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Comparing A Burke #4 With Some Of The New Chinese Stuff

Discussion in 'BURKE-US MACHINE TOOL & BARKER MACHINES' started by thenrie, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. thenrie

    thenrie Active User Active Member

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    I am looking at a very nice Burke #4. The asking price is commensurate with the condition of the mill, though. This thing is clean, has original paint, and looks like it has seen very little use in its life. It has the universal table, power feed X, original geared motor, 3-1/2X20 table is in excellent condition, ways are almost pristine, but it comes with only a few end mill cutters and collets for tooling. Not even a horizontal arbor, although all the castings are there. No vertical head, no vice, no indexer, none of the stuff I'm going to have to buy, eventually.

    Now, I have read a lot of great stuff about these little mills, and know they are excellent within the envelope of their capabilities. One of the projects I have in mind is a MLA cross slide for my South Bend 9A lathe. This will require surfacing the topside and ways that are just over 11" long. From what I read, the Burke's X travel is limited to about 8-1/2". Most of my projects will not be that long, but it does pose the question below in my mind.

    I can buy a decent benchtop Asian mill (Bolton, Grizzly, Jet, etc) for about the same price as this Burke. The Asian mills in the same price range all have a much longer X and Y travel and have larger beds and appear to have a larger capability envelope. What do you think? Will I be better off with an Asian benchtop in the $1500 price range or this Burke? Compare to something like the Grizzly G0463 or G0795, or even the G0727 horiz/vert mill.

    I guess I should mention that I am quite partial to vintage machinery, so if the value is there, I nearly always opt for the good old US-made stuff.
     
  2. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Tony---do the Asian mills come with all the accessories that are missing from the Burke?---I think if you like vintage old iron--then keep watching for a larger mill that may come with a lot of accessories and tooling---I would think you could find one in the $1500 price range--as long as you have room for a larger mill-----( just an example )---I have an old Bridgeport that I would sell for that price and an old Hendy/Norton universal #2 mill for half that price---so keep looking or make the Burke owner an offer of $400-$500 so you would have money to buy the needed parts----Dave
     
  3. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Or get a Burke Millrite like I have, my second one. Tables are from 7x27 to 8x36", X travel from 21-25", Z travel 16+". Same high quality as the #4, weight around 1300-1400#, so more rigid than the bench top imports. Prices are in the ballpark of the choices you mentioned. Millrite mills are vertical only, about like a 75% size Bridgeport. Well designed and built machines...
     
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  4. thenrie

    thenrie Active User Active Member

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    I read this evening that some Burke #4s were equipped with a longer table and an X travel of 12" as opposed to the 3.5X16 table with 8" travel. Can anybody confirm this? Does that mean this mill I'm looking at with a 3/5X20 table has 12" of travel in the X axis?

    Dave, the Asian mills I have been looking at don't come with the tooling I need either, that's why I'm comparing. It's apples and apples. Both machines run roughly the same price, except the Grizzly G7027, which is in the $900 range, and I would have to buy tooling, vices, clamps, etc for either one. I don't have the room for a full-size vertical mill, and I may have at least one more move in my future, which is why I'm looking at bench models. If I'm better off with a new Asian machine as opposed to an old, sturdy American-made unit, then that's where my money's better spent, regardless of my love for old US iron. I've never had a mill, so I don't know enough about them to make an educated decision.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  5. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It depends on the jobs you are going to do with the mill. If most will be in aluminum or plastic or are smaller parts, then the smaller mills will work just fine and not take up so much shop space. For stuff like the cross slide you want to mill, rigidity is king, and rigidity comes from heavy built machines and well fitted gibs. There are always trade offs...
     
  6. thenrie

    thenrie Active User Active Member

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    From what I've read, the Burke is in the class of "real milling machines". It's just smaller. Weighs in at about 500#. It's certainly not a Trekker, but it is solid enough to do real work on steel. I just don't have the room for a big mill. I have looked at some of the mills like the Clausing 8520, Sheldon 0, Hardinge, and the Rockwell mills, but that's the largest I could go, at least for now.

    Most of what I'm going to be doing is learning how to work a milling machine and do basic operations, while I make tooling for my South Bend lathe. Being successful at that, I expect I'll upgrade both my mill and lathe in a couple years. But, when it comes down to it, I'm nothing more than a rank amateur hobbiest having fun.
     
  7. thenrie

    thenrie Active User Active Member

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    Never mind. I bought the Burke. Just can't seem to resist the pull of the good old made in USA iron. Photos on the new thread.
     

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