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View Full Version : What mill to buy to match my 12" lathe



yachtwork
12-29-2016, 09:08 AM
Hello all- Nice info on this forum. I am a marine engineer that does hydraulics, mechanical, welding and fitting, diesel, and electrical. I have never touched a lathe or other metal shop tools.

I am just now retiring and in the process of trying to put together a small machine shop for my property. I am thinking about being able to do some small machine work to accompany my other skills that will supplement my retirement.

With that in mind I just bought out a small home shop that was closing down. I got an Atlas/Craftsman commercial 12" lathe, metal band saw, drill press, 400 rpm mag drill with a 1" chuck, a Dipstick 160 mig/tig/stick machine with high freq attachment and a stand up belt/disk sander. That was 2500 delivered to my container.

How about that for leap of faith. Sight unseen off Craig's List. They dropped it at my dad's house a few hours back and he said it all looked in good nick. Crazy hu?

Now I want a mill that will fit with the tools that I already have. I have a small budget and am looking for ideas? I see some mills off Ebay or Craig's List and the Central Macine at Harbor Freight seems to get good reviews for 1000 bucks. I am looking for a mill that will accompany the 12" lathe that I already have.

Also I see on Harbor Freight there is a 9" lathe that is getting good reviews for about 800. Is that just crazy imported junk or it that worth having? I ask because I have a container that I am shipping back to New Zealand so I want to get as much equipment that I can use at one time.

Also are there some other tools that I should be loading up on? I am able to buy used in the states now and am sending a 40ft container to our home in New Zealand. In NZ I can also buy similar tools, as well as new China imports. There is just something about the older, heavy tools that seems "right."

I know these questions may sound a little "newbie" but I'm hoping to get a head start from the knowledge of the group.

Thanks for any advice you all might have.

Scott

Mcgyver
12-29-2016, 10:22 AM
There is just something about the older, heavy tools that seems "right."


not your fault, but this is the most tired old debate there is. The reasons for what you observe is the difference between something being built to a performance standard for commercial/industrial use....and something built to the lowest price possible for weekend warriors with big budget constraints. There is no comparison imo.....however I also do not know how people buy machines sight unseen at a distance.....so its a conundrum. The HF stuff seems bottom of the barrel.

The "right" mill for your situation is a full sized vertical knee mill. Bridgeport is the most common, but there are other slightly heavier excellent choices (mine for example is an XLO).

all just imo of course :)

mars-red
12-29-2016, 10:39 AM
Agreed, you'd be best off getting an older industrial grade machine for sure. But if space is a concern, there are a couple of smaller knee mills, I guess you'd call them pedestal mount, one made by Rockwell and one made by Clausing, you see them from time to time if you keep your eyes peeled. Since they're such conveniently sized knee mills for most home shops, they tend to command a premium though. If you have the space you can pick up the bigger machines for less, so a Bridgeport-sized knee mill would probably be the best all-around bet if you could accommodate it. Tree and Lagun seem to pop up in my area every now and then, and of course there are always some Bridgeports around... but it can be tough to find a Bridgeport in good shape, and they seem to sell for more than they should.

Where are you located? Knowing that might help us to help you.

bob308
12-29-2016, 10:42 AM
at the least a Clausing 8520 or a Rockwell. don't even look at a mill drill.

DS_park
12-29-2016, 10:51 AM
Looking at the OP, it appears he will be shipping from somewhere in the US to New Zealand. A little consideration of the US 120/240V 60 Hz vs 220V 50 Hz down there might save in the long run.

RB211
12-29-2016, 10:56 AM
Knee mill, Bridgeport or better. Of course I would say the same thing if your lathe was a Sherline...

flylo
12-29-2016, 11:39 AM
Here I'd buy a Bridgeport as parts are always available & resale is always higher.

Rich Carlstedt
12-29-2016, 11:42 AM
Brideport, hands down
If size is an issue, the older (pre 1960 ) Brideports had 9 " knees (Y travel) and step drive J heads that came in just under 2,000 pounds weight
The later models had 12" knees and varispeed J heads that can weigh over 2300 pounds (approx)
The 1940's model had a smaller "M" head ......just make sure if you look at one, that it has the Morse taper # 2 spindle !

Rich

chipmaker4130
12-29-2016, 11:55 AM
If you can find a Burke/Millrite vertical mill, it will be easier to deal with size-wise and it is still a very capable machine. I've had one for 15 years now and only a very few times have I run out of table travel. I think it would be a good fit with your other equipment. I particularly like the vari-speed head on mine.

flylo
12-29-2016, 12:18 PM
Many 32" table Bridgeports out there if space is a problem. I'd get a J head over an M head as it has a 5" quill travel vs 3.5" & R8 collets. Millrite made a horiz/vert mill I believe, that would be a very handy machine.

RB211
12-29-2016, 12:35 PM
My Bridgeport is circa 1950, with the step pulley J head. I prefer the step pulley and vector drive VFD combo. It's simpler, and easier to maintain. Lathes you can get by with smaller sizes if needed. With milling machines, you always want the mass and rigidity, if nothing else, expensive end mills last longer.


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yachtwork
12-29-2016, 01:23 PM
Agreed, you'd be best off getting an older industrial grade machine for sure. But if space is a concern, there are a couple of smaller knee mills, I guess you'd call them pedestal mount, one made by Rockwell and one made by Clausing, you see them from time to time if you keep your eyes peeled. Since they're such conveniently sized knee mills for most home shops, they tend to command a premium though. If you have the space you can pick up the bigger machines for less, so a Bridgeport-sized knee mill would probably be the best all-around bet if you could accommodate it. Tree and Lagun seem to pop up in my area every now and then, and of course there are always some Bridgeports around... but it can be tough to find a Bridgeport in good shape, and they seem to sell for more than they should.

Where are you located? Knowing that might help us to help you.

Great information. Where am I located? Funny you should ask. I am in the Caribbean working on a boat, thus the buying sight unseen. My container is in Sacramento California and it will all be shipped to Whangarei New Zealand.

Thanks again to the forum for the help and information

Axkiker
12-29-2016, 01:49 PM
I have this and it has served me well. I also have a 12" lathe.

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/metalworking-tools/metal-fabrication/milling-machines/690036-jvm-836-1-vertical-milling-machine-1-1-2-hp-115v-1-phase?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=COuwjIyImtECFQgJaQod12cMvA

I got it on ebay for less than 1k.

MikeL46
12-29-2016, 01:54 PM
Here's a Lagun mill in the San Francisco bay area:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LAGUN-REPUBLIC-FT-1S-MILLING-MACHINE-LARSON-PLANT-1000-E-CARSON-60HZ-SF-BAY-AREA-/182379170842?hash=item2a76a54c1a:g:UvcAAOSwo4pYRo0 R

Lagun is like a heavy duty Bridgeport. Well built. They are still business so parts are not an issue.

Mike

yachtwork
12-29-2016, 02:01 PM
Wow, what great info. Okay, a used Bridgeport milling machine it is.

I am seeing Bridgeport milling machines on Ebay from 1500 to 5k. I guess that old thing about condition, and what tooling comes with it. Just to be sure this is the type of thing I am looking for?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-Milling-Machine-/332020275239?hash=item4d4df35827:g:UrQAAOSw5cNYPJb 7

Anybody on the forum around the West side of the USA that might have a Brigeport milling machine feel free to PM me.

Thanks again.

Paul Alciatore
12-29-2016, 02:04 PM
"Bridgeport, hands down"? Where are all those Bridgeport bashers? How did Bridgeport suddenly pop to the top of the heap? I've never had or even been in the same room with a Bridgeport so I can't say, but it seems like a lot has been said about them here. So where do they fit, between the imports and better, heavier vertical mills?

When I purchased my mill I was concerned about several factors. Work envelope was perhaps the first. If the things I planned to make would not fit in the work envelope, then no matter how good it was, it would not serve. The second factor I looked at was round column vs. square or dovetail vs. knee mill. I had used a round column import and that was definitely out. I was tired of the difficulties of realignment when the head had to be moved up or down. I could not afford most of the knee models so I wound up with a dovetail column.

Another feature I wanted was the ability to tilt the head. This is almost essential for things like gear cutting/hobbing. Power feed was an essential. I also wound up with a motorized column and that made moving the head a lot easier.

Power was a consideration. I was not prepared to get three phase or a VFD so I had to have a single phase motor, 230V in my case. Finally, my shop at the time had a low ceiling so I had to get one that would fit AND OPERATE in less than seven feet.

ALL of the above was more important in my mind than import vs. US made. Price was also a prime factor. I wound up with an import that I purchased from Grizzly. I trust Grizzly more than any of the other importers. I have purchased several major tools from them and have not been disappointed. Of course, my expectations were not excessively high. My import mill did have some issues. For one, the table was and still is not as flat as I would like. It is probably +/- 0.002" overall. Not impossible, but far from what I want. I plan to do something about that. By comparison, my South Bend lathe, which is probably older than I am, also had issues. The top of the cross slide was about as bad as the Grizzly mill. I did a scraping operation with a tool mounted in the headstock spindle to flatten it. So buying a US or other "quality", used machine is no guarantee of quality.

I don't really think of a mill and a lathe as a matched set. I guess they can be somewhat in the same size range, but I'm not really sure how to define "same" in that sense. I would suggest that you consider what kind of work you anticipate doing and develop your own list of specs from there.

YES, be cautious, but don't let the guys here excessively prejudice you against any possible selection if it seems to match your specs, your needs.

Oh, one last thing to consider is the shipping cost. Where will you take delivery? What will it cost to ship it there. This can be a major factor. And how well will the seller package it? Who will be responsible for damage in shipment? No assumptions there, ASK.

Good luck with your shop and do keep us posted as you put things together. Pictures, pictures, pictures! We love to see them.




Brideport, hands down
If size is an issue, the older (pre 1960 ) Brideports had 9 " knees (Y travel) and step drive J heads that came in just under 2,000 pounds weight
The later models had 12" knees and varispeed J heads that can weigh over 2300 pounds (approx)
The 1940's model had a smaller "M" head ......just make sure if you look at one, that it has the Morse taper # 2 spindle !

Rich

wierdscience
12-29-2016, 03:00 PM
Wow, what great info. Okay, a used Bridgeport milling machine it is.

I am seeing Bridgeport milling machines on Ebay from 1500 to 5k. I guess that old thing about condition, and what tooling comes with it. Just to be sure this is the type of thing I am looking for?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-Milling-Machine-/332020275239?hash=item4d4df35827:g:UrQAAOSw5cNYPJb 7

Anybody on the forum around the West side of the USA that might have a Brigeport milling machine feel free to PM me.

Thanks again.

That mill is a "round ram" turret Bridgeport,it's probably 50+ years old and a model I would stay away from.The newer models have a dovetailed turret and are generally more desirable.

Another thing to look for is what spindle bore the machine has.Older Bridgeports used #2 and #3 Morse taper spindles and also some Brown and Sharp tapers,though those are rare.The more modern machines built in the last 40 years to current production have an R-8 spindle.R-8 tooling is much more common and much less expensive.

Not sure what your budget is,but these folks know Bridgeport mills inside and out,they also have replacement parts and occasionally have rebuilt machines for sale.

http://www.machinerypartsdepot.com/?gclid=CNTi1oWYmtECFQoNaQodfagA9Q

RB211
12-29-2016, 03:07 PM
Peoples complaint about Bridgeports is that the knuckle for the head is where rigidity is lossed. Still though, coming from a typical hobbyist mill to the Bridgeport, I am smiling ear to ear. People say however that going to a typical Bridgeport clone that is "heavier duty" offers the same magnitude difference above a Bridgeport. I wouldn't know, but with that said, I'd try one of the clones if preseneted. Why not?

BCRider
12-29-2016, 03:26 PM
Even with the round ram I'd say that if the dovetail ways are in good condition that this machine would be a total winner for a smaller shop such as yachtwork is trying to set up. ANY Bridgeport is a rather tall, heavy and imposing lump of metal. So the weaknesses of a round ram might be real but it's highly likely that he would seldom actually find the limits where the dovetail head would be a little better.

The things that would put me off that round ram B'port is if it uses an MT2. MT3 I could live with. But MT2 would be too small to ensure a rigid enough tool holding ability. Of course R-8 would be even better. But MT3 isn't all that much less. I lived with a small mill drill for years that had an MT3 quill and it was never an issue for rigidity or holding power.

While a B'port is a lovely mill I'm sort of thinking that as a match for yachtwork's Atlas 12" Commercial that it's a little over kill. You lot just finished going on with another member about how "light duty" the Atlas 12" is compared to other heavier brands of 12" lathes. So while I do agree that a knee mill is a great way to go that a B'port might be a jump or two in size larger than what a proper complement to the Atlas lathe would be.

Hey yachtwork, if your goal is to carry on mostly in the boating industry as your retirement work you might well find that you need a stouter lathe than what you bought. Things like prop shafts and many other boating related jobs involves fairly large and stout lumps of metal. If that is your goal you may want to get on you tube and look up "turnwright machine works" and watch a bunch of Keith's videos. His primary work is related to commercial work boats and medium to larger size private yachts. His machines are of a size suited to that scale of work. The lathe he uses would make your Atlas look like a toy. His mill makes a B'port look like a toy as well though. A lot of what he does with his mill could be done on a B'port though. But there's been a few things that I think would make a B'port shudder a little.

Now if your dad can find a B'port in nice enough condition for a reasonable price far be it from me to tell you that it's a waste. They really are a nice option. Just don't be surprised if it makes you want to upgrade the lathe at some future point because it can't keep up. On the other hand if you're OK with lighter and smaller stuff the Atlas would be just fine.

Baz
12-29-2016, 04:12 PM
Have a good hard look at what you are going to make. A BP is popular because it is common small industrial machine world wide with support and spares. Like a Ford family car not a Porsche and not a load carrier like an SUV but much more capable than a moped. A used car isn't tight on the steering and may need TLC. An old mill will not be square and the spindle may rattle. Ok for making brackets and steam engines, not for making injectors.
If you have a container lined up find out the weight limit for the bottom falling out and load it to the max with small used machines not imports and you will double the number of machines on the market in the antipodes.

Mcgyver
12-29-2016, 05:51 PM
Peoples complaint about Bridgeports is that the knuckle for the head is where rigidity is lossed. Still though, coming from a typical hobbyist mill to the Bridgeport, I am smiling ear to ear. People say however that going to a typical Bridgeport clone that is "heavier duty" offers the same magnitude difference above a Bridgeport. I wouldn't know, but with that said, I'd try one of the clones if preseneted. Why not?

yeah, I've never been too tough on the bports. They are very flexible (haha a nice double entendre eh?) and can do real work. 95% of the time you're likely doing light little jobs that come no where near taxing the work envelope rigidity or horsepower. Something like my XLO is a bit heavier but you got to be alot heavier for one mill to just completely outclass another.

I do think its safe though to say the bport is more certainly going to outclass a mini mill as you've discovered

flylo
12-29-2016, 09:16 PM
I don't think your XLO is going outclass a Bridgeport series 2. You do know they make different models, right:confused:

RB211
12-29-2016, 09:53 PM
I don't think your XLO is going outclass a Bridgeport series 2. You do know they make different models, right:confused:

He wasn't saying it outclassed a series 2 or any BP. I have a series 1, and could care less if other mills have a bigger dick than my mill.


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yachtwork
12-29-2016, 10:09 PM
Here's a Lagun mill in the San Francisco bay area:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LAGUN-REPUBLIC-FT-1S-MILLING-MACHINE-LARSON-PLANT-1000-E-CARSON-60HZ-SF-BAY-AREA-/182379170842?hash=item2a76a54c1a:g:UvcAAOSwo4pYRo0 R

Lagun is like a heavy duty Bridgeport. Well built. They are still business so parts are not an issue.

Mike

That Lagun looks very stout. What do you think this weighs? Maybe 3k lbs? The location seems very good as its only a couple hours from Sacramento. Does that seem like a good deal?

Thanks for the info.

Scott

Toolguy
12-29-2016, 10:10 PM
I spent most of my career on Bridgeports. They are entirely sufficient for pro class tool & die work. I have used most of the variants including 2 and 3 head hydraulic trace mills. Should be good enough for HSM work.

Toolguy
12-29-2016, 10:14 PM
The Lagun in general is a good machine, but that one looks like it's had a hard life. I would pass on it. California has a lot of machine dealers and individuals selling. I would look for one in better condition.

flylo
12-29-2016, 10:51 PM
He wasn't saying it outclassed a series 2 or any BP. I have a series 1, and could care less if other mills have a bigger dick than my mill.


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I was just explaining that Bridgeports make almost any size & as heavy duty as you need & do have better resale. I have a J head Brdgeport & a 3HP varispeed Pinnacle & both work fine for what I do. Many people complain about Bridgeport flex & if that's a problem then the series 2 is the cure but many haven't used or even seem to know about the bigger Bridgeports. No offense intended.

RB211
12-29-2016, 11:06 PM
I was just explaining that Bridgeports make almost any size & as heavy duty as you need & do have better resale. I have a J head Brdgeport & a 3HP varispeed Pinnacle & both work fine for what I do. Many people complain about Bridgeport flex & if that's a problem then the series 2 is the cure but many haven't used or even seem to know about the bigger Bridgeports. No offense intended.

Where is Sir John? By now he would be cursing R8 spindles and Bridgeports...


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sewingmachine
12-29-2016, 11:06 PM
I just bought a new Precision Matthews PM932M what you might call a table top mill. You can get 15" between the table and the spindle . The table is 9"x32" and the price well set up is about 2400 or 2500.And it doesn't take up as much room as a BP.
You might want to look at that way to go.

Dave

Doozer
12-29-2016, 11:20 PM
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i169/kooldoozer/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0110.jpg

Aim here,
but a Bridgeport might be cheaper.

-Doozer

1-800miner
12-29-2016, 11:48 PM
I just bought a mill that you may be interested in. I am near Sacramento. Since we are not allowed to sell on this forum. I think I will start another thread and brag about the mill that followed me home.

RB211
12-30-2016, 12:32 AM
Another nice thing about a knee mill, especially one that knods the head like a Bridgeport, is that you can adjust the tram to be perfect. Other mills, you have to hope it was fitted properly, and most import mills, you end up shimming things, or hand scraping to get perfect alignment. Truth be told, most people wouldn't know or care. That's the problem with this hobby. If you even have the slightest OCD issue, you can give yourself a full blown episode... But thats also the best part of the hobby, you can produce things to a level of quality that you could never purchase.

flylo
12-30-2016, 12:36 AM
George said a WTB is OK just PM him your # e-mail & do it offline which is very fair.