Bolton Mill

Discussion on all milling machines vertical & horizontal, including but not limited to Bridgeports, Hardinge, South Bend, Clausing, Van Norman, including imports.

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BradH
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:28 am

Bolton Mill

Postby BradH » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:16 am

27 9/16" x 7 1/16" Milling and Drilling Machine with Powerfeed | ZX32GP

Looking for input on this mill. Wanting to use for building 7.5 gauge steamer..

Not mush in the way of old knee mills around my area, and really don't have the room anyway for a machine that big.

Looking for any firsthand exp, or feed back you have heard.

Thanks!
Brad

John Evans
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:33 pm
Location: Phoenix ,AZ

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby John Evans » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:11 pm

Having owned and used several drill/mills in my life my comment is better than nothing but not by much !

BradH
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:28 am

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby BradH » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:28 pm

Did I miss your opinion? :D

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SteveHGraham
Posts: 6242
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby SteveHGraham » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:39 pm

As far as I know, the hierarchy of choices goes like this:

1. American, Korean, Japanese, or European equipment
2. Taiwanese
3. Good Chinese
4. Bad Chinese
5. Indian
Don't trigger me, bro!

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SteveM
Posts: 6052
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby SteveM » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:09 pm

SteveHGraham wrote:As far as I know, the hierarchy of choices goes like this:

1. American, Korean, Japanese, or European equipment
2. Taiwanese
3. Good Chinese
4. Bad Chinese
5. Indian


If hope that's not your dining choices.

I would put Indian food above Chinese (good OR bad) any day of the week.

Steve

John Evans
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:33 pm
Location: Phoenix ,AZ

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby John Evans » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:42 am

BradH wrote:Did I miss your opinion? :D


:D :D Nah! you got it ! But seriously the tooling cost for that or a "real' mill will be the same . [D/M only buy R-8]
And buying a D/M new will cost close to a decent used real mill. Like I said due to size-cost and not knowing any better 40 years ago my first mill was a round column D/M . Most of what I made on it was smaller parts for motorcycles,and them mostly aluminum. If you must, get one with a square column .

BradH
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:28 am

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby BradH » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:07 pm

From what I have read Bolton is Indian made, so not a good choice correct? :) Thanks!

pete
Posts: 1165
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:04 am

Re: Bolton Mill

Postby pete » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:50 pm

For a hobby mill I'd certainly agree with going for R8 taper every time. Probably the most available and cheapest for at least North America. If it's not made in R8 then likely it isn't made.Since I've never built a loco take this for what it's worth. Tooling quickly and easily amounts to as much or more than the mill costs.And whatever R8 mill you buy the tooling is going to cost the same.We all have fixed amounts we can spend on our hobbys though. I went through exactly what you are when deciding on my last mill. I'm limited for size and especialy weight in my shop. I did know enough then I very much knew I wanted any mill I was buying to have a built in power feed on the spindle for boring. I could find only two mills that fit the weight/size and had that spindle feed if I really pushed what I wanted to spend. One was a Rong Fu 45 size machine with the square column,the other was what's normally thought of as a 3/4 sized Bridgeport clone with a 9" x 32" table. At that time each was right around 5k. What I wasn't really liking was they only came with 3 phase motors because I didn't know what I do now after buying mine.

I finally said to hell with all the searching and bought that BP clone made by Bemato in Taiwan. To get it I had to have it shipped from the only place that had one in New Jersey to the west coast of Canada.For me I think I got lucky and made exactly the right choice and I'd still buy exactly the same today. 220 V 3 phase with a VFD is the only way to go. Much much smoother in operation, variable speeds, pre set programable speeds, etc etc. I'd buy a step pulley machine over even one with a built in variable speed simply because there less maintenance, there cheaper and the VFD gives you the variable speeds anyway,

For a geared head square column mill the VFD gives you the option of variable speeds in each gear. Bridgeports and there clones are so common just because they are so versitile and not because there the most rigid of machines for design. Having the ability to both swing the head around and run the head in/out with the ram plus the tilt and nod on the head is what gets you that versitility for larger work pieces. If you never do anything larger than the frames on a loco that may not be that important.There is a vast amount of accessories built for the BP type mills that have that 3 3/8ths spindle nose, a ram and R8 tapers that may or may not be important to you as well. But if you don't have it there's no options. It's a whole lot more than that Bolton mill your looking at, but Precision Mattews did last time I checked offer a 3/4 sized BP clone that looks to be the same machine as mine is with different paint. I know when I bought mine that even though it was built by Bemato they were also building the 9" x 32" sized Jet mills and showed some jet painted machines in the manual.

At that time Jet didn't offer there mills with a powered spindle feed on that size of mill. What they did with mine to offer one with that spindle feed is it has a full sized 3 hp 3 ph. head on it with the rest of the machined reduced to that 3/4 size. Yeah it's a lot more money. But if I learned anything it would be the initial cost of a mill should be pretty much secondary since that tooling cost ends up being the main expense. The second thing I learned was NOT to go cheap with work holding. Buy the very best you can afford. Cheap vises are just that and I wasted far too much trying to go the cheap route. If you see yourself staying with the hobby long term I'd save as long as I had to and buy the largest and best you possibly can instead of just getting any mill you can afford right now. So far I haven't found anything that's designed to fit a real Bridgeport that doesn't bolt right onto mine. That X axis power feed would be right behind a good vise as well. If it's impossible to spend what this costs then you have to get what is. I've got a few pieces of Indian built tooling that were ok, but have bought some that I thought were junk right out of the box. Since I've never bought one of there machine tools I can't say if there worthwhile or not. But another expensive lesson was that cutting tools either HSS or carbide are directly related in cost for how they perform and last verses what your willing to spend. I'm guessing that might be just as true for hobby grade machines. The square column machines can take a lot of work lifting the head and column on and off the machine while getting the head trammed in to the tables surface. In comparison the BP types are really easy.


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