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Rf45 Clone Compared To Bp

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sanddan

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#1
So here's my dilemma. I have a RF45 clone bench top mill that runs just fine (the only mill I've ever run). After watching many of the you tube videos I have come to realize some of the limitations of the bench top style mill. I found a good used BP 9X42 series 1 with VS locally to me. The mill comes with a nearly new Kurt vise and a rotary table and some collets. It doesn't have powered X axis (my mill does) or DRO (my mill does) and is 3 phase with an included rotary phase convertor. The price isn't too bad for my area ($3900) but the cost to move it from the current owner's house to my shop came in at $1200 - $1500 dollars. I am struggling with the cost addition of upgrading even taking into account selling my mill after removing the DRO. A powered x-axis would be about $400 and at least one new scale for the DRO ($100) to get me close to the same setup I currently have. Space is not an issue, I have room for either machine, just not sure if the cost is worth it. I haven't run a BP or any knee mill for that matter so I don't know how much different (better?) the BP would be. Anyone out there with hands on experience using both style machines that can chime in?
bp mill for sale.jpg rf45 mill.JPG
 

18w

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#2
Your question, seemingly simple, is a difficult one to answer fairly with out more information. You mention your machine works fine, and apparently, has the features that you like, such as dro and power feed. What type of work do you do on your current mill? What do you envision doing down the road? A big question is what is the current condition of the BP? The vise, collets, and rotary table are certainly things you would have to buy, so they have some value. Lots of work has been done on BP's without a dro and power feed, so they are not needed immediately, though very nice to have. I am sure your area is like mine, in that there aren't too many BP's that come up for sale that are not worn out. Of course parts are always available and machines can be rebuilt.
I own a BP varispeed 9x42. I paid a lot for it because it is in excellent condition and included delivery. I added a Servo power feed to the knee and installed a dro later. I have long since given up on worrying about whether I will recoup my investment, (I won't) but I now have what I want. It also suits my needs as it is able to handle parts that can not be done on a mill your size.
There has been a lot of great work produced on mills like yours and on BP's. It comes down to what you envision needing a mill for, how fast you may need to produce parts, and how big those parts are. There is no substitute for HP, mass, and the rigidity of a bigger machine if your work requires it.

Darrell
 

tomh

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#3
sanddan
I don't know your ability to move such as a Bridgeport, but if you have a pickup some friends and family and know how to secure a load then you can move it yourself with one of these drop bed trailers. I have used similar trailers and winched the mill on the trailer with little fuss and cuss. It looks like it will be easy to get to from the photos. just something for you to look in to Hendey5.jpg
 

GA Gyro

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#4
One of the things about moving a BP (or BP clone) is to turn the head down... sometimes this requires moving the table forward on the Y axis to allow the head to tuck in behind the table. The 'balance' of the machine will be a LOT easier to handle, with the head turned down.
Most BP's have a threaded point on the top of the ram, behind the head... some have an eye hook already there (I do not see one in the pic). It is easy to pick up the entire machine by this point... one can slide the ram back and forth (do this with the machine on the ground)... to balance it.

Moving a machine is not that hard, however it is NOT a one person job.
 

gr8legs

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#5
You are in an ideal position: you have a mill now and aren't desperate to upgrade to another one, so I'd recommend waiting for a better deal to come along.

I scan the Portland craigslist a couple of times a day (you're safe, I already have all the tools I need) and as good or better deals than this one show up regularly. They pop up and disappear quickly, so you have to be johnny on the spot.

If I were in your position I'd wait around for a machine with everything you really want: the DRO, the axis traverse motors plus more tooling included and plan on converting to a VFD instead of an RPC. You could then get a lower-cost mill with step pulleys (which are also easier to maintain) and let the VFD be your speed control.

Don't limit yourself to the "Bridgeport" badged machines - there are lots of other good American-made machines out there too!

Also, this auction on the 21st in Tigard looks like there will be several manual mills included: <http://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/tld/5006582497.html>

Have fun!

Stu
 

george wilson

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#6
I had a mill drill years ago. Now,I have a BP clone of good quality,42" table. The BP type mill has a head that can be tilted both ways(sideways and "nod"). Your present mill will not nod. You can make up for that with tilting vise,etc.

The BP will accommodate much heavier parts on the table. I believe the load limit is about 750#. The work envelope is much larger.

The BP is much more rigid than your present mill. The head can be accurately trammed in,something I never got true on my mill drill(mine was a round column. As the head went up and down,the column would bend enough to change the tramming.

I don't think the price is out of line with the APPARENT condition of the mill,though a picture cannot tell the whole story,obviously. You will not have trouble getting parts for the BP,but you certainly WILL have trouble ever getting parts for an import more than a FEW years old. Import machine motors do not have their motor's armatures dipped in insulating varnish,and they CAN suddenly short out. I had that happen on one. Shorted across the motor bearings. Had to be replaced. But YOUR motor is a special type that cannot be replaced with a standard motor I THINK. I haven't taken your type mill apart. But,if the shaft incorporates gears,etc.,a normal "C" face motor will not fit. Never put a lot of faith in Asian electrical parts.

So,you have the issue of a larger work envelope,reliability, rigidity,and parts availability. See if you can rent a trailer like the one shown. Turn the BP's head upside down,and CAREFULLY lash it down while driving. I used to worry about moving a 10" x 24" bench lathe. Now,I have moved 8000# lathes,BP type mills. You just have to know how. I keep a pair of "Johnson bars",otherwise known as lever dollies,or pry lever dollies. Northern sells all steel versions cheap. Mine have long oak handles. With the longest oak handles,you can get the "shovel" end of the lever dollies under a machine and lift 5000#. 2 men can slide a BP around pretty easily on a CLEAN concrete floor. Just lift the mill enough to SLIDE the machine,not tip it over!!!!!NO little crud on the floor to jam the dollie's wheels. I also have used a comealong to pull machines into place. But,you need a steel pole,or some way to securely anchor the end of the cable to. We turned an 8000# lathe end for end and pulled it 20' using a comealong,a clean concrete floor,and 1/2" steel bars under the lathe's pedestals. They had to be re inserted when one popped out from under a pedestal as the lathe moved along. It was fun.
 

george wilson

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#7
P.S.,you can't use steel rods under the BP base,because it isn't flat all the way across. But,the dollies work fine.
 

sanddan

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#8
Thanks George, that was the comparison I was looking for.
 

countryguy

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#9
As a new guy- And I mean NEW to heavy objects over 5lbs it's not that bad. You can move it. The OEMs on my items usually had a section in their docs on how to prep for lift and where to lift. It's part of manual-101 info for this class of machine it seems. Once I know how to config & prep + lift I'm off!
I've moved a 2.3Klb Cinci #3 cutter / grinder. A Supermax YMC30 at 2.4Klb and a few other 1Klb range stuff.

Tools used:
I have the 2 ton garage hoist many use here. (I have a post) AND best of all, the Harbor Freight Gantry! It's on wheels. Easy to pull apart and reassemble. All links below. I also have some steel 5/8 rod at 6" length to place under stuff and roll around. Ohh- Yeah, the low profile car jack is a nice to have as well!

The how: Use a lot of straps and come-alongs. I've now winched up several items onto my slant tail car hauler. 3ft" at a time. About 10 times. Done! I use the Gantry to haul it up and drive our from under it.
I have long 1/16" steel strips 3" wide by 6ft+ and place them on the ground like runners. Squirt on a little WD40 and you can slide things very easily.

HF LP jack: http://www.harborfreight.com/2-ton-...vy-duty-floor-jack-with-rapid-pump-68050.html

2ton hoist: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/251618307266?lpid=82&chn=ps

HF Gantry :http://www.harborfreight.com/1-ton-telescoping-gantry-crane-41190.html
Make sure you take a 20% or 25% coupon. I brought it home in 1 box in the bed of my full bed Sierra.
 

cjtoombs

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#10
I recently moved a Bridgeport very similar to the one in the picture. We had to pull the turret off so it would go under the garage door on the back of the trailer, but other than that it wasn't too bad. I used a HF folding engine hoist to lift it, and used that to move it around after reassembly at the house. One caveat, I have replaced the front casters on my HF lift with higher quality units, the factory ones crapped out after this kind of treatment on other machines.
 

KBeitz

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#11
Moving a Bridgeport is not that hard if you have time....
I put one like that in my basement one part at a time.
 
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