings stoned down, any upsetting from hammering the arse-end filed and stoned.

    Soak with penetrants. Then see if you can "rock" it free by slight twisting before moving it long-axis.

    Otherwise, if/as/when yah try to get it loose and moving, the rust "wedges" as it goes into the bore, either direction.

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    That is a fine old milling machine you have gotten. Are you at liberty to tell us what "Alladin's Cave" of an old shop it came out of ? In your first photo, it looks like there is a small planer in the background.

    I am intrigued by the vertical head on your milling machine. From your photo, it looks like it was shop made, using welded fabrication. The body appears to be made from a piece of hollow square steel tubing, welded to a piece of heavy steel plate. Whoever designed and built that vertical head was quite skilled. It is an interesting alternative to the more usual Bridgeport (or similar) head added to old horizontal mills. All too often, when something like a Bridgeport head is added to an old horizontal mill, the overarm and arbor support are lost along the way. People such as ourselves who want to use the old machine tools and perhaps restore them wind up having to "reverse engineer" the missing parts. Large diameter bar stock and steel to replace the overarm and arbor support ain't cheap !

    Your post is my first real look at a Becker Brainard milling machine. From the looks of it, they were a builder of well designed and well built milling machines. Their location hearkens back to an early stage in the development of the US Machine Tool Industry, when New England was "the cradle of precision", and when Yankee Ingenuity was really blooming. It also hearkens back to an age when there were numerous machine tool builders in the USA. I imagine in the times when this milling machine was built, the Boston, Massachusetts area, on into Rhode Island and Connecticut were alive with machine tool builders and related industries such as pattern shops and foundries. There was a time when some literary light described Boston as "the hub of the universe", and some other literary lights spoke of the "flowering of New England" in terms of academia, the sciences, medicine, and commerce. It was not in their field of vision to include the manufacturing industries of New England. My own field of vision thinks in terms of fine machine tools, machinist's tools, firearms, steam engines (Corliss was in Rhode Island, and many New England engineers were climbing over each other to develop more efficient steam engines), instruments such as steam gauges and engine indicators, clocks, watches, and infinitely more. That was the "flowering of New England" that the scripted lettering on the cabinet door of the Becker Brainard Mill seems to convey.

    Thanks for posting your thread about the Becker-Brainard milling machine. Follow Thermite's advice. He is spot-on. Steel wool and something like penetrating oil and some scraping with either single edge razor blades or a dull scraper to peel off the rust will work wonders on the machined surfaces. I use an "India Medium Hard" oil stone to take down small burrs on machined parts. I have an assortment of small oil stones in various shapes and sizes, and these are quite handy for "stoning off" burrs without taking down surrounding metal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    That is a fine old milling machine you have gotten. Are you at liberty to tell us what "Alladin's Cave" of an old shop it came out of ? In your first photo, it looks like there is a small planer in the background.

    I am intrigued by the vertical head on your milling machine. From your photo, it looks like it was shop made, using welded fabrication. The body appears to be made from a piece of hollow square steel tubing, welded to a piece of heavy steel plate. Whoever designed and built that vertical head was quite skilled. It is an interesting alternative to the more usual Bridgeport (or similar) head added to old horizontal mills. All too often, when something like a Bridgeport head is added to an old horizontal mill, the overarm and arbor support are lost along the way. People such as ourselves who want to use the old machine tools and perhaps restore them wind up having to "reverse engineer" the missing parts. Large diameter bar stock and steel to replace the overarm and arbor support ain't cheap !

    Your post is my first real look at a Becker Brainard milling machine. From the looks of it, they were a builder of well designed and well built milling machines. Their location hearkens back to an early stage in the development of the US Machine Tool Industry, when New England was "the cradle of precision", and when Yankee Ingenuity was really blooming. It also hearkens back to an age when there were numerous machine tool builders in the USA. I imagine in the times when this milling machine was built, the Boston, Massachusetts area, on into Rhode Island and Connecticut were alive with machine tool builders and related industries such as pattern shops and foundries. There was a time when some literary light described Boston as "the hub of the universe", and some other literary lights spoke of the "flowering of New England" in terms of academia, the sciences, medicine, and commerce. It was not in their field of vision to include the manufacturing industries of New England. My own field of vision thinks in terms of fine machine tools, machinist's tools, firearms, steam engines (Corliss was in Rhode Island, and many New England engineers were climbing over each other to develop more efficient steam engines), instruments such as steam gauges and engine indicators, clocks, watches, and infinitely more. That was the "flowering of New England" that the scripted lettering on the cabinet door of the Becker Brainard Mill seems to convey.

    Thanks for posting your thread about the Becker-Brainard milling machine. Follow Thermite's advice. He is spot-on. Steel wool and something like penetrating oil and some scraping with either single edge razor blades or a dull scraper to peel off the rust will work wonders on the machined surfaces. I use an "India Medium Hard" oil stone to take down small burrs on machined parts. I have an assortment of small oil stones in various shapes and sizes, and these are quite handy for "stoning off" burrs without taking down surrounding metal.
    Most machines I acquire have plenty of history but this one is the exception, all I know is it was the sellers uncle's and he has no use for it.

    I haven't seen it in person yet but I'm hoping to find some tags to possibly ID some of the history, it's coming out of NJ near the shore so it would be interesting to find out how it ended up there in a basement.

    I'll have better pictures and lots of them as soon as I get it home, I'll be sure to get them while its outside where the lighting is far better and really show the detail and condition of this machine.

    I bought this thing last summer and I never considered the vertical head might be homemade but that adds and interesting aspect to this machine, so many questions and I believe much of them will be answered in time.

    I don't know why but I'm addicted to early 1900s machinery, I sold alot of them over the past year that I now regret but I'll replace them.😁 it would have been a grand time to be alive that's forsure.

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    That's a fantastic and grand old girl. Please take lots of pictures as she sits and along the way of the restoration. Will be wonderful to see her taking chips again!

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    Perhaps the scarce dividing head is hanging out in the shop?
    becker-brainerd-dividing-head.jpgbecker-brainerd-internal-.jpgset-up-.jpg
    John

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    Picture no. 3 shows the back end of a shaper...

    Many years ago, dad drug home a old Becker No. 3 "production" mill. Had rack and pinion on the X-Y travels!!! We did some improvising on it to make it work until something better came along. A 9-J Gorton took it's place a year or two later! Sad to say, the Becker went on to scrap heaven.

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    Here is another link about a Becker Universal Dividing Head
    Machinery. v.14 1907-1908. - Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
    I’m not sure if I posted it some where already .

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    And picture no. 2 shows a smallish planer...

    Paolo

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