Bridgeport mills

Bridgeport Series 2 Vertical Mill: How Is It Different From Series 1? 

Bridgeport series 2 mill is arguably the most reliable milling machine

As a machinist working with milling machines, you simply can’t ignore the series 2 variant of Bridgeport mills.    While Bridgeport has dominated the milling machine market ever since modern mills first came about, its newer second series redefined what you can do with a mill.    If you’re a machinist with certain years of experience working in machine shops, you’d have surely come across a Bridgeport mill. And it’s also likely that you’ve used one such mill for cutting, shaping, or drilling the heaviest of metal workpieces.    As such, you’ll agree when we say that the Bridgeport milling machines are the most versatile and powerful among all mills on the market.    The series 2 milling machines build on and notch up further the features of the Bridgeport series 1 mill.    Not to mention, these days, you can even get a Bridgeport CNC milling machine, thanks to the readily available mill CNC conversion capabilities.    Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?    Now, if you’re wondering what’s more to Bridgeport mills and how second series machines are different from the classic Bridgeports series, this blog has everything that you need to know.    So let’s dive right in and have a look up close. 

What is a Bridgeport mill, and how does it work? 

Bridgeport milling machine The Bridgeport mills are truly the earliest versions of present-day electric milling machines.    However, these knee mills are so robust that after eighty-five years of the first mill being introduced, they’re still very much in demand.    Coming to their utility, you can use one such machine to perform an extensive range of tasks that otherwise call for different mills. And that includes tasks such as milling, drilling, shaping, tapping, slotting, and more. 

Where does the name Bridgeport come from? 

The story of Bridgeport as a brand name is as interesting as the milling machine itself.    Bridgeport mills owe its name to the Bridgeport city of Connecticut, where Bridgeport Machines Inc was founded in 1938.    It was in the same year that the manufacturers launched a series of knee mills and marketed them as Bridgeport milling machines. And these classic Bridgeport series machines soon became so popular the manufacturers continued to produce the same model for decades. 

But isn’t Bridgeport a machine type and not a brand?

Well, it is a complicated story.     You see, back in the day, Bridgeport mills were so popular that a lot of manufacturers started to clone these mills. Also, they’d brand their mills as Bridgeport-type milling machines, creating a new class of mills, the Bridgeports.    In fact, come 1950s and you could find every knee mill on the market labeled as a Bridgeport mill.    In a nutshell, while the original Bridgeport milling machines denote a brand, similar knee-type vertical mills with identical features are called the Bridgeport-type machines.    And even though Hardinge Inc acquired the real company, i.e., Bridgeport Machines Inc, in 2004, they’ve stuck to the original brand name. 

Bridgeport series 1: the classic Bridgeport mill

The series 1, or the classic Bridgeport mills, were first manufactured in the Connecticut plant in 1938, right after the company was founded.    It didn’t take long for this machine to get the title of being the most reliable mill, something it still holds on to date. In fact, you can still find these classic Bridgeport mills as featured products in machine stores across the country.    If you’re looking for a simple yet dependable mill for your machine shop, we’ll definitely recommend you go for the series 1 Bridgeport mills.    But why Bridgeport mill in the first place?    You see, these are all-purpose machines that let you undertake just about any operation on a single mill.    Its two features, in particular, set them apart from other mills in their category, namely: 
  1. A rotating turret that allows you to reposition it from multiple angles. 
  2. A moving ram with sliding features to increase the overall range. 
  Further, despite being a manual mill, the Bridgeport series 1 offers you great accuracy. Meaning, you need not buy a Bridgeport mill conversion kit and get it converted to CNC unless you’re looking to machine very complex designs.    So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the present manufacturers of the classic Bridgeport mill claim that close to 400,000 mills have been sold since 1938. 

Bridgeport series 2: an advanced avatar of the classic mills

Bridgeport series 2 The first of series 2 Bridgeport mills were manufactured in the 1970s and introduced to the market as a way more advanced version of series 1.    Why the need for an advanced series if the classic mills were so perfect, you may ask?    The answer lies in the popularity of series 1 Bridgeport mills.    The classic Bridgeport knee mills were apt for small to medium-sized workshops and hobby machinists, among others.    Nevertheless, the rigidity and versatility of the machine appealed to larger industries as well. And they wanted a larger and more powerful version of the Bridgeports.    The result: Bridgeport Machines Inc introduced series 2 of their mills in the 1970s to cater to these demands. 

So what is the Bridgeport series 2 like? 

To begin with, in terms of size and weight, the second series of Bridgeport mills are double that of the first series.    Machinists working in the large workshops love series 2 for two reasons in particular: 
  1. These mills are heavy-duty and can machine extra large-sized workpieces. 
  2. The series 2 Bridgeports maintain the same precision and quality as in series 1. 
  You see, the machine shops involved in heavy metalworking needed a mill that was not only solid but could also remove materials from large pieces quickly. And the series 2 Bridgeports had it all.    Also, unlike Bridgeport mills series 1, which were made in bulk, the second series mills were custom-built and made to order.    In fact, the customizable features made them very appealing among the larger players in the industry. 

Does Hardinge still manufacture series 2 Bridgeport mills? 

No, they don’t.    The manufacturers of the second series Bridgeport mills stopped production after rolling out around 8000 units of their plant.    Why you might wonder; after all, these machines were as popular as their predecessors, the series 1.    Well, there are many causes for Bridgeport Inc discontinuing the second series, the most prominent of them being the high price.    While a standard series 2 mills from Bridgeport would cost upward of $65,000 back in the day, you could buy a series 1 for $15,000.    Further, the demand for more affordable Bridgeport series 1 mills only continued to grow over the years. So it made sense for the manufacturers to focus their capabilities on producing the more popular mill.    Nonetheless, you can still buy a used series 2 Bridgeport mill for your workshop from online marketplaces like eBay.    Also, though the series 2 Bridgeports are manual mills, you can easily turn them into CNC milling machines thanks to the readily available mill CNC conversion kits.    That’s impressive, isn’t it? 

Bridgeport series 1 vs. series 2

Bridgeport classic mill As you can see, the series 1 and series 2 mills are both different in terms of shape and size. And that also means their capabilities and applications are different too.    But how exactly do these machines differ performance-wise, and what kind of edge does the series 2 offer?    Let’s understand: 


The series 2 mills are twice the weight of series 1, and that makes the machine highly stable, no matter the size or weight of your workpiece.    In addition to that, the second generation of Bridgeports features a 4hp head, higher feed rates, and more robust cutting tools. And that allows you to cut through some of the heaviest and toughest workpieces with ease. 

Travel area

The fact that series 2 mills are made for larger parts means it needs to cover a longer work area. And thanks to its 16-inch ram travel, you can easily machine a large-size workpiece.    Meaning, with one such machine, you can diversify the kind of parts you produce, shorten the production time, and as a result, scale your business.    In a nutshell, with the series 1 mills, you can machine all such components that the classic Bridgeports cannot. 

What are the components of a Bridgeport mill? 

The Bridgeport mills, which include both the series, are built with common but non-identical components; the main difference being their size.    Here are the parts that the Bridgepors consist of: 

Mill column 

Also known as the casting on the mill, the column provides a base that supports all other parts.    In fact, the column is the heaviest part of the mill and provides the machine with stability. 


The knee on a Bridgeport hosts parts such as the worktable and saddle.    Talking about the knee itself, you can move it upwards or downwards and also lock it using a lever as per your machining requirements. 

Saddle and worktable

The saddle on a Bridgeport mill is movable on a dovetail alignment, just like the knee itself. Also, the saddle is movable along the Y-axis of the mill.    The worktable on these mills is placed on the saddle and is movable too. You can move the worktable along the X-axis and lock it in place using a lever. 


The turret on these mills connects the ram with the machine column. It is rotatable and can be moved by unscrewing or loosening the nuts around it.    With the help of a turret, you can take the cutting tools to such locations that they otherwise can’t reach. As such, the turret comes in handy when machining an extra large piece. 


On a classic Bridgeport mill, the ram is located atop the turret, and the mill’s dovetail mechanism allows you to move it in the desired direction.    The ram also allows you to install add-ons on your machine. 

Machine head 

The Bridgeport milling machines, over time, featured various machine heads.    While the Bridgeports in its heyday featured a C head, the modern-day Bridgeport mills have it with a J head.    Why?    You see, the speed of your machine’s spindle is affected by the kind of motor as well as the machine head. And the J heads are designed in a way that helps speed up the spindle. 


What sets Bridgeports apart from other mills of their category is the quill.    A quill feed handle on this machine allows you to use your mill like a drilling press by moving the spindle upwards or downwards.    You may also want to read: 7 Most Important Tools For Your CNC Milling Machine

Bridgeport CNC mills 

Bridgeport mill after CNC conversion Even though the classic series 1 mills are the most sought-after among all Bridgeport milling machines, the present manufacturer, i.e., Hardinge, has also brought about CNC Bridgeport mills.    Not only do these mills retain all the features of the old Bridgeports, but they also advance them with cutting-edge CNC technology.    For instance, the Bridgeport CNC machine models like the XR, GX, and V-series offer you automated machining and increased endurance, among others. 

Bridgeport series milling machines: FAQs

Is Bridgeport series 1 mill still manufactured? 

Yes, it is.    In fact, the series 1 mills from Bridgeport are the most demanded of all Bridgeport mills.    Hardinge, the present owner of Bridgeport Machines Inc, manufactures the series 1 mills at their plant in Elmira, New York. 

Should you buy a used Bridgeport mill? 

Yes, you can buy a used and pre-owned mill. More so, when it comes to buying a Bridgeport series 2 mill, going for a pre-owned machine is the only option.    However, before you buy one such machine, it is important to check its condition. That’s because it is highly likely for an extensively used machine to be worn out, and that will seriously limit your machining capacity. 

Final words 

Back in the 1940s, when the first series of Bridgeport mills came about, they were clearly the machine of the future. So no wonder why they’re still the favorite among machinists across the country.    It’s true that modern-day CNC mills have come to include the most futuristic features. But you can also have these features on a classic Bridgeport mill with the right CNC conversion kits.   Looking to make your Bridgeport series mill a CNC mill?     You can send your mill to us!   At CNC Conversion Plus, we have state-of-the-art conversion kits for mills and lathes of all sizes. We will turn your mill into a highly featureful CNC machine and ship it back to your workshop.   

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