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Bridgeport values/costs/servicing

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jason spencer29/01/2013 18:42:34
72 forum posts

Hi again all...

continuing my bridgeport lust, i'm trying to get a grip of machine costs, values etc etc.

Something like this for 1.5k doesn't look too bad..

Is that about the going rate, priced correct or a bit on the steep side? Also i've been trying to find info on how I could service the machine, before putting it to use, is there a guide anywhere? Or does anyone have any info?


Andrew Johnston29/01/2013 20:20:56
6668 forum posts
701 photos

Hmmmm, ok price, but not a bargain. However, I'd be wary of this particular example:

* First time seller, no history

* Can't see the DRO anywhere, and if the fix is that simple why haven't they fixed it?

* After market power feed, not the same as a Bridgeport original, probably needs 110V? Speaking of which there's some pretty creative wiring in the background

* Supposedly needs to move it in a hurry, ie, we need shot of it for other reasons maybe?

* It doesn't say what comes with the machine, the vice for instance?

Personally I'd leave it, there are plenty of other Bridgeports for sale. Varispeed heads can be badly worn and noisy so I'd like to see the one I buy running before purchase, especially under load.

There are basic service instructions, clean/grease/adjust in the handbook.



David Clark 129/01/2013 20:24:37
3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles

Hi There

I have used both the varispeed head and the two speed motor wih belt change.

The belt change wins hands down.

Far easier to get on with and you know the speeds more accurately from the speed range chart.

I also prefer the add on feed motors although the ones I used had a plastic drive gear, yes, you guessed it, the teeth sheared off once.

regards David

Tony Pratt 129/01/2013 20:41:15
2020 forum posts
12 photos

Hi Jason, I totally agree with the other 2 posts, certainly not a bargain. I would suggest a personal visit before you place a bid on any machine you really cannot tell condition etc from a photo and you will soon become more knowledgable as time goes by. I am sure there are manuals on the net for these machines. Just Googled Bridgeport milling machine manual and there is loads to look at.



Edited By Tony Pratt 1 on 29/01/2013 20:44:15

Jeff Dayman29/01/2013 21:01:15
2234 forum posts
47 photos

One thing to watch for on used Bridgeports and Taiwanese Bport clones is excessive table wear in the centres of travel. On many machines they were used most in the middle 6-10" of travel in X and Y and so the tables get worn there. Some sellers will snug up the gibs to mask this, but the result is detectable because the table is extremely hard to move to the ends of travel with the handwheels if the gibs are tight at ends of travel. If you find this sort of fault don't buy it. The tables will need to be reground to fix it, and this is costly. Similarly if there are lots of drilled holes in the table, big dents or scratches, cut out areas, or broken out pieces in the T slots, think twice - machine has had a hard life - wonder what else was abused and overloaded?

Any detectable side to side play in the quill when extended and moved firmly side to side and front to back is a big expensive problem to fix. Also check the condition of the R-8 socket in the quill with a mirror. The round key should be present and the collet locating surfaces need to be in good condition - no rust, big dents or major deep scratches. With a collet and endmill shank in place there should be no or almost no spindle runout.

Drive problems are a pain to work on and can be expensive to fix. If there is noise or roughness in the drive when switched on, or if the spindle brake doesn't work, don't buy it.

Check the smoothness of the knee crank drive. I have seen a few Bports with chewed up knee lift gears and bushings which are also expensive to replace. Chewed up gears will make your life a misery if you are working on work of many varying heights. (You can make up an adaptor for a heavy duty electric drill to help with the knee lift winding if you have a lot of it to do, but these will only work well with gears that are in good condition.)

All of these things are hard to detect on Ebay - I personally would never buy a used or new mill without seeing and feeling the various motions in person, if I were laying out good money and mill was being sold as an operable rather than a parts-only machine.

Just my opinions having seen some sad examples in industry over the years. Hope the info helps.

A Bport or Bport clone is a joy to use if in decent condition. Going prices for good used ones here are around $7000-$8000 Canadian. Only junk/scrap/problem Bports/clones are available here in Canada at $1500.


John Stevenson29/01/2013 21:03:09
5068 forum posts
3 photos

Bridgeport rebuilding manual for the step speed.

Don't bother with the varispeed they are crap.




PLEASE follow the copywrite instructions, OK to use, OK to give away


NOT OK to sell.

Edited By John Stevenson on 29/01/2013 21:03:30

Bazyle29/01/2013 21:34:40
6379 forum posts
222 photos

There is another BP on ebay every day on average. Starting prices range from 200 to 4k but I never look at ending prices so don't know what teh 'rate' is. However infar flung corners some good stuff goes cheaper. It would be worth understanding the delivery costs as I imagine that is not cheap over any distance nowadays.

The fact that this is a new account just shows it is not a dealer or an ebay shop and he diecided not to use his wife's account. Loads of tools appear in listings mixed with kids clothes etc Also it is in the midlands where there are several dealers. He has probably only been offered <1k by them and has nothing to lose by trying ebay.
Lots of machines get offered with DROs if they have been in industry but I do wonder how one can repair them as the only service agents will be asking industrial rates.

John Stevenson29/01/2013 21:38:02
5068 forum posts
3 photos

Don't let a DRO sway you.

You can get a two axis good glass scale unit for about £400, less than the cost of a lot of replacement scales.

A new unit is night and day compared to an old clunker which might fall over at any second.

Jon29/01/2013 22:25:26
1001 forum posts
49 photos

About £5k+ fully refurbished with original power feed.

Good price you will pay a grand more for a chinese knock off in same condition.

Shame over Brownhills this morning could have had a look. Something like that i would never buy blind.

John Stevenson29/01/2013 22:40:10
5068 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Jon on 29/01/2013 22:25:26:

About £5k+ fully refurbished with original power feed.

Good price you will pay a grand more for a chinese knock off in same condition.

Shame over Brownhills this morning could have had a look. Something like that i would never buy blind.

No way.

Take a look at the Warco WM40, 5K less VAT box slide ways, built in knee feed not some skimpy 110v hoover motor. DRO's fitted and far better.

I have seen these working in the flesh on high tolerance jobs and nothing is wanting.

If it wasn't for the fact that I would need a week shifting machines to get my Bridgy out I'd have one of these in a hearbeat.

jason spencer30/01/2013 10:38:30
72 forum posts

Thanks for the link to the manual, very good reading.

So how much should I be paying for a machine for home use?

Does anyone know of something decent for sale?

Jon30/01/2013 15:47:46
1001 forum posts
49 photos

I was refering to a Bridgy fully pro done up with original power feed.

Used to a 942VS/WM40 dro , power feeds, coolant etc brand new £5k delivered now £7800+ from Chester. One up on Warco at £6600+, pretty good but too big in small workshop. Regularly used to see nails for £2k and better for s/h up to £3.5k, times have changed but a buyers market.

Could do with next size down 836/WM20 ish used to be £3600 now look at price way over £5600.

Last two years looks like an extra £1500 generally gone on new and second hand prices.

Bazyle30/01/2013 17:49:25
6379 forum posts
222 photos

JS, nice document even though I never expect to buy a BP it is an interesting read.

Jon, I think you are saying there are different sizes apart from minor differences in table size? rarely been up close so just though when I saw the last one 'boy that's big'. When you look around teh web and youtube there are never people in the picture to get a feel of size.

Please can you explain a bit more.

Jon30/01/2013 19:23:41
1001 forum posts
49 photos

Here you go one up a bit last two years as well £6k rebuilt Click on prices.

KWIL30/01/2013 19:46:49
3562 forum posts
70 photos


7ft 6" to the top of the motor or thereabouts, mine is around 8ft because I have a 4" raising block and it is also on a mounting frame with adjustable av feet. The air lines for the drawbar motor are a little higher.

Clive Foster31/01/2013 15:17:14
3172 forum posts
113 photos

Darn. Should have picked up that TOS around the turn of the year then you could have had mine!

My 1976 Varispeed with 6F powerfeed and defunct Newall DRO cost around £660 (plus a days money to a friend for hauling'n installing help) back in 2007. Accidental purchase as I didn't really want a metric machine but won it with a minimum bid on E-Bay figuring that £300 or so under the going rate would compensate for wrong language. Dealer purchase. Basically sound with good screws and ways but filthy and priced to move 'cos it wasn't worth their while to clean. Turned out to have a siezed spindle. Left out in the rain by previous owner. Found there was still water in the head on stripping. So I had to go right through it, fixing a few other things on the way. Dealer got the parts for me at near enough cost price so I wasn't too unhappy. Bottom line is I have around £1,800 in it after fixing, fitting 3 axis glass scale DRO, pull wire quill travel sensor and Bjur spraymist box. Not counting tooling ( getting on for £1,000 maybe!) and proceeds from selling the 2 axis Newall Digipac 5 DRO that was on it. In car terms I guess condition is decent 50,000 - 70,000 miler if you see what I mean. Not perfect but does a good job and I know it inside out. Not too shabby a deal all in all, there is a Y-axis power feed to go on once I've tracked down the slector relay board circuits.

Forget the "Varispeed is crap" crap. As ever its all about condition, condition, condition. Step pulley versions have their own issues. Big difference is that a step pulley can be patched up but a varispeed needs to be fixed properly but when its done its done. I guess a varispeed lasts a couple of decades or so if not abused. The heavy motor keyway wear illustrated by John S in a previous post is not normal. Mine still had the original formed in place turquoise bushes on the varispeed disks. Well past their sell by date and seriously broken up with bits of bush and most of the keys gone AWOL. Some very minor filing got the keyways straight and a quick touch in the lathe bought the shaft true. Delrin bushes and keys made to fit, probably 10 thou oversize on the key, 10 thou under on the bushes and it will probably see me out. The original parts had sailed though a machine rebuild by InterCity Machine tools back in the day. Bridegport opinions are distorted because there are probably more of them about than all the other variants put together so absolute numbers of poor condition machines are greater even if the overall percentage is no different. Being common also makes developing a fix for wear related problems worth it so as the fix can be got its worth being fixed if you see what I mean. I've seen dealers take Bridgeports in worse condtion than Beavers which were subsequently scrapped. A Bridgeport can be shifted by knife'n fork methods and sild under an 8 ft ceiling easily enough. Bit different for a Beaver or TOS.

6F factory power feed used a high quality industrial DC motor and meaty metal gears. Vastly better than the Servo style aftermarkets. Mine was full to the gills with carbon dust but a good scrub, new brushes and replacement microswitches on the box sorted things for chump change.

Prices look to have hardened recently I guess my deal would come around £2,200 these days. But you should aim to start out better. If you can wait for the deal, finger in the wind says around £1,600 to go straight into service with a 2 axis DRO on board. (But you can get lucky. OK its a lathe but last year a sweet Hardinge clone with DRO went for £400 from just round the corner. I run a Smart & Brown 1024 VSL so of less than zero interest to me.)


jason spencer01/02/2013 16:45:33
72 forum posts

so would it be a good move to to buy a machine with powered feeds for £900 unseen with a view to spending the saving on any unknown issues? Its guarenteed to be fully running etc...

Tony Pratt 101/02/2013 17:06:32
2020 forum posts
12 photos

Jason, why would you want to buy a machine sight unseen? The UK is only a small island so take the time to view personally.


Jim Nolan03/02/2013 10:53:16
77 forum posts

I notice as I have been researching my BP alternative that even with higher HP heads, speeds don’t seem to have changed much. Not much out there getting over the 4000RPM bar. Yet if you look at most tooling data 5000-10,000 RPM in under 20 mm cutters seems to be the norm these days.

Is this an inherent design issue or are the heads just not up to the job or are not rigid enough?

As I have got more into CNC milling lately I have realised just how important getting the right S&F is and running too slow can be just as bad as too fast.

I realise I am probably leaving myself open to “have you not seen this BP clone it runs at” … So lets just assume that if the second hand price has a double digit before the comma its out of my league


John Stevenson03/02/2013 12:02:31
5068 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Jim Nolan on 03/02/2013 10:53:16:

I notice as I have been researching my BP alternative that even with higher HP heads, speeds don’t seem to have changed much. Not much out there getting over the 4000RPM bar. Yet if you look at most tooling data 5000-10,000 RPM in under 20 mm cutters seems to be the norm these days.

Is this an inherent design issue or are the heads just not up to the job or are not rigid enough?

As I have got more into CNC milling lately I have realised just how important getting the right S&F is and running too slow can be just as bad as too fast.



No Jim you are correct as regards published speeds for modern cutters.

When Ketan was looking at the speeds and feeds published for some of the Sumoto range he carries he queried some of these which looked to be quite insane.

So we walked up the road to this local Aerospace company who only do work for Airbus and Boeing and had a word with one of the guys who runs three 5 axis machines, about 1/4 mill per pop and asked him if any of their machines could run these cutters at the optimum.

The answer was no, only one with a 30,000 rev spindle was close but to run at published feeds they would have needed the 50,000 rev optional spindle fitted.

Manual machines, even new, are stuck in a time warp and all modern tooling is now generated for CNC as lets face it who runs a manual machine in a production environment these days ? plus it's a scale of sales. sell 3 to a manual guy or 100 to a production facility.

Manual machines still have a place but it's small scale production , one -offs and plant maintenance.

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