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Thread: Any of y'all run milling machines? Can I pick your brains?

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    Registered User Deerhurst's Avatar
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    Any of y'all run milling machines? Can I pick your brains?

    I recently picked up a mill. Big old monster hammerhead Bridgeport that is still sitting on the trailer in my carport because it's raining too much. First machine for my shop. I play on Series 1 Bridgeports almost every day.

    The last 2 pieces of the puzzle before I can make any cuts is a vise and a phase converter.

    I'd love a Kurt vise but don't really want to spend the $600+ for a cheap Kurt. I'm looking at a ~$220 6" Shars vise. I know it won't be Kurt nice. I'll probably have to grind in the jaws at work. Not a big deal. Suggestions?


    Phase converter is a big one. The machine is a.monster. 1.5HP spindle but a 3HP pump for the hydraulic tracer. American Rotary recommends a ADX10 10HP rotary phase converter. I want to stay with rotary. Any recommendations?

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    Just pay $600 for a Kurt dude

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    ^ This.
    Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

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    yup, kurt. You can buy refurbished ones pretty cheap. Go ahead and get a matching rotary table too. I went cheap and made a capacitor bank first and it worked fine. Finally just bought a phase converter. I dont remember who made it, but can check later if you want
    Chris Hipes
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    Registered User Deerhurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chili17 View Post
    yup, kurt. You can buy refurbished ones pretty cheap. Go ahead and get a matching rotary table too. I went cheap and made a capacitor bank first and it worked fine. Finally just bought a phase converter. I dont remember who made it, but can check later if you want
    Source for refurbished Kurt? I'd also like an Orange vise but they make Kurt look cheap. $600 would be a great deal for a Kurt if new. The smallest 6" they make MSRPs for just under $800.

    I'd love a rotary table. Even just a collet indexer would be slick.

    I'm looking at the American Rotary ADX10 because of the pump. Any thoughts?



    BTW, what is the flatness and parallelism specs on the Kurt. They don't really advertise that. It's easier to find that info for a Shars vise than a Kurt. Figured if it were good they would say so.

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    If you have multiple 3ph machines, then a rotary phase converter makes sense. Another option is a VFD. I just converted my Hardinge lathe to VFD control. The VFD also controls speed and motor direction. Iím just about to convert my renovated Bridgeport to VFD as well. I like the Westinghouse TECO. There are YouTube vids on making the conversion. A VFD must be wired and programmed. It does not work out of the box.

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    I just bought 4 Kurt vises at auction (BidSpotter), prices $40-$160. All are in excellent condition. Got a very crisp 4”, a 6” that is like new, and two 8”

    I bought the 8” by accident thinking they were 6”. (Auction only had pics). I only paid $90 each though. Plan to sell them. They are about 120 pounds each though

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    Registered User Deerhurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fezziwig View Post
    If you have multiple 3ph machines, then a rotary phase converter makes sense. Another option is a VFD. I just converted my Hardinge lathe to VFD control. The VFD also controls speed and motor direction. I’m just about to convert my renovated Bridgeport to VFD as well. I like the Westinghouse TECO. There are YouTube vids on making the conversion. A VFD must be wired and programmed. It does not work out of the box.
    A lot of people have said go VFD. Will not work in my situation, which most people that say go VFD seem to not be able to understand why.

    While there are 2 systems, hydro pump and the 2Js head, they are effectively a single unit as far as controls are concerned. Minor history lesson: True Trace used to make tracer addons for Bridgeport mills and eventually got bought out by Bridgeport who integrated the Synchro-Trace system into their mills as an option. On those machines there is an electronics cabinet on the back with a bunch of relays and what-not and it is on controlled from a central point. My specific machine can handle 3 heads, all controlled with one pushbutton. My machine also has auto lube, onboard coolant, controls for the hydro system and its heaters all on the panel. Easiest way to keep everything working as intended and hook it up would be a phase converter to the single power cable.

    Once I move it indoors its so big I may have to move a vehicle out of the garage. Really dont want to do that. The car port it is in at the moment has plans to be walled in, slab poured and turned into a little shop. Long term is to add a lathe.

    Some pics to help hopefully explain it all;





    Tracer gets moved to the front when in use.



    There is also a ~20 gallon hydraulic tank tethered to the machine on the pallet behind the electrical cabinet that has the pump on it. I found the original order sheet in the cabinet. Looks like the 3HP tracer is larger than normal.



    Oh, and PM sent on the vise. I forgot to ask for pics in the PM. A buddy of mine may be interested in the second 8 inch.

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    I have a Bridgeport Series I. Just completely disassembled and rebuilt it. Ways were nearly perfect, so my rebuild was primarily cosmetic. Lucky me.

    Do you need the hydraulic stuff? You can strip it down to the base all-manual machine. Would be much less money to run the one 1hp 3ph motor via VFD then it would be to get a rotary phase converter. Machine would be physically smaller and simpler too.

    But if you plan to get other 3ph machines in the future, way easier if you have 3ph power.

    For me, the main advantage of going with VFDs is having speed control.

    Bob

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    A vfd conversion would be a bit of a project for your application. A vfd is intended to run a single motor, you would then convert an existing start and stop circuit to control the vfd… this is all fine and good for a lathe or something with on and off and one motor


    Your application looks to be a bit more involved, likely more than one motor and possibly control voltage transformers, unless your knowledgeable of industrial automation and controls… a phase converter is going to be easier for you, rotary and not static.

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    Registered User Deerhurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fezziwig View Post
    I have a Bridgeport Series I. Just completely disassembled and rebuilt it. Ways were nearly perfect, so my rebuild was primarily cosmetic. Lucky me.

    Do you need the hydraulic stuff? You can strip it down to the base all-manual machine. Would be much less money to run the one 1hp 3ph motor via VFD then it would be to get a rotary phase converter. Machine would be physically smaller and simpler too.

    But if you plan to get other 3ph machines in the future, way easier if you have 3ph power.

    For me, the main advantage of going with VFDs is having speed control.

    Bob
    I would like to keep the hydraulics. It is my power feeds in X and Y and it allows me to make things like cams and outside radiuses much more easily.

    This machine is damned near brand new in condition. A few chips in the paint here and there and that's pretty much it. Very exct for it.

    I run series 1 machines as part of my day job. Little ones, 42" beds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mackjack View Post
    A vfd conversion would be a bit of a project for your application. A vfd is intended to run a single motor, you would then convert an existing start and stop circuit to control the vfd… this is all fine and good for a lathe or something with on and off and one motor


    Your application looks to be a bit more involved, likely more than one motor and possibly control voltage transformers, unless your knowledgeable of industrial automation and controls… a phase converter is going to be easier for you, rotary and not static.
    My automation and controls knowledge is a little out of date but I have experience with GE and AB VFDs up to 200HP and I am a production engineer with a bit of an electrical background. I can make it happen doing a VFD conversion and probably keep everything working as BP intended ut I don't think it is worth the time and effort.

    The future plans is to add more equipment. At least a lathe and maybe a surface grinder.

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    Sounds like you need a rotary phase converter then, good clean actual 3 phase on tap

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    Registered User Deerhurst's Avatar
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    I agree.

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    Registered User Deerhurst's Avatar
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    Figure I should update this.

    Got a 10HP American Rotary AD10 phase converter. It's off the trailer and in my garage...on a pallet and I'm too short to reach the draw bar with it on the pallet. I have a itty bitty 5" vise on it that so far has been only used to disassemble and reassemble an AR upper. Got wire for it earlier this evening and need to make some final measurements to get conduit to get it wuired in. It's coming together.

    Still need more tooling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deerhurst View Post
    Still need more tooling.
    20 years from now you will still be saying that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimshady View Post
    20 years from now you will still be saying that...
    True story! In 20 years I'll probably have given myself enough concussions I won't remember where I set my tooling down at!

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