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Sort of Stuck Bridgeport Ram

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  • Sort of Stuck Bridgeport Ram

    We all know about the Bridgeport rams that bind up due to rust and/or neglect. They can be a real PITA to free up. But I'm right in the middle of a job and my ram is "sort of stuck". It moves freely for a little less than 1/8" before it hits an immovable object with a solid "thunk". I can't figure out what's binding it up. If it were the clamps sticking, I wouldn't expect it to move at all. I'm probably overlooking something really obvious but I've been here for 12 hours and I figured I'd tap the brain-trust for some quick solutions...

  • #2
    Keep an eye on the power quill feed mechanism.
    If the drive is out of gear but the downfeed lever is partially on it will lock the quill. This is common on old well used machines.
    Last edited by Bented; 12-22-2020, 09:06 PM.

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    • #3
      Im assuming its a dovetail style ram ?
      Make sure the clamps are real loose and maybe give them a tap in, could also be a broken tooth giving you grief.
      Can you remove the pinion shaft ?

      ​​​​​​https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...rt-ram-298555/
      Might help.
      Last edited by redlee; 12-22-2020, 09:21 PM.
      Beaver County Alberta Canada

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      • #4
        Mhm. My memory isn't the greatest and it's been a bit since I've been into one, but I suspect that your clamps are twisting sideways, digging in and binding. Did you try them both really loose, and just barely lose?
        21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
        1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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        • #5
          Originally posted by redlee View Post
          Im assuming its a dovetail style ram ?
          Make sure the clamps are real loose and maybe give them a tap in, could also be a broken tooth giving you grief.
          Can you remove the pinion shaft ?

          ​​​​​​https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...rt-ram-298555/
          Might help.
          Yep, dovetail style ram. Doesn't seem to be the clamps. I can wiggle them about by poking my fingers into the ram. Might be a broken tooth. I'm on an old BP I picked up several years ago and I don't think I ever moved the ram or gave it the thorough cleaning / inspection I do most of my machines.

          Thanks for the quick replies, fellas. I wound up biting the bullet and doing the job in two setups. Still faster than mucking about with this ram. Add it to the list of "rainy day" fixes, I guess.

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          • #6
            You can pull the pinion out easily. It's just a double locking set screw or whatever retaining it. Then the ram should move by hand or with a ratchet strap, etc if it's a broken tooth.
            21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
            1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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            • #7
              Probably some swarf laying in the rack. Pull the pinion and clean it and anything ya can get to

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              • #8
                I have a vague memory of a pinion sliding out of alignment with rack and causing same symptom. Something like teeth properly oriented can slide over a shoulder but can’t rotate. I “think” it was a turret mill, but I just don’t recall.

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                • #9
                  Yes, the pinion comes out quite easily. Might offer some clues once you can see in there.

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