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Help in OKC - Bridgeport Purchase

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  • Help in OKC - Bridgeport Purchase

    Hello all,
    My first post is going to be one that has been posted 100 times already. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    I went to look at a Bridgeport step pulley mill, roughly 1962 vintage by the s/n, that was advertised on CL. Advertised as a nice machine by the way. Upon inspection, with my minimal experience but semi-understanding of what to look for, it seems the machine is pretty well used. The head sounds rattly, so I figure bearings may be on their way out. The x and y ways don't have any scraping, although there are nicks almost like the scraping was 90% wore but I'm not sure. The knee ways still had the factory scraping but I read that area isn't really a wear area. The x has about .040 of backlash and the y has about .070. I don't know how to adjust the gib or now to tell how much adjustment is left, so I didn't investigate that much. I do know the end of the gib seemed flush with the right edge of the table dovetail but that may not mean anything. The x and y are smooth through the middle and get tight about 2" from the limits. I heard this was another indicator of excessive wear. I grabbed the quill at full extension and it didn't seem to move and was smooth through the entire travel. I didn't think to grab the spindle and check movement. I dial indicator would probably have been required for this and I didn't have one. The table is dinged up pretty good, although it doesn't have any holes drilled in it. A surfacing would be required no matter what. Cosmetically the machine leaves a lot to be desired but I'm not too concerned about form as much as function. It's listed at $1850 and he came a little off that immediately. I think that may still be too high. I don't necessarily need factory new quality right now, so if this could get me by for a little while, I can either purchase a different machine or get one rebuilt. He has other equipment for sale, such as lathes, welders, etc, so I was also thinking that if he had something else I wanted, I could haggle a little more to help him get rid of multiple machines. I had been looking at the Grizzly G9901 to purchase. If I can save a bit, it helps ease the burden of getting a DRO and tooling.

    So what may something like this be worth?

    Also, is there anyone out there in the OKC area that may be willing to teach a new dog some tricks and possibly assist in looking at this machine?

    Thank you in advance.

    Jay Fleming

  • #2
    Since I'm not a B'port fan, my best advice, read this: What it's worth, depends on where you live, you have no location in your profile. Some areas are the machine tool equivalent of a desert.
    Last edited by Rosco-P; 08-08-2014, 09:55 AM.


    • #3
      I would never buy one like that mainly because of the ways. The other stuff isn't too hard to fix, but will cost money for parts. However, it depends on what you want it for. If you're only doing fabrication like milling, drilling and welding angle, square and round tubing, channel, etc. it would be OK for that.

      If you want to make accurate parts, it can be done, but the cost in time and effort is horrendous to work around the bad spots in the machine. I have had to use mills and lathes like that to earn a living on and it is a fight to the finish. Also, I bought a cheap lathe to get me by for a year until I could upgrade and ended up having it for 18 years. Thankfully I bought it new and reworked it into a decent machine at the beginning.

      I would be willing to teach you tricks, but I'm in KC not OKC.
      Last edited by Toolguy; 08-08-2014, 10:40 AM.
      Kansas City area


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies.

        Rosco, I haven't looked at Craigslist often, but I think I've seen 2 BPs come across in the last month or so. How that stacks up to other areas, I'm not sure. There have been a couple other brands but these are usually newer, better quality, larger and higher priced. I'm in Central OK.

        Toolguy, I may pass on it unless he's willing to come off considerably or lump it in with a good quality lathe. After talking to him, he seems to be a machinery peddler, although in his line of work, he has several different machines he uses. My first priority with a mill is to finish chain adjustment slots in a motorcycle swing arm, cut slots in flat steel plate (for said swing arm) and drill hole patterns in brackets. Some keyway work may be necessary and cutting splines would be real nice but that may be a pipe dream. Top notch accuracy isn't a must since these parts aren't mated to anything, most clearance work for bolts to pass through. You know of any good used equipment up around your way. KC and back is only a one day trip.


        • #5
          We have things coming and going around here fairly often. I'll snoop around and see what's in the area right now. What are you looking for? Just a mill, mill and/or lathe? Other?
          Kansas City area


          • #6
            The chicom equipment I had settled on prior to contemplating any old iron was the Grizzly G9901 mill and Grizzly G4003G lathe. I mention these for comparison sake. I could always go smaller to be able to do ONLY what I NEED to do, but I would rather spend a few bucks more (still within budget) and get equipment I can expand my possibilities with. I have a product I'm specifically working on but if times get slow, I want to know I can do outside work or other personal work to some extent. A converted CNC full size knee mill would be nice as long as it still had manual controls. So basically my needs/wants in said equipment are below. The budgets are based roughly on what new chicom equipment is listed at w/o certain accessories.

            Knee Mill
            1 HP + 230/3/60 fine
            42x9 table w/ 12" y travel preferred
            power x feed (without for the right price)
            Late model DRO a plus but not necessary
            Step pulley

            Budget $5000

            12x36 or at least a 1-1/2" spindle bore
            Gear Head
            Power long and cross feed
            Higher spindle speed the better

            Budget $3000

            I don't really know what else to look for in either of these. As always, additional tooling is a plus and budget can be adjusted accordingly.

            Edit: Haven't checked out KC Craigslist but just found these. It seems like Cromwell Quality Machinery must buy up all the used equipment in KC.

   BP mill
   BP mill, this one looks like it needs a fair amount of work
   Taiwan lathe
   Logan lathe
            Last edited by Jay Fleming; 08-08-2014, 05:50 PM.


            • #7
              You can get a really good lathe and a really good mill for those prices. Don't bother with a worn out machine. I bought my current lathe from Mark Cromwell. The Bridgeport for $3000 with vise and collets looks like a pretty good one. Probably worth the money. Have to inspect in person to know for sure. He has a lot of machines to choose from, might be worth a trip to check them out. He was a good guy to deal with.
              Kansas City area


              • #8
                Any major city what had a manufacturing base, or still does, will have some
                usually unusual, semi-skilled semi-knowledgable entrepenuer with two warehouses
                full of tools and machinery, he bought up at auctions, during our industrial DE-revolution.

                He thought he would make a killing when we rebound, which of course never has happened.
                One has to work at finding a time-slot to meet said {unusual, semi-skilled semi-knowledgable entrepenuer}.
                Because he is also the land-lord of a trailer-park, and owns three U-lock & U-store outfits.

                One usually has to climb over and around the contents of said two warehouse, to find your hidden treasure.
                Rarely is there any way to power up anything he has. You wait till he has a hard season, or owes some-one
                and then "Strike"! Offer a fair price for a few items grouped and pray he doesn't damage your goodies
                when he and cousin It pull them free from the pile.


                • #9
                  Toolguy, I may have to make a trip up there since most likely if I go to his shop I will be able to leave with something.

                  Old hat, that is the exact description of the guy with the BP I originally asked about. He is a race car builder and m ost of his stuff came from vo techs and colleges though. The warehouse description is dead on.