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New chinese lathe or old Myford lathe

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Brian Abbott20/10/2017 10:42:06
319 forum posts
51 photos

For whats its worth,
I have an old Myford super 7, and its great, does exactly what i need.
Due to its age its a little worn, and could do with a little TLC but its fine and would be worth doing.

Again, i have an imported mill, i have ftted a DRO and a feed, and again its great, does exactly what i ask.
Its only about 7 years old, what it will be like when its the same age as the myford is another matter, but for know its fine.

I think Neil hit the nail on the head, if there where no imported machines then there would be a lot less people enjoying the hobby,

not done it yet20/10/2017 10:51:37
1801 forum posts
11 photos

In over twenty years I have bought one Chinese lathe new - and never used it so much for various reasons - quality, operation and I was not a maker of models - a Raglan LJ, which was bought to replace the former but languished unused for several years due to my health issues, and since using the raglan much more regularly I located a 5" model in extreeemly good order. That is replacing the LJ.

On the milling front, I bought a machine very locally which was only suited to very lightweight work. I bought a Raglan, ex a development toolroom (where the previous owner knew it was looked after and only used for protoype developments). It is a great little mill, but small. I use it quite a lot. I then bought the Centec which is ideal for most of my needs. - bigger, both horizonttal and vertical, and far cheaper than a chinese equivalent.

Andrew, on the forum, has seemingly fallen on his feet with his Centec purchase and a friend purchased an almost unused (probably only turned wood the few times it had been used) from an elderly gent who was never likely to use it again.

The three Raglans (2× 5" and the mill) were purchased fully knowing that they were in nearly

as-new condition and were far cheaper than either a comparably sized (and quality) new Chinese, or old myford in similar condition. That is why I buy old iron in preference to new chinese.

Oh, and I recently bought the Alexander shaper - can't even buy a new handraulic shaper, chinese, or other, these days!

Neil Wyatt20/10/2017 11:31:52
13410 forum posts
576 photos
68 articles
Posted by Danny M2Z on 20/10/2017 10:24:12:

ps. if I just invented a new word iAge then I claim all credit!

Andrew Tinsley20/10/2017 11:58:01
699 forum posts

Wow! This has degenerated into a bit of a mess. New Chinese or old Myford was I think the question! This implies that the Chinese lathe is the same size as the Myford.

In my limited opinion, then IF you can get a good Myford at the RIGHT price go for a Myford. If not go for a Chinese lathe. If you want real versatility then a Myford wins, so much stuff available. If you want just simple turning, then go Chinese lathe.

Be very careful which supplier of Chinese lathes you go to. There a lot that offer similar lathes and they are not ALL to the same quality. For a slighty smaller lathe than the Myford. Then go to Arc Eurotrade. for a Myford equivalent, I would use Warco.

Ignore all the B/S about the Myford being flimsy, a similar sized Chinese lathe won't be much better! People are talking Colchester and Harrison etc. Sure, these a much bigger lathes and built for industrial use. They are much sturdier than a Myford or similar sized Chinese lathe. BUT they are much bigger so you would expect them to be sturdier! More to the point they are NOT the size you want!

There are a lot of clapped out Myfords around at a premium prices. Don't buy a Myford unless you can use it before buying and more to the point know what you are looking for. If you don't, then take someone with you who does! If this isn't possible, then buy Chinese. Simple isn't it?


Neil Wyatt20/10/2017 12:27:15
13410 forum posts
576 photos
68 articles

Out of interest, the C4 is slightly bigger than a Myford (4x20 as against 3 1/2 x 19), weighs a bit less, but that's down to the much more compact motor and spindle arrangement, I would guess the bed is about the same weight.

I'm not convinced a Myford is more versatile. It does have a gap bed, but the MT2 spindle is a limitation.

The only accessory for an S7 I can think of that isn't available off the shelf for the C4 is a taper turning attachment.

I think it is a serious contender if you want a new lathe of similar capacity/capability to a Myford.


P.S. for the record, although Ketan and I had discussed the need for a beginner's series before it was seeing me drooling all over the C4 in Arc's showroom that started him thinking of sponsoring the series.

Andrew Tinsley20/10/2017 14:35:17
699 forum posts

OK Neil,

I bow to your knowledge of C4s. I am not too convinced that a C4 has all the available kit. Raising block for the saddle, Myford style dividing kit for example? As for the M2 taper limitation, I have never suffered any problems here, a drawbar fixes any doubts in this area. What does the C4 have as a taper?

Despite my niggling doubts, the C4 sounds a good deal and I would probably buy one if I could not find a decent Myford. The fact that it is sold by Arc is a real plus. They are just about tops when it comes to dealers!


Neil Wyatt20/10/2017 14:55:02
13410 forum posts
576 photos
68 articles

To be honest, i count things like raising blocks, dividing attachments and vertical slides as 'generic' items where you can generally find something that will fit or can be made to fit with limited effort. The t-slotted cross and top slides of the C4 give it extra flexibility, a point in common with the Myfords.

It has an MT3 spindle, so no bigger than a mini-lathe, I think you would struggle to fit an MT4 one in the existing bearings. It does come with a 4" chuck as standard.


thaiguzzi20/10/2017 15:43:39
376 forum posts
104 photos
Posted by mark smith 20 on 19/10/2017 16:05:21:

I`m a bit biased towards old machinery ,i had a chester conquest but never really used it much and was basically a total novice .Then bought a southbend around 5 years ago for £250 from the mid 1960`s , very good condition with slight wear on the v bed.

I renovated it and my interest in lathes really peaked whilst totally dismantling it and painting it . You learn an awful lot about how machinery works when you do this. It came with two vertical slides, i sold the myford swivelling one for over £100. It has both rests and the telescopic type which can sell for quite alot . Also came with quite a bit of tooling and an emco quick change toolpost. The four jaw pratt burnerd chuck was unused just covered in gunk.

I just find old machinery much more interesting and more solidly built .





Edited By mark smith 20 on 19/10/2017 16:07:00

Very very nice SB resto.

mgnbuk20/10/2017 18:14:43
448 forum posts
10 photos

When I was initially looking for metalworking capabilty at home (some 25 years ago), my first thoughts were to go for one of the Chester lathe mill combination machines that were advertised in the motorcycle magazines. Seeing one in the flesh at a classic bike show was a bit of an eye-opener - there was so much play in the various moving parts it felt worn out straight from the crate ! At the time, this was pretty well the only mainland Chinese machine available for the hobby market, with the other affordable (relatively !) small machines being Taiwanese or East German. My thoughts changed to a CT918 lathe - basically an Emco Compact 8 & still available until recently from Chester & Warco. - and the saving began.

My father had bought a Boxford CUD from one of his customers - he didn't particularly want a lathe, but the seller wanted rid of it and the pillar drill Dad really wanted in one transaction.. After it bit him (thou shalt not start the spindle with the chuck key still in the chuck ...) it got no further use. When he passed away, I bought the lathe from my brother (who continued to run my father's business for a while & the machine was a company asset.).for a nominal amount.

A mid-'60s ex-school CUD that had ended up in a clothing manufacturer making press stud insertion dies, it was not in bad condition, but had been greased through all the oiling points. So it was completely stripped, cleaned, repainted & rebuilt. Over the course of a couple of years, I managed to get most of the missing change gears, a direct mount 6" 4 jaw chcuk, faceplate, QC toolpost, a boring table (the lathe was pre-tee slot cross slide) & a travelling steady - never did manage to find a fixed steady. This was pre-Ebay, so the bits came from dealers, Auttjumbles & ME exhibitions. It worked mostly quite well & was accurate, but the under drive was a pain. As the final drive belt has to pass through the swarf tray, it has to be a link type belt. The original that Boxfords used was of a canvas-type material & that worked OK-ish, but was in poor condition. The new types are made from a plastic material & slipped badly under load depite being bow-string tight.

Skip forward a couple of years & I was on-site at a machine tool dealer fixing a machine that the company I worked for at at the time had retrofitted a replacement control to. They had a pretty clean, mid-'60s ex-school Myford Super 7 - direct mount 3 & 4 jaw chucks, faceplate, catchplate, taper turning attachment & 3 sets of change gears (there must have been 2 more lathes somewhere else gearless !). My milling machine fund was depleted to the tune of £825 & it came home with me a couple of days later. My thinking at the time was that I would get it cleaned up & use it, determine whether I prefered the Boxford or the Myford & sell the looser. The Boxford went. For what I wanted to do (and still do for that matter), the Myford was nicer & more convenient to use (speed range, ease of speed setting & the spindle clutch particluarly). Selling the Boxford & accessories raised far more than the Myford cost, so the milling machine fund was reinstated.

I found a fixed steady at an Autojumble a fortnight later (never did find a Boxford one) & a couple of years later bought another (poor condition & damaged) Super 7 B of similar vintage to get the feed gearbox. The gearbox was swapped to my lathe, parts that were beyond redemption on the "scrapper" were purchased new direct from Myford & fitted to my machine, with my good-but-slightly-worn bits intended to go into the other. A friend wanted this machine after I had done it up, but he died suddenly before I finished it & I lost interest after that. It went as parts on Ebay, raising more than it & the new parts had cost - effectively a free feedbox , leadscrews & nuts on my machine.

Used machines, as has been said, are a lottery & the quality of the Chinese competion has come on leaps & bounds since I looked at the Chester Multi-purpose machine 25 years or more ago (and shuddered !). The newest "original style" Boxford will be 30 + years old now & they were not made in the quantities that the Myford 7 Series machines were, so availability is not as good. Finding accessories at a reasonable price (or just finding them period) was a chore over 20 years ago & doesn't seem to have got better. Find a nice, fully equipped machine & it may be a better buy than a Myford or a new Warco etc., but if I were to start out again I would probably go the new route. Had I bought the new 918 I intended to had fate not intervened, I would most likely have made more "stuff" and spent less time rebuilding !

Nigel B

Andrew Johnston20/10/2017 20:21:54
3780 forum posts
454 photos
Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 20/10/2017 11:58:01:

Wow! This has degenerated into a bit of a mess.

It's inevitable, all threads of this nature end the same way. All they do is confuse the OP and present entrenched positions. Personally I'd make a 'standard' one a sticky and ban the rest.

As an aside there seems to be a peculiar view that secondhand machinery means hours rebuilding and no parts being made. Some people must have bought real pigs in a poke; most of my secondhand machines were put to work straight away, no faffing around.


Neil Wyatt20/10/2017 20:40:08
13410 forum posts
576 photos
68 articles
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 20/10/2017 20:21:54:
Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 20/10/2017 11:58:01:

Wow! This has degenerated into a bit of a mess.

It's inevitable, all threads of this nature end the same way. All they do is confuse the OP and present entrenched positions. Personally I'd make a 'standard' one a sticky and ban the rest.

As an aside there seems to be a peculiar view that secondhand machinery means hours rebuilding and no parts being made. Some people must have bought real pigs in a poke; most of my secondhand machines were put to work straight away, no faffing around.


Betcha didn't buy them off eBay

Andrew Johnston20/10/2017 21:47:32
3780 forum posts
454 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 20/10/2017 20:40:08:

Betcha didn't buy them off eBay

Oh so wrong!

My cylindrical grinder, power guillotine, box and pan folder and many Pultra parts came via Ebay. As did a number of the large accessories for the other machine tools such as a capstan unit, hydraulic copy unit, vertical head for the horizontal mill, and right-angle and Quillmaster heads for the Bridgeport. Many other machine accessories such as box cubes and some angle plates, including tilting, came from Ebay

The vast majority of my measuring equipment, hundreds of taps and dies and die chasers, plus most of my larger milling cutters were also from Ebay.

Only this week I bought a brand new 2" diameter Clarkson rippa mill for £10, plus P&P.

Of course the majority of my items were bought many years ago when Ebay was a lot less commercialised, there were almost no far eastern sellers, and many sellers were private rather than business.

There are still bargains to be had, but you have to look harder, and be patient.


Michael Briggs21/10/2017 10:06:14
134 forum posts
8 photos

Posted by Andrew Johnston on 20/10/2017 21:47:

There are still bargains to be had, but you have to look harder, and be patient.


I have had many real bargains from Ebay including my Myford, Senior mill and most of my tooling. Ten years ago it was easy, today is a different story.

Howard Lewis21/10/2017 16:15:01
1167 forum posts

My first machine was a second (at least) hand Myford ML7. Eventually I bought fixed and travelling steadies, and upgraded to micrometer dials, 4 way Toolpost and a long cross slide; making a rear toolpost. A new countershaft and bushes were eventually fitted. A Rodney Milling Attachment was added to the machining capability.

So it was not a "rebuild" project but a useable machine. And I did a lot of work on it, and gained much pleasure from it.

The closest to a problem was when swarf found its way into the centrifugal switch in the motor. Lots of sparks and smoke mid afternoon on New Years Eve! A local company fixed it before tea time, when I made a cover for the motor.

The killer was the 2MT bore spindle, which meant that almost everything had to be cut down to about 6 inches long to be machined, unless turned between centres. This resulted in a lot of dog ends that had once been chucking pieces. WASTEFUL!

It went to a new home and was replaced by a larger, heavier, and more rigid, Far Eastern machine, which has, so far, done everything asked of it in the last 14 years. It has had a few very minor mods in that time, but nothing complicated.

That's my experience. Someone once told me "You can do small work on a big machine, but not the other way round" So buy the largest machine, within reason, space and budget, that you can. Not that I am suggesting making watches with a 21 inch Dean Smith and Grace!


Steve Withnell21/10/2017 17:14:29
780 forum posts
209 photos

If the 'old iron' has an issue - worn bed, shot headstock bearings - can you diagnose and fix? Chinese PCB pops under warranty you get a new one.

I've got one of those 'horrible' chinese lathes from 10 years back and I have no intent of swapping it out for some 'old iron'. I have considered swapping out for a WM-280, the work that Jason (and others) produce on the WM series is really good, so I don't see the merit in old iron for newcomers at all. When I got into this hobby around 10 years ago, I had the advantage of having some access to a time served turner with 60 years under his belt, half of which spent running his own jobbing shop. His view was to get a chinese machine and that I'd be a muppet to buy a Myford. Did I have to do a bit of 'fettling' yes I did - but I learned a lot about the lathe in the process. I've got the lathe to the point where I can wind valve springs on it (Nemett IC engine) and I have produced the crank for the Whittle V8. So I have no trouble recommending Sieg lathes.

The debate gets confused - it's not about is one lathe better than another, the question is in three parts in my opinion (just like arseholes, everyone has one, but mine has been thoroughly inspected).

1. Will you enjoy using the machine?

2. Will it make the parts you want to make?

3. What's it going to cost to buy and maintain?

In my case, with my old chinese iron, the answer to the first two is yes and to the third, at the time a lot less than a secondhand Myford. Further, a couple of years ago, I pointed an old friend (he is now approaching 80) at Arc's Sieg lathes, he wrote to say he is delighted with the after sales service and the machine, having built a twin cylinder steam engine. Another friend bought some old British iron, and he is struggling to make washers (no joke) on it. It was a fantastic machine once (power feed on both axes, clutch, gearbox, gap bed etc). I wouldn't want that as my first challenge as a newcomer.

In summary, for newcomers to the hobby I'd be looking to either Warco or a Sieg machine from Arc.

From the length of this reply, you can tell it's too bloody cold and damp to go in the shed...

Best regards


jimmy b21/10/2017 17:24:17
360 forum posts
21 photos

Fully agree with Steve!

Howard Lewis21/10/2017 19:12:47
1167 forum posts

On the subject of cost, 14 years ago, was contemplating a Myford Super 7 Sigma, with 4 MT spindle until I found:

a) the cost! and b) No power cross feed.

My Far Eastern machine came with all the extras (including a Norton box) power feeds on both axes, an easy change from Imperial to Metric screwcuttting, and the VFD fitted for a quarter of the price of an almost equivalent spec Myford.

Any problems have all been of my own making, not the machine!

So few if any regrets over the decision.


Danny M2Z22/10/2017 05:08:50
630 forum posts
252 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 20/10/2017 11:31:52:
Posted by Danny M2Z on 20/10/2017 10:24:12:

ps. if I just invented a new word iAge then I claim all credit!

Lol - thanks Neil, that was not exactly the connotation that I was thinking of, I was referring to the company named after the fruit that reputedly fell onto Sir Isaac Newton's head and their global influence angel

* Danny M *

ps. my version has a big 'A', the Indians only have a small 'a', there is a difference!

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