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Acra Milling Machine

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grantj

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#1
Hi all,

Any experience with the newer Acra brand Bridgeport clones? Most of the posts I can find about them are all about machines from the '90s.

They are Taiwanese made, and look like they come with some decent features on the base mill.
http://acramachinery.com/Manual_Machines/AM2.htm

I'm thinking about getting the Step Pulley and adding a VFD later. I'd like to hear a second opinion, but I don't think I'll notice much of a loss from going with their 2HP motor instead of a 3HP. From what I've read, higher HP on a manual mill, will only ever be noticed with large face mills or large diameter drills. I typically don't use either.



I'm leaning towards the Acra right now because it seems to be a good quality (for import) mill and they have a company in California that I could get parts from if needed.

The other mills I was looking at Birmingham's 9x49 and the PM935 and PM945V.

I don't have much to go off of, but for Birmingham, I've read some complaints about their lathes, that make me not trust them as much.

As for the PM stuff, the 935 is priced right, but I feel I'd miss the extra table and travel eventually and the 945 is just pushing what I want to spend right now.


I don't need any options with the equipment. I have a DRO and scales and a power feed from a RF45 that I will be upgrading from. I'm also not really interested in older mills. My income is supplemented by the work I do on my benchtop mill. I want to get the the new mill in my shop and up and running as soon as possible so I can sell the RF45. I live in NE Texas and the used equipment market is not booming, but old BP's are over-priced and hobby stuff sells quick.
 

Bob Korves

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#2
The older Acra machines are spoken well of. Not sure about new ones. You might have some real issues with moving the DRO scales and power feed from the RF45 to the Acra.
 

mksj

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#3
Acra has many models, I purchased their LCM-42. It is from the same production facility that produces the Sharp knee mill. Very high quality machine, and works very well. I went with the digital VFD head, it is very quiet other than the motor blower running all the time. I put the blower on a timer. Went with Align drives. If you have any questions you can PM me or call.

Although I usually build my own VFD systems, in my opinion it is not worth the small price difference vs. the factory installed VFD. The parts alone would have been about the cost difference. The motor is a VFD rated inverter drive, so 20-200Hz, it uses a Yaskawa VFD drive, there are 0 issues as far as performance.

I would contact Acra directly and speak to Tom, if you are interested in their mills.

Maxi Torque-Rite 1.jpg 3.jpg
 

Bob Korves

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#4
Why would someone want to flake the top of a mill table, beyond decorative, or perhaps trying to hide some sins?
 

mksj

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#5
Yes, Bob, I am sure they wasted many hours of labor time to "hide some sins". I would have gotten a grizzly mill if that was the case. I guess because the Acra/Sharp mills are made this way, they all have been doing it for decades to waste money. This is one of the smoothest operating mills I have ever used, and the quality of the fit and finish is about as good as it gets in this class of machine. But to each their own, I am just addressing the original posters questions, and that I would highly recommend this mill.
 

grantj

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#6
Thanks mksj. From everything I've read, they seem like solid machines that just work and owners use them for years.

I'll call the company on Monday.

A full BP style mill shouldn't have any trouble fitting in a normal 2 car garage?
 

Bob Korves

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#7
Yes, Bob, I am sure they wasted many hours of labor time to "hide some sins". I would have gotten a grizzly mill if that was the case. I guess because the Acra/Sharp mills are made this way, they all have been doing it for decades to waste money. This is one of the smoothest operating mills I have ever used, and the quality of the fit and finish is about as good as it gets in this class of machine. But to each their own, I am just addressing the original posters questions, and that I would highly recommend this mill.
So, the flaking was from the factory? That is unusual. It is seen a lot on "reconditioned" mills. I have nothing against those mills, they are highly regarded...
 

bss1

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#8
Those are beautiful mills. I have seen one in person and it was a really nice machine.
 

Bob Korves

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#9
The only one I have seen in person is Tom Lipton's (OxTools), and his is beautiful, Meehanite castings, nicely finished. It appears to be the equal of any Bridgeport...
 

Doubleeboy

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#10
The only one I have seen in person is Tom Lipton's (OxTools), and his is beautiful, Meehanite castings, nicely finished. It appears to be the equal of any Bridgeport...
I have seen a few BP clones taken apart, including a Sharp and an Acra, nice machines, but when you look on the knee cavity where the table sits, I believe this is called the "dog bone" you notice instantly compared to a BP the lack of mass and material on the imports. Not a deal killer but not as well supported IMO. A friend of mine was shocked when he bought a Sharp new to CNC 10 years ago, the difference between it and his BP was pretty obvious once the table was off.
 

grantj

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#11
Well, after a few back and forth e-mails, I was told by the company that was distributing the Acra mill that the shipping company they used did not have a terminal in Dallas...
His best suggestion was to hire a rigging company to get it here and quoted $895 just for the move.

Needless to say, I called Matt at Precision Matthews to put a deposit down his 9x49 instead. From everything I've read, I'm sure I won't be disappointed.
 

grantj

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#12
Just a coincidence, but one of the shops I do work with just got a new ACRA 10x54 milling machine. I was there this morning picking up some work and I got to see it, play with it a little and talk to the guy who uses it. The machinist that runs it has had it for a about a month now and is happy with it. A step up from the 1970-1980's Bridgeport he was using. (the 10x54 is significantly bigger).

The owner wasn't there so I didn't get to ask about shipping, but since they have a forklift, they wouldn't have had the trouble I did.

My PM9x49 comes next week, and I'm excited to get it. But if someone else is looking at the ACRA mill, it seems like a good import too.
 

Silverbullet

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#13
Bloody shipping sucks, cked shipping on an older van Norman 22 , cost to buy $895.00 obo , shipping $900, - $1,000. , no used van Norman in my future.
 

mksj

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#14
I ordered my Acra mill direct from the company in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Shipping to Tucson, AZ was $450. There may be higher charges if you do not have the means to offload it or need to have these machines delivered and offloaded to your workshop. Definitely too heavy for a lift gate. At one point I was looking at a heavy 1440 lathe of similar weight, I used one of several bidding services, and I recall it was going to be around $700 from CA. You are not really sure what you are going to end up with when you these type of services.

So something to really consider if you are getting a full size mill. Mine came well wrapped and arrived overnight from Ca. Fortunately Firestopper (Paco) was able to offload it and get it setup on a rolling base, then used a drop deck trailer to get it to my garage. Without his help, I would not have been able to deal with a full sized mill. There is something to be said for a heavier machine, very impressive when machining with it. Very happy with mine.

Delivery flatbed with several machines under the tarps.
1.jpg
 

bfd

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#15
I have the acra mill bought it at westec in la ordered it special single phase and had to wait 4 months for delivery bought a used chevy 2 1/2 ton truck and went down to Pomona to pick it up. rented a forklift to unload it scrapped the truck. mill works well bill
 
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