Round Ram Bridgeport

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Hopsteiner

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This is a project I've been working on for awhile, affectionately known as the "boat anchor." When I bought it, all I heard was Bridgeport. Had I known more, I would have walked away but I'm too far down the road now. I'm putting in new screws and nuts and bearings where needed. At present I'm scraping new gibs flat. I now know the difference between an M Head and a J Head. I caution all to read and get as much information before you make an expensive purchase. I have foregone scraping the ways. I have the knowledge but the expenditure in precision measuring tools would be prohibitive. This mill will be a hugh upgrade in my milling capabilities. At present, I have an upright milling vise on my Atlas Mill. I would be interested in anyone else undertaking a similar "folly."
 

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ShopShoe

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"Had I known more, I would have walked away but I'm too far down the road now."

I think most of us have been too far down the road at one time or another.

Your Bridgeport will be great when it's done, and you will have a better idea of what to do in the future. You may be tired of it, or you may decide to revisit parts of it in the future: I find that few of my projects are ever "done" done, but then I favor the process of working on things more than the objects that result from the process.

Keep working and let us see how things go.

Thank You for posting,

--ShopShoe
 

DJP

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There is a positive side to this story as your Bridgeport now sits in your basement workshop. My J Head was delivered on a flatbed truck using a fort lift so it ended up close to where it was dropped off in my garage/shop. Luckily it didn't need rebuilding and the professional movers didn't disturb the tram alignment of the head.

A coat of paint would help improve the appearance but as stated, making things and getting accustomed to the new capabilities have taken priority.

Once you are operational the time spent rebuilding will be forgotten.
 

MRA

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'Had I known more, I would have walked away but I'm too far down the road now...I would be interested in anyone else undertaking a similar "folly..."'

Well, we celebrated our wedding anniversary quite recently...oh, hang on...
 

rlukens

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Looks like a great project... carry on.
At "our" age, projects are a blessing if not a must. Whether it's metal, wood, dirt, or whatever, they keep us above ground.
 

Wizard69

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Rebuilding a machine tool is never folly if there is any life left in it. Some of the classic machines will be around for several centuries and still be completely useful. So taking care of old iron isnt folly.

Frankly the Bridgeport Mill is a classic as far as machine tools go. The need for that sort of functionality doesn't go away. They may not be front and center in modern machine shops but there will be a few around and probably will be there in the 2200's.
 

Hopsteiner

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I would like to update my posts on the rebuilding of my 1946 M head Bridgeport. I’m getting close as you will see from the following pictures. The table is mounted and moves smoothly. I had the 42 inch table precision ground. I have since found that the table is three low from end to end. Not happy about this but at this point, I just want to get this mill operational. I feel when it was surface ground, a too heavy a cut may have been taken causing the table to flex in the middle. I’m working on small details which are functional but in some cases, cosmetic. I almost feel like the guy working on the sailboat that enjoys rebuilding the sailboat and not the sailing. Since my machine will be in an unheated garage, I have taken to making all of the handles which were missing out of 303 stainless steel. In the future, I plan on installing a DRO. The cost of an XYZ unit seem to be all over the place. Most or all of these units are made in China. Does anyone have any suggestions as to a reasonably priced unit with reliability?
 

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Hopsteiner

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I‘ve been working on this M head mill for a long time. There has been no urgency to finish, but there it sits reminding me I’ve got to get it done. I‘ve had been thinking of building a tubing carriage to be able to move the mill, but then how often do you need to move your mill? In the first picture, you see a cushioned leveler made by Sunnex. I took some measurements and think I can get these to work. There is a casting rib inside the base of this mill that runs around the perimeter of the base. These mounts have about a 1/2 inch adjustment for leveling. My thought is to take some 1 inch stainless rod, drill a clearance hole to fit over the threaded rod. These pieces will be about two inches in height. As the mill sits on all four of these levelers, you can use a small socket to raise and adjust each corner. They cost about $25 each, but tubing and welding a carriage would have cost far more. The 4th photo shows the mill be lifted off the portable cart, a U haul castoff. The hoist is by Harbor Freight with a 6 foot strap. I’m a savenger, always got my eye out. The last two photos show the 3 phase converter mounted on a board. I’ve got a variable frequency drive but I decided the fastest way to get this running was this method.
 

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ShopShoe

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I have used leveling pads for some things in my shop and they work OK, but I don't have any large machines like a Bridgeport. I have also seen at least one Bridgeport mounted on casters on a YouTube video (but I can't remember who has it.) A big machine on casters scares me so I would not do it myself.

Keith Rucker on YouTube has attached risers underneath machines and built tables with structure a few inches above the floor so he can use a pallet jack to move them. I like this approach. I have my tabletop mill-drill mounted on a table that takes the same approach and I use my hydraulic lift-table at about 1/2 inch lift to do the same thing.

Did you ever get a DRO?

--ShopShoe
 

Hopsteiner

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Shop shoe, I like the Keith Rucker videos. I’d kill for the space and shop he’s got. This guy can’t be married. The carriage you’re talking about had wheels but when you got it where you wanted it, you adjusted 4 screws one on each corner. This lifted the machine off the floor, leveling the machine. I don’t have a DRO, maybe later. I did buy a X axis power feed which needs repair. I’ve just got to get it running.
 

Hopsteiner

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This is my problem, I have a breaker box in the garage. I just have to run power to it. I have a 100 amp service. It’s a “rats nest” and should be upgraded to 150 or 200. I can do it myself, however I don’t know if I can take the heat for interruption of power, internet, etc. aA mask will not help, maybe earplugs?
C7547586-CCE0-42D3-A55D-DA079445C55B.jpeg
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Hopsteiner

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Have you ever tried to bend number 2 cable? It’s like trying to break an arm. I‘ve got the spot for a 60 amp double pole, but all of that romex has to move. Ive got a project in mind so ive got to get that mill up and running.
 

Hopsteiner

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Rebuilding a machine tool is never folly if there is any life left in it. Some of the classic machines will be around for several centuries and still be completely useful. So taking care of old iron isnt folly.

Frankly the Bridgeport Mill is a classic as far as machine tools go. The need for that sort of functionality doesn't go away. They may not be front and center in modern machine shops but there will be a few around and probably will be there in the 2200's.
As I’m new to this type of format, and not terribly computer literate. I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner. Thank you for your thoughts. Regards
 

Richard Hed

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Have you ever tried to bend number 2 cable? It’s like trying to break an arm. I‘ve got the spot for a 60 amp double pole, but all of that romex has to move. Ive got a project in mind so ive got to get that mill up and running.
I doesn't know if it is legal or recommended but can you, instead of replacing the service, just put a second one dedicated solely to your shop next to the original?
 

packrat

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I have been reading your post about the round ram Bridgeport, I have been looking for one that is close to my shop that I can afford, there seems to be more on the east cost ?, but shipping is a killer..Please keep posting updates, very informative... thanks
 

Hopsteiner

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Thank you, when I first started posting, I didn’t know if anyone would be interested. If you do buy one, look it over closely. As I mentioned, all I heard was Bridgeport. Home Shop Machinist is doing a series which just started this month on an M head rebuild. This should be pretty informative. If you’re not a subscriber, go to their web site. They will send you a sample current issue. Good luck finding one. I don’t know if you would consider a “road trip” under the current virus situation. You should be able to pick one up for $1000-$1500. I’ve seen them on EBay in that range. Most guys are looking for J head machines which have power down feed. Again, good luck and I will post more pictures.
 

Hopsteiner

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I doesn't know if it is legal or recommended but can you, instead of replacing the service, just put a second one dedicated solely to your shop next to the original?
What I will probably do is “clean up” everything that’s just crammed in that box. The previous owner put an addition on and just used piggy back breakers instead of upgrading. I have put a dedicatEd box in the garage, but I’ve used really heavy wire to feed it. Overkill actually, but I had all these items laying around. Eventually, i will have to bite the bullet and upgrade.
Thank you, when I first started posting, I didn’t know if anyone would be interested. If you do buy one, look it over closely. As I mentioned, all I heard was Bridgeport. Home Shop Machinist is doing a series which just started this month on an M head rebuild. This should be pretty informative. If you’re not a subscriber, go to their web site. They will send you a sample current issue. Good luck finding one. I don’t know if you would consider a “road trip” under the current virus situation. You should be able to pick one up for $1000-$1500. I’ve seen them on EBay in that range. Most guys are looking for J head machines which have power down feed. Again, good luck and I will post more pictures.
 

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packrat

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One is for sale about 40 miles from me right now, but he wants $4000.00 for it..?? That is out of my reach $$ wise and moving it 40 miles on the freeway
with rented trailer has me concerned.....https://classifieds.ksl.com/listing/60168066
 

Hopsteiner

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That’s nuts. Maybe if everything has been scraped true. The table has been flaked, it has a one lube system installed. Digital read out, been repainted and aluminum polished. Way too much. Look for a community college tech school that might be upgrading. Then $4000 might be a good buy.
 

Hopsteiner

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Where do you live, if I may ask? Grand Rapids Community College is putting an addition on their Tech Center. They have numerous J head slightly used Bridgeport’s which might come up for sale. However, a high school machine shop would be a better bet. An M head weighs about 1500 pounds, a J a little more. one of the open aluminum Trailers with a wood floor from u haul could handle that. I bought a 2 ton hoist from Harbor Freight with a short 6000 pound strap. After it’s out of the trailer, 3/4 inch black pipe, 4 pieces should help you move it in place. As with anything, common sense and fore thought come into play. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of this, hire it. Regards, Bill
 

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