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Bridgeport Conversion to CNC, questions

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Richard White (richardsrelics)

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#1
I am about to get my Bridgeport...finally.... I was wondering, If I, in the future, convert it to CNC with stepper motors and the like.... can it still be used like a manual mill, ya know, like it was when first acquired? Turning the cranks and such....

I can see fun times being able to use the CNC option, and other times I would want to use it as a manual mill.

Thoughts???

Thanks

Richard
 

JimDawson

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#2
Absolutely yes you can do that. I would probably go with servo motors because steppers tend to ''cog'' when operating manually. My machine is full 3 axis manual/CNC, I would be lost without the manual capability on all axes.
 

talvare

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#3
As Jim stated, yes you can. I own a Bridgeport EZ Trak, 2 axis CNC mill and it is fully functional as a manual mill.

Ted
 

coherent

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#5
Another common option is to use a remote hand pendant. With one of these you can set any axis to move continiously when the wheel is turned, or step one increment/step at a time (i.e. 1 ten thousandth, 1 hundredth etc). You can set any constant feed speed no matter how fast you turn the wheel/dial or set it to go faster/slower if the wheel speed changes. Bottom line it it's like a very flexible and precise power feed on every axis. I use the mill this way often for small, simple or other "manual cuts". Your CNC screen is in essence your DROs. Much more precise and error free than turning wheels by hand and once you get used to your pendant, it becomes second nature, just like the hand wheels.
 

BGHansen

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#6
I have a 1981 Series 1 2HP BP with a circa 1985 Anilam Crusader II 2-axis CNC controller. My table has ball screws on it with maybe 0.001" back lash. Jim Dawson posted a nice addition to his mill adding CNC to his quill. One of my "to do" projects also. I'm also looking at upgrading the controller to a Galil motion controller per Jim's recommendation. Still doing some studying, but looks like the upgrade for my machine will be plugging the existing motors into the Galil and running the Galil with a laptop/desktop computer using DawsonControls software.

Point being, not a bad conversion (I hope . . .) since my BP was already a CNC machine. You may consider buying an existing CNC BP and see if an upgrade is in order. Here's a quick list of many CL listings within a few hundred miles of you. Some way overpriced, but that's negotiable. I bought my BP for $4000. Really nice machine with a Kurt 6" swivel vise.

By the way, this list was from a search using "www.searchtempest.com" which hunts down matches to your search key on both CL and eBay. You can refine the search by price, location, new/used, etc. I only put the CL hits below, nothing off eBay which likely has more matches.

Bruce

https://williamsport.craigslist.org/tls/d/sharp-bridgeport-like-3hp/6422474764.html
https://rochester.craigslist.org/for/d/bridgeport-9x42-vertical/6440717501.html
https://rochester.craigslist.org/for/d/bridgeport-vertical-milling/6440722248.html
https://desmoines.craigslist.org/tls/d/bridgeport-ez-trak-dx-cnc/6375295188.html
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/tls/d/rebuilt-bridgeport-vertical/6440958212.html
https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/hvo/d/3-axis-milling-machine/6447591032.html
https://toledo.craigslist.org/bfs/d/bridgeport-ez-trak-cnc/6420551021.html
https://akroncanton.craigslist.org/tld/d/bridgeport-vertical-mill-48/6408228414.html
 

Richard White (richardsrelics)

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#7
Well I am looking at about $1800 for the mill with scales. Being an old school toolmaker I am more at home with a manual machine, although I can program the newer stuff. My intent was to CNC the X and Y axis's so that I can program basic moves, like I would then not need power feed as the servo motor would do that for me...I have one of my tools that is 2 inches long, I can then use material 20 inches long and program a simple X Axis move to each location with a prompt then make tell the table to move after I drill the holes...
 

BGHansen

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#8
Well I am looking at about $1800 for the mill with scales. Being an old school toolmaker I am more at home with a manual machine, although I can program the newer stuff. My intent was to CNC the X and Y axis's so that I can program basic moves, like I would then not need power feed as the servo motor would do that for me...I have one of my tools that is 2 inches long, I can then use material 20 inches long and program a simple X Axis move to each location with a prompt then make tell the table to move after I drill the holes...
Makes sense. My Anilam has a communication problem with the external port so I can only program conversationally. I routinely do exactly what you're mentioning. Another nice feature is a rapid traverse to a location. Just punch in an (X, Y) coordinate, hit START, and watch the table zoom there at 100 ipm.

Bruce
 
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