I am not yet retired (that hopefully is a long way off yet) but I have been buying tools and kits most of my life and now have a reasonably well equipped workshop, apart from the occasional tap and die or small tool. Prior to becoming editor of Model Engineersí Workshop, I spent most of my life working, usually on night shift and then had little time to go out into the workshop. That has changed since becoming editor, mainly due to the fact that I am working from home and donít have a couple of hours travelling to and from work every day.

A lot of interests

I am interested in many things, probably too many and I need to limit my interests a little bit. My main interests are 16mm scale 32mm gauge garden railways, small stationary steam engines and also small stationary petrol engines. I have several steam engines unstarted, mainly Stuart but I also have one bought from eBay, the US site and a couple from Reeves in the UK. I managed to pick up a Red Wing stationary petrol engine kit from eBay as the cost of importing it from the US was prohibitive. I would also like to get hold of castings for the large Stuart horizontal engine no 9 and the vertical no 1.

Funds preclude that at the moment. Quite a few of Anthony Mountís engines appeal and I purchased the grasshopper beam engine at Harrogate this year. The time has come to start building some of these kits. The first step is to ensure my lathe is set up to work efficiently and accurately. With that in mind, I have got several new accessories to fit to the Myford.


The first priority was a quick change tool post for both the front and rear of the cross slide, photo 1. When I had my old ML7, it had a lever feed tailstock and I missed this facility greatly when I sold the lathe prior to buying my current ML7R. I know have the latest Myford rack feed tailstock to fit, photo 2 and am looking forward to the versatility it brings to the lathe.

One essential item for constructing steam engines is the Myford collet set, photo 3. This is ideal to hold the smaller sizes of stainless bar as used for piston and valve rods amongst other items. I purchased a fixed steady, photo 4 many years ago and it has proved very useful when holding larger diameter work in the chuck.

Milling in the lathe

For milling in the lathe, a vertical slide is essential and Myford do the basic vertical slide that goes up and down and also the compound version that can be tilted on an angle, photo 5.

Another item I consider essential on a lathe is a zero setting dial, photo 6 especially on the cross slide. Myford offer a very nice dial that will fit on the cross slide, the top slide and the vertical slide. The only drawback is that the cross slide takes off 0.002in. from the diameter for every 0.001 the dial is moved.
This is not a problem if this is all you are used to but when you are used to commercial lathes where you move 0.001 and remove 0.001 of the diameter it can cause problems.


A useful accessory for the vertical slide is the raising block, photo 7. It will raise the vertical slide up higher so giving you more height adjustment. For milling in the lathe, you will need the leadscrew handwheel, photo 8. Donít attempt to mill using the saddle traversing on the rack and where possible, use the saddle lock to lock the saddle movement.


Another useful accessory for steam engine building is the taper turning attachment, photo 9. This is very useful for turning the tapered shafts of connecting rods etc. Also very useful will be the Myford dividing attachment, photo 10.
This useful tool enables you to turn a component in the chuck then transfer the chuck to the dividing head for pitching out holes and milling hexagons etc. The raising block and vertical slide will be found essential for use with the dividing head.

Next month we will look at boring tool holders suitable for turning and threading the small diameters found in piston and valve rod glands.