Myford's metal lathes

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trlvn

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Hi:

I see Myford metal lathes come up for sale from time to time. There seem to have been various models: ML7, Super 7, Super 7 Plus, ... but I don't know anything about how they differ. Is there a resource somewhere that gives an overview? I know about Tony's excellent site (lathes.co.uk) but it is rather long winded at times. A table summarizing the various features would be outstanding.

Craig
 

Hopper

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I don't think there is one table outlining the differences that I have ever seen. Basically they are based on the same machine. But the Super 7 had improved headstock bearings, longer cross slide and in some cases power cross feed. But Myford made various different models over the years, including ML7B or ML7 Plus that had some Super 7 features but the plain whitemetal headstock bearings.

Living in North America you might get better value for money out of a South Bend 9" lathe. They are heavier duty, better built and IMHO all round a better machine, having used both over the years. They too came in a range of models over the years.
 

goldstar31

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A few weeks ago, I was at the UK Model Engineering Show at Doncaster and had the opportunity of actually seeing both the 'new' Myford Super 7's , one with a gear box and the other without and both without any accessories and the prices were £3500 and £3000 respectively. That would include Value Added Tax of 20%!

So the poster can add new accessories ad nauseam and have the benefit of having an unworn and guaranteed machine. Oddly, I couldn't find 'offerings' of other lathes, new and second hand on show.

But there you are , sir. Free of varying advice of those who like Myfords and those who don't. The firm of RDG Tools who took over from Myford at the time of its liquidation is alive and kicking. I bought a box of HSS lathe tools and a shop soiled 3" rotary table on the stall.
But I have two Myfords already!

Norm
 

Nick Hulme

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Myford Super 7's , one with a gear box and the other without and both without any accessories and the prices were £3500 and £3000 respectively. That would include Value Added Tax of 20%
I was at the Doncaster show, I kept expecting to see Tumbleweed roll across the hall!

If they weren't the "Big Bore" they weren't "New", the base price for the new big bore is over double that! ;-)
Add to that the fact that the "Big Bore" has a very disappointing headstock through capacity of 26mm and you aren't actually getting much Bang for your Buck, any purchaser would be better off putting the money into a good s/h Harrison 300 or a new one of the higher end Chinese offerings.
 

goldstar31

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Laughingly, there wasn't enough room for anything to roll across the room. The place was packed and getting a seat though disabled, was like trying to find rocking horse manure:(

As for Harrisons, there is no way that I'm going to lose money on my property by installing such a thing. Again, I have rather rich but kindly neighbours who would take a dim view on such a thing. A rather eccentric 89 year old who keeps them and their children amused is seemingly tolerated-so far.
 

trlvn

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the Super 7 had improved headstock bearings, longer cross slide and in some cases power cross feed
That's the kind of stuff I was wondering about. I didn't realize any Myford had power cross-feed!

What does "improved" headstock bearings mean? Roller bearings?

Regarding buying a lathe, I have two at the moment. Myford's come up about as often as any other brand around here so it is mostly a curiosity thing on my part. I'm not adverse to buying a machine strictly to fix up and re-sell.

Colchester and Harrison lathes also pop up from time to time. Being a former part of the British Empire, we seem to have gotten many more of these machines than, say, the USA did.

Craig
 

Hopper

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That's the kind of stuff I was wondering about. I didn't realize any Myford had power cross-feed!

What does "improved" headstock bearings mean? Roller bearings?

Regarding buying a lathe, I have two at the moment. Myford's come up about as often as any other brand around here so it is mostly a curiosity thing on my part. I'm not adverse to buying a machine strictly to fix up and re-sell.

Colchester and Harrison lathes also pop up from time to time. Being a former part of the British Empire, we seem to have gotten many more of these machines than, say, the USA did.

Craig
Nothing so deluxe as roller bearings for Myford. The Super 7 has a large tapered bronze bushing for the main headstock bearing that runs against a tapered section on the spindle. The other end (change gear end) runs on two ball or roller bearings IIRC. The procedure for setting up the spindle bearing clearance is as fiddly as you would expect from such a Heath Robinson contraption.
The basic ML7 model had plain whitemetal bearings both ends.

If they are around at reasonable prices it can be worth picking one up to play with. Only major expense in restoring one is if you have to have the bed reground if wear exceeds .003" to .005". Otherwise, like most old machinery they are largely rebuildable.

And a Myford is a lot easier to haul home than a Harrison or Colchester, but Myford is not in the same league as these more industrial and toolroom machines, either size or quality wise.
 

goldstar31

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FYI My Super 7B- one the Early Perpendicular variety with a sight glass with needle roller bearings in the transmission to the spindle pulleys.

This one is one of the narrow guide variety and the guide can be adjusted to miss the internal shears and - go off the unused 4th( rear) shear.
Whilst my machine was subsequently slideways ground, it could have been cheaply topped with Blanchard machine out of Lumsden's. I have a worthless family share certificate in the latter.

No, all of this isn't in Lathes.co.uk.
 

Charles Lamont

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A comprehensive list of the differences would be very long, because, although superficially very similar, in fact the ML7 and Super-7 have few common parts.
 
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I have amassed a fairly comprehensive home workshop over the years starting off with a Harrison 10" lathe with a taper turning attachment on the back of the bed. I think it must have come over from the States as part of a Lease Lend package from WW1. The wear was terrible and in the end I sold it. One of my clients, I sell and maintain industrial air compressors, was transferring his company to China and I mentioned that I was looking for a lathe. He said that they were getting rid of a whole lot of second hand machine tools and I could have a look at their stock. They had a fully restored Colchester Bantam 2000 with a spare 5 point capstan tail stock, Dickson quick change tool post with 10 tool holders, 3 and 4 jaw chucks and face plate, suds tank and pump and a load of tooling. He said put in a bid and he would see that it went to the correct department. Sitting next to the Bantam was a couple of Triumph 2000 long bed lathes with digital read outs. I didn't think much of them as they are a bit too big for model engineering. Anyway, I put in a bid of £600 for the Bantam and left it up to my client to let me know what would come of the offer. A couple of weeks later I got a phone call telling me that I had got the lathes. I said "What Lathes", he said the three lathes that I had put in the bid for. So, there I was, one Bantam and two Triumph 2000 lathes for £600. Luckily I had a friend who had a second hand machine tool company, F.E. Slater Ltd. in Poole, Dorset, long gone now I'm afraid, who bought the two Triumph 2000 lathes for the princely sum of £600 for the two, so all it cost me was the cost of transporting the machines from the company site to my works and then to Poole. This only goes to prove that there are bargains around and all you have to do is be in the right place at the right time. I also have a Bridgeport mill, pedestal grinder, nodding donkey power hacksaw, glass bead blasting machine, air compressor, tig welder and a lot of other machines, all 3 phase with a rotary converter to run them.
I havn't been a fan of the Myford ML range of lathes as they seem too small for most work except for the hobby market. There are a lot more lathes, slightly larger, available on the second hand industrial market, especially as there are a lot of small companies going to the wall these days. Most of these machines are 3 phase but there are a number of companies making converters, static and rotary, that are available to run these machines. Anyway, that's the end of my rambles for today, keep the machines running and the models coming off the production lines.
 

Charles Lamont

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The biggest single area of model engineering (in the UK at any rate) is steam locos. A 3-1/2" (US 7") lathe that will swing 10" in the gap is good for engines up to 5" gauge, and smaller 7-1/4" gauge ones. Also in the UK, most R&D departments used to have a Myford somewhere among their kit, and many schools.
 

goldstar31

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The biggest single area of model engineering (in the UK at any rate) is steam locos. A 3-1/2" (US 7") lathe that will swing 10" in the gap is good for engines up to 5" gauge, and smaller 7-1/4" gauge ones. Also in the UK, most R&D departments used to have a Myford somewhere among their kit, and many schools.
And the Myford whilst swinging a large casting in the gap in the bed could have the speed reduced way below the 100 rpm on other machines which actually amounted to 130 on British electricity.

And think, a carriage on many small lathes romping along in screwcutting operations.
I once had a 920/918 and now my Sieg C4 romps along madly. Err um?????

These are the reasons why the experts of old chose Myfords instead of Boxfords.

Quo erat demonstrandum

Norm
 

kstrauss

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Not yet mentioned:
There are some cosmetic differences between models such as the shape of the tailstock changed between the ML7 and the S7. All ML7 are grey while later production S7 are green. I believe that some of the Big Bore are painted blue.
There are subtle improvements such as the addition of a spindle locking pin on the S7. The top slide (compound) angle adjustment is much improved on the S7. There were also a few metric Myfords produced.
 

goldstar31

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And , unless my macular degeneration( and incipient old age) is playing tricks, I've seen 4 red ones. 2 had gearboxes, one was a variable feed version and both had powered cross feeds.

Years ago I did an Ishihara colur test and swear that I have seen greenish and bluish ones-- and of course there is the hybrid ML7-R. This is actually a Super7 but with the longer ML7 top slide. Oh and with the 10( I've got an early one), there is a -- wait for it-- a CNC version called the Conect Cadet123 with various other names. It was based on the BBC B computer. Intriguing thing- nearly bought one almost new for £500.

With my old S7B running, I might be tempted to sell it and buy a red one. The price is as the French say- tres interessant.

Norm
 

Scott Cannon

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Other differences, the super 7’s have a hand wheel at the end of the lead screw, the spindle of the tailstock on a super 7 is all internal and doesn’t petrude to where your hand needs to wind the tail stock out like the ml7’s. The super 7 has a much higher top end rpm, having 4 v’s on the pulleys as opposed to 3 on the ml 7’s. The super 7 also has a clutch as standard whereas it was an option on the ml7’s.

All I can think of off the head and 9 beers deep.
 

Nick Hulme

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Nothing so deluxe as roller bearings for Myford. The Super 7 has a large tapered bronze bushing for the main headstock bearing that runs against a tapered section on the spindle. The other end (change gear end) runs on two ball or roller bearings IIRC. The procedure for setting up the spindle bearing clearance is as fiddly as you would expect from such a Heath Robinson contraption.
The basic ML7 model had plain whitemetal bearings both ends.
It's an easily misunderstood system but the tapered Hydrodynamic bearing on the Super 7 spindle nose is very good and can deliver remarkable accuracy even by modern standards.
 

Wizard69

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I think the important bit of advice here is that the lathe chosen should fit within a persons expectations. That is without knowing the size of the e
Bob to be built

The biggest single area of model engineering (in the UK at any rate) is steam locos. A 3-1/2" (US 7") lathe that will swing 10" in the gap is good for engines up to 5" gauge, and smaller 7-1/4" gauge ones. Also in the UK, most R&D departments used to have a Myford somewhere among their kit, and many schools.
 

Hopper

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It's an easily misunderstood system but the tapered Hydrodynamic bearing on the Super 7 spindle nose is very good and can deliver remarkable accuracy even by modern standards.
So can plain bearings used back to the turn of the century. My old Drummond with parallel bronze bushings and my ML7 with parallel white metal bearings will both turn out work within half a thou or less. It's all in how you set them up and how you use them.
 

goldstar31

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So can plain bearings used back to the turn of the century. My old Drummond with parallel bronze bushings and my ML7 with parallel white metal bearings will both turn out work within half a thou or less. It's all in how you set them up and how you use them.
Years ago, I wrote in Model Engineer of how I restored a ML7 which originally would barely turn bananas and had been sold as a pup to a friend by an unscrupulous dealer.
Fortunately we managed to find proper Glacier lead indium headstocks bearings which , of course, need to be shimmed correctly. For £25 or £50, I got the bed Blancharded, then hand scraped the No 1 shear, I did the underneath of the saddle on my old hand surface grinder and hand drilled it to take the longer boring table all within a week.
We clocked up the spindle runout and it was less than half a thous at 6".
Neither of us were engineers or whatever they want to be known as. He was a doctor of medicine and I was a retired accountant.
This morning, I was happily fiddling on with a Super7B and literally wonder what all this airy fairy nonsense is all about.

Think about it but another of my mates still has a ML7 which he got new as a premium apprentice and this was when Myford ML7's were £25- I repeat £25.

Another, who edited both books on George Thomas's work( mainly on Myfords) was a dental surgeon- who qualified with my late wife and they had a consultant/senior lecturer who made specialist dental implements on his ML7.


Norm
 
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