View Full Version : First CNC Mill advice: Bridgeport R2E3?

10-17-2011, 09:50 PM
Hey guys,

Another mill has popped up which is only a few hundred miles away from me.

It is a Bridgeport R2E3 Series 1. Guy wants 4k for it, seems like that might be ALL the money for one of these...

He is including a pc with some software he uses to drip feed it.

Everything works good except the spindle speed is stuck around 3k rpm.

He figures all someone needs to do is take the speed adjust pneumatics apart and clean everything up and it will work. No clue how this mechanism works.

It looks like it is in nice shape and comes with a small amount of tooling.

From what I have read this would be a great machine for a mach3 retrofit if the old control ever dies. (or if i get bored)

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!! Cheers




10-18-2011, 12:27 AM
I was part owner of a R2E3 a few years ago. We got it working but it had some intermittents in the controls and was not able to make it work repeatable. We lost interest in in.
We had drip feed working also.
I think 4k was about what we got it for. I believe it was sold for far less.

I wanted to give ours a brain replacement but the other partner did not believe that Mach 3 would work so he sold it.

Its Servos I think 100V so that means more expensive drives for a retrofit. The drives are not Step and direction. I think they are 10V analog. If i recall if you wanted to skip the Mach3 EMC rework there are some CNC controls out there that might be able to spice in. Of course its 3Ph for sure.
Tooling was Erickson QC30 which is not that easy to find.

Looks like that one also is a small table unit.

It looks like it has been working so that a plus.

Mechanically is a rather stout machine. If I had another chance at one have a go at it.


10-18-2011, 01:21 AM
The only part that will be three phase is the motor and possibly a coolant pump. The rest will be single phase.

If it works keep the existing control. Later on if it dies you can do other things like add some servo drives and mach or emc. The Dugong drives from Hungary are probably appropriate for it.

10-19-2011, 07:45 AM
The speed adjust mechanism is identical internally to a manual bridgeport with the variable speed head. Externally, they removed the crank assembly and put on a air motor. The air motor has 2 inlet/outlet ports, the ports are reversed for inlet and outlet function to run the air motor in different directions. The reversing of the inlet/outlet ports is handled by a 24v air solenoid in the control cabinet. Its a pretty simple setup.

These are 1980's machines and the iron is quite good. The electronics is of course way behind the times in terms of capability. The biggest thing to look at is the condition of the ways on the machine, that is of utmost importance. 4K would be a high price around here, 2.5k and down would be the norm selling price (not asking price)

NMTB30 quick change tooling is not that hard to find, ebay has a steady flow of it. I picked up about 50 holders over a year peroid for a average of $35 each.

If you later converted it to mach the existing power supply could be reused. Dugong drives would work fantastic on this machine.

I retrofitted a very similar machine to mach a couple years ago. It works fantastic and I am extremely pleased.

10-19-2011, 10:23 AM
Thanks for the info guys, i greatly appreciate it

Regarding the speed control, sounds very simple, not too worried about it after getting a brief overview on how it works.

Regarding the price, i was a bit disapointed when he said he wanted 4k for it.

I have been watching prices all over the internet and do realize that i should be able to buy one cheaper. Problem is very little comes up locally and because there are very few used machines up here, prices usually pretty high.

I have shipped a surface grinder and a mill from NJ and the cost was around 1k all said and done so I can take that into consideration.

I am still a bit unsure if I want to buck up for this little mill. There is a compumill with daynapath delta 20 i can get up here for around 6k. There is also a leadwell 450 drill tap on ebay i can likely get up here for about 7k.

Few different options so not too sure which way i should go.

What sort of feeds is the R2E3 capable of in steels?

10-19-2011, 10:51 AM

Metal removal rates will be similar to manual machines of the same size. It's still pretty much a gussied up turret style mill. With the advantages and disadvantages that come with that type.

If the price is right, it's a good intro in to CNC production. But if you "take off" with it, it can also quickly become a very limiting machine.


10-19-2011, 09:54 PM
$4000 isnt too out of line for a working machine.

You should be able to move some decent metal with it. More than a regular BP, the head is solid back to the column so it is a lot more rigid. Thats 3 less moving joints. Also the head bolts right to the column, no adjustment.

10-20-2011, 01:16 PM
Hmmm, something odd going on here.

The same machine is on eBay now - 180739250977. Its eBay Item Location is
given as Roseau, Minn. Wait, there is a comment at the end of the description
that the machine is located in Alberta, not Minn.

Perhaps the vendor noticed the R2E4 in Texas - 390121114322. Bigger table
and a $9.5k BiN.


10-20-2011, 05:31 PM
yep he listed it on kijiji also

when i talked to him thats what he said: "there are lots for sale for way more money then mine"

typical type of response

i am thinking i would rather find a non running servo series 2 machine on the cheap and do the retrofit right off the bat.....not really too keen on paying thousands extra for the working boss control

10-21-2011, 10:04 PM
Yep, I looked up the Kijiji ad first and came across the eBay listing later.

Might be interesting to call his bluff and throw down a bid. It is possible
the reserve is the same as the Ask on Ki, or it might also be lower.

Based on your conversation, the machine works now. If the variable speed
could be restored with just a solonoid or air motor, it appears the machine
would be fully functional again. Sub-4K for a local CNC mill doesn't seem
a lot for this locale. If there is some paying work on the horizon, it
might support itself right away and maybe fund a future upgrade ?


10-26-2011, 12:06 AM
out with the old! :D


10-26-2011, 12:25 PM
Word of caution - pick the front cover for the electrical distribution panel
up off the floor and reinstall it on the panel.


10-26-2011, 12:31 PM
haha thanks for the advise, my electrician neighbour always gives me crap about it

the electrical in my garage is a "work in progress" :o

my new mill comes with an RPC, which will make things much more tidy

10-26-2011, 12:38 PM
Then I suppose he has told you that it would only take something
falling off the left side of that Wurth cabinet in an unlucky way to
ruin your whole day.

Consider this, if a direct short occurs in the panel, what kind of arc
will there be and how far is it to the main disconnect?

It only takes a few fasteners to install the cover ...


10-27-2011, 06:22 PM
Got the Bridgeport back to my work. Getting a bit nervous about the move home.

I am going to take off the spindle motor...etc to make as short as possible.

The machine needs to be on a skid for the move home. Not exactly sure what type of skid i need to build. Also, how to get it off the skid once its home lol

10-27-2011, 09:07 PM
If you are familiar with the industrial areas of Calgary, you might might
make enquiries for sources of heavy duty pallets. There could be
something ready-made available for the asking or perhaps a modest
token of appreciation.

Another consideration is placing the machine on feet - fabricated ones
or commercial isolators. If these raise it sufficiently high, then you
can borrow or rent a common pallet jack to move it into place in your
shop. PJs are typically rated for 5,000 lbs and Hertz Edm rents them
for $30/day. This approach makes movement of my Ex-Cell-O 602
a simple matter.


10-27-2011, 10:42 PM
Got the Bridgeport back to my work. Getting a bit nervous about the move home.

I am going to take off the spindle motor...etc to make as short as possible.

The machine needs to be on a skid for the move home. Not exactly sure what type of skid i need to build. Also, how to get it off the skid once its home lol

I'd encourage you to forget the skid. If you strip away the cowling it looks basically the same as my series 1 bport cnc - they are a lot taller and heavier than a typical manual bridgeport. Problem one: mine arrived via crane truck, we set it on a pallet jack, carefully, until maybe 75% of the weight was on the jack...there was no way it was going to take it...wobbling and flexing like crazy. We then set it at the end driveway and I moved it like an Egyptian up the driveway, hard work but no danger.

The bigger problem is getting a mill, especially one quite a bit bigger than usual, off the skid safely. Not an easy task. I'd really recommend using 4x4 maple or some other hardwood - no softwood - pieces to set it on rather than a skid

none of this holds true if you've a 10ton overhead over course, but for the average home shop receiving a machine on a skid is serious bad news imo.

10-28-2011, 10:51 AM
Gentlemen let me say I greatly appreciate your advice

Alright so I built a "heavy duty" skid consisting of 2 pieces of .75" plywood top, 3 4x4's, .5"x6" ties on the bottom with all 3" wood screws with washers.

The guy who I bought this thing from bolted the mill to the skid with 2 - .5" x 9" bolts. He would not lift it via skid tho. I made it too small and slinging it was easier as he was all setup for it.

One problem being this mill only has 2 bolting locations, at the front.

The back of the base casting does not have any mounting holes. This sucks because the idea of installing some mounting feet and raising it up high enough to get forks under was a good one.

My garage door is only 7' so there is no way i can use a fork lift or picker truck to sling it in. My alley is also on a hill and my garge pad "curb" is also A
So far I have moved a 1200lb lathe in, a 900lb surface grinder and my 1500lb millrite in all on skids. I was able to use my cherry picker to lift the machines up enough to get the skids out.

Of course the bridgeport is far too heavy and tall for me to use my cherry picker. I was thinking I could build the skid large enough and build supports at the front to make it less front tippy and use the platform to stand on whild using the machine.

the only other option would be to build a temporary indoor crane to raise the machine up and remove the skid. None of these are ideal for me.

I bring a pallet jack home from work to move skidded stuff around at home so this is not a problem.


10-28-2011, 11:06 AM
I should also mention that I picked this mill up for $3000 including PC and 5hp RPC which is why jumped into this


Bruce Griffing
10-28-2011, 12:02 PM
I have a cnc BP - though not the same model as yours. Mine is lighter, but I think your can be moved in the same way as I move mine. I can move it around my shop with a pry bar. Here is the one I have:


I just put the bar under one side of the machine, lever that edge up and swivel the machine on the bar in which ever direction I want. It is slow, but very safe and reliable. I learned this trick from the riggers I used to move my Kitamura CNC mill.

10-28-2011, 12:10 PM
check out mine....


...if you remove the plastic cowling I'm fairly certain its the same underlying machine. The top of my speed drive/motor is off - that's why the top looks different - because these machines won't go through a 7 foot door (something else to be aware of). Also note that the ram on mine has the plastic covers removed - there is a through hole in the ram that is used for lifting...since the castings on yours look so similar i bet one is there as well

if you can lift a machine from above, getting the skid out is of course easy - hence my comment about the overhead crane. But this is a entirely different weight class as well as a very much higher centre of gravity than the other stuff you lifted. I don't even much like prying it around my garage - its is heavy and tall! You won't lift it with a cherry picker.....nor, at least imo, is it safe to move with a typical pallet jack (too heavy, too high a centre of gravity)

So the option to get it off the skid is lifting from below. puzzle through how to do that - it is precarious! I've done it with smaller machines and its a little nerve racking, there is just no way i would i attempted it on a machine this size, short of building all kinds of special rigging devices that wouldn't be worth the effort (compared to moving without a skid)

your call, just relying my thoughts after having moved what looks like a very similar machine :)

edit...reread your post...so you're thinking of leaving it on the skid? make sure its a heck of skid....and you will lose more clearance trying to get it through the 7' door meaning more of the top comes off. Some guys take the ram off which you might be able to do with the cherry picker.

10-28-2011, 12:59 PM
I would maybe try the pry bar with the knee all the way down, head components removed and sliding on sheet metal, thanks for the tip Bruce

Mr. Mcgyver, can you fly down tonight and give me a hand?

10-28-2011, 01:06 PM
I struggled getting the head apart last night, got hung up on the 2 dowel pins that hold the top cover on.

I didn't have any documentation or instructions and I didn't want to break anything but finally came to the conclusion there must be dowel pins. Broke out the mallet and flat head screwdriver and got it apart.

Once that came off the other stuff came out pretty easy. (more dowel pins)

I need to remove the spindle, no clue how it comes out, assuming from the bottom. I will post a picture later of my progress so far.

There is also a large timing gear that sits on a bearing that needs to come off to remove a sheet metal cover. There is no way to lock the pulley down so i am thinking impact??? maybe a chain wrench to hold the pulley, but i really don't want to damage that pulley.

It *looks like if i remove that pulley and sheet metal cover i will have access to whatever is underneath and then I can remove the spindle and remove the lower portion of the cast aluminum head housing and spindle motor.

10-28-2011, 02:18 PM
Mr. Mcgyver, can you fly down tonight and give me a hand?

lol, I'm in Calgary on Monday.....just for the day though

10-28-2011, 03:05 PM
I took EddyCurr good advice. I went up to Modern Tool at lunch (local machine tool dealer) and the shipper gave me one of their heavy duty skids a knee mill came in on.

Delivery service dropping it off this afternoon at my work. Thing is 6' square and beefy enough i should be able to strap the mill down and bolt it also

lol, I'm in Calgary on Monday.....just for the day though

haha i am moving the machine monday!!!!! perfect!! I'll get you back to the airport safe and sound. :D

j king
10-28-2011, 07:18 PM
here is my mill with the new style steppers .It was a challenge to mount them since the shaft size was smaller. I have it set at 120 ipm but it will go faster.Thats fast enough to crash.

All in all I am happy. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v24/ikimjing/my%20stuff/cncmillpics005-1.jpg



10-29-2011, 01:05 AM

I came across some online information which suggests that an R2E3 stands
about 90" tall (from the base) and weighs about 3,400 lbs.

The version of the XLO 602 shown below weighs 2,900 lbs and stands 83" tall
as shown. The machine feet visible are fitted to lengths of channel, together
the feet and channel create roughly 4" clearance under the base. There is
about 29" lateral clearance between the front and rear feet.


A standard pallet jack these days has a capacity of 5,500 lbs. Forks span
an outside width of 27" and require a minimum of 2-3/4" clearance, they
are available either in 42" or 48" lengths.

For moving, the mill table is centered in the 'X' direction, tight to the base in
the 'Y' and at its low point in the knee 'Z'. The pallet jack comes in from the
side and only needs to lift the machine a minimal amount so that the feet are
free of the floor - 1/2" is sufficient on my floor surfaces. Bringing the center
of gravity down and raising the machine very little work together to eliminate

I presume that you have some means to lift the mill at work. I invite
you to verify the actual weight and balance of the R2E3. If it seems
feasible, then consider equipping the mill with permanent (or temporary)
feet that permit a PJ to get under it while it is at the shop instead of
setting it on a skid. This eliminates the need to try to remove the skid
later or the need to work around the skid if left in place.

For an alternative to the approachs discussed so far, take a look at
hammerfest's machine dolly shown in post #1495 of the Shop Made
Tools thread (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=707503)


10-30-2011, 12:55 AM
spent a 3 hours finishing head dissasembly and getting this thing ready to bring home

finished! got it down to 79.5" tall



j king
10-30-2011, 08:08 AM
That is stable! Nice work.

10-31-2011, 02:33 PM
Costing me a few bucks but I am having riggers move the machine Tuesday morning.

In garage, off skid, in corner. Save me a lot of screwing around

11-01-2011, 05:05 PM
Some pics of the move




11-01-2011, 05:05 PM



11-01-2011, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the pictures.
I expected they would have used skates instead of black pipe.
It looks very happy in its corner.

Bruce Griffing
11-01-2011, 10:37 PM
Looks like a Standard Modern 13x40 to the left of the new mill as well. A great machine - I had one for several years. Loved it.

11-01-2011, 11:15 PM
Guys/gear like that make ti look real easy!

When you run that mill.... think about hot chips melting though the plastic over the wall insulation:)

11-15-2011, 12:59 PM
had some difficulty re assembling the head by myself but i managed to get it done.

a couple pictures for anybody in the future faced with the same problem


sacrificial ratchet strap at the brink of letting go


11-15-2011, 01:02 PM
Got the machine up and running, just dealing with the variable speed changer issues. Needs an air motor and a new worm gear.

Just waiting on a few parts from John Hernandez in Florida. Anybody ever deal with him? He seems to be a Bridgeport guru. He answers his phone "Bridgeport" :) I actually got his contact info from the parts guy at Hardinge lol

11-25-2011, 11:53 PM
Got the speed changer working and calibrated. Machine runs good in mdi mode, not so much drip feeding.
The control is going randomly into error 0040 "communication error" mode.
One minute my DNC program runs smoothly a few times, the next 0040 0040 0040
Also erratically takes about 4-5 tries to get DNC LINK when trying to connect from the pc
Then it works great for a while

Not sure how much time I want to invest in troubleshooting this old control. Next post might be a retrofit thread.

Anybody have any ideas on what a simple fix might be? Visually the db9 cable looks good and I have verified all the protocol settings.

11-26-2011, 02:50 AM
My memory is kind of fuzzy. Is DNC Link the software by the folk that made the original CAM software for the BP?
If I recall I only found one application that drip fed properly. I think you needed HW handshaking etc. the other issue could be since its 1980 technology the serial port on the thing probably has a tiny buffer and is easily overrun by even the slowest modern computer. I think I still have my old laptop that I had set up with mine machine. I will see what I had running on it.
Sounds a lot like some of the same issues we had. I wonder if there is any chance your machine is my old one. It was just the other side of the mountain.

Congrats on getting it working this far.

11-26-2011, 03:41 PM
I just had a look at my old laptop and this is what I found.
I have a program call EZCam which was written by the people who wrote the original stuff for BP. I also have a program call EZutil. I believe I used EZutil to drip feed or upload to the machine. Its memory is rather small.

Looking into my archives I have a couple things that might interest you. PM me and lets chat.
I also think somewhere I have a CD with all the manuals for the BP. If you don't have any manuals this might interest you.