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Myford ML7 Lathe Restoration

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I'm going to show the restoration of this lathe here. It's not a train but it will help to make trains!.......

I was offered this lathe at a extremely reasonable price as it was damaged in a workshop fire, fortunately the shed did not burn down completely as the timbers where the fire started charred and protected the remainder. The main damage to the lathe was from smoke and fire acid from plastics and other items that burned!

The fire happened a few years ago and the owner was so disappointed with all the destruction he locked the door and rarely went back in. Poor chap, the last thing anyone wants to happen to their workshop!

I jumped at it when he offered it to me, I have always had an interest in owning a ML7 or Super7 but they now come at a high price for a good one, especially the Super7. I had bought a mini lathe as that option was far more economical at the time, but now knowing the limits of the mini lathe something bigger was always in the back of the mind.

Myford still make parts for these lathes, there is a huge amount of accessories and tooling available for them on engineering sites, Ebay, Banggood, and more.

Photos taken when first seen a few months ago.....





At that inspection I doused the whole machine with diesel and brushed it in and left it sit for a couple of days. When I returned and gave it a wipe down, then I could get a good look at the damage and decide on doing the deal..... I did!

Next step was to move it to my place which entailed lightening the load. The motor, top slide, cross slide, tailstock and a few other items were removed and the machine was then ready for lifting.

Looking a bit better now.


All the bits were cleaned again with diesel, wire brush, a lot of elbow grease, and then left to soak in citric acid for a few hours. Most parts cleaned up well, but the chrome finished parts had lost their shine and the more one treated them the more shine was lost- so I cut my loses and left the cleaning at a point that with use the parts will shine- I hope.




Casings will need a sandblast and a bit of paint.


The photos below show the progress on cleaning the bed, it's about 50% done. Items can now be moved without rust tearing the bearing surfaces and to my amazement it's all in fairly good condition.



And the first bits with new paint going on. Lower left is the Dixon tool post after cleaning up- slightly pitted from the rust but does work fine!


Handles painted.


I'm going to upgrade the motor to a 1HP 3 phase motor, controlled by an inverter which will give variable speed control. The original motor is single phase and speed control was by stopping the lathe and changing the drive belt to a different speed pulley- not great, it is doable but the upgrade is a far better option for speed control and it's a far better motor.........



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks all for the likes, I wondered if their would be an interest in a thread like this on here........

The riser blocks for the lathe are a bit of a home spun thing! Myford and others do make the original cast iron type but are not available at the moment. So I'm going to modify these so that they will be shorter and fit into the coolant tray I'm going to make for the machine, I need to chop off a small bit at the front and a good chunk at the back.


The wood for the 'Lathe Shed' arrived last week, I now have it under wraps to dry out a bit over the Christmas weekend.


Also stacked to allow the air circulate.


The 1hp 3 phase motor arrived but the inverter is delayed until the new year. A mounting frame will have to be bashed up for the motor as it's mounting holes do not line up on the lathe motor plate, so loads of other stuff to do while waiting for the inverter.


The next photos are the sequence of restoring the lathe casing knobs and screws which were originally 'metal blackened'.

First the loose rust was removed with wire brush, then chucked into a bath of citric acid for a day. This is how they came out, a bit pitted but sure they'll be grand.


Then blackened with heat and oil- sprayed oil on them, heated them up with the blowtorch until almost red, then kept spraying oil on as they cooled down.



Smothered in motor oil and popped in a bag to wait for the casing painting to be completed.




Edited by murrayec
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  • 2 weeks later...

First works of 2021..... The casings and other parts were masked up for the sandblasting, this casing had the screw cutting gear chart riveted to the inside so it was covered up. Other parts with bearing surfaces were covered up with electrical tape- it last better in the blasting than masking tape and I don't plan to blast the inside of this casing- the outside will do.




The black paint was pretty tough on these parts so I cut it short when the paint was smoothed out and when these parts are re-painted one will never notice.


First saw cuts on shortening the existing riser blocks. A second cut was done 40mm in from each end and not all the way through to create bolting down brackets.


And then the remainder was cut with an angle grinder to form bolting down brackets to the bench, the idea is sketched out roughly on the right. The off-cuts were trimmed to size to close the box section and will be welded on. I had noticed when removing the lathe that one of the risers was at a slight angle! The one on the right has it's lower lathe mounting stud hole a good 6mm off centre, so when welding I will fill that one, re-drill and tap it on centre.


And on Christmas eve the postman arrived with the inverter!!


Happy New Year everyone.


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Painting started over the weekend. I'm using Johnston's MDS metal paints on this project,  it's a one coat system that can be applied to bare n rusty metal applied by brush or roller, I used a roller but the paint didn't flatten out, I reckon it needs a second coat with a bit of rubbing down first!


Black bits were sprayed jet black.


Setting up a badge for the pulley casing.


Printed off 3 copies of the badge on photo quality paper, just in case of cutting errors! This print will now be laced with varnish back n front which turns the paper into plastic- almost!




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'Rusty Old Oilers' These are the spindle wick oilers, their not that expensive to replace but with the rust removed they are still usable- so this is how I remove rust when sand-blasting cannot be used, I'd like to preserve whatever is left of the chrome finish!


Washed in de-greaser.


Popped into a strong bath of hot water & citric acid and given a good brush over and occasional wire brushing to help loosen the rust. One should not use a brass brush as it will give the metal a brass tint! steel brush only.


Then popped into the ultrasonic cleaner with de-greaser solution for 200sec, that solution was clear when the oiler went in.


So repeated this process 3 times- nearly there!


If one leaves the parts in the citric bath for to long (like hours) a dark coating forms on the metal surface and the parts will rapidly rust up again! So short periods are best, the parts still come out with the coating which can be removed with the steel wire brush immediately. This coating can be used to protect the metal surface in some situations but does not look very nice!

Parts complete and wire brushed, they still look a bit rusty but this is because the acid is still in the pits and still working away- a good wash in the ultrasonic cleaner with clean water does the trick.


Cleaned up and wire brushed on the bench grinder, then mounted on a stick for a coating of lacquer to stop them rusting again.


Lacquer being applied and while doing this the badge print was give its first coats to the rear of the paper sheet, one can see how the lacquer has gone into the paper and revealed the print on the other side. When the other side is done the badge will be plastic!


I'll leave these for 24 hours and apply the finish coats......


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Great job! I love seeing old machinery / tools / vehicles etc being restored & put back to use. 

There is a channel on Youtube called My Mechanics, which has a load of great restorations:

My Mechanics

Also, this guy does an amazing job on a large lathe - some amount of complexity when you get into all the gearing! I used a lathe similar to this when I was in secondary school & really enjoyed it:

Lathe restoration:

Moriseiki lathe pt1

Moriseiki lathe pt2

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58 minutes ago, skinner75 said:

Great job! I love seeing old machinery / tools / vehicles etc being restored & put back to use. 

There is a channel on Youtube called My Mechanics, which has a load of great restorations:

My Mechanics

Also, this guy does an amazing job on a large lathe - some amount of complexity when you get into all the gearing! I used a lathe similar to this when I was in secondary school & really enjoyed it:

Lathe restoration:

Moriseiki lathe pt1

Moriseiki lathe pt2


Thanks, I love restoration work of old machines, motorbikes and cars.

I know 'My Mechanics' on youtube,  I watch a lot of this stuff and generally stuff like timber frame house building, log cabins, alternative energy...... the list is endless come to think!

Thanks for the other links, I was offered an old Harrison lathe of comparable size, I would love to have something of that scale but alas my place doesn't have the space, and my days of working on big stuff are done so the Myford hit all the bells when it was offered.


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  • 1 year later...

A bit of progress on the Myford project;-

A very nice man has donated a metal shed for this project, I'm doing a reciprocal service for him. He insisted on providing a metal shed rather than using the wood I bought last year to do it.


This is the type, but mine will have a double leaf door.



After cutting out more of the bank around the patio we installed a type of retaining wall, consisting of pre-cast concrete fencing system to stop the clay falling against the shed walls. The long posts will allow for installing handrails to the ramp and steps- that at a later stage. DPM & 100mm floor insulation was laid on top of the patio slabs and timber shuttering was constructed for pouring a 100mm thick concrete floor slab.



The concrete floor was poured last week, it was very hard to get a smooth surface finish because of limited access due to the retaining walls, so some remedial work is required- a floor levelling screed may be used after the shed is installed.

The shed is due in a week or two?

.......and yes, there will be some form of layout installed around the walls, Gauge O & 1 test tracks!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice looking build - I built a block shed with my dad, but we never did the insulation in the slab. It's more of a home to a couple of motorbikes, several mountainbikes, with a workbench, cabinets & shelving taking up the rest of the space! 

We did run electrics down to it from the house, and have the armored cable coming up through the slab - setting it in place before pouring the slab in sections - mixing the concrete ourselves.

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  • 2 months later...

I got a bit done on the internals of the 'Lathe Shed'


50x35mm treated timber studs installed.


The shed roof steel sheets were raised up with 10mm thick plastic washers at the eaves! The grey material on the roof sheeting is a drainage sheet, it's stops condensation dripping off the ceiling, but because the sheets were screwed down to that steel eaves beam the water in the sheet drained onto the beam- this would cause the timber to rot over time. 



50mm roof insulation installed, ridge pelmet test fitted to see where the light fitting would end up, height wise.


Pelmet modified, fitted and insulation installed.




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Those Stanley plastic trestles are great things. I got a pair of the wider variety, from clearing out a friend's father's garage. They've turned out to be far more useful than I expected. Being plastic, they're much happier outside for extended periods than wooden or steel ones would be and the notches are very handy for an 'open table' set-up for sawing.

Also, the slight gap at the top was a handy 'vice' for a job where I was using a lot of aluminium angle.



The only issue I've had is that one of the centre hinges at the bottom is a little dodgy and opening that trestle requires a bit of care to avoid breaking things which have been bent, but won't stay back in the right place unless assisted.

Edited by Broithe
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1 minute ago, murrayec said:

@Broithe yes they are very handy, and yes the plastic does not like sharp impact, I have four of them with two suffering the problem you have.


The hinge issue had started before I 'inherited' them and I can live with it.

If you look closely at the top picture above, you can see that one of the cable hooks (I presume?) has been knocked off (on the nearest trestle), but that is no issue at all.

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