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Which lathe to purchase

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Michael Ford 624/03/2021 15:05:55
4 forum posts

I have been a model maker for many years but have always had someone to do my lathe work for me but now need to buy my own so would be grateful for any recommendations or ones to avoid.

I have been scanning youtube and have discounted the chinese mini lathes as they all appear to need loads of rectification work before you can use them so I have set a budget of £1500 hoping I can find either a new or secondhand lathe that will give me the accuracy I am looking for.

I have looked at the Chester DB8VS also sold under other names I believe, and have found good reviews ??

Any advice would be appreciated

Howard Lewis24/03/2021 16:47:27
4866 forum posts
12 photos

This is regular question. Thereb vis mno "Perfect" lathe, nor "One size fits all".

The mention of a DB8VS almost selects the size that you seek.

But what you want to make will be a determining factor.

But don't be taken in by the comments about Chinese lathes.

They may not all be perfect, but some folk, mistakenly, seem to think that £600 buys a Toolroom lathe capable of micron precision. Their budget tends to be about £30,000 too low.

If you think that you know what size to aim for, my advice would be to buy something slightly bigger, ready for when your horizons expand. OK, so a 21" Dean Smith and Grace is not a lot of good for watchmaking, but would cope well with a 6" Traction Engine.

You can do small work on a big lathe, but the converse is a little more difficult.

If you, or a companion, know what you are looking at a good secondhand machine can be a bargain. Old machines can produce superb work in the right hands, but spares may be rare or eye wateringly costly.

Excellent work can be turned out on a lathe a century old!

Having read of problems with electronically controlled hobby machines (Possibly of the operator's making, in some cases ) My preference is for lower tech belt or gear head machines (I do have a mini lathe, and have had no problems during the little use that has been made of it )

My original well used, quite secondhand, Myford ML7 was replaced by a Chinese machine with a UK fitted VFD. Yes, it did have a couple of minor problems, which were easily rectified. The major problem was one of my own careless making.

I have no complaints about it. FWIW, it is a clone of a Warco BH600, or a Chester Craftsman - which is still available. If you are lucky, you may be able to find a secondhand one in reasonable trim for your budget.

As new, they came fully equipped, chucks, steadies, faceplate, Norton gearbox, with a feedshaft, separate from the Leadscrew. but you will need some tooling, unless it is part of the sale package..

But don't forget that you may need to allow for even a little measuring equipment. You can expand further as time and budget progresses.

Ponder before purchase, and as you are doing, seek advice.

Howard

br24/03/2021 16:55:57
588 forum posts
1 photos

ML7 . There are three in the classilfied section, all suitable.  Better than Chinese

Bill

Edited By br on 24/03/2021 16:56:25

Howard Lewis24/03/2021 17:34:15
4866 forum posts
12 photos

When buying ANY used machine, you need to be aware of its condition. A nice coat of paint will not guarantee a good machine, possibly the reverse!.

If it is worn or damaged, let someone else have the problem. It may not be easily or cheaply solvable.

Check for damaged gears, and a complete set of changewheels, among other things.

Missing parts may be either costly or difficult to find.

A friend bought a ML4. It would not turn parallel. A previous owner had cross threaded one of the studs holding the Headstock to the bed, pulling it out of line. We drilled out the thread oversize, (having made up a simple jig ) made up a double threaded bush and Loctited it into place. End of problem.

But for some that might have caused real difficulties.

Take someone with you who really knows the machine, if you can. But do take someone who knows what they are about.

The ML7 is a good hobby machine, if not damaged or badly worn, but it is used . Being a Myford, its cult status will inflate the price, compared to say, a Boxford Condition is vital!...

Howard

bernard towers24/03/2021 17:38:59
188 forum posts
71 photos

Howard, Please don’t tell people that you can do small work on a big lathe, you obviously haven’t tried sub 1 mm holes on a 21” DSG,!

Howard Lewis24/03/2021 17:45:30
4866 forum posts
12 photos

Bernard,

I wouldn't; having used machines of a variety of sizes, from a 21" DSG down to a Super Adept.

The sublime needs to be kept separate from the gor blimey!

Common sense, which is no longer that common, calls for a sense of proportion and selecting horse for courses.

Howard

Tony Pratt 124/03/2021 17:48:06
1544 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 24/03/2021 17:45:30:

Bernard,

I wouldn't; having used machines of a variety of sizes, from a 21" DSG down to a Super Adept.

The sublime needs to be kept separate from the gor blimey!

Common sense, which is no longer that common, calls for a sense of proportion and selecting horse for courses.

Howard

You put into words exactly what I was thinking but I couldn't be bothered to replysad

Tony

Steviegtr24/03/2021 18:02:58
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2075 forum posts
287 photos

I have the Myford Super 7B, I love it. But as said above they can demand a higher price than they are probably worth. Lots of youtube video's to sift through. Just don't be in a hurry. Lots of homework on all models that you may be interested in. Good luck with your eventual purchase.

Steve.

Martin Kyte24/03/2021 18:18:48
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2407 forum posts
40 photos

IF you want to make clocks, bore cylinders on the saddle (cross-slide boring table), run auxiliary spindles with headstock division, Clock wheel cutting and small gear manufacture, use the lathe for graduating and a few other techniques. Or if you just really want a Myford then a Myford would suit your needs.

IF you just want a lathe for turning jobs only, plan on having a vertical mill and want to build a loco or traction engine especially in the larger scales then maybe something else would be better.

I have a Myford but use it for many other things than just turning. Myfords are very good at versitility and often were employed in lathe only workshops in the past. The do hold their price which is one plus.

regards Martin

PS You are permitted to change your lathe for something else later if you realise you have made a mistake.

Michael Gilligan24/03/2021 18:27:56
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18080 forum posts
845 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 24/03/2021 16:47:27:

[…]

If you think that you know what size to aim for, my advice would be to buy something slightly bigger, ready for when your horizons expand. […]

.

I know this is a “Model Engineer” [whatever that might mean] forum, but ... why is it so often presumed that one’s horizons will inevitably expand in terms of physical size ?

Doing smaller stuff better is another option.

MichaelG.

Gerhard Novak24/03/2021 20:37:13
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37 forum posts
50 photos

I have just recently purchased a Chester DB8vs and I am impressed with the precision. The chucks runs pretty true, much better than the one on my Emco compact 5 I had before (for 38 years). The jib strips were all set up, no adjusting necessary. Little backlash in the handwheels. So it was just cleaning. Reading several comments of people who had to rip half the machine apart to set it up properly - not at all necessary here. I start liking this machine. The bed is pretty stiff, parting steel no problem. There is plenty of power, but the motor is noisy. It is not a brushless synchrone motor.

By the way, after my positive critisism (except the noise, but I am even getting used to it) of the DB8vs I have to say I am not born in China but in Austria - the land of Emco.smiley

Price: you will need a few extras, even the accessories coming with the machine are plenty (fixed and travelling steady, independent 4 jaw chuck, self centering 3 jaw chuck, centers for spindle and tail stock and even some carbide tipped tools.

You will need a live center for the tailstock, a drill chuck for the tailstock, and if you want to attack smaller stuff also a collet holder and collets (lucky me, I have a mill and I found a collet holder which uses the same size - this saves some money). I also purchased a quick change toolpost and some holders as I am spoiled from my old machine, which had also one. So whatever you pay, consider a couple of hundrets for accessories.

And: look for a stable workbench. I use a good quality kitchen cabinett which is strong enough. Think also about transport of the lathe to its final position. It ways 110kg net, in the box with the accessories it is 130kg.

20210318_213217 (2).jpg

 

Edited By Gerhard Novak on 24/03/2021 20:39:08

Hopper25/03/2021 01:11:17
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5505 forum posts
137 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 24/03/2021 18:27:56:
Posted by Howard Lewis on 24/03/2021 16:47:27:

[…]

If you think that you know what size to aim for, my advice would be to buy something slightly bigger, ready for when your horizons expand. […]

.

I know this is a “Model Engineer” [whatever that might mean] forum, but ... why is it so often presumed that one’s horizons will inevitably expand in terms of physical size ?

Doing smaller stuff better is another option.

MichaelG.

I have never once wished I had a smaller lathe than my Myford or Drummond. But plenty of times have wished I had a bigger one for doing things like motorcycle parts, eg fork tubes, brake drums, flywheels and parting off 2" bar etc. You can do smaller jobs on bigger lathes (within reason) but not vice versa. I can't think of anything too small to do in a Myford sized lathe. Just a matter of small enough collets and drill chucks etc but the basic machine will do tiny work. Perhaps not as nicely as a watchmakers lathe but it will do it.

And I think "larger" hobbies like car restoration, steam and stationary engine restoration, boat building and restoration, machine tool restoration and the like are probably more common than clock making or microscope making.

Michael Gilligan25/03/2021 01:23:39
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18080 forum posts
845 photos

But I only said it was another option

... Just look at Turbine Guy’s thread

MichaelG.

Michael Ford 625/03/2021 10:49:30
4 forum posts

Thanks everyone for your input it is much appreciated and sound advise. I now have some investigating to decide whether to go for s/hand or new.

If I decided to go the Myford ML7 are the tools and bits and pieces still available or are most new items compatible ?

Journeyman25/03/2021 10:57:38
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984 forum posts
182 photos

I wrote a bit on my website about selecting a new lathe, have a look ** Journeyman's Workshop ** may or may not help a bit.

John

Martin Kyte25/03/2021 11:32:05
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2407 forum posts
40 photos
Posted by Michael Ford 6 on 25/03/2021 10:49:30:

Thanks everyone for your input it is much appreciated and sound advise. I now have some investigating to decide whether to go for s/hand or new.

If I decided to go the Myford ML7 are the tools and bits and pieces still available or are most new items compatible ?

I would tend to opt for a Super7 eather than the ML7 which my guess is better supported by Myford (Mytholmroyd) as being the newer version. There are however many parts available second hand. Hemmingway kits support a good range of Myford specific attachments and obviously tool holdres and lathe tooling remains available.

regards Martin

Nick Clarke 325/03/2021 12:00:37
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1212 forum posts
49 photos
Posted by Michael Ford 6 on 25/03/2021 10:49:30:

Thanks everyone for your input it is much appreciated and sound advise. I now have some investigating to decide whether to go for s/hand or new.

If I decided to go the Myford ML7 are the tools and bits and pieces still available or are most new items compatible ?

Many parts are available new, but from reading these columns it appears some go out of stock for extended periods, however many are available second hand.

The issue with a Myford is that while there are many machines up to 75 years old that are in excellent, lightly used, well maintained condition there are others far newer that have had a hard life and need maintenance before use. A super 7 might be 65 years old so is not necessarily in better condition.

Buying a modern machine does not mean it will be fault free but the warranty will be there to support you which may not be the case of a privately bought Myford.

The flexibility of a Myford in good condition has already been mentioned, however if you have a look at dealer adverts (the only fair comparison with a new imported machine with warranty and support I feel) a Super 7 appears to go for between 3-5K with varying amounts of tooling - - and an unused one previously owned by the MD of Myfords was advertised at over 14K. Myfords prices for refurbished lathes are similar to dealer prices.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 25/03/2021 12:19:58

JA25/03/2021 12:18:26
1154 forum posts
72 photos

I guess this is the most popular question on the forum and the one that really divides opinions.

As already mentioned the knowledge, flexibility and years of support is a plus for a post-war Myford. An additional advantage are Geo. H. Thomas's two books on advanced (and not so advanced) tooling and modifications to ML7 and S7 lathes.

Have you looked at the website lathes.co.uk?

JA

Circlip25/03/2021 12:21:07
1271 forum posts

Don't be lured by the "Myford" cult syndrome. There are many lathes out there that are equal if not better. Bought my Maximat V10 years ago on closure of firm I worked for, used to go down to the workshop at lunchtime to use it for my jobs. Three phase motor driven by a FIXED converter, no thyristors or power transistors to pop or brushes to burn out. Dual speed motor gives eight head speeds. Size wise, it's made quite a few 60mm dia hinge "pins" with an M42 x 4mm pitch thread on one end for a mates bucket and grab loader.

Many of the Myford size Chinese (used to be Taiwanese) lathes are rip offs of the Emco lathes and even now, the basic castings for the new Emcos come from the land of the rising yuan.

Assess your needs, if second hand, know its history and if new, check the vendors pedigree. Never ceases to amuse, "10mm lathe tool suitable for Myford lathe", obviously no good for my Emco.

 

Regards Ian.

Edited By Circlip on 25/03/2021 12:23:58

Matt Harrington25/03/2021 12:55:36
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182 forum posts
7 photos

Michael,

I have no idea where you are but a friend of mine who needs the space is about to sell his Chester Craftsman lathe. It has probably done about 10 hours of use from new! He is based in near Beeston (of Myford fame!) I think his price is around your budget and if you are interested, I can put the 2 of you in touch with each other.

Matt

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