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Bridgeport tooling

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ttabbal

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#1
I've read the posts here that come up in the search. What I'm wondering about is more the sizes to look for. I don't plan to work on really large projects anytime soon, but I'm curious about a few things I hope people can share what they are using. I'm also trying to keep a reasonable budget here, just enough to get going with some basic projects. Perhaps if you can recommend vendors etc. that have a good price/performance level? The plan right now is to work with mild steel and aluminum.

What I have...

6" Vise, "KKK" branded, looks a lot like the old Bridgeport vises. I'll probably look for a Kurt or Glacern, but this seems pretty good for now.

Parallels, a little short for this, I bought them for a smaller vise.

R8 collets, need to inventory the sizes, but they cover a decent range. Along with an MT3 adapter, so I can use my lathe drill chuck.

Clamping kit, angle plates, and V-blocks. Indicators.

A little set of 3/8" shank endmills, HSS, import that I got for my lathe milling attachment.

ER40 collets I got for the lathe, Techniks brand.


Thinking of getting...

Fly cutter. Seems useful for squaring up stock. Prices are all over the map though.

Roughing and finish end mills. For starting out, HSS seems like the best option. Recommend a couple sizes you use a lot on smaller projects? Perhaps some brands/vendors to look for? Prices are all over here as well, but it seems like a tool that is worth spending a little more on.

ER40 adapter might be nice for my existing collets. Probably a more long term thing along with a DRO.
 

Bob Korves

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#2
You are on the right track, in my opinion. A Bridgeport is good with end mills up to at least 3/4" for sure, depending on the material. Roughing end mills are great for removing bulk material and last longer than standard end mills. Stay away from carbide as a beginner, expensive, and easy to break and chip. I only use carbide on materials that really require it. I have a bunch of fly cutters, most of them came to me used and mostly shop made. They all work fine. The fly cutters I use most is a set of 5 from India that cost under $30. They work fine. A fly cutter is a simple tool holder. Success is in the user's hands. Learn the basic rules, and then experiment to see what works best in various materials. They can be used with HSS and with carbide cutting tools. Do not be afraid to spin them at higher speeds, working up to it. Fast speeds and light cuts can leave a very nice finish. Be very careful to use fly cutters safely. They are inherently quite dangerous if something breaks or falls apart from being loose. Think about where the chips will be flying to with your setups!
 

ttabbal

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#3
Thanks for the tips Bob! I can certainly see how a fly cutter could be dangerous. That sharp bit flying out would be a lot like leaving the chuck key in the lathe, if you sharpened the chuck key! I need to do some reading on tool profiles for them so I know what to grind.

Other than something like a fly cutter, I don't think I have any current need for even a 3/4" end mill. Though I could see using a 3/4" with a long cutting surface for squaring up the ends of stock in the vise. Just that the larger diameter would be more rigid. But I can always take lighter and slower cuts. It's not like I'm a production shop. Taking 3 passes instead of 1 isn't going to cause me any real issues.
 

Bob Korves

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#4
Other than something like a fly cutter, I don't think I have any current need for even a 3/4" end mill. Though I could see using a 3/4" with a long cutting surface for squaring up the ends of stock in the vise. Just that the larger diameter would be more rigid. But I can always take lighter and slower cuts. It's not like I'm a production shop. Taking 3 passes instead of 1 isn't going to cause me any real issues.
The larger cutters are indeed much more rigid, and are also less likely to break. They can also achieve a higher surface cutting speed with the same chip load. Smaller cutters at higher RPM require a fairly high cutter feed to produce real chips, and the higher travel speed puts more side loading on the more fragile cutter. Ordinarily, I use about the biggest cutter that will work for the job. Used properly, they stay sharp for a long time, and can then be reground. I have a smaller Millrite mill, not a Bridgeport, but I have used end mills from 1 to 1-1/4" on it for certain jobs with good results. I will often use a 1/2" end mill on small work.
 

mikey

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#5
I would suggest you buy a decent ER-40 chuck since you already own the collets. It will be the most accurate and flexible way to hold your tooling.

I use the largest diameter end mill I can use for the job at hand, with the shortest flute length that will work. I also suggest you have at roughers in at least 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" sizes; fine pitch for profiling work and coarse pitch for pockets and slots. For aluminum, try the High Helix end mills because they work. I use mostly 2 flute for pockets and 3-4 flute for profiling. I agree with HSS or cobalt for most end mills; carbide is good for deep work or long edges where deflection is more of a problem.

Brands: I prefer Niagara Cutter if I can get them. Many others - OSG, Morse, Melin, Brubaker, Regal-Benoit and many others. I don't buy Chinese and I definitely don't buy used end mills. Look for lots on ebay.

Flycutter: I use the Tormach Superfly. If you want to grind a HSS cutter, use a LH square tool and see how it works; bet it will be fine. Brazed carbide LH turning tools will work if you hone them sharp.

At some point, buy a Criterion DBL-202A or B boring head and a set of cobalt boring bars. I assure you this will serve you well over the years.
 

BGHansen

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#6
Nice set of tooling you have. I'd invest in a mechanical edge finder and the DRO you mentioned. Also a spindle mount for your indicator for tramming the mill and finding the center of a boss and/or hole.

I have pretty much the gambit of tools for locating work on the mill: Manual edge finder, wiggler, electronic edge finders, Blake co-ax indicator, Indi-cal DTI holder and Interapid DTI, and a couple of laser edge finders (cross hair and dot/circles). I use the electronic edge finder the most which doesn't account for spindle run out, but my mills have >0.002" even with Chinese collets. I have a couple of the 20mm shank ones (10 mm ball) that ran under $15 each. Had to buy a 20mm R8 collet to use it, but it has a nice bright light and a loud tone.

I pretty much leave an ER32 collet chuck on my BP, so use a Bore-ite electronic edge finder on it which is light only and has a 1/2" shank. I recall the Bore-ite being around $40. I really like having the ER collet chuck on the spindle though for 75+ years guys have dealt with turning the draw bar and changing R8 collets. I just prefer being able to do it with a spanner wrench right at vise level. Down side is I am introducing another source of error as my tooling is held in a collet held in a chuck held in the spindle. R8 direct eliminates one stack up of potential error.

I use the Blake with the spring loaded center for finding a pricked hole, but have done it a lot with a wiggler. You can get the wiggler and manual edge finders for around $10 each. The Blake is $100+ off eBay.

My spindle mount for the DTI is from China and it works fine. Probably around $15.

I have both models of the SDA laser center finders (cross hair and point/circle) and am not a huge fan though I do use them on occasion. But they're not worth the investment in my opinion. I got both models for around $225. Could be my technique, but it's a bit of a pain to shut off the shop lights to make it dark enough to see the dialed down laser point. The polarizing filter can be turned to make the laser point/circle bright, but it enlarges them so it's tougher to tell if you're on center.

You mentioned a MT3 to R8 adapter for your lathe drill chuck. You may consider some drill chucks with straight shanks. I have them with 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4" shanks. Just being lazy here, but most of my mill work involves using a 3/8" or 1/2" collet. It's nice with my ER32 collet chuck to pop out whatever end mill is there and switch to a drill chuck instead of pulling the collet chuck and dropping in the appropriate R8 collet.
Always more to buy. . .

Bruce
 

BGHansen

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#8
As long as we're spending your money, I have a much used set of screw machine drills, 29 pc. 1/16" - 1/2" set. I still use a spotting drill for the most part, but understand some guys will go direct with the stubby drills and stay pretty much on center.

Bruce
 

ttabbal

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#9
Great info! Thanks guys! I forgot to mention that I need to get a spindle DTI holder for tramming. I did pick up a nice DTI, a Compac 1 tenths model. That thing is probably more accurate than I am, but at least I know I can get a good measurement from it. And an edge finder, definitely need that.

What do you guys think of the 2 dial indicator holders for tramming? It "seems" like a decent idea, but I don't know enough about tramming yet to know if it is or not. If I go there, I'll likely build one.

I'll keep an eye for some larger cutters. I have the little import set and recently got a set of 5 Niagara 13/32 2 flute for $20, which seemed decent. Weird size, but I'll be working in thous anyway so I don't mind. Though I might have issues holding them in my R8s.

It's sounding like I might want to bump up the ER40 chuck on the list. I do like them on my lathe. And they have a wider clamping range than the R8s. I only briefly looked at them on Shars as that's the site I happened to be on when I thought of it. :) They claim 0.0001 runout, I don't know if I believe it. I did have good luck with their set-tru ER40 though. If you have a good one to recommend, it would be interesting.

Straight shank drill chuck in a collet. I really should have thought of that. Nice trick!

Stubby drills are on the tool list. I recently bought some decent drill bits and the HF set just won't do anymore. It's really nice to have bits that are actually straight!

Face mills I haven't really thought of. How do they compare to fly cutters?
 

cg285

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#10
flycutter: you can make one better than the imports. not that hard to do

collet blocks, 4 sided, 6 sided. i use mine A LOT

boring head

re: double tram tool: i have one. makes it quicker/easier but it's not hi-priority.
 

killswitch505

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#11
I asked these same questions less than a year ago. All the advice is super solid!!!! I’ve used transfer punches a chuck framers a lot more than I thought I would have. You’ll also do a lot with a 3/4 end mill than you think you will. I’d honestly move the DRO to the top of the list.
 

Bob Korves

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I have the little import set and recently got a set of 5 Niagara 13/32 2 flute for $20, which seemed decent. Weird size, but I'll be working in thous anyway so I don't mind. Though I might have issues holding them in my R8s.
It is very possible that the shank is a different diameter than the cutting edge is.
 

pacifica

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#13
Great info! Thanks guys! I forgot to mention that I need to get a spindle DTI holder for tramming. I did pick up a nice DTI, a Compac 1 tenths model. That thing is probably more accurate than I am, but at least I know I can get a good measurement from it. And an edge finder, definitely need that.

What do you guys think of the 2 dial indicator holders for tramming? It "seems" like a decent idea, but I don't know enough about tramming yet to know if it is or not. If I go there, I'll likely build one.

I'll keep an eye for some larger cutters. I have the little import set and recently got a set of 5 Niagara 13/32 2 flute for $20, which seemed decent. Weird size, but I'll be working in thous anyway so I don't mind. Though I might have issues holding them in my R8s.

It's sounding like I might want to bump up the ER40 chuck on the list. I do like them on my lathe. And they have a wider clamping range than the R8s. I only briefly looked at them on Shars as that's the site I happened to be on when I thought of it. :) They claim 0.0001 runout, I don't know if I believe it. I did have good luck with their set-tru ER40 though. If you have a good one to recommend, it would be interesting.

Straight shank drill chuck in a collet. I really should have thought of that. Nice trick!

Stubby drills are on the tool list. I recently bought some decent drill bits and the HF set just won't do anymore. It's really nice to have bits that are actually straight!

Face mills I haven't really thought of. How do they compare to fly cutters?
 

pacifica

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#14
I use a 2.5” face mill,6 inserts a lot.leaves a superb finish.carbide can handle speed and lasts forever
 

Bob Korves

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#15
What do you guys think of the 2 dial indicator holders for tramming?
Waste of time and money, IMHO. A back plunge indicator set like the Starrett 196 (or similar) will do a fine job of tramming, quick setup, and is also useful for many other jobs in the shop.
 

killswitch505

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#16
I find a tram tool a lot faster to tram my mill for me at least I’m always pressed for time so I try to get the most out of it when I find it. It was one of my first projects on my mill
 

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ttabbal

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#17
I find a tram tool a lot faster to tram my mill for me at least I’m always pressed for time so I try to get the most out of it when I find it. It was one of my first projects on my mill
That looks like a good version. Thanks for sharing your experience and the pic. I might build one just because it's a reasonably simple project to practice running the mill.
 

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#18
If you are relatively inexperienced and on a budget my advice is to start making things with what you already have. Buy only what you NEED when you need it. Improvise and/or make for yourself as much as you can. You will learn far more by doing for self than if you just buy the latest gee whizz gadget.
Need to find an edge? A strip of cigarette paper will get you within .001. Need to tram a head? A short piece of .250 rod bent at a 90 deg angle and almost any indicator works just fine. R-8 collet running out a bit? So what? Need a fly cutter? You said you have a lathe and a milling machine.
Make chips, make tools, have fun and learn............................Bob
 

lewey

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#19
i think a DRO is really nice on a mill. on a lathe its not as important, but on a mill its nice for laying out holes and such. the bigger end mill is nice for machining uhmw, nylon, etc. carbide inserts and plastic don't mix
 

BGHansen

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#20
Couldn't agree more with lewey. The only problem with a DRO on your mill will be the bruises from kicking yourself that you didn't add it sooner. I put a TPACtools.com 4-axis (digital caliper scale on the quill, not a glass scale) on my Jet JVM-830 and absolutely love it. Many other brands out there, believe the TPAC unit is from mTech.

Bruce
 

Mitch Alsup

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#21
What do you guys think of the 2 dial indicator holders for tramming?
If you have the dial indicators, you can build one in a hour or a bit more.
{But I never found it hard or time consuming to tram the head to the bed, either.}
 

Shootymacshootface

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Waste of time and money, IMHO. A back plunge indicator set like the Starrett 196 (or similar) will do a fine job of tramming, quick setup, and is also useful for many other jobs in the shop.
This is exactly how I do mine. Make sure that you lower the table and fully extend the quill for the best accuracy.
 

westerner

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#23
If you are relatively inexperienced and on a budget my advice is to start making things with what you already have. Buy only what you NEED when you need it. Improvise and/or make for yourself as much as you can. You will learn far more by doing for self than if you just buy the latest gee whizz gadget.
Need to find an edge? A strip of cigarette paper will get you within .001. Need to tram a head? A short piece of .250 rod bent at a 90 deg angle and almost any indicator works just fine. R-8 collet running out a bit? So what? Need a fly cutter? You said you have a lathe and a milling machine.
Make chips, make tools, have fun and learn............................Bob
Could not agree more. This whole post is a page from my book.
A piece of wet rolling paper stuck to the edge you want to locate will get you "as close as makes no difference" to most of the various edge finders out there, assuming you are not working on a NASA or Boeing contract.
A new $20 brake rotor makes a FINE tramming tool. The bigger, the better, and they are CHEAP these days. If they were not flat, they could not sell them for long. Again, the NASA contract stipulations apply.
At my level in this game, I truly enjoy experimenting with the CHEAP way, and observing the results. THEN, I decide if more money will fix the problem. So far, modification of my technique is FAR more cost effective :big grin:
 

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#24
A large diameter outer bearing housing laid on the table also helps when tramming. I found a 9" diameter bearing race, nos, on ebay for $40 shipped. Works a treat with a scared table.

Vlad
 

markba633csi

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#25
Consider some type of dividing head or indexer if you might want to cut gears, splines, etc.
It's on my wish list :big grin: along with half a dozen other things
Mark
 
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