How big is too big for a milling machine?

How big is too big for a milling machine?

Joined: July 11th, 2001, 7:44 pm

May 17th, 2007, 4:09 pm #1

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
Last edited by wved on May 17th, 2007, 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 22nd, 2001, 3:27 pm

May 17th, 2007, 8:32 pm #2

and longer table travel. I've done very large pieces of work on an old 1/2 hp. south Bend mill, I've bored 4" and 6" diameter holes through stainless with home made boring bars, a very funky setup but it worked! hth. james
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Joined: May 12th, 2005, 1:57 am

May 17th, 2007, 9:15 pm #3

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
Buy the biggest heaviest machine with the most capacity under the spindle that your money can buy. It really is as simple as that. As you know I have the lathemaster square column milling machine. I am very happy with it. I would however have gotten into a true knee mill if I had just a bit more spare greenbacks. The lathemaster mill however is a nice compromise and is around the price of the more expensive machine you posted and is much heavier and has considerably more capacity. The next step up from here would have to be the newer knee mills from grizzly that hover around the $2500.00 mark or a used American mill or clone. The larger mills you see on e-bay can be a great value and some are the Boss type that come equipped with cnc control. They are a great option if you intend to go that route because they come with the ballscrews and the motors and they can be setup with a control system that runs off a computer. The Tree mills I have had some experience with and they are simply a beast of a machine. The one I used was setup with a CNC control and I was amazed at the power that thing had. Talk about hogging metal!! I may end up selling my mill down the road and go that route but for now this mill really can do about anything I want to do with relative ease. This is no mini mill, make no mistake about that and it takes a heavy stand if you intend to build your own like I did. No wood tables for this thing. The machine weighs around 750lbs plus the power feed and the head lift motor. I guess in the end you pays your moneys and you makes your choices.... good luck.



Pete Matos
matospeter@charter.net
865-363-9218

Pete Matos
865-363-9218
Matospeter@charter.net
Safe Journey Space Fans, Wherever you are....
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Joined: October 14th, 2003, 4:56 am

May 18th, 2007, 10:22 am #4

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
...knee mill. They're basically a mini-Bridgeport. Very high quality with most all of the features of a Bridgeport but only about (I'm estimating) 1/2 the weight and bulk. They're light years ahead of any "drill-mill" in terms of versatility, rigidity and capacity. I kind of wish I had bought one when I had the chance several years ago. I ended up with a nice Bridgeport, but it's basically anchored in place due to the weight. If I were to move across country I'd sell it and buy another locally rather than pay to ship it.

The problem with finding nice older mini-machine tools is that every home shop machinist wants them. I've had several offers over the years to take large machines for cheap or free - I just had no way to move them inexpensively.

Don't be afraid of 3 phase requirements. I have a static phase converter on my mill that only cost about $100, was easy to install and works fine. You do lose some horespower with a static converter but I haven't even noticed the difference in everyday machining. I've done some heavy cutting, and my machine has only a 1.5hp motor.

Remember that (Unless something has changed in the past few years) most of the Asian motor ratings are low. A Taiwanese 1hp is about equal to a 3/4hp US motor.

I'd stay away from anything with a round column. Rigidity of the machine sucks (Some guys fill them with concrete) and it's impossible to move the head up and down and keep the spindle in position.

Whatever machine you get, within a short time you'll come across a job you want to do that requires a little bit larger machine than you have!
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Joined: September 18th, 2004, 10:48 am

May 18th, 2007, 11:27 am #5

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
Ed.weight and big size are your friend.Wait for a good local deal and get A bridgeport you won't be sorry.Tooling is common,A rotary 3 phase converter can be made for next to nothing.Light weight and regitity just don't sleep together. Frank C.
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Joined: June 24th, 2006, 1:54 am

May 25th, 2007, 4:13 am #6

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
on a 7 foot tall bridgeport. That thing must have been heavy.
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Joined: April 30th, 2007, 2:12 pm

May 25th, 2007, 7:34 pm #7

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
Just saying that the bigger you go, the more of a pain it can be to ship and install of buying second hand where shipping may be dock loading only.



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Joined: July 11th, 2001, 7:44 pm

May 26th, 2007, 12:08 am #8

(supposedly in good shape) but the shipping to my zip code was a bit over $1000, plus I didn't have a clue how I would move it into my basement if it did arrive.

Since I'm working rather small airgun stuff (maybe a 3/4" endmill or 2" fly cutter) I've decided to just get a smaller benchtop mill that only weighs about 500 pounds. Funny thing is that I have a bench top lathe that weighs about 3x as much as my Harbor Freight minilathe and it works great for most of my stuff yet I still go to the little 7x14 minilathe for the really small stuff (like trigger dowel pins & such) since the electronic variable speed is so useful compared to "belt switching" on the LatheMaster.

While both lathes are small lathes compared to "real ones" her is a pic of the 7x14 (I added a 14" bed) and my LatheMaster.
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Joined: April 30th, 2007, 2:12 pm

May 26th, 2007, 11:37 pm #9

Nice looking rig.



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Joined: February 4th, 2005, 11:51 pm

May 27th, 2007, 11:31 am #10

<P>Unlike lathes, it seems that there are a lot of used Bridgeports on ebay that cost only a couple thousand dollars but they are BIG and HEAVY suckers requiring 3 phase power and one Bridgeport type machine even required 4 phase (whatever that is).</P>
<P>The reason I ask is because I'm not planning to&nbsp;mill engine blocks, only airgun sized parts and so far I haven't needed to turn anything larger than a 5/8" end mill. Anywhoo.....Grizzly has this mill on sale for about $1400 including shipping and I was wondering what the "real world" working limits are. The motor is only 1 hp (my current nerf mill has 3/4hp) yet the sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity 1". It has the fine feed I'm looking for, R8 spindle (instead of the mt2 on my current mill/drill) and it weighs about 150 pounds more than my current "joke mill".</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0619</P>
<P>Grizzly also has a round column mill for about the same money shipped but it has a 2hp motor, is belt driven, has larger table and the shipping weight is about 670 pounds. The sales pitch claims "Drilling capacity: 1-1/4" so it seems that this machine would do everything&nbsp;I need.</P>
<P>Funny thing is that for about $500 dollars more there were some used HONKIN Bridgeports on Ebay that were supposedly "in good working order" but it&nbsp;would be tough haulin one in the back of my Civic. LOL I even checked the freight charges for&nbsp;an "Ebay&nbsp;special" and shipping&nbsp;was a bit over&nbsp;$1000 to my part of WV. It probably woundn't fit in my basement either! LOL :c(=)</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1006</P>
<P>Seems to me that even this Grizzly unit on sale for about a thou including shipping would serve my purposes and it also has a R8 spindle.</P>
<P>http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463</P>
<P>Thanks for any help y'all can give. I really could use a more useful mill than the one I have now but I don't want to buy a heavy unit till I get relocated to the Raleigh, NC area in the future.</P>
I have an old Bridgeport that I bought off a shop. Had it hauled 60 miles using a car-hauler. The tilt/sliding bed and winch came in handy getting the thing down onto the concrete and through the overhead door.

I borrowed scaffolding to move it across the shop. Assembled the scallfold around the mill, added the wheels, then used a hydraulic jack to lift the mill a little at a time, blocking as I went. Then slid 4x4s under the table and over the scaffold rails. Once off the ground an inch I could roll it into place to lower it. Works smooth, one man job.

I added a shopmade rotary converter complete with capacitor start. It has a normal (read small) bed. The slow-speed gear change is messed up, but still works.

If I had my druthers, I'd have bought an Index. Larger tables and deeper throats. They were popular with patternmakers.


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