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Myford ML10 vs The Rest

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Jeff Allan27/07/2018 11:02:19
15 forum posts

Outside of the obvious size constraints, is there anything, with a bit of time, patience and skill, a Myford ML10 can't do that a ML7, or Super 7 could? Why is paying three, four or many time times more for a Super, worth it? I can see the benefits of speed-up with gear boxes and cutting depths etc, but as a hobby engineer, do I really need to pay for that? How much is fad and fashion, and how much is real useable functionality?

Michael Gilligan27/07/2018 14:55:46
14780 forum posts
635 photos

Good question, Jeff

Most of the 'handling' differences are only likely to slow things down a little ... and there's no great harm in that.

There is, however, one major caveat ... If the bed is significantly worn on an ML10, it is [or at least was considered by Myford at Beeston] beyond refurbishment.




Here's the punchline:

Note: It is not possible to do a full bed and saddle regrind on an ML10, Speed10, or Diamond 10 Lathe. At best the top of the bed can have 0.005in. (0.127mm) removed, a once only operation, so your visual inspection is crucial.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 27/07/2018 15:00:39

Phil H127/07/2018 15:11:28
205 forum posts
33 photos


I have used both the Super 7 and ML10 and there is definitely nothing wrong with the ML10 (it was a newish, later model with roller bearings by the way). Obviously, apart from the capacity - it is a very robust and useful machine.

People go on for ever about speeds and gearboxes etc but I simply put the fine feed wheel set in place on the ML10 and never changed it. For general modelling - all the other gears stayed in their grease in a box under the bench.

Phil H

NJH27/07/2018 15:14:41
2314 forum posts
139 photos

Well Jeff

I started with an ML4, moved on to an ML10 and thence onto a Super7B. All were capable machines and I had fun with them all. In terms of convenience the S7 wins hands down and it will last me out.

If I was starting out today I would look very carefully at some of the other contenders from Warco, ARC etc.

Good luck!


Andrew Johnston27/07/2018 16:12:48
5115 forum posts
594 photos

I think the direct answer to the question is - I wouldn't start from here.

Rather than debate the pros and cons of a narrow range of lathes it would be better to start by defining what it is that may need to be machined. For instance what maximum diameter and length? Some small lathes have very limited bores in the headstock, so what diameter long rod would need to be machined? Do you need to screwcut threads? If so imperial or metric and what diameter and pitch? Another important factor is material. For a yacht I'm assuming that materials are more likely to be bronze and/or stainless steel?

Once the corners of the envelope of what needs to be machined are defined then you can start looking at lathes that might meet the requrements. Remember that you can machine small parts on a large lathe, but not vice versa.


Mick B127/07/2018 18:29:30
1359 forum posts
75 photos

There are one or two quite serious drawbacks to the Myford 10s. I ran a Speed 10 for 15 years. It was a nice little machine and I enjoyed using it, BUT:-

The worst possibly belongs more to castings suppliers who responded to the popularity of the 7 series than to Myford themselves - there are lots of engine kits with 7" flywheels, and I never found a way to turn those on my Speed 10. I ended up hunting about for other flywheel castings I could use - my Stuart Beam has a 'Lady Stephanie' flywheel given a bit of extra weight by a phosphor bronze tyre I made.

Another is the narrowness of the crossslide, which makes vertical-slide milling much more difficult.

The Warco I bought to replace it has hugely increased my capability.

Jeff Allan27/07/2018 19:46:54
15 forum posts

Thank you for the thoughtful responses. The rational approach of matching requirements to functionality would in an ideal world definitely be the process to follow, but then there’s cost, knowledge base, spares, machines actually available in the market, and also of accepting that there’s a learning process. It doesn’t seem like anybody is ready to write-off the ML10 - there don’t seem to be alarm bells sounding (apart from bed machining) and in fact I’m hearing rather fond memories, although everybody also moved on to other machines.

Another factor for me is that there seem more decent versions of ML10’s around, with it being orders of magnitude harder to sift through all the various offerings to find a good ML7 or Super. May as well get started at the beginning, learn what I need to know, maybe a different machine in the future, but just get started in a low risk entry. At least it’s not a blind alley and if I exceed the limitations of the ML10, I’ll be in a better position to judge the next purchase.

I didn’t realise any of the ML10’s were fitted with roller bearings. Any ideas from which serial number or model? Is that the Diamond 10?

Mike Poole27/07/2018 20:05:35
2326 forum posts
52 photos


The Myford site has a history of the 10 family.


not done it yet27/07/2018 20:22:59
3941 forum posts
15 photos

As I understand it, Myford bought out competitors and the closed them down.

They bought out Raglan, which was possibly an ailing company, but making rather more’up-market’ products than the myfords. Apart from mass, and spindle bearings that are either basically obsolete (or atrociously expensive), the Raglan lathes are very capable. The bearings can be a non-issue for many a year. They wear only very slowly and are adjustable. It is only the outer race which is no longer available.

Some models were rated at 2800rpm. They are fitted, from new, with a variable speed control (over the complete speed range). Ways are very long wearing and replaceable ones were fitted.

Their 5” model was a class above the previous models and are relatively cheap to buy.

Well worth looking at, compared to over-priced myfords, I reckon.

Even now, the Raglan mill is a little gem. Although small, they fetch quite high prices on a well known auction site.

Jeff Allan27/07/2018 20:51:19
15 forum posts

The 5" was a model I looked at and saw what looked like a decent one for sale. Definitely one to consider and I agree on the pricing. However as pretty much a beginner, the seduction of the Myfords is that every aspect of their maintenance and use seems to be covered somewhere. I feel that I lack the experience to take on the Raglan as all old machines will need tweaking of some sort and much easier, for now, to have some readily available support.

SillyOldDuffer27/07/2018 21:48:54
5138 forum posts
1074 photos

Hi Jeff,

30 years ago your reasons for choosing Myford were rock solid. Since then the competition has heated up considerably and the market has changed radically. Old certainties may not be your friend!

Nothing wrong with a Myford lathe in good condition, (I'd be happy to own one), but bear in mind they're ageing and - more problematic to my mind - they attract premium prices. This is a little odd when you consider the alternatives now include a fair number of machines that were considerably more expensive new than Myford. These are currently available much below purchase price because industry has gone CNC. Historically these machines didn't compete with Myford because they were financially out of reach - hobbyists couldn't afford them, so they got very little attention. Now you could own one.

At the same time Far Eastern offerings have improved considerably. Not as slick as a classic western machine but competent, modern, and good value for money. There's a lot of choice including many that comfortably outclass a Super 7 on features, power and size. For the cost of a Super 7, you could probably have a decent lathe and a decent milling machine. Main advantage of buying new is that it de-risks the purchase. If you aren't satisfied consumer protection will help. Not so with a second-hand machine where an inexperienced buy could land you with a heap of scrap.

Quite a lot of the literature points to Myford as the best choice for hobbyists. There were strong reasons for that advice when it was written. But bear in mind that most of the advice is long in the tooth. Not necessarily wrong, but increasingly suspect as time passes.


Jeff Allan27/07/2018 22:17:28
15 forum posts

Dave, I'm open to ideas and suggestions. What would you buy?

I'd also like to be able to cut threads. I'm led to believe, rightly or wrongly, that slow speeds would be an advantage. One of the Myford selling points is that they seem to provide this.

Looks like I could get a fairly reasonable Speed 10 for about £600, but I agree on buying new and de-risking that way, and I'd be willing to pay more, but it feels like going to the Supermarket to buy washing machine powder. I get overwhelmed and can't see what's honest, or real, or good value. Hence why, i guess the Myford craze exists. If there was a clear alternative it would probably be taken.

I came across a YouTube video of a German University showing what could be done on a long bed ML7. Then I see myself dithering at the Axminster checkout with their C6 or whatever is around my price bracket.

I just don't know what's best, so what I have decide today is to start somewhere and an ML10 seems to be the decision. It's sure to be a mistake, or to put it another way, there is no perfect choice, but the important thing is to start somewhere.

Hopper28/07/2018 02:53:42
3973 forum posts
84 photos
Posted by Jeff Allan on 27/07/2018 22:17:28:....
..., or to put it another way, there is no perfect choice, but the important thing is to start somewhere.

That's dead right. If you get into a machine, any machine, at the right price, you should be able to sell it on if you wish to upgrade in the future. Carpe diem!

Edited By Hopper on 28/07/2018 02:54:03

SillyOldDuffer28/07/2018 10:21:25
5138 forum posts
1074 photos
Posted by Jeff Allan on 27/07/2018 22:17:28:

Dave, I'm open to ideas and suggestions. What would you buy?

I'd also like to be able to cut threads. I'm led to believe, rightly or wrongly, that slow speeds would be an advantage. One of the Myford selling points is that they seem to provide this.


there is no perfect choice, but the important thing is to start somewhere.

My first attempt to buy a second-hand lathe went badly sour so I'm prejudiced! Thirty years later I returned to the hobby and bought a new mini-lathe from Warco.

I learned a lot from this machine, and had fun with it. The main problem was the limited size of work it can do. I'd say it was roughly equivalent to a Myford 10, with some advantages. It had a prismatic bed, is relatively rigid, and a higher top speed - about 2400rpm. It has a DC motor, which is smoother and has higher torque than the single phase AC type fitted to a Myford. For screwcutting I didn't find 150rpm a problem, because I didn't cut screws under power. Arguably on a small machine cutting small diameter threads, you're better off driving the spindle by hand with a crank handle - these are easily made and you can 'feel' cutting problems. Massive support for mini-lathes. There's always a downside; compared with a Myford, they don't look like a quality machine. But although things like plastic gears may look like cheap tat, they work perfectly well.

When I decided I needed a bigger lathe, I looked for a good Super 7 or ex-educational and failed. Where I live second-hand lathes are thin on the ground, and I was looking at 200 mile round trips just to inspect one. Then, I felt, the prices asked for Myfords were too high, sometimes stratospheric. Similar location problem with ex-industrial/ex-educational lathes ; these need to be inspected, ideally seen running, and few of them were within range.

In the end I bought a Warco WM280 which is a tad bigger than a Super 7, with a more flexible 1.5kW motor (3-phase + VFD), 30 to 2500 rpm. In purchasing it I followed forum advice: 'buy the biggest machine you can afford and accommodate'. This is spot on, small work can be done on a big lathe, big work can't be done on a small one. Quite a lot of time is saved by not having to squeeze work into a small space. Buying new keeps life simple: you don't have to sort out transport and delivery, you can have it NOW, you know the lathe won't be worn out, and there's a throat to grip if you find something badly wrong.

The conveniences you get with bigger lathes are worth having. Although you can manage without they save time. Power traverse is a boon.

The thing I dislike most about my WM280 is the noise. The motor is fitted with a separate cooling fan that runs continually, as does another fan cooling the VFD. In use the metal gears clatter. It's "can't listen to the radio" noisy rather than neighbour annoying, but I miss the whirr of my mini-lathe!

If I was buying today, I'd look seriously at the Arc SC4, which Neil is writing about in MEW at the moment. It's smaller than WM280 (which would help ease my cramped workshop), and has an attractive brushless motor. If I had plenty of space, I'd be very tempted to put the effort into finding a bigger second-hand industrial machine.

Hope that helps, I agree with your 'make a start' point. My biggest regret is the time I wasted dithering.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 28/07/2018 10:24:49

Andrew Tinsley28/07/2018 11:11:18
959 forum posts

Nowt wrong with a good ML10. They are usually a good bit less in cost, than the 7 series lathes. The ones that I have seen (about 7 or 8) have been in excellent condition, which is more than can be said for 7 series lathes.

One of them was worn in the bed and it was reground without any drama, don't know why Myfords say you can only take 5 thou off the bed. So one in 7 ML10s was worn!

Please make sure that the lathe has steadies with them The cost of ML10 steadies is astronomic!


Andrew Johnston28/07/2018 11:17:37
5115 forum posts
594 photos
Posted by Jeff Allan on 27/07/2018 22:17:28:

I'd also like to be able to cut threads. I'm led to believe, rightly or wrongly, that slow speeds would be an advantage.

While any lathe can, in theory, cut any thread, imperial threads on a imperial machine or metric threads on a metric machine are the simplest. So depending on what threads you need will point to an imperial or metric machine.

If using the half nuts on the leadscrew to screwcut under power then slow speeds (~40rpm) are useful. New machines often don't provide speeds that low. One advantage of the Myford is that it has backgear, so full motor power, and hence increased torque, is available at the lowest speed. That is not the case with some new machines. They're better than they were, but still not the equivalent of backgear. That may, or may not, matter depending upon how much time you have available.

While it is probably not that important to you one aspect of ex-industrial machines is that third party accessories are available to add features that simply do not exist for hobby machines. In my case I don't worry about low speed for screwcutting as I have a high speed threading attachment, which allows me to screwcut into a blind hole at several hundred rpm.


Ian S C28/07/2018 11:55:14
7468 forum posts
230 photos

Just looking at the Warco add in ME for the "All New Super Minilathe", it quotes under specifications , Speed range:50 - 1100 / 120 / 2500rpm with back gear for maximum torque.

This lathe has a centre height of 90 mm, and 350 mm between centres.

I'll stick with my 1326 belt head, back geared Taiwanese lathe, no fancy electronics, plenty big enough, and when I bought it in 1986 I could have bought three of them for the price of a Myford Super 7, and still have something over, and that was in the same shop.

Ian S C

Fowlers Fury28/07/2018 12:28:02
328 forum posts
73 photos

For what it's worth (probably not much).......
I began m.e. with a 2nd hand ML10 and with it built Robin Dyer's Clayton Undertype wagon - a big model.
The build called for boring out the "rear axle & differential" unit to within a thou, over (from memory) 4".
The old ML10 did it exactly under self-act to my surprise. In fact the ML10 performed admirably throughout.
Yes, the absence of a gap-bed can be a constraint as can the absence of clutch on older models but if you're attracted to an ML10 go for it.

As Andrew T has written above "Nowt wrong with a good ML10. etc...."

Edited By Fowlers Fury on 28/07/2018 12:29:22

Jeff Allan28/07/2018 13:15:13
15 forum posts
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 28/07/2018 10:21:25:
Posted by Jeff Allan on 27/07/2018 22:17:28:

Hope that helps, I agree with your 'make a start' point. My biggest regret is the time I wasted dithering.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 28/07/2018 10:24:49

Thank you yes, very useful.

Jeff Allan28/07/2018 13:26:14
15 forum posts
Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 28/07/2018 11:11:18:

Please make sure that the lathe has steadies with them The cost of ML10 steadies is astronomic!


Yes, got to the realisation on ML10 steadies at about 1am this morning. Which I guess is why the ML7 and S7's are popular, with better spares and extras. I'm still on the ML10 route, but more aware of the choice being made and at the same time other options are becoming clearer, thanks to feedback here. I still wouldn't go for a ML7 or S7 unless sure of the provenance, and that's probably on a par with "sniping" for gold nuggets in a Scottish river.

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