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  1. #1
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    120V Milling Machines

    Mind blown: http://www.ostfalia.de/export/sites/.../deckelfp1.jpg

    120V Milling Machines-deckelfp1.jpg

    I've been looking at milling machines, and veteran framebuilders seem to gravitate towards the Bridgeport. I totally get it, but I am limited to 120V power, so I have to wade through a market saturated by Asian imports and hobby mills from the 1950s, and I don't have a lot of technical knowledge about what to look for.

    I know I want an R8 collet and 5 inches of travel. Or do I? What do you look for in a milling machine when your options for power and size are limited? I want to make an educated decision when am in a position to make a purchase. Thank you in advance for your help!

    David

  2. #2
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    I know a couple of garage builders (myself included) with the Grizzly G0729 or other versions of the same castings (mine is a Jett). I have an optional extension between the head and the body that gives you more room to work on tall objects on mine. It's big enough that you get a real knee, but small enough that you can pick it up with an engine hoist. If you break it down into a few pieces, three people and a furniture dolly will do the job. It feels more like a real tool, and not something for building little steam engines.

  3. #3
    builder of frames
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    I think having R8 collets is nice because that's what Bridgeports use and they are common in other new machines. They are readily available everywhere. However I don't think it is that important if a milling machine uses other kind of collet and comes with a decent range of sizes. I've had several vertical mills with other than R8 collets and while changing them may have been slightly more inconvenient it didn't matter that much. They all worked fine. In other words if you find a smaller vertical mill that isn't 220 volt, 3 phase and comes with a size range of collets, you will be fine. Back when I started building frames I found a floor model Index mill (that were made in Jackson, Michigan) in a smaller size that I could take apart and move mostly by myself. I think it had a 110 volt half horsepower motor. I eventually sold it to one of my framebuilding class students.

  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    I think the cheapest usable mill for framebuilding is the G0704 and bretheren. I'm sure it's a compromise, but at least it has a square column.

  5. #5
    RCP Fabrication
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    IF being limited to 115v power is the only reason to not get a bridgeport, buy a bridgeport.

    One of my Bridgeport's was retrofitted by the previous owner with a 3/4hp single phase motor. I run it on 230v, but it would only draw 10.4 amps on 115v.

    My mini mill, before I sold it, I retrofitted with a 2hp single phase motor. I ran it on a 15 amp 115v circuit for a few months, and on a 20 amp 115v circuit for a few years when I moved the shop.

    My other bridgeport uses the original 3 phase 1hp motor wired with a VFD. I have this (again I use the 230v version, but the 115v version will run a 1hp bridgeport w/o issue) FM50-101-C

    For $130 the VFD can not be beat. Even if you get a used single phase motor, it's probably going to cost more than $130. Only takes a few minutes to set up, you can use the factory F/R switch with some simple low voltage wiring. It has soft start/stop capabilities, and quite a few other features.

  6. #6
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    @RCP FAB Which Bridgeport version has a 1HP motor? Other than being able to physically see the data plate, are there visual cues as to which motor is mounted? I ask because I am likely to have to arrange a sale online and most ads never actually show the data plate up close.

    The Baldor buffer at work is hooked up to a device very similar to the one described in the link. It sounds reasonable that it would also work on a Bridgeport. Thanks for the info!

  7. #7
    RCP Fabrication
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    Most of the belt drive j heads are 1hp.

  8. #8
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    Many of the Clausing 8520 mills are 110V. Perfect for something like framebuilding imo, if you don't want something bigger. Personally, I have a full size BP and love it.

  9. #9
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    I have a Rockwell 21-100. Mine has a single phase 115V motor. perfect size for a garage or basement shop and it uses R8 collets. Check out the yahoo group - Rockwell Milling Machines, for lots of support and information.

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