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For all you Myford owners

A tour of the factory

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Steviegtr28/06/2022 02:06:35
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Have a look at Keith Appleton's youtube. He is doing a 4 part series of the Myford factory. This will only be of interest to any Myford owners.

Enjoy. Some lovely machines.

Steviegtr28/06/2022 02:29:22
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Just to add i have watched 3 parts of his video's & am proud to say i own a Myford. Very nicely made machine. Now i know why they command such a high price.

Steve.

Hopper28/06/2022 03:14:19
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Some lovely machines showcased on their showroom floor, but their "factory" appears to be a small final assembly workshop (deserted) where one or two blokes put together parts cast and machined by other companies, or still working through the stock bought from the original Myford company when the RDG mob took over. Good promo for them though.

They say most of the bits are made in the Halifax area. I wonder who does their bed grinding for them. Might be possible to send a secondhand bed direct to them for regrinding and cut out the middle man.

Unless Part 4 will reveal a real factory out the back of the assembly workshop and showroom? Very interesting to see how the company operates these days though. A far cry from the so-called good old days. It's all outsourcing these days by the looks.

Edited By Hopper on 28/06/2022 03:16:06

Steviegtr28/06/2022 03:56:44
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Oh my Hopper. Why are you guys so negative.

He & i know him personaly would not spin a yarn. Keith is a acomplished engineer & musician. He is not giving out bull--it. Come over from ausi & see for yourself.

Steve.

Hopper28/06/2022 04:35:01
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Not sure what you are on about. I did not see any footage of any actual making of Myford lathes in the three videos. Just a bunch of footage of their new models and accessories in the showroom and their small assembly workshop. No casting. No machining. No hand fitting. No scraping. No measuring. No rolling of leadscrews.   I don't have to come over there to see a video. I can see it from here.

And I was trying to be positive. My first reaction was "Is this a paid promo video for Myford?" but as I don't know the guy personally as you do, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. I am sure if he were receiving money (or free gear) from Myford for making the videos, he would disclose that important fact. Even if he does close the first video with "You should buy a Myford lathe. If you buy the best, you only buy once". Sounds like an ad-man's dream. But surely he wouldn't have been reading that from a script without saying so, would he.

Just disappointed not to see how they actually make Myfords these days. I'm sure they are somewhat CNC machined in the modern manner, or perhaps they still use that same old ancient WW2 vintage surface grinder that's in the old black and white factory video from the 1950s or so on YouTube? Intriguing. But as he says in the video, the parts are all machined in the Halifax area, but apparently not by RDG/Myfords, so would be more difficult to get access to outside suppliers at the exact time they were doing the small orders for Myfords among the myriad other jobs they would do.

Anyhow, looking forward to seeing his conclusion in Part 4. Please let us know when it appears.

PS, it actually would make a really good article for MEW for someone over there to go to the Myford factory/workshop and to the outside suppliers who do the casting and machining and get the whole story. I'm sure there would be a lot of interest in exactly how the nitty gritty of the manufacturing of this 1940s design is done in in the 21st century. A great story of a British industry surviving where many others did not.

 

Edited By Hopper on 28/06/2022 04:52:43

Pero28/06/2022 05:06:18
163 forum posts

What seems to being suggested ( I haven't watched the videos ) is that components are being produced in a number of small ( ? ) specialist workshops and then being brought together by Myfords for final assembly and testing.

This, as I understand it, is a similar model to that used by Cowells. I haven't heard too many complaints about Cowells machines and their quality and I certainly have no complaints about mine..

This production method seems to be the model used today in all multi component products ranging from motor cars to aircraft and rockets. The days of everything being done in-house seems to be a thing of the past. A pity in some ways but entirely sensible when you think about it, but quality control is always the overriding determinant.

Pero

HOWARDT28/06/2022 07:50:32
932 forum posts
39 photos

When I worked in the UK machine tool industry I saw the decline of in house machining. Over the years the out sourcing of components became the norm, most machine tool manufacturers here became part finishers and assemblers. Shops reduced in manpower to reduce cost. When you consider the price of buying volume parts and then consider the cost of making a small volume with wages and all the costs involved of having machines on the shop floor you soon realise the benefits of outsourcing. Even large cnc machine builders elsewhere in the world outsource. As Keith says in his videos the parts are machined in the UK, easy to get a small volume machined rather than find enough work for small machine shop. Also think of the number of machines you would need to produce all the parts.

Michael Gilligan28/06/2022 08:25:13
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Posted by Hopper on 28/06/2022 04:35:01:

[…]

PS, it actually would make a really good article for MEW for someone over there to go to the Myford factory/workshop and to the outside suppliers who do the casting and machining and get the whole story. I'm sure there would be a lot of interest in exactly how the nitty gritty of the manufacturing of this 1940s design is done in in the 21st century.

.

yes

Something I have been suggesting since approximately Day_1 of the new ownership.

The Factory tours at Beeston were a great day out, and very informative.

Under new ownership, the business model must have changed … or it would have died by now !

Like you, Hopper … I would be interested to understand how they are achieving the success.

MichaelG.

.

P.S. __ This old thread might make amusing reading:

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=135064&p=1

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 28/06/2022 08:37:30

Mike Poole28/06/2022 08:55:50
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I think Myford of Nottingham probably became a model of how not to manufacture a lathe in Britain in the 21st century. It must be to the new owners credit that they continue to produce a good quality machine. You will need fairly deep pockets to buy one these days but when I first desired one as an apprentice they were well out of reach of my meagre pay packet and with other things like motorcycles and beer to buy the lathe was put on the back burner and further delayed when family life became more of a priority than beer, bikes and rock music. Having had the opportunity to touch and examine the new Myfords and talk to them at shows they certainly seem intent on keeping high standards. We are well past simply selling stock from the original takeover and though I don’t doubt some of the slow moving items are from the original company the faster moving stuff has been restocked, a few people have had an odd problem but it is probably difficult to point the finger accurately at the cause. For the quantities involved I doubt that it would be economical to run a standards room and conformance checks to sell at a realistic price. There was some noise about the Tufnol gears at one time but whether the parts were eBay fakes or a genuine mistake by Myford or their supplier regarding the material selection was not clear but as it all calmed down the issue seemed to get resolved. I never did buy a new Myford but I bought mine from the original purchaser who had built one loco with it and then upgraded to a Colchester. I have bought various accessories from Myford in recent times which have all been very satisfactory. They ruffled a few feathers after the takeover with some efforts to protect their trademark but that seems to have settled down long ago.

Mike

 

Edited By Mike Poole on 28/06/2022 08:58:38

Hopper28/06/2022 09:15:11
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 28/06/2022 08:25:13:...

...

Under new ownership, the business model must have changed … or it would have died by now !

Like you, Hopper … I would be interested to understand how they are achieving the success.

MichaelG.

.

P.S. __ This old thread might make amusing reading:

**LINK**

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 28/06/2022 08:37:30

LOL yes interesting.

I don't think they are achieving current success through the sales of large volumes of new lathes, or even rebuilt ones. Not with new prices running 6500 to 10,000 Pounds or something. (Not sure what a Connoisseur sells for these days. ) I don't remember anyone ever posting on this or other ME-related forums saying "Hey I just bought a new/rebuilt lathe direct from Myford". I am sure they are out there, but not in large numbers.

Whereas there are a number of posts every week from people who just bought a used Myford from elsewhere. It would be a fair bet that a large chunk of today's Myford company's revenue comes from selling spare parts and accessories to that market.

So, if you have a big warehouse full of Myford spare parts, doing a nice little business selling them on your website and eBay, why not hire a couple of fitters and have them assemble a small number of lathes out of the parts and sell them as top-of-the-line boutique items at premium prices?

I'm happy with that, because it means I can buy brand new parts for my 1957 lathe whenever I need them and keep it going as a good usable machine for as long as I am likely to need it. Good on 'em, whatever business model they are using, I say.

But like you, I would be real interested to see how it is all done today. Perhaps Video 4 will reveal all?

noel shelley28/06/2022 09:50:14
1445 forum posts
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Make NO MISTAKE gentlemen, Myford Beeston DID NOT make all the items they sold ! Some for the sake of argument were made in the west country ! The castings were supplied, taken to a small workshop in Devon, manufactured and delivered to Beeston whilst at the same time the next batch of castings were collected. They had an identifying W stamped in them ! This is a fact ! Noel.

Hopper28/06/2022 11:07:29
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Which has been pretty standard in manufacturing forever. I am sure they did not do their own pressure casting of all those Mazak components, or wind their own electric motors either. But from old articles and brochures it seems they did a lot of their own machining of beds and headstocks and the like, as well as making their own change gears etc. I'm sure even then, they got their castings done at a contract foundry. That's why most of the big name factories, be it Morris, Leyland, Norton or Myford, were located in major industrial centres. They were surrounded by lesser specialist engineering works supplying castings, pressings, mouldings, machining, or whatever. Every time a car factory closes down, it is reckoned there are four jobs lost in the supply chain and logistics community for every one in the actual car factory.

 It would be real interesting to see how Myford and its suppliers do all that now. Unfortunately the three videos so far do a great job of sales promotion for Myford lathes and accessories that viewers might like to buy but show precious little of the process that produces them. That's the part I would like to see.

Edited By Hopper on 28/06/2022 11:10:09

John Haine28/06/2022 12:05:31
4718 forum posts
273 photos

I did buy a big-bore S7 in the early 2000s but I wouldn't buy one again. Yes, it's OK, precise and all that, but the design is very poor for a 21st century machine. Bed design not very good, there's a reason why most lathes have prismatic beds. Plain tapered headstock main bearing? Flimsy topslide. I'm sure that the complex drive system made sense when induction motors with decent power were expensive but all that countershaft stuff is a real nuisance now not to mention I suspect very expensive to make. The Myford 7 is really a fashion item. They could have got high-spec versions of the bigger Sieg lathes made and upgraded them in the UK, painted them in Myford colours and given a suitable new name, fitted 3 phase motors and VFD, and probably still made a bigger profit.

Hopper28/06/2022 12:19:50
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Posted by John Haine on 28/06/2022 12:05:31:

I did buy a big-bore S7 in the early 2000s but I wouldn't buy one again. Yes, it's OK, precise and all that, but the design is very poor for a 21st century machine.

laughlaugh That's because its design dates back to World War 2, just prior to the ML7's launch in 1946 as soon as the dust settled. And the flat bed was a favourite of English lathe manufacturers of that era because it was cheap to manufacture with a standard surface grinder hitting one top surface in one fell swoop, instead of half a dozen or more on a proper double prismatic bed. Contrary to current marketing of "Connoisseur" etc, the Myford was originally a (relatively) low cost hobby lathe compared with the more expensive Raglans and Boxfords etc. The ML7 was even cheaper than the honourable old M-Type Drummond/Myford it replaced. A triumph of clever cost-cutting design and production engineering. Now a triumph of clever marketing.

Mike Poole28/06/2022 13:38:21
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If we sat down with a clean sheet of paper and and a head full of modern manufacturing a Myford would not be the machine we would make today. The machines offered mainly by the Far East would be what arrived on our paper. John Bloor bought the Triumph name and that was probably all that was worth having. He spent some fairly serious money on modern machinery and a modular design and made some machinery that people wanted to buy. The Fireblade, GSXR and R1 fans were untroubled by the initial offerings but the bikes appealed to many people. Even if a new lathe could be designed and built to be the must have machine for the home workshop the volume of the market in the UK is tiny and even world wide is not huge. One of the original Myford selling points must have been the wide range accessories for the lathe which were available to enhance the capabilities of the basic lathe. It was very possible to machine all the parts required for a loco on the Myford. Of course the scale of the model had to be within the capabilities of the fairly small lathe.

Mike

Martin Kyte28/06/2022 14:28:53
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A friend and I took a couple of beds to be reground to Beeston in 2000 and had a little look round. A very telling sign of the state of the company in terms of modernisation was the blokes were still given a wage packet every week with actual cash in it. My take on the situation was that the world had a lot of Myford Lathes in in all requiring spares at some point and a good income came from that source before getting to selling any new lathes. They were always very helpful and had an onsite spares counter but never got as far as web based ordering and next day delivery as we are used to and pretty much expect these days.

For myself the Super 7 suits my needs and I like the connection with the past. Running a 7 is pretty much baked in for me as all my accessories are designed and built to suit it. Yes, in absolute terms it's not a modern lathe but any measure but there are few other lathes that are as versatile which for the home worker is a real point in it's favour. In any case I am not doing production work so I am not convinced that being old school is much of a drawback especially as it delivers accurate work and in one sense it's more accurate than I am at times.

I am really pleased that Myford has continued in it's re-incarnate form, not least because I can rely on future supplies of spares but also it's nice to see the name carry on. The hobby has much to thank Myford for.

regards Martin

duncan webster28/06/2022 15:33:20
4123 forum posts
66 photos

Unless you've got enough work to keep it fully occupied, owning a machine tool and employing someone to operate it is not a good commercial proposition much better to sub the work out. You need to make sure that you get the right quality, that's where good relationships matter, a point which seems to escape many procurement people, who just want cheap.

Edited By duncan webster on 28/06/2022 15:33:43

Dave Halford28/06/2022 16:05:19
2096 forum posts
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Posted by Steviegtr on 28/06/2022 03:56:44:

Oh my Hopper. Why are you guys so negative.

He & i know him personaly would not spin a yarn. Keith is a acomplished engineer & musician. He is not giving out bull--it. Come over from ausi & see for yourself.

Steve.

Steve,

Having been there pre Covid it was exactly as per Hopper 's guess, they assemble new and refurbish older lathes.

It wasn't hard to visit, you just walk in and talk to them, so you can go and see for yourself.

Harry Wilkes28/06/2022 16:21:25
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Sorry Steve wgen you say " Keith is a acomplished engineer " I don't agree he use's some very crude methods and doesn't appear to be able to use a micrometer, does he know about model steam engines very much.

H

SillyOldDuffer28/06/2022 16:34:11
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Posted by Mike Poole on 28/06/2022 13:38:21:

If we sat down with a clean sheet of paper and and a head full of modern manufacturing a Myford would not be the machine we would make today...

Mike

Myford dropped a bomb on other British lathe makers just after the end of WW2 with a well thought out design that fixed a multitude of small irritations, was perfectly sized for small workshops, and above all was affordable. People had to stretch to them, but large numbers of men had recently left the armed services with a gratuity and a trained interest in machine tools. Small irritations in the competition included things like no safety guards, the need to add your own motor and electrics, high prices for what you got, limited accessories, long queues before delivery, and the cheaper models were crudely made. At the same time second-hand industrial machines in good condition commanded high prices, were in short supply, ran on hard to get 3-phase electricity, and amateurs could only afford machines completely trashed by old-fashioned industry. And although Myfords were made down to a price, the price was quite high, making them extremely attractive!

Mike's point is spot on. Not much wrong with Myford lathes except they must be labour intensive and expensive to make. Too expensive! Not good when competing with alternatives available in various sizes, with modern features, and sold for seriously less money.

Old Myford failed by failing to make money selling new machines. I guess New Myford looked carefully at Old Myford's accounts and have succeeded since by dumping all the expensive low profit aspects of the old business, by building on what was profitable - spares and refurbishing - and by applying streamlined sales and supply systems.

I feel Myford were let down by their customers too: too many Model Engineers lusted after 'quality' as exemplified by outdated high-cost low-productivity methods, but refused to pay for it. Chances are if you own a Myford lathe it was bought second-hand, and the purchase did nothing to keep Myford afloat.

Manufacturing is brutally competitive and failing to deliver at prices customers are prepared to pay is soon fatal. All engineers should be made to study economics, especially those who hold the subject in contempt.

Good luck to new Myford, whatever their business methods. Profit making is far more important than well meaning but financially naive techies producing lovely kit at a loss, even if they have wonderful skills, do everything in-house, and start with only the best raw materials.

Dave

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