View Full Version : Should a Becker be my first milling machine??

03-09-2011, 09:38 AM

I am fairly new to the forum but I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the threads. The information and knowledge that can be gained by "newbies", like myself, is incredible and for that I would like to thank you guys.

Like I stated I am sort of a "newbie" to the machining world. My profession is not in the metal industry. I do have an engineering degree and work in the construction industry. However, I do enjoy metal working. I have a shop where I fabricate a few things on the side mostly by welding. It is mostly a hobby I enjoy but it does come in handy on my small farm.

I do not have a lathe or mill but I am looking to purchase both and start learning the trade. Which, leads me to the reason I am writing this thread for any advice you guys might have. The machining that I would be doing/learning would be that of a hobbyist you might say. I really enjoy working with metal and fabricating things and I am excited about getting a couple of machines and expanding my knowledge and skills.

Presently my budget isn't that great and I have been searching for older machines (lathes or mills) that are bargain priced. I recently found a Becker No. 26 milling machine in an ad that would probably be in my price range. There are a couple pictures of it but they aren't great. However, the guy says it works well and everything is "tight". I haven't been able to find much on these machines. I know they are quite old as the company went out of business in the 20's or 30's I believe. I haven't even been able to find much about them on this site.

Since I am just getting into the trade would this be a good purchase? I am just wondering with my very limited knowledge base about machining if a machine this old (with I'm sure some flaws) would deter my learning experience. Or should I keep looking/save for a newer more common machine?

Any advise you might have would be greatly apprecited.


03-09-2011, 10:14 AM
Yes, Dirk that is it.

Thanks for the info. I was a little leery about it. I haven't been able to find much about it at all on the internet. And if you can't find it on the internet that's not a very good sign.


03-09-2011, 10:34 AM
Tony has some meager information on Becker;


From the looks of the photos, it is an older horizontal milling machine that has had an aftermarket vertical head installed. This was common in the 30's, and there were a number of suppliers. Many used obsolete or proprietary collet systems. That plus the cost of doing something with the 480 volt motor makes it pretty impratical.

Any milling machine is better than none at all, but anything over $100 or so would be a waste of money.

Bill Pace
03-09-2011, 12:33 PM
I also would say to pass on that one.

That mill could be a challenge to an experienced person, what with some odd ball collet system. If you cant attach an end mill, or drill chuck, boring bar, or ?? its not gonna do you any good - even if it was free. Then theres the 440v - doable, but a pain.

Being a newbie, I would suggest staying with an R8 system on the spindle, arguably the most popular - and, best availability, and low cost. Also, 3ph isnt the determent that it was in the past, what with the coming of the affordable VFD's (just not in 440v!)

03-09-2011, 01:49 PM
Thanks for the advice and info. guys. Much appreciated. I think I will let this one go. I don't want the headache of searching the world over for parts or tooling.



Mark Hockett
03-09-2011, 02:20 PM
It might help to know your location and budget. This forum has members all over the world. One might live near you and know a source for the equipment you are looking for.

03-09-2011, 02:49 PM
That looks like a neat machine to own as a conversation piece/project machine. I'd consider it kind of like buying a collector car and then restoring it. Not a daily-driver ;) Passing this one up is probably a good idea.

03-09-2011, 10:03 PM
Once you get a lathe setup and can make your own tooling and wear parts, restoring something like this is usually a fun project and not too difficult, but you do need some basic skill and tools first. Antique iron of this variety, say pre 1950 can usually be had for about scrap value, and if its big (you said the word farm which brings big sheds to mind), even cheaper. Personally I would not hesitate to buy a mill of this variety if it had either a common taper in the horizontal spindle or if it had a common vertical head on the overarm. You will actually see many of this type that have Bridgeport heads on them due to their commonality. Keep looking but dont hesitate to ask questions, and good luck.