Saturday, December 27, 2008

Effective Uses Of The Bridgeport Type Mill – Precision Measurement Supply

I ran across this instructional video trying to find info about cylinder head milling fixtures online, and ended up renting it from Smartflix for $26… advertized as:

"This Three Volume Video Series Is Loaded With Tips On How To Get
The Most From Your Bridgeport Type Vertical Mill"

With a retail price of $80… you kind of expect something at least semi professional, ESPECIALLY since these guys have a whole series of instructional videos. WELL, that's not what you get. The rest of this post is a slightly edited version (mainly to remove/fix context specific stuff to make it make sense on it's own) of what I posted as a review on the smartflix site, which I somewhat suspect won't get posted because of being long and critical, we'll see:

On Smartflix site you can give a video 0-5 lightbulb, I gave it 3. I have to emphasize, for the most part this DVD set is such a hideous turd that there had to be something good here to get me to rate it anything above a 0, so I'll start there.

The good:

  • He does give some different and useful approaches to common automotive problems. Other reviews have called it "meatball machining," but I will argue that there are times that you do what works best, and if it's not the "correct" way of doing it, well you live with it.
  • He does give some OK advice on what accessories are good places to spend money for your mill.

The bad:

  • They're listed as 3 x 90 minute DVDs??? Did I get the right ones? They all have big long dead spaces at the beginning and especially end and I finally actually tried checking the time on the actual content and got under 50minutes for all of them, I think the shortest was just over 36minutes if I remember right. This should be a SINGLE DVD, and charged as a single DVD rental.
  • Probably close to 1/3 of the total content is an advertisement for PM's products. I mean common, "here's our headholding fixture…" "here's our flycutter…" "we're going to use our alignment tool again…"
  • Ok, I'm willing to overlook a lot for good technical information, I mean, put a guy in a shop with a DV cam and I'll watch it if the info is there, but this is a bit ridiculous. The sound level is roughly 35-50% of what it should have been set at (if you're watching this on a laptop with wimpy speakers it becomes a real problem), there's tons of noise, especially in the 3rd dvd and the picture leaves almost as much to be desired as the audio. Again, I'll put up with all sorts of cruft to get good info, but at the price that they're charging for this thing selling a few DVD's would pay for equipment to produce _much_ better quality output. Along these lines, I can deal with a dog walking in and out of the picture, or our "host" stammering a bit and figuring out where he's going with what he's talking about, but, come on, you couldn't stop for a 30 seconds to let the ice cream truck pass so you're not trying to talk over the music???

So, did I learn something? Well, yea, I think I did, but most of what you see on YouTube or similar sites is better quality. It's really a shame, since it's obvious from watching the host of the video (I believe his name was Adrian Pendergrass or something similar from listening to the introduction) go through the his motions that he's quite familiar and comfortable with what he's doing and has some good information to share.