1966 Bridgeport Vertical Mill

I’ve heard old machinists say “if you can’t make it on a Bridgeport, it can’t be made”. This is a great machine, and yes, I’m pretty sure if you have the patience, skill, and time, you could make anything on a Bridgeport. I had wanted a mill for a long time, searched for a Bridgeport, they’re out there, but finding a reasonably priced machine in good condition is tough, and then if you do find one, you have to move it…………….they average about 2400 pounds, and they’re top heavy. I was resigned to buying a small import bench top machine when I made a last ditch phone call to Yancy Martel of Tri-Angle Metal Fab. Tri-Angle is the “real deal”, building and fabricating for the aerospace, ordnance, defense, and electronics industries………….they have a whole line of these mills, some old, some new, I was hoping they may be retiring one in the near future……….yes they were!! Dumb luck for me, and very fortunate to have a good friend in the fabrication industry.

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Ryan and I moved the Bridgeport on his car trailer………….getting the machine off the trailer took some doing. First a skid steer, nope, then a mini excavator, nope, call in a friend with a wrecker, that moved it.

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Landed. Now it was time for disassembly and clean up. Parts are readily available for these old machines. They do require 3 phase 220 power………..I had 220 single phase so a  phase converter was necessary (the box sitting to the left of the mill).

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Cleaned, painted, and reassembled

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One thing to consider when thinking about buying a mill is, like a tig welder, there’s a lot of support tools needed to run the machine………….machinist vise, phase converter, clamping set, various parallels and set-up blocks, dial gauges and the clamps, brackets, and magnetic bases to hold them, calipers – external, internal, and depth, collet set, the mills or cutters themselves which come in a mind numbing variety, and at least a 2-axis digital readout (optional, but indispensable in my opinion). I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.

Some Projects

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Steering shaft bearing retainer………starts above……

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Bored for bearing……….IMG_7796

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Finished and mounted.

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Milled alloy blocks to mount Spal fan to radiator housing instead of using the cheesy plastic clips.

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Top radiator mounts for the 200TDi

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Exhaust hanger on the Special (the rotors on the bike were cross-drilled on the Bridgeport too)

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Carb hose manifolds (ball milled to match the exhaust hanger)

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Milled down top triple tree on the Special

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Milled slot for safety chains on The Bars’ new trailer hitch

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