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form_change
07-05-2010, 05:04 PM
In Snowman's "Sorry John...I'm giving in" post, Ringer commented on there being machines out there that are a zillion times better than a Bridgeport (for a 1/4 of the price). As always it depends on what you are trying to do but for those of us that have lead sheltered lives (or only had Chinese machines to use), what are these under rated (priced) machines?
My question relates to typical general purpose HSM sized machines - I saw a Huron MU4 the other day at a dealer but apart from a general interest didn't pay much attention as it would not fit in my limited space. It was surprising how much machine was attached to the back of it's table. Deckel's are another machine that have a fine reputation but price wise are usually out of home workshop budget range, especially if there are accessories involved.

Michael

.RC.
07-05-2010, 05:25 PM
A zillion is a million times 26. :D

Not to be confused with a brazillion which is how many times a Balding Beaver is better then a bridgeport.. :D

John Stevenson
07-05-2010, 05:38 PM
A zillion is a million times 26. :D

Not to be confused with a brazillion which is how many times a Balding Beaver is better then a bridgeport.. :D

Hey my mill resembles that remark.

In no order and probably UK slanted.

Beaver,
TOS
Ajax
Town and Woodhouse
Rambudii <sp>
Acton
Elliott


All are the same size or slightly bigger.
All have beefier spindles most 6" or in the case of the Acton 8" travels.
Most have fine feed to the quill With graduations.
All have better feed gearboxes.
Most have locks to hold the head in tram in case it's windy.
All have larger drive motors.
Most have box ways not dovetails.

.

Toolguy
07-05-2010, 05:54 PM
One of the best deals out there now is a Clark. It's a Bridgeport copy, same size. Variable speed. Comes with power X feed, X & Y DRO for $5995 brand new. www.Penntoolco.com Model B3V-800P.

reggie_obe
07-05-2010, 06:07 PM
Cincinnati Toolmaster is another candidate for the "Better than a Bridgeport" listing.

doctor demo
07-06-2010, 12:34 AM
You Guys are starting to hurt My feelings bad mouthing Bridgeports:(
It's a good thing I have a Kempsmith at home next to the Bridgy and a Cincinnati #5 at work or I'd probably pout or start name calling :eek: or worse, threaten to leave:D

Steve

boslab
07-06-2010, 01:15 AM
Cincinnati Toolmaster is another candidate for the "Better than a Bridgeport" listing.
hooray thats one for us
mark

macona
07-06-2010, 02:11 AM
Cincinnati Toolmaster is another candidate for the "Better than a Bridgeport" listing.


Yeah, but they got that odd ball collet system which limits the accessories.

MuellerNick
07-06-2010, 02:30 AM
Wait!
Before comparing a Bridgeport to mills, the first question should be: "Is a Bridgeport a mill?".

Definition:
Bridgeport: Ugly contraption, often sold as a mill. Scrap yards refuse to accept them, so they have to be sold at eBay.


Nick

Forrest Addy
07-06-2010, 03:06 AM
I don't know why people bash the Bridgeport turret mill and its clones. A turret mill offers milling capacity over a sizeable range if the turret swivel and ram extension is taken into account. You can work parts nearly as large as the table travels. The nod and tilt knuckle brings compound angles to the work anywhere on the table if you're willing to do the math. Given carefully wrought strategy and a good DRO, a turret mill will work to near jig borer accuracy but sub-thousands expectations have to be augmented with mapping the machine's errors and properly compensating for them.

True, the Bridgeport's spindle is limited in power and rigidity and the over-all design has some built in performance limitations but when it comes to bang for the buck, the Bridgeport and all its clones are all but irreplaceible for maintenence work, limited production, schools, and the better equipped home shop.

It's a shameful practice to sneer at and degrade a perfectly capable machine tool serving a market niche very well. Impressionable noobs lurk here who may take irreponsible remarks as gospel, relegating in their minds Bridgeports and turret mills in general as unworthy when in fact they do a lot of work quite well.

All machine tools have some limitations. There was never a machine tool designed that was perfect for all applications and those who attempted the task gave to the world some ingenious but in the end unworkable products; most "3 in 1" machines are prime examples. A fully equipped "serious" milling machine having the same capabilites of a turret mill would cost several times as much and be considerably larger in footprint for the same work envelope.

If you choose to defame a machine tool that's enjoyed world wide distribution for 70+ years and copied by possibly hundreds of manufacturers maybe you're objecting to Bridgeport's success and not its actual merits.

I'm not that fond of Bridgeports myself. If I had my 'druthers I'd have a B&S Univeral Mill with all the attachments in their 1952 catalog. But who has that kinda money and space? And for that matter where could I find one that's well equipped in good shape? In fact, I own a Bridgeport clone that's so faithful a copy its manual is identical to Bridgeports down to the same IPD illustrations and part numbers. It really is hard to beat for the buck and it's served me well (I've grumbled a few times) for thirty years.

Bridgeport mills as a category are far better than nothing so lighten up you turret mill bashers unless you have a clearly superior alternative. My vote is for the Lagun - most any of their turret mill models. Hell of a machine and it's still in production. I have come to favor the Deckle for it's flexibility in ther smaller models but they are expensive. Another good alternative is the Cincinatti Toolmaster but they have been out of production for many years; good ones are very scarse.

Whatever you settle on, try for a machine that does NOT have an R8 spindle. Go for a machine with a MMT 40 quill/spindle designed for it. The 40 taper equipped J head is merely an extended R8 spindle with a #40 taper in it. Same quill, same spline drive, same bearings but in this option they're 2 1/4" away from the spindle nose. Good positive keyed flange drive on a rubber spindle. But if you can't find a #40 equipped turret mill, an R8 spindle will do. I've cussed one for years.

MuellerNick
07-06-2010, 03:15 AM
Forrest Addy, it's called "running gag".
The Bridgeport runs and is a gag. :D


Nick

.RC.
07-06-2010, 03:20 AM
Hey my mill resembles that remark.

In no order and probably UK slanted.

Beaver,
TOS
Ajax
Town and Woodhouse
Rambudii <sp>
Acton
Elliott


All are the same size or slightly bigger.
All have beefier spindles most 6" or in the case of the Acton 8" travels.
Most have fine feed to the quill With graduations.
All have better feed gearboxes.
Most have locks to hold the head in tram in case it's windy.
All have larger drive motors.
Most have box ways not dovetails.

.

I will add

Saimp
PRVOMAJSKA

Mark McGrath
07-06-2010, 04:43 AM
I`ve never seen an Acton mill.Who made them?

Mark.

.RC.
07-06-2010, 05:16 AM
I don't know why people bash the Bridgeport turret mill and its clones.

All in a bit of fun, Bridgeports are OK for work in their work envelope..

Their reputation is partly wrecked by less then satisfactory clones that use things like ISO30 spindles and very large tables which makes people think you can do heavy milling with them...

The ISO30 spindles on a Bridgeport are a disaster as it means you need a collet chuck which reduces rigidity even more by sticking the cutting tool 4 inches or more from the spindle bearings...

A bog standard R8 with 9X40 table is quite a handy machine for any work within it's capabilities..

macona
07-06-2010, 06:20 AM
Changing the R8 to a 30 Taper was the best thing I could have done for my Supermax. Makes the machine much more productive. No collets to slip and the er chucks i use are very rigid. I can plow through aluminum 60 ipm, 1/4" DOC with a 1/2" endmill. Could go faster if I had more power. Leaves a beautiful finish.

wierdscience
07-06-2010, 08:41 AM
People expect too much from a machine from time to time.Doesn't matter if it's a Seig X2 or a 10,000lb Cinncinnatti they can all be made to shake rattle and roll.

At work we have only two mills,a B-port clone and a Jafo Polish made behemoth.The B-port sees 90% of the work,since it's one hell of a lot easier to use.

I don't mean more complicated,I mean not having to use a jib crane to help tram the head in.Lets not even talk about the windage needed to crank the knee up and down.

Every large shop I have been in has had in addition to they're large mills a population of B-ports just the same as they have large ad small lathes.

Roy Andrews
07-06-2010, 09:04 AM
i don't have a problem with bridgeports as much as the idiots who claim them to be the wholy grail of machining.

Seastar
07-06-2010, 09:42 AM
As the owner of a Chinese built 6X26 from WT that has done almost all of that I have asked of it ----- I would love to have a good Bridgeport.
Even with an R-8 spindle.
I drool every time I see a good one on e-bay.
If anyone has one they hate call me and I will get rid of it for you.
I guess your view is affected by where you are in the machine tool gene pool.
Bill

garagemark
07-06-2010, 10:24 AM
I would cheerfully use my Jet mill drill for a boat anchor if a BP fell off the truck in front of my humble shop. Apparently I am one of Mr. Andrews proverbial idiots who believe the BP to be the holy grail of machine tools. You see, I am a SMALL HOBBY guy, and anything above a BP is but overkill. There are more tools and accessories made and sold for a BP or clone than all other tools combined- at reasonable cost. And so far no one has come up with anything that can match the performance for the price tag, something that a HOBBYIST looks for. Therefore, the horrifically sloppy, inaccurate, unreliable, ugly Bridgeport is MY holy grail.

Thanks for clearing things up for me Roy. I always knew I was different, but I just couldn’t quite put a name on it. Idiot is as good as anything I guess… And please do not visit my shop. You would be horribly disappointed with me.

reggie_obe
07-06-2010, 11:19 AM
Yeah, but they got that odd ball collet system which limits the accessories.

Limits?? How so?
You can replace the Cincinnati collet nose with an off the shelf system, should you desire. Machinists of small stature, don't need a step stool to change tooling on a Toolmaster. Topping it off, the slotter on a Toolmaster is better than Bridgeport's offering as well.

bborr01
07-06-2010, 11:39 AM
The plant I worked at had at least a dozen B'port series I's, a few series II's, some clones by Acer, Lagun and Hurco.

The series II's are a work horse. I don't know of any clones that compare with them.

The B'ports seemed to hold up a little better than the clones.

They also did a better job on some of the things like table lock knobs.

The clones had a distinct advantage of not having to pay for designing a milling machine. They just copied a B'port.

Kind of a lot like IBM computers. IBM appeared to invent the PC, then everyone else copied them.

How much of the consumer market does IBM have nowadays?

Brian

projectnut
07-06-2010, 11:45 AM
I have to agree with Forest and others that believe there is a niche for the Bridgeport machines. They may not be the end all or be all of the milling machines available but they do work well within their limits.

At work we had several Tree brand mills including a Journeyman 310, a 325, and a number of 2UVR's. I used all the manual machines over the years and thought hey did a fine job. Before I retired I wanted to setup my own shop so I started looking for Tree brand machines. They were a bit hard to find in good condition and the ones I did find were priced so high they would break the bank.

I asked a couple fellows who previously worked at job shops what would be a an alternative that could perform the same functions and be less expensive to buy and feed. They made several suggestions including Bridgeport. Having never run one I was a bit hesitant but willing to look around.

After 2 years of searching I found one in excellent condition for a reasonable price. The best part was tooling was readily available and cheap compared to my first choice Tree. While it may not be as rigid as a Tree it certainly performs well within its limits. It's not a machine that can hog off a 1/2" deep 6" wide pass but it'll probably never have to.

The machine works anywhere from 1 hour to 40 hours a week. It's never let me down and is relatively inexpensive to maintain. If money was no object I would probably have coughed up the dough for a Tree, but since it is a concern the Bridgeport fits the bill just fine.

John Stevenson
07-06-2010, 11:51 AM
I`ve never seen an Acton mill.Who made them?

Mark.

Spanish.
This is a CNC version, the manual had a nod and tilt head.

http://www.stevenson-engineers.co.uk/files/acton.jpg

.

daryl bane
07-06-2010, 11:52 AM
I'm a Tree man myself. It seems lately that the tables have been turned and Bridgeports command a higher price than Trees. Probably a name recognition issue.

John Stevenson
07-06-2010, 05:24 PM
Forrest,
You are a treasure :D

Did anyone see the irony in his reply ?

First off he states "I don't know why people bash the Bridgeport turret mill and its clones." and " It's a shameful practice to sneer at and degrade a perfectly capable machine tool serving a market niche very well"

Then he follows up with "I'm not that fond of Bridgeports myself.",
"My vote is for the Lagun - most any of their turret mill models. Hell of a machine and it's still in production."

And then seals the Bridgys fate with.

"Whatever you settle on, try for a machine that does NOT have an R8 spindle. Go for a machine with a MMT 40 quill/spindle designed for it. The 40 taper equipped J head is merely an extended R8 spindle with a #40 taper in it. Same quill, same spline drive, same bearings but in this option they're 2 1/4" away from the spindle nose. Good positive keyed flange drive on a rubber spindle"

;)

.

projectnut
07-06-2010, 05:59 PM
I think there's a long distance between not being fond of something, not willing to buy something, and just plain bashing something. There are a number of products I'm not fond of and wouldn't buy, but don't waste my time to bash.

Everyone has their preferences, be it a brand of automobile, a tube of tooth paste, or a machine tool. Some tools are purchased not because they are the best in class, but rather because they can do the work needed at a price the owner can afford.

Do you think the customer really cares what kind of machine the part was made on? If it's to the print, and of the proper quality the name of the machine used to produce it is a moot point.

Our shop made parts for prototype production machinery. When the prototype machine was up and running the prints were sent out to job shops for bids. When bids were let and samples were returned for inspection I don't recall any place on the inspection form that asked what brand or model machine it was built on.

If you don't like Bridgeports don't buy them and don't use them, but why belittle the machines or the people that make a living running them?

Waterlogged
07-06-2010, 06:01 PM
Bridgeport has sold more mills than anyone else for a reason. They are a great all around size for most small businesses or home shops. Sure, a larger mill is more ridgid and a smaller mill is easier to get into a basement. But if you want a mill the size of a Bridgeport, that is of similar quality for less money, which machines would you buy? I'm going to suggest a Sharp LMV, a Tree, a Lagun, an Index, or an Excello as well.

Ray Sidell
07-06-2010, 06:18 PM
As an ex Beaver employee, can anyone tell me how you reverse the quill feed on the VBRP MII Beaver turret mills?

Ray

Forrest Addy
07-06-2010, 11:34 PM
Mr Stevenson: you missed the final delicious iota of irony where I write: "In fact, I own a Bridgeport clone that's so faithful a copy its manual is identical to Bridgeports down to the same IPD illustrations and part numbers." And it's an R8 machine. Izzat ironcal enough or what?

I have a round tuit spindle conversion project where I add a #40 MMT spindle nose and a precision grade taper roller bearing in a belled extension I add to the BP quill. The existing spindle is used but the extra mass needed for the #40 MMT is sil-brazed to the existing bearing fit. I know how to do this kind of thing very well so trust me I covered the many issues associated with spindle conversions. The calculated deflections, advantages, etc make it seem worthwhile until I look at the skinny spindle spline. You want to drive beefier cutters you have to have a beefier drive.

The problem is, a Bridgeport is surperbly balanced as an engineering entity - like the Wonderful One Horse Shay. Beef up one thing and you can't take full advantage of the new beef without having to beef up almost everything else.

So yes, I do have a very charmng inconsistancy that the un-kind would call hippocracy. It IS possible to take an opinion yet offer conflicting advice while personally coping with what's existing, affordable, and possible regardless of forestated superbly wrought, brillinatly written, and subtly justified opinion.

gaston
07-06-2010, 11:57 PM
I take the forum title seriously. When I found this forum I assumed from the forum name this would be a place populated with HF mill drills(been there) and the such. When I found a Comet (bridgeport clone for an affordable price I was in heaven. My son is a Cad cam, engineer, machine operator, shop manager cnc programmer,etc. for a precision cnc shop, And when a part can be saved by a rework its usually done on one of 6 Bridgeports. I would love to have a "real Bridgeport" but as a true hobbyist I love my Comet. (kinda like my 12x36 craftsman lathe too)

.RC.
07-08-2010, 01:20 AM
Here is why I am not a big fan of bridgeport clones, but my mill might just be a POS, especially seeing the manufacturer could not have even been bothered to put precision bearings in the spindle and instead used $10 angular contacts..

With the ISO30 spindle you are focred to use collets chucks and as we can see here the cutting tool (20mm roughing endmill in this case) is a long long way away from the spindle bearings...Also you lose a hell of a lot of z axis clearance


Here we also have a 1/2 hole that I turned into a slot by 1mm from each end...As we can see the endmill climbed and produced an oblong slot... Whether this is a fault of me or not, which it probably is but I partly blame the mill as well... I always have a hell of a time trying to mill straight slots with this mill.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v606/OzRinger/clonemill003.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v606/OzRinger/clonemill004.jpg

MuellerNick
07-08-2010, 03:29 AM
With the ISO30 spindle you are focred to use collets chucks

Why that? ISO 30 with whistle notch can be bought.


Nick

John Stevenson
07-08-2010, 04:08 AM
The 30 spindle was a kludge anyway.
Pull the drawings up of a R8 and a ISO30 and the main part, the taper is very nearly the same believe it or not.

Most designs that use the 30 spindle in the Bridgeport and clones are flawed anyway because they stick the taper out too much causing overhang when if you draw a spindle out there is enough meat to put the 30 taper where the R8 fits.

Now if you go to ISO40 then you need a bigger quill and bigger bearings.

For some stupid reason that only the makers of standards know you could have far more choice if they had read previous standards.

Did you know that on the taper part there is very little difference between R8, ISO 30 and ER32 ?

Each will 'fit' where the other will but none fit correctly because of slight taper angles.

http://www.stevenson-engineers.co.uk/files/X3nose1.jpg

That is an ER32 directly in a X3 spindle, no adaptor, it's a complete new spindle.
In fact the slotted portion where it's held could have been made a lot shorter and got the overall hight down even further.

.

Forrest Addy
07-08-2010, 10:10 AM
John, your mill table looks funny. Where's the drill feed-throughs and mill touches? How do you know when to stop if cast iron chips don't climb the drill flutes to the work surface?

John Stevenson
07-08-2010, 11:48 AM
And there lies a story.

Not sure whose mill it is ?

Originally it was a brand new model out the showroom, never been plugged in.
I was given it by the importer, told to design and fit a CNC kit to it which they paid for.

It was then returned to them and did the rounds of the shows and again stood in the showroom.

When the Sieg turnkey models came out we stopped making kits and i was told to remove it from the showroom and take it away as no point displaying something that couldn't be bought.

I was told to take it and keep it at my place as a test and development machine.

As a joke, although I don't usually joke where money is concerned, I said OK I'll give you a quid for it [ quid += UK slang for one pound, around $1.51 ] and handed a quid over.
It was accepted and taken so I'm not sure who's mill it is.
if it's theirs they owe me a quid, if it's mine it probably has to be one of the better gloats [ unless you buy only German :D ]

.