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New to it all..... Gonna need help.

Myford ML2 - help

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Me.20/02/2020 09:47:16
3 forum posts

Hi All

After many a year, I finally went and done it - only in a small way and with a cheap thing with a bit of use - I'm talking about a lathe - what did you think i meant....

Anyway, its a Myford ML2 which looks in reasonable condition with nearly all the bits there.

My intension is to strip it down and give it all a good clean and a re-paint.

I have a list of questions - in not particular order.

1 - what should i be looking at to replace ie bearings seals etc

2 - what colour to paint it - want to go original if still available

3 - what should i be looking at to get for it - it has basic 3 - 4 jaw chuck and face plate.

4 - can you get a quick change tool post to fit it ?

5 - what are the tapers in the tailstock ?

6 - NOW THE BIG ONE - should i be looking at changing the drive gear to a variable speed motor - ??? getting away from the old motor and pulley set up.

Your answers will be gratefully received.

Kind regards

SillyOldDuffer20/02/2020 16:09:26
5370 forum posts
1090 photos

Welcome me, (if you see what I mean!)

I'm in favour of not starting by stripping stuff down. Instead check the lathe over and note any obvious faults and missing parts. Then set it up and try using it. Best way to find faults and missing parts is to use the lathe to cut metal. The more jobs you do, the better the test, and the more informed the owner will be about costs - time and money. In the best case the lathe is 'as new', in the worst it's 'beyond economic repair' - dud motor, broken / missing gears, badly worn bed, cracked castings, ruined bearings, an electrical widow-maker etc etc. Don't rush to buy any expensive gizmos until you're certain the lathe is worth keeping.

Lots of information at Myford at - well worth a careful read especially about bearings.

1. I wouldn't touch the bearings unless they're worn. No seals, this type of lathe relies on total loss oiling, so keep splashing it on.

2. Any colour you want as long as it's Black!

3. 3 & 4-jaw should be enough, I rarely use a faceplate though it's handy to have one. Other stuff depends on what the lathe is used for, I suggest a drill chuck and centre to go in the tailstock, and maybe travelling and fixed steadies. HSS cutters to fit the tool-post, twist drills, boring bar, maybe reamers, and taps & dies. Parting and knurling tools? Sparey's The Amateur's Lathe (1948) is an excellent read, perhaps supplemented by Neil Wyatts The Mini-Lathe, which is more up to date.

4. QTCP, I expect so but is it worth it? A fair amount of work and money, especially when several holders are added the cost. So far I haven't bothered, instead having shims ready to suit each tool. Tool changing slows me down, but not enough to be a bother.

5. Can't remember! MT2? Nothing weird - shouldn't be a problem.

Speed control is nice, and the lathe would be improved by fitting a small 3-phase motor and VFD. But no need to rush in, give it a try as is.

Just to emphasise the point, much depend on what the lathe is for. If, for example, expecting lots of thread cutting, then look to the change gears and the half-nuts. Repetitive jobs requiring multiple tool-changes benefit greatly from a QTCP, but if only one tool is dominant (quite a few do almost everything with an Eccentric Diamond tangent holder), then a QTCP is a waste of money. If the purpose of the lathe isn't known yet, using for several months will reveal all.

Last hint, don't rely on DIY store or random scrap metal. Quite a lot of it machines badly and it caused me all manner of beginner grief and confusion. Better to start with some decent metal - I recommend Brass for starting off, then move to the joys of Aluminium, Steel and Cast Iron.


Howard Lewis20/02/2020 17:01:30
2927 forum posts
2 photos

If you are a newbie, and not familiar with with machine tools, or engineering; the first advice about stripping the machine is

DON'T You could do more harm than good.

The next bit of advice is: Find a Model Engineering Club near you, and join.

This will let you meet folk with a lot of knowledge who can help you, face to face.

Where are you located?

At the risk of telling you what you already know (DO look at the Lathes UK website for more info )

The original colour was described, according to Lathes UK, as Vomit Green!

On all but the very early models, the Headstock is bolted to the bed, rather than being cast in.

Being a ML2 the centre height is 3 1/8 " The mandrel thread is 7/8 BSW (9 tpi ) The later ML3 and ML4 had 3 1/2 centre height like the later (1947 ) 7 Series machines. Later, the mandrel thread changed to 7/8 x 12 tpi and eventually to 1 1/8 x 12 tpi as used on the 7 Series.

The leadscrew pitch is 8 tpi

All threads will be Whit form, either BSW or BSF Gib strip screws may be BA threads

Headstock and Tailstock are both 1 MT.

It may be worth making, or getting someone to make for you, an adaptor from the 7/8 x 9tpi mandrel thread to a 1 1/8 x 12 tpi thread. This is the "standard" for later Myfords. In this way you will easily be able get any extra chucks / backplates which will fit,.

It is unlikely that there will be any seals for the plain bearings in the headstock.

Back gear is engaged by a lever on the far side of the headstock, behind the chuck. Do NOT forget to slacken / remove the grubscrew in the pulley when you do this, and to retighten it when back gear has bee disengaged.

Do NOT engage back gear when trying to remove chuck, even if it is tight. You will damage the gears!

If you have a complete set of changewheels, try to acquire a couple more 20T and another 60T. With three 20T and two 60T gears and the 65T you can set up a train to give a power fine feed of 0.0043"/rev.

Standard changewheels from the later 7 Series will fit, but they will need a hole to be drilled partially through, to take the 3/32" pins which connect gears to the driving collars and to compound gears. together.

PM me if you want to know what the set up is. For travel towards the chuck, you will need two compound idlers

I very much doubt if you could easily fit a QCTP to it. In any case, the total set up is likely to cost as much as you paid for the lathe!

Ditto for fitting a VFD. Both sound like a bit of an overkill for such and old and small machine. (It is nearly eighty years old, even if fully equipped and in reasonable condition )

You will already have found out that the Saddle traverse works in the opposite direct to what you would expect., clockwise rotation brings the saddle towards the chuck. The 80 graduations on the handwheels for the Cross and Top slides are not 0.001" each, because the leadscrews for these are 12 tpi! (0.0014" actually).

DEfinitely recommend a Tangential Turning Tool. At least two designs have been shown in npastb Issues of M E W for makingb at home, or you can buy from Eccentric Engineering. Lots of us swear by them. One tool will turn or face. Ideally, you should make a Centre Height Gauge. It will make tool setting so much easier,.

PM me if you want a picture of one, and how to arrive at the correct setting.

Do check that the centre in the Headstock and in the Tailstock coincide. If they don't the tailstock needs to be adjusted until they do. Otherwise you will have problems drilling, reaming, ot cuttingb threads with a Tap or Die.

On the subject of thread cutting with taps and Dies, it would be worth making a mandrel handle, so that you can rotate the Mandrel by hand. It makes threading up to a shoulder much easier, and can save a lot of hard work for the motor in certain circumstances,

That should be quite enough to confuse you for a while


Me.21/02/2020 08:40:58
3 forum posts

What can I say - apart from Many thanks for the prompt and very informative replies. I appreciate the time you all took to write such a comprehensive replies.

I will take on board all your comments and see how things go.

Are the thread adapters for the chuck readily available or is it something i will need to get made ? The original chucks do look a bit worn.

If the tail stock is 1MT is it beneficial to change to a larger tailstock - or are the 1MT items available and useable ?

Hopper21/02/2020 09:00:27
4165 forum posts
89 photos

1MT works fine if in good condition. Mine on the old Drummond M-type of similar vintage to your ML2 will drive a 1" drill bit. Can't ask for more than that. And 1MT chucks, centres and arbors are readily available.

I would not worry about quick change toolpost at this stage. As a beginner you are not going to be changing tools constantly and if you do, it takes but a few seconds to change on the traditional toolpost. For some reason it is a nice luxury that too many beginners see as overly important.

Ditto variable speed drive. Stick with the old belt and pulley until you learn to use the lathe and can evaluate whether it's worth putting major money into.

+1 on don't strip it down. Not a job for a beginner. Learn to use it first, and make adjustments and refinements as you go along. You can paint it without stripping it down. Maybe pull the tailstock off and and the topslide . The rest can be done with a brush and still look quite tidy.

And +1 on get yourself a copy of LH Sparey's "The Amateur's Lathe". One of the best beginner's books ever and aimed right at the vintage of lathe you have. And cheap to purchase from Bookdepository etc.

Have fun with your lathing!

Edited By Hopper on 21/02/2020 09:03:20

Me.21/02/2020 09:08:55
3 forum posts

Thanks again for your reply - My hands are telling me - Strip it down ! But now my heart has to step in and say - "oi hands ! STOP..... have a play and do as the the others say...."

I already have the book mentioned along with the Myford book and a few others -

The lathe only cost me £100 so i'm sort of quids in at the moment.... I expect the spare wod will soon disappear.

SillyOldDuffer21/02/2020 10:46:11
5370 forum posts
1090 photos
Posted by Me. on 21/02/2020 09:08:55:

Thanks again for your reply - My hands are telling me - Strip it down ! But now my heart has to step in and say - "oi hands ! STOP..... have a play and do as the the others say...."


Another reason for not stripping down as first move is you won't know if a post-strip problem is due to the lathe or that bloke who put it back together! Also, using the lathe for a bit gives a benchmark against which improvements can be measured. You'll know if a change made things worse or better, which is helpful when judging what to do next.

You can start by giving the lathe a deep clean as long as nothing important is moved. Then, you'll know any faults that appear aren't due to crud or lack of oil! Next stage is to check the gibs are adjusted correctly: if saddle etc slide smoothly without binding or wobbling side to side. Mostly gibs are just an adjustment (which may take a few goes to get right), but if they can't be adjusted worth a look inside, where you might find a broken gib strip, bad wear or broken adjuster screw tips. Or just dirt.

After making sure there isn't anything truly horrible wrong with the machine like a badly worn bed, start with the simple stuff. There's plenty to do. Bearings and headstock alignment are best left until experience has built up and you know your own limits! But don't be afraid to strip it down when the time comes. Doing up old lathes properly is a hobby in itself! Bear in mind with old machines that someone else may already have been 'at it'. Trust nothing, the world is full of bodgers. The forum is excellent, especially if you put photos up. Don't be afraid to ask.



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