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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1

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unc

01-13-2020 09:43:38




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I didn't want to hijack taem's thread on mill drills.
There have probably been twenty different Asian knock-offs of a Bridgeport knee mill sold in my area. I cut my teeth on Bridgeport and Elliot milling machines- they are my standard for quality.
All the copies look alike, but you will note differences in the fit and "feel" of them. Bottom end of the scale, mild steel shafts, cast or mild steel gearing, questionable motors, and a roughness in the sliding surfaces. These will do the job if carefully used, but will give grief if used hard in a busy shop. There is some middle ground, with better fit, finish, and components. I find the best machines are sold by the major machine tool suppliers. You will pay more, but tool suppliers like happy customers, and parts and service are available. Shop owners get very narrow-minded when new machines crater!

I spent some time in a brand new shop building oil field machinery. They bought a large lathe and a knee mill from the major tool supplier. Both machines were made in Taiwan by the same manufacturer, were accurate, and a pleasure to use. As much as I tried to be an equipment snob, I really got to like the vertical mill, and would buy the same machine again. Another shop bought a similar mill from a discount house. It looked almost the same, but less accurate, and the variable speed drive sounded like it was full of rocks. Not a happy experience.

There are some bargains out there at reasonable prices. Evaluate your needs and expectations, and inspect a used machine very carefully. Electrical issues can usually be solved with off the rack parts, but gearbox and spindle issues cancel any savings, especially if parts are not readily available for that machine.

A final thought, machines built for heavy daily use will generally take #40 tooling. R8 is very versatile, but not the best choice for heavy use.

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unc

01-22-2020 12:03:00




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
It was a "Modern" branded tool, but I think that's a Canada only brand. I believe the same machine was sold as "Micro-cut" or "Microcut-Weily". I worked in a shop that had a number of "Kent" vertical mills. They served well, even when operated by less than skilled people. As JF in MI mentioned, "Meehanite" ways may indicate a better machine. Just as an aside, my first milling machine was an old horizontal belt drive hand mill with a home-made vertical attachment. It had very little travel in any direction, but I used it for cutting gullets and carbide seats in wood working tooling. It had one speed and no power feed. Terribly slow and boring, but it filled a need at a time when money was really tight. I still have it. Never know when I might need it again. Good luck in your search. unc

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taem

01-21-2020 18:39:58




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
What was the Taiwan brand mill you used?



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unc

01-16-2020 08:52:39




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
CenTex: I worked for a company that had an old Type 2 Bridgeport in about the same condition. It didn't have a DRO, so a lot of guesswork was involved. It wasn't accurate enough for tool and die work, but was handy for less critical work like motor baseplates. After I left, I heard that they shipped it back to Bridgeport and had it rebuilt. unc



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CenTex Farmall

01-15-2020 15:02:32




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
The outfit I work for has a semi-permanent presence at a major corporation we do work for. We have about 600 square feet of shop space in a room inside the manufacturing plant.

We have an Enco mill, a "big" one with a 54" table. It's 12 or 15 years old. It's impossible to get the spindle perfectly square to the table. As you tighten bolts down the head moves just enough to throw things off, even if you try to out-guess it. As you move the Y in and out you gain (or lose) about a thousandth every three inches. Any kind of interrupted cut will reveal visible play in the spindle bearings and the quill housing. It sometimes gets used and abused by folks who don't know what they're doing

All that said, that mill has produced probably thousands of one-off, short custom run, emergency repair, and modified-from-new parts that have helped keep their production lines running three shifts per day. Fortunately the vast majority of the parts they need do not require high tolerance and if you know the machine you can can get it between the goal posts.

One thing I have done since I started there is to build up the tooling to where it's what we need without going overboard. We are also fortunate to have a decent DRO (Mitutoyo), power feed on the X, and a coolant mist setup.

It does go to show what you can do with modest equipment when you apply careful thought and execution. I was leary too, at first, as I cut my teeth on machines that said "Cincinnati" or "Jones & Lamson" on the side. Good old American production machines are still way ahead on rigidity and capability in comparison but you can get the job done with budget equipment.

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unc

01-14-2020 11:36:12




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
DickL: Kent machines were sold in our area. They have a good reputation for standing up in daily use. The Micro-Cut brand is sold in western Canada as "Modern". They have a good reputation as well. unc



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unc

01-14-2020 10:42:05




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
Blackhole49- That looks like a nice machine. What kind is it?
( I like the tire machine as well) unc



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blackhole49

01-14-2020 13:16:25




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-14-2020 10:42:05  
It's an old Index. Not perfect, but does what little bit I need it to. Love the tire machine. Done hundreds of tires on it. I also have a computerized balancer. It rarely costs me more than $300 for a set of 4 tires. I have $450 invested in the tire machine and balancer and they paid for themselves several years ago.



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blackhole49

01-14-2020 05:30:29




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
I had this dropped off at my shop 10+ years ago with over 100# of tooling. All I had to do was figure out how to get it off the trailer and get 3 phase ($50 converter) to it.



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Dick L

01-14-2020 11:04:24




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to blackhole49, 01-14-2020 05:30:29  
I bought a new Kent that uses Bridgeport repair parts in most cases and like it.



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urbancase

01-14-2020 01:00:18




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
there is a company in northern Indiana that takes old Bridgeport mills and re builds them, in the title of the web site it say something about old school mills. I have looked at them and for around $6000.00 mark you can get one. I have a small jet bench mill now and looking to get a full size knee mill soon. the jet I have will not keep the head tight on the column, its a great drill but any big milling I do not trust it.

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Janicholson

01-13-2020 19:02:44




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
SCSU has a 3hp Sharp brand Chinese Vertical mill that has been pretty darn good. variable X axix drive, no Y axix drive. It also had a horizontal spindle if needed. Jim



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mf294-4

01-13-2020 16:11:59




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
I bought a used Webb mill a few years ago. It's a 10 x 50 with a 3hp motor running by my homeade 3ph rotary phase converter. I am no machinist or expert in the field but it seems to be made very well. My speciality is breaking and burning up end mills. I wish there was a real machinist locally that I could learn from. I have to rely on Utube. It takes longer to set up a project than to do it. A dro is a necessity if you get or have a mill.

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JF in MI

01-13-2020 13:36:37




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 Re: Jet-Bridgeport mill copies- Winchester1 in reply to unc, 01-13-2020 09:43:38  
I have a Taiwan Bridgeport 2J clone called a Maxport. It is made of Meehanite with a 2 HP motor rather than 1. I'mm pretty happy with it's performance.



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