Burke Milling Machine

I am looking at an old Burke belt driven vertical /horizontal milling
machine. Can some one give me a lead where I can find more information about
this machine. E-mail me at snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net.
Jeff T.
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I had one for a number of years. Liked the little bugger. Way small compared to a Bridgeport, but more than capable of doing decent work on smaller items, in any material, from plastics to stainless steel.
There is a Yahoo! list on them I believe, and a number of RCM ers own them. The original verticle head seems to be like gold, quite rare, though there have been other makers heads adapted, Rushnock, Diamond, even Bridgeport M heads.
A machine tool dealer in my area had 4 of them for sale, in quite good condition, for $400 obo each, a couple years ago. I believe I found enough hobbyists at that time, to buy out his stock...
"People are more violently opposed to fur than leather, because it is easier to harrass rich women than it is motorcycle gangs." - Bumper Sticker
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Great machine. Love it. I just used it all last week to make some fancy brass pedestals for my ship models. I had the 6" Phase II rotary table on it -- which is really 6.75 and much too big for the machine. I bought the new, Phase II 4" table. Perfect size for this mill. Last week I got the Phase II tailstock, which really expands one's machining options. I also have a little Centec 2A horizontal/vertical mill. I use that almost always in the vertical mode. Also have the vertical attachment for the Burke, which I used before I got the Centec. Anyhow, I've had the Burke for over 20 years. It was my first mill, and I love it as much as I did when I first got it. Here are some points:
1. Be sure to check the gibs out. If any are broken, they will cost you a small fortune to replace. Scott Logan will probably do them for as good a price as you're likely to get. I was lucky. Mine had a broken knee gib, but Burke was still in business at the time -- paid a fortune for it.
2. Good chance you'll have to replace the main spindle bearings. No big deal. Standard kind of tapered roller bearings -- don't buy a Burke unless it has the tapered bearings.
3. Motor and gearbox. The 4 speed gearbox is great. Especially if you put a speed reducer in front of it to lower the the lowest speed. The motor and the gearbox can be separated and a replacement motor fitted on (with some couplings, etc.) figure the motor is shot anyhow. Thing is to get the speed down. The only way the Burke could have been used with the "native" speeds is with plenty of coolant. It was hopeless for slitting saws till I slowed it down.
4. Nothing exotic about tearing down and rebuilding. Goes together in a rational way. There are no manuals worth the price. So keep careful notes as you tear down.
5. Be aware that there were many, many, many variants of the #4 Burke. It was often set up as part of special-purpose milling set up in production work. Some of those variants would be useless to a hobbyist.
6. Most spindles were B&S #9. That means expensive collets and arbors made out of unobtainium. I had a good 1" arbor and that did me fine for 18 years. Last year I picked up a 7/8" arbor. I'm still looking for a 3/4" in good condition -- any out there?
7. The collets will cost you about $30-$35 each. Don't bother with used collets. They are usually too beat up to bother with (your end mill winds out of the collet at the least excuse. But decent end mill holders are usually available at shows, used tool dealers, etc.
8. Some #4 Burkes were made with B&S #7 spindles. I think those are useless and I would pass it up. Some were made with MT#3 spindles -- okay, but not as good as B&S #9.
9. A few, relatively rare, late models had R-8 Spindles. Those are the most valuable. With an R8 spindle, there's no end to the supply of cheap, new and used tooling. A couple of the Burke owners in the newsgroup have successfully remachined their spindles to R8. I would have done that if I had not previously invested in all the collets and other tooling. If you buy it and have not invested in tooling, that would be the way to go. But be sure you are dealing with a machine shop that can do the job correctly -- including precision grinding the spindle hole as needed.
Good luck Boris
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Boris Beizer
B&S 9, is exceptionally easy to make. IRRC its a straight taper of .5" per foot. If you have a taper attachment on your lathe, or know somone whom has..they are a breeze to turn out a bunch. I have two machines that use this taper (I gave away the Burke to a retired friend) and while Ive scrounged a good collection of tooling (no, you cant have the 3/4" , Ive also made a lot more custome tools in a lathe.
Greer Machinery, in Huntington Beach California, has a complete setup, in the wooden box, of a #9 collet holder and complete set of collets, in excellent shape. Google search for his website and call him.
"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass." --Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Boris, but I'm not interested in making gibs for these mills.
OTOH, parts should be available from:
The D. C. Morrison Co. PO Box 12586 201 Johnson St Covington, KY 41012-0586 Covington KY 41011-1437 Bus: (888) 246-6365 Bus2: (859) 581-7511 Bus Fax: (859) 581-9642
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Scott S. Logan

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