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Milling facility on my Myford ML7?

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choochoo_baloo17/07/2016 20:56:57
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Hello all,

Before starting in earnest, I am mindful that these types of topics are likely common and has probably been answered in the past, but I am beginner and so hope others will be patient

I was fortunate to acquire a very good condition Myford ML7 with all original fittings and have bought some Myford accessories too and have made some progress in basic late work. My next goal is to build some of the Hemingway tooling kits to expand my arsenal. This calls for milling, and this is where I would appreciate some guidance/opinions. I am a firm believer in quality used tooling over new Far Eastern stuff from past experiences. However, budget and space mean that I must rule out a proper milling machine for now (e.g. Tom Senior) and thus I see my options as:

1. A vertical slide on the ML7 or 2. A milling attachment (Amolco)

Do others agree, cost aside, that the latter is the better option? My reasoning is that:

  • one is milling against a horizontal table as opposed to an upright table which surely would produce a more rigid set up?
  • simply more capacity than the vertical slide
  • the leadscrew feed would produce a power feed to the cross side during milling not possible with vertical slide
  • For indexing, cutting vertically downwards with the indexing head on the cross side seems a more rigid arrangement than the Myford dividing head hung off of a raised vertical slide as shown in Ian Bradley's "Series 7 manual"

Any suggestions or opinions are welcomed!

Michael Gilligan17/07/2016 22:46:32
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Posted by choochoo_baloo on 17/07/2016 20:56:57:

Any suggestions or opinions are welcomed!

.

Get a copy of "Milling in the Lathe" and read it thoroughly ... It's old, but brilliant, and should help inform your decision as to what's best for your circumstances.

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 17/07/2016 23:00:39

NJH17/07/2016 23:04:02
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If you can squeeze it in I would recommend a mill/ drill as a measure until you can advance to the " proper" milling machine. In my experience the vertical slide is really only good for very light milling and set-ups can be awkward. I can't comment on the Amolco as I've not come across it nor heard it mentioned recently. At some stage you will need a drill and, if you are able to progress to a "proper" mill in the future, then the Mill/ Drill will still be available in the drilling mode - it is a sturdy drill. I wouldn't despise "Far Eastern" stuff - I have a "low mileage" Myford S7 and a "Far Eastern" mill / drill - both work OK and, whilst I might like a Lorch and a Bridgeport, I doubt that I would produce much different work!

Norman

Paul Lousick17/07/2016 23:57:09
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I would also agree with Norman that investing in a Mill/Drill is a better option than a lathe attachment for milling. The lathe option is limited for what you can machine and would be less rigid.

But this would depend on what you intend to build. If you only want to build a few small projects, a vertical slide for the lathe would be the way to go but if in the future you intend to build a bigger project, your money would be better spent investing in a mill/drill.

I do the majority of the work for my traction engine on a mill/drill. At times I would like to have a bigger more rigid milling machine but my Sieg mill/drill does a good job.

Paul.

duncan webster18/07/2016 00:33:28
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I echo the above comments. I used a vertical slide on an ML7 for some years, but life became a lot easier when I bought a Naerok mill/drill. Considering what a vertical slide costs, you won't have to save up much loger to get a secondhand machine. OK not as good as a good old British machine, but so much better than vertical slide

Ady118/07/2016 01:26:52
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I'm a bit surprised no-one ever really invented/made a decent milling slide for their lathe over the decades, they are all a bit weedy and prone to movement

Some of those old lathes are very strong powerful machines and a big solid chunky milling slide with a decent base and leadscrews would make lathe milling a lot easier, just lock it in position like a turret attachment

It's probably been about the only mod I've never seen on a lathe

Someone even made a lathe into a horizontal milling machine with a between centres attachment which swung in an arc to give it a little height adjustment

Hopper18/07/2016 03:59:16
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I do all my milling with a vertical slide on my M-type. It works fine for model-sized stuff but I find that tooling sized jobs really are pushing the edge of the envelope to where it really is a make-do scenario. For example, milling a piece of 1" thick plate to make a fixed steady was something I would avoid doing again on a vertical slide. I milled the body of my GHT-style fabricated versatile dividing head on the vertical slide and again it was stretching the device to its limits - but got the job done. Ended up bolting my 4-way toolpost blanks straight to the cross slide on parallels to eliminate the flexiblility of the vertical slide.

IF you do go with a vertical slide, avoid the double-swivel type as I find mine moves rather easily if a cutter tooth digs in on larger jobs. I plan to drill, ream and dowel both the swivels to lock them in position and I will also put a packing piece under the bottom of the vertical ways that rests on the lathe cross slide table to minimize flex there also. I reckon the solid non-swivelling vertical slide would be much more secure under heavy loads, and cheaper to buy. I have yet to really use the swivelling facility. The vice can always be mounted at an angle, and the whole slide can be mounted at an angle on the cross slide table, so the swivels are maybe nice if you ever need to mill helical bevel gears or such exotica but can be a nuisance on the other 99 per cent of jobs if they are heavy cutting.

The other thing I find is that heavy milling wears the headstock bearings, necessitating adjustment more often than turning does. Much more. This is on my old lathe with smallish bronze bushing headstock bearings. Tapered rollers may be more durable.

How to test the limits of your vertical slide:

Michael Gilligan18/07/2016 07:42:10
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Posted by Ady1 on 18/07/2016 01:26:52:

I'm a bit surprised no-one ever really invented/made a decent milling slide for their lathe over the decades, they are all a bit weedy and prone to movement

.

The big Schaublin one is 'decent'

https://goo.gl/images/eBPevD

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 18/07/2016 07:45:05

JasonB18/07/2016 07:55:53
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Michael isn't that an attachment for milling work held in the chuck rather than a vertical slide for holding work being cut by a tool in the spindle which is what teh OP is asking about? The lack of tee slots would make holding work a bit of a problem.

I did the minnie in my avitar with a vertical slide for the milling, as said it can be done and lets face it most of the old ME designs were all done that way but a mill does make things a lot easier.

Edited By JasonB on 18/07/2016 07:58:46

Michael Gilligan18/07/2016 08:05:14
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If I might be permitted a slight digression:

The 'universal' machine pictured here was developed from a lathe.

MichaelG.

Michael Gilligan18/07/2016 08:07:58
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Posted by JasonB on 18/07/2016 07:55:53:

Michael isn't that an attachment for milling work held in the chuck rather than a vertical slide for holding work being cut by a tool in the spindle which is what teh OP is asking about?

.

Hence the recommended-reading in my first response.

MichaelG.

.

P.S. ... The linked picture was specifically to illustrate the rigid design, to address Ady's comment. There are work-holding options avalable too. http://www.lathes.co.uk/schaublin/page11.html

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 18/07/2016 08:18:36

JasonB18/07/2016 08:16:10
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But Ady1 was also talking about the same thing as the OP not a milling spindle?

Michael Gilligan18/07/2016 08:20:08
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O.K. ... I'll leave you to advise.

Ady118/07/2016 09:20:53
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It's basically a "milling machine table" which, if the lathe was bolted vertically to a wall, would make it look like a small milling machine

Off the top of my head the lack of a fine feed for the up/down part which would be served by the main leadscrew would be a weakness/annoyance

The main design difference would be the milling table overhang at the front of the saddle which would prevent the table twisting under load

choochoo_baloo18/07/2016 15:00:41
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Thanks all for the replies - useful information.

Clive Hartland18/07/2016 15:52:10
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On the Schaublin attachment you will see how it is attached using the two angled edges of the slide, it can be shifted along or up and down. It is driven from the mandrel via an arm and fine loop cord.. The Schaublin lathe usually has an index ring behind the chuck so various angles and cardinal points selected for milling a face on the job in the chuck or 5C collets.. There are no slots on the slides of a Schaublin lathe.

Clive

Ajohnw18/07/2016 16:42:07
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I'd echo Hopper's comment about the myford vertical slide - just use the ordinary one not the swivel type. Personally I would avoid any sort of swivel but hopefully the one that just has a swivel base is ok. I have used the other type and it is actually a pretty rigid set up providing the lathes slides are in good order and well adjusted where needed.

Almoco milling head pass I don't know any one who has used one. It looks a little like a converted drill to me. The Rodney attachment is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Much of the tooling and other item designs that are about have been sized to be made on a Myford 7 along with a vertical slide and also in some cases by clamping parts to the cross slide. Also face plate work and odd things like using a chuck with one external jaw fitted. Fortunately there are books about which show the set ups for making specific items. As I was toolroom trained I found the various set ups far more interesting than the designs. In a toolroom the correct equipment is always available - that often isn't the case in home workshops.

I'd guess you may be asking because there are some Amolco units on ebay at the moment. There is also a Rodney. That might be a hernia device to fit to the lathe. To compare with the Amolco I would look at the SIEG Super X1LP and ask myself which is most likely to be more rigid.. I'd hope that has 2 belt set speeds.

John

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Mike Poole18/07/2016 17:44:23
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I have been down the Myford vertical slide and Rodney route and found that they do work as witnessed by many fine models having been built using this equipment (not by me). Having used industrial milling machines I am aware how limited these devices are and invested in a Warco VMC, still a significant contrast to industrial machines but a big step up from lathe milling. It is possible to do much of the work done by a milling machine with chisels, saws and files but this requires great skill and effort. The size of the work envelope even using the long cross slide is small but if it can accommodate the work envisaged it may be a solution to embrace, but I suspect when you meet the limitations you will have a milling machine on your wish list but remember that buying the machine is only the beginning of the costs. Using accessories soon uses up the daylight on the Rodney and the Amolco, a small vice and cutter holder wil use a few inches, using finger collets will maximise the useable height, power feed from the lead screw is possible but the throat depth on the Rodney is limited a little more on the Amolco fine down feed is available on both(manual) using a vertical slide gives plenty of effective daylight if you wish to use a boring head, small rotary tables can be used on the vertical slide but the daylight is an issue with the attachments. There are many creative setups to do jobs that are really too big for the machine but with care they work

Mike

Edited By Michael Poole on 18/07/2016 18:11:31

Edited By Michael Poole on 18/07/2016 18:43:44

Hopper19/07/2016 04:39:05
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Posted by Ajohnw on 18/07/2016 16:42:07:...

I'd guess you may be asking because there are some Amolco units on ebay at the moment. There is also a Rodney. That might be a hernia device to fit to the lathe. To compare with the Amolco I would look at the SIEG Super X1LP and ask myself which is most likely to be more rigid.. I'd hope that has 2 belt set speeds.

John

-

575 pounds for a used Amolco head on Ebay - not a cheap bit of kit. And it does not look overly heavy duty, round column and all. It's a rather expensive punt to find out.

And I don't know about the Sieg X1 as being any more rigid than a verical slide, if even as rigid. I looked at a used X2 for sale locally and from the demo run I had on it, I would not rate it any more rigid than my vertical slide. In fact, from what I saw I am pretty sure it would not drive a 1" cutter along 1" plate as my lathe would in the pic I posted above. From having a look at a mate's X3, that seems to be a serious bit of kit suited to milling tooling and motorbike parts, ie that next size bigger than brass model parts etc.

So Choochoo-balloo, you perhaps might want to condsider saving yourself 500 pounds and buy a nice used non-swivelling vertical slide to get started with. The matching Myford vice is handy for small stuff but mostly you will be clamping direct to the slide's table. So you will need to buy cutters, clamps, bolts and so forth. All of which will be of use later if you graduate to a milling machine or head.

Personally, I am saving my pennies for an X3 and learning lots of innovative set ups on the vertical slide in the mean time! (That's the vertical slide on the left.) As Ajohnw said above, frequently the innovative set ups are more interesting than the piece being made. A job that would be a no-brainer on a Bridgeport or Cincinnatti in the toolroom can take some real working out at home with limited resources.

Edited By Hopper on 19/07/2016 04:41:03

Edited By Hopper on 19/07/2016 04:45:49

Edited By Hopper on 19/07/2016 04:50:40

Lambton19/07/2016 06:42:05
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When contemplating a mil drill ensure the one selected has the facility for a draw bar as this is essential for milling. Any chuck, drill or collet. mounted on a taper shank will quickly become detached from the spindle due to the action of the milling cutter if not secured by a draw bar.

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