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Just bought an ML7, what should i do first?

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Shaun Belcher07/09/2019 00:17:39
21 forum posts

Hello everyone, Im new here and after looking on many forums, this seems to be the best resource for ML7 lathes from what I can see.

Im new to lathes in general and other than my experience with using them the best part of 20 years ago in school, I have not had much to do with them, but have always been wanting to get a small lathe for hobbies and other small engineering jobs at home.

I recently bought this lathe locally and seems to overall be in good condition for its age. Going by the serial numbers on Myford's website, this lathe is made sometime between 1956 and 1960.

First thing of concern is the oilers, this is missing them. I was aware of this before buying and when i asked the seller they told me they squirted oil down them before each use.

Upon further inspection, it looks like grease is in there, so need to know what the best way is to flush out the grease? Should i squirt CRC or WD40 in there?

I dont think its had much use without the oilers, but i cant feel any play on the bushings, so im hoping that I dont have to replace any of the white metal ones if possible.

Ill soon know after making a deep cut i believe it would rumble if the bushings are worn?

I should point out that I did buy this lathe with the intention to restore it.

The bed looks good with very few nicks on it, and does not feel sloppy, so i think I will be able to get away without recurfacing the bed and adding shims etc.

Anyway, I hope i can use it for a little bit and do a few projects before I do any restoration/rebuild on it.

Only other issues I see is that the dials dont turn properly on the cross slide, and sometimes only in one direction or not at all. Not really a concern right now as they are imperial anyway, so I will just have to use calipers and measure things as i go.

I believe I can get metric dials and retrofit this as metric anyway?

Also with the cross slide and top slide, when turning the handles, they seem sloppy, not sure what is wrong here, but the slide wont move until you turn the handle about half a turn each direction, again, nothing that makes the lathes unusable, but will be something i need to address when restoring.

If you look in the photos, you will see that the top slide has some washers that are packing out the dial and handle. not sure why this was done, but im expecting its to take up wear on the leadscrew perhaps?

Im assuming they are common problems with ML7 lathes.

Something I believe is common on the Ml7 is to see broken teeth on the backgear. All the ML7 lathes i have looked at have had this broken gear!

Ive read that this is due to people trying to remove the chuck and engage the backgear to put the lathe in reverse and then lock the chuck to remove it off its thread?

I see its not the original chuck either and is on japanese origin, it is much wider and I can see some damage the jaws have made to the cross slide.

I cant seem to get the back gear to properly engage anyway, so not sure whats wrong there, but Im not needing to run the lathe in reverse for the time being anyway.

Also one of the gears has a broken tooth under the side cover, I have no idea what its for, as no other gears are engaged with it.

There is also a gear there that looks like either something has ground it off or possibly chipped perhaps? Perhaps its a factory defect, but ive circled it in red anyway. Doesnt look like it affects operation, just some teeth are narrower.

Another question is lubricating the lathe, what parts require oil and what requires grease?

It looks like everything has been well oiled everywhere, but these "grease" nipples are apparently for oil, but ive never ever seen such an oil gun before. Nor have I seen any ML7 for sale that comes with one.

It really makes me question how many ML7 lathes have been properly maintained over the years.

I think thats all i have to ask for now. Sorry if I sound dumb!

David George 107/09/2019 07:42:07
avatar
940 forum posts
310 photos

Hi Shaun, Firstly welcome to the forum.

So many questions and there are many people on the forum who will help. It does help if you give your location as local supliers etc can be suggested. There dosnt seem to be anything I have seen that can't be fixed or repaired e.g. the back gear broken. When you start to strip always take pictures and try and take note in what order it helps. The back gear is not for reverse but it is like a low gear to slow the spindle speed ie for screw cutting and the gears on the left are for feed drive to the leadscrew. Have a look on the Myford website as there is lots of information on there like parts list etc. Good luck

David

Thor07/09/2019 08:27:40
1128 forum posts
31 photos

Hi Shaun,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations with your "new" lathe. I don't know if you got a manual with the lathe, if not you can download one from here. And here is an article about lubricating series 7 lathes. Good luck.

Thor

J Hancock07/09/2019 08:30:06
318 forum posts

First, those headstock bearings need the proper drip-feed oilers fitting !

Careful when you lift the headstock top half caps, there should be 'plastic' shims for taking up any small

wear underneath.

Anything broken needs replacing.

As for half-turn on the handles, probably just wear in the alloy replaceable female threads of the slides.

Plenty of spares available via usual websites,etc.

Diogenes07/09/2019 09:01:45
37 forum posts
6 photos

Hi Shaun. If you do decide to lift the bearing caps, it is essential that any shims beneath them are re-fitted in exactly the same positions as they were originally found - they occasionally stick to the bottom of the cap as it is lifted, so it's worth a quick check here to make sure that you have them all.

Nigel Bennett07/09/2019 10:18:27
301 forum posts
11 photos

Whereabouts in the world are you, Shaun? If you're anywhere near me in Leeds I could pop over and have a look at it and perhaps offer some advice. For instance, engaging backgear on an ML7 is not obvious and requires a specially-shortened Allen key to slacken and move a little gear segment fitted to the bullwheel. Good luck with the restoration, anyway!

Fred Madsen07/09/2019 11:58:55
4 forum posts

Hi Shaun,

a big project but if you go ahead, I think you will be rewarded.

If you are in this side of the world please contact me.

Fred Madsen

Canberra

Australia

Andrew Tinsley07/09/2019 14:31:00
919 forum posts

Hi Shaun,

It is difficult to see what condition the lathe is in. It could be a relatively easy and cheap restoration or it could be a very expensive proposition. The lathe looks to be very neglected and as such it does ring alarm bells.

Before you start to spend money on it, try to get someone who knows their lathes to look it over. If you let people know your location, then I am sure that someone will give you a hand in assessing its condition. It is very difficult for a beginner to do this, you can get carried away if you are not careful. Just ask how I know!

Renovating a worn lathe can be a very expensive job! Especially if you have not got the skills to DIY.

Andrew.

Richard brown 107/09/2019 20:14:44
105 forum posts
31 photos

Shaun

I don't know what your budget is but if you can afford it I would scrap this lathe and get something in better condition. This damage should not happen to a well looked after machine. Not all ML7s have damaged backgear, my two never did. Parts will be quite expensive and good used ML7s can be seen regularly on ebay that will come with no damage and lots of tooling. This would probably work out as beater value in the end.

Good luck

Rich

Martin Whittle07/09/2019 21:49:25
81 forum posts
9 photos

OK the lathe has teeeth missing on some of the gears. So a problem for screwcutting, or for use of back gear for low speeds

Don't worry about the gear with a bit ground (?) off the side.

However, most of the time on the lathe, one is not screwcutting or using back gear (although clearly essential when necessary)

But please just try using your lathe, to learn about now to use it, about cutting tool use. metal properties etc - you can stil llearn a lot from it, and decide whether you want something more capable, or to use and repair the lathe.

Also - backlash on any control screw is quite usual - don't worry about it, but it may be reduced with adlustment.

Lubrication - I use Esso Nuto 32 on my Zyto headstock spindle, and Mobil Vactra 68 on bed and slideways of the Zyto and the Warco lathes (also using a kitchen tissue for giving a wipe to any metal surface that I feel would like a little protection). Both available on eBay. No grease used.

For a while, don't worry about fitting the 'recommended drip feed oilers', just make sure it gets a squirt often enough to make sure it is wet.

Hope this helps

Martin

not done it yet07/09/2019 22:16:19
3450 forum posts
15 photos

While the lathe might be a bit of a challenge, to return it to good working order, and may be uneconomical - but Rb1’s comment is premature IMO.

Gears missing the odd tooth are easily repaired by a range of methods. There is often no need to buy replacements - even when more than a single tooth is broken.

I’m not a myford fan, but if the plan is to set about restoring the lathe, by all means go ahead. But be careful with spending money if there are serious underlying problems. It may be a good idea to get an experienced view on the lathe. Repairing gears might be a good start for some restorative work while the rest is evaluated.

Shaun Belcher08/09/2019 04:11:30
21 forum posts
Posted by David George 1 on 07/09/2019 07:42:07:

Hi Shaun, Firstly welcome to the forum.

So many questions and there are many people on the forum who will help. It does help if you give your location as local supliers etc can be suggested. There dosnt seem to be anything I have seen that can't be fixed or repaired e.g. the back gear broken. When you start to strip always take pictures and try and take note in what order it helps. The back gear is not for reverse but it is like a low gear to slow the spindle speed ie for screw cutting and the gears on the left are for feed drive to the leadscrew. Have a look on the Myford website as there is lots of information on there like parts list etc. Good luck

David

Hi David, Thanks for your response.

Yes ive just updated my profile and forgot to mention im from New Zealand!

Been reading a bit more since posting and your correct about the back gear, its not for reverse at all. I dont think this is something im going to require any time soon for the type of work im doing, so will worry about it then.

Just need to clean out any grease and relube the headstock.

Im not sure how many teeth the back gear even has, so will need to count them. Seems there are a few different types.

Either way, it appears people commonly break the teeth on the backgear when trying to remove the chuck from what ive read on a few different places.

Posted by Thor on 07/09/2019 08:27:40:

Hi Shaun,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations with your "new" lathe. I don't know if you got a manual with the lathe, if not you can download one from here. And here is an article about lubricating series 7 lathes. Good luck.

Thor

I dont have a physical copy of the manual, but think printing the one in the link is a good idea.

Been reading about lubricants, and I cant find those Esso products in New Zealand.

Im hoping i can find something equivalent here, but from what i make out in that link, basically the thinner oil goes through all the nipples and on all leadscrews and the screwcutter gears, the thicker more sticky oil is applied?

Posted by J Hancock on 07/09/2019 08:30:06:

First, those headstock bearings need the proper drip-feed oilers fitting !

Careful when you lift the headstock top half caps, there should be 'plastic' shims for taking up any small

wear underneath.

Anything broken needs replacing.

As for half-turn on the handles, probably just wear in the alloy replaceable female threads of the slides.

Plenty of spares available via usual websites,etc.

Yes definitely the oilers are the first area of attention, what oilers are the best to go for? There seems to be a few brands available, some with good reviews and others not so good. I could buy direct from myford, but if there is something cheaper that does a better job, ill try those.

Im tempted to make some up myself but not ideal using the lathe with out oilers to begin with.

As far as the backgear goes, I think I will worry about it once im ready to restore and strip down everything, that way I wont disturb the shims.

Ive figured out its probably wear or adjustment to blame, will know what parts need replacing i guess once i strip it down, from what i see the leadscrews look OK.

Posted by Nigel Bennett on 07/09/2019 10:18:27:

Whereabouts in the world are you, Shaun? If you're anywhere near me in Leeds I could pop over and have a look at it and perhaps offer some advice. For instance, engaging backgear on an ML7 is not obvious and requires a specially-shortened Allen key to slacken and move a little gear segment fitted to the bullwheel. Good luck with the restoration, anyway!

Im all the way down in New Zealand Unfortunately, i see there is a youtuber who did a beautiful restoration on his beaten up ML7. Might try and contact him. Thats helpful to know thanks about the backgear, I didnt realise there is such adjustment, it probably went out when the tooth broke.

Shaun Belcher08/09/2019 04:11:46
21 forum posts

Posted by Fred Madsen on 07/09/2019 11:58:55:

Hi Shaun,

a big project but if you go ahead, I think you will be rewarded.

If you are in this side of the world please contact me.

Fred Madsen

Canberra

Australia

Is New Zealand close enough?

Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 07/09/2019 14:31:00:

Hi Shaun,

It is difficult to see what condition the lathe is in. It could be a relatively easy and cheap restoration or it could be a very expensive proposition. The lathe looks to be very neglected and as such it does ring alarm bells.

Before you start to spend money on it, try to get someone who knows their lathes to look it over. If you let people know your location, then I am sure that someone will give you a hand in assessing its condition. It is very difficult for a beginner to do this, you can get carried away if you are not careful. Just ask how I know!

Renovating a worn lathe can be a very expensive job! Especially if you have not got the skills to DIY.

Andrew.

Lathe only cost me $800 NZD, ive seen way worse ones sell here for more.

Looks in good solid usable condition, but due for a full restoration.

Providing the white metal bushings are OK, this should not need too much spent other than my time and a gear or two, some new knobs, washers, etc.

Most attention appears to be on the cross and top slides for me. Ive restored classic cars, so im sure this will be way, way more simple than an engine!

Posted by Martin Whittle on 07/09/2019 21:49:25:

OK the lathe has teeeth missing on some of the gears. So a problem for screwcutting, or for use of back gear for low speeds

Don't worry about the gear with a bit ground (?) off the side.

However, most of the time on the lathe, one is not screwcutting or using back gear (although clearly essential when necessary)

But please just try using your lathe, to learn about now to use it, about cutting tool use. metal properties etc - you can stil llearn a lot from it, and decide whether you want something more capable, or to use and repair the lathe.

Also - backlash on any control screw is quite usual - don't worry about it, but it may be reduced with adlustment.

Lubrication - I use Esso Nuto 32 on my Zyto headstock spindle, and Mobil Vactra 68 on bed and slideways of the Zyto and the Warco lathes (also using a kitchen tissue for giving a wipe to any metal surface that I feel would like a little protection). Both available on eBay. No grease used.

For a while, don't worry about fitting the 'recommended drip feed oilers', just make sure it gets a squirt often enough to make sure it is wet.

Hope this helps

Martin

Thats helpful thanks, will try and find the correct type of machine oil, we dont have the Esso brand in New Zealand from what i can make out. I probably need to find an oil gun and replace the nipples that have been painted over.

Could make a good first project to make a pair of oilers!

Don Cox08/09/2019 09:13:51
40 forum posts

My 1949 ML7 came with a pair of Rotherams oilers, which are really just a pair of oil cups with rotating closable tops and which require topping up at each use. I later bought a pair of "cheap" oilers with sight glasses off of eBay, but could never seem to get them adjusted to deliver the right amount when in use and to stop oiling when they were off. Eventually I bit the bullet and bought a S/H pair of Adams oilers, as fitted by Myford on ML7s later than mine, and over a few days of occasional tweaking I can now say that oil is delivered when needed and stops completely in the off position. Adams are still out there, but at a price I guess: www.lubecontrol.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Adams-Oilers/pdf Good luck with your lathe, I still have mine, I couldn't let it go after the amount of TLC I lavished on it and it now resides in my workshop in a state of semi-retirement, alongside a 1963 S7 which now does most of the work.

Don

Michael Gilligan08/09/2019 09:49:03
avatar
14116 forum posts
613 photos
Posted by J Hancock on 07/09/2019 08:30:06:

[ ... ] there should be 'plastic' shims [ ... ]

.

Really ?

I thought Myford used 'Shimpack' [laminated metal] which allows layers to be peeled-off for fine adjustment.

MichaelG.

.

http://www.shimpack.com/shimlammetals.html

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 08/09/2019 09:52:27

Shaun Belcher08/09/2019 10:11:37
21 forum posts
Posted by Don Cox on 08/09/2019 09:13:51:

My 1949 ML7 came with a pair of Rotherams oilers, which are really just a pair of oil cups with rotating closable tops and which require topping up at each use. I later bought a pair of "cheap" oilers with sight glasses off of eBay, but could never seem to get them adjusted to deliver the right amount when in use and to stop oiling when they were off. Eventually I bit the bullet and bought a S/H pair of Adams oilers, as fitted by Myford on ML7s later than mine, and over a few days of occasional tweaking I can now say that oil is delivered when needed and stops completely in the off position. Adams are still out there, but at a price I guess: www.lubecontrol.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Adams-Oilers/pdf Good luck with your lathe, I still have mine, I couldn't let it go after the amount of TLC I lavished on it and it now resides in my workshop in a state of semi-retirement, alongside a 1963 S7 which now does most of the work.

Don

Thats helpful thanks.

My myford was from the late 50's did they have plastic oilers installed from that period?

Either way, my late was missing them and i assumed the plastic ones must have broke.

Just been browsing ebay, these oilers look identical to the ones myford sell. Im guessing they are just getting the same ones made in china? I have no idea on the quality.

https://www.ebay.ie/itm/283054539395

Also was meaning to ask where all the oil runs to? It looks like it just runs onto the bench under the headstock?

Martin of Wick08/09/2019 10:29:02
93 forum posts
4 photos

From the pictures, the unit is in very poor shape and has obviously had some serious abuse. It will need a considerable sum of money spent on it to bring it to a usable condition. If you are prepared to do that and you enjoy restoring old machinery then crack on, at the moment, oilers are the least of your problem and suggest you don't waste any money on these until you have carried out the test below...

The first thing you need to do is wind up the saddle to 2 to 4 inches from the chuck and adjust the gibs to give smooth movement with no play at this position. slowly begin winding the saddle back towards the tailstock. If you notice the movement becoming progressively tighter and needing more effort, the then the bed is to badly worn for normal use and will need regrinding (together with the saddle and probably cross and top slides). Even if you can find a commercial operator willing to do it, these days it you are already talking north of 300 quid for a full job, plus transport.

If the bed and other sliding components are good, or money is no object and you want to cost up the other components from the Myford web site for restoration, from your description I would consider you will need to replace:

All olite bushings on the leadscrew and countershaft and carriage pinion drive assembly

possibly the counter shaft, if worn

All feed screws and feed screw nuts on top and cross slide

Leadscrew nut and possibly leadscrew, although you could get by turning the leadscrew around or if you want to convert it to metric, then all leadscrews and feedscew components can be replaced with the appropriate metric equivalent if available.

carriage drive pinion and possibly rack if worn

Spindle gear pinion and by the look of it some of the basic lead screw drive train

Headstock and back gear clusters

rear spindle thrust bearing

Check also the condition of the spindle nose and fit of spindle in the white metal bearings. If there is damage here, your only recourse will be to find a second hand spindle, most of which will be as bad as your specimen. you will need to check runout and deflection under load to assess headstock bearing condition

sundry nuts bolts grubs lock nuts, oilers, oil nipples, change gears etc to suit, plus bits I have forgotten

If all that is to your liking, there is a good 8 or 9 part vid on utube by someone from NZ that takes you through a comprehensive re-build that shows you the teardown and testing sequence ( where it definitely helps to have another lathe available in order to restore the one that is the basket case).

Enjoy, as they say.

 

Edited By Martin of Wick on 08/09/2019 10:29:56

Edited By Martin of Wick on 08/09/2019 10:31:41

Shaun Belcher08/09/2019 12:08:27
21 forum posts
Posted by Martin of Wick on 08/09/2019 10:29:02:

From the pictures, the unit is in very poor shape and has obviously had some serious abuse. It will need a considerable sum of money spent on it to bring it to a usable condition. If you are prepared to do that and you enjoy restoring old machinery then crack on, at the moment, oilers are the least of your problem and suggest you don't waste any money on these until you have carried out the test below...

The first thing you need to do is wind up the saddle to 2 to 4 inches from the chuck and adjust the gibs to give smooth movement with no play at this position. slowly begin winding the saddle back towards the tailstock. If you notice the movement becoming progressively tighter and needing more effort, the then the bed is to badly worn for normal use and will need regrinding (together with the saddle and probably cross and top slides). Even if you can find a commercial operator willing to do it, these days it you are already talking north of 300 quid for a full job, plus transport.

If the bed and other sliding components are good, or money is no object and you want to cost up the other components from the Myford web site for restoration, from your description I would consider you will need to replace:

All olite bushings on the leadscrew and countershaft and carriage pinion drive assembly

possibly the counter shaft, if worn

All feed screws and feed screw nuts on top and cross slide

Leadscrew nut and possibly leadscrew, although you could get by turning the leadscrew around or if you want to convert it to metric, then all leadscrews and feedscew components can be replaced with the appropriate metric equivalent if available.

carriage drive pinion and possibly rack if worn

Spindle gear pinion and by the look of it some of the basic lead screw drive train

Headstock and back gear clusters

rear spindle thrust bearing

Check also the condition of the spindle nose and fit of spindle in the white metal bearings. If there is damage here, your only recourse will be to find a second hand spindle, most of which will be as bad as your specimen. you will need to check runout and deflection under load to assess headstock bearing condition

sundry nuts bolts grubs lock nuts, oilers, oil nipples, change gears etc to suit, plus bits I have forgotten

If all that is to your liking, there is a good 8 or 9 part vid on utube by someone from NZ that takes you through a comprehensive re-build that shows you the teardown and testing sequence ( where it definitely helps to have another lathe available in order to restore the one that is the basket case).

Enjoy, as they say.

Edited By Martin of Wick on 08/09/2019 10:29:56

Edited By Martin of Wick on 08/09/2019 10:31:41

Yes this is the guy from NZ here, i have watched his whole restoration.

Here he is actually using his lathe to make the replacement parts for it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6XjUAGKl3A

His lathe looks like it was in much worse condition than mine.

Neil Wyatt08/09/2019 12:24:01
avatar
Moderator
16641 forum posts
687 photos
75 articles

Hi Shaun,

Don't despair! It may just be that your introduction to the engineering hobby is restoring that lathe rather than making things with it. Time and effort can compensate for anything equipment and money can't fix. For example, more than one person has repaired gears like those by silver soldering in bits of steel and filing them to match the profile of the intact teeth (advice on silver soldering cast iron can be found on this forum!)

The latest MEW has an article on assessing bed wear on an ML7.

MIght be worth you reading it, we will be following up with the 'wide guide conversion' which is the best way out of the guides are worn on an old ML7.

Neil

SillyOldDuffer08/09/2019 12:49:06
4769 forum posts
1011 photos

I'd start by making a list of obvious defects then review the situation. Some problems, like a badly worn bed, leadscrew or bearings might cost more to fix than you want to spend. Ditto cracked headstock, duff motor and bad electrics. Keep an eye on the small stuff like gears, belts, and oilers too - costs soon add up.

Not sure what prices are like in NZ but in the UK Myford parts attract premium prices and can take a little time to source. Might not matter if the main interest is in restoring an old machine, could be a mistake if on a budget and the lathe is wanted quickly for work. Also depends on facilities, having a well-equipped workshop already is much better than starting from scratch if awkward faults are found. Paying someone else to do the work is likely to be prohibitive.

It's hard to assess a lathe just by looking at it. What appears to be a wreck may actually be in good order whilst an apparently clean machine could be scrap. Best thing in the absence of a helpful expert is to fire her up and see if it will cut metal. Putting a machine through it's paces will soon reveal shortcomings; loose slides, severe backlash, dicky half-nut, scored or seized bearings, misalignments, damaged gears, faulty switches, motor problems, bad chuck, bent tool-post etc. Don't panic though, quite a few faults on straightforward lathes like the ML7 are not difficult to fix. But risky enough to be worth knowing what you're getting into!  Be a mistake I think to spend lots of time and money fixing minor issues only to discover something truly awful at the end, like a dished bed that can't be put right with a regrind.

Dave

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 08/09/2019 12:49:52

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