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Did i make the right choice buying an old banger Myford lathe.

After watching a few youtube video's of various lathes this is what i think

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Steviegtr14/02/2020 00:45:44
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1513 forum posts
163 photos

A couple of months ago now. I bought an old, 1977 vintage Myford super 7B lathe. The lathe came with the quick change gearbox & the powered cross feed. It also came with a box of bits which I assume the previous owners had accumulated over the many years.

Before I purchased the present lathe. I looked at many other brands. I once had a Boxford which did not come with much in the way of change gears etc. It was pretty badly worn too, it had been a college lathe.

A few friends have the Asian models, of which I did consider. They would have worked out much cheaper to purchase & I would have had the advantage of being the 1st owner.

Anyway after much ado, I opted to stay with a British old banger. I could not have purchased a large lathe of which there are many for sale for scrap metal money. I just do not have the room for one of those wonderful old lathes. Colchester, Harrison & many more. What prompted me to create this thread is that tonight I came to a steadfast , yes I am glad I bought my Myford.

I know they are probably mediocre in quality & do not have every mod con on them. Also to date I have probably around £3000 invested in it's present state with the 3ph inverter mod & tool post + many other bits I have purchased. I love the choice I made & have no regrets whatsoever. It's like an old car, it leaks oil all over the place. Has a stupid plain bronze front bearing with an old wick out of an oil lamp. Needs adjusting regularly. Anyway what made me glad I did not go down the Asian route is this. I know a lot of people have gone down this route & are very happy with them. It was just not for me.

Blondihacks

Edited By Steviegtr on 14/02/2020 00:46:56

Chris Evans 614/02/2020 07:05:19
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1747 forum posts

I have never used a Myford lathe but really admire the work some people produce on them. They seem to punch well above their weight. For 45 years I had a 1942 Southbend "Heavy 10" that did all I required. When I retired I wanted a bigger lathe because I would lose the ability to take the bigger jobs into work. Sold the Southbend for £100 to help a fellow motorcyclist get his first lathe and bought a used 14"x40" 3HP "Exel" Taiwanese lathe. In hindsite I should have kept the Southbend as well as the new lathe, I have the room and for a lot of second operations the old lathe although well worn would do the job. Enjoy the Myford.

John Paton 114/02/2020 08:56:19
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283 forum posts
17 photos
Posted by Steviegtr on 14/02/2020 00:45:44:

A couple of months ago now. I bought an old, 1977 vintage Myford super 7B lathe. The lathe came with the quick change gearbox & the powered cross feed. It also came with a box of bits which I assume the previous owners had accumulated over the many years.

Before I purchased the present lathe. I looked at many other brands. I once had a Boxford which did not come with much in the way of change gears etc. It was pretty badly worn too, it had been a college lathe.

A few friends have the Asian models, of which I did consider. They would have worked out much cheaper to purchase & I would have had the advantage of being the 1st owner.

Anyway after much ado, I opted to stay with a British old banger. I could not have purchased a large lathe of which there are many for sale for scrap metal money. I just do not have the room for one of those wonderful old lathes. Colchester, Harrison & many more. What prompted me to create this thread is that tonight I came to a steadfast , yes I am glad I bought my Myford.

I know they are probably mediocre in quality & do not have every mod con on them. Also to date I have probably around £3000 invested in it's present state with the 3ph inverter mod & tool post + many other bits I have purchased. I love the choice I made & have no regrets whatsoever. It's like an old car, it leaks oil all over the place. Has a stupid plain bronze front bearing with an old wick out of an oil lamp. Needs adjusting regularly. Anyway what made me glad I did not go down the Asian route is this. I know a lot of people have gone down this route & are very happy with them. It was just not for me.

Blondihacks

Edited By Steviegtr on 14/02/2020 00:46:56

I know just how you feel- I once bought what I thought was a basket case Super 7' every bit was loose almost to the point of falling apart and the bed badly worn, the motor burnt out too.

I really enjoyed putting it back into shape - including correcting the wear by grinding and the scraping the bed and underside of the saddle by hand. Much use of a precision level and engineers blue as I worked on the bed and final checks by turning test pieces.

In fact this took rather less time than I had anticipated and the end result far exceeded my expectations as it produced accurate, chatter free, work.

They share the virtues of early cars, they may not be highly advanced in design and engineering but their simplicity is such that you can actually repair and maintain them in the home workshop.

J Hancock14/02/2020 09:24:08
452 forum posts

How folks can live without one, I do not know.

old mart14/02/2020 09:37:50
1997 forum posts
151 photos

When you get to know the machine you have, it's surprising just how good the results can be. A good machinist can produce great work on a mediocre machine, but seldom the other way round. The advantage of having a Myford, is the wealth of knowledge and help available for any user who needs help and bothers to ask.                                         Also, every spare part can be found ready made, which is not true of some other makes.

Edited By old mart on 14/02/2020 09:47:49

Neil Wyatt14/02/2020 09:38:34
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Moderator
18240 forum posts
714 photos
77 articles

For some people the pleasure of ownership of a tool as important as what they do with it.

For others, it isn't. It's as simple as that!

I feel the same way about musical instruments, less so about tools although there are exceptions!

Neil

Howard Lewis14/02/2020 09:52:53
3615 forum posts
2 photos

My first lathe was a well used ML7. It did a lot of work for me. It was gradually upgraded with a new countershaft and bushes, 4 way toolpost, micrometer dials, and a longer cross slide. I graduated a handwheel and fitted it to the leadscrew, and added a few extra changewheels.

The two things that sealed its fate were the 2MT Mandrel, preventing anything larger than 1/2" passing through, and the lack of rigidity when using the Rodney milling attachment.

But that's because of the things that I wanted to do.

The hand operated slotting attachment,(now with a riser block ), knurling tool, and ER25 collet set are still with me and are used, from time to time, on my newer, larger lathe.

Do I miss it? From time to time, YES, but lack the space. in the workshop for a second lathe.

Howard

Ady114/02/2020 09:53:00
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3865 forum posts
522 photos

A less powerful machine will teach you a lot more about cutting tools and metal working because you have to squeeze every last drop out of a limited setup

If you upgrade to a powerful motor after a weedy one you realise that you would never have learnt all those little things that added up to make you a better turner because a more powerful setup simply sweeps through any energy sapping niggles in the setup

A less powerful setup also teaches you a lot about speeds and feeds

Edited By Ady1 on 14/02/2020 09:54:30

not done it yet14/02/2020 10:20:18
5026 forum posts
20 photos

I’ve had three lathes. First was Chinese and I have since regretted buying it, although it did get me started. I bought new, thinking it would be better than secondhand. I was wrong on that score, in hindsight. Second was a hundred quid Nottingham made lathe. Good value and, IMO, far better than the other Nottingham maker’s offerings. It had variable speed, power drive in both axes and a QCGB. Current machine is a later model, a much improved development of the second, and will see me out.

Careful selection, when buying (after that first purchase), means total capital lathe expenditure has been less than two grand over twenty five years, or so, and that is ignoring the resale value of the discarded and duplicated items (about a grand). My three mills, over approx the same period, have likely cost me three grand, but that includes rotary tables, vises and DROs. Two are in use.

The above does not include tooling, of course.🙂

My view is that three grand on one secondhand hobby lathe is OTT, but, if that suits you who is to argue?

Quill is a relative new starter, She has made some good videos, but I most certainly don’t agree with all she does/says, but would not wish to make an argument of it.

Mick B114/02/2020 10:33:04
1732 forum posts
91 photos

I think we're all susceptible to confirmation bias about our equipment.

The real question, of course, is why we feel the need to justify our choice at such length?

devilwink

IanT14/02/2020 11:05:07
1614 forum posts
151 photos

I have an old Super 7 (built mid 50's I think) that mostly does what I want. I didn't pay very much for it (£400) although I've spent some time & effort on it over the years - but not very much money - a 'new' second-hand cross-slide (£50) was a cosmetic luxury rather than a mechanical need. I have no current plans to replace it (which I can now afford to do) in fact I very much doubt I will ever do so now.

However, for anyone new to this hobby, my advice would be to get a new Asian lathe - the largest you can afford & house. Then you will have a good, accurate machine to learn with and will be able to get straight on with building whatever your heart desires.

Regards,

IanT

SillyOldDuffer14/02/2020 14:05:49
Moderator
6331 forum posts
1389 photos

Spending £3000 on an authentic Old Banger would be a disaster, whoever made it. Presumably this 7B is actually in good nick? Otherwise, beware of flinging good money after bad! Unless of course restoring old machines is your main interest? It's allowed, as is choosing to buy anything else, old, new, second-hand, or scrap.

Dave

Steviegtr14/02/2020 14:10:35
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1513 forum posts
163 photos
Posted by Mick B1 on 14/02/2020 10:33:04:

I think we're all susceptible to confirmation bias about our equipment.

The real question, of course, is why we feel the need to justify our choice at such length?

devilwink

I thought for me it was quite a short essay. If I had the room I would have bought similar to what a few of my friends have. I simply only have room for a little lathe. I still like the look of some of the Asian made lathes.

mgnbuk14/02/2020 15:13:37
800 forum posts
61 photos

If the lathe does what you want of it & you are happy with your investment, then you made the right choice for you.

My mid-60s Super 7 was an ex-school machine. It was purchased "cash in hand" from a machine tool dealer where I happed to be working sorting some issue with a machine he had bought that my previous employer had retrofitted. I noticed the Myford in the showroom & he offered it at what i though was reasonable price (£825 IIRC - about 20 years ago) for what was included - 3 & 4 jaw Pratt Burnerd chucks, 7" faceplate, catch plate, taper turning attachment fitted, 3 full sets of changewheels (!), a set of "boat" tools & the tray top stand. I was rather dis-satisfied my the Boxford CUD I had at the time & thought that I would fettle the Myford, give it a try & sell on the one I liked least. The Boxford went.

It didn't take much fettling - new belts, a good clean & stripped the carriage assembly to clean out the grease from the oiling points. Biggest job was to sort out the cross slide, which was bent due to overtightening of the compound clamp screws. A lunch time on the surface grinder at the then work sorted that.. It was 3 phase, but an ex-equipment VFD courtesy of my brother set to a fixed 50Hz sorted that.

I subsequently bought a second similar machine in poor condition (badky wor & damaged due having fallen over backwards. But it had the screwcutting gearbox, which mine lacked. A friend was interested in the machine if I rebuilt it, so I made a start by scraping the wear and damage from the bed (10 thou takes some scraping). I bought new parts from Myford which were fitted to my lathe & the slightly worn parts from mine were to be used on the rebuild. Then my friend died suddenly & I rather lost interest - the part rebuilt machine was sold on Ebay for more than I had in it + my machine had been upgraded effectively for no outlay.

Along the way fixed & travelling steadies, an adjustable milling slide, 9" faceplate, metric conversion kit for the gearbox and front & rear Dickson style toolposts have been added - at a guess it probably stands me at around £1100 now, which I don't think is too bad for the capability. The only bit that grates is as a result of it's time in the school - there are hacksaw cut marks on the bedways near the chuck from careless "parting off" and a scar on the front of the cross slide from contact with the chuck. Both are too deep to dress out but, apart from offending me, don't detract from operating the machine.

Myfords have their detractors & many offered today are probably over priced, but I like mine & have no plans to change it. Enjoy yours.

Nigel B.

John Baguley14/02/2020 15:58:12
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471 forum posts
50 photos

When I started model engineering back in the early 70's there wasn't much choice if you wanted a decent small lathe. You were pretty much limited to a Myford. My 'workshop' was the small box room of my parents house so a s/h ex-industrial lathe was out of the question plus it would probably be completely clapped out.

There just wasn't the vast choice that people have nowadays so that's probably why there are so many Myfords around. At the time they were 'the' model engineers lathe.

The small spindle bore is a pain but I've now got a restored Denham Junior for anything that the Myford won't handle.

Would I buy a Myford now if I were just starting out? Probably not unless one came up in very good condition at a reasonable price. I would go for something bigger and it probably would be a larger new asian machine.

I still like the Myford though and wouldn't part with it smiley

John

Mike Poole14/02/2020 16:24:17
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Moderator
2746 forum posts
64 photos

When the Myford introduced the ML7 to the world just after WW2 it was a huge step forward for the hobby lathe. The Boxford gave a bit more capacity and probably cost rather more. One of Myford’s useful selling points was the large range of accessories for the lathe which gave it great versatility and could be the only machine in the hobby workshop, even doing service as a drill. Milling, gear cutting, taper turning, a screw cutting gearbox and more were available with the right accessories. This is probably what made it such a winner. Today’s home workshop is very likely to have a Milling machine and a rotary table and or dividing head. Despite how it may feel, many of us have a significant amount of disposable income, for lots of us a mortgage is forgotten about so we live rent free and many will be lucky enough to have a substantial pension and a real possibility of a fairly long retirement. We are probably in the golden age to equip a home workshop. I expect the generations following us will benefit as we fall off the perch and leave some very well equipped workshops.

Mike

Ray Lyons14/02/2020 16:34:57
172 forum posts
1 photos

There it was sitting on a bench in a barn, covered in dust and with the drive belt broken. A 1950s Super7 with gearbox and clutch. At £250, I couldn't resist and was thinking of returning the following day to collect but the farmer, a big fellow insisted I take it that night and removing the motor, he lifted it into the boot of my car which put the headlights into searchlight mode. After that, it stayed in my garage for some months and after a house move was stripped down, cleaning out years of oily crud. Since then it has been changed and upgraded?. The saddle was cut away to bear over the width of the bed which was a big step improvement. and a new 1HP 3ph motor fitted with inverter control.

Although it can be classed as vintage now, it is still a joy to use, especially for those small jobs. I also have a 6" imported lathe for fast metal removal.

Grindstone Cowboy14/02/2020 18:27:39
346 forum posts
27 photos

Whilst clearing a friend's workshop over the last couple of days, I had a philosophical moment and came to the conclusion that in many areas, there's often a choice between the robust, reliable and usually better made workhorse, and the sleek, "name brand" one with a bit of popular following. To illustrate - WW2 British fighter planes: Hurricane or Spitfire? Cameras: Canon or Nikon? Lathes: Box-ford or Myford?

(Full disclosure, I use Nikon cameras and, until today, Myford lathes) smiley

Hollowpoint14/02/2020 19:27:21
339 forum posts
31 photos

Ive had many lathes, chinese, myford, boxford, raglan, cowells, emco etc. My brutally honest opinions of the ones ive had are as follows: the Chinese lathes are not much better than tat. Myfords are good but overrated. Emco are OK, raglan are very underrated, Boxford and Cowells are superb.

Grindstone Cowboy14/02/2020 19:58:53
346 forum posts
27 photos

Well, my friend, sadly now deceased, was apprenticed at Broadbent lathes and always told me Boxfords were better than Myfords (although he had an ML10 set up for milling).

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