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New chinese lathe or old Myford lathe

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Stuart Riddell18/10/2017 18:57:42
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15 forum posts

Still not made up my mind yet, I sometimes overthink these things and this time is no different. What is the concensus between choosing either a shiny new Chinese lathe, whether it be Warco, Toolco, Chester, Amadeal or an old Myford lathe. Or is there another older style lathe worth considering?

Clive Brown 118/10/2017 19:02:19
832 forum posts
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Boxford, plenty on s/h market, good design and doesn't attract the Myford price premium.

But I'm biased!

Mark P.18/10/2017 19:06:31
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626 forum posts
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I've had a Warco WM250 for about 10 years and has done everything and more I have asked of it. Apart from fitting a VFD and motor I've had no real trouble with it.
Mark P.
alan-lloyd18/10/2017 19:10:24
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176 forum posts

Go old English Boxford, Harrison, myford Colchester etc, you wont regret it, and if you buy right you wont have buy again. I went the chinesse route only to find the products not up to the standard I was expecting, so bought a myford 254 now very happy.

Jeff Dayman18/10/2017 19:13:27
2226 forum posts
47 photos

+1 on vote for Boxford over China.

South Bend, Standard Modern, Harrison are also better value in my opinion than China, although the China machines are a lot better now than ten years ago. Several people on this forum have had controller PCB issues on new China machines and some China mills. Fixes are possible of course, but I don't need the hassle.

One thing not widely published is that the old iron, particularly South Bend, will keep producing good work even if previous owners beat the hell out of it and used it mercilessly for eons. I have such a machine, a 1949 model 9B and couldn't be happier with it. No PCB on it either. The trick I think is that the clever guys that designed it made the carriage support the cutting loads over a very wide area, so the errors and wear averages out. You see the same thing in toolroom lathes like the Hardinge and DSG machines.

You see the exact opposite on China lathes. Usually they have a very high very flexible toolpost with a very small footprint where it meets the bed. That, and a non rigid bed, are main reasons for inaccuracy and bad finish, along with tool setting and grinding problems.

Just my $0.02 worth.

norm norton18/10/2017 19:16:52
186 forum posts
9 photos

You have to work out what you emotionally like - classic British technology or functional and perhaps cheaper modern?

Also, are you going to work in imperial or metric? as the hand wheels will be one or the other.

If you do go for a Myford or Boxford then do not buy a cheap, worn one. A full bed and slide regrind of my Myford made a big difference.

Go and see some old ones at somewhere like Home and Workshop or G and M Tools (both south of London).

Norm

Neil Wyatt18/10/2017 19:25:49
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The two downsides to second hand are making sure you get a genuinely good condition machine and the cost of any missing accessories (e.g. steadies, change wheels) can be punitive. If you get a good, well equipped one it can be very good. Prices can be silly for some machines because some people will pay more than they are worth for the name.

I can tell you that the next MEW will have what look like some really good deals in the classifieds but fairness means I can't give anyone advance information!

If you want new, the Arc SC4 510 is impressing me, you might say I would say that, but it has a lot going for it:

  • 4 1/8" centre height, 20" between centres
  • 1kW (1.3hp) variable speed brushless motor
  • Double induction hardened vee bed
  • gearbox built into saddle for screwcutting/fine feed.
  • Power cross feed
  • t-slotted cross and top slides
  • Rigid bed
  • Accurate.

The downside is the poor manual that doesn't explain everything about how it works.

Neil

not done it yet18/10/2017 19:29:22
6819 forum posts
20 photos

so bought a myford 254 now very happy.

Which was likely developed from the Raglan machines, after Myford bought out Raglan and closed it down. While the spindle outer races are obsolete, the Raglan is a far superior machine compared to the same era Myford offering. Rather more expensive, mind!

Spindle bearings are not too difficult to source - only the drive/chuck end bearing gets worn, the other end usually showing no signs of wear. You won't pick one up so easily - they weigh about a third more than a Myford. 3 1/2 cwt was quoted for the Little John and the 5" weighs a bit more.

Carl Wilson 418/10/2017 19:31:30
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670 forum posts
53 photos
Chinese or Myford..

Neither. Myford is Chinese now anyway. Why pay a premium for what is an outdated design.

Buy second hand British. As many have said, there are plenty of really nice Boxford lathes around. Nice Harrisons too, an M250 or 300, or maybe a 140.
Mick B118/10/2017 19:41:36
2192 forum posts
122 photos
Posted by Jeff Dayman on 18/10/2017 19:13:27:

You see the exact opposite on China lathes. Usually they have a very high very flexible toolpost with a very small footprint where it meets the bed. That, and a non rigid bed, are main reasons for inaccuracy and bad finish, along with tool setting and grinding problems.

Just my $0.02 worth.

The saddle on my Warco is about twice the width of that on the Myford Speed 10 it replaced, and the bed also about twice as wide. Using the vertical slide I can do milling that would've defeated the Myford. I can use broad radius form tools on titanium, which I couldn't on the Myford.

Clive Brown 118/10/2017 19:52:57
832 forum posts
43 photos

Chinese machines seem to offer a lot for the money, but a feature that I would be doubtful about is that many seem to lack usefully low speeds for some ME tasks. For example, the Arc SC4 referred to above has a lowest speed of 150 rpm. Not too good for largish iron castings IMHO.

My Boxford, as bought, went down to 38 rpm, lower now with a VFD., I've found this range very useful for, eg, the 9" drivers for my Princess of Wales and other jobs.

JasonB18/10/2017 19:59:35
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Well I have had 10yrs good service out of my Warco 280 and if they are better now than when I bought mine 10yrs ago that can't be bad.

My lathe runs down to 50rpm and I regularly turn 9-10" iron flywheels on it.

I would not always trust the quoted rpm figures for example the SX2.7 mill is quoted as 100-2000rpm but will actually run at 40rpm.

Ian Skeldon 218/10/2017 20:03:46
540 forum posts
54 photos

My take on it is that a good used British lathe will knock spots off any of the Chinese ones. I have a Chester DB 10 Super, it is accurate in fact very accurate but it just doesn't inspire confidence with things like deep cuts to get through the skin on stainless steel or thread cutting. I took the cover off the gear box and the cogs are anything but concentric, no wonder it sounds awful when they're engaged. The cross slide and compound slide are small and light weight and not up to things like rear tool post or tool post grinder.

If your only going to spin up a bit of ali now and then, a Chinese one will probably be just fine. If on the other hand you want to work with large items and various materials then a good English lathe as any of those mentioned above should be OK, but, if it's worn then it can be very expensive and frought with problems getting it put right.

Good luck, and let us know what you end up buying.

Ian

Andrew Johnston18/10/2017 20:18:38
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6609 forum posts
701 photos
Posted by Stuart Riddell on 18/10/2017 18:57:42:

What is the concensus between choosing either a shiny new Chinese lathe, whether it be Warco, Toolco, Chester, Amadeal or an old Myford lathe

Armchair - check

Popcorn - check

Beer - check

Let battle commence!

Andrew

Edited By Andrew Johnston on 18/10/2017 20:19:02

SillyOldDuffer18/10/2017 20:21:30
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Posted by Stuart Riddell on 18/10/2017 18:57:42:

Still not made up my mind yet, I sometimes overthink these things and this time is no different. What is the concensus between choosing either a shiny new Chinese lathe, whether it be Warco, Toolco, Chester, Amadeal or an old Myford lathe. Or is there another older style lathe worth considering?

Ah, a fellow ditherer. Consider this: you will never get the time you're wasting back. Make up your mind and get on with it. If necessary toss a coin. If it comes down heads, go online tonight and order a lathe. You will be using it next week. If it comes down tails, explore the second-hand market. Unless you take pot-luck, it will take time and effort to find a good one, but there are bargains to be had. Remember when it comes to buying second-hand, condition is everything. And don't forget to check everything is all present and correct.

My advice - if you can't tell chalk from cheese, buy new rather than second-hand.

Loads of fun to be had with a lathe, get stuck in.

Dave

Mick B118/10/2017 21:17:45
2192 forum posts
122 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 18/10/2017 20:21:30:

My advice - if you can't tell chalk from cheese, buy new rather than second-hand.

Loads of fun to be had with a lathe, get stuck in.

Dave

Yep, he's right.

Engineers are supposed to be ingenious - it's what the root of the word means. What counts is making what you want with what you've got. Just do it...yes

Neil Wyatt18/10/2017 21:28:29
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Posted by Clive Brown 1 on 18/10/2017 19:52:57:

Chinese machines seem to offer a lot for the money, but a feature that I would be doubtful about is that many seem to lack usefully low speeds for some ME tasks. For example, the Arc SC4 referred to above has a lowest speed of 150 rpm. Not too good for largish iron castings IMHO.

My Boxford, as bought, went down to 38 rpm, lower now with a VFD., I've found this range very useful for, eg, the 9" drivers for my Princess of Wales and other jobs.

100 actually.

But fair point although it should be easy to address with a change of belt pulleys

Neil

Hevanscc18/10/2017 21:48:47
89 forum posts
33 photos

Being a novice in the same position as you not so long ago, and now owning both an old British mill (Tom Senior) and Lathe ( Viceroy) I csn say this much:

Second hand British- you will get more for your money IF it is in decent nick and comes with a sensible range of accessories, but you also have to factor in transport to your home, possible refurbishment of some bits and maybe conversion to single phase or hooking up an inverter.

New Chinese- you know what you are getting for your money to a certain specification, plus there will be the usual guarantees from the supplier, it will be delivered in the price and you can turn it on that day.

With my mill and lathe I had to transport myself, do some quite involved refurbishment and install inverters etc. But I do like the fact that I am using a machine made in 1947 . . . and the big shiny handwheels . . . so much for logic.

Hywel

Edited By Hevanscc on 18/10/2017 21:49:29

duncan webster18/10/2017 22:04:49
3996 forum posts
65 photos
Posted by Carl Wilson 4 on 18/10/2017 19:31:30:
Chinese or Myford..

Neither. Myford is Chinese now anyway. Why pay a premium for what is an outdated design.

Buy second hand British. As many have said, there are plenty of really nice Boxford lathes around. Nice Harrisons too, an M250 or 300, or maybe a 140.

The denizens of Mytholmroyd will be surprised to learn that their bit of Yorkshire is now in China. As far as I'm aware the new Myfords are still made in this country, chatting to the chaps on the stand at Doncaster they tell me that they've run out of the raw castings they got when Myford Beeston went, and they are having new castings done.

If you get a good British machine at the right price you'll not regret it, but just because it's got the name doesn't mean it's any good

Stuart Riddell18/10/2017 22:37:47
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15 forum posts

Wow, hoping not to open a huge can of worms and still no clearer. I like the idea of a british made machine thats got a few years under its belt as that says they were built to last however the draw of the new, with warranty, machines and given the advancements of technology. I see brushless and induction motors are towards the higher end of my initial budget but I do need to get my finger out and make a decision soon so I can get started making things, even if its a lot of swarf 😆 and not much else

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