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I Bought My First Milling Machine!

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wildo

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#1
Not exactly the plan I had in mind as to the order of finishing stuff up, but the opportunity (and more importantly- the money) was there and so I sprung for it! Last Friday I picked up a 1969 Burke Millrite MVN. It was located about 125 miles away and I rented a trailer to get it home. My Hemi Magnum had no problem pulling it. :)

Loading it into the bedroom took some planning and a lot of time, but it went without a hitch in about four hours worth of work. The mill is currently wired for 480, but I'm going to rewire it for 220 and use a VFD to power it. I think I got a pretty good deal on the mill, in spite of the fact that it came with no accessories. It has the 32" table (only one size smaller than the largest- 36" table) as well as x-axis power feed. It is the R8 collet, so all the tooling that I buy will work with a larger Bridgeport machine if I ever upgrade in the (distant) future.

Here's some pics (to prove it happened)
13718680_10154395501757235_7091343819054740066_n_zps9tbn3ztu.jpg

Base is off the trailer, and the head/ram is separated (and my dad making a joke about holding it up)
IMG_7615_zpssgx6bb65.jpg

Taking the base through the hallway
IMG_7616_zpsfyufxt28.jpg

The eagle has landed! The base is set in place in my bedroom shop!
DSC_2403_rdc_zpsb7gpzko0.jpg

Installing the head/ram
DSC_2406_rdc_zpsfr9sm4ac.jpg

Finally the mill is completely in place
DSC_2409_rdc_zpsv6tv2tsd.jpg

For those curious, the floor joists had no problem holding it up. It was a little bouncy and so as a basic precaution I did choose to put some support in the crawlspace. Like I said, from an engineering standpoint- it wasn't necessary, but it really did shore up the floor and remove pretty much all bounce.
13770249_10154399669082235_5968460624553863928_n_zpsygbwgfyr.jpg

I'm excited to see what I can do with this mill! I have to say it's about the perfect size for my bedroom shop!
 
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francist

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#2
Looks perfect in there, that shop is really starting to take shape. Congrats!

-frank
 

woodtickgreg

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#3
Very cool, congrats. And you have a nice little shop there! I have a newer version of that mill, a Powermatic, it is still stored at my work. Mine has to go in the basement, won't be quite as easy as your move. But I have a plan. Again congratulations on your new mill!
 

rwm

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#4
Awesome! I think the floor reinforcement is a great idea. It will give you piece of mind. I did this for my lathe. It will prevent the joists from sagging over the years.
I want to hear how you like this mill. What is the headstock taper? How much does it weigh?
R
 

wildo

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#5
Awesome! I think the floor reinforcement is a great idea. It will give you piece of mind. I did this for my lathe. It will prevent the joists from sagging over the years.
I want to hear how you like this mill. What is the headstock taper? How much does it weigh?
R
I edited the post to indicate the taper- important info. It's an R8, which was a big selling point for me since that tooling can be used elsewhere in the future. The weight should be about 1500 pounds.
 

Bob Korves

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#6
Congratulations, wildo! That is a nice looking mill, I suppose because it looks just like mine! Well, almost, mine has the rapid quill and a different motor. I am on my second Millrite, traded up for a literally new and unused 1965 MVN, have added a Servo X axis power feed. They are capable and solid machines that fit into a tighter space than a Bridgeport or clone. Let me know if I can help you with any questions about it. Also be sure to join the active and helpful BurkeMills Yahoo group, if you haven't already. You obviously already know that there is a Burke forum on Hobby-Machinist, hang out there for sure, and click the "watch forum" link .

Edit: The Millrite looks great there in your shop -- like it belongs there...
 

wildo

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#7
Thanks Bob! I did find the yahoo group and it's already been very helpful- just in the "files" section alone. I also saw some of your posts over there and recognized your name. :) Thanks for the comments! I'm sure I'll have tons of questions over time. For now, I'm kind of letting it all settle in. Maybe for some of you this wouldn't be a big purchase. For me, it was and I need to let the bank account recover a bit. I don't have any tooling for it yet, so I'll be on the lookout for an R8 collet set. No end mills, no mill vise, etc, etc... Really- same goes for my lathe. I guess step 1: buy the machines is complete. Now onto step 2: spend twice as much money on tooling. Oy!! I seem to find the most expensive hobbies! ;)
 

wildo

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#8
Bob- if you could recommend a mill vise size/brand, I'd appreciate it!
 

jpfabricator

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#9
Nice iron brother!
I have a 4" Kurt clone on my Burke powermatic, so far it's done all I have needed to do.

Sent from somwhere in east Texas by Jake!
 

Bob Korves

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#10
(snip)I don't have any tooling for it yet, so I'll be on the lookout for an R8 collet set. No end mills, no mill vise, etc, etc... Really- same goes for my lathe. I guess step 1: buy the machines is complete. Now onto step 2: spend twice as much money on tooling. Oy!! I seem to find the most expensive hobbies! ;)
Used tooling is a whole lot cheaper than new. Sometimes you can get tool lots for pennies on the dollar. For collets, 90+% of what you will use is 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4" with round holes. The others are mostly frosting -- until you need one. You might look for those sizes I listed, even if they are well used, to keep you going until you can afford to purchase a set by 16ths, which will cover 99% of what most of us do. Sets are much cheaper per each than individuals, and it gets pricey to fill in a partial set. Some Chinese sets, like Interstate brand, are decent tools.

I have a Bridgeport 6" vise on my Millrite, it came with my first mill and looked really nasty, cleaning it up, making new jaws for it, and fitting it closely made it into a very nice vise, but it is definitely overkill on a Millrite. I think a decent quality 5" Vise would be about ideal on your machine, depending on anticipated projects. You can do small and light work in a big vise, but not necessarily do big and/or heavy work in a light vise. Kurt makes very nice vises, but $$$. Most of the 4 and 5" vises you will find used or cheap will be Asian imports of marginal quality. I would find something inexpensive that works and then be on the lookout for the right one at the right price, used, or new on a super sale. The better brands are definitely better vises.

Craigslist is your friend! Ebay, sometimes...
 

wildo

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#11
I wondered if a 6" vise was overkill; in fact, I wondered if it would even fit! I'll be on the lookout for a 5"er. Also- thanks for the explanation on some of the other tooling!
 

wildo

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#13
Also- I'm more than a little curious: do you guys say "burk-ee" or "burk" for the pronunciation of Burke? I suspect the former, but wouldn't be surprised by the latter.
 

starion007

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#16
Hello, I have the same size Millright with the drill feed head instead of the fine feed, its an awesome machine.
As for Vises, I put a Glacern 4" on mine and so far have not had any issue with the size of work it can hold. I went down that rabbit hole with the budget vises and its just not worth it, You can buy Shars, little machine shops or eBays, but they are all the same piles of junk. I use mine in the front T slot so there is no interference with the Y axis and the hang off in the hand wheel either.
Honestly I cant stress enough about the vise, Money well spent.
Congrats On The Mill!!!
Mark
 

wildo

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#17
I started a thread a while back about the x axis being difficult to move, and while I did get that cleaned up and moving free, it sure set around a long time waiting on me to get it all back together. But finally, it is back together. The knee, Y, and X were all taken apart and the old grease cleaned out. Everything was properly oiled and put back together. I stoned the table and repainted my Kurt 5" AngLock vise. I also took apart the spindle and replaced all of the bearings. Finally, I installed a tachometer on the machine as well. Here's some updated photos.

The spindle torn apart:


A pretty sketchy setup to mill a small 1/2" recess for the tach magnet to reside:




I cut rectangle out of the power enclosure for the actual tach display:


In order to make it easier to move the mill in the future, I made sure the hall effect sensor had a coupling that could be disconnected from the mill base easily. This way I wont have to undo any wires if I ever have to take the head off.


And here's the tach working...


The repainted mill vise and you can see the table has been stoned:


And the new Timken bearings:


Info that might help someone in the future-
  • Lower spindle bearings: 2 x Timken 19150/19268
  • Upper spindle bearing: 1 x NDH 3206 (sealed- though I was able to peel the old seals off and reuse them on the new bearing)
  • Cone pulley bearing: 1 x MRC 5207 KFF (modern replacement is MRC 5207 MFF)

The mill is now 100% operational and I've made my first cuts!


That said... I used automotive wheel bearing grease in those Timken bearings and it keeps dripping out. I might have the preload set too tight (the manual does indicate that too much preload can cause excess heat and cause the grease to drip out) or perhaps I over stuff everything and it'll eventually stop oozing out. If anyone has an opinion on this, I'm all ears.
 

wildo

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#18
I used a tach off ebay much like this one. Since this mill is powered via VFD, it was no concern to eliminate that lower cone pulley groove. Additionally, the VFD has a 10V output that I used to directly drive the tachometer- thus, no need for an extra power supply. It worked out really well.
 

Bob Korves

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I started a thread a while back about the x axis being difficult to move, and while I did get that cleaned up and moving free, it sure set around a long time waiting on me to get it all back together. But finally, it is back together. The knee, Y, and X were all taken apart and the old grease cleaned out. Everything was properly oiled and put back together. I stoned the table and repainted my Kurt 5" AngLock vise. I also took apart the spindle and replaced all of the bearings. Finally, I installed a tachometer on the machine as well. Here's some updated photos.

The spindle torn apart:


A pretty sketchy setup to mill a small 1/2" recess for the tach magnet to reside:




I cut rectangle out of the power enclosure for the actual tach display:


In order to make it easier to move the mill in the future, I made sure the hall effect sensor had a coupling that could be disconnected from the mill base easily. This way I wont have to undo any wires if I ever have to take the head off.


And here's the tach working...


The repainted mill vise and you can see the table has been stoned:


And the new Timken bearings:


Info that might help someone in the future-
  • Lower spindle bearings: 2 x Timken 19150/19268
  • Upper spindle bearing: 1 x NDH 3206 (sealed- though I was able to peel the old seals off and reuse them on the new bearing)
  • Cone pulley bearing: 1 x MRC 5207 KFF (modern replacement is MRC 5207 MFF)

The mill is now 100% operational and I've made my first cuts!


That said... I used automotive wheel bearing grease in those Timken bearings and it keeps dripping out. I might have the preload set too tight (the manual does indicate that too much preload can cause excess heat and cause the grease to drip out) or perhaps I over stuff everything and it'll eventually stop oozing out. If anyone has an opinion on this, I'm all ears.
You gave up one pulley groove to run the tach?
 

wildo

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#20
You gave up one pulley groove to run the tach?
Yes, because the mill now had variable speed via the VFD. I'm such a newbie at all this, for me, the tach is a necessity while I learn proper feeds & speeds. Without knowing how fast the mill is turning, I can't know if I'm doing things "right" or even close to right. The lower groove would be for very slow turning. I can always put the belt on the next groove up and turn the speed way down via the VFD. Sure, I've given up some torque, but it's only a 1hp motor driven by that tiny, tiny belt. I think it'll probably be just fine. The goal is to never have to move the belt anyway.
 

wildo

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#21
I guess maybe I never showed that. The mill had a huge controller box on the right side. I pretty much gutted it other than the mains disconnect switch which is operated by that large lever on the outside:


I mounted the VFD in there and wired the machine's original direction switch up to the VFD. I also ran wires in order to mount a speed potentiometer in the on/off/direction switch housing, though I haven't purchased the potentiometer yet.
 

bss1

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#22
That is a really nice Millrite you have there. Good job on the refurb and update with the VFD. I have one almost exactly like it and have thoroughly enjoyed using it for the past ten years.

The spindle speeds are usually shown on a placard riveted to the side of the motor mount. I think the slowest speed on mine is 250 RPM which is really fast for drilling steel. I have a VFD and use the two slowest pulley grooves most of the time. But to get max speed, which is over 3000 rpm, requires using the upper grooves.

I can post a pic of the spindle speed placard if you like. Even though I have a VFD, the placard gives me a point of reference. With the vfd set at 60HZ, I know I should be turning RPM's close to the speeds posted on the placard. You will need to change the pulleys to get the full potential out of your machine since it has such a wide operating RPM range. The motor will stall if your not careful with large drills with the VFD turned down. This may being too cautious but I don't use a setting less than 30HZ for this reason. Since you have a tach If you have a chance, please post what your spindle speed is on the slowest pulley setting with the VFD at 30HZ. Since I don't have a tach on mine, I would be interested to know the slowest usable RPM.

Thanks for sharing your build.
 

wildo

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#23
Since you have a tach If you have a chance, please post what your spindle speed is on the slowest pulley setting with the VFD at 30HZ. Since I don't have a tach on mine, I would be interested to know the slowest usable RPM.


I found the VFD set to 60hz was just about spot on to what Burke indicated on the spindle speed chart.

Top (fastest) groove
60hz --> 1800 rpm**
30hz --> 1265 rpm​
Third groove down
60hz --> 885 rpm
30hz --> 448 rpm​
Fifth groove down
60hz --> 331 rpm
30hz --> 167 rpm​
Bottom (slowest, torquiest) groove
60hz --> none***
30hz --> 100 rpm
**VFD went into overload trying to spin up the mill under no load when using the top pulley groove. It strained to get up to speed and actually couldn't make it all the way to 60hz. For this measurement, I noted 49hz as the top frequency before going into overload protection. Again- this was with no load. Spindle bearing pretension would need reduced significantly to use this pulley groove.

***My tach hall effect sensor wire rubbed the belt on this pulley groove. I was able to kind of hold it out of the way for the 30hz test, but wasn't about to have the belt cut through the wire for 60hz. Generally speaking, it looks like a doubling of frequency produced a more/less doubling of rpm in actuality.

I did not test the second or fourth grooves of the cone pulley.

[EDIT]- I will also note that I have the "on acceleration time" set to .5 seconds and the "off decel time" set to .6 seconds. This is pretty aggressive for the small VFD, I'd guess, but the user experience very much appears similar to how I see a Bridgeport turn on/off. Pretty much instantaneous so that you could do power tapping (which of course you can't do on a Burke with the precision spindle feed handle). So that said, if I set the acceleration to the max (I think it's 6 seconds if memory serves) then perhaps the VFD could more easily get the machine up to speed on that top cone pulley groove. Realistically, my ignorance says there's probably not much need to turn that quick on a mill. I could be totally wrong.
 
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bss1

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#24
Thanks Will! That's a big help.

I think I have my start up speed set for 4 or 5 seconds. It gives me a soft start and a few seconds to react when I realize I forgot to release the spindle lock [emoji23].


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

tweinke

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#25
Nice mill Will! Say being that's the bedroom shop you were building earlier does the bed still fit? Just razzing ya ! :encourage: I have learned quickly how this hobby not only causes empty wallet syndrome it also causes all extra space to be filled.
 

wildo

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#26
Nice mill Will! Say being that's the bedroom shop you were building earlier does the bed still fit? Just razzing ya ! :encourage: I have learned quickly how this hobby not only causes empty wallet syndrome it also causes all extra space to be filled.
Heh! Had I bought the benchtop mill I was planning, the bed would have fit fine! But the 3/4 Bridgeport size was... unexpected. So now this is what I have in place of the bed. ;)



 

tweinke

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#27
You have a nice shop there! My wife just saw your setup and said she wished my shop was as clean and orderly. I then told her yours was in a bedroom and she told me to forget that idea because she hates when I track chips into the house.
 

wildo

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#29
Thanks @wildo , I am enjoying the ride!
-brino
Glad you've liked the updates, brino. The shop is in a good place now. The lathe is complete and operational. The mill is complete and operational. Really, at this point, the only thing stopping me from making stuff is having no tooling. I'm working on it, but this stuff is so expensive. I have a single 1/2" endmill and a full R8 collet set. Otherwise, I'm starting from complete scratch. It'll be a while, but hey- as long as that floor holds up, the machines aren't going anywhere. (That was a joke.)
 
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