I think you need to look at the pictures more closely. While it is a
round ram Bridgeport, it looks to have a 1J head on it which is R8
spindle and perfectly good, not the much less desirable "M" head. My
Bridgeport is the same was, round ram and 1J head.
As for wear and tear, that has little to do with age and everything to
do with use and care. From the pictures it appears to be in pretty good
shape. I doubt there are any problems with it that would be an issue for
a home shop.
I don't have the headroom in my shop to weigh my almost identical
Bridgeport with my crane scale, but my 3,000# rated forklift doesn't
even flinch lifting it. Previously I've handled it with a 2T engine
hoist out at the 2,000# boom extension without issues.
He should help you secure it while he's there. Request that!
Securely, front to back and side to side with multiple tiedowns,
straps, chains, or thick ropes.
Take 4 or 5 new or used studs with you. It's usually fairly easy to
put 2x4s around the bottom to secure the base from moving. Then tie
down the top from every angle.
The road goes below the axle, everything else goes on top, please. ;)
Oh, you meant ahead or behind the axle along the moving axis, didn't
you? I always put the heaviest item directly over the axle and toss in
lighter stuff in the front to optimize the tongue weight for the
Possible but doubtful due to the top-heavy nature of the mill. The
easiest way to move semi-heavy machinery is to skid it. Either put a
pair of 4x4s under it and bolt 2x4 braces on, with eyebolts for
dragging it, or mount it to a pallet. A winch or comealong will drag
it on/off the trailer.
eyebolt here and below
_ | _ rounded tips help sliding onto trailer
| | v | |
| ----------- |
|| mill ||
|| here ||
|| (top view)||
| ----------- |
If you must, build a super-low caster cart out of sturdy angle iron
which will raise it only 1/4" off the cement by offsetting the casters
with Z brackets. Use adjusters so you can raise or lower the casters,
making the cart sit on the ground when not being moved. See picture
for a lightweight version of mobile bases used on lighter weight
I move a 6 foot tall bandsaw periodically that is on casters. I treat
moving it like the serious undertaking that it is. Clear a path,
sweep the floor, go slow, after all how fast do you need to travel the
typical 10' or less?
As far as tippness of the bridgeport, I have a feeling side to side is
the worst, tipping backwards likely isn't as bad, not sure about
forwards. The wheels will extend the foot print which helps
Shows a base w/o head and turret at a fairly steep angle.
It would be interesting to know just were the center of gravity is
though the normal range of knee and Y axis positions to determine just
how tippy one is and the effects on stability of increasing the
I don't suppose anyone has solid modeled a bridgeport?
Hi Iggy. Congratulations on your mill.
When we were moving new Bridgeports in Chicago we handled a lot of
trades, and while the machines with the round overarm weren't
everyone's favorites, we always had a waiting list of people to buy or
lease (actually, "rent") them.
That's a very neat idea for a moveable machine. As far as supporting
the machine properly, I'll offer the following:
Of the (thousands) of mills I've seen, I'd venture most are not
sitting flat on the floor for the simple reason most companies don't
have a perfectly flat floor. Not having a flat floor, and trying to
keep the mill from rocking, people shim the corners. Some owners
(especially for larger machines) will just opt for a leveling pad for
each corner during installation. Almost no one tries to shim (and
support) the entire base perimeter.
What would make ME shy away from the mobile brackets would be my very
limited welding abilities, because, as you know, the machine is cast
material and you need to weld (braze?) to steel; not an easy
proposition, if I remember correctly, although I'm sure many on thiis
group have the necessary skills.
When picking the machine under the overarm I'd suggest using a 2x4 on
the fork toward the front of the machine and a 1x4 on the fork at the
rear. This will help compensate for the greater deflection of the
front fork and allow the machine to remain more level, YFTMV (Your
Fork Truck May Vary). Using the same logic one should position the
more load bearing fork toward the center of the forklift and the least
load bearing fork toward the outside; this allows both load chains on
the forklift to bear equal loads.
It might be a good idea to tack some 2x4s around the base on your
trailer as, if I remember correctly, your chains aren't the best. I
don't remember seeing a hole in the round overarm but I might have
forgotten it's being there, but if there is one DON'T use it for
anything besides lifting the RAM ONLY. When unloading lift the mill
(with the wood in place) and have your forks adjusted so they are
level _with the load applied_. Make sure you have clearance beneath
the mill, pull the trailer out from beneath the mill, and lower the
mill straight down; this method is always the safest. The round
overarm mills will want to swing to and fro so take this into account
Check out that mover. I'M pretty sure neither the State of Illinois
or Cook County are in business to certify machinery movers. This
sounds like a phoney.
If this mover is legitimate he will supply you with a current
"Evidence of Insurance" from his insurance agent. Make sure public
liability and workers compensation are covered as well as coverage for
your machine. Try to get a list of satisfied customers. Don't allow
anyone to move your machinery without the proper insurance. (
I see you have already gotten lots of input. Here's mine:
1. If this is the mill that you are going to sell anyway, why not just
have the new owner come and get it from its current location?
2. I use a farm tractor to move my stuff onto and off of trailers. The
only time I have had to have help is with a 3500 pound surface grinder
and I hired a local contractor who had a big skid steer loader for that one.
3. Moving it around/casters: Most of the machies that I own have 3/4
inch diameter holes for base mounting. So, I tap them 7/8-9 and I have
a set of long, threaded-all-the-way bolts that I screw into the holes.
I can easily raise anything with those 4 bolts and then put rollers (1
1/2" water pipe) under the machine. With those, I can push or bar the
machine to anyplace I want it. I haven't bolted my mill down, but I
let it down on pads under each corner.
I pick my machines up with a 10,000 pound endless nylon sling that is
made for the purpose. My tractor has a 5" slip hook welded to a piece
of 4" pipe that I place on a 1 1/4" rod in the area between the front
loader lift arms. The sling is great for not allowing any metal to
metal contact. I use cloth or aluminum shims at pressure points.
I'll add a few things to all the good advice:
Clamp all locks firmly, with a wrench. This keeps things from moving,
and also prevents loss of clamp handles.
Extend the quill enough so the fragile spindle splineshaft is protected
from being bent.
As for putting a mill on casters, I wouldn't do it. Mills are already
pretty tippy. If one mounts the mill on a dolly with casters, the
tippiness can be solved, but then one will always be tripping over that
It's easy to move a mill ten feet by the Egyptian Method: jacking it up
with a pinch bar and inserting some 1" diameter solid mild steel rollers
underneath, and walking the mill to its new home, and reversing the
process. People use black iron pipe, but I've heard of pipe collapsing.
Solid rod is cheap, available, and sure. A handful of shims cut from
0.25" plate is also useful.
And goes a very long way towards keeping the bitch from sliding on the
forks as well
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion,
butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet,
balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying,
take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations,
analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer,
cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects. Lazarus Long
I guess I already seconded this roller suggestion, but just in case its
not clear, you need to understand how simple, controllable and effective
it is. You need 3 pieces of round whatever, each at least several
inches longer than the machine is wide. I use 1 1/2" pipe because a) I
have it, and b) the bigger the diameter, the easier it is to make the
Anyway, you put 2 of your pieces of pipe under your jacked up
machine, at about 1/3 and 2/3 of the distance from front to back. Lower
the machine onto the rollers.
Then you put the third roller under the edge of the machine in the
direction you want to go and push or bar the machine in that direction,
making sure that the machine starts to mount that third roller. Now you
roll carefully in that direction until your first roller comes out from
under the machine, move that to the front, etc.. think about balance
and making sure there are always two rollers under the machine. Plan ahead.
Now for the really neat parts:
To turn the machine, just put the loose roller under a corner of the
machine at an angle, (the direction you want the machine to go) and when
the machine rolls up onto it, it goes the way that roller is angled.
Works like a dream!
Also, theoretically at least, each roller is touching the machine and
the floor at only two points, you can often use your bar to skid the
machine a little bit in the desired direction. Have some small pieces
of aluminum sheet so your bar isn't digging into the floor when you
crank on it.
Joseph Gw> >
You're right. I stand corrected.
Rare to see a machine of this vintage that isn't clapped out. Of course
anything is possible and you may just find a gem. From the looks of it,
with the sloppy redone paint, I would suspect worse rather than better.
The knee ways are the worst wear point, reducing the machine to a glorified
All you really need to move the mill is some nylon skid plates under the
machine and a come along. Pull it only at the base or it will tip. A
strap around the base or a chain in a rubber hose to protect the paint
will work fine. I move our machines around the shop using that method
but I also put steel flat stock under the nylon skid plates and add a
little oil to decrease friction a little because most of our machines
are over 20,000 lbs.
I really have to +1 this.
I still help out at my old Voc school (17 or so years later) and we
have moved the whole class shop around using this method. That's 7
Bridgeports, 9 Lathes (Clausing and Nardini), grinders, bandsaw,
EVERYTHING. Even jockeyed the SuperMax CNC lathe into position that
way. Works a treat. As with everything (and already stated many
times), go slow, plan ahead, and be careful.
Very nice description Pete.
Another idea would be to have the person feeding the rollers not wear
gloves which can easily get trapped beneath a roller; there are few
common things which will crush a finger so rapidly.
When we rolled Bridgeports into place we'd only use 2 rollers with one
person both pushing and balancing (this takes some practice) at the
balance point of the machine, and the second person moving the roller
from rear to front (there are two ways to do this). I don't suggest
this for the average person and mention it only if you happen to be
stuck with only 2 rollers.
As far as roller types we always used 1" bar on this size machine
unless there was a problem with the floor surface. Black pipe will
also work for weights far beyond a Bridgeport as long as it's fully
I think you may have missed the fact that the base isn't welded to the
the base is angle iron welded into a square then the machine is set into the
What looks like welding to the machine is in fact just painted Bondo to fill
the joint and
keep the chips out.
Inspect the ways for obvious wear and damage. Look at the table
condition as well, if it's in good shape with few holes, gouges and
divots in it the machine in general is likely in decent shape. One key
thing to remember is that these things will have a fair amount of
backlash. They came from the factory that way as did pretty much every
other manual mill. Only the CNC mills get the preloaded ballscrews with
hardly any backlash. If the leadscrew isn't badly worn, the lead nut has
provisions for tightening and reducing backlash.
I moved a 10,000# 40' cargo container over rough terrain using about the
same method. Used about a half dozen logs 10' x 6" dia, some chains and
a Highlift mechanical jack both to lift the container and to pull it.
Simply visually you can see if the knee ways are worn by comparing the
fish-scale flaking pattern at the ends versus the middle, and inspecting
for grooves made by trapped swarf, gouges from dropped tools or work,
and brazed repairs to the like, on the way surfaces.
If you have a scraped straightedge, such as a machinist's precision
square that you have scraped to fine-tune the flatness, which fits along
the exposed portion of the knee ways, you can quantify the way wear with
feeler gages slipped underneath. One thou is a lot, and a few thou are
trouble. The flaking is only about a thou deep itself, so if it is worn
off in the middle that's an ominous sign.
You can take along a magnetic-base dial gage and quickly measure the TIR
on the spindle. You can run the head (if under power) to listen for
noise and test all the power feeds and backgear.
These simple tests are all that is usually practical when going to
inspect and evaluate a candidate used machine. You can't typically be
laying inked-up flatness gages on the table. But like a woman's hands,
a quick inspection usually tells the true age of the specimen, even
though the rest of the apparatus may have been painted up or surgically
altered to look younger, or may look older than apparent due to some
hard tasks in life.