Bridgeport Mill Rebuild
Some of you may recall Caitlin’s post about tool getting a Bridgeport. Since the time that we received the Bridgeport I began to formulate a plan to dismantle and rebuild it. Dismantling items has always been something I have done throughout my life and is most likely the number one reason I went into product design. Mechanical mechanism have always fascinated me and there is no better way to understand how they work than disassembling them. As a kid I would always take apart things to see how they worked and to try to make improvements. Usually I never got them back together as intended, functional but not quite right. I have gotten better at reassembling over the years. So I decided I was going to disassemble the mill, clean it, make improvements, paint it, grease it and reassemble it. I purchased the machine form a guy In Gloucester who had it listed on Craigslist. When we got into the office it had about 40 years of grim, grease , metal shavings and dirt caked on it. It was functional but it was in dire need of a proper cleaning. A Bridgeport is a very well built machine, as testimony to the design it’s still in production today. Its parts are made from Meehanite castings, basically cast iron. Fully assembled it weighs about 2200 lbs, so taking it apart was a challenge in its self. Many of the large casting were a few hundred pounds. I used a block and tackle suspended from an i-beam to lift parts off the machine. I scrubbed every part in a vat of mineral spirits to remove the grime. Once the machine was apart I could see which parts need to be replaced or repaired. All parts of the machine are still available through a hand full of part suppliers or available on Ebay. After the machine was properly clean I painted the castings. I tried a few different paint techniques until I landed on a machine grade enamel. Once painted and cleaned I reassembled the machine. I added a one shot oil system, a Servo table feed for the Y axis and 3 axis DRO. Attached are some pictures of the machine in process and a finished shot of the machine in our shop.