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Thread: Bench Top Milling Machines

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Bench Top Milling Machines

    About a month after acquiring a lathe, I've been on the hunt for a mill. The milling machines I have looked at are worse than when I was looking for lathes. Today I looked at a Bridgeport, had a tarp over the top, but the table had been rained on for years. Ways rusted shut. Wanted $1000. I guess anything can be fixed, but no thanks. After having to strip down, clean, and make parts for my existing lathe, I don't want to do the same with a mill. I've been looking at some of the bench top mills like the Grizzly G0759, or something similar. What are your opinions on these machines?

  2. #2
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    Jul 2001
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    Green Bay, WI
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    Like all things, you get what you pay for .
    The right question is "What do you want to do with a mill ?"
    Work Size, Material, Speed all play a part.
    Do you want to drill ? - Takes a taller throat !

    If you intend to machine plastic or Aluminum with a 6" x 6" x6" window , and not use longer drill bits, then they are fine

    Seen some good BP's go for 1500 to 2500 but we don't know where you live, so any suggestions there are meaningless
    Rich

  3. #3
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    Hands down better than a grizzly
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-...IAAOSw94pdXtfd

    Rich

  4. #4
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    Jul 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
    Like all things, you get what you pay for .
    The right question is "What do you want to do with a mill ?"
    Work Size, Material, Speed all play a part.
    Do you want to drill ? - Takes a taller throat !

    If you intend to machine plastic or Aluminum with a 6" x 6" x6" window , and not use longer drill bits, then they are fine

    Seen some good BP's go for 1500 to 2500 but we don't know where you live, so any suggestions there are meaningless
    Rich
    Los Angeles area. The machine pickings around here are not all that great, and the prices are on crack. I don't think I would do anything huge, but I would like to do steel, maybe stainless also. I will keep looking. Freight on that thing to LA can't be cheap.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2015
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    Default Bench Top Milling Machines

    Quote Originally Posted by junkaddict View Post
    Los Angeles area. The machine pickings around here are not all that great, and the prices are on crack. I don't think I would do anything huge, but I would like to do steel, maybe stainless also. I will keep looking. Freight on that thing to LA can't be cheap.
    LA is a big city that should have a really nice selection of used tools. If you’re willing to look up north, a friend of mine keeps mentioning a used tool dealer in Oakland that has a great selection of Bridgeports.
    The small tabletop mills such as the BV25 series I keep hearing about issues with very poor spindle bearings. If you are going to buy new, stick with tools made in Taiwan, and avoid all Chinese machines. Keep looking for used American Iron. Even my clapped out Bridgeport destroys the smaller Chinese mills. However, a new Taiwan knee mill would be a much better machine than my Bridgeport, until I re-scrape the ways. There’s something to be said for the old cast iron poured in the USA, although there’s many who will attest that a quality import knee mill wipes the floor of Bridgeport’s. If you can, stick to industrial machines.
    Do not fall for the trap that a smaller machine will be easier to handle and move around, there’s a reason machine tools weigh a lot. If you set yourself up to move 1000 lbs, then you can move around 3,000 lbs. Remove the fear and barrier of moving heavy equipment; It opens the door to quality industrial machines that are usually cheaper because they are 3 phase and weigh a lot. Two things that scare away most hobbyists, and most machine shops don’t want to bother with the tribulations of old used machines.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by RB211; 08-24-2019 at 04:26 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    503

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    When I was shopping for a mill, I often found some used Bridgeports in LA area.
    They are there, you may have to give it a bit of time.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2009
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    Madison Wisconsin
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    Just did a quick Craigslist search for the L A area. There are currently nearly 3 dozen vetrical mills listed. Some have outrageous prices, but others seem reasonable. I wouldn't be hung up on the Bridgeport nane. There are a number of similar style machines that are just as good or better. The Bridgeport name is more recognizable and therefore commands more money. Other machines listed to consider are Index, or Wells Index, Sharp, Kondia, Webb, Lagun, and Tree.

    Personally I am biased towards the Tree brand machines. They are a bit heavier (and in my experience) a little more user friendly than the others. We had over a dozen of them in the shop I worked at and they were very reliable machines. When I was looking for a mill my first choice was a Tree 2UVRC like this one:

    https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...959038901.html

    The price doesn't seem out of line depending on the condition and the tooling included.

    I looked for over 2 years, but could only find a few that were either totally worn out, or priced way out of my comfort range. The one listed above looks like a good machine, but a thorough inspection would be necessary to confirm it. The only downside to the Tree machines is that tooling is a bit more expensive, and a bit harder to find than that for a Bridgeport.

    I ended up with a Bridgeport BR2J2 machine out of a local high school. Although it wasn't my first choice it has turned out to be an excellent machine.
    Last edited by projectnut; 08-24-2019 at 09:36 PM.

  8. #8
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    May 2002
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    SE Texas
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    Didn't we have a forum member who was constantly singing about the problems with his Bridgeport and who celebrated when he replaced it? I guess my point is nothing is perfect.

    I purchased a new Grizzly about ten years ago. It is not a table top as it came with it's own stand. It is not perfect, but it does cut metal. So far the worst problem I have seen is that the table is not completely flat. It is off by about +/-0.002". This is not as bad of a problem as it may sound. A 5" milling vise sits on the high spots and only shows it's own problems, not the problems in the table. I guess if I had a critical job that was too large for the vise I would have to use shims to be certain it was sitting flat, but I have never had to do that.

    Features that I like on it include a dovetail column, power table feed, power vertical movement (saves a lot of cranking), and a gear head which has good low speeds. The quill down feed, unlike many import mills, is not metric with inaccurate inch markings on the dial. It is a true, accurate inch feed. But I do not like the fact that it is marked with 0.002" increments instead of 0.001". I added a digital caliper as a vertical axis DRO and that works just fine. I do not like the built in light because it is hard to position where I want it.

    Of course, YMMV.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  9. #9
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    Sep 2006
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    Southwestern Ontario, Canada
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    G0759 looks like an anemia version of a RF-45 type mill. Depending on what you want to do it might be OK but you might also find a RF-45 cheaper and add a DRO if you want. All in all the 45's are not a bad hobby machine and will do most things that a bigger floor mount machine will do, at least for a home shop.

    P.S. don't let the "Made in an ISO 90001" factory fool you. That doesn't mean it was made well, only that the paperwork that says it was made right was in order.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Salem, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by projectnut View Post
    Just did a quick Craigslist search for the L A area. There are currently nearly 3 dozen vetrical mills listed. Some have outrageous prices, but others seem reasonable. I wouldn't be hung up on the Bridgeport nane. There are a number of similar style machines that are just as good or better. The Bridgeport name is more recognizable and therefore commands more money. Other machines listed to consider are Index, or Wells Index, Sharp, Kondia, Webb, Lagun, and Tree.

    Personally I am biased towards the Tree brand machines. They are a bit heavier (and in my experience) a little more user friendly than the others. We had over a dozen of them in the shop I worked at and they were very reliable machines. When I was looking for a mill my first choice was a Tree 2UVRC like this one:

    https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/tls/d/ventura-tree-model-2uvrc-vertical-mill/6959038901.html

    The price doesn't seem out of line depending on the condition and the tooling included.

    I looked for over 2 years, but could only find a few that were either totally worn out, or priced way out of my comfort range. The one listed above looks like a good machine, but a thorough inspection would be necessary to confirm it. The only downside to the Tree machines is that tooling is a bit more expensive, and a bit harder to find than that for a Bridgeport.

    I ended up with a Bridgeport BR2J2 machine out of a local high school. Although it wasn't my first choice it has turned out to be an excellent machine.
    Wow, that is a sweet looking machine. These are substantially more rigid than a Bridgeport, I seem to recall. Bridgeport's may demand more money, but I think I'd swap my 1983 2J2 for it in a heartbeat.

    Dan
    “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.” (Problems of War and Strategy, Nov 6 1938, published in “Selected Works of Mao Zedong,” 1965)

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