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Looking to upgrade my lathe advice please

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Jon Cameron04/02/2021 10:27:26
359 forum posts
113 photos


I'm looking at upgrading my myford ML4 to an ML7. Having had a look around prices and spec seem to vary wildly at the moment. I have a host of myford tooling, vertical slide, vice, rotary table and an Alomco milling attachment, so upgrading to an ML7 seems logical.

Trouble is I can't help thinking that if I sold the lot off I would make enough money to contribute to buying a decent brand new Lathe, such as a sieg and a new mill. I might be opening a rabbit hole of opinions here but do I keep a look out for a good ML7, or do I go ahead and look to go down the new Chinese lathe route? I have seen an ML7 locally to me but at £1500 just for the lathe with limited tooling I'm wondering is this too much? The lathe looks in good condition, but without going and doing some tests on it, its an unknown whereas a new lathe and mill wouldn't be.

Advice please. Im located in the North East if that is of any help.


Dave Halford04/02/2021 11:33:45
1884 forum posts
22 photos

I suppose it depends on your turning style, do you push the ML4 on a cut or is everything gentle finishing cuts?

Most model engineer bench size lathes are overpriced on the 2nd hand market. Myford's are probably the worst example of this driven by so many lathe breakers out there now.

The best thing you can do is spend some time in the search on here and make your choice. There are issues with both old and new machines that have come up over the last 5 years and shared in these pages.

Buffer04/02/2021 11:45:50
325 forum posts
152 photos


I have owned an ML7 and I still have a Super7, so first thing is why upgrade to an ML7 when you could get an S7 for that money?

It is possible to pick up an S7 for less than or around the £1000 mark with tooling and on a myford cabinet. I can't comment on Chinese lathes as I don't own one but I do think that £1500 for an ML7 with limited tooling sounds like too much to be asking. I suppose if its in very good condition you might think it's worth it but I personally would be looking for a good S7 for that money.

As far as spending money on a sieg mill, I don't know if you already have a mill or not. I suppose any mill is better than no mill as you would soon get very fed up with milling on a Myford. I do have a sieg mill (sx3) and it seems to do a good job.





Edited By Buffer on 04/02/2021 11:46:11

Jon Cameron04/02/2021 12:10:04
359 forum posts
113 photos

Hello David, I would say my turning style is quite gentle, I don't take more than 20thou dia cuts, the ML4 would struggle with anything more than 40thou dia cut. I wouldn't say I've pushed the ML4 hard on any operation I've done.

Hello Buffer, I do have an Amolco milling attachment which is in immaculate condition, and has three collets and collet closer for holding Milling cutters, and an MT2 spindle and drawbar. An S7 with cabinet and tooling, with the milling attachment and tooling I have would be ideal I think but prices seem to have gone silly in the last 12months for a half decent machine. This is why I'm posing the question as it seems I have two options available to me.


Dave Wootton04/02/2021 12:31:12
228 forum posts
56 photos

Hi Jon

Bede machinery have a very tidy ML7 on their website, they are in the north east, no connection with them, but I did buy quite a lot of tooling from them and was well pleased, very knowledgeable and straightforward company.

 I've got an ML7R now which was bequeathed to me, but had an ML7 for many years that performed well and did everything asked of it.



Edited for spelling and I'm still not sure its right!

Edited By Dave Wootton on 04/02/2021 12:39:27

Edited By Dave Wootton on 04/02/2021 12:40:35

Jon Cameron04/02/2021 12:41:17
359 forum posts
113 photos

Hi Dave,

Yes I've seen that and have sent an enquiry off to them as there is not much said about it. I await their reply.


Ps your the second person to say they have had good dealing with them.

Edited By Jon Cameron on 04/02/2021 12:42:29

Dave Halford04/02/2021 12:55:22
1884 forum posts
22 photos
Posted by Jon Cameron on 04/02/2021 12:10:04:

Hello David, I would say my turning style is quite gentle, I don't take more than 20thou dia cuts, the ML4 would struggle with anything more than 40thou dia cut. I wouldn't say I've pushed the ML4 hard on any operation I've done.


In which case the chances of breaking plastic gears or letting the smoke out of control boards on modern stuff is very much reduced.

That really only leaves checking the wiring and setting up all the adjustables which are common to both new and old machines.

SillyOldDuffer04/02/2021 13:14:24
7904 forum posts
1725 photos

Do ML4 accessories fit ML7 lathes? Hopefully an expert will answer that, but if the answer is 'no' it changes the equation. (I believe the ML4 and ML7 are different.)

As Dave hints there's a problem with Myford's - I think they are overpriced too. Things sell for what people are prepared to pay for them and for good and bad reasons lots of people want a Myford. Good idea 30 years ago, not so clear to me why it's still the case in 2021 because there's much more choice. Today you can also buy:

  • a new hobby lathe with consumer protection and a wide choice of size and features. (My Chinese lathe is bigger than a Super 7 and was chosen to fit in my limited space workshop.) These machines aren't as well finished as a Myford in good condition, but they're better value than a basically sound machine in need of a thorough overhaul. The problem with Myford lathes today is they are SECONDHAND and you have to make sure they're in reasonable order. Condition is everything, brand-names are irrelevant.
  • Better lathes that were so expensive almost no hobbyists owned one. Today you can have a machine that cost much more than the best Myford did at the time. The reason is industry and education have dumped manual machines in huge numbers because they switched to CNC. You can get a seriously good lathe in good condition for less than the cost of a Myford. Very tempting, though keep an eye on their size, electrical requirements and the cost of spares.

The availability of second-hand Myfords seems to vary wildly depending on where you live. In my part of the world I've only come across one in 40 years. Easier now the internet is my friend!

Don't forget COVID restrictions. Normally I'd recommend carefully checking out a second-hand lathe in person before purchase. Not now! Please don't be irresponsible - travelling to buy a hobby lathe isn't essential.


Howard Lewis04/02/2021 13:31:30
5744 forum posts
13 photos

Probably stating the painfully obvious, although the centre heights are nominally the same, any tooling that clamps to the bed of the ML4 will not clamp to the ML7 because the beds are completely different.

What the ML4 and the accessories would fetch would probably go a long way towards a Chinese lathe.

A mini lathe is about the same size as a ML7, and if new should not have the wear problems intrinsic with any used machine. But since your horizons are already expanding., the SC4 comes to mind. (The changewheeel set includes a 127T gear, so changing from Metric to Imperial threads should cause no problems. )

You will be changing from an Imperial machine to a Metric one., and although the Myford Vertical Slide allows milling, it is not, in my experience, particularly rigid.

So obviously, I am going to advise a dedicated machine for milling.

It would be good to have machines by the same manufacturer, again my view. And Sieg is the name that first comes to mind.

The over riding factor in this apart from space, has to be budget, of course.

If it can be stretched, good choices now will avoid changes, and expenditure, at a later date.

The choice has to be yours, despite all the preferences expressed by us.


Jon Cameron04/02/2021 14:11:03
359 forum posts
113 photos

Dave the tooling I've listed in my post does fit the ML4 and ML7 as it bolts to the cross slide, the amolco milling attachment has the foot for an ML7, but I had an adaptor plate made up to enable its use on the ML4 bed. Centres ect from my lathe won't fit an ML7 as the MT sockets are different. Chucks will fit with a different backplate. The fixed steady from the ML4 will fit the ML7 but is small capacity, the travelling steady is nearly the same as the ML7 one and I believe bolts the same too. Also yes thanks for the Covid 19 reminder, I've worked through both lockdowns manufacturing plastics for the protective screens, and PPE, such as face visors. Im fully aware what is and isn't essential.

Howard, your correct on the beds, see above reply. SC4 would be nice, but I've looked and Arc say they have discontinued that model. A warco or SC3 would be another alternative, and the warco WM180 comes in at under £1000. But has a smaller centre to centre distance than what I have now. 300mm compared to 21". If I have the money then a separate milling machine would be nice. Seig do the SX1LP for under £600. Warco WM 12 for just over £750. Having a guarantee and new machine is of benefit as tooling is readily available. Will have to do some more searching tonight and compare, but I welcome the thoughts posted above thank you.


V8Eng04/02/2021 14:24:30
1654 forum posts
1 photos

I noticed Axminster Tools seem to have SC4 Lathes in stock when I was ordering

/browsing other stuff recently.

Edited By V8Eng on 04/02/2021 14:29:59

Jon Cameron04/02/2021 21:45:39
359 forum posts
113 photos

Thats more than I thought they would be listed as, and out of any potential budget of mine.

I had a reply from Bede also the one listed on their website is sold. Still thanks for the heads up



not done it yet04/02/2021 22:08:24
6514 forum posts
20 photos

You clearly are, or have been, a myford man. I never really fancied a myford as the centre height was considered insufficient for my needs.

I eventually bought one of those lathes that were about twice the price of a myford back then. Been happy with the marque and now have their last iteration. Does everything I need it to do at probably less than half (or even a third) the price of a decent myford

Same risks/problems as buying any secondhand lathe but as you are currently served by a working lathe, time is on your side.... I only changed to my present lathe after a protracted search - for a suitable example at a good price.

Edited By not done it yet on 04/02/2021 22:09:58

IanT04/02/2021 22:24:35
1944 forum posts
194 photos

I have an old Mk1 S7 Jon. I didn't pay a lot for it but it did need some attention and at that time I had more time than money. It's now usable for most of the things I need of it.

There are still a few things that could be much improved and (every now and again) I'll have a rush of blood and actually do something about one of them. However, it's an old machine and there's a degree of wear (and other problems) that I will probably never now spend the time or money fixing.

If I was thinking of going through the hassle of changing out my S7 for another lathe, I think I'd just find a new Chinese machine that fitted the available space and suited my pocket.

BTW - I had an old ML4 (with a missing cross-slide) that I gave to a friends son, who has a young family and a large mortgage. He's a clever lad, found the missing parts on eBay and has done a lovely job of restoring it.



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