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Myford VM-C - Good machine

Advice please

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Neil Murphy 118/08/2021 09:53:53
2 forum posts

Hello all,
I've been offered a Myford VM-C for £1500. It's single phase, has some tooling, a Mitutoyo DRO, the proper base and is in good condition. Does the price sound okay and is it a good machine to start with and pair with my Harrison lathe?
Thanks,
Neil

Martin Kyte18/08/2021 09:58:04
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2755 forum posts
48 photos

I would say that was not an unfair price. Bird in the hand and all that. (I'm very happy with mine)

regards Martin

Brian Wood18/08/2021 14:28:22
2566 forum posts
39 photos

Hello Neil,

It sounds fair to me but I would be keen to test it out before you buy, just to be sure it is cosher. They take up quite a lot of floor space too.

Regards

Brian

duncan webster18/08/2021 14:31:18
3989 forum posts
65 photos

I don't think it has a fine down-feed on the quill, which is a small drawback.

Vic18/08/2021 15:57:57
3074 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by duncan webster on 18/08/2021 14:31:18:

I don't think it has a fine down-feed on the quill, which is a small drawback.

I’ve got the Warco version of the VMC which has the fine downfeed. I’ve never used though it and in fact I’ve removed the hand wheel. I was instructed by a long term machinist that the quill is only for drilling and should be locked when milling. Others disagree I know but I believe the VMC to be a lot more rigid with the quill up and locked.

Tony Pratt 118/08/2021 16:02:02
1966 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by Vic on 18/08/2021 15:57:57:
Posted by duncan webster on 18/08/2021 14:31:18:

I don't think it has a fine down-feed on the quill, which is a small drawback.

I’ve got the Warco version of the VMC which has the fine downfeed. I’ve never used though it and in fact I’ve removed the hand wheel. I was instructed by a long term machinist that the quill is only for drilling and should be locked when milling. Others disagree I know but I believe the VMC to be a lot more rigid with the quill up and locked.

As another long term machinist I tend to agree, I will use the fine down feed on occasion but not very often.

Tony

Clive Foster18/08/2021 16:12:33
3135 forum posts
109 photos

Fine downfeed is generally provided for boring operations.

If you have a scale / DRO on the quill axis a fine downfeed makes it a lot easier to set stop depths too. Even if you use the handle for drilling or whatever.

I use mine in the Bridgeport quite a lot for setting shallower milling jobs as its generally easier than faffing about with the knee. I have a pull wire sensor on teh quill and 3 axis DRO for the others which work out pretty well if I need to be all digital.

I'd seriously miss fine downfeed but I've never used a mill without it so its something I expect and am attuned to use.

Clive

Martin Kyte18/08/2021 16:13:09
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2755 forum posts
48 photos

Fine feed is quite handy when vertical boring with a boring head in the spindle. You could probably think of that as a special case of drilling anyway to keep your ancient machinist happy. However I find the length of the capstan arms and the gear ratio of the quill rack and pinion sufficient to be able to feed quite slowly when vertical boring in my VMC. The final models VME and VMF did have fine feed. If I hadn't already got one I'd be prepared to pay that price.

regards Martin

Martin Kyte18/08/2021 16:15:28
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2755 forum posts
48 photos

For drilling to depth Clive I always set the stop with the drill touching the work, back it off and then raise the knee.

regards Martin

Lathejack18/08/2021 22:20:05
311 forum posts
329 photos

Yes a Myford VMC certainly is a good machine to have, and is definitely worth £1500 if in good condition, even without the Mitutoyo DRO.

I have a Taiwanese made Warco VMC manufactured in the mid 1990's, and although the Taiwanese made Myford VMC looks very similar it is not quite the same machine. The Myford has better proportioned castings, such as a deeper knee casting and a very wide saddle, also what resembles a hand scraped finish on the vertical guidways on the column and on the top of the knee, and has attention to machining and fit that gives it a quality feel that was to some extent lost on the other versions of the VMC such as my Warco. The earlier VMC sold by Warco up until the late 1980's was the same machine as the Myford VMC, but by the 1990's the Warco VMC was changed to the type I have, which is still a good machine, but just not quite as good as the version sold by Myford.

The lack of a fine quill feed on the Myford VMC is a shame, but it's not essential and it is still a very capable machine and it would not put me off. I do use the fine quill feed on my Warco VMC for some milling operations and certainly for boring, that's what it is for and it works perfectly well, as long as the quill is a good close fit in the bore of the head casting.

The larger VME and VMF milling machines that Myford once sold alongside their VMC were always fitted with a fine feed to the quill, so it's odd that the factory in Taiwan chose not to fit it to their VMC.

Anyway Neil, the Myford VMC you were offered is certainly worth buying, so probably best to get it snapped up.

Edited By Lathejack on 18/08/2021 22:22:56

Nigel Graham 218/08/2021 22:36:20
2136 forum posts
29 photos

Go for it!

My VM-C and Harrison L5 keep each other company very happily!

The one thing it isn't, is as it was apparently advertised new, a "turret" mill. The head can be tilted in one plane, but is of fixed radius.

'

Yours having a DRO installed is a bonus. I treated mine to a Machine-DRO 3-axis set, which was not easy because the milling-machine was not designed for simply bolting such things straight on; and I had to sacrifice the long-travel stops to fit the scale and reader. (Some would aver I no longer need them, but I disagree.)

'

I've also treated it (and the lathe) to a Newton-Tesla 3-phase motor etc but still use the belt-drive on the mill (and the lathe's headstock gears) as the speed-range on the electrics is not sufficiently wide for many operations. The conbination gives a fine-&-coarse range, keeps the torque-multiplier and keeps the motor happily fast at low spindle speeds.

'

The one drawback is that when using diving-heads, rotary tables etc the cutter headroom evaporates, but this is probably true of most medium to small milling-machines.

Milling-machines sprawl! The width it occupies is the table length over both of the handles, plus its long travel, and symmetrical with the column - but don't forget you need space to turn said handles; and to be able to reach the space round the sides generally.

Also think about head-room above the machine. You need clearance to open the belt-guard fully, when it stands upright on its side.

Exanine the swinging-arm that carries the belt-drive's idler pulley. If its fulcrum works loose the arm can flop about, making the drive noisy and not doing it any good. It is easy enough to re-tighten but remember it is tapped into an aluminium-alloy casting.

'

I've not found the lack of a fine down-feed a problem. I work around it easily enough.

The two problems I do have with my VM-C are both quill-related, though.

- The quill is so stiff the return-spring won't return, making sensitive drilling rather fraught. Despite studying the drawings in the lathes.co fasimile manual, and asking for help on here, I have found no obvious way to investigate and rectify it. The rack and pinion and the axial bearings might simply be bunged up with congealed grease, but are all inaccessible.

- It is sometimes very difficult to engage the R8 tooling correctly. I do not know if the spindle has a pin or a rectangular key but it seems either damaged or loose. That inaccessibility leaves it an irritating mystery; but a touch of oil on the collet's key-way helps.

Obe good point though, I found serendipitously I could make a self-ejecting draw-bar; having lost the plain draw-bar that came with my second-hand mill. The sectional drawing suggested as later proved, the spindle has a break of internal diameter allowing an ejecting draw-bar to work. I don't know if that was in fact the original idea.

Lathejack18/08/2021 23:55:40
311 forum posts
329 photos
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 18/08/2021 22:36:20:

The one thing it isn't, is as it was apparently advertised new, a "turret" mill. The head can be tilted in one plane, but is of fixed radius.

They are a turret mill, the turret is there on the top of the column and rotates, but they just don't have a ram to allow the head to slide in and out to give the extra adjustment you mention. A bit of a missed opportunity by the manufacturer I think, they could have designed something similar to the Elliot 00 omnimill.

The larger VMF did have a ram, but with the motor mounted on top of the mill head.

I'm curious about the very stiff quill on your VMC, is it a Myford VMC you have? The several Myford VMC mills I have looked at all had a very close fitting quill that had just a slight amount of drag in the head casting, as it should be, but they would return steadily by spring pressure or by light pressure on the hand wheel and certainly weren't stiff. Was it like this when you bought it?

As well as possibly being gunged up as you suggest, is the quill lock releasing fully or maybe sticking or binding? Or possibly some damage or bend to the splined portion on the upper part of the spindle? If the hand wheel shaft is free then free movement of the close fitting quill is easily hindered by gunge, corrosion or a slightly damaged head casting. It is certainly worth the effort to strip the head down to investigate and make the machine a bit more pleasurable to use.

I agree about the fitting of a three phase motor and inverter, I've done the same to my mill and lathe and it transforms them.

Edited By Lathejack on 19/08/2021 00:01:39

Edited By Lathejack on 19/08/2021 00:04:26

Nigel Graham 219/08/2021 23:27:16
2136 forum posts
29 photos

Thank you Lathejack.

Yes, it is a VMC. The quill was stiff when I bought it, and has not improved with use. I am fairly sure the quill lock does work as it should. It certainly locks but you may be right that it's not unlocking sufficiently. Its handle is a bit of a pain, incidentally, as it often fouls the depth-stop.

The quill moves smoothly through its range so it is not damaged; just gripped by something with the same force all the way up and down.

I've tightened the coil-spring up a bit, with no real difference. I know springs of that type are dangerous things, and I don't have the tools and knowledge to handle them safely.

There is no obvious access to the innards of the head. I have tried slackening the covers on both ends of the pinion-shaft to see if that gave any hints, but it did not.

The manual's sectional drawing suggests a large opening in the back of the head, accessible only by removing the unit from the machine - a fairly major task. I may have to take the plunge though as the spindle is also beginning to leak oil (or melted grease).

===

The 3-phase set on my Harrison L5 allows with the gears, a spindle speed down to roughly 70rpm, gauged by watching it revolve, with the speed knob on the controller still well up the green sector, ~ 900-1000rpm on the motor. I mounted the motor frame above the headstock, and the controller above and behind the tailstock. So both are well away from swarf and dirt, and the controls distant from the chuck. (Though the clutch-lever is still in its horrible original position, over the head-stock.)

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