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Thread: Supermax Mill

  1. #1
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    Mar 2015
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    Default Supermax Mill

    Anyone have experience with a Supermax mill? Looks like a Bridgeport clone, made by Yeong Chin in Taiwan. There's one for sale not too far from me, and I'm wondering if I should go and take a look at it. The owner says the motor runs but it wont go in gear. I'm thinking that if it's a Bridgeport clone, I can fix it. If it's not, then probably a deal breaker. I've never seen a Supermax before.
    “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

    Lewis Grizzard

  2. #2
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    Mar 2015
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    Bridgeport clone? Won't go in gear? I'm confused. Talking the back gear? The power downfeed? Bridgeports are belt driven...

  3. #3
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    I figure he means the back gear. Not sure as the only info I have is what was in the ad. Guess I'll have to make the trip to see it for myself.
    “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

    Lewis Grizzard

  4. #4
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    I have to admit I've never been inside an an actual Bridgeport, but I did recently rebuild a Spanish-made Exacto that had a "not going into gear" problem.

    The backgear-engagement lever on mine moves the gear that actually drives the spindle via the splines, into or out of engagement with the back gear idler.

    When in normal 1:1, the gear is raised, and engages dog splines at the top of the travel. In back gear, the sliding gear is lowered where it engages the back gear idler. You can see what I'm talking about here.

    Again, I'm not sure exactly how the Bridgeport one works, but on mine, the lever itself, and the two spring-loaded detents hold the gear in place. If it's not fully raised, or not fully lowered, you get nothing, the spindle won't turn with the motor running. And when I got the machine, the lever had been broken off the head, rendering the machine unusable until it was repaired.

    It sounds like you might have some similar situation. If it is truly a "clone" of a Bridgeeport, you should be able to find replacement parts fairly easily. If it's only "largely based on" a Bridgeport like my Exacto, parts can still be repaired or fabricated.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    I'm no expert, but I recently bought a Bridgeport and one of the clones I also carefully considered was a Supermax. They have a decent reputation, and from what I heard they're one of the better - or even best - foreign built clones. From what I recall, the ones built starting in the early 90's were built a little better than the 80's models. Also, some (most?) of the parts are interchangeable with a Bridgeport. And also, from what I heard, Supermax still provides good support on parts. If it's a good mill, and it's priced right, I'd strongly consider it.

  6. #6
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    Nothing wrong with a Supermax. Especially if you can get it for a good price.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Machine View Post
    I'm no expert, but I recently bought a Bridgeport and one of the clones I also carefully considered was a Supermax. They have a decent reputation, and from what I heard they're one of the better - or even best - foreign built clones. From what I recall, the ones built starting in the early 90's were built a little better than the 80's models. Also, some (most?) of the parts are interchangeable with a Bridgeport. And also, from what I heard, Supermax still provides good support on parts. If it's a good mill, and it's priced right, I'd strongly consider it.
    Thanks Machine, that's the kind of info I was looking for.
    “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

    Lewis Grizzard

  8. #8
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    I've been inside more than one J head, and a few variable speed ones as well. A couple of the J heads that wouldn't shift, just needed to be torn down, cleaned and lubed. Not a big job and can be done in a day. However, one memorable job involved replacing the timing belt that runs at the bottom of the assembly. That one got pretty involved. Don't recall the price of the belt, only remember it wasn't cheap.
    “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

    Lewis Grizzard

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    I recently bought a variable speed head Bridgeport and I tore the upper head down and rebuilt the entire variable speed drive system. So I'm familiar with the dual speed system. Here is a good video, which I've queued up to the point where they show the bull gear.

    https://youtu.be/B56XhVq1_bw?t=12m55s

    The bull gear slides up and down on a splined shaft. When you move the Hi/Low lever back and forth, it causes the entire bull gear to slide up and down. In the down position it engages the small gear (which remains in a fixed position) shown in the video. In the other position it moves the gear up so that the bull gear's teeth disengage the small gear and instead the bull gear's center part with the flat splines engages with the upper pulley (into high speed position). If it won't go into one or both gears, it could be it's just dry and needs lubrication or it could be that one or bearings is worn out on either the small gear and/or the splined shaft so that the bull gear's teeth are out of alignment with the small gear's teeth. Or it could simply be the engagement lever is not adjusted properly, or some combination. If the machine does not appear to be heavily worn or abused, and the head's not making awful sounds, I would suspect it to be a more minor problem.

    I'm no Bridgeport expert, this being the first one I've ever owned, but taking the head down was pretty easy, especially after viewing the excellent H&W videos. And the complete rebuild kit was like $300 for a variable speed head, cheaper than that for the step pulley designs, which I thought was reasonable. Not that you'd necessarily need to do that, you might not need any bearings, just cleaning, adjusting and lubing.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2006
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    Supermax machines are great. My CNC mill is a YCM-16VS that was converted to CNC by Tektronix for their model shop. They are every bit as good as a bridgeport, FWIW. I also have an old J head and they are nothing special.

    Parts are available and always reasonably priced, I think they parts are distributed by Ellison machine in Seattle. My mill came with a R8 spindle and looking through the manual they had sold a 30 taper spindle as well. Called Supermax up and the 30 taper spindle was only like $250.

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