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So it begins... I brought my new (used) mill home today.

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  • So it begins... I brought my new (used) mill home today.

    First off, I have to say that I couldn't imagine doing it myself, but my hat is off to those of you who live in Boston - or any metropolitan area that gets heavy snowfall. Truth be told, I really think you all must be crazy to do it. I live in a rural area and try to avoid going anywhere with lots of traffic, but today I did the ~450 mile round trip to bring home a milling machine.

    As with pretty much everything I attempt, Murphy was my copilot today too, though he let me have a pretty reasonable trip. I started the day early with barely plowed roads and saw around 10 cars in the ditch, though almost all of them were single vehicle ones that looked to have been caused to by trying to stop fast and then ditching it to aviod hitting someone. There was one set of loose dual wheels rolled to a stop in the median that must have been interesting to see happen. The real eye opener was when I got about 35 miles from my destination and I found that I couldn't go across the Tobin bridge because they don't take cash for tolls. I had to take the last exit and before I was able to pull into a parking lot to rethink my route I made a turn that ended up routing me on some really narrow streets. Buildings packed in like sardines and seeing people trying to shovel out, but having nowhere to put the snow.

    I just couldn't imagine living like that. I think I'd go crazy. years ago I worked in Atlanta, but there's no snow worry there, except one rare day every few years. I also spent a little time in Gateshead, England, and that's more cramped, but also pretty unlikely to see that much snow. I've been a bunch of other places too, but never wintered anywhere urban and had to deal with heavy snow, and today made me certain that I don't ever want to. I'll take the midle of nowhere any day and twice on Sunday - especially when there is snow to deal with.

    But... back to the mill... I brought home the Millrite that I found on Craigslist last week. It's certainly going to need some work, but hopefully I don't find anything really bad that I didn't see already. it's a larger table model - 8 x 32 or 36 (I didn't put a tape on it to check yet). Here's what I know so far:

    1. The x-axis seems pretty good, though it is missing the dial on one side.
    2. The y-axis bearing holder is slightly afloat, but I'm hoping there's nothing terribly wrong back there. I can crank the table in and out, so I think it will be ok.
    3. The spindle seems ok, but the motor sounds a bit gravely at startup - I'm betting dry bearings. Eventually the motor will need to be upgraded anyways, but for now it's single phase that I can plug in and go with. The housing for the motor is shimmed up with 1/8" packs in 3 spots to align the pulleys which seems odd. I'm betting that can be remedied somehow by adjusting a pulley.
    4. The drawbar has had a new threaded end welded on. It looks to be a decent job, though I need to verify it is the correct length to get plenty of bite in the collets and chucks.
    5. 3/4 of the table is pretty rusty. you can see where there was a vise on one side where it didn't rust. There are also a couple small dimples from something being dropped or hit near one edge of the table, and one 1/4" drill mark. the rust doesn't seem too thick, but I hope my judgement is good.
    6. Someone "did me a favor" by greasing all the fittings, so it has to totally come apart to be cleaned, but I probably would have done that regardless.

    It's the machine I wanted, but like everyone else, I would have liked it to be more pristine than it was. It would have also been great if it had a power feed attached, but I should be able to add that later. for now it's still strapped in the back of the truck sitting in the driveway. I've got a foot of snow to clean tomorrow before I think about unloading. The 225 mile return trip through the salt and crap spray aren't doing it any favors, but I'll have it unloaded and sprayed down tomorrow. I got a tarp somewhat over the head, but who knows how much that stopped. For now here's a couple photos I took with my phone before I hit the road for home:

    edit: oh yeah, i forgot to mention this at first, but if anyone has good links to manuals or tear down tutorials for this i'd appreciate it. also, if any of you have opinions on whether the printed manuals sold on ebay are worth it, i'd like to know. i know there's a yahoo group for these that i'll check out too. since you can't tell because of the tarp, this one is a 1977 powermatic model.
    Last edited by lost_cause; 02-03-2015, 11:43 PM.

  • #2
    Just leave it on the truck. It's not that far to where I live (3, maybe 4000 miles or so) and you should be able to make it in 4 or 5 days. I'll even give you a hand unloading it.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


    • #3
      So what size is that? looks like a 3/4 scale and if so you just gotta luv it for the HMS'er

      good duty...


      • #4
        That would be a 8x36 table.
        And you got the extended knee for more Y travel. That's hard to find.


        • #5
          that's what my Jet is 8X36

          really is a great size mill you have there.


          • #6
            Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
            that's what my Jet is 8X36

            really is a great size mill you have there.
            thanks, it's pretty much exactly what i wanted. i was on the fence about a millrite because of the 7x27 table, and wasn't sure i'd be able to find one of the larger table variants. i didn't know anything about the knee variation, but the guy i got it from said something about that too. he really didn't know a lot about it either - said they'd mainly used it for drilling holes. i'll have to look into that once i get it inside. i was hoping for this or a 9x36 bridgeport, but a good portion of bridgeports were used heavily and pretty worn while millrites often spent more time sitting still. this thing shows neglect, but i don't think there is a massive amount of wear. time will tell once i get into it.


            • #7
              You don't need to worry about the grease. Just oil from now on and the grease will work itself out quickly. It doesn't hurt anything while its in there either.
              Southwest Utah


              • #8
                Hi lost_cause
                Is it the one I linked to in your other thread?
                Location: Long Island, N.Y.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RichR View Post
                  Hi lost_cause
                  Is it the one I linked to in your other thread?
                  it is. i had found it prior to your post - it's the mill that prompted me to create that post in the first case. i wasn't sure if i'd ever be able to get down there because of the winter weather. i didn't want to directly point at what i was looking at for fear that someone else might become interested and have more time to go look at it. we're getting snow every other day, and with the cleanup winter is becoming a full time job. today was really a crappy day to go because there is still non stop road cleanup going on everywhere, but i didn't want to wait any longer and chance losing it. with only fuel stops plus looking and loading time it was over an 11 hour trip. i could have probably shaved an hour if i knew my way to get around the outside of boston, but i don't and i had no navigator today.


                  • #10
                    Great american made HSM there.

                    lots of info here on the yahoo group

                    and some pics and info on part of my site

                    Anyways .. nice goin
                    John Titor, when are you.


                    • #11
                      congrats! You must be really pumped with your new mill, looks like it's just about the perfect size for a serious HSMer.


                      • #12
                        I also have a 1968 Millrite, it's a great "mini" Bridgeport, mine is torn down for a redo rite now so I'll be following your progress with much interest, Good luck with it, they really are perfect for the home machinist.


                        • #13
                          after another day of snow cleanup i got a friend to come over with his tractor & used the forks to unload it and set it in my garage this afternoon. i couldn't leave well enough alone and had to start taking it apart. as i noted earlier, the bearing carrier for the y-axis screw was floating when i bought it, and i wasn't sure whether there was any damage anywhere, but after getting everything out it it all looks fine. the ball crank handle was rusted to the screw so i used a puller to pop it off & found that one screw was missing from the bearing carrier and the other two were loose.

                          after complete removal of the cross feed screw, everything looks good and the screw shows no visible sign of wear at all. i can't be sure about the cross feed nut, but i think it's ok. it is bolted to the saddle with two shiny stainless steel bolts, which is a dead giveaway that they were put on at the boat shop where i bought the mill. they didn't do much to care for the mill, so hopefully there are no deeper issues. tomorrow i'll get the table & saddle off and maybe the knee.

                          now that the mill is in my shop with heat, the grease that is everywhere is warming up and things turn a lot easier. the knee is still a little dry, but hopefully that will soften up with some cleaning. right now i'm at the point where i need to decide how far this is going to go. do i just pull it all apart, clean and reassemble, or do i go right to full blown rebuild and paint... so far i'm only missing the one dial wheel from the table, plus a few odd thumb screws and set screws, but those i can replace with anything. i've got to start looking for that dial wheel and i think i'm gong to keep an eye out for a couple of hand wheels to match the others and replace the two ball cranks. maybe tomorrow i'll get some more pictures.


                          • #14
                            Millrite manual for a Burke, but should be the same as yours




                            • #15
                              Join the Burke Yahoo forum if you haven't already. Should prove to be a ready source of first hand information and possibly original parts.