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FREE PLAN: A Clutch for the ML7 Lathe

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Free Plan: A Clutch for the ML7 Lathe

Free Plan: A Clutch for the ML7 Lathe

This design by Alan Buttulph addresses the construction of a clutch for ML7 lathes. Ingeniously, by fitting the clutch to the countershaft, construction is relatively straight forward. The article, in Issue 5 of Model Engineers' Workshop that accompanies these plans is available in the archive on this website*.

Neil Wyatt02/08/2014 19:55:47
18727 forum posts
729 photos
80 articles

Another free plan for your interest and study. A design by Alan Bittulph from issue 5 of MEW. The accompanying article is in the archive.


This is a 'cup and cone' clutch to fit on the countershaft of an ML7 (and presumably suitable for other lathes with a similar arrangement).



Raymond Sanderson 204/08/2014 07:36:59
449 forum posts
127 photos

Thanks Neil

Michael Gilligan04/08/2014 07:55:08
18710 forum posts
915 photos

Very useful, Neil

... Just needs updating to Poly-V



joey25/08/2014 20:00:32
31 forum posts

I have already built 2 of the clutches, one for me and one for my son. They both work perfectly. I had to change the spring, used one a bit harder.

Neil Wyatt27/08/2014 11:33:05
18727 forum posts
729 photos
80 articles

Hi Joey,

Would you be happy to send me a picture I could use in the magazine?



Des Wheeler20/11/2015 01:24:15
1 forum posts

Hi Joey,

As a new member, I found this site the other day and downloaded the plans for the ML7 clutch. I see you have made two of them. Did you put leather on the sliding part of the clutch, [ there was rebuild of a ML7 lathe in model engineer last year by a Alan Hearsum, this is what he did, ] or is yours metal to metal.



Del Stone19/01/2021 10:26:02
2 forum posts

Hi All,

As a newbie here with MEW I suspect this is going to appear a rather daft enquiry but I will ask just the same.

I have a very old Clausing 12" lathe that at some point has had the clutch removed and I am thinking of a replacement. This one by Alan Bittulph appears to be quite adaptable to my needs but I cannot access the original article in issue 5 of the magazine. Can I get a reprint of it from anywhere? I really need to know what he uses on the clutch face, i.e. leather, cork or what, and how he fixed the original material to the sliding half of the clutch plate. Any thoughts ????????????


Hopper19/01/2021 11:10:33
5505 forum posts
137 photos

It says you need to take out a digital subscription to access the archive. But you might want to check if the archive goes back that far these days, and if it works still with the death of Adobe Flash.

Or you can probably buy a copy of Issue No 5 of MEW on Fleabay etc.

Myford used a solid bronze tapered wheel on their clutch. Not sure how you would go about securing leather. Rivets of some sort I would imagine. Or modern adhesives?

john fletcher 119/01/2021 11:36:12
717 forum posts

I made the clutch when issue 5 was out, all those years ago. Using EVO glue, I stuck pieces of leather to the aluminium taper and it worked fine, then it started to slip. I went to our then local music shop and bought a "lump" of violin string rosin, which I crushed up. Then, with the lathe running, and with a partially opened the clutch I trickled in some particles of rosin in the gap.. Job done, I still have the magazine and drawing. John

ega19/01/2021 11:41:55
2238 forum posts
186 photos

The leather-lined clutch is reminiscent of early motor car design. I wonder if the pioneers had a quick fix for slipping.

Jeff Dayman19/01/2021 12:01:49
2165 forum posts
45 photos

If I were in need of a clutch for a lathe I would look to transplant a multiplate clutch from a scrapped motorcycle. If one is chosen from a bike that has significantly more power than the lathe motor there will be no slip. Both wet and dry models are around at bike scrapyards. A wet clutch can be operated dry if the clutch is not loaded heavily, ie if a clutch off a 20 or 50 HP bike is used on a 3/4 HP motor on a lathe. Operation can be by cable working the original cam/ball or helix arrangement or by a custom toggle lever acting on the pushrod. These clutches are unitized and very compact, and well engineered as well as dirt cheap, being made on mass production scale. Smooth action too.

Manufacturers of cars gave up on cone clutches by about 1920, for some very good reasons. These include vicious engagement, limited power transmission capability, frequent relining needed, and slipping with the least hint of oil on the leather. I have driven antique cars with cone clutches and frankly I hope I never drive another one. The pressure plate and disc clutch for cars was a massive improvement.

John Hinkley19/01/2021 12:49:17
1171 forum posts
390 photos


As I have replied in an adjacent thread, I've found that I can access the earlier issues of MEW on my iPad. I've downloaded the article to which you refer, as an experiment. The pages are in jpg format, so quality may be compromised. If you would like to see it, PM me with your email address and I'll send you a copy.


Hope that won't be construed as infringement of copyright?

Georgineer19/01/2021 13:17:04
525 forum posts
31 photos

I've no idea now what car it was from, but when I worked in a garage in the early seventies there was a 'new old stock' cork-lined clutch plate hanging on the store room wall, priced at 7/6d. Does anybody know what properties cork has in comparison with leather or other substances when used for clutches?

I can imagine that organic substances soon reached the limit of power they could handle without burning. We had one customer, an elderly lady, who did the smoothest take-off you could imagine in her Morris Minor. She revved the engine "until the cylinder head lifted a sixteenth of an inch" as my cousin described it, then let the clutch in one micron at time.

I had the task of changing her clutch for the third time in twelve thousand miles. It smelt awful. An extreme case, I know, but cork and leather wouldn't have survived even a fraction of that treatment.

I have no experience of motorcycles, but I would be interested to see a design for a lathe clutch using a motorcycle clutch. Any takers?

George B.

Del Stone19/01/2021 17:36:51
2 forum posts

Thanks to everyone for their input, I will take note of everything.

I did consider the m/c clutch option but knowing nothing of the workings of bikes I was a little reluctant to venture down that road. According to the exploded view of the clutch in the lathes parts list, it is a 'matrix' type plate clutch, but nothing bar the drive pulley remains of the original mechanism.


Oldiron19/01/2021 18:12:20
829 forum posts
23 photos

Here is anothe clutch idea for the Myford lathe. MYFORD CLUTCH Not my idea of a safe & properly disengaged device but appears to work after a fashion. WARNING turn your sound down a touch as it sounds like a bucket of nails.


ega20/01/2021 11:01:44
2238 forum posts
186 photos
Posted by Oldiron on 19/01/2021 18:12:20:

Here is anothe clutch idea for the Myford lathe. MYFORD CLUTCH Not my idea of a safe & properly disengaged device but appears to work after a fashion. WARNING turn your sound down a touch as it sounds like a bucket of nails.


I enjoyed the video.

The main cause of the noise seems to be the link belt despite its having been "lightly sanded with an angle grinder".

oldvelo21/01/2021 06:01:44
274 forum posts
54 photos


Oldiron's video is on the right track for a clutch. An Idler wheel on the back of the belt with an over centre eccentric to engage the drive. A peg or an idler on the front of the belt that just clears the belt when the clutch engages.

This will stop the belt from flapping and jerking. This method has been used on various engine and electric driven machines I have built over over a number of years.

Get rid of the linked belt and use Poly Vee Belt and Pulleys or regular Vee Belt in its place.


Neil Wyatt21/01/2021 15:14:25
18727 forum posts
729 photos
80 articles

Not different in principle from the OEM Myford Tri-Leva three-speed unit that used three belts with different sized pulleys to offer 'clutch and gearbox' functionality without either a clutch or gears.


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