Millrite Milling Machine


     I was looking through Craigslist one afternoon for a milling machine when I came across a Powermatic-Burke Millrite Vertical Milling Machine. It looked exactly like what I was looking for, and as far as I could tell was as big as I would ever need. The motor on it was a 3/4 HP 3 phase motor, and the spindle took R-8 Collets. It also had a vertical powerfeed for the spindle. The table was 36" long, and 8" wide, with a travel of 25" on the x-axis and about 10 inches on the Y-axis (with my big ass vise in it). The machine came with a 3 HP inverter to change the 220 single phase to three phase and the guy wanted $1500 for it. The only catch to the ad was that the millrite was located in his basement. Me, being a lowballer offered him 700, and he kindly refused. Finally we settled on $900 for the machine. Little did I know how much actually came with it. When I got to his house I saw just how big the machine really was, and thought to myself "how the hell will this ever get out of the basement!" luckily I brought a buddy and the guy i purchased it from had alot of come-alongs. We broke the machine into three parts and hauled each one out of the basement on a cart using the comealongs and some 2 X 10's layed on the steps. it worked perfectly. The the guy told me it comes with all the tooling he had, which included all the endmills, collets, and two vises as well as boaring heads etc; and all the metal I wanted (and his basement was just about filled with blocks of aluminum and stainless steel and regular steel. needless to say, I went far above the weight reccomendations of the trailer I was using; I still wish I took more through. The man also kindly threw in a level IIIA bullet proof vest for free (can stop a 45 caliber pistol round). I cannot figure out why he just gave this to me, and also why he had about 7 of them just lying around, but what the hell, its a free bullet proof vest. Maybe I can wear it while testing new rocket motors incase of a CATO. (click images for much larger images)

Burke Millrite Milling Machine                                                            Burke Millrite Milling Machine view 2

     As you can see; the machine is in overall great condition and is accurate to about .001" with careful machining which I was very happy about. The one vise the machine came with, which you can see mounted on the machine above, is not the best machine vise since it is a a made in china special, but it does work quite well for my needs, and with the help of a good dial indicator I was able to dial in everything just right. The other vise that came with the machine was an old american made vise, but it was quite badly beaten up, so I decided to go with the no-name Chinese one.

3 HP 220 volt 3 phase inverter

       Once I actually got the machine home, it came to putting it all back together again, and so the machine sat for almost a year in 3 pieces. Then one day I told my girlfriend were gonna put it back together, and since she only weighs 110 pounds, I was luckily to have bought a good 2 ton chain hoist a few days prior, she operated the chain hoist, and I had to muscle the pieces into position then wait for her to lower them in, and most of the time she was confused with which side of the chain to pull, so needless to say, my back was hurting for about a week afterwards. once i got it all assembled I had a 220 wire ran into the garage, and hooked that up to the inverter; and finally got the machine running again. the accuracy is really incredible, and the machine operates much easier than any others I have ever worked with.

Millrite Milling Machine side view

       Above is a side view of the machine and the vise, and below is a close up of the vise. As you can probably see in the picture, I didn't have the vise properly trammed in at this point. Be sure to get yourself a good dial indicator as well as a good set of parallels. While this vise was a 'made in China' special, it has actually done quite well by me over the years, and still has a place in my shop. I found a similar vise on Amazon for a good price with good reviews, so if you are in the market and new to machining, it may be just the tool to get. 6'' Precision Milling Machine lock Down Vise Accu Lock Vise Clamp Clamping Vise

Milling Machine Vise

This is really a great machine. If you can find one and are in the market for a mill, I would highly reccomend getting it. In the future I am looking to hook up some table power feeds and a digital readout (if you know of a good DRO for a decent price please e-mail me). CNC would also be nice, but a bit out of my technical know how (so far). This Milling machine cuts through aluminum like butter, and although I haven't put much steel through it yet, it really handles it like a champ. If you are interested in learning more about this machine, check out the original user manual on Amazon: U.S. BURKE Millrite MV-1 Vertical Milling Machine Operator & Parts Manual