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Newbie with no prior skills on lathe

Drummond type m lathe

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Jodey Powell10/11/2020 23:17:49
4 forum posts
2 photos

Hi all I have been captivated with the drummond type m lathe that i purchased a few weeks ago i have stripped it down to every last nut and bolt fully cleaned taken back to bare metal repainted and re assembled it in a weekend I just hope I did it a marvellous piece of kit but now need help to get on with the real task of learning how to use it properly any help would be much appreciated.

Thor 🇳🇴11/11/2020 09:06:22
1598 forum posts
45 photos

Hi Jodey,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations with your "new" lathe. If you are a beginner with metal turning lathes you should try and find out if there are any model engineering clubs near you.

I assume you have already visited the site, they have a lot of info on Drummond lathes. There are several books that I found useful when I started the hobby many decades ago, may be your local library can get them for you, here are a few examples:
The Amateurs Lathe by L.H. Sparey
Lathework. A complete Course by H.Hall (Workshop Practice series #34)
Screwcutting in the Lathe by Martin Cleeve (Workshop Practice series #3)

You should also be able to download some old books from the web:



Ady111/11/2020 09:17:23
5065 forum posts
734 photos

Get the sparey book

Start by whittling down bits of scrap to get a feel for things, take your time and take care, flesh is easily removed by revolving chucks etc

edit: A decent M is one of the best hobby lathes ever made


Edited By Ady1 on 11/11/2020 09:18:45

Chris Evans 611/11/2020 09:35:13
2050 forum posts

Welcome to the forum, put an approximate location on the board There maybe someone local who can advise you.

Lee Rogers11/11/2020 13:11:15
166 forum posts

Welcome . A good set of ready to go HSS tools is your starting point , not too many , a set of 4 of 6 will get you started and beyond. If your learning you'll just find a world of pain with insert tools . Not that the Drummond cant handle them if used appropriatly just that it's task up from the basics. The site also has some general basic how to pages , well worth a read. Have a look at the Drummond Myford group on FB friendly bunch and a wealth of Drummond knowledge.

Brian H11/11/2020 15:05:43
2312 forum posts
112 photos

Hello Jodey and welcome.

As well as the Lathes site it might also be worth looking at ;



colin hawes11/11/2020 15:32:38
557 forum posts
18 photos

Hi Jodey, always making sure the cutting tools are very sharp will give you a good start with your turning. Colin

Howard Lewis11/11/2020 16:23:04
6005 forum posts
14 photos

Yes, get "The Amateurs Lathe" by LH Sparey, It will give you advice on setting up the lathe and grinding tools.

Although a lot of what he shows refers to the Myford ML7, the book contains the basics, which are applicable to any lathe.

Another book that you will ,find useful, as a reference for all manner of things is Tubal Cain's "Model Engineer's ,Handbook"

Lathes UK, website is a huge mine of information.

Joining a local Model Engineering Society will bring you into contact with other enthusiasts, who will help with advice, and probably demonstrations of techniques and equipment.

The Drummond was never designed for Carbide tools, so stick with using High Speed Steel, would be my advice.

As you become more experienced, you will, need to add, if you do not already have,

a Bench Grinder

Measuring equipment (Callieper, Vernier, Dial or Digital. )

Vernier, you will need to learn to read a vernier scale (They are used on a lot of measuring instruments )

A Dial Calliper will show a reading, directly on a dial with reference to the scale on the main body.

Digital, has the advantage of the reading being immediately easily visible, and can be change by the press of a button from Imperial to Metric.The disadvantage is that the battery may well go flat just when you need it most! Keep a spare!

Then you will find a need for Dial Test Indicators, (Plunger types often graduated in 0.001" ) and Finger type (The generic type is Verdict ) usually graduated in 0.0005"

These will need to be mounted on a base, usually, nowadays, a Magnetic type. My preference is for the type without an adjuster on one of the stems, to maximise rigidity.

You will soon find a need for a Drill Chuck to go into the Tailstock

It may well be an advantage, if you have not already got them, Centres to fit into the Headstock and Tailstock.

As you will already know, the Drummond is an old British machine, so the threads and dials will be Imperial,

( BSW or BSF ). In the right hands, it is capable of turning out good work.

Having ground tools, it is important that they are mounted so that the cutting edge is on the centre line of the Mandrel. In this way, when you face the end of a bar, there will, be no "pip" in the middle. It is worth making a Centre Height Gauge. This can be an early learning exercise, whilst getting used to the lathe and to metal turning.


Welcome and Enjoy.


David George 111/11/2020 17:10:38
1808 forum posts
503 photos

Hi Jodey welcome to the forum. I have an M Type as well and have done many upgrades and mods like tumbler reverse, drip feed lubrication for spindle, and change toolpost to quick change. I have a copy of the handbook and if you want a copy drop me a message with an email address or just ask if you need any further information.




old Al11/11/2020 17:41:15
186 forum posts

Books are a good second choice and the books mentioned are very good and easily found. A few minuits with someone that knows lathe work could take months to learn from a book

Howard Lewis12/11/2020 15:08:11
6005 forum posts
14 photos

There you are; actual users, (There are several on the Forum, scattered across the world ) who are really familiar with the machine and are ready to advise and help.

Even better if you can find someone near to give you some basic instruction, face to face, as soon as things start to approach what used to be normal.

Finding, and joining a local Model Engineering Society will be a good move.

If you say where you are located, possibly someone nearby may be willing to help you. (Even if it is not on a Drummond, the basics are the same, and can be used on almost any lathe once you have learned the

techniques ).

Once you can grind a tool and set it up, you can learn how to provide a steady hand feed for turning, and facing. You have a load of new words , terms, and techniques to learn. The more that you do, the more confident and proficient you will become.

But you are unlikely to be screwcutting or making any tiny engines for model aircraft for a while.

Walking comes a long time before running. It took me a little time to realise that putting on a 0.010" cut reduced diameter by 0.020"!



Edited By Howard Lewis on 12/11/2020 15:09:35

Speedy Builder512/11/2020 15:37:53
2590 forum posts
207 photos

As you practice machining metal, they are all different and sometimes scrap metal turns out to be awful stuff that should have been thrown away. Don't give up, ask a question "Why did I get an awful finish".



Howard Lewis12/11/2020 17:14:13
6005 forum posts
14 photos

Yes, I should have warned against rebar. Don't know what it contains, but it is not nice to machine. AVOID!

Start learning on Free Cutting Mild Steel.

Odd offcuts from a machine shop can be anything. Some will cut beautifully, the next bit may defeat every attempt to get a decent finish, even with a recently ground tool set exactly on the centreline.


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