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How good is a bad Bridgeport?

kb58

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Well, ASSUMING it's not worn out to the point that it'll cost more to bring it back to specs better than a new import. That's a real issue since Bridgeports these days can be upwards of 40-80 yrs old. Choose wisely.
 

markba633csi

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I would pick one of the short-table Bridgeports; I think they made 32" and 36" sizes. The common long 42" tables are often bent and worn badly in the middle. Many avoid the older round ram machines, but they are essentially a large beefy version of the Clausing 8520, and are often available for less
I like the step pulley heads over the variable speeders, less to wear and repair
Mark
 

ArmyDoc

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Well, ASSUMING it's not worn out to the point that it'll cost more to bring it back to specs better than a new import. That's a real issue since Bridgeports these days can be upwards of 40-80 yrs old. Choose wisely.
Was assuming since it says refurbished, it should be in decent condition... not a good assumption?
 

ddickey

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Not a good assumption.
To me reconditioned means a cleaning and paint.
Rebuilt means scraping/reground ways and bearings.
 

ArmyDoc

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Not a good assumption.
To me reconditioned means a cleaning and paint.
Rebuilt means scraping/reground ways and bearings.
Thanks. Hopefully I find something in a private sale when the time comes. My biggest fear is that, as a beginner, I end up spending Thousands on junk.
 

MikeInOr

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I found a pristine Jet knee mill locally for a great price and jumped on it. The is no question in my mind that when a part doesn't turn out up to my expectations that the problem is me and not the mill... and I know that I can make the part better without being constrained by the mill.

I love old American iron and have a shop full of it but sometimes Asian iron makes more sense for me. I have no doubt that a practically new Bridgeport will outlast my Jet in any kind of daily business usage... but for my weekend hobby shop I know my Jet mill will have absolutely no problem outlasting me... by many, many years!
 

ArmyDoc

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Use your own imagination and tell us what you come up with.
Well rats. I thought you might actually know of some mechanism or organization that offered that sort of service.
But, not knowing any professional machinists, and this not being much of an industrial town, I guess I'll just have to do the best I can, and hope for the best. Alternatively, I guess I could just buy a lesser machine new... hard to say which is the better bet. Kind of the point of this thread, don't you think?
 

FOMOGO

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You could give a shout out on here. I think we have a few members in Georgia. If not read through the Bridgeport section of this forum. You should be able to glean enough to at least make an informed opinion. My 74' vintage series 1 was in decent shape when I got it, and I learned a lot going through it to fix a few issues that I found. I don't know that they are any better than many of the Taiwan or Spanish copies, but they are the one that everyone else imitated. Which is after all the sincerest form of flattery. Mike
 

ezduzit

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Well rats. I thought you might actually know of some mechanism or organization that offered that sort of service.
But, not knowing any professional machinists, and this not being much of an industrial town, I guess I'll just have to do the best I can, and hope for the best. Alternatively, I guess I could just buy a lesser machine new... hard to say which is the better bet. Kind of the point of this thread, don't you think?
Come on! You just have to do better than that. Don't wait around for someone else to do all the work for you.

Find out who sells and repairs lathes in your area; check with local machines shops, trade schools and manufacturers, etc.
 

ArmyDoc

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Come on! You just have to do better than that. Don't wait around for someone else to do all the work for you.

Find out who sells and repairs lathes in your area; check with local machines shops, trade schools and manufacturers, etc.
You misunderstand. I while I would be happy to pay someone who knows what they are doing for their time and expertise, I don't know anyone with that expertise. The nearest place (other than harbor freight) that sell lathes is in Atlanta, about 2 1/2 hours away - there isn't anything local that I've found, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up.
I intend to do all the necessary homework and educate myself the best I can. This thread was actually the tipping point for that decision. The knowledge that a used Bridgeport's is going to be more capable than a new top of the line bench top was key.
My response was to your seeming to imply that to avoid a clunker I need to have a professional look over the machine. I dont know anyone like that...dont even know any hobbiests.
The suggestion to check out the trade schools is a good one though, and as someone suggested, there might be someone from GA who frequents these forums. Hopefully one of the two will happen, but if not, I'll do whatever I can to learn what I can, and make the best choice I can.
Worst case scenario, I buy a clunker, learn what I can from it and in the process learn why it's a clunker, sell it and get something better.
Sorry if my comment about just getting a bench lathe came across as giving up. I meant that I could always go that route (it wouldn't be the end of the world) but if that was the best decision, why would getting a Bridgeport be the recommendation?
No, I think I'll give old iron a try. My budget for a mill was/is about 3k. Time frame to purchase is a year or two from now, so I have plenty of time to educate myself. If I can find a used machine with the potential to be better than an even more expensive bench top, I'll roll the dice...after loading them to whatever extent I can, of course
 

ArmyDoc

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You could give a shout out on here. I think we have a few members in Georgia. If not read through the Bridgeport section of this forum. You should be able to glean enough to at least make an informed opinion. My 74' vintage series 1 was in decent shape when I got it, and I learned a lot going through it to fix a few issues that I found. I don't know that they are any better than many of the Taiwan or Spanish copies, but they are the one that everyone else imitated. Which is after all the sincerest form of flattery. Mike
Thanks for the suggestion, I think I'll do that. Which forum would be the best for asking if there are members near me, the new members forum, or the general forum? Or somewhere else?
 

matthewsx

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Reach out to Richard King, He's a forum sponsor and has students all over the place. With a year or two to learn you can probably accomplish a decent inspection yourself, this stuff is WAY more straightforward than what you're used to working on;)

Cheers,

John
 

ThinWoodsman

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No, I think I'll give old iron a try. My budget for a mill was/is about 3k. Time frame to purchase is a year or two from now, so I have plenty of time to educate myself. If I can find a used machine with the potential to be better than an even more expensive bench top, I'll roll the dice...after loading them to whatever extent I can, of course
In the meantime, look at a few mills as they pop up on CL. You'll learn a lot just talking to the sellers and checking out a few different ones. Then just say "well, that's way too big for my basement" or "nope, best I can do right now is fifty bucks, but maybe in a couple weeks" and hightail it out of there. Some guys will be annoyed because they just want a quick turnaround, but others (especially those retiring) love the chance to talk about their iron.
 

kb58

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$3k is more than enough to find a used mill in good condition; you just have to be patient.
 
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