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  • Bridgeport Boss

    I'm looking for an inexpensive full sized mill to machine basically Slots, Drill holes ect nothing to complicated I was wundering what the draw backs or advantages would be to a Boss 5 with the rigid head.

    Thanks,
    David

  • #2
    My Bridgeport is a Boss 5 Rigid-Ram from about 1980.

    This is my first experience with CNC and so I don't have much to offer for camparison. My only other experience with milling was with a manual machine in High School.

    My mill is BIG and HEAVY. Luckily you don't move them often. It requires three-phase power. I have it connected to a PC and through a simple serial interface I can send it some G-Code. There are excellent programs available to generate the G-Code from virtual models like AutoCad etc. The limitation then becomes the RAM memory in the BOSS 5. It was originally designed for programs that were stored on perforated paper tape. The memory is roughly equivalent to 80' of paper tape. The programs generated by the computer software isn't very compact and doesn't take advantage of the Boss 5's capability to store routines that can be run when called by the program.

    Most of the people that I have come across have sought ways to "drip feed" the programs to the mill to get around the memory limitation. I'm not sure how successful this is without replacing the entire control because it wasn't designed to operate that way. It operates when you set it to recieve a program, then you send and exit and run the program.

    I am getting pretty handy using the BOSS 5 control manually and can set simple G-Code routines to do most operations like peck-drilling a series of holes or facings etc. I am getting more comfortable setting programs that cut very close to my hold-downs and finish surfaces. It is always scary the first time though because it is easy to make entry mistakes that crash the machine into your part or the table etc. I always run the first time with my hand on the hold button, and there is a handy control knob that will let you slow the machine to zero or to where it clicks off slower than .001"/per second.

    To tell you the truth, I'm very proud of my big metal robotic friend.

    Spence

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info The Boss im looking at Has had the tape reader removed and i do not see what i consider a conventional rs232 port this machine has a round port on it.Is it possible to use the machine from a rs232 without the reader installed?

      Thanks,
      David

      Comment


      • #4
        The magic cable I sold on ebay had a round end on one end. 25pin 232 on the other.

        Spence and others here has a good manual schematics and all. Don't let him fool you he has investigated his machine from one end to the other.

        David.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Ibew,

          And you were a great help then as well. Thanks Dave,

          But really everything that I learn only serves to open a window into how much there is that I don't know.

          I have helped a few people out on the Boss 5 and I am happy to share what I know. I'll give DDMatox enough to get him started right now and save him from failure or possibly hundreds of hours of research.

          DDMatox,
          I bought my machine for just over $1100. It was a pig in a poke because it had been through two owners that were unable to make it work. There was no documentation. There are no handles and so if you can't understand the control (and it isn't easy or intuitive) then you won't even get it to move.

          If you haven't bought this mill yet, a lot will depend on what you know about its condition. Can you power it up? Mine hadn't been turned on in many years. I was considering all new electronics. It does have a self-test routine and after the routine runs, the overlimit light should be on and several led's on the panel will be lit but the ERR light should not be on.

          The little round socket you mentioned is a serial port. Ibewgypsie sold a cable that has this socket on one end and a 25 pin D-shell female for the other end (this fits the old style serial port that was on most PC's until last year.)

          My mill has two of these sockets. One is for receiving data and the other is to send data to a paper tape punch machine.

          I would be happy to help you if you buy that machine. (I won't tell you I can make it work because I know nothing about your machine.)

          Two other things I want to give you. First that round plug and cable will be hard to find. The solution will be to replace it with a standard 9-pin D-Shell serial port socket like your old PC mouse used to use. There are only three wires involved anyway.

          Here is the crucial piece of information that has lead to many failures. All of the old wiring diagrams that I was able to find WERE WRONG!

          Well the truth is they were right when they were written but the serial port changed over the years.

          Anyway, you've found a good website, and if I can be of any assistance I'd be happy to do what I can. I've benefited so much by the help of Ibewgypsy and all the others.

          Thanks to all,

          Spence

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Spence, I'm sure I'm going to Need Alot of Help First question i have is What kind of collet does it use? Its not an R-8 Theres a spring loaded Nut on the spindle are these readily availabe?


            Thanks,
            David

            Comment


            • #7
              I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you.

              You will be in the same market as I am probably. These toolholders are called Kwik-Switch and are made by Universal Engineering. They are quite expensive even on the used market. The collets must be a type that will work for your holders and the holders are in 200, 300, 400 series depending on the horsepower of your mill. The collet lines are Acura-Flex and Acura-mill

              I've been watching Ebay and I've bought 6 holders so far. I need much more tooling but these average $70 each.

              Get ALL the tooling and accessories and manuals that you can included with the mill. Tooling often adds up to more of an investment than the machine itself.

              Spence

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              • #8
                From the Search I did looks like I wont be finding any in the MSC or Travers catalog.The fellow that has the mill doesnt have any Tooling only manuals he told me he thought it used Cat 30 Quick change he must be mistaken.

                Thanks,
                David

                Comment


                • #9
                  It could be a Cat 30, but you should know these things for sure because they will impact the cost of your tooling for quite a time to come.

                  [This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 05-25-2004).]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is some examples of Kwik switch or SPI series 200 toolholders. As far as killing you over them, I think I will pass. They are available, and usually around $75 ea.
                    In fact, I don't own these, they belong to a friend who might be willing to part with them. We just pass pictures back and forth and I had these on my computer.

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...4/jt-spi-1.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...4/80253-jt.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/75-80-1.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80253.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80252.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80251.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80250.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80249.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80248.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...34/1-80247.jpg

                    http://img58.photobucket.com/albums/...2234/spi-3.jpg
                    A serious accident is one that money can't fix.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Concerning the above links, the last one is not a toolholder, just a reference, for what is printed. Note that it is from an SPI book. The prices are probably not valid, so ignore them.
                      David from jax

                      [This message has been edited by sandman2234 (edited 05-25-2004).]
                      A serious accident is one that money can't fix.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Machine has A spring loaded nut It appears the same as the Picture at Universal Engineering's website And considering it has a 2HP J-Head on it I'd imagine it uses the Quick-Switch 200. If the machine wasnt 200 miles away I'd run over and look at it!

                        Thanks,
                        David

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Plenty of kwik switch collets on ebay.. best deal is the clamp collet that takes different bushings to take diff sized mills.
                          The 200's always bring a premium. I have saw people buy junk machines just to get the tooling. I saw two machines sell for $500.. I now have over 2k in tooling. Still don't have enough.
                          They rust overnight too.. the coolmist is the culprit.

                          David..

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I Spoke with the Seller again this evening he Checked the manuals and told me it uses The Erickson #30 Quickchange Toolong Is this standard Cat30?My luck probably not.


                            Thanks,
                            David

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              DDMattox,
                              The manual with my machine didn't mention the Kwik Switch tooling.
                              So I thought it was #30 taper.I bought a big pile of those,before I got the machine home.
                              Ha ha,joke was on me.
                              Ask the seller to look at the recess for two slots or two tangs.
                              The tangs drive #30 tooling,and the slots drive Kwik Switch tooling.
                              Robert.

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