MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

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MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

Post by forrestking » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:06 pm

I've been looking for a mill for the garage for a while. As you can surmise, if I've been searching a while I'm in no particular rush and I don't have a paying job waiting in the wings.

Today I looked at a 1995 MSC Bridgeport clone. I'll post the picture of the data plate and you'll see that they did not stamp in a model number.

It's got the variable speed head on it, not the belts, the table is 9x42, it's 3 phase, a few of the handles and knobs are missing. It runs well, and quiet. the bed is super smooth and there is very little play in it. The power feed is broken. It comes with a Super Spacer and a vise. It's super dirty. The man selling was an employee of the machine shop that went out of business. He said it was used to drill a 45 degree hole in a single part as part of a production process. (He has other mills for sale, this one is the least used, and maybe the dirtiest.)

It would cost me about $2,000 all in to get it to my garage. In my 60-75 minutes of Googling, I cannot find anything online that helps me identify this model, other than "bridgeport clone". I'm concerned that handles and knobs may be hard to come by, and that it might be an orphan.

Can you look at the pictures and give me any guidance? Should I go after a Harbor Freight ( ... 40939.html) new one or take my chances with this? They seem to be about the same price. Assuming I'm going to spend this amount of money would you suggest this is a wise purchase?

I would very much appreciate any guidance and suggestions. I am not a machinist and I have a lot to learn.

Here is a link to my google photos:

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Re: MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

Post by pete » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:43 pm

Fwiw and from what you've indicated it seems the important parts (quiet head, low feed screw backlash) are ok. Direct replacement for the missing OEM parts are probably un-obtainable without knowing the exact manufacturer. Even then there's no guarantee parts made in the last year or two would still fit as a 100% bolt in replacement if any design changes were ever made. If everything is as good as you say then yes the price is ok to pretty good depending on your location. The beauty of owning machine tools is non critical OEM parts can still be adapted in one way or another to work with what you have. It also depends on how close the original manufacturer decided to clone that machine to a Bridgeport or any other machine they copied. Used but real Bridgeport parts aren't hard to find, they may or may not bolt right up. Some clones were built to "some" standard dimensions throughout the machine. As just one example my clone is Taiwan built and classed as a 3/4 sized machine. Yet an off shore clone of the Servo X axis power feed is a direct fit for the plain un-threaded end of the feed screw and the bolt pitch spacing and dimensions on the end of the table. Without having the missing parts on your machine available from another machine it's impossible to say that's completely true for that one. If you do buy it, then if it were me I'd plan on pulling the table, Y axis and possibly the knee off it for a through cleaning, re-lubrication and adjustments. With a cheap engine hoist it's a few hrs work and maybe a full day to re/re those parts, but more than worth doing. All that acquired dust and shop debris from just sitting is really no different than dumping grinding powder into it. And you'll never get it all without pulling the machine apart. Bridgeports and the clones are a fairly simple collection of parts outside of the head internals so it's a pretty easy job.

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Re: MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

Post by Rwilliams » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:59 pm

Rebuilt one of those heads two years ago when the noise became almost unbearable. Found most of the bearings in poor condition and the vari-drive belt ready to self destruct. It was a Jet version with the same basic parts. The handles of a Jet might be a good replacement. We had a radial drill that was also a Jet that was headed to scrap. We salvaged some of the handles from the radial drill and they fit the milling machine perfectly.

Interesting was that before we could sell the radial drill while it was stored out back behind the shop, it vanished one night and no one seemed to know what happened. Was behind a locked gate so it had to be an inside job. Even missing the handles, someone wanted that radial drill big time.

John Evans
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Re: MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

Post by John Evans » Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:21 pm

I really don't see much in the way of missing parts and the knee is square ways which is considered to be a good thing. A lot depends on your location, here in Phoenix that would be considered a good deal with the vise and super spacer. If the vise is not some cheapie ,Kurt would be nice.

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Re: MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

Post by RSG » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:37 am

From the looks and description I'd be buying this one hands down! Missing handles - make em! Dirty - simple Green cleaner! It looks like there is a DRO with it by the scales attached, that's a bonus if it works! If this unit is in the shape you say it's by far a step up from the Harbour Freight model you show. More rigidity, more head clearance, ability to tram front to back! I could on, the only negative I see is 3 phase but phase converters are becoming cheaper every day.
Vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be.

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Re: MSC "Bridgeport Clone" no Model# (Purchasing advice sought, with pics)

Post by forrestking » Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:49 pm

I ended up not purchasing this one. When it came down to it the sellers (yep, plural) didn't have the same idea. If I had educated myself a little bit more ahead of time I would have done the deal the first day with the first seller. I ended up with a Grizzly 8x30. More than enough for my hobbyist dreams but not quite a "REAL milling machine in the garage" that I was kinda pining after.

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