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Benchtop Bridgeport - what would you do?

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cederholm

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#1
Hi all,

I am a novice machine hobbyist with a with benchtop Bridgeport mill that I would love to use. My father bought it at an auction and never hooked it up. When he passed I inherited it. The problem is that it doesn't have a cross feed bed. Can they be purchased? Is it worth messing around with this?

My hope is to use it for small projects.

Would love any advice/thoughts. Pictures below.
~ Carl

IMG_4980.jpg

IMG_4981.jpg

IMG_4983.jpg
 

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darkzero

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#2
That's pretty cool. Looks like a drill press to me & not a mill. Never knew those existed.
 

Billh50

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#4
Looks like someone took a Bridgeport head and mounted it to a drill press stand. You can get a cross slide table for that just about anywhere that sells tooling. Won't be as sturdy as a real miller but would do for light work.
 

Bill C.

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#5
Hi all,

I am a novice machine hobbyist with a with benchtop Bridgeport mill that I would love to use. My father bought it at an auction and never hooked it up. When he passed I inherited it. The problem is that it doesn't have a cross feed bed. Can they be purchased? Is it worth messing around with this?

My hope is to use it for small projects.

Would love any advice/thoughts. Pictures below.
~ Carl

IMG_4980.jpg

IMG_4981.jpg

IMG_4983.jpg

Looks like you need a cross feed table to make it a milling machine. If it was mine try a Google search for a manual or more photos. I have never seen one, may have been a special built production WWII era machine.

Be sure to mount it on a heavy duty bench so any vibration will not weaken the table. I did read one advantage is it should be a direct electrical plug in. Apparently newer models are out there.
 

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T Bredehoft

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#6
I'm with Billh50, its a marriage. Its pure Bridgeport until you get to the pivot at the back. the unit on the column with the pivot in it is shop made to fit the two together. It still has the draw bar to tighten collets or tool holders, it just need a table.

It have it in a minute, were it offered.
 

cederholm

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#7
Thanks for the input everyone. The machine was purchases in the late '80 for a Raytheon auction and I assumed it used for something special.

Thanks for the info about the cross feed table, any brand recommendations?

Currently I use my Maximat Compact (see pic below) for light duty milling/learning to mill. Do you think this Bridgeport would be capable of heavier duty milling? Heavier than then the Maximat that is.

hqdefault.jpg ...borrowed this pic off the internet but it's the same as mine.

hqdefault.jpg
 

GA Gyro

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#8
I do not remember where I saw it, however I think I saw an add for a table that had both X and Y axis, screw driven, something like a foot square or so, and was around $400 give/take. Not very big, and I would not think it was 'that' accurate... however to do things like slots, facing, etc... probably would work fine.

Do a Google on it.. I suspect there are lots of offerings.
 

cederholm

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#9
That pivot always did look odd to me, now this makes sense!

I'm with Billh50, its a marriage. Its pure Bridgeport until you get to the pivot at the back. the unit on the column with the pivot in it is shop made to fit the two together.
 

mzayd3

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#10
I am thinking that might be too much like adding a table to a drill press. Milling requires rigidity and mass. I think you might be disappointed, just as I was when I added a table to my drill press.
 

mattthemuppet

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#11
you're not going to shower yourself with chips using it, but a nice X-Y table from Grizzly or Enco would let you do some light milling. It'll certainly be better than no mill :)

My only worry would be how much height you'll have between spindle and table once you've put a table and perhaps a vise on the table?

Another way to look at it - this might work just fine until that cheap unappreciated small horizontal mill pops up on CL near you. Quick bit of fabrication later and you'll have a cool vertical/ horizontal mill :D
 

cjtoombs

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#13
If that Bridgeport head is in good shape, you may be able to sell it for enough to get something that will work better as a mill than anything you can do with that. The suggestion to get a small horizontal mill and add that as a vertical head is also a good one. Someone else could probably look on ebay and find a Bridgeport in great shape missing a head for scrap metal price, but I don't have that kind of luck.
 

LEEQ

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#14
I would look for a mill with no head or crapped out head for scrap money and marry your head to it. I believe it came off a m head Bridgeport so that would be the easiest match up. I saw a nice solid x/y table 17" x 10" with dovetail ways and lead screw for the low low price of 8oo bucks. That would be the most advisable style of table for what you have in mind, not cheap flimsy drill press x/y tables. Two options, for my money I would want a mill put together for less than the good x/y table if I already owned the head. :)) I like the horizontal mill idea! That would lend itself to fixing up a very versatile machine. A lot folks wind up selling horizontal machines for less than vertical ones.
 

Eddyde

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#15
I concur, it's a shop made hybrid, bourn of Bridgeport head and unknown drill press base. While not a mill yet,
the X-Y table will work and should give you as good results as any similarly sized mill/drill would. However, as mentioned above, your Z axis clearance looks like it will be very limited. To fix that, you could replace the column with a longer one, it should be a fairly standard size.
 

cederholm

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Fantastic help everyone! I like the horizontal mill idea and the Bridgeport base idea. I need to start researching. Do you all agree that I have an M head?
 

Holescreek

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Yep, an M head. I'm surprised it's not too top heavy the way it's set up. By the time you put an XY table under it there wouldn't be any room for anything else. I used to see headless Bridgeports on Ebay once and awhile, If that falls through, that head is worth around $200 by itself.
 

chips&more

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#18
Yes as stated, it’s a Bridgeport M head stuck on a little drill press base…interesting. If you are looking for just one milling machine. The “M” style head is not really the best choice. And if you want a Bridgeport, then probably a Series I with a J head would be the one. Maybe sell what you have and use that $ to help fund a real mill…Good Luck, Dave.
 

Dave Smith

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I would save it and if you find an atlas horizontal mill or other small horizontal mill you could use it for vertical convenience ----there also are good XY tables that could be mounted to the base----I saw a M head last year I offered $200 for but the owned wanted $450 and declined.---I have an atlas hor mill that I am converting to vertical ---hang onto it at least till you get a benchtop mill----use it for what it is---it is unique---Dave
 

cederholm

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#21
Lots of great advice everyone, I appreciate all the input.

Dave mentions that the M style head might not be the best - can you guys enlighten me about the M style and some of the other Bridgeport heads?




Yes as stated, it’s a Bridgeport M head stuck on a little drill press base…interesting. If you are looking for just one milling machine. The “M” style head is not really the best choice. And if you want a Bridgeport, then probably a Series I with a J head would be the one. Maybe sell what you have and use that $ to help fund a real mill…Good Luck, Dave.
 

cederholm

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Dave, any perticuar reason that I should consider Atlas?

Thanks a bunch,
Carl


I would save it and if you find an atlas horizontal mill or other small horizontal mill you could use it for vertical convenience ----there also are good XY tables that could be mounted to the base----I saw a M head last year I offered $200 for but the owned wanted $450 and declined.---I have an atlas hor mill that I am converting to vertical ---hang onto it at least till you get a benchtop mill----use it for what it is---it is unique---Dave
 

Dave Smith

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#23
Lots of great advice everyone, I appreciate all the input.

Dave mentions that the M style head might not be the best - can you guys enlighten me about the M style and some of the other Bridgeport heads?

one thing the J head has better is it takes r8 collets and probably larger ---I'm not sure what the M head spindle takes---you could use yours with a crossslide rotary table and it would be very useful----search ebay for them --there are always some under $150
 

Dave Smith

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#24
Dave, any perticuar reason that I should consider Atlas?

Thanks a bunch,
Carl
Carl---I just thought I could have mounted it on my Atlas on the 1 1/2" support arm is why I made an offer on one--I think you could find a good cross-slide rotary table and just mount it on the lower base of your unit--usually with a rotary table you don't have to have much XY travel----Dave
 

Eddyde

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#26
Carl, What kinds work do you intend to mill? If its relatively small hobby stuff than that mill drill set up with an XY table will do just fine. at least to start. For years the only milling capacity I had was just a drill press with a shop made XY table, it certainly wasn't the most capable setup but it could do a lot.
 

cederholm

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#27
Hi Eddyde,

Yes small hobby stuff. ...and to learn on. I have a lot to learn about machining. :)


Carl, What kinds work do you intend to mill? If its relatively small hobby stuff than that mill drill set up with an XY table will do just fine. at least to start. For years the only milling capacity I had was just a drill press with a shop made XY table, it certainly wasn't the most capable setup but it could do a lot.
 

Holescreek

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#28
The "M" or "Master Milling " head was the first head Bridgeport made. It is a great little milling head provided you don't want power feed for boring (it has a manual downfeed handwheel) and don't want to use a collet over 1/2" in diameter. M heads were made in 3 collet sizes with B&S#7 taper and M2 taper being the most common. Collets are sometimes hard to find and can be had in sizes up to 1/2". I used an M head exclusively for a few years and made my own end mill holders to accept up to 3/4" shanked end mills. The motor HP being limited at 1/2HP (or was it 3/4?) meant you had to be careful on deep cuts. My machine did amazing work but because I did a lot of boring I wanted the power downfeed spindle of a J head. I bought a J-head assembly and made an adapter to mount it to my M-head mill. I sold the M-head later on to someone that wanted to mount it on a horizontal mill.
 

cederholm

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#29
Great overview on the M head, thank you for that. And thank you all for the wealth of information.

I think my current plan is to clean up the machine, buy a power inverter to get it running and go from there. If it runs well and is mostly complete a table will be in the near future and I'll keep on eye out for a Bridgeport base or a horizontal mill.

On that note!!! Can anyone share a photo of a vertical/horizontal hybrid? Preferably a home-built unit.

Thanks all!
Carl

The "M" or "Master Milling " head was the first head Bridgeport made. It is a great little milling head provided you don't want power feed for boring (it has a manual downfeed handwheel) and don't want to use a collet over 1/2" in diameter. M heads were made in 3 collet sizes with B&S#7 taper and M2 taper being the most common. Collets are sometimes hard to find and can be had in sizes up to 1/2". I used an M head exclusively for a few years and made my own end mill holders to accept up to 3/4" shanked end mills. The motor HP being limited at 1/2HP (or was it 3/4?) meant you had to be careful on deep cuts. My machine did amazing work but because I did a lot of boring I wanted the power downfeed spindle of a J head. I bought a J-head assembly and made an adapter to mount it to my M-head mill. I sold the M-head later on to someone that wanted to mount it on a horizontal mill.
 

franklynb

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#30
Thanks for the input everyone. The machine was purchases in the late '80 for a Raytheon auction and I assumed it used for something special.

Currently I use my Maximat Compact (see pic below) for light duty milling/learning to mill. Do you think this Bridgeport would be capable of heavier duty milling? Heavier than then the Maximat that is.
Hate to be the "contrarian" :whiteflag: but someone should say it. And you asked: "what would I do?"....

If you have a maximat I'd expect the table and post for the M head to UNDERPERFORM what you already have!

There is no way you're going to transfer the ~1? HP of that head into that tiny table -- too little clamping; too little
stiffness in the 2-1/2"? post; and you take a chance of flipping that tiny split clamp table right around the post every time
you hit some hard spot in the material -- or mis-gauge your initial depth of cut guess!

It makes a nice quill for making counterbores/sinks. That's about it. Not enough post height to hold a standard drill and chuck.
My Van Norman #12 frequently drives me a little crazy hunting for Z room and it has almost 7 inches between spindle and table!
A 4" drill and ~2" chuck and adapter chew that up pretty quickly.

What good is a drill press where you have to dismount the part to get the drill out? Think about it!

So; trade it for a real drill press -- like a Delta 14" or 17" floor model -- making a nice combo with your Maximat. And "google
is your friend"
. A brief image search of 'cincinatti mill and bridgeport head' yields a fair amount of eye candy and info.
No need to copy those images here! And the linked pages hold lots of beginner info and places to start your search.

You will quickly come to the conclusion that there is a reason these heads are mounted to a beefy table; reasonably spaced
real "ways" and a stout column! This setup is of extremely limited use without these features. This is why people mash them
up with old universal mills -- cheap real iron tables of stout design premise to match the HP of the head.

You wouldn't enjoy a 350hp V-8 stuffed into an MG Midget. Same deal here. The basis is too flimsy to make the package
enjoyable. And if you're not doing this for the pure enjoyment .... nuff said.

I have two of that same drill press base and they cannot handle any side load to speak of. They're extremely useful with
the 1/4hp belt drive motor and ~2" stroke quill that came with. Don't waste your money on
an X-Y table -- only to discover its a dangerous idea as the part comes flying off with the table. Or the entire table cracks
off the post at the clamp!

--frankb
 
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