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Missouri Mule
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Who all has one laying around here? I have been searching for a decent older j head Bridgeport for some time to no avail. Either want too much or already sold. It appears the invention of the vfd or at least the availability has driven the cost of older used mills through the roof. Used to you could buy one for scrap price. Anyone know of one near me for sale? I just want a decent one that I can tinker with. Prefer a 36" table for space but most are 42

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12 minutes ago, Sledgehammer said:

Been thinking about that myself. Watched a nice one sell last spring with tooling for $2700 at auction. 

Yah. That about the range I'm willing to go. Especially if it has a vice and tooling. Dont need a top end one. A little backlash is good with me. I just dont want a rust bucket that the neighbors can hear me fire up. 

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12 minutes ago, Missouri Mule said:

Yah. That about the range I'm willing to go. Especially if it has a vice and tooling. Dont need a top end one. A little backlash is good with me. I just dont want a rust bucket that the neighbors can hear me fire up. 

Yup, this had a nice Kurt vice on it. Haven’t seen anything priced like that since. 

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yah, tell me about it, I've missed several, I dunno how great they are, but consider this, I am pretty sure a grizzly new costs about what a Bridgeport used costs and then you gotta work on it or set it up. true a grizzly aint any Bridgeport, but perhaps a bird in the hand? 

 

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I don’t have to have a Bridgeport but would like older and quality. I’m not buying a newish one personally. 

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I've looked at grizzly too. Finally decided to the non machinist eyes a j head Bridgeport is the 1086 of mills. Parts everywhere. So that's my reason. I'll spend the bucks. Theres a nice one on marketplace for 3600 but its still a little more than I want to shell out. I'm just pretending. I also have been looking for a GOOD drill press and figured out I may as well buck up a few more ponies for a mill. 

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I want a Bridgeport but it hasn't worked out yet, going on 25 years...

I first bought a cheap combo mill/lathe from harbor freight. It got me started making shavings but I wasn't satisfied.

Then I got a nice harbor freight full sized lathe when they discontinued it at my local store. I got it for half price. It's a good mill and I use it more than I thought I would.

Last year I went to an estate auction and bought a 10 ft long south bend lathe, metal shaper and a snap on tool box full of tooling. It's in very good condition and I bought it for scrap price! I haven't gotten them set up yet though.

I have seen a few Bridgeport mills sell worth the money but I had no money at the time.

I'm beginning to think I may never get a Bridgeport mill...

Thx-Ace 

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You can still get older and quality without it saying Bridgeport on the face..... Cincinnati, South Bend, FM, Hitachi, Kent.... just to name a few.

Dang it. Now you reminded me how much I would like to have a vertical mill, lathe, and precision grinder. I really need to get a shop built. 

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8 hours ago, Sledgehammer said:

Been thinking about that myself. Watched a nice one sell last spring with tooling for $2700 at auction. 

that's a good price with tooling, I find them around here $1500.- $3500 depending on condition with DRO. and power feed, You can spend that much on tooling.

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54 minutes ago, lorenzo said:

They never seam to come up around here very often but when they do it’s never that cheap and almost always three phase. 

That's just it. Now for a couple hundred bucks you can order a vfd that doubles as a converter and voila. price has doubled on most cheap mills IMO 

I should add that before the j head step pulley design was least desirable because of the speed changing was a pita. now you hang a vfd on one, throw a speed pot next to your dro, and install the belt in the middle position and you have it. 3 phase motors are desired now for speed change. Step pulley heads are more robust than quick change. Another reason the older ones are higher 

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1 hour ago, m.c.farmerboy said:

that's a good price with tooling, I find them around here $1500.- $3500 depending on condition with DRO. and power feed, You can spend that much on tooling.

Better make it $1500-$6,000

Newer ones fetch 10-12. By newer I mean still 20 yrs old. 

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I built my shop in 1995,  and there WAS room for a Bridgeport back then.  I'm not sure there is now,  Been over a year since I last was able to walk/climb into the back corner!  

    I think ANYBODY that has a usable Bridgeport around here has a list of "potential next owners" because they NEVER come up for sale.  Guy that Mr.Plow and I know ended up buying a Giddings & Lewis horizontal boring mill to do Bridgeport type stuff.  And he got a WICKED GOOD deal on it to, plus he's only 35-40 miles from the old G&L plant.  

       I almost got a small tool room surface grinder about 15 yrs ago, small 3-phase motor but I have a VFD that makes 3 phase big enough to run it.  But getting stones would have been expensive. I ended up passing on it.

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5 hours ago, Cattech said:

You can still get older and quality without it saying Bridgeport on the face..... Cincinnati, South Bend, FM, Hitachi, Kent.... just to name a few.

Dang it. Now you reminded me how much I would like to have a vertical mill, lathe, and precision grinder. I really need to get a shop built. 

Your right. You absolutely can, however when you break something now what. Your sure limiting yourself to parts availability down the road. That's why I say they are the 1086 of vertical mills. I'm new at this and the chances of me hogging on something and crashing something is probably fair. Pull up Ebay and parts are everywhere. Marketplace has heads, dro's, power feeds, etc. That's my reason. The same holds true to my atlas lathe. Is it as nice as I'd like to have? No, but it works for me. Just the other day I was boring a hole in my atlas and broke my tailstock hold down piece that slides under the ways. Ebay and $30 later it was on it's way and even better yet was the part was updated to a much stronger design. 

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I’ve been looking for a mill for a while as well.  Bridgeports are fine for what they are but aren’t on my list.  I want something heavier.  My first preference would be a Van Norman 3RQ or 2RQ, but they are almost nonexistent, so I’m hoping to find something like a Van Norman 26/36/28/38, and would buy a Cincinnati Toolmaster if the opportunity arose.

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5 hours ago, Cattech said:

You can still get older and quality without it saying Bridgeport on the face..... Cincinnati, South Bend, FM, Hitachi, Kent.... just to name a few.

Dang it. Now you reminded me how much I would like to have a vertical mill, lathe, and precision grinder. I really need to get a shop built. 

I have an old round ram Bridgeport with a j head. It is fairly well worn, but it will still work. I also have a Taiwanese 14x40 lathe and an old surface grinder. I have picked up a lot of tooling over the years and they are really handy to have around. I also have a South bend 10 in storage.

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1 hour ago, Rawleigh99 said:

I have an old round ram Bridgeport with a j head. It is fairly well worn, but it will still work. I also have a Taiwanese 14x40 lathe and an old surface grinder. I have picked up a lot of tooling over the years and they are really handy to have around. I also have a South bend 10 in storage.

That wouldnt be too bad. Most of the older round rams I've found are the M head. Which would do what I want but I believe your quill is limited to 3" stroke unlike j which is 6.  So ive been told anyway. 

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It was the most popular model used heavily in US production likely getting thinner now having greatly downsized after decades of shifts to offshore production, there are many other brands that were better of beefier some having special collets, Kent, Jet, Van Norman, Cincinnati, Tree, Excello, Tos, etc all offered a better mill but support would be poorer, you used to be able to find some of these for a fraction of a Bridgeport and a better machine

I always had a romantic tie to getting one, had 3 at one time down to 2 now, buying the machine is just the price of admission tooling it up can cost the same as original purchase, R8 is popular and offered in multitude of tooling but a bit flimsy I would look for other

It nice to have but a good lathe and drill press goes a long way, I would only get one after those bases are covered

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13 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

Who all has one laying around here? I have been searching for a decent older j head Bridgeport for some time to no avail. Either want too much or already sold. It appears the invention of the vfd or at least the availability has driven the cost of older used mills through the roof. Used to you could buy one for scrap price. Anyone know of one near me for sale? I just want a decent one that I can tinker with. Prefer a 36" table for space but most are 42

If you can find one in my area I have no problem checking it out for you, I am taking a cutting table out to Bitty in march and can get it that far for you

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1 hour ago, hardtail said:

It was the most popular model used heavily in US production likely getting thinner now having greatly downsized after decades of shifts to offshore production, there are many other brands that were better of beefier some having special collets, Kent, Jet, Van Norman, Cincinnati, Tree, Excello, Tos, etc all offered a better mill but support would be poorer, you used to be able to find some of these for a fraction of a Bridgeport and a better machine

I always had a romantic tie to getting one, had 3 at one time down to 2 now, buying the machine is just the price of admission tooling it up can cost the same as original purchase, R8 is popular and offered in multitude of tooling but a bit flimsy I would look for other

It nice to have but a good lathe and drill press goes a long way, I would only get one after those bases are covered

Ok. I used to always think that too. I can think of a million things I can do on a mill, and lots of things I cant do on a drill press. If I have to spend 2k on a good drill press why wouldnt I just buy a mill??  I drill holes on a drill press. I can do that on a mill with a better setup for vice and accuracy. What am I missing?? We have a very good clausing drill press at work, and lots of times I use it for home projects. I have acess to it arguably more than I'm home. Even drilling with carbide cutters it still has enough chatter in the quill I dont like it. Twist drill bits are fine until you get over about 3/4.   So I ask you why a drill press first unless of coarse I run across one for a steal in which i will own one too. Currently i have a pos craftsman at home that should be thrown away because it chatters like a diesel. Disclaimer I'm an electrician not a machinist. 

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6 hours ago, m.c.farmerboy said:

that's a good price with tooling, I find them around here $1500.- $3500 depending on condition with DRO. and power feed, You can spend that much on tooling.

The 'with tooling' is kind of open ended. How much and what quality? Tooling for a mill is almost endless.

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Speed on getting job done, drill press wins hands down 

Accuracy usually not required to a level requiring a mill, drill press wins again

Holes drill press wins 9 out of 10, but really poor on side loading...milling

Depends on what you envision doing

Could go mill drill, a better drill than a mill which kind of worries your work away on mill mode

Then depends on what materials you anticipate machining, soft, speeds etc

Harder to crash stuff on manual mill vs Cnc unless you are an animal

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I just got a notice this morning about a sale with a quite a number of machine tools on it.  There are multiple Bridgeport mills on it.  Near Waterloo IA.  I can PM you the particulars if you want.

Edit to add.  Looked closer at the listings and there are 3 BPs there, and some BP accessories.

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