View Full Version : M head or J head
04-09-2003, 05:05 PM
I have a Bridgeport M head mill. Its in nice condition with a bpt power cross feed. I have never used a J head, but i presume they are a lot better all around (which is why Mheads are no longer being made)
I recently picked up an atlas 7" shaper and matching horizontal mill.
Today i had the bright idea (?) of selling/trading the m-head and the 2 atlas machines for a nice Jhead. Is this a good idea?
I am just getting into machining strictly as a hobby. My real hobby is stock cars and some car restoration. I plan on learning more about machining over the next few years and probably the rest of my life. I have plenty of shop space and 3 pahse power too.
I am just thinking that the J head could basically replace the other 3 machines and probably do a better job at it too. Plus only 1 machine to service and buy accessories and tooling for. I know the shapers are popular these days and it and the h mill make a cute pair.
04-09-2003, 05:22 PM
Sell each machine individually on eBay and you ought to get suficient money to buy a really nice, well-tooled Bridgeport that is more machine than the other three put together.
04-09-2003, 06:23 PM
I'd like to take this oprotunity to jump in and call possible "dibs" on the Atlas horzontal mill, if you do indeed decide to sell.
04-09-2003, 07:05 PM
As a "serious" hobbyist with similiar
ambitions 10 years ago, I think you are analyzing your predicament correctly.
Expand (taking risks)
Improve Knowledge (read,practice,reflect)
Improve Quality (create,sell,trade- "up")
Expand again (taking risks)
Your geographical predicament is important.
Your choice of attentions is important.
Stock car parts overall, are more efficiently
produced on machines/tooling similiar in scope (attentions).
Your smaller machines may be more in demand
(hence price received) than "bigger" machines. (geographics)
Did not know end mill from drill bit
Read "old" catalogues for knowledge
Subscribed to HSM
M head B'port - 3 years no lathe
lots of tooling mistakes
read and subscribed
Southbend 16" lathe - 5 years to find
- still own
- "building" tooling
- buying the right tool
Atlas shaper traded
M head sold
Big Lagun V mill bought - new tooling
- building tooling
- selling old tooling
CNC 5" swing lathe with 5c collet, Air chuck
bar feeder and 8 tool, tool turret
- I retrofitted it myself
- broke indexing plate
- rebuilt all lathe components
as knowledge improved
- $1500 machine + retrofit
- Experiences 50 times over
- Buying correct tooling
- building good tooling
- learn "G" code programming
- create components for my
CNC Moog V mill with 24 tool changer & all
- learning hydraulic science
CNC Sheldon 17" lathe
I started in NYC buying the 1st mill.
I bought machinist chests filled
with retired machinist's professional lives.
I moved to midwest where buying & selling predicaments are very different.
Humbly a student forever
Get the J head. Go for the dovetail style turret and you'll be doubly happy!
04-09-2003, 08:56 PM
Thanks for all the replies!
The idea 'hit' me while pumping (expensive" gas into the jeep.
I upgraded my 9" logan lathe to a 13" southbend last fall which i am really happy about. Figured id do the same with the mills etc if everyone backed me up.
The 13" lathe only cost me $100 after selling the logan. As mentioned, the smaller machines have what seems to be a disproportionally high value realtive to the larger ones.
Id rather not sell on Ebay, but will consider it if necessary.
What are these machines worth? They are all in nice condition. The atlas machines have nice vintage cast iron legs, rotary table, vice and some tooling. I was thinking $1000 for the pair would be in the ballpark (?)
I figured the M-head would be in the $650-$750 range. Are these prices reasonable?
I am not in the machinery business. I dont mind paying fair market value for my purchases and I try to sell stuff for fair value. Helps me sleep at night!
04-10-2003, 01:39 PM
What you need to ask yourself is "what do I want to do with the machinery". Now this is not quite the straight forward question it would appear. Why? well for starters you say you are into stock cars and vehicle restoration. What then, do these pursuits entail, do you intend to re manufacture engine parts, gearbox parts, etc; what about body panels? do you want to attempt sheet metalwork, what tooling are you likely to need; do you foresee yourself making your own tooling rather than purchasing it?. Put another way, where do you see yourself with this hobby in 10 years time? It maybe that you need to make some 'special' tooling for a particular job, this may be possible on the BP with the J head, I don't know the answer to that - only you can hazard a guess at that.
My experiance has been that the larger the range of options I have in the shop from a machining perspective, gives me a greater capacity for takling any job that may crop up. As I said earlier, you need to visualise where you are going and what you will need to get there!
04-10-2003, 05:50 PM
I know what you are saying RR. I have always been into cars...race cars, old cars, trucks, street rods, etc. I was just thinking that a nice J head could do everything my other 3 machines can...and probably better on a lot of things. FOr example, if i wanted to re-machine the front of a transmission (gearbox to you RR), I can use a larger flycutter with a J head and maybe do the job in 1 pass rather than 2.
It just seems that a machine can never be too big, only too small. if i can upgrade as mentioned for little cost, I think it would be a good idea. So far, no one that has posted has disagreed, so i may just go ahead. I think the little atlas machines look kinda neat, but i am more interested in making things than opening a museum. Plus space and 3 phase power are available.
Doc, if you are interested in the mill, email me