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Diays Creek Forge

Milling machines???

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Hi yall thanks for feed back on iron workers.  I am also looking to into getting a milling machine.  I do light to medium fabrication in my shop, knife making and custom blacksmithing for the big houses next to the ski area here in Crested Butte Colorado.  I don't have a huge budget and my shop is getting smaller and smaller every day.  I have just been googling milling machines and getting your standard Jet and Grizzly brands.  I have used a large Bridgeport in the old shop I worked in years ago and thats I know.  I can't justify spend that kind of money though.  Are the Jets and Grizzly's  worth the money? I have a budget of about $4,000. Thanks for any feed back

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You can get a used Bridgeport, or quality import copy for under $4,000. I see them from $1,000-$2,500 fairly regularly. I would take one of them over a new Grizzly. JET has been making machine tools for the U.S. market for decades, and they are good quality.  My personal one is a Millport a real close copy of a Bridgeport. I use a Acra, and Bridgeport at work.  Variable speed is nice, but I use the step pulley Acra the most. I don't have to flip the belt that often.  The main thing is a good solid machine. Weight will help dampen a lot of vibration from heavy, or interrupted cuts, and it will simply work much better than a bench top mill.

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I second the used Bridgeport.  Assuming the machine wasn't abused, it's still better in many ways than new import.  In Seattle, there is a 2 hp AND a 1hp up for auction this Friday--yes, I know that you are not in Seattle but the reference was to show that they are not uncommon so you CAN find them if you are patient.

With some searching you can come up with other quality machines that are similar to the Bridgeport--Deckel has a smaller combo horizontal/vertical which is a NICE machine and tend to be within but at the top of your price range.  I'd take the Deckel any day over the Bridgeport but they're a bit harder to find.

But...Grizzly machines are passable for "maintenance" machining so if you really want one you won't be hammered too badly. One thing you have to watch is Quill travel--some of those are VERY short on quill travel and that can be a problem requiring reset of the knee which joggles the part and reduces accuracy.  Short quill travel makes deep drilling almost impossible on some of those machines.

DO NOT be tempted by the Mill/Drills which do neither particularly well.

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Thanks guys I have a bother in law that has 3 Bridgeports that were is dads and they are starting to think about breaking up the shop, they are over 3000 miles a way in Mass but from listen to you guys might me worth buying a trailing and going out there to pick it up.

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A few years ago I used a Jet mill owned by my neighbor  to mill the face of an anvil after I hard faced it.  After I was done my neighbor continued to use it for milling parts for black powder gun reproductions. 

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I'd be happier with a 3 in that price rather than a 4 but it's in the right range assuming nothing is beat up.  If you are not pressed for time, you can probably save some money waiting for the right one to fall in your lap.  Good price for machine..about 2500-3000 (if in middlin condition).  DRO adds about $ 500.  Kurt vice (CHECK BRAND!) adds another 200 or so.  Power feed another 100 assuming it can be fixed.  That's all bottom end of pricing as in what a good deal would probably be (in my area) based on what you could probably re-sell the parts for.  

Of course I haven't seen it and am just guesstimating based on similar prices from auctions.  Of late, auction pricing has seemed to be up 20-25% so I might be running a bit low.

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I do have time dont need it right away. But I do have some projects coming up in a few months that would benefit from a milling machine.  Assuming its in good condition and all works well do you 4,000 is a fair price? 

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I ended up with a beaver. one cheaper kind of bridge port knock off . I am very happy with it . it is worth remembering that the mill is only about half the cost . the tooling is just as much if not more than the machine.

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