View Full Version : Newbie, needs your thoughts on a mill

01-14-2009, 09:17 PM
I am going to purchase a mill. I am looking at the Grizzly G4048 or a friend has an older Millrite sitting in his shop that he will sell me for $750. The Millrite seems to be in good condition. The spindle bearing are a little loose, but smooth. The backlash is minimal, but I have not measured it. The Millrite has a 1 hp. 3ph motor so I will needed a phase converter or find a way to change the motor to a single phase.

I mostly do small jobs and some gunsmithing. I know that I will have to wait for the Grizzly, but it is new and the Millrite is fairly old and I am sure it will need some work.

01-14-2009, 09:38 PM
Millrite! Millrite! Millrite!

01-14-2009, 09:44 PM
As a gunsmith, you'd know how to respond if someone told you he didn't want a pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 because it was old and he could by a new Chinese copy for a lot more money, but it would be new.

thnx, jack vines

01-14-2009, 09:54 PM
You don't need a phase converter...a low cost VFD will run that mill and up the bells and whistles at the same time.
For that kind of money...I'd be having that Millrite in my shop yesterday.

Doc Nickel
01-14-2009, 10:01 PM
Even though I have a Grizzly (full-size Bridgeport clone) and I'm very happy with it, given your two choices, I'd go with the Millrite in a heartbeat.

One, it's local. You can go see it before buying, check for problems. And two, it's cheaper- better bang for the buck. Even if it needs some repairs, you can put several hundred bucks into it and still have less invested than in a new import.

Like Torker said, spring for a $150 VFD, and not only can you run the 3ph as-is, but you'll get near-infinite speed control as well.


01-14-2009, 10:43 PM
OK, I think you have convinced me to go with the Millrite. I posted some pic's . Anyone know were I can find parts if I need them or books?


01-14-2009, 10:59 PM
For the price difference, you can get that Millrite pretty well tooled up, too!

Montezuma, IA

01-14-2009, 11:10 PM
The answer is obvious,get both!:)

01-14-2009, 11:21 PM
The magic 8 ball says that you should buy the Millrite.

A.K. Boomer
01-14-2009, 11:27 PM
Yup - millrite

01-14-2009, 11:54 PM
I'd go with the grizzly.

No wait... what am I saying!? :D Go with the millrite, its old so it must be good.

Seriously though, for the money, you can't get much better than that. Like everyone has said, you can do alot of "fixing up" and tooling up with that millrite and have yourself a fine mill. Lest it sounds like I know what I'm talking about, let me remind you that the only mill I currently own is nothing more than a 3-n-1 machine that sucks! But, I do know several of the guys who have posted here have alot of expierence and knowledge.

See here:

01-15-2009, 07:11 AM
I went the Grizzly route. However, it was done out of necessity. I had looked for over a year to find a used mill. Each one that I went to see that was advertised in "good condition" turned out to be one step from the scrap yard, completely covered in rust or would require a COMPLETE rebuild to get back into running condition.

I would have loved to gotten an older machine but just couldn't find one. However, I'm happy with the Grizzly as I now can mill.


Doc Nickel
01-15-2009, 07:30 AM
I went the Grizzly route. However, it was done out of necessity. I had looked for over a year to find a used mill. Each one that I went to see that was advertised in "good condition" turned out to be one step from the scrap yard, completely covered in rust or would require a COMPLETE rebuild to get back into running condition.

I would have loved to gotten an older machine but just couldn't find one. However, I'm happy with the Grizzly as I now can mill.

-Ditto. Not only that, but I agree wholeheartedly.

I went through the same thing years ago, and a bunch of people told me to hold out for a good American rather than buy an import. The problem there is that Alaska is a machine tool desert- or practically so, anyway. Lots of enthusiasts (I'd bet we have one of the highest per-capita of DIY-ers and home-shop owners) but few machines, and what there is, is priced accordingly given the typical shipping costs.

A used Bridgeport or similar would have cost me $2,500 off of eBay, and I'd have been buying a pig in a poke. We've all seen the pressure-washed, wire-wheeled and freshly painted eBay queens, and I didn't want to spend three grand on something that was going to need another two thousand bucks and several months of work.

So I bought a brand-new Griz. It happened to be a Taiwanese (rather than mainland Chinese) unit, and is very well built. I've used it virtually daily for just short of six years now, and it hasn't given me a lick of trouble.

That said, I later spent a bit more than what people considered a fair price, for a well-tooled Sheldon lathe, because it was a good old American machine- this time, local where I could inspect it.

Yeah, I would have preferred to have a good Bridgeport, but it was five years later that I saw one relatively local, and the owner was asking $8,500.


01-15-2009, 09:16 AM
The Millrite is a good solid mill, about 2/3 the size of a Bridgeport. I would choose one in a heartbeat over an import unless the size were a factor. I have a slightly smaller Rockwell and it handles most of my needs for amateur gunsmithing. Table travel is limited for full length barrel profiling, but that is about the only drawback I can think of.

Tooling a mill or other machine tool can run as much as the initial purchase of the machine. This should be considered when establishing a budget. The Millrite came with several different spindles, and you should check the collet it uses. They came with B&S taper, MT, R8 & 30 taper. All are good, some better and easier and cheaper to acquire.

Millrite was manufactured for many years under several names. It was Burke, US Burke, Millrite, Powermatic and maybe some others I don't remember. They are a simple machine, and most repairs can be accomplished with the usual shop tools. The company is still in business, and some support is still available. I can't recall the name, maybe someone else can chime in with that information.


01-15-2009, 03:41 PM
If you live in Central PA, or nearby, buy the Grizzly and PM me with your friend's phone number. :D

01-15-2009, 05:29 PM
I have PDF's of the manual. Send me a PM and I'll be happy to send them to you. I've had a my MillRite for around 20 years and it's good for everything I have asked of it. You're gonna like it!


01-15-2009, 09:45 PM
:) Thanks for the input. I am going to go pick up the Millrite this weekend.
He is also throwing in all of the collets and tooling that he has with the mill.

A.K. Boomer
01-15-2009, 10:19 PM
Thats why I say jump on it, I spent close to a year "looking"

I like my JTM 8-36 but would have preferred an older mill in good shape at a fraction of the cost, You know -- the kind you can put high performance stickers on and feel good about it...

01-15-2009, 11:09 PM
Save up your lunch money and put a DRO on that Millrite and you will have almost the perfect gunsmithing mill, I'd love to have it......:p

01-15-2009, 11:39 PM
Get the Millrite, but I will comment that I went the Grizzly route as it was actually the cheaper route in my case. I really wanted that Rockwell V/H but I simply could not afford it. I just got finished using my X3 grizzly and am quite satisfied with the accuracy of it and it perfectly fits my needs.

01-16-2009, 12:14 PM
I have a Millrite similiar to that one.....like it pretty well.....the belt changing for speed control is a drag...good plus for VFD there....as far as backlash,mines got a bit....but so will the Grizzly when all the waxy shipping grease and knots in the chinese steel wear off.....good luck

01-16-2009, 12:36 PM
The Millrite may be the right machine for you, however in comparing it to a G4048 I notice that Grizzly does not currently have such a machine listed. Exactly which model of Grizzly are you talking about?

01-16-2009, 09:01 PM
The grizzly # is G0484 put the number in from memory.

01-16-2009, 09:53 PM
The plan is to replace the spindle bearings,tighten the backlash and give it a good cleaning then put a DRO, table and knee power feeds and a VFD. I think that will make the Millrite a very nice machine for me and probably better and more stable than the Grizzly G0484. Any other suggestions?:D

01-16-2009, 10:20 PM
Clean it up, snug up the gibs to get smooth table movement, and go ahead and use it. Sometimes the backlash can be reduced by adjusting the bearings at the hand wheels, Rockwell has a collar that can be turned down to minimize backlash, I don't know how the Millrite is set up, it might have adjustable nuts too.

I would not be in too big of a hurry to replace the spindle bearings until I had run the machine first. Get it up and running and see what it sounds like and how it cuts before performing major surgery.

Paul Alciatore
01-17-2009, 02:41 AM
All of the above and ...

There is no reason to believe that a new Grizzly would not need some work. Grizzly may be one of the best importers, but often even their machines need some work before producing good work. I am also looking at purchasing a Grizzly mill, but if I found some old USA built iron, in good condition, for that kind of price I would change my mind in a heartbeat.