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Drummond lathe

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Raymond Kelly27/10/2021 09:11:57
6 forum posts

Hello all. I am just getting into , model engineering for the first time. I would appreciate any comments on . Buying a old Drummond type lathe for a beginner. Regards Ray

Ady127/10/2021 12:09:19
5067 forum posts
734 photos

I got one and spent 10 years fixing it up and making bits

If you want to dive in a second hand mini lathe with a bunch of tooling is the fast smart route for a newbie

Once you get more experienced you tend to want to upscale anyway, bigger gear, better gear

The M series lathes are fabby but highly variable in quality, almost 100 years old now

With fast mini lathe experience you can decide with far more confidence about your next move/the future

Edited By Ady1 on 27/10/2021 12:13:13

Rob McSweeney27/10/2021 12:23:55
73 forum posts

I would echo what Ady has said, with the proviso that not all new production small lathes are fault and problem free.

If you are not familiar with lathes, buying secondhand can be a real minefield, do you know anyone who could help you?

Drummond lathes do have a loyal following of their own, almost a hobby in itself.

Your starting point would be the comprehensive entry on,uk.

Can I also point you in the direction of the Drummond/Myford lathes group on facebook - I don't think you have to join in order to read the posts and will learn a lot by reading what others are up to. There used to be a Drummond group on Yahoo groups which was very good (although not as active as the F/B group and a few of the members are well up themselves) this was migrated elsewhere when Yahoo ended the 'groups' facility and is now hard to find, there are some real 'treasures' in the files section though.

Keith Long27/10/2021 13:03:53
877 forum posts
11 photos

Ray, the ex Yahoo Drummond group isn't hard to find, just follow this ***link*** (


Lee Rogers27/10/2021 15:01:52
166 forum posts

Yes both groups are a mine of good info and friendly too. The facebook group are an easy going and theres no such thing as a stupid question . As for your new lathe , make sure that you know what should be with it. We regularly see lathes advertised as complete but lacking changewheels, backgear and all manor of other smaller parts. Be wary of a machine thats been run direct from the motor without a countershaft, it's a bearing killer. The Drummond M became the Myford M and fair to say the Myford M was the best of the bunch being fully developed to include a few usefull extras, and as said by Rob Mcsweeny all described on Tony Griffiths site. Good luck and above all enjoy.

jann west27/10/2021 15:23:44
95 forum posts

What no one has said is: Depending on the lathe and condition, at free it might be too expensive - even before you consider if it is appropriate for what you are planning to make.

Nick Clarke 328/10/2021 09:13:58
1395 forum posts
61 photos

I bought a Drummond Round bed for £21 - bargain obviously.

The saddle was cracked and while it was OK I found a replacement for £29 on eBay

I needed to buy a motor £40 secondhand

The lathe came with a small three jaw with only one set of jaws so I adapted the spindle to take modern mini lathe chucks and bought 3 and 4 jaw chucks - about £180

I made my own countershaft with v pulleys (the lathe had already been fitted with a v pulley) - about £50

I now had a hundred year old used, but OK, lathe.

All great fun, but I would have still needed to buy a drill chuck, centres and lathe tools.

I would not have missed it for the world as an experience, but the lathe on my bench at present is a bought new Sieg SC3 Mini Lathe.

You can't measure the pleasure and the education I had from the Drummond, but the figures can't lie I'm afraid.


Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 28/10/2021 09:16:48

Howard Lewis28/10/2021 11:32:37
6024 forum posts
14 photos

A former working colleague has produced super work on a round bed Drummond, so don't be frightened.

One of his products was an Elbow Engine.

The WaterWorks Museum in Hereford has a flat bed which is treadle driven, and can still cut metal quite nicely.

If it is reasonable condition, or can be made so, go for it.

As a newbie you will learn the basics as well on a Drummond as on a brand new machine.

Many a good tune from an old fiddle.


Raymond Kelly29/10/2021 06:46:43
6 forum posts

Thanks for the information I will put it to good use.cheers Ray

Raymond Kelly14/11/2021 13:45:14
6 forum posts

Can anyone pleased tell me the correct internal size for a early Drummond lathe flat bed 1906 ish gears. Also what is a picador regards Ray

Bazyle14/11/2021 13:55:31
6297 forum posts
222 photos


A picador is a Spanish bullfighter but Picador the company make pulleys and plummer blocks, a small wood turning lathe, small table saw etc.

Keith Long14/11/2021 14:02:05
877 forum posts
11 photos

Hello Ray

As Bazyle says above, but I've got a feeling that Picador "made" pulleys etc. as I think the company is no longer with us. Drive line components (pulleys, belts, plummer blocks etc ) are still readily available through various bearing suppliers. A quick on line search will turn up many options as well as second hand stuff coming up regularly on EBay.

DiogenesII14/11/2021 14:39:50
520 forum posts
202 photos

..I hope people will forgive me for saying that many Picador components (bearing blocks etc.) were cheaply made for light duties and not all are suitable for the kind of sustained high-speed-machine-tool-drive work that one occasionally sees them being put to in items being sold through auction-sites and classifieds..

It depends what Picador components are being used where..

SillyOldDuffer14/11/2021 14:43:03
8495 forum posts
1900 photos
Posted by Raymond Kelly on 14/11/2021 13:45:14:

... what is a picador regards Ray is an excellent source of info on most older lathes - pretty much everything apart from modern Far Eastern machines. This link is to the Picador, sold as the 'The Poor Man's Pal' and described as 'incapable of cutting metal'.

As a general rule multi-purpose and adaptor tools are more-or-less seriously compromised compared with the real thing. Useful within their limitations, but liable to have many shortcomings. Picador's weren't wonderful new, and half of century of wear, tear and lost parts won't do one any favours! Better to buy a real lathe I suggest.

Also, forget brand-names and features when buying second-hand, only condition matters. Even superb precision lathes end up beyond economic repair - scrap.

Finding a good second-hand lathe is a challenge if you don't know how to evaluate them. For that reason, many prefer to start with a new Far Eastern machine because they can be ordered online and returned to the supplier if a crock arrives. (No statistics, but although there's a sprinkling of lemons, it seems most buyers are reasonably happy with what they get. Hobby machines, bit rough around the edges, full package, and suitably affordable. They don't compete with industrial machines, but are certainly better than a Picador and most of the cheap pre-war British makes demolished by Myford's ML7!


Raymond Kelly14/11/2021 14:48:08
6 forum posts

Thank you everyone for the information. It is of great use. I am in no rush to one together. I have got the main bed part of the lathe ,and the headstock. So anyone who has any other parts they are looking to sale feel free to contact me. Cheers Ray

Ian Macaulay24/01/2022 21:35:41
1 forum posts

I am trying to find which oll is currently available for the Drummong Round bed.

I have been using Compressor tool oil and am having doubts.

The machine is only used about once a year.


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