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myford boxford or colchester

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Ian MILLARD28/11/2009 11:23:42
18 forum posts
hi i am new to model engineering and am about to purchase a lathe. I am looking at either the myford ml7 the Boxford  AUD/ BUD or the Colchester Bantham. Which would be the most suitable for the home workshop, my ultimate aim is to build 5 inch guage locos. i have noted that the spindle speeds on the colchester only go up to 800 rpm is this enough. thanks  IAN.
JasonB28/11/2009 13:02:01
17824 forum posts
1948 photos
1 articles
You can get the Bantum 1600 which has a two speed motor so you get twice as many speeds from the same box with the fastest being 1600.
And the Mk II can be had in 800, 1600 and 2000
And the Mk III went to 2000 and was basically a rebadged Harrison M250
Bit more spec here
PS I'd go for the Bantum pref Mk2 or 3

Edited By JasonB on 28/11/2009 13:03:48

Ian MILLARD28/11/2009 13:34:37
18 forum posts
Thanks for that, however i think i am right in saying that the 1600 bantum uses a two speed 3 phase motor to get the extra speeds. These 2 speed motors are not so easy to run off a single phase supply. A normal inverter will not work as the motors are not dual voltage, i would need to go to a costly static or rotary converter. Would i need to use speeds above 800. thanks ian
mgj28/11/2009 14:56:16
1008 forum posts
14 photos
I do almost all my turning at about 600 on the Myford, or 480 on the 6" lathe and slow down when necessary.
Centre drilling is much better done at high speeds but I wouldn't let that put you off a particular model. I'd rather have a Bantam in good nick and settle for 800 rpm, than a worse copy of another, just for the sake of a few revs.
Circlip28/11/2009 15:03:53
1086 forum posts
No, go for a MaxiMat. Either is two, not three so I've offered a forth.

Edited By Circlip on 28/11/2009 15:04:57

JasonB28/11/2009 17:23:19
17824 forum posts
1948 photos
1 articles
I tend to leave my lathe on the 50-950 range a sthe slower speed is more useful than the high I can get in the 100-1900 range.
Yes the Maximat is also good, having had a Emcomat 8.6 for 20yrs I can vouch for Emco quality. You just don't see many about
V8Eng28/11/2009 17:57:09
1404 forum posts
27 photos
Only lathe I own is an ML7 which seems to do everything I need, It has a two speed (1ph) motor and Tri - Lever drive though.
Baz28/11/2009 20:05:33
356 forum posts
I have had a Colchester Bantam Mk 1 1600 revs for more years than I care to remember and I have nothing but praise for it. I very rarely use it above 800 revs and I would consider it to be far superior to a Boxford and much more solid to use than a Myford.
AndyP28/11/2009 22:08:19
188 forum posts
30 photos
Hi Ian, you are in danger of getting as many different recommendations as there are model engineers, but that isn't going to stop me chiming in.
I went through the same decision process this year after owning 2 smaller lathes and plumped for the Boxford AUD. Aim is the same - 5" gauge locos, but I admit I hadn't considered the Bantam.
A GOOD example of any of the machines mentioned is probably going to be fine but there is the rub - finding a good one. If cost is an issue then I suspect you can find a good Boxford for a lot less then the same Myford.
Don't forget an AUD has power cross feed - nice, and a gearbox - very, very nice! compared to an ML7 so to compare like with like you need to be looking at a Super7.
The major advantages I can see for a Myford are all the parts and mods available and the fact that the vast majority of articles are written using a Myford - that I would find really useful as a relative newbie.
I don't  think there are many imperial Boxfords around and probably not many metric Myfords so that could be an issue too.
Cheers, Andy
chris stephens29/11/2009 00:01:56
1045 forum posts
1 photos
Hi Ian,
I might be able to offer you some comments as I own two of the three on your list.
My first lathe was a Bantam 800 with metric lead screw, this machine is a quality industrial grade work horse, there is very little you cannot do on it. The geared head and screw cutting gearbox make work a pleasure. If you are worried about lack of top speed may I say I have drilled (with care) 0.8mm holes with it.
I also have a Super7B, this is a fine machine, but it must be said it is a "light weight" machine, I often refer to it as my Myford watchmakers lathe, a little unkindly perhaps. You can do an awful lot on a Myford and I imagine half the models on show at exhibitions were made on one. Ask an owner if he would like something bigger and stronger and i would be surprised if they did not yes, if they could afford one or had the space. 
I am glad you are contemplating a non Oriental machine, British stuff certainly seems quieter than Oriental machines, some of which have a reputation for being sold more as a kit of parts than a fully functional machine.
To some up, I use the Bantam for most things, it's bigger and stronger, and I mainly use the Myford for screw cutting Imperial threads, although since fitting a variable speed to it, I have been known to use it in preference the Bantam.
If you have specific questions, ask, I may be able to help.
Ian MILLARD29/11/2009 16:22:41
18 forum posts
Thanks for the info its a big help, i will start looking for a good bantum or perhaps a boxford.
chris stephens29/11/2009 17:42:12
1045 forum posts
1 photos
Hi Ian, 
Just had another thought, the Bantam or at least mine, has dual marked feed dials. These are properly geared ones not just  comparable. The Infeed on cross slide is a true 400 thou or a true 10mm per full revolution, or should I say reduction on diameter is 400 thou/10mm. For those unfamiliar with metric lathes, the norm is for the cross feed dial to be marked in diameter reduction not depth of cut. Makes more sense this way, until you screw cut, then you have to double the infeed given in the books. The top/compound slide is marked only in depth of cut, just like an Imp lathe.
The convenience of a dual marked dial may sway you one way or t'other.

AndyP29/11/2009 23:58:03
188 forum posts
30 photos
Forgive me Chris, and apologies to Ian for digressing, but I have seen that assertion regarding the cross slide feed on metric lathes many times and it has always surprised me.
I have 3 metric lathes, a Boxford AUD, Cowells ME90 and a Sieg C1 (yes I know NOW!) and they all have a cross slide feed calibrated for depth of cut just like the only imperial lathe I have owned - a Perfecto (ML4 copy basically).
Have I just got the exceptions to the rule or is it confined to larger industrial equipment.
I have to say this way of calibrating makes sense to me.
chris stephens30/11/2009 01:05:55
1045 forum posts
1 photos
Hi Andy, 
What can i say. 
When I was demo'ing on a Myford ( a metric version, but curiously an Imp gearbox, "go figure" as our Yankee cousins would say) last year at Ascot, my eyes were in pretty bad shape and I could not read the dials too well. So when i wheeled it back to the Myford stand I asked the "Big Cheese" and his reply was that it was standard to put diameter reduction on Metric lathes and Imp ones have DofC.
Could be that this is a newer standard, but I doubt it as my Bantam is from the Sixties. Clearly it is not compulsory, i.e. the EU have made a decree, yet, so you need not send your lathes back for modifications. 
If your machines are a single user machines it does not matter a hoot what the dials show, as it is only you that needs to know. Just warn anybody else who is used to a different system.
PS eyes now fine after two cataract operations, anybody told they need them done, don't worry and just go ahead with it. Marvellous! Just follow post op instructions to the letter.
Speedy Builder510/03/2010 20:03:57
1981 forum posts
139 photos
Its a matter of taste - If you are only using the late for hobby work,  I would select the lathe that came with the most diverse set of attachments, selection of chucks, I have been lucky enough to have both small and large 3 and 4 jaw chucks, several faceplates, catchplates, steadies etc.  Why? because Boxford was chosen by so many schools and colleges,  and when they chucked them all out to go hi tech and plastic bending,  the market was awash with them.  Incidentally,  I started off with a worn out Southbend - the Boxford was made on the same geometry, so was able to keep some of the SB attachments.  If you intend doing a bit of milling in the lathe, look for a cross slide with 'T' slots.  At a pinch, you can modify a Myford cross slide to fit a Boxford, you need a new fat gib strip, then bore holes for the cross slide nut and topslide.  Also a cross slide with 'T' slots allows you to buy/make a rear toolpost - good for parting off.
As I said - look for attachments - they are expensive to buy later. 
camper11/03/2010 09:44:59
11 forum posts
condition is everything with myfords an early one still fetches good money but if well worn thecost of a regrind and headstock bearings ithe same as a modest terraced house.
easier to find good boxfords and bigger for the chinaman been there dunnit sold it on ebay curretly using a ml4 for titchy bits and a lease lend springfield both with bus passes but mint and both cost nowt
Nigel McBurney 111/03/2010 20:13:02
694 forum posts
3 photos
hi for model making,use Myford ,designed for the job only snag hole in spindle to small on bar work,boxford  good small lathe will stand industrial use,milling vertical slide are available but expensive,for serious turning use the Colchester,  Even better still is the Colchester Master 2500 with wide range of spindle speeds,and good gearbox plus the forward and reverse clutches,I run mine from a  Transwave phase converter.  It is common practice for metric lathes to indicate diameter readings on the cross slide,I first come across this on a CVA toolroom lathe 45 years ago,yet it was delivered with a imperial leadscrew which even had a calbration chart,I think at the time they could not supply a calibrated mertric leadscrew. my nominally imperial colchester master has dual dials and these indicate diameter readings,easy to make mistakes when changing between the master and imperial super seven.
Tony Ray14/03/2010 00:54:28
138 forum posts
25 photos
As you know their are many Myford devotees and as a consequence they command serious money but acessories are widely available and seem for the most part fairly inexpensive. I went for a metric Boxford AUD and I am very pleased with it. The downside is that there are fewer options when looking for acessories and they are more expensive but as someone else said it is capable of industrial work.
Colchesters have a good reputation but do look at Harrisons There is one advertiser in MEW that has several M250's @£1500 ea.
Do think about whether you need to cut imperial and metric threads as running a metric Boxford is less straight forward than the other way around.
If money were no object I'd go for something that had both metric & imperial screwcutting and a clutch ( so you dont have to switch off to stop the work rotating)
Do consider the weight of the beast and how you will get it into place. I moved my Boxford by drilling through the cabinet & bolting two 100mm box sections at each end fitted with castors. - A Colchester is much heavier & you may need specialist help.
Good luck with your search
KWIL14/03/2010 08:31:59
3213 forum posts
63 photos
It is horses for courses. I have several Myfords, started with a ML7 "new" one in 1954. I have a PCS Super 7 with gearbox and imperial/metric  dual banjos. I also have a Harrison M300 the latter being because I needed a large through bore, even at 1" I could not go the the larger Myford. Having said all that, there is nothing wrong with a Myford, you can work them very hard with the correct tooling AND you have excellent factory support here in the UK.
Sorry fatbazz but you must live in a micro-house, headstock ball bearings for the Super 7 are not expensive and considering you get a "good as new" bed + carriage for your regrind from Myford, it must be worth every penny.
camper15/03/2010 11:01:56
11 forum posts
sorry no micro house or any hopes ever of a super seven ml7 the almost affordable one spindle+bearings 400 bed saddle regrind pushing 600 try that in your old age on a fixed income not everyone out here is wealthy and the falacy that you must spend a fortune on modern kit dro etc before making anything is possibly putting many newcomers off you dont actually need it and you may learn more without it which is not to say i would'nt like it myself .conrary to popular belief i'm not a tight old yorkshireman but an impoverished mikanik who would rather use older kit than option b watch telly

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