Bridgeport Machine Company popularized small to mid-size vertical mills from 1938 until 2004. According to the American Precision Museum, Rudolph Bannow designed it. They made so many mills that its common to hear of any small vertical mill machine referred to just as a Bridgeport. Many machinists swear that real Bridgeports out-perform vertical milling machines ten years newer.
The Bridgeport is not recommended for high production work since they do require positioning by hand, have lower horsepower, and as an operator, you supply the power. But most shops prefer a Bridgeport around for quick fixes and small projects. They are very versatile they can do almost anything in a machine shop, it just takes a little more time.
Need to make several variations of a part just to see how it will function? The Bridgeport CNC is useful for making a few of something and experimenting with variations.
Have a short run and dont want to tie up a larger CNC? The Bridgeport CNC may be more cost-effective for making runs of 1-100 pieces, though some shops make a much larger number of parts. The newer the machine, higher horsepower, greater speeds and feeds, the faster it can make parts.
A Bridgeport is a fantastic training tool for new machinists. Mechanical engineering students should learn to physically make something instead of just creating on a computer program. They can get a feel for milling and drilling, cutting speeds and feeds, and much more. Theres no substitute for getting a real feeling for how end mills, drills and reamers work. On a Bridgeport, the students can tell how different materials machine differently. They can observe and feel the different types of chips produced and much more. Its a great stepping stone to learning programming and operation of more complex, highly automated kinds of CNC machining centers.
You can find a Bridgeport CNC for sale at prices less than $4000. This makes it an excellent option for garage-based businesses and hobbyists. If you have an innovative idea or just love to make things out of metal, the Bridgeport style CNC machine will delight you.