Introduced in the early 1970s, the Maho MH400 and MH500 were the smallest models in the company's range. Following the same ingenious, adaptable and versatile design evolved by Deckel from as early as 1917, both were of an almost identical mechanical specification but with some differences: while the MH500 had a hand-driven ram and an 18-speed table-feed gearbox, the ram on the MH400 was power-driven and the table feeds continuously-variable - and fitted with rapids. Tables were much the same size, the swivelling and tilting "Universal" being identical and the fixed just a little larger on the MH400. Oddly, on the MH400, table travels were greater, the X longitudinal being 400 mm, the Y vertical 400 mm and Z across 400 mm - the corresponding figures for the MH500 being 300 mm, 350 mm and 350 mm. Both machines could also mount several different heads - horizontal, standard vertical, high-speed vertical and slotting - in combination with a variety of tables - plain, plain-tilting and compound swivelling. All the heads could be driven backwards and forwards across the top of the main column to provide an in-out feed, while the tables were bolted to a permanently-attached, vertical T-slotted table equipped with power longitudinal and vertical feeds. By juggling the choice of heads and tables, and utilising other accessories, a skilled technician was seldom defeated in his attempts to produce the most complex of milled and drilled components - and all to a very high standard of accuracy. Accessories, therefore, included the essential universal table that could be rotated through 360°, while also being tilted either to the rear or front through 30°; a rigid plane table; a dividing head; a longitudinal spiral-milling attachment and, an extra feature, a punch-milling head. Able to be operated as either a horizontal or vertical machine, as the standard-fit swivelling vertical head was permanently mounted on a hinged arm (though possibly not on every machine) the change from the former to the latter took just one minute. A high-speed milling spindle could also be mounted - this having 18 speeds from 130 to 6300 r.p.m. - as well as a milling head able to be angles in two planes and a slotting head with a ram stroke of 80 mm, 13 rates of stroke and a swivel range of ±90° from vertical.
As the MH400 and MH500 had a limited work capacity in comparison with the larger models - yet were still comparatively expensive - sales must have been limited, few of these desirable little machines appearing on the used market. Indeed, while a single, detailed, English-language catalogue was printed for the MH500, the MH400 received virtually no publicity at all, a pauper-like 4-page B & W sales flyer being the only literature that the writer has ever been able to find (if you have more, please do make contact). Both catalogues are reproduced below.
If you've come to this page to find out more about the MH450 and MH500, one that might be considering buying, and are wondering about their unusual features compared with an ordinary milling machine, proof of the type's success - genus Precision Universal Milling Machine - is evident from the number of similar machines made in various countries over several decades including:
Emco Model F3
Belgium: S.A.B.C.A. Model JRC-2
Czechoslovakia: TOS FN Models
England: Alexander "Master Toolmaker" and the Ajax "00", an import of uncertain origin.
Germany: Hahn & Kolb with their pre-WW2 Variomat model
Wilhelm Grupp Universal- Fräsmaschine Types WF1, UF 20 N/120 and others - some being sold as Mikron
Hermle Models UWF-700 and UWF-700-PH
Leinen Super Precision Micro Mill
Macmon Models M-100 & M-200 (though these were actually manufactured by Prvomajska); Maho (many models over several decades)
Rumag Models RW-416 and RW-416-VG
SHW (Schwabische Huttenwerke) Models UF1, UF2 and UF3
Thiel Models 58, 158 and 159
Wemas Type WMS
Italy: C.B.Ferrari Models M1R & M2R
Bandini Model FA-1/CB and badged as Fragola (agents, who also sold a version of the Spanish Meteba).
Di Palo (Early, very Deckel-FP1-like with later production including much bigger and heavier models including the Type DFF.2)
Japan: Riken Models RTM2, a copy of the FP1 and the RTM3, a copy of the Deckel FP2. These machines, made from the late 1950s until the end of the 1980s, were slowly developed and improved, are beautifully constructed and have simple, reliable electrical systems.
Poland: "Avia" and "Polamco" Models FNC25, FND-25 and FND-32 by Fabryka Obrabiarek Precyzyinych
Romanian branded for sale in the UK as the "Infratirea"?
Russia: "Stankoimport 676"
Spain: Metba Models MB-0, MB-1, MB-2, MB-3 and MB-4
Switzerland: Aciera Models F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5
Christen and Perrin Types U-O and U-1 (Perrin Frères SA, Moutier)
Hispano-Suiza S.A. Model HSS-143
Mikron Models WF2/3S, WF3S, WF-3-DCM & WF-2/3-DCM
Perrin Type U-1
Schaublin Model 13 and Model 22
Schaffner Type 25
The former Yugoslavia: Prvomajska (in Zagreb with Models ALG-100 and ALG200)
Sinn Models MS2D & MS4D
"Comet" Model X8130, imported to the UK in the 1970s by TI Comet.
United States: Brown & Sharpe "Omniversal"
Sloane & Chace in the USA produced a miniature bench version and at least five Chinese-built models have also been made, including one from the Beijing Instrument Machine Tool Works. A number of the "clones" merely followed the general Thiel/Maho/Deckel concept whilst others, like Bandini and Christen, borrowed heavily from Deckel and even had parts that were interchangeable. Should you come across any of these makes and models all will provide "The Deckel Experience" - though you must bear in mind that spares are unlikely to be available and, being complex, finely-made mechanisms, they can be difficult and expensive to repair..