Rodney Mini-Miller & VMD continued on page 2 (of 2)
Made by Tew & Gautrey in Church Street, Gogenhow, Northamptonshire, the Rodney milling attachment was eventually to be produced in three versions, one larger and two smaller. Most commonly found fitted as an attachment to Myford Series 7 and ML10 lathes, base adaptors were also offered for Raglan, Boxford and other makes and it could also be had as the (very rare) Rodney "Plus", this being mounted on a sheet-metal underdrive stand that held a 1-phase, 0.5 h.p. motor fitted with a 2-step pulley. From the motor the drive passed to a "countershaft" 4-step pulley and then to a second 4-step mounted above the motor that turned a vertical drive shaft. The result of this arrangement was a range of eight useful spindle speeds of 320, 450, 610, 850, 1040, 1490, 2190 and 2750 r.p.m. - these being far superior to the six much slower ones generated by the ML10 and ML7 - though not far removed from the higher speeds generated by the Super 7. In "Plus" form, the spindle travel was approximately 86 mm with its nose a maximum of 164 mm above table. Table travel was 230 mm left to right and 120 mm front to back. Pictures of the Rodney "Plus" model are at the bottom of the page.
The original, larger and heavier of the three models (the one used as the basis for the "Plus" and not able to be fitted to the ML10) was built around a very strong, box-section iron casting clamped to the bed by two bolts (with alignment adjustment by the use of two screws bearing against the back face of the bedways). The drive - via an internally splined flexible nylon coupling of a type now made by Dentex - came from a Morse taper draw-bar retained plug in the lathe headstock. It passed through a pair of oil-bath-lubricated bevel gears to a vertical shaft (running in sealed-for-life ball races) and then by narrow V-belt to a spindle turning in angular-contact ball races. The head was arranged to slide up and down through 3.25" (82 mm) on a machined face on the inside of the main casting and was fitted with both a quick-action rack-and-pinion drilling feed and a (quickly disengage-able) worn-and-wheel driven fine feed--the latter employing the same handwheel used on the leadscrew end of the Myford Series 7 lathes. Spindle travel was 3" (76 mm) and the nose fitted with a No. 2 Morse taper and a standard Myford nose thread of 1.125" x 12 t.p.i. The throat was a useful 4 3/8" (110 mm) and the spindle could be adjusted so that its nose was a maximum of 6 inches above the lathe cross slide - though in practical terms this was only 2.5" above the face of a Clarkson Autolock chuck. The whole unit weighed about 60 lbs (27 kg).
More often found fitted to the Myford ML10, the smaller and much lighter (42 lbs/19 kg) of the three attachments - advertised as the Mini-Miller - could also be provided with a base fitting for the 7 Series lathes. Although resembling its larger brother, its construction was very much simpler, with the head supported on a solid steel bar cleverly hidden under a rectangular cover that gave an impression of a much greater mass beneath. Drive was by a toothed belt, running over a pair of rear-mounted jockey pulleys with a two-pin socket taking the drive from the lathe's headstock spindle.
No quick-action drilling feed was fitted and the only way of moving the spindle through its 5-inches of travel was by a top-mounted (Super 7) balanced handwheel that turned a long acme-form threaded rod identical in specification to that used on the lathe's compound slide rest assembly. Despite its limitations in comparison to the heavier unit, the Mini-Miller was an effective device and allowed an owner with a very limited amount of space to undertake a variety of otherwise impossible-to-achieve vertical milling operations.
Listed as the model VM-D, the final version produced was, in effect, a larger and more robust version of the Mini-Miller with modern, angular lines and available with base fittings that adapted it for use on both the 7 and 10-series Myford lathes. The main casting was locked to the round column by two clamp bolts (the Mini-Miller had just one) and, instead of the slow-to-operate vertical screw feed, this version was given a quick-action rack drive - ideal for drilling but not quite so sensitive for milling operations. As the original full-size Rodney had the ideal set-up of both quick and fine-feeds, the VMD might be considered a retrograde step.
Other milling attachments made for the Myford Series 7 and 10 lathes were the Amolco and, just for the 7 Series, the very rare Staines..