Bridgeport for Beginners!

Discussion in 'Other metal working projects' started by Jason, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. Jason

    Jason Gold

    It's time I get rolling on a thread for this thing or I'll never get a chance to put it up. Some of you will remember the cattle brand art pieces I did for a family. My wife and I have been flying them for the last 9years. The father owned a once successful machine shop specializing in work for the offshore oil industry down in Louisiana. Today the machines are silent and the business is closed. They've made the money and time for them to move on. Ya see, I've always had a hankering to own a bridgeport milling machine for whatever reason that might be. I believe it comes from this... Back in the 1980's, our family had a friend named Emile Zlacket that lived in St Pete, FL. Emile was a typical retired old fart living in florida. He was a short, fat Lebanese guy with a dirty beard and always had on a dirty white T-shirt and funny looking plaid shorts. He drove a 10yr old Buick La-saber with baseball caps across the back window and he loved his golf and snook fishing. One day I watched a squirrel climb up his golf bag and steal his crackers out of a pocket. You should have seen that fat bastard club the daylights out of his bag trying to hit the damn squirrel. Well, Emile was retired from TRW. When he left the company, TRW installed a brand new Bridgeport and a lathe in his little one car garage. Emile was a pro at developing fixturing for QA testing. He was retired, but still worked hard in his spare time for TRW. As a kid, I remember being blown away with the precision pieces this guy made. How he kept that stuff from rusting is beyond me. His house was on the bay!

    So what am I going to mill with this???? I have absolutely no friggen idea! I just knew if I ever had a chance to nab a smaller bridgeport, I was going to take it. The family I work for offered me this old 1981 Series 1 bridgeport with a boatload of stuff for FREE! It was just up to me to haul it the 800miles home. My wife and I grabbed a rental car and headed to Louisiana last wednesday. The following morning we met with a machine shop buyer and he bailed on the sale of the rest of the equipment that I thought I had sold. There goes my free transport I had lined up back to houston! I just about gave up and my wife nagged me to figure out how to get it home on our own. I called a couple of LTL companies and they offered to haul it for $800, but then called back and said they didn't know how to move it. We were sunk. No one these days will rent you a truck with a trailer hitch except uhaul. So we were off to rent the smallest box truck they had and I asked for the 2 axle trailer. They said they didn't let those trailers go one way.:rolleyes: So I grabbed the 1660lb 5x9 trailer. You do what you gotta do. They under rate the hell out of their equipment just for dumbasses like me. We left southern Louisiana around 6pm on Thursday night and arrived home Friday morning around 11am. We only stopped for about 2hrs when the fog got bad near San Antonio at 4am. Once at home, I found a local rental company that gave me a warehouse forklift for 100bucks. The only downside, I had to get it to my home on my own. The lady told me most folks just drive them to the job. Fine, so she says cut down the side of the building and go behind down a running trail by our local university. I should be fine. Well, it wasn't fine. I took a wrong turn and ran into a dead end in the grass by a driveway. Surrounded by 8" curbs, that I couldn't go over, I backed up. The lift was doing fine until I tried to turn around. It sunk in the grass. Here I am sitting on a busy street corner stuck in grass on a forklift that belongs in a warehouse. Buddy arrives with a pickup and some planks, yeah that wasn't happening. First wrecker service I called said 2-3hrs and the 2nd showed up in 10minutes. He dragged that thing sideways tearing up the universitie's grass and pulled it onto the truck. After some lawn remediation, he met me back at the house and dropped it off. Now I'm $125 bucks lighter for the recovery and tow (which was a bargain) I now have to remember how to run this thing. I drove a reach truck 20years ago at HD in college. I lifted the BP a few inches off the trailer and pulled it out from underneath. Sitting it in the garage and this job was almost done. I skipped the shortcut through the grass and slowed traffic down returning the forklift. ;)

    The machine is just REALLY dirty and doesn't seem to be worn completely out. I ran a dial indicator across the table tonight and was pretty impressed with what I saw. The table is practically spotless from witness marks. My plan is to pull the table, yoke and knee off this thing. I can then get in there and replace the oil lines and give it a much needed clean and some fresh paint. After that, I guess I'll turn my attention to the head, turret and ram. I will need to replace the oiler and I think the mister system doesn't work. If I find anything else earth shattering, I'll deal with it then I guess. The feed on the X works a treat so that's a plus. As you can see from the photos, it came with a nice vice, a 3jaw positioner and also a 100lb thingamajigger to cut gears I guess.o_O So I'm completely new to this thing, if you guys have suggestions, I'm all ears. Youtube only gets ya so far. I will need to go down the VFD road I'm sure. This machine is already variable speed, so I just need the VFD to convert my single phase to 3phase. I might just roll the dice and opt for a 100buck chinese VFD.

    Meet Terry. He ran this shop for years. He doesn't want anything to do with machining anymore and is content chasing crawfish. I was prepping the machine for transport. It really helped flipping the head around.

    We must have loaded it perfectly. There was no wag or sway going down the road. Things got a little crazy going over bridges. The weight of the mill really raised and lowered the ass end of the truck. The truck averaged about 12mpg. Gas was $2.10-$2.34 per gallon.

    Finally in the driveway. That was a REALLY long night. Most of the way, I ran just 60-65mph.

    Lesson learned..... Don't drive a warehouse forklift across grass. DUH!!:oops:

    I can do this.... I think!:eek:

    I really need a 3car garage! Hope I don't need that table saw anytime soon! Actually, I stuck the mill here for a reason. I figure, during the cleanup, I will need to get parts and pieces outside for paint etc...

    Amazing what a green pad and a bunch of wd40 will do. If you have any tips for cleanup, let's hear em!
    I've been considering walnut shells in the blast cabinet for little parts... hmmmo_Oo_Oo_O


    I'm guessing a VFD should run this and I can keep the original BP controls for speed. A FWD/REV jog function would be nice however for tapping....


    IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!! The rapid traverse is a cool feature.

    Mister is said to not be working. I'm guessing you load this thing with coolant and air pressure and it keeps stuff cool..

    KURT WHO???? This vice has character!

    This sucker weighs a ton and mounts horizontally and vertically. I think it's either 9" or 10" across.

    Then there is this beast. 100+ lbs of god knows what. I found it on a shelf in the office and Terry said he wanted it to go with me. It came with some discs, whatever they do.. Carroll indexer.


    So first question right out the gate I have is.... WTF is this thing for and should I have a 2nd one on the right side of the mill? My guess is it has something to do with a little box wired onto the electric feed???o_O
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
    theroundbug likes this.
  2. OMM

    OMM Silver

    Absolutely awesome post. I would give it 10 thumbs up, but it’s not in our list of emojis.
    X D2C2F4FC-0D62-4167-9914-FB2AD9B442D5.jpeg 10.

    Your last picture and WTF are they for our little spring compressors for turning off the automatic feed on X.

    You hit the jackpot with a tooling score!!!

    Your mill deserves the back corner of your shop on a 45° angle in that little recess for its permanent home.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
    Jason likes this.
  3. Jason

    Jason Gold

    Matt, I didn't even show the crate of cutters, chucks, and boring crap. I even got one of those things doubleboost was using in this past weekend's video where he cut that ball. I was grabbing what Terry was giving! There is some medieval looking sawblade stuff on a stick! Lots of ways to lose blood in this box. Some of it is new too! The rest will need to see the evaporust to clean them up a bit.

    Do I need to find a 2nd little spring compressor? I seem to only have one.

    And a BIG THANKS to Matt for taking the time on the phone with me teaching me what to be on the lookout for when acquiring this machine! You were a big help brother and saved me a buttload!
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
    OMM likes this.
  4. Just carefully park it in the driveway and spray it with concentrated degreaser, the water based kind with sodium hydroxide, let it sit for a while and rinse off with a hose, dry with rags and finish with WD40 or Tectyl or Castrol Rustilo. A lot of old slideway oils (and chain bar oil) had a rosin/tall oil based tackifier that leaves the hard varnish like deposits. If you are willing to spend the time to learn, you can hand scrape the ways back to original spec (Using Melterskelter's iron straight edge castings :D) and in effect have a new machine.....lots of spares for Bridgeports too. The Carrol indexer is a valuable bit of kit: you can make gears as well as all sorts of accurate angular machining around a circular shape, like knob and handwheels. The rotary table is similar but less accurate than the indexer.

    I think the knee has a tapered gib to adjust out any dovetail slop which can jam the knee on the column if not careful.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
    Jason likes this.
  5. OMM

    OMM Silver

    Is evaprust is great. Lay down some paper towels on services that are somewhat flat and I just use a ketchup bottle with a thumbtack hole pierced through the lid. Saturate the paper towel, come back after 1 hour and squeeze the paper towel into a container. Lay down some new paper towel pour the container back on the paper towel and apply more if needed from the ketchup bottle. Clean everything up with spray nine followed by Varsal on any Waze with a green scrubby. Finish with way lube if you have it. If not, just use hydraulic fluid, or non-detergent motor oil.

    Edit; never let Evaprust evaporate for more than about an hour. I’ve been using it for about 10 years and I know it’s characteristics/drawback on cast-iron.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  6. And yes you should have two of those stops for use on repetitive jobs to set the power feed stops. Your Carroll indexer has the indexing disc with all the holes drilled in it, it may have a second set of holes on the other side to give a full range of index increments. The other loose steel discs are for rough and ready indexing, it looks like: 3,4,5,12 positions per revolution and I think they mount on the back of the indexer chuck with a single tooth to engage the notches around the rim of each disk.
  7. Jason

    Jason Gold

  8. Jason

    Jason Gold

    Hey I have a drill chuck in the quill I cant seem to get out. The procedure I believe is raise the quill, lock it then loosen the draw bar 2-3 turns and smack it down with a brass hammer. It's not releasing. Am I missing something?
  9. OMM

    OMM Silver

    I have lent out my Bridgeport Vice and rotary table clamp for it. The original Bridgeport vice only held 5 inches if I remember correctly. I have on my milling machine 8.1” vice. I personally like my fixed jaw at the front (closest to the operator). I personally like my work piece moving closer to the turret.
  10. Jason

    Jason Gold

    Your turret has a little door on it. hmmm.. Mine doesn't. I was wondering if there might be a fat bag of cash in there.
  11. OMM

    OMM Silver

    That is the column. The column door is where I hide my receipts from my wife. lol

    As for knocking out any holders. Loosen them counter clockwise looking from the top. Then 2 to 3 turns and then with the quail lock engaged, give it a few light tabs (might have to be heavy) with a brass hammer. Once there is slop in the Quill drawbar, undo the top by hand and the R8 Holder should just drop out.
    Jason likes this.
  12. OMM

    OMM Silver

    I forgot to mention, do not over tighten the turret screws. There is a casting down inside called a spider. If you break this you will regret it.
    Jason likes this.
  13. Jason

    Jason Gold

    You're the man! Thanks.

    Attached Files:

    OMM likes this.
  14. OMM

    OMM Silver

    I see a brass pour to good use. Lol
  15. OMM

    OMM Silver

    I’ll see if I can put a video together tomorrow of my jammed machine shop.
    Jason likes this.
  16. Peedee

    Peedee Silver

    I also have to confess to also beaching a forktruck in grass :( It's up there as highly embarising, especially when your workmates are present (It's innevitable you get an audience in those situations!)
    Jason likes this.
  17. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member


    If you are serious about learning to run your Bridgeport, tuning it up, and getting/using tooling appropriately, you might want to spend, as a very basic introduction, 50 to 100 or (almost certainly) more hours reading a few of the hundreds of the threads already written on the subject at and HomeShopMachinist. It would also be extremely helpful to find a local machinist who can mentor you as hands-on tutoring is so much better than videos and written words.

    I have a pretty tight BP similar to yours. It took me a year or so of frequent use to become reasonably competent in it’s use. This machine can do a lot of good work.


    To put this in terms often used by the OP, this is somewhat like someone posting they just bought a Cessna 172 and asking if we, on the Foundry Forum, could tell him how to fly it. :)
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  18. Petee716

    Petee716 Gold Banner Member

  19. Jason

    Jason Gold

    Another important thread that's f'ed because of photophucket! Thanks for pointing it out to me Pete. I can't believe he hauled that in a truck. :eek: Tying it to the walls is like hoping cardboard will keep it from tipping over.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  20. You'd have to confirm this method of lifting for a Bridgeport, but the factory approved lifting method for my 2500Kg FWD32 universal mill is to run some ropes around the top slide/overarm and lift the mill from there. I used some abrasion resistant rock climbing ropes I had lying around with a tough sheath. Lifting from the top with ropes will eliminate the risk of top heavy toppling and introduce a heavy pendulum that could injure you instead.
    FWD32 pulleys.jpg

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