Hey there, I’m doing some research about which mill I’d like to get. I’m leaning towards a Precision Mathew’s. There’s a lot to choose from, mostly Chinese and Taiwanese made. Some old American made ones are available but what about parts? The other idea is an old Bridgeport. Parts are available for the larger American mills but the size is something to consider. It might be the way to go. Do any of you guys have experience with this? If you have a mill could you please tell me what you like and don’t like about it?
I have a PM-25 w/ DRO, works good, lots of table. If you put a big vise on it, I could see you could start running out of vertical. I overcome that by using fixtures instead of a big vise for any vertical work which helps with vertical and also keep the loads as close to the table as possible.
As far as a Bridgeport is concerned, besides being a lot more rigid, you can clamp on the biggest vise or rotary and still have room to drive a volkswagon under the spindle. Take up a lot of room.
I ran a gunsmithing business for many years with a Jet benchtop milling machine and did a lot of great work on it. Then I went out and bought a brand new, hi-end 9x42 knee mill. The first time I used it I almost cried. The struggles I had with the previous mill all went away. There are some really good benchtops out there and Precision Mathews is a good one. I have one of their larger lathes and it is a great machine. I would stay away from some of the older Bridgeport style mills unless I could find one that was lightly used. Most of the newer mills use digital power supplies and that is the greatest thing since sliced bread. the way you intend to use the mill has a lot of bearing on what you get. That being said, no matter which machine you get, you’ll use it to it’s capability so you will automagically use a bigger mill for more things. Good luck Pal.
I have never had a problem with too much precision or too large of a machine.
Lathe turning a piece of steel 7x21”
Mil retired from Boeing on the right.
I’ve heard one always wishes they got a bigger machine. You’ve got most people beat. I would love to see you run that.
Thank you for the advice on the Bridgeport. Yes it sure would be fun but I’m starting to back off on restoring big things.
Cool, thanks for telling me about the PM. I think I might go for the DRO too. My machine shop teacher would roll over in his grave. He taught us on big machines from the Detroit area that made much of our toys in WWII. It was really neat and I felt fortunate.
I learned slide rules and vernier calipers when I was a young man, always crank into the cut from the same directon , know your backlash, count your cranks, etc. etc…
So just saying, having done it both ways, I appreciate the DRO and a motor drive even more then someone who never dealt with all that old school joy.
Add3d a Priest river productivity kit , (spindle lock and depth stop) power X and power Z. If I did it again I would drive the Z with a stepper instead of the DC motor, other then that very happy with setup.
Sometimes I really miss working in the factories