Operation of Bridgeport Milling Machine 01
How to Use a Bridgeport Series 1 Vertical CNC Mill
These instructions contain detailed steps about how to use a Bridgeport Series 1 vertical 2 axis CNC mill with TRAK a.G.E 2 axis control. Although this set of instructions pertains to a particular type of mill, a lot of the steps that are described here can be applied to other Bridgeport Series 1 milling machines. This mill is mainly used to machine parts out of different types of aluminum and steel, but can also be used on materials such as wood and hard plastic.
Stock Material Set-up
Put the stock material on top of the base plate.
- Place the base material on the mill. Then, place the stock material on top of the base plate so that the entire bottom surface is in contact with the base plate.
- This is to make sure that the end-mill doesn’t come in contact with the mill table.
Orient the material appropriately.
- Place the material and the base plate near the center of the table in the X and Y directions.
Clamp the material to the mill table.
- Use the tools and materials listed in "Things You'll Need."
Load the program onto the mill.
- With your laptop, use your CAD to create the G-Code for your part.
- Save this file as a number and load the G-Code for the program onto a floppy disk.
- Insert this floppy disk into the floppy disk slot at the rear of the mill.
Access the program.
- If your G-Code is accurate, you shouldn’t have problems viewing the part.
- On the main menu, click ‘PROG IN/OUT’
- Then, enter the number of the file that you saved onto your floppy disk.
View the part on screen to make sure it is accurate.
- Select ‘PROG’ from the home menu.
- Then select ‘VIEW’. You should see the part in 2-D on your screen.
Find out the RPM and feed-rate of the spindle, and adjust these values on the mill.
- Here is a good .
- These values will depend on the material that you are using. When you obtain these values, adjust the meters on the top portion of the mill accordingly.
Insert End-Mill into Collet and Screw onto Spindle
- Press the End-Mill into the Collet.
- Screw the End-Mill onto the bottom of the Spindle until hand-tight.
- Take the ¾” wrench and tighten the top of the spindle until it is snug.
Machining the Part
Perform a quick safety check.
- Take a quick look around the table to see if anything is on it that shouldn’t be there.
- Make sure your clamps are not in the way of the end-mill.
- Check to see that your Z-axis is above the part, and not touching it.
Turn the machine on.Turn the Mill on by turning the dial on the top left hand corner of the mill.
Set your X axis and Y axis zero point
- From the main menu, hit ‘DRO’.
- This takes you to the position display, which tells you where you are in relation to the zero point.
- Using the X and Y position wheels, move the end mill to the center of your stock material.
- Hit ‘X’ and then ‘ABS SET’.
- Press ‘Y’ and again ‘ABS SET’. This tells the mill that your zero point in where your end mill is when pressing those buttons.
Start the Program.
- From the main menu, hit ‘RUN’. Then hit ‘START’, and choose event 1.
- Press the ‘GO’ button and the table will move so that the end mill is in the correct position.
Lower end mill (using Z- axis) to the material contact point, and set this as your Z axis zero point
- Lower the Z-axis slowly using the handle on the side of the mill.
- At the instant that the end mill contacts the material, use the hand that is not on the Z-axis to hit ‘Z’ and then ‘ABS SET’ to set this as the point where Z = 0.
Lower the end-mill until the Z-axis reads .05” or less
- Slowly lower the Z-axis until the End-mill is .05” (or less) deep into the material.
- At this point, Lock the position of the Z-Axis using the lever under the Z-axis handle.
- If the end-mill is too deep into the material, it could get stuck and possibly snap. .05” is a safe depth.
Do final checks - ask yourself some questions
- Am I using the right size end-mill?
- Is the end mill .05” deep into the material?
- Press the ‘GO’ button.
- At this instant, the mill will begin traveling along the path specified in the G-Code, cutting up all the aluminum in its way.
Use compressed air and cutting fluid while the tool is moving.
- Otherwise, chunks of aluminum can get stuck in the teeth of the end mill.
- If that happens, the end mill will not cut effectively and may get stuck.
When the event is finished, raise Z-axis.
- After the table has stopped moving, release the locking lever located under the Z-axis handle and raise the Z-axis.
Repeat, starting at step 3, until you reach the appropriate depth.
- Repeat the steps until you reach the depth you are trying to get to. This means that you choose the same event, and lower the Z-axis no more than .05” deeper than the previous pass. After the mill completes that pass, raise the Z-axis and repeat.
Repeat Part 4, steps 3-11 but with the next event.
- Do this until part is complete.
- Choose a different event, and let the mill cut it out using the procedure mentioned above.
- When all the events have been completed, you should have your part cut out exactly how you designed it.
- Place the base material on the mill. Then, place the stock material on top of the base. plate so that the entire bottom surface is in contact with the base plate.
Things You'll Need
Goggles (preferably with side panels)
Long-sleeve shirt, pants, and shoes
Set-up Tools and Materials
4 Bolts with 2 sides threaded
4 Nuts with flat base
4 Regular hex-head nuts
Wrench (appropriate size with respect to hex-head nut)
Stock material (for example: ½” thick block of aluminum, 5” x 5”)
Base material, preferably out of the same material as the stock
¾” wrench to tighten/loosen the spindle
Laptop containing the CAD of your part (should be easily accessible)
End-mills appropriate for the part to be cut out
Appropriate cutting fluid (Tap Magic, for example)
Sources and Citations
- [Untitled image of Bridgeport Series 1 Mill]. Retrieved 6/29/14 from www.prattmachine.com
- [Untitled image of 4 end mills]. (2001). Retrieved 6/29/14 from www.mini-lathe.com
- Umasankar, Mahesh. (2014). [Untitled images of TRAK A.G.E. 2 interface and Bridgeport Series 1 Mill].
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