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  1. #1
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    Default Vertical Mill for home garage

    Guys im in the market for a vertical mill for my home garage. Im not really interested in a mini mill. Any suggestions or what you can are using would be great, id love a Bridgeport or Millrite but idk if i have the room. also considering an older ENCO. any advice would be apprecated for discussion.

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    Full size vertical knee mills are common in one bay garage shops and very easy to move safely without paying a rigger per my posts on the subject. Mine is in a shipping container. Their footprint isn't very large and their capacity vs. some little shit mill is totally worth it. You can put them on angle iron to reposition with a pallet jack or fab a rolling base with levelling feet if you wish. (Make it mobile once and it's mobile for life.) Tooling and other stuff can hang on walls or go on shelving (angle iron is reasonable to build your own heavy duty custom shelving/racking) to clear floor space.

    Condition is key more than brand and Bridgeports are plentiful but not really high end units. Wells-Index are still in production, made in USA and though I have an old BP round ram I'd add a Wells in a heartbeat. Any vertical mill that takes R8 collets is suitable for hobby use. Enco make decent mills as do Sharp.

    Visit machinist forums because they are much better resources than any possible Chop Cult thread.


    VFDs make it easy to power your mill and offer continuously adjustable speed control. See the Practical Machinist forums on the subject.

    If possible you want a Kurt vise or good clone. They are easy to rebuild and kits are available.

    Don't overpay but don't buy a junker either since you want to make chips instead of work on machine tools though that's fun too.
    Last edited by farmall; 4 Weeks Ago at 8:11 AM.

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    Can't go wrong with a Bridgeport. You will have to have a rotary phase converter to run it. You have to have some vertical room as well, they are tall. A good used Bridgeport without bells & whistles can be had for $3000 - 4000. Tooling will set you back a couple Gs more.

    Jim

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    A VFD is more than sufficient for a vertical mill, weighs next to nothing vs heavy RPCs, and is far more convenient than an RPC (I also have a 15 HP rated American Rotary RPC) while taking little space. I'll be converting my mill and lathe to VFD eventually for the infinitely adjustable speed control. My bro (we helped build and outfit each others shops) borrowed my American Rotary (it's on wheels) until he got VFDs for his Economaster lathe, Clausing T&C grinder, surface grinder etc and is loving life. (He's rescraping his Bridgeport after taking the Keith Rucker scraping course then it will get one too.) I'm sold especially for lathe work where you can maintain surface speed when facing without changing gears/belt position. I'll keep my RPC for heavy work like running my three phase welder, and a larger compressor when I upgrade.

    https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...rters-and-vfd/

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    Try to find a Bridgeport with the J-head .....

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-...0AAOSwWZVdnU62
    Last edited by Dragstews; 4 Weeks Ago at 9:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Try to find a Bridgeport with the J-head .....

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-...0AAOSwWZVdnU62
    Aaaaaaa that one ....
    May be already spoken for ... ???
    (I put in a bid for it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Try to find a Bridgeport with the J-head .....

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-...0AAOSwWZVdnU62
    Note the ram. It's called a dovetail ram and is newer than the older round ram. That price is quite reasonable outside the Rust Belt. Note the wood if you use a forklift to load it. That not only protects the ram but is much less likely to slide off the forks! We had an experienced tech school instructor fail to use wood and drop a new Sharp mill. He was suitably embarassed...

    See machinist forums for inspecting whatever mill you consider. You can find most manuals free for download at machinist forums etc.

    For moving info you can google "moving a Bridgeport" which applies to other knee mills and machine tools. I do NOT recommend using machinery skates because machine tools have high CGs and narrow bases while skates rely on gravity and prayers. Skates need a perfect floor or close to it and don't work for loading on trailers. If you do use skates, the best is to use three of the usual two pair for the same reason a three-legged stool is stable.

    Steel for an outrigger dolly is reasonable (check your local metal suppliers) and used "big fucking casters" can be had with some looking. If I had to I'd buy new. Alternate option, use the outriggers and place pipe rollers beneath. You can rent pallet jacks but I bought one used because they're insanely handy.

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=43779

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49394

    Bros wooden pallet (note length) for a surface grinder move. http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49737
    Last edited by farmall; 4 Weeks Ago at 5:39 PM.

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    Let me tell you, moving a large mill is a great way to scare the fuck out of your brethren. He had on repeat "you're not actually gonna buy that are you?" which quickly changed over to "how the FUCK are we gonna get that piece of shit off the back of the truck?!" My somewhat serious reply "I'm gonna push it off the back into the mud."

    We moved it in the back of my silverado 1500 (tow package I believe) some 50 miles at about 30mph and I parked it in the driveway. The next day I had my buddy at a tow company come pick it with a regular hydraulic rig. He put the straps under it tight and that gave him just enough to pop it off my truck on the ground. Then I rolled it into the garage on a 1" pipe nipple and a couple 1" bars. Mine is 3 horse single phase and it's got plenty of oomph and it blows our shitty fuse box less than my toaster. It's a south bend vertical mill that has weird nmtb tooling but I bought a cheap cat40 set and ground notch grooves in it by eyeball with an angle grinder where the set screws made an indent:



    Fun fact a (old enough to have contracted and SURVIVED polio) member of my church designed that mill. He said they sold terrible, the best they could do was donate them to the local shop classes. Nobody wanted that weird drawbar setup.

    edit: a nice video for all you other idiots out there like me with half your garage taken up with stupid shit:

    Last edited by seaking; 3 Weeks Ago at 6:51 AM.

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    Much love for my K1500 but if I hauled machine tools in the bed I'd do what I did to my F150.

    Both come from the factory with soft rear springs. The F150 got Hellwig overload springs, Timbren urethane overload springs, and coilover shocks which don't conflict with each other. Then I installed a used Tommy Gate. Scroll down for jack assist method I used to load a mill.

    https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/8...-liftgate.html

    I should have scored a Tommy Gate years ago. Used is fine since they're easy to work on.

  10. #10

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    I moved my Bridgeport in a half ton pickup (lo - ri - der) after first removing the head to lower the C/G. There is a threaded hole in the center of the ram for an eye bolt for lifting. I called a weecker and the old man lifted the mill out of the truck and set it inside my rollup door slick as you please for $50. Then I pinch barred it across the floor to it's final position. Too easy.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Much love for my K1500 but if I hauled machine tools in the bed I'd do what I did to my F150.

    Both come from the factory with soft rear springs. The F150 got Hellwig overload springs, Timbren urethane overload springs, and coilover shocks which don't conflict with each other. Then I installed a used Tommy Gate. Scroll down for jack assist method I used to load a mill.

    https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/8...-liftgate.html

    I should have scored a Tommy Gate years ago. Used is fine since they're easy to work on.

    CAP at 1000lbs? That 1500 tow was perfect, nobody gave a shit when I sold it. Funny my brother was drooling over tacomas and ended up buying an '89 c2500 instead--they're all cheaper. He made the right choice it rides like a cadillac.

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