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 Post subject: Seeking Advice on Milling Machine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:15 pm 
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Warming the Engine
Warming the Engine

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:50 am
Posts: 62
Does anyone have knowledge of or experience with older ENCO machines? I'm looking at a 1979 vintage Vertical Turret Milling Machine, model LW-VO-AT. It appears to be a Bridgeport knockoff.

Asking price is $900, and it looks like it's had low hours in a home shop for the past 35 years.

I'm ok for now getting an inexpensive machine with an R-8 collet that might not be the most accurate thing. I just want to avoid getting anything that's so far off or works so poorly that I can't reasonably use it. I figure I'll spend years getting tooling, and can eventually trade up to a better underlying machine.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance,
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Advice on Milling Machine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:11 pm 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:41 am
Posts: 1470
Location: Lopez Island, Washington State, USA
Boat Name: S.L. Folly
As long as the quill runs true, there isn't that much that wouldn't be obvious. Put it in the highest speed and see if it vibrates. Maybe a quick test with a bit of round stock an R-8 tool holder and a dial indicator. I've not seen a machine that has lead screws that are very error laden.

You you probably have heard the old saw that says you buy a lathe and you have made most of the investment. You buy a mill and it's like getting married. You have only started to spend money!

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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Advice on Milling Machine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Warming the Engine
Warming the Engine

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:50 am
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I just saw the machine in person - it looks to have been used relatively little. Backlash on threads is consistent down the length of each screw. Runs smoothly. The table looks almost new - someone had mounted a small vice in it, bolted through a piece of masonite protecting the whole table. It looks like it was always used for the same thing with the same small vice in a more or less permanent setup. It certainly hasn't been beaten up any.

The biggest challenge may be that it's in a residential basement, and there is no way it went in in one piece, and certainly no way it comes out in one piece. So the $900 price needs to account for the time it'll take me to take the whole thing apart and move it in pieces.

Anyone else with thoughts on this machine, let me know. I'll probably pull the trigger on it tomorrow otherwise.

Cheers and thanks!

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Advice on Milling Machine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:41 pm 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:41 am
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Location: Lopez Island, Washington State, USA
Boat Name: S.L. Folly
I'm getting ready to move my Index (American Bridgeport clone) and I'm not sure yet how much I'm going to disassemble it. It's in my old shop on a slab at ground level so it's more a question of what sort of help and machinery I can gather.

My experience has been that the more you can take it apart, the better as long as you take lots of pictures and make sketches. A low center of gravity when moving the main pedestal is good for safety. All together it might weigh as much as 2500 lbs. You can lose a toe!

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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Advice on Milling Machine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:56 pm
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Location: Northwest Detroit
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Hi Scott,

That is a good mill. I ran one back in the late 80's. The one I ran was blue in color and was very similar to a Bridgeport. As I remember it, the Enco was the first Bridgeport clone and they were made in Taiwan which is of higher quality than other Asian mfr's, not equal to a Bridgeport, but still very good.

Getting parts for them is difficult, but I seem to remember the vari-drive parts and some other parts were interchangeable with Bridgeport. If it's running and tight and for 900, can't go wrong with that.

The acme lead screws having backlash doesn't mean anything, it can be adjusted out.

The best way to check a mill is grab the table out on the end and shake it sideways and see if it has considerable play on the dovetails, which can be adjusted out with the gibbs. Check it at center position and out on the ends of the travel, if it's loose in the middle and tight on the ends, it has excessive wear.

Disassembly is easy, take the four bolts out of the turret and the whole power head will lift right off the base. The table and saddle can be removed pretty easily as well, the knee is a much bigger job to remove. That machine probably weighs around 2200 pounds. Even taken apart, it's going to be difficult pieces to move out of a basement, up stairs etc. Better bring some help :)

-Ron


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Advice on Milling Machine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:12 am 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:41 pm
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Location: Middle Earth
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DetroiTug wrote:
Hi Scott,

That is a good mill. I ran one back in the late 80's. The one I ran was blue in color and was very similar to a Bridgeport. As I remember it, the Enco was the first Bridgeport clone and they were made in Taiwan which is of higher quality than other Asian mfr's, not equal to a Bridgeport, but still very good.

Getting parts for them is difficult, but I seem to remember the vari-drive parts and some other parts were interchangeable with Bridgeport. If it's running and tight and for 900, can't go wrong with that.

The acme lead screws having backlash doesn't mean anything, it can be adjusted out.

The best way to check a mill is grab the table out on the end and shake it sideways and see if it has considerable play on the dovetails, which can be adjusted out with the gibbs. Check it at center position and out on the ends of the travel, if it's loose in the middle and tight on the ends, it has excessive wear.

Disassembly is easy, take the four bolts out of the turret and the whole power head will lift right off the base. The table and saddle can be removed pretty easily as well, the knee is a much bigger job to remove. That machine probably weighs around 2200 pounds. Even taken apart, it's going to be difficult pieces to move out of a basement, up stairs etc. Better bring some help :)

-Ron


. . . . . . AND your steel toecaps!

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