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Help with Myford ML8 Centres

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pargyle

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Hi Everyone, I'm new to the forum - not a complete novice but it's about 40 years since I did any turning and so I'm a little rusty !

So ... I've bought this lovely little Myford ML8 - it's a fairly late (by Myford standards !) model in silver Hammerite - serial number N145679 I think - must be about the last of the silver ones ? 36" between centres, bowl turning rest on the outboard side, complete with a reasonable set of Sorby and Marples chisels and gouges and a "6 in 1" Universal chuck made by Hattersley & Davidson (they bought Sorby and are now part of Eclipse/Spear&Jackosn etc.).

It has a second set of radiused tool rests as recommended (and custom made) by the late Keith Rowley and the wooden stand is almost identical to the design in his excellent book. The lathe was pretty mucky and covered in a layer of wood dust and sanding sealer but I've stripped it all down, cleaned it off and underneath all the gunk it was in brilliant condition. No play whatsoever in the bearings or anywhere else for that matter, I had to rewire the electrics as the perished rubber clad cable was a bit of a health hazard but all in all for £150 I'm really pleased with my purchase. It came with an assortment of face plates as well as the universal chuck and has clearly only been lightly used for bowl turning - I don't think the tailstock has ever been moved from the end of the bed as it's like new. I've beefed up the stand a little, mounted the lathe on 6mm rubber pads and it runs like a dream - no vibration at all and virtually silent running - for a lathe that's got to be at least 25 years old pretty remarkable.

It was a bit odd when I got it as everything had been set up back to front, headstock on the right, tailstock on the left .... even the switch had been wired so that the motor ran backwards ... I can only assume it was someone who was left handed that couldn't live with the perversity of everything being the other way round ? I can't think of any other reason but I'm open to suggestions ! It's all back the 'right' way round now and the switch rewired for correct motor rotation ... it was lots of fun redrilling and cutting the 2" thick oak plank it sits on. So, I'm nearly there and very happy .....

But ... there are no centres at all with the lathe.

I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing with it but, initially, I just want to get back into the swing of turning and some spindle turning looks on the cards to get my hand back in. I've done a fair bit of reading lately and I reckon that a live centre on the tailstock is a good idea but should I be looking at a 2 prong or 4 prong at the headstock - and indeed what size would be a good general use one ? Budget is a bit tight so I can't get a full set and need to be a bit sensible - so any suggestions as to an intermediate quality make/supplier would help. It's an MT1 Taper on both ends.

Many thanks. Phil

PS: (hammer) After checking the bearings on the headstock shaft I went to refil the bearing cases with oil as per the instructions "Fill until oil flows out" and had a real freaky moment when I ran it up to find the ATF (found the recommendation in this forum for this cost effective alternative to Myfords hugely expensive stuff) started to pee out of the bottom of the bearing shaft !! So.... back to the forum only to find that this is actually what should happen ! #-o Seems a bit dopey to me - putting oil in the top and then mopping it up as it comes out the bottom ! So - the only other question I've got for any Myford geeks out there is - how often to I have to refil the oil and watch it pour out and could I put less in than the 60ml recommended to save the clean up ?

Many thanks for a brilliant forum - hopefully there will be a few Myford enthusiats still going strong - or am I the one to switch the lights off and close the door ?
 

Goulss

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Hi Philip,

Welcome, something that you may not have have come across is the Stebcentre, I find this very useful.

Cheers.

Stewart
 

Tazmaniandevil

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Hi matey, and welcome to the Myford world. Mine is the one with the steel cabinet underneath. The morse taper is 1MT on both headstock & tailstock, so getting replacements should be easy enough. The headstock threads are 1" x12TPI on the inboard and 7\8 x 12TPI on the outboard side.
In terms of oil, I can fill the outboard side to the neck without any seepage, but the inboard side can only be filled about half way. I have a self styled dip stick made from curtain wire. I usually check it once a month, and top up as required.

Hope this helps
 

pargyle

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Hi Guys, thanks for a quick response:

I've just had a look at Stebcentres on the internet - quite expensive at nearly £40 but I can see the advantages - in the event of a 'dig in' in particular - I might have to save up a bit but it looks like something for the future ...

Glad to hear that my oil leakage is pretty normal - I found that the outboard side certainly leaked less than the inboard side but I haven't tried a dipstick ! That's a great idea - I'll make one and I'll check it now it's 'full' and clean and then mark the dipstick accordingly ... brilliant. Thanks.

Philip
 

nev

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pargyle":2o5gkxh9 said:
...It was a bit odd when I got it as everything had been set up back to front, headstock on the right, tailstock on the left .... even the switch had been wired so that the motor ran backwards ... I can only assume it was someone who was left handed that couldn't live with the perversity of everything being the other way round ? I can't think of any other reason but I'm open to suggestions !
Are you sure you weren't standing behind it? :twisted:

Hello and welcome from me too. :)
2 prong vs 4 prong? - ( IME ) with anything other than a 90 deg 'face' to fix into, the 2 prong drive will offer the better (deeper) grip. I have both but only ever use the 2 prong.
 

pargyle

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Ha Ha .... :lol Yes, when I looked at it when I got it home (bought it in the dark !) that was what I thought ... but then I looked closer and the front of the bench with the cupboards was on the side I was looking at the lathe from, the headstock was on the right and the tailstock on my left !! It completely threw me for a bit until I switched it on and the chuck rotated towards me .... at that point I was really confused. The bloke I bought it from had inherited it from an Uncle who had died so he was not a lot of help .... but now its all turned round its fine. Strangest thing I've ever come across.

Thanks for your comments on prongs ... much appreciated.

Philip
 

Goulss

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Hi Phil,

There is a 1mt Stebcentre on EBay at the moment, I think it was at £18 last time I looked.

Cheers

Stewart
 

Tazmaniandevil

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Another small point I remembered about my ML8 during use. Is your headstock spinning freely? When I got mine, it was very easy to spin the headstock by hand. As time went on it became harder and harder, until it reached the stage where it was quite difficult to turn, even with the belt disengaged.
Turns out there is a collar on the outboard side to hold the shaft in place which had tightened up. I'm fairly sure this has been through using a faceplate on the outboard side.
Loosening this by about one degree returned the headstock to free movement.
 

pargyle

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Hi Guys - Yes, I saw the stebcentre on ebay and put a bid on it but got pipped at the post - it was me that pushed it up to £21.10 and it went for £23.11 ! Probably still a bargain at that price but my budget for both centres is £30 and I needed to leave enough cash to pick up a revolving tail ! I've put an offer in on a revolving tail and a 2 prong drive in the local freeads so I'm hoping I get them for a sensible price but I will keep an eye on ebay for a stebcentre in the future. At least I can get going if I get them ....

The headstock shaft turns very freely - just a degree of firmness, it comes to rest after about 1.5 turns if you spin it by hand with the belt off and with the universal chuck on the end - so that looks to be OK. The previous owner appeared to have used mainly the inboard side for most of his bowl turning - there was just a slightly rusty face plate on the outboard side when I got the lathe with little sign of it ever being used. I'll keep an eye open for any signs of the spindle getting stiffer though - another useful bit of info that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere so many thanks for that. Any more advice or comments about the ML8 welcome ... I've no manual and there are no books specific to the ML8 .... as there are still Myford devotees out there your knowledge and experience much appreciated.

I did a bit more modifying yesterday - I was thinking what a pain it was reaching up under the side of the timber bench the lathe sits on to get at the motor release wing nut in order to change the lathe speed. So, I've cut a hole in the side of the bench next to the wingnut and I can, now, just reach in with my hand and undo it instead of resorting to yoga/gyneacology. I've also made a wooden cradle that sits under the motor with a little hydraulic bottle jack underneath it and now raising the motor in order to change the belt on the pulleys is a doddle.

Instead of trying to push the motor up by hand, (and at my age and with my back I can do without weight lifting in a semi-prone position) and then supporting the motor with one hand whilst locking off the wingnut with the other and hoping the motor stays in place while you move the belt (Only ML8 owners will appreciate the contortions necessary to change the lathe speed !), All I have to do now is slacken the wingnut, give three pumps of the jack - up goes the motor gently without me even bending down, change the belt over, drop the jack down and tighten the wingnut ! Simples ? Eh ?

Next job is a cyclone dust collector to go on the end of the Henry Vacuumn cleaner - I've collected a load of likely donor bits from around my various garage/shed hoards and I reckon I've got the makings of something that will work ! Former 'dog' anti-scratch lampshade funnel thingy, 10 litre paint bucket, smaller paint bucket, bits of plastic plumbing, half a tube of silicon sealant, broken angle poise lamp, some plywood and a flexible 4" hose - watch this space - Blue Peter eat your heart out ? No sticky back plastic in sight !!!

The joys of woodworking/turning on a tight budget - and I haven't shed a single shaving so far !

I would add that I've also got some good dust masks (and I use them) as I value my lungs ! I think someone should add some stern words about the risks of atmopsheric dust and vapours on a sticky for all woodworking Newbies - or perhaps there already is one and I've just not seen it ?

Philip
 
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I have picked up an ML8 today and need to clarify a point.
The headstock has two blanking plugs removal of which allows lubing to be done.
The fellow I bought it from has always used grease on the bearings and I suspect that it should be Nuto 32 as on my ML7R-B lathe.
Comments would be welcome.

Len. P.
 

pargyle

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the happy miller":z4y0pcjf said:
I have picked up an ML8 today and need to clarify a point.
The headstock has two blanking plugs removal of which allows lubing to be done.
The fellow I bought it from has always used grease on the bearings and I suspect that it should be Nuto 32 as on my ML7R-B lathe.
Comments would be welcome.

Len. P.
No ... should not be grease. I use TQF automatic transmission fluid which has same viscosity as Nuto 32 but a lot less cost. The bearings are set up to weep so after you have cleaned all the grease out you fill the two bearing cavities with your lubricant until is starts to weep out at the bottom of each bearing. You just need a squirt or two each week t(depending oin how much it runs) to keep it topped up and wipe off the gunk that collects under the bearings as the fluid weeps out. Bearings are built like brick kazis but not intended for use with grease - too heavy. Probably hasn't hurt them though. It's a great little lathe and built to Myfords usual standards.
 
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Thanks for that Pargyle,

I'll strip the head down later and flush out the grease. I have about three litres of Nuto 32 bought from a engineering club member for a song, just hope the seepage from the ML8 headstock does not use it all up.
I will also convert it to variable speed, I have the motor and a VFD, just have to make the control unit.

Len. P.
 

pargyle

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the happy miller":ci6mxjss said:
Thanks for that Pargyle,

I'll strip the head down later and flush out the grease. I have about three litres of Nuto 32 bought from a engineering club member for a song, just hope the seepage from the ML8 headstock does not use it all up.
I will also convert it to variable speed, I have the motor and a VFD, just have to make the control unit.

Len. P.
It really doesn't weep out that much - a litre of TQF has lasted me nearly two years and I don't think it's even half empty yet. Variable speed conversion is the one thing I would add to the lathe - it's a bit of a pain changing the belts, if you can rig a reverse as well for sanding you will find it a help but you will need to be careful as there's no reverse lock for the spindle. I haven't got round to doing the variable speed conversion yet but it's on the cards. I do have a hydraulic jack under the motor mounting plate which makes life changing belts a lot easier than trying to lift the motor up by hand when you want a different speed.

The ML8 is a good solid lathe to work on and I like it a lot - mine is 1968 vintage but you would not know it - hasn't been mistreated at all. Watch out for the nuts and bolts - they are all imperial so don't lose them - you can get replacements but they are not cheap.

The swing over the bed is not massive but someone I know with one has built a second bed in front of the tube which takes the tool rest and it gives him the depth of the original saddle as a bit of extra swing - about an inch. Doesn't sound a lot but it makes a lot of difference to the diameter of spindles you can turn.

Good luck with the project.
Phil
 

woodiedonald

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If you're getting a two prong center i'd say try and get as big as you can, they spin a little too easily for my liking. Stebcentres are a little too steep for most people. I'm still on the hunt after a year and a half for a big 4 prong centre, i seen a chap who had one 1" 3/4" wide and he got it with the lathe years ago. I reckon it was engineer made but thats probably going to be too expensive for me so not looking into it.

Do you have a chuck yet? keep in mid you could well spend another £150 on that.
 

Robbo3

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woodiedonald":egfh4wi8 said:
I'm still on the hunt after a year and a half for a big 4 prong centre, i seen a chap who had one 1" 3/4" wide and he got it with the lathe years ago. I reckon it was engineer made but thats probably going to be too expensive for me so not looking into it.
1 1/2" jumbo drives available in 1MT & 2MT from RDG Tools
- http://www.rdgtools.co.uk/cgi-bin/sh000 ... html#a1432

HTH.
 

graduate_owner

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I bought my ML8 about 30 years ago, but never really had time to use it a great deal, until now. I've never liked the outboard turning arrangement, so I bought a union graduate bowl lathe as well. I love the ML8 though. Mine is the yellow version, so quite old - they started yellow, then silver, then green, then the Mystro took over .It's now got variable speed and reversing facility by running a 3 phase motor through an inverter. I use a 2 prong drive centre and have a revolving tail stock centre which I use for most things. I also have a cup centre and a few standard centres which are good for those times when you need better access (also when making handles as the ferrule can fit over the centre and be tested for fit without removing the handle from the centre).
One useful 'attachment' is a tool for dragging shavings out from inside the bed.
The only niggle I have (apart from the outside turning) is the banjo nut needs tightening regularly. Too tight and the banjo base is difficult to slide along the bed. Too loose and the banjo is not held tight enough. Not a problem though.
You have a nice machine there.

K
 
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As a matter of personal interest, my ML8 has a serial number : N74419.
I would like to know the approximate year of manufacture, can anybody help on this one?

Len. P.

I have started a new thread for this.
Please accept my apologies.
 

pargyle

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woodiedonald":3gdyo1a1 said:
If you're getting a two prong center i'd say try and get as big as you can, they spin a little too easily for my liking. Stebcentres are a little too steep for most people. I'm still on the hunt after a year and a half for a big 4 prong centre, i seen a chap who had one 1" 3/4" wide and he got it with the lathe years ago. I reckon it was engineer made but thats probably going to be too expensive for me so not looking into it.

Do you have a chuck yet? keep in mid you could well spend another £150 on that.
Yes ... I picked up a Nova chuck on ebay for £35 ... had to buy an insert for it but it was still cheap - they usually go for a lot more. It's got a little bit of run out but not excessive. Made a lot of difference - would now consider it an essential piece of equipment. Got a city in guilds in making timber jam chucks so felt I had earned it when I finally got it !!
 
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