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  1. #1

    Default Need some advice on buying a mill!

    Hi guys! I have been looking into getting my own mill. I was told bridgeport mills are top of the line and thats what i should be looking at. I found a good-excellent condition older one Bridgeport Series I 2hp 9x42 with power feed, digital display, 6" kurt vise, collet set and so on. My question is the mill is from 1985 as nice as a newer Enco or other foreign models. I also found a few year old Enco in excellent condition same as the Bridgeport for $3500 and the Bridgeport was $4250. Anyone have some comments or things i should know? My gut is telling me that the Bridgeport will have much better resale since it is 23yrs old and is more than the Enco but if the Enco just as nice i could use that extra money for some more tools . Maybe a lathe!

    Dynasty 200dx
    CoolMate 3
    Millermatic 180

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    S.W. Pennsylvania


    It sounds like you've been doing home work on the going prices, That's good. As far as the choice between a used Bridgeport and a used Enco, to me the Bridgeport is worth the extra bucks over any foreign copy. I have a freind that went with brand new Jet mill and lathe and he is not happy, the lathe has been exceptionally troublesome. They cant get it to stop leaking oil from the gearbox.
    I found a 1947 Bridgeport with a J head for $600 and put about $400 in parts in it and I am real happy with it.
    You are looking at a difference of $750 between the two. That is not all that much money for the difference in quality. The real money will be spent on buying tooling for it.
    I think the best thing I bought for mine was the 10" turn table and lathe chuck. It doesn't replace a lathe, but it allows me to do a lot of things that a lathe would normally do. This is nice for me since even if I had the money for a lathe, I don't have the room.
    All said,in the future, I don't think you would regret the extra money spent on the Bridgeport.
    To all who contribute to this board.
    My sincere thanks , Pete.

    Pureox OA
    Westinghouse 300 amp AC stick
    Miller Syncrowave 250
    Hexacon 250 watt solder iron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    WY...armpit of U.S.A.


    If those are your only two options, spend the money on the Bridgeport. I own a Jet lathe and the quality is just not there.
    Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
    Miller DialArc 250
    Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
    Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
    Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
    Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
    South Bend 9" lathe...yeah, got the change gears too
    Logan 7" shaper
    Ellis 3000 band saw
    Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
    Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
    3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
    Lots of dust bunnies
    Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    For that price, I'd assume there's some good tooling and everything is in tip top shape.

    I'd suggest you put it through its paces and make sure the feeds are tight and smooth, holds tram throughout the movement range of the knee/z axis/quill, including after heavy cuts.

    Age doesn't mean much. It's like mileage. A highway mile is nothing like a Baja mile. Pay close attention to the condition of the dovetails as this is the hardest thing to un-screw-up on these machines.

    80% of failures are from 20% of causes
    Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
    "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
    "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
    "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    I've been a machinist my adult life and a shop owner for the last 8 years. The Chinese import machines are a waste of time and money, a poor machine will just cause you long term frustration. It is better to find a nice older mill than a new Chinese import.

    Bridgeports are good machines. I've worked with Tree and Lagun mills that I have fond memories of. Digital readouts are desirable. CNC retrofits I would avoid.

    You can find some very nice used equipment that is very affordable.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Omaha, NE


    ONe thing you might want to do is check the prices on a set of the dovetail "jibs" and a set of bearings for it. Then just add that into the price *** a "Worst case cost". I can ask my machinist any questions you might have or even just give you his number and le the two of you talk.
    Dynasty 200DX
    Hobart Handler 135
    Smith MB55A-510 O/A setup
    Hypertherm Powermax 45
    Just about every other hand tool you can imagine

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