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Myford ML7 clutch

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paul humphries11/01/2020 09:34:21
16 forum posts

Hi, still searching for a lathe that is local and a ML7 has come up nearby but without the "desirable optional" clutch. I am conscious of the comments on lathes.co.uk about running single phase motors flat out so the clutch would seem to be imperative. How really useable is a clutchless ML7 and the need to protect the motor. The lathe for sale has a Brooke Crompton so Im guessing may need replacing some time soon anyway.

Edited By paul humphries on 11/01/2020 09:48:14

Journeyman11/01/2020 09:46:08
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817 forum posts
142 photos

Had an old ML7 without clutch for years with no problems. Purists will frown but you can use the belt change tension lever as quite an effective clutch, the belt slip doesn't seem to wear the belt unduly.

John

Paul Kemp11/01/2020 09:49:59
560 forum posts
18 photos

I would hazard a guess there are more Myfords out there in the wild without clutches than there are with. My ML7 hasn't got one and it's never been an issue. No different to any of the other lathes that are not fitted with clutches surely?

Paul.

paul humphries11/01/2020 09:50:07
16 forum posts

Cheers John.

Swarf, Mostly!11/01/2020 09:57:04
544 forum posts
47 photos

Hi there, Paul,

To answer your concluding question, we would need to know the number of ML7s with clutches as a percentage of the total ML7 population. It would be an interesting subject for a poll. I suspect that the answer would be significantly less than 50%. It would be ridiculous to conclude that the clutchless ML7s are not 'really usable'.

I ran my own ML7 quite happily for several years before fitting it with a countershaft clutch. (I cheated - I did not buy a complete clutch but just the parts I didn't fancy making. )

With respect, your phrase 'flat out' is missing the point - the motor is best cooled and hence happier when it is running at full speed. It is the inrush current that flows in the motor start and run windings as the motor runs up to speed that causes the most stress. Also, the centrifugal switch will accumulate deterioration with each start event (e.g. contact arcing & fatigue of flexures) . However, one would hope that a conscientious motor designer would design for these effects.

The countershaft clutch does ease the burden on the motor but, in my opinion, it is an enhancement rather than an essential. I would not be so willing to acquire one at today's prices as I was back in the 1980s when components were available as spares from Beeston Myford.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

paul humphries11/01/2020 09:57:25
16 forum posts

Thanks Paul, I presumed that modern brushless motors were more tolerant of stop start but maybe not. I must admit the whole buying a lathe thing is quite stressful, especially at my sub £1000 budget. Decent ML10/ok ML7/new Chinese!!

Sorry Im going off topic but I think you have answered my question. Might give the ML7 a go.

Henry Brown11/01/2020 10:05:38
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296 forum posts
83 photos

The clutch worked fine on mine, I hadn't giiven it a thought there were versions with out one, but it was good the lever being by the chuck guard - a reminder to use It!

Journeyman11/01/2020 10:08:44
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817 forum posts
142 photos
Posted by paul humphries on 11/01/2020 09:57:25:

Thanks Paul, I presumed that modern brushless motors were more tolerant of stop start but maybe not. I must admit the whole buying a lathe thing is quite stressful, especially at my sub £1000 budget. Decent ML10/ok ML7/new Chinese!!

Sorry Im going off topic but I think you have answered my question. Might give the ML7 a go.

Paul, make sure you check out the ML7 carefully before parting with cash. If possible see it running and working. If you are not sure what to look for try and find an "expert" to go with to look at the lathe. Many old Myfords have been nurtured equally many have been abused.

Brushless motors are essentially DC and use fancy electronics to make them go round. Not particularly comparable to an old single phase AC induction motor, which is also brushless, that uses just the mains 50Hz to cause rotation. If upgrading the motor the way to go is VFD and 3-phase motor but you are adding a few hundred quid to the bill but solves speed and clutch in one go (can of course be retro-fitted if the basic lathe is good).

John

Edit: Clarification

Edited By Journeyman on 11/01/2020 10:36:27

paul humphries11/01/2020 10:12:02
16 forum posts

Swarf, Mostly,

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I didnt mean to post a ridiculous comment and of course there must be many happy clutchless ML7`s about!

Paul

Hopper11/01/2020 11:38:19
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4804 forum posts
105 photos

Get it if the condition is good and price is right. Prices for ML7s seem to have risen steeply in the last year or so. Or at least the asking prices you see around. Maybe riding along on the coat-tails of the over-priced Super 7s that seem to have achieved cult status. Get in while the going is good.

Steviegtr11/01/2020 16:17:38
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1495 forum posts
163 photos

Agree with all above. I have just bought a super 7 B & the original idea was to buy a Chinese lathe. I watched loads of youtube video's & came to the conclusion that although they are good little lathe. Nothing compares to a good old british lathe. The quality of the steel & fit are so much better. I am lucky in that this model has the power cross feed & a clutch. Watching people like Steve Jorden on youtube he always lifts the belt tension & lets the motor keep running. You could always fit one later. As you are probably aware that almost every spare part is available from Myford & others. Also as said above have a good check over for wear & tear. If there is any wear on slides etc they are all fixable. Good luck.

Neil Wyatt11/01/2020 16:47:46
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Moderator
18232 forum posts
714 photos
77 articles

ML7s go for much less than S7, with a budget approaching £1000 you should be able to find a very good one with plenty of accessories, not just an 'ok' one.

Neil

Steviegtr11/01/2020 16:58:08
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1495 forum posts
163 photos

That is correct. I myself was looking for a ML7 but then saw this one. So my Chinese budget of £550 ended up at 2100. Then took the thing to bits for new belts & a 3phase motor. I stopped counting.

Edited By Steviegtr on 11/01/2020 16:59:12

SillyOldDuffer11/01/2020 18:31:42
Moderator
6325 forum posts
1387 photos
Posted by Steviegtr on 11/01/2020 16:58:08:

That is correct. I myself was looking for a ML7 but then saw this one. So my Chinese budget of £550 ended up at 2100. Then took the thing to bits for new belts & a 3phase motor. I stopped counting.

Edited By Steviegtr on 11/01/2020 16:59:12

You can't win! For £2100 you would get a lot more Chinese Lathe than an ML7! Or a Boxford...

A fairly serious problem with Myford and EMCO is both attract premium prices. In my view more due to reputation than actual performance. In their time, both makers sold well-made affordable hobby lathes: not cheap - Super 7's were pretty much at the upper limit of what most people could afford. But there were and are better lathes to be had! At the time better than Myford lathes were too expensive for hobbyists to consider due to starting prices being at least half as much again as a top end Myford. These machines were bought in large numbers by professional and educational workshops needing robust production-capable precision lathes. (Myford had a stab at this market with the desirable 254.)

Since then manufacturing moving to cnc has made large numbers of classy manual machines available second-hand, many of them in excellent condition, and cheaper than Myfords.

The advantage of buying Chinese is new machines can be replaced or refunded under warranty. More risk buying second-hand because condition is everything. My Chinese lathe does all I want of it and it's bigger than a Super 7. However, if I decided to replace it, I would look very seriously at a superior lathe from a high-end maker - Boxford, Denford, Colchester etc. Not because Myford are rubbish, but because I'm confident I could do better for the money.

Don't let me put you off your ML7 though - I think agonising over lathes is a waste of time. Provided the machine is in good order (or you can send it back), buy one and get stuck in!

Dave

Steviegtr12/01/2020 01:00:08
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1495 forum posts
163 photos

MMM I had a boxford many years ago. It was ok I guess. Chinese ok the only problem is under a UV light you can see silly thing like Coke a cola. Ford. Austin. All the steel from china is recycled & usually full of porosity. British steel was the best in the world. No argument against that. Talk to someone who has a british lathe from the 50's still going. Sorry but your Chinese lathe may do all the jobs you want but in 50 yrs time ???? I have a few friends who have them & they love them & have only done ???? mods on them to make them work properly. Bit bitchy so sorry in advance. 

Edited By Steviegtr on 12/01/2020 01:00:43

Pero12/01/2020 03:51:51
115 forum posts

Not only bitchy but wrong in almost every respect.

These sort of rants do nothing to inform newer members who may be attempting to work through the minefield of what to buy and are only further confused by these sorts of statements.

Pero

Don Cox12/01/2020 08:54:23
51 forum posts

My 1949 ML7 came without a clutch and was fitted with a 1/3 hp (I think) Hoover motor which I believe to be the original one fitted from new. The lathe was quite tatty when I collected it (cost was £450) but it had no insurmountable problems when I came to pull it apart. I rewired the motor switch set up, it now has an NVR wall mounted switch and a Dewhurst forward,/stop/ reverse switch mounted behind the front face of my home made copy of a Myford hexagonal stand.

I've had it for about 12 years now and have never noticed the motor to be over heated, I frequently use the belt tensioner as a clutch to limit the number of start ups and the Dewhurst switch stays permanently switched to forward.

I bought a Tri-Leva conversion to go on it a few years back, but I then chanced across an S7 (1963) on eBay, with a genuine hexagonal stand, a gearbox and close to home, for £950. So now the Tri-Leva bits remain unused in their box and the ML7 does a bit less than it used to. The S7 now has a VFD motor setup and, of course, it came with a clutch. I tend to use the lathes in turn to avoid having to change tool holders, chucks etc for different jobs, I don't find not having a clutch on the ML7 a major disadvantage.

Nick Clarke 312/01/2020 10:15:57
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883 forum posts
30 photos

A Myford ML7 can (depending upon condition) be an excellent lathe but can it please be looked at in the cold daylight of its history.

It was designed in the later years of World War 2 and put on the market in 1947 - a long time ago! The comments about steel are not necessarily true, and in the case of a lathe where the major proportion of its construction is cast iron or zinc alloy probably irrelevant as well. Like many other products introduced around that time the choice of materials was probably decided as much by what was available in immediate post war years as by engineering need.

If you read the review of the Myford Super 7 in ME Jan 15 1953 it clearly suggests that the ML7 was designed to provide the best lathe that was affordable and the Super 7 was introduced to try to address some of those compromises. It specifically mentions the clutch as being necessary for 'a lathe running at high speed' suggesting that its inclusion is less important for a ML7 with its slower top speed.

Many Myford lathes are now of pensionable age and unless preserved in good condition may well be past it - I can think of two I have access to now - one has a bed worn to the state that there is 1/8th swing on the saddle when cutting and another with a parallel bore to the nose of the spindle because that was necessary to accommodate a job in the past.

The basic technology of a Myford ML7 is 19th/early 20th century while that of Chinese lathes seems to be more (but not that much more!) recent.

A Myford or similar lathe can be a joy to use - but in the same way that I find my ridiculously expensive Leica film camera more pleasant to use than a far cheaper digital SLR - but the quality of image doesn't differ in the same way. Similarly comparing a Myford with accessories and motor ready to run with a Chinese lathe at a half or a quarter of the cost may not produce better work. I certainly could not have afforded a Myford lathe for the price of the new Sieg machine I bought - and restoring one I could afford to accuracy would probably have been beyond my skills.

Please don't think I am against Myford lathes - but their age and older design, and the times they were designed for must count against them today, except in a few very well cared for or little used examples.

Steviegtr12/01/2020 11:08:59
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1495 forum posts
163 photos

You may have a point there. That is maybe why I like the Myford so much being the age I am. I am sure if I was younger I would like the Chinese looking ones better. They are obviously more bling with the square type design headstock & control in one unit. I take the point of bedwear. There is a guy in I think Sweden who rebuilds them including regrinding the beds. He is on youtube. Sven something or other. He has a workshop full of them. Does anyone know what year they started using the hardened beds.

Nick Clarke 312/01/2020 11:49:14
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883 forum posts
30 photos
Posted by Steviegtr on 12/01/2020 11:08:59:

You may have a point there. That is maybe why I like the Myford so much being the age I am. I am sure if I was younger I would like the Chinese looking ones better. They are obviously more bling with the square type design headstock & control in one unit. I take the point of bedwear. There is a guy in I think Sweden who rebuilds them including regrinding the beds. He is on youtube. Sven something or other. He has a workshop full of them. Does anyone know what year they started using the hardened beds.

Not certain what happened to me then, being a fifties model myself - and not only that, my late mother used to meet Cecil Moore, Myford founder at parties given by Patty Coleby, landlord (landlady??) of the Nottingham SMEE's workshop in the seventies.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 12/01/2020 11:54:13

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