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  • Bench Top Milling Machines

    About a month after acquiring a lathe, I've been on the hunt for a mill. The milling machines I have looked at are worse than when I was looking for lathes. Today I looked at a Bridgeport, had a tarp over the top, but the table had been rained on for years. Ways rusted shut. Wanted $1000. I guess anything can be fixed, but no thanks. After having to strip down, clean, and make parts for my existing lathe, I don't want to do the same with a mill. I've been looking at some of the bench top mills like the Grizzly G0759, or something similar. What are your opinions on these machines?

  • #2
    Like all things, you get what you pay for .
    The right question is "What do you want to do with a mill ?"
    Work Size, Material, Speed all play a part.
    Do you want to drill ? - Takes a taller throat !

    If you intend to machine plastic or Aluminum with a 6" x 6" x6" window , and not use longer drill bits, then they are fine

    Seen some good BP's go for 1500 to 2500 but we don't know where you live, so any suggestions there are meaningless
    Rich
    Green Bay, WI

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    • #3
      Hands down better than a grizzly
      https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-...IAAOSw94pdXtfd

      Rich
      Green Bay, WI

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
        Like all things, you get what you pay for .
        The right question is "What do you want to do with a mill ?"
        Work Size, Material, Speed all play a part.
        Do you want to drill ? - Takes a taller throat !

        If you intend to machine plastic or Aluminum with a 6" x 6" x6" window , and not use longer drill bits, then they are fine

        Seen some good BP's go for 1500 to 2500 but we don't know where you live, so any suggestions there are meaningless
        Rich
        Los Angeles area. The machine pickings around here are not all that great, and the prices are on crack. I don't think I would do anything huge, but I would like to do steel, maybe stainless also. I will keep looking. Freight on that thing to LA can't be cheap.

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        • #5
          Bench Top Milling Machines

          Originally posted by junkaddict View Post
          Los Angeles area. The machine pickings around here are not all that great, and the prices are on crack. I don't think I would do anything huge, but I would like to do steel, maybe stainless also. I will keep looking. Freight on that thing to LA can't be cheap.
          LA is a big city that should have a really nice selection of used tools. If you’re willing to look up north, a friend of mine keeps mentioning a used tool dealer in Oakland that has a great selection of Bridgeports.
          The small tabletop mills such as the BV25 series I keep hearing about issues with very poor spindle bearings. If you are going to buy new, stick with tools made in Taiwan, and avoid all Chinese machines. Keep looking for used American Iron. Even my clapped out Bridgeport destroys the smaller Chinese mills. However, a new Taiwan knee mill would be a much better machine than my Bridgeport, until I re-scrape the ways. There’s something to be said for the old cast iron poured in the USA, although there’s many who will attest that a quality import knee mill wipes the floor of Bridgeport’s. If you can, stick to industrial machines.
          Do not fall for the trap that a smaller machine will be easier to handle and move around, there’s a reason machine tools weigh a lot. If you set yourself up to move 1000 lbs, then you can move around 3,000 lbs. Remove the fear and barrier of moving heavy equipment; It opens the door to quality industrial machines that are usually cheaper because they are 3 phase and weigh a lot. Two things that scare away most hobbyists, and most machine shops don’t want to bother with the tribulations of old used machines.


          Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
          Last edited by RB211; 08-24-2019, 04:26 AM.

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          • #6
            When I was shopping for a mill, I often found some used Bridgeports in LA area.
            They are there, you may have to give it a bit of time.

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            • #7
              Just did a quick Craigslist search for the L A area. There are currently nearly 3 dozen vetrical mills listed. Some have outrageous prices, but others seem reasonable. I wouldn't be hung up on the Bridgeport nane. There are a number of similar style machines that are just as good or better. The Bridgeport name is more recognizable and therefore commands more money. Other machines listed to consider are Index, or Wells Index, Sharp, Kondia, Webb, Lagun, and Tree.

              Personally I am biased towards the Tree brand machines. They are a bit heavier (and in my experience) a little more user friendly than the others. We had over a dozen of them in the shop I worked at and they were very reliable machines. When I was looking for a mill my first choice was a Tree 2UVRC like this one:

              https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...959038901.html

              The price doesn't seem out of line depending on the condition and the tooling included.

              I looked for over 2 years, but could only find a few that were either totally worn out, or priced way out of my comfort range. The one listed above looks like a good machine, but a thorough inspection would be necessary to confirm it. The only downside to the Tree machines is that tooling is a bit more expensive, and a bit harder to find than that for a Bridgeport.

              I ended up with a Bridgeport BR2J2 machine out of a local high school. Although it wasn't my first choice it has turned out to be an excellent machine.
              Last edited by projectnut; 08-24-2019, 09:36 PM.

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              • #8
                Didn't we have a forum member who was constantly singing about the problems with his Bridgeport and who celebrated when he replaced it? I guess my point is nothing is perfect.

                I purchased a new Grizzly about ten years ago. It is not a table top as it came with it's own stand. It is not perfect, but it does cut metal. So far the worst problem I have seen is that the table is not completely flat. It is off by about +/-0.002". This is not as bad of a problem as it may sound. A 5" milling vise sits on the high spots and only shows it's own problems, not the problems in the table. I guess if I had a critical job that was too large for the vise I would have to use shims to be certain it was sitting flat, but I have never had to do that.

                Features that I like on it include a dovetail column, power table feed, power vertical movement (saves a lot of cranking), and a gear head which has good low speeds. The quill down feed, unlike many import mills, is not metric with inaccurate inch markings on the dial. It is a true, accurate inch feed. But I do not like the fact that it is marked with 0.002" increments instead of 0.001". I added a digital caliper as a vertical axis DRO and that works just fine. I do not like the built in light because it is hard to position where I want it.

                Of course, YMMV.
                Paul A.
                SE Texas

                And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                • #9
                  G0759 looks like an anemia version of a RF-45 type mill. Depending on what you want to do it might be OK but you might also find a RF-45 cheaper and add a DRO if you want. All in all the 45's are not a bad hobby machine and will do most things that a bigger floor mount machine will do, at least for a home shop.

                  P.S. don't let the "Made in an ISO 90001" factory fool you. That doesn't mean it was made well, only that the paperwork that says it was made right was in order.
                  The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                  Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                  Southwestern Ontario. Canada

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by projectnut View Post
                    Just did a quick Craigslist search for the L A area. There are currently nearly 3 dozen vetrical mills listed. Some have outrageous prices, but others seem reasonable. I wouldn't be hung up on the Bridgeport nane. There are a number of similar style machines that are just as good or better. The Bridgeport name is more recognizable and therefore commands more money. Other machines listed to consider are Index, or Wells Index, Sharp, Kondia, Webb, Lagun, and Tree.

                    Personally I am biased towards the Tree brand machines. They are a bit heavier (and in my experience) a little more user friendly than the others. We had over a dozen of them in the shop I worked at and they were very reliable machines. When I was looking for a mill my first choice was a Tree 2UVRC like this one:

                    https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/tls/d/ventura-tree-model-2uvrc-vertical-mill/6959038901.html

                    The price doesn't seem out of line depending on the condition and the tooling included.

                    I looked for over 2 years, but could only find a few that were either totally worn out, or priced way out of my comfort range. The one listed above looks like a good machine, but a thorough inspection would be necessary to confirm it. The only downside to the Tree machines is that tooling is a bit more expensive, and a bit harder to find than that for a Bridgeport.

                    I ended up with a Bridgeport BR2J2 machine out of a local high school. Although it wasn't my first choice it has turned out to be an excellent machine.
                    Wow, that is a sweet looking machine. These are substantially more rigid than a Bridgeport, I seem to recall. Bridgeport's may demand more money, but I think I'd swap my 1983 2J2 for it in a heartbeat.

                    Dan
                    Salem, Oregon

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Danl View Post
                      Wow, that is a sweet looking machine. These are substantially more rigid than a Bridgeport, I seem to recall. Bridgeport's may demand more money, but I think I'd swap my 1983 2J2 for it in a heartbeat.

                      Dan
                      As would I

                      Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by junkaddict View Post
                        Los Angeles area. The machine pickings around here are not all that great, and the prices are on crack. I don't think I would do anything huge, but I would like to do steel, maybe stainless also. I will keep looking. Freight on that thing to LA can't be cheap.
                        Los Angelos is not a limited market, but if I lived there I'd consider anything from Hemet to San Diego in the reasonable distance market. I'm always on the lookout for just the right plastic injection machine, and CNC milling machine to add to my stable. Over the years I have seen a few at great deals. usually when I don't have any money. Living in Yuma, Az I do scan that market for a deal worth driving over pulling a trailer at 20MPH slower (**) than everybody else on the freeway. LOL. My Hurco KMB1 came from SoCal for just $500. I'd scan CL and the FB groups, but don't discount Ebay. I got my Hurco mill off what I thought was going to be an opening bid on Ebay, but nobody else bid on it. I was looking for CNC mills within 500 miles.

                        ** For those who don't know Ca limits vehicles pulling trailers to 55MPH even though the posted speed limit for everybody else is 70 and most are doing 80. Makes for a very long day picking up anything from SoCal.
                        *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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                        • #13
                          JA, you're the best person to answer your questions. Perhaps you just don't know which questions to ask.

                          First off do you have room for a full size BP or similar clone? They need height and room around them. It ends up being a pretty large size footprint. And don't forget the usual need for 3ph power. Which generally means a VFD these days. But really it's a space thing.

                          So size up your own work space and decide on what will fit before you swing either way.

                          Your lathe is a 12x36 which is the same size as mine. I'm a believer in not getting too small a mill for the lathe. In this case I'd say that an RF45 table top mill would be a good match on the lower end of the size spectrum to go with your lathe. Looking at the Grizzly G0759 I'd say it's too small of a mill to be a good match for a 12x36 lathe. It's on par with the smallish size mill drill I had at first. And while I did a lot of work with that machine I did find it to be a bit small in more than a few cases.

                          The RF45 really showed up on the market around the same time that I got a deal on my smaller size knee mill (same as the Grizzly G0731). Knowing what I know now I might have opted for the RF45 over the knee mill. On the other hand keeping I'm quite enjoying the fact that the cutting tools are up roughly at the same height all the time so I don't need to bend over or use a booster block to keep at the same height as the cutting operations to see what is going on. Advantage knee mill in this regard.

                          A full size BP is certainly by any standards larger than you would need to be a match to the lathe. But if you have the room and are willing to search for the right deal on one in good shape it would be worth it. On the other hand an RF45 style machine would not be a bad match up either. But I would say that the G0759 is a bit on the small side to be a good match with your lathe.
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                          • #14
                            I've had my heart set on an Atlas MHC bench mill, but it sure ain't gonna be happen this year... Just the right size and built in power feed with normal 110v electrics
                            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                            • #15
                              A regional bargain, but a bargain none the less. Recent auction in NJ, step-pulley BP J head $450, SouthBend vertical mill, long table $350.

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