Don't let 3 phase stop you from getting a Bridgeport... A few years ago when I got my Bridgeport I also bought a cheap static converter from Mc.Master Carr for $86.00 Its worked fine all this time... Its very easy to wire up ...
I looked at that before I bought mine, the max spindle to table is somewhat restricted. Might be ok, but I like all I can get in this department. by the time you have a vise on it, you might find not enough room to do much, especially with a drill or reamer. KBC has a similar mill, but different design, much more maximum spindle to table. Don't know if it's available in NZ though.
I've bought several things from Grizzly, find them very good in supporting what they sell.
I also notice the "buy a bridgeport" crowd is still active, and still ignoring the 1100 pound weight difference, as well as the needed space. May be safely ignored. Free advice is worth what you pay for it. Come on, guys. If you don't know the answers, don't offer useless "advice" instead. I've only found one instance that my KBC wasn't big enough, but then the Millport with a 60" table wasn't either.
Paid a whole lot less for my used mill and it will do alot more than the G3103 mill. Having more knee travel, more quill and more machine for less money is the way to go in my view. 12-1/4" distance from spindle to table goes fast, put a good vise, good drill chuck and what can you drill? Moving
The OP was from Christchurch, New Zealand (judging from the univeristy canterbury.ac.nz domain). Bridgeports are not common here, adn aren't cheap. Last ones i have seen, or Victoria equivelents went for around $NZ5-6000, wellused but good (not mint) condition, plain, no DRO or tooling. That is around $US3-4k, or twice the price of the drill.mill adn a lot bigger. A Tom Senior might be a second hand alternative, if you can find a good one. Geoff (also currently at Canterbury Uni for the year)
-- Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam. I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head
BFHAD You don't answer any part of the question, just add smoke and mirrors. Either answer the question or keep your personal OPINION to yourself. He didn't ask to be told to look for a clapped out fifteenth hand bridgeport, he asked a question about a specific mill, not what you thought he should buy.
Gentlemen please! I'm happy to receive any advice and I appreciate you both taking the time. FYI I'm at the start of the search and plan to look very carefully indeed at as many options as I can, so any and all pointers are welcome.
Just to refine the situation a little I have an 8' by 10' workshop into which is currently fitted a Myford ML10 lathe, a 3' by 2' bench with vise, a pedestal mounted grinder and a small table mounted drill press. There is also a small arc welding transformer tucked behind the door, and a selection of various hand tools hung on shadow boards.
So space is limited and I need a miller that will allow me to continue making small steam locos and any other project that might take my fancy and fit into the space available. So fire away!
It's not a real problem, Mike. I looked at your addy and figured that a bridgeport wasn't going to be exactly a household item. Most people looking for a smaller one are, as you indicated, a little cramped for space. From the dimensions you give, a Bridgeport would make the whole shop somewhat more cramped, if not impossible to work in comfortably.
I don't have the Grizzly mill, as I said, mine is from KBC. The Grizzly, I have their 12 X 36 belt driven lathe, and if their service is as good as I have found, and other people I know, would be good for your work. As with any machine coming from the orient, you will have to do some preliminary work before it runs as it should, but it's not a big thing. The two mills are close enough that I could probably substitute one for the other and expect satisfactory results. The KBC has 4 inches more spindle to table, but in over a year, I have yet to run the knee down all the way. I base my opinion on the service and the quality of what I have gotten from them, and nothing else. They're a good company to deal with.
"Good advice" means nothing when it doesn't answer or even address any part of his question. Looking at his email addy should have told you that it's probably a bridgeport might not be easily available. Don't know what the hangup for BP mills is to begin with, it's no match for either a Tree or Gorton, which are far superior in all respects, also much harder to find and more expensive.
I have a Bridgeport in my shop at work (U of M), and like it a lot. It's bigger than the A1S I have at home, and a bit more rigid and versatile. For my use, mostly making instruments, it's a dandy machine.
My dad was an old tool and die man who migrated to being a production engineer at GM. His opinion, and that of other T&D men I've talked with, was that the Bridgeport is/was a great 'beginners' mill, inexpensive and simple, to be used by apprentices, and for rough work within its capacity. In most of the shops I've visited (making tooling for the auto industry), the Bridgeports are mostly old and beat up. Obviously used a lot, but not especially well cared for. They are almost a 'disposable' item at many shops. While expensive by home shop standards, they are cheap for industrial machines. There are always a few other mills reserved for serious work.
Comparisons with much larger mills are not applicable here.
As you state, the Tree and Gorton mills, and a few others, of comparable size were/are more highly regarded. I've seen many of these, but never worked with one.