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Tell me about the Burke Millrite mill

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  • Tell me about the Burke Millrite mill

    Tell me about that machine, please.
    I now have a 6x26 taiwan knee mill, very basic with no options on it. it seems to be accurate, more accurate than me, but it is so bare bones basic.
    My vise won't get all way back to the column, my rotab is too big for it,
    this taiwan machine was, I believe, when new was high quality, scraped ways, but........
    there is a Powermatic/Burke Millrite up for sale and I am interested.
    I don't want a full sized B'port. my garage is small.
    But the Millrite is interesting.
    Who can give me pros/cons on the Millrite?

  • #2
    I've had one for at least 15yrs. I love it. Mine was made in the mid 70's and in excellent condition. It also has a vari-speed head which I find most convenient. It is surprisingly capable with only 1hp (3ph, which provides 'instant' reverse), and best of all it is super easy to work with. I have bad shoulders and reaching high for the drawbar on a bridgeport is literally a pain. Mine has the R-8 spindle. It came with a one-shot oiler, and I added an X power feed and a DRO. Couldn't be happier with it.

    Mine also has only rapid downfeed, so any precision Z work must be done with the knee. That hasn't been a problem for me.
    Southwest Utah


    • #3
      Can you tell me,
      there is 2 different looks to that,
      a rounded cast looking head, and a squared sheet metal looking head.
      whats the difference?


      • #4
        The squared head is what I have and it houses the vari-speed drive. I think the rounded shrouds are belt-change machines. Does the one you're looking at have a dial in the middle of the front panel on that head?
        Southwest Utah


        • #5
          As for cons, the only thing I can think of is the occasional need for a bigger table. The Millrite has pretty good Z travel and even with a drill chuck or boring head in there you can get a pretty big workpiece mounted.

          As a matter of fact, I often bring work home to do on my mill rather than struggle with the full-sized mill at the shop. That one is belt-change and it seems I'm constantly changing speed for spotting/drilling/tapping etc.

          One thing to think about is the lack of back-gear. I don't know if any Millrite has one, mine doesn't and the slowest speed is 350 RPM. Hasn't been a problem though. I plumbed drains into the table end-trays and I use mist coolant so that min. speed works ok.
          Last edited by chipmaker4130; 06-10-2020, 10:33 PM.
          Southwest Utah


          • #6
            Neighbor had a full-sized one like a Bridgeport. I recall it was *very* well made, with a B&S no. 9 taper in the quill and built like a tank.
            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA


            • #7
              no, dial on the square head.
              it appears to be a step pulley speed chart inlaid in the square head
              it got bad pictures to go with it

     an aside note, I looked at a Burke combo mill in Jacksonville, it looked beefier than a B'port, had both horiz & vert spindles-motors in it, and I could see evidence of scraping in the ways; but they thought it was gold for their price, and it bigger than a B'port. too big for me


              • #8
                Well, please describe this;
                If the M-head B'port is the littlest B'port;
                then whats the difference between the Millrite and the M-head??


                • #9
                  I had one for 10 years and would probably still have it if a Bp size mill hadn’t been to good to pass on.

                  Mine had an R8 spindle, pulleys, no power down feed and was out of another guy’s basement so it was in nice shape.

                  It has a turret and you can slide the ram in and out. The head only articulated in the X-Axis so it’s not like a Bp in that respect.

                  You can fit X and Y axis feeds to it like a Bp. Not sure about the knee. Mine had a genuine Servo brand on the X.

                  If it’s in good shape, it’s worth a look.
                  Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
                  9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX


                  • #10
                    I have a mid 60's Burke Millrite, great machine for the home hobbyist. Powermatic bought Burke out and continued production with a different belt cover design. It weighs about 1500#.

                    The Millrite was like a pickup truck, tons of options available so the buyer could tailor specs to their requirements. Of course you would have to take what is on the market and decide if it would work for you. My machine is the base model which means the work envelope is about 16" x 8". There were at least 3 X tables (16", 21", 25" range), 8" Y range and fine or rapid downfeed. Optional power downfeed, crossfeed and head nod. Spindles B&S #9 or R8 along with several others. Various motors with accompanied spindle speeds. IMO, probably the most important thing to look for is a R8 spindle followed by whatever options you would require. I run my machine via a VFD which minimizes belt position changes.


                    • #11
                      I have one and like it. Step pulleys, R8, with a VFD, added a 2 axis DRO. Leaving the belt in the middle and dialing the speeds with the vfd gets 90% of what I need done as far as speeds go. It has a little more wear than I'd like on the Y axis, but realistically for my use it's not an issue.

                      Mine came with the fine downfeed quill which I absolutely hated, I got lucky and found a rapid feed head on Ebay a few years ago for cheap so I swapped it over.


                      • #12
                        I am betting that it's gone. They are actually in high demand because of their 3/4 BP size.
                        I had a Cincinnati Toolmaster and dropped down to the millrite. It's perfect for me.

                        If you get it and need help doing a clean up / paint. I did a write up that I never finished, but does have some ok pics on it.

                        John Titor, when are you.


                        • #13
                          Great info, thanks


                          • #14
                            I have had mine since the early 2000s and I love it. I can add much more than the others have said, but if you need a copy of the manual send me a PM. I scanned both my operation and maintenance manuals.


                            • #15
                              Don't get too large of a milling machine.
                              The extra weight in your neighborhood
                              might shift the earth on it's axis in an
                              unfavorable direction, and it might start
                              snowing in the summertime where you live.
                              It's a known problem to watch out for.