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Some little known information.

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  • Some little known information.

    For some reason I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse , but I have had the fortune or misfortune of getting to work on a number of different brands of vertical milling machines Bridgeport type over the course of the last few years. So through experience let me tell you all . Even though we call them BP clones they are NOT. What i have found is they have the basic design of parts but the drive assembly ,the variable speed system is built different . Bridgeport use`s a slick shaft with a key with some thin plastic bushing and sometimes a plastic insert around the key for the pulleys to slide up and down to change speed. These are wear parts they wear out and the head gets noisy.
    The BP clones use a better system for instance Konda and Lagun use a big plastic spline bushing in both pulleys. Some mills have a bearing on the bottom of the motor pulley which helps take the load off the motor pulley the MCS mills use some kind of bronze spline insert in the pulleys .The mechanics of the back gear system is some different also not as fancy less parts and does the same thing.
    So i have come to the conclusion that these so called clones are different and have a better design . some mills i have been in ,in the last couple of years Induma , Enco Konda, MSC ,msc Vetrax ,Birmingham , Acra , Sharp , Alliant Bridgeport , YCI supermax.
    One thing I have noticed is they don`t have as much iron in them as a bridgeport ( the castings are not as thick ) but are heavily ribbed .
    Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self

  • #2
    Some little known information.


    I had always heard that Bridgeport parts would not necessarily work in a clone. I thought about buying an Enco or MSC at one time but it worried me too much. I ended up with a BP and have not had any problems with it. I noticed that some of the clones had some pretty nice improvements on the BP design. The Super Max, IIRC, has two table locks on the x axis.

    best regards
    Jim (KB4IVH)

    Only fools abuse their tools.


    • #3
      Yeah...I guess I never considered mills like the Lagun to be a clone in the same sense that say an Enco non-VS copy mill is. Some of those may be a Bridgeport knock off in functionality, but are inherently a different animal....and maybe better in some ways, too.

      After disassembling my BP, I have thought that some of the older heads (a relatively short period of time) that had a grease fitting on the back of the back gear housing were a better idea. Mine had a "flat" molded in, but no grease zerk or hole for one. The current scheme is that this section is permanently packed full, but what I found with mine was that even "packed full" eventually allows the bull gear to sling the grease away and create a lubricant-free void in which to run, surrounded by 2 pounds of grease that does nothing. I took the opportunity to add the grease zerk to mine and bought some of the NLGI 1 grease recommended to me to give it a shot now and then. It's now much quieter than when I bought it....just by keeping grease on the back gear.

      There certainly is room for improvement. The only thing I would offer is that sometimes fewer moving parts is better and sometimes there are real reasons things were designed the way they were. Someone posted here some years back about replacing the BP plastic bushings by boring out the holes and pressing in bronze. The delimma is that the shaft that then wears sooner is several hundred dollars. Yeah you save the hassle of replacing the $20 plastic bushings, but at what cost? In a production shop, however, maybe this makes sense with downtime costing dollars. For me, I probably won't wear out a new set of plastic ones and several hundred dollars worth of new mill parts means something else I won't get to do.

      Paul Carpenter
      Mapleton, IL