Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Da Big One is Done!

I thought it would be fitting to put a photo in my blog of the 66HD-100, 100” Blanchard that we just finished for a customer in Warren, MI. This was a labor of love and hate at times for our dedicated staff, many modifications were made as we built this machine out.

Just to name a few, we lengthened the bed and ways, we added a hydraulic cylinder for saddle traverse, Variable Frequency Drive and gear box for table rotation and modified the swing inside the water guards to over 132 inches to name a few. It was a massive project that would take over 3000 man hours and involve many of our highly qualified service personnel. But as we all know the “proof is in the pudding” and when it came down to run off the machine there was no denying that the folks at F. P. Miller Company know their Blanchard Grinders. After setting the tram with the column and head and grinding in the magnetic chuck this grinder was flat to within .001” across the 100” chuck.

The photo is a great example to show off some of what we do every day here at F. P. Miller Company as well as put in a good word for our employees, who are some of the highest skilled individuals in their field and prove it every time we ship a machine out of our place. Quality workmanship does not come by accident; it is achieved with years of experience and dedication to providing the best possible product possible.

So happy holidays to all if you have some spare time between the holiday eating and gift giving, click on your computer, and “friend us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, +1 our blogs or just feel free to browse our web site, where you can see our finished products and watch videos of our machines running.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Craig L. Ward

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have been blogging for some time now about our company, so to begin this week’s blog I want to draw your attention to the top of the blog, I have placed a photo of what we are working on inside the “four walls” of F. P. Miller Company.

Back from the long Thanksgiving week-end, full of good food and a few pounds extra weight, it is time to get some work done and stay to task. It definitely seems as though we move through the last month of the year, so do the various distractions. No doubt everyone has the holidays on their minds, shopping, eating, driving, snow and etc., this is all good of course, but I would like to bring your attention back to the business at hand.

December is a great month to attend to those things that get forgotten during year, like preventive maintenance for example. When it comes to Blanchard Grinders it may be time to clean the dreaded beast, check the lube lines, replace or repair worn water guards and check the fluid levels. For your CNC machines, have you had a Renishaw Ball Bar analysis performed in the last year? This is a good practice to identify the run out in your machines and repair ball screws and ways before they fail in mid production. Of course the one thing that can put an end to your production in an instant has nothing to do with your machinery, of course I am speaking about your Air Compressor (s). These units are used every day in your plants and are as critical to your operations as is electricity. If you have not performed regular maintenance (Oil and separator filter change) this may be a good time to schedule a visit from our air compressor technicians, we service all brands and styles.

Of course, if you have been under a rock and are not aware of HR-5297, it is aimed at helping small business, and among other provisions it raises Section 179 expensing levels to $500,000 (and the phase-out threshold amount to $2 million) The $500,000 amount applies to the cost of depreciable tangible personal property purchased for use in the active conduct of a trade or business. Hey as always, limitations apply so contact your tax adviser for complete details about HR-5297.

Lastly, do you have surplus equipment that has been sitting in your plant, not in use? Take a look around and see what you have that you would like to turn into cash and contact our sales staff. Take another spare moment in your day and click on these links to be a “fan” on our Facebook page,“follow us on Twitter, stay up to date on our Blogs or book mark our web site for all our services and machines.

Contact us

Have great Week!

Craig L. Ward

General Manager

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well its Thanksgiving week and I thought it would be appropriate to speak about food and business. I will do my modest best to wrap all this in to one message. Here at
F. P. Miller we have a lot to be thankful for, starting with how busy our
business is. We have seven Blanchard build outs going on, our air compressor service business is booming and we continue to get calls every day for outside machine service and repair. In fact we started off our the year with 11 service technicians / machine builders and by the end of January will have added five more. We are thankful that the workmanship by our very skilled technicians is recognized all over the country.

In a very simplistic recipe, I can make a comparison of our business with the ingredients of my kid’s favorite casserole, Tater Tot Casserole. You see you put some very basic ingredients together, throw it in the oven and out comes a delightful meal. The same goes for what we do here at F. P. Miller, we throw into a big “baking dish” a bunch of highly skilled technicians , add in a very experienced sales staff, a “customer first” plant manager and a GM that keeps the ship on track when he’s not writing these blogs and what do you get? One team, organized with a focus on the goal to better not only the products that we sell and build, but to provide our customers with the top quality service, something that we can all “hang our hat”on.

I should probably give you the recipe for Tater Tot Casserole, I guarantee it will be the best and easiest thing you ever cooked…....but I won’t, instead I will ask that you “like” us on Facebook, “follow” us on Twitter, or click the Blog link to “eat up” more of my wanderings!

Have a very Happy and Thankful, Thanksgiving!

PS: if you really want the recipe, and it is good, e-mail me at cward@fpmiller.com , I will send it along to you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

F. P. MIller JTV Show

Fresh off the video production, shortened web version of the thirty minute JTV show that was made on F. P. Miller Company, CHECK IT OUT!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ramblin' Holiday Comments

I am starting out today’s blog with a holiday comment. A week ago I was watching TV and saw a Christmas commercial for Macy’s, are you kidding? It seems that these days we barely have time to take off our bathing suits and put away the summer fun, and the Christmas music, commercials and sales kick in. Now trust me folks, I like Christmas Holidays just as much as the next guy, but I was thinking what happened to Thanksgiving? A lot of good things happen on Thanksgiving , like food and food and pie and more food and then the Lions game, which under normal years you are lucky enough to fall asleep from a fat belly before they self-destruct. With all this being said though, I must admit I am looking forward to the next version of the Dancing Elves, I get a kick putting our sales staff photos on the Elves bodies and watching them dance the crazy moves!

Who knows maybe here at F. P. Miller Company we can use some of the early Christmas strategies in our sales and marketing? For example, unless you are under a rock or live outside of the country, you should be aware of HR- 5297. This is an HR-5297 is aimed at helping small business, and among other provisions it raises Section 179 expensing levels to $500,000 (and the phase-out threshold amount to $2 million) The $500,000 amount applies to the cost of depreciable tangible personal property purchased for use in the active conduct of a trade or business. Hey as always, Limitations apply so contact your tax adviser for complete details about HR-5297.

Of course you won’t see this advertised on the TV with dancers holding bags of gifts wearing Santa hats, but via this blog you have now been informed or reminded. Hurry, time is running out, you have less than two months to purchase! If you are in the market for a Blanchard grinder or if yours in need of repair, if you have CNC or Manual machines that you are not using and would like to sell, or if you are in need of serious repair work to machines that are giving you production fits, CALL one of our sales staff and save them from the Dancing Elves.

Don't forget to "follow" us on Twitter, "friend" us on Facebook and of course feel free to comment on this or any of our Blogs or "Share" this blog with your world.

-Craig L. Ward

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It is November already, can you believe it? Today’s Blog is about the thing that you always said you will do, but never get around to it. I am sure that this never happens to you, but in my world, it is a constant reminder that I need to make a goal and stick to it. For example, our Blanchard re-manufacturing facility is beyond swamped and we need to hire a couple of experienced machine tool builders to add to our current staff of 12 highly qualified technicians. This is just one of the business things I need to accomplish “sort of make hay while the sun is shining” if you will. I also have some personnel goals that I have made over and over again and not started, like getting my 50 year old body back in shape!

Well if anyone reads these blogs, here is a trick that I picked up in my Sandler Sales Training that may help you achieve those goals that keep slipping by every month. Take a 3 by 4 index card and write the single most important thing that you have been putting off on it. Then fold it up small and place it in your pocket with your change. Everyday take it out of your pocket and open it up and read it out loud to yourself and fold it up and put it back. I am telling you if you do this every day for thirty days, you will achieve this goal or you will be headed on the path to achieve it! Now all you have to do is decide the most important goal to work on first, but you may want to start small and go from there.

Speaking of Company goals one of our everyday goals is to locate good used CNC machine tools that are surplus on the market, if you have something that is sitting in your plant and not being used, contact us. If you are looking in to purchasing a Re-Manufactured Blanchard from us in the next six months you may want to contact our sales staff and get it in the job “Q” as we are currently building a 100”,60”,42” and 36” that are all sold. Well I will end my blog with another quote that I have heard a number of times regarding goals, “If you do not set your own goals, then you are probably living someone else’s”.

If you are interested in getting notification of our blogs, Machinery offers and etc. just simply follow us on twitter, like our “Facebook” page or bookmark our web site. It is as easy as a click of the mouse

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


One of the worst lines ever mentioned in the sales business is “How can I earn your business”. I hear this every time I go to a new and used automobile car lot and it drives me crazy. In our world if you have to ask someone what it takes, it usually means you have not invested any time. I have spent many hours pondering on why one company does business with another and what it would take to get our foot in the door to get some of that business. We stand behind the idea that if you conduct yourself in an ethical, responsible manner and perform good service to your customer and your company that you will present yourself with further opportunities as they become available. We are in the business of buying and selling used machine tools for a profit, which means we purchase at wholesale so that we can sell at retail. In a nut shell we purchase your risks for inventory and they become our risks to sell, a pretty simple premise. After over sixty five years of business, we would hope that we have built a reputation of ethical practices and serve a purpose to our customers. Most of our customers we have “earned” by having many years of doing business together and many of our new customers come to us via a referral from past customers. What we have found to be true in the market is that all businesses have many avenues to dispose of and purchase their machine tools, we buy for inventory on speculation used machine tools………….maybe we should talk? Of course I must throw in my pitch to “like” or “Friend” us on Facebook or if you are rally hip, sign up to follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The F. P. Miller Report!

    Have you noticed that you cannot pick up a paper, read the internet news, or watch TV without someone telling us how bad the state of the economy is in the U.S.?  Even when they have something good to report, they follow it up with something bad.  You would think that all this talk would mean that we would be sitting on our hands here at F. P. Miller, our backs to the wall, fourth down and forever.  Not true by any means, our rebuild facility is as busy as it has been in years.  We have machines being built out, Blanchard Grinder components coming in from all over the country to be rebuilt and just a pile of repair work scheduled into December.  We decided many years ago to do our best to provide quality service and workmanship with awesome customer support.   
    Here at F. P. Miller it seems that we will control our own destiny, regardless of what the economist say.  The biggest issue we are having right now is locating late model, good condition machinery to purchase.  If you have surplus machinery for sale like, CNC machines, larger manual machine tools and fabrication equipment that is taking up space on your floors, give us a call.  Of course we want to sound hip in this blog, so please be reminded to “bookmark” our web page, “friend “ us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter or just pick up the phone and call us.  (517-787-3100)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sign up for a chance to win an iPad!

Well after a long 4th of July week-end I for one can tell you that my Facebook got sunburned and I tweeted myself into dragging rear end today at work! There, for all of you that don’t think a fifty year old can be hip in the social media scene I have used the words both in the same sentence…my kids will be proud as they were shocked that I had a Twitter account at all. Speaking of supreme ideas, I figured that since we have these awesome ways of connecting our buyers and sellers as to what’s going on at F. P. Miller Company, I needed to get everyone hooked up into our social media stream. So asking folks that are much smarter about these things (and younger I might add), they have come up with an idea to do a giveaway. If you sign up to “like” us on Facebook or “follow” us on Twitter, you will be entered in a drawing to win an Apple iPad. I will go one step further, I have twenty (20) Premium Nike hats with the F.P. Miller logo on them and I will draw twenty more names in a “second chance” drawing after the I-Pad winner is drawn. Of course I would be happy to send you a hat if you have some machinery to sell that we might be interested in also! All right, I will stop now before I start sounding like a TV add, one note though, you do not have to purchase anything to enter, just interested in what we are selling , buying, repairing or rebuilding. You can sign up at our web page or Facebook site.

If you are not interested in signing up that is A-OK also, bookmark our web page www.fpmiller.com . We update it every day and it is a great place to see what we have in stock and what is going on at our re-manufacturing facility. We are still looking for all types of late model CNC equipment and we can always use another Blanchard to add to the forty or so we have in stock in the warehouse.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CNC Machinery

CNC Who?
It was recently brought to my attention that most folks see us as the “Blanchard Guys”, I have given this some thought and they are probably right in the fact that we do a lot of Blanchard machine sales, repair and re-manufacture. But as an ex farmer in the old days, I know you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. What most people do not know and what we must do a better job of, is getting the word out that we also do a ton of CNC machinery sales and repairs. Of course like most, we prefer to deal in the “Big Brand Names” like Mazak, Okuma and Mori Seiki, but the fact is we have sold many different brands of CNC lathes, vertical and horizontal machining centers and vertical lathes including YCI, Daewoo, Doosan, Hardinge, Fadal, Haas and etc. It seems that we get so much traffic at our web site that whatever brand we have usually finds a home. I would prefer to purchase for inventory most of what we sell, but we have recently been brokering machines for some of our customers. This process fits exceptionally well if they have high dollar amounts on the machine or if it just is too much expense to disassemble and move back to our warehouse.
One of our greatest attributes in my mind is that we have a CNC technician on staff who can power up, cycle, Renishaw ball bar accuracy tests and most any CNC repair. This comes in quite handy when you are talking about disconnecting and re-connecting these types of CNC machines. Late model CNC machines are also very hard to come by, we would prefer to purchase the machines built in 98 and up, but there is still a market for the early 90’s machines as well, it is all dependent on price. If you have surplus CNC machines that you want to sell, get a hold of one of our sales folks and see what they have to offer. In fact it never hurts to make a phone call with any surplus machines that you have.

-Craig Ward

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Social Media Scheme

So here is my second attempt at penning a blog. I have many things to say and picking one of them took longer than putting it to paper as I am a man of many words (a lot of them don’t mean much also). My subject today is our attempt to get into the “social media” scheme, get on board, fire up the engine, you know Twitter, Tweet, Facebook, Blog, Text and what the heck other random words that are now part of our society. The folks that look for machinery are getting younger every day and we figure if we are going to move this 65 year old company forward, we better get hooked up on their media, since I am positive they are not looking in the yellow pages or the printed text any more. It seems that this time tested way to find a machine or a machinery dealer are way too slow for our modern day buyers. Type one manufactures name and model in the Google bar and as Gomer Pile coined the phrase, Shazzam, instant machines and quotes with the touch of a mouse. We have a young man straight out of UofM that we have bribed to teach a bunch of very old dogs, new tricks. Good luck with that Pete, you can measure success when you get a tweet from your Uncle Steve that he now accepts text messaging. For the rest of you, stay tuned as we get hip in the social media. By the way, feel free to “be our Facebook friend” or “Twitter follower”.

-Craig Ward

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Antique Blanchard Pictures

Here are some pictures of the Antique Blanchard Grinder from 1919, which we have been restoring to put on display. These pictures were taken immediately after the 92 Blanchard arrived at F.P. Miller Co. in Jackson, MI. This machine is so old that women were not even allowed to vote in the United States when it was originally built!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Antique Blanchard Restoration

As most of you know, we remanufacture a lot of Blanchard rotary surface grinders during any given year. Currently we are undertaking the restoration of a very unusual Blanchard in our shop. It is a #16-26 Blanchard, serial number 893, which was manufactured in 1919. We have had it under power and it actually runs like a clock! We will be blogging about this machine over the next few months as our team of Blanchard techs restore this antique to its original state and then place it in our shop as a show piece. You can check out photos of the Blanchard as we progress on our Facebook page.
-Craig Ward

Friday, May 13, 2011


    Welcome to F P Miller Co’s blog. We’re hoping this new medium will give our customers another avenue to get to know us and to communicate with us about machine tools and services related to them. We welcome your questions and will do our best to find answers.

Steve Miller President

#18 Blanchard vs. #20/22 Blanchard-its your call

We receive many calls from customers who have old #18 Blanchard grinders that have finally given up the ghost. The most common question that comes in is "should we rebuild this grinder or purchase a rebuilt machine. Well over the years we have tried to persuade them to move toward a newer style #20 or #22 model Blanchard. From our standpoint the #18 machines, although rugged as a cowboy on the range, is better suited once worn out for the scrap yard.

Basically the main differences in the #18 and the #20/22 are described by the following points.

  1. #18 soft bed ways, #20-22 hardened and ground replaceable ways.
  2. #18 normally has three bearings in the main spindle and a tapered shaft for the grinding wheel mount.
  3. The #20/22 has two bearings and a straight shaft for mounting wheel mount.

To address the first point, on the #18 once the machine has been totally disassembled, the base must be put up on a mill to mill the cast iron way surfaces. The #20/22 bed ways upon disassembly can be removed and reground or if necessary completely replaced. Because the ground and hardened ways run with an oil lubrication system, they are longer lasting and wear much better than the cast iron ways which need grease lubrication. Point number two is the main spindle, #20/22 use Timken Class #3 precision bearings. Often when disassembled the #18 tapered wheel hub has damage around the key way and even on quite a few it is cracked which is un-repairable.

The final and most telling point is that the #20/22 machines do not have web bases, which are aggravating to clean out on a weekly base. The newer base style allows you to dump the coolant out the back (D-style) sweep the sludge out of the base automatically (K style) or at least have a tub style easy access base to clean out (No letter designation). The actual cost to fully rebuild the #18 is close to the price of a rebuilt #20/22 and at the end of the day you still have a soft way machine with tapered mount and webs in the base.
Craig Ward

Spring Update from Jim Miller

They say that no one should stay complacent. To succeed in today's business climate each of us needs to explore different markets, different ideas, different opportunities, and different modes of communication.
Thus brings me to this new (old) way of networking called "blogging". I am not sure what I can or what I cannot put on a "blog" but being the open-minded individual that I claim to be; here we go.
We are very busy at F.P. Miller Co. in all areas of our business. We are presently rebuilding six Blanchard Vertical Grinders. Three have already been spoken for (sold).

Our used CNC inventory is the lowest since buying CNC's. We are desperately looking to buy good "used" CNC machinery. Please help us out if you know of anyone evening thinking about selling some unproductive machinery.

We are also looking for air compressors to buy. Rotary Screw and Reciprocating from 10 Hp to 250 Hp and these must be air-cooled and in running condition.
Please forward these messages on to whoever you feel might benefit. To get to know more about our company, please visit our website www.fpmiller.com.