Myford Factory Visit Today.

Hello yet again, (yes, two posts in one evening!)
I went to the Myford Factory open day this afternoon - it was reall
great, but I found it quite sad at the same time. I think I was th
youngest visitor there by far. I don't want to sound pessimistic, bu
If that was a representative sample of the typical Myford owner, then
would be very worried for the future if I were a Myford director!
Another thing I couldn't get over was the INCREDIBLE price tags of th
stuff they had there. Not just full machines, but used ones and als
the accessories. We are looking at buying a lathe at work, and hav
talked to several used m/c tool companies here in Sheffield. On
supplier also sells new machines, and apparently the Far Eastern an
Eastern European stuff is getting better all the time, to the exten
that you can get a very capable medium sized CNC lathe for around £500
- far less than a new Myford with all the fancy bits, but which ha
absolutely no computerisation. From what I see, the Myford would b
totally outclassed by one of these machines, certainly in terms o
versatility, and from what I saw today of the machine tools and method
used to bulid a new Myford, I would not be surprised if the Myford woul
potentially be less accurate. It is a very labour intensive buil
process they have there, and I would expect that consistency of buil
accuracy at Myford comes at a very high price in terms of man hours
which has to be passed on to the customer.
On a more positive note, all the staff were very nice, and I got
personal demonstration of how to adjust gib screws the factory way!
was also pleasantly surprised by the total abscence of health an
safety measures during the visit. We could happily stand next to larg
surface grinders which were working on beds and emitting showers o
sparks. One person was demonstrating parting off bits from a steel ba
with no regard for eye protection of the bystanders, another wa
hobbing a gear - again absolutely no protective gear was required o
demanded. I thought it was great that people were actually trusted t
use their common sense for a change. I dread to think of the potentia
insurance claim should anything have happened though.
I took my genuine Myford vertical slide along to try to do a part-e
deal for an adustable vertical slide. I was assured by an elderl
gentleman in a bright red Myford jumper that they didn't take secon
hand items. When I pointed out that he was standing in front of fou
second hand slides identical to mine, (the cheapest of which was £110
all of which were for sale, he just suggested that I might sell min
privately. The thing is, I might well have wanted to buy a new Myfor
slide (unlikely, at the howlingly, barkingly insane price of ove
£300). He could have offered me £50 in part exchange and made a stac
of money on the deal. Anyway, I did my bit for the preservation of th
Myford working museum, and bought a set of 2BA grease nipples, which
fitted tonight. I can now actually pressure lubricate the slides an
bearings properly!!! I also picked up a reduction spur gear whic
reduces feed rates by 50% I can't wait to try that out at the weekend
Those two items, along with a proper toolpost handle came to
heart-attack incucing £47 (no vat today!). The irony was that I, bein
a bit of a mug, was willing and fully expecting to pay that (for th
sake of supporting the company), but for some reason they only charge
me £25...sums up British industry perfectly. I hope I'm wrong, but
can't help but think Myford's days are severely numbered.
Regards,
Garth
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DR_G
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Having an open day mid-week does mitigate against those in work attending so the age issue might be over exaggerated. Nevertheless everything you said rings true. Look on the brightside, if you're a similar age to me (44) and are surrounded by colleagues in their late 20's then going anywhere that makes you feel young has to be a bonus.
Charles
Reply to
Charles Ping
For some reason the OP doesn't show up in Google groups?
Charles, I would make you feel young and yes you are right it is very enjoyable to go somewhere where they call you "boy" again and mean it.
Garth Hi again, I=E2=80=99m sorry to say that due to pressures of time I=E2= =80=99m going to miss (most?) of the opportunity to develop some of your points further. I can=E2=80=99t let all of your comments pass though withou= t a couple of observations of my own.
Myford have been relatively expensive for many years in the hobby sector but they still sell very well secondhand if in reasonable condition; and if on E-bay sometimes even if clapped out. It says something about what they deliver as a =E2=80=9Cmanual=E2=80=9D (important = that) lathe. Yes they sell on the vast range of accessories, available information, historic reputation and past glories but people still search out good ones and pay a lot for them. If people didn=E2=80=99t like using them they would be much cheaper in these times of very reasonable imports.
I would also take issue with your comment that cheap CNCs =E2=80=9Coutclass= =E2=80=9D a Myford. The two are very different things and are not comparable, like chalk and cheese in fact. The Myford is a manual machine, always has been and sells to a different market than CNC lathes. The fact that it is still in the market some 60 years on from its=E2=80=99 introduction spea= ks volumes for how it performs as a manual lathe. Will it be available in another 60 years, I guess not as there will be hardly anyone bar a few historians who know how to use manual machines. I guess the real question here would be do CNCs =E2=80=9Coutclass=E2=80=9D manual machines. = My answer and there no doubt will be other views, =EF=81=8A is YES in some ways and f= or some jobs and NO in other ways. I can=E2=80=99t really agree that just addi= ng a computer to anything makes it classier but it might make it easier and quicker to use, if you know how. They are different and it depends on what you want to do with them. I suppose we could go into, is the =E2=80=9Ccraftsman=E2=80=9D dead argument but life is too short for that on= e=2E
People will always pay a high (very high sometimes) price for =E2=80=9Chandcrafted quality=E2=80=9D whatever that is? Just ask your wife = if she would prefer a Tesco handbag or a =E2=80=9Ctop label=E2=80=9D one; if she c= hooses the former take good care of her she is a real treasure. The honest (if sad) fact is that people will pay dearly for perceived quality and exclusivity. Many make nice jewelry (look in any highstreet) a few (Carl Faberge?), make superb jewelry, it=E2=80=99s the same in all markets, lathes are no different. Myford have re-positioned themselves in the market place and it is possibly the reason that they still exist at all. Have a look at the size of their workforce and you will clearly see the change from a =E2=80=9Cpopular=E2=80=9D to =E2=80=9Cniche=E2=80=9D = market.
Unfortunately, I must go now and can=E2=80=99t bore you any longer, have fu= n=2E
Keith
Reply to
jontom_1uk
What is often forgotten when getting into that argument is that the "traditional" craftsmen of yester year embraced new technology with open arms, and in many cases, invented it - Harrison and roller bearings as a case in point. They all had a living to make, and anything that gave them an advantage in doing that was most welcome. I would be willing to bet that if Harrison had been shown a CNC machine he would have believed all his Christmases had come at once.
Curiously, many of the modern-day "traditional" craftsmen seem to have the opposite viewpoint - that it isn't legitimate to use modern techniques to do a traditional job. An interesting example from clockmaking - when "crossing out" a wheel, traditional design calls for nice square corners where the spokes meet the hub and rim, whereas a radius would arguably be aesthetically more pleasing. The reason? When crossing out by hand, it is very difficult to file matching radii on the corners that don't end up looking "wrong"; much easier to file a sharp corner that looks right. So that is what they all used to do - because it was easier with the tools at hand. Crossing out using CNC, you can pretty much do whatever you like, and the minimal finishing required means that neat radiused corners work very well indeed. However, the old hands will no doubt tell you that, because they can't do it as easily by hand, it is somehow the wrong thing to do.
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
Tony, I wouldn't argue with much of what you say but would add that actually, we don't "all have a living to make" from this activity. Often in our world, the creating is more important than the finished article. Also of course the old one, making something individual is different to making something in the mass production world. In Harrisons case I would agree that a good CNC at the time would have been a "godsend" to any production environment. But of course, automatics etc were well known and our hobby world didn't adopt them in any big way. As always "you pays your money....." The professional always has a way of making the ordinary (for him) seem difficult (for the rest of us). CNC is no different, the whole world involves a new language and a lot of expensive "must haves" that are really not once you know what you are doing. The best example of this is the whole IT world that has made "white mans magic" from what really is the logical and very simple to use. The "great unwashed" fall for it every time.
Cynical of Wales
Keith
Reply to
jontom_1uk
That rather depends on how old you are?
Though a mid week event is hardly going to attrract youger folk, they'll be at work!
MH
Reply to
max
Tony, Keith,
Interesting points, and all valid I think. I would add that there ca be something satisfying about producing something via. a computer. Fo example, I like to see my own CAD drawings printed out even though didnt draw them by hand. I suppose it requires a different set o skills although you could argue that a skilled draughtsman could easil learn to use cad, but it would probably take a skilled cad operator lot longer to learn hand draughting. Same argument with CNC machining guess.
Perhaps Myfords would appeal more to the younger generation if ther was some CNC compatibility?
Regards,
Garth
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DR_G
I'm 37, and I took an afternoon off work to visit the factory.
Garth
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DR_G
Yes, of course CNC is a godsend in a production environment; however, what a lot of people miss is that it is also a godsend for one-offs and prototyping (and in reality, the interesting work he did was very much proof-of-concept prototypes.
I guess at the end of the day it comes down to how much time you want to spend attached to the back end of a scraper, a hacksaw or a file; for some people, "doing it the hard way" is what they enjoy - and good luck to them. Personaly, I value the ease and speed with which I can machine parts to a reasonable degree of accuracy using CNC, leaving more time to think about what it is I want to make.
Regards, Tony.
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
My Myford is in the process of getting some CNC compatibility right now...
Actually, Myfords had the opportunity to go that route with the "Connect" CNC lathe, which was based on the ML 10, but they declined (something about there being no future in this new-fangled computer stuff I guess...)
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
Interesting comment that, Tony.
I guess we have a divide between the 'machine tool as a tool' people, who only use it purely as a means to an end, and those to whom the actual use of the machine is a pleasurable (or interesting) experience, the fact that they can make something at the same time being a bonus.... :-))
If you are a 24/7 machine tool user, spending any spare time on yet another machine is not going to be much fun, but if you are a 'part time' user, then the occasional session on the milling machine or whatever is something to look forward to.
Or, am I wrong in my assumptions?
Peter -- Peter A Forbes Prepair Ltd, Rushden, UK snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk
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Reply to
Prepair Ltd
As with all things, its a balance, and where the balance lies will differ from person to person. I don't do machining 24/7 and enjoy operating lathes and mills by hand - but only up to a point. For example, machining the backplate to fit an ER25 chuck to the Taig the other night was just tedious - the backplate was 4" diameter & I had to machine it down to 60mm - nothing particularly pleasurable about that after the first few passes. The most exciting bit was the smoke coming off the Taig's motor because I was taking far heavier cuts than it could comfortably cope with. I would have been more than happy to press a button and allow a CNC control to do the boring bits thank you very much, letting me go off and do something else untill it had finished.
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
Hi, I also went to the Myford Open Week yesterday. I've been before so I knew mostly what to expect. Yes, the demonstrations were interesting and most useful, and chatting to the Myford staff was really informative. But what really got me was having to wait nearly 30 minutes just to get served at the Spares Counter, and the queue appeared to constant throughout the time I was there. I can never get over the cost of parts, even when it is a 'VAT free' event. I needed a long cross-slide for my ML7 (either new or second-hand) but they wanted £121 just for the cross-slide itself .... (incidentally, would I need a new feedscrew or anything else if I change my original cross-slide for a long one?). Myfords had a 2nd hand one for £45 but it was for the Super7 .... pity. So, it looks like Ebay again for a cross-slide. I was amazed at the cost of a dividing head setup there too, well over £700, (did I notice a firm selling new dividing heads for half that recently?). Anyone spot the set of 25+ milling cutters for £30? All in all, a most interesting day but very crowded.
Reply to
Brad.
Hi Tony, i can see where you are coming from and have to admit having
foot in either camp. Clock wheel/pinion cutting is tedious by han methods and i have often wished for cnc but could never afford it, o the other hand i could now use a Taylor Hobson pantograph to cross ou the wheels when i used to do batch production. I used to do all m crossing out with a hand fret saw, tedious, you bet, but i can stil use the old ways for making parts that dont lend themselves to cnc clock hands for instance. I came up with an idea some years ago which call the poor mans cnc, it uses plastic templates and a woodworker router for cutting brass plate, its at
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bes regards Dav
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DCreed
Does it count that I've just come in after spending three evenings making a pulley for the new 3-phase motor for my remaining ML7?
Perfectly formed keyway made by turning up a sleeve, slotting it on the shaper then Loctiting it into the rest of the pulley:-). At some point in the future, I'll make a set of broaches if I don't get some cheap at an auction.
At some time in the future I have plans for a magnum opus model engineering job, but I've got a lot of machine tool reconditioning to do first.
Mark Rand RTFM
Reply to
Mark Rand
I must say that the 'atmosphere', for want of a better term, in companies tends to prevent the taking of odd days off.
I worked for a US company where if you took more than two weeks leave (typical in the US apparently) it was frowned upon and you were told as much.
MH
Reply to
max
I am very lucky to work for an aerospace research based division of th University of Sheffield (the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) The culture is based on free thinking and achieving goals - we can tak time off when we want so long as other members of the team are no disadvantaged. We can also work from home if appropriate - as far as can see everything has been done to promote employee satisfaction, an it works. Given the freedom to effectively do what you like so long a targets are met actually seems to increase dedication to the job i hand while simultaneously giving you some slack. A total contrast t the heavy engineering company I used to work for, where everything wa done and managed as it used to be in the 1950's. Apart from th directors, everyone hated the place, and it often showed in the qualit of the products.
If I had a job where I couldn't even take off the time I was entitle to, I would leave and start a dry stone walling business or something!
Regards,
Garth
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DR_G
I visited the Myford stand at the 2005 Harrogate show and since my last exposure to Myfords was when installing half a dozen in an apprentice training centre at the NCB some forty-odd years ago, I found the experience illuminating to say the least. The ML7 seemed to have changed only in detail since those days and the price had reached frightening levels. The salesman came across with the usual "can I help you?". "Not at those prices you can't" I replied. I asked the chap to regard me as a novice (near the truth as it happens), and justify the tag of over £8K for what appeared to be a close cousin of the machines I'd bolted to a concrete floor all those many years ago. "It's quality" came the reply, "it'll last a lifetime". "Look at me closely - I won't last a lifetime" I said. The questioning went on and when asked how the ML7 compared against the Wabeco I'd been caressing over the way, apart from a shrugging of shoulders, answer came there none.
I suggested that most of the cost went on white coated individuals stroking chins and harumphing over the last bit of a thou - a meaningless process I wasn't prepared to subsidise as it added not one jot to the product.
I sidled over to the stand of ETR and placed an order with Mr Pugh for a Chinese lathe and miller both of which, after a stripdown and careful rebuild, are infinitely more accurate than I am. The larger of the lathes now has a VFD and a 3ph 1hp motor which runs as sweet as a nut. For much less than the cost of one ML7, I now have a fully equipped toolroom with 2 millers and 2 lathes along with all the fancy bits one can imagine - endless fun.
Of course, I'm sorry not to have patronised British industry but the price differentials are just too great to take the locally grown product seriously.
Cheers, Les
Reply to
Avondale Audio
Guys,
Amazingly (to me anyway!), I have been told that no *NEW* lathes ar 'made' at Myfords in Nottingham any more. And that hey are actuall manufactured in China, and assembled in Nottingham.
Come to think of it, this is not as daft as it sounds, since I saw n foundry, no large machine shop and not that many workers at th factory. I saw plenty of reconditioning work going on, and som assembly of new lathes - and that was about it.
Does anyone know any more baout this. I was gutted!
Regards,
Garth.
I now have it on even better authority that Myford lathes *ARE manufactured entirely in the UK! Any comments
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DR_G
If that is true, then at the price they retail them for, they are making out like bandits. Either that or they hand polish the threads on each screw before assembly...
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree

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