"> Myford Lathes: Clones and Copies

email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Myford Clones and Copies
Allied Amco, Colt, Whitecote, White-Colt, Colt, Minganti, Tiger Turn, Wei Yii, Warco,
Mi-Bo, Prakash Atlas, Tafenglon, My-Turn and "Chinese Unknown"

Myford Copies Page 2   Myford Copes Page 3   Myford Home Page 

Myford Manuals and Catalogues

Surprisingly, while many other makers have been content to allow their lathes to be re-branded for overseas markets, Myford were never tempted down this road - the only known exception being the application, in the USA, of badges proclaiming: "Allied AMCO 7" x 30" G " to some long-bed, screwcutting-gearbox equipped Super 7s of the 1960s (a picture is at the bottom of this page). One rather fine (and improved) Italian-made copy has been discovered made by the well-established machine-tool maker Minganti and at least five different "Chinese copies" of the Super 7 are known, these being distributed using various names including, in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Whitecote, White-Colt 720 and 730 (or just Colt). It is believed that these examples were made by the Wei Yii Company in Taiwan -  with another version, possibly by a different maker, being badged "Tiger Turn" and/or "My-Turn". Versions of the "Colt" were offered in standard 20-inch between centres and long-bed 30-inch forms with some, from an uncertain date, having a number of significant improvements - a big-bore spindle with a No. 4 Morse taper and Poly-V drive to the headstock -  both well before they were introduced on the genuine article. One copy, the "Prakash", came from India and was branded "Atlas" on the headstock and, taking copying to a new level, used a badge similar in appearance to that on the very different American Atlas lathe (if you have a Prakash, please contact the writer). Another version of the Super 7 has been found, the Tafenglong, complete with a screwcutting gearbox. One better-than-average copy of the late-model Super 7B (complete with a screwcutting gearbox and even power cross feed) was the Warco, this being listed as the 720 in standard bed-length form and as the 730 long-bed. As with all Warco-branded, Taiwanese-made  machines it was a well presented and accurate lathe - and even included a roller-bearing headstock and the option of a very decently constructed replica Myford Industrial Cabinet Stand. However, most copies of the Myford by Far Eastern and Indian makers are not so honest - and are easily recognised by their crude appearance, altered belt covers and looks that are quite at odds with the superb detail design and finish of the genuine article. Often there was a curious mixture of ML7 and Super 7 design, with parts resembling those from the latter including the tailstock, a modified roller-bearing headstock, hinged covers over headstock and changewheels - while from the former the simpler cross and top slides were used and there was no clutch fitted to the countershaft
A variety of interesting problems have been reported by one owner - a set of difficulties that took some time and trouble to rectify with modifications and changes necessary to the tailstock, motor-support platform, belt tensioner, saddle gibs and change-wheel carrier. As an example of the hasty and cheap manufacture incorporated in this particular machine, the tailstock clamp assembly was so poorly made that it was put aside as a souvenir of exactly how not to construct such an item. Under prolonged use one especially weak point came to light: the type of bearing used in the countershaft that, if the tension of the drive-belt was set too tightly, tended to overheat and seize - something the original Myford design (which employed plain bearings) never did. In place of the long-lived and reliable plain white-metal bearings of the ML7 headstock the makers of this lathe used large roller bearings. Unfortunately this theoretical improvement had been engineered with such poor attention to detail that it proved a retrograde step: not only were the arrangements for taking bearing pre-load poorly thought out but also so badly executed - the locating sleeve in the spindle pulley stack, for example, was the wrong size and had been packed out with an odd length of badly-fitting tube that rattled uncontrollably..
Copies of the Myford ML10 can be seen on the ML10 page.
Continued below and here: Myford Copies Page 2   Myford Copes Page 3

Branded as a MI-BO (cast into the front face of the headstock) this Italian-made Minganti Myford ML7 copy was discovered in Canada (unlike the better-known Taiwanese copies, one has yet to be found in the United Kingdom). At a guess the MI-BO would have been made in the 1950s, the use of the earlier "open" tailstock casting but inclusion of Super 7-like cross and top-slide handles being two clues. It's likely that the makers copied an ML7 made circa 1948 to 1950, the micrometer dials are of the MAKAK type, the headstock bearing are lubricated through turn-to-open wick-feed oil caps, ball-spring oilers are in evidence on slideways, tailstock and leadscrew hanger bearings and an early type curved leadscrew guard is fitted. Even the lovely little "Acorn" knobs on the tumble reverse and backgear levers have been copied (though in red rather than black plastic), together with the round knob on the leadscrew clasp-nut handle with its ring of fine knurling around the circumference. However, a few differences are apparent: the tailstock is longer with an extended base and that part of the casting through which the spindle passes extended at both front and rear - the latter possibly concealing a different retention method, the Myford "split washer" arrangement being clever and cheap to produce, but not without problems The top slide is fully machined all over -  just like those on the very late Myford versions - and bed-mounted rack is longer, running a good two inches closer to the gap in the bed.
Minganti appear to have produced not only a very high-quality clone, with smooth castings and fine detailing, but, by using a double-step pulley on the motor to countershaft drive, one with 12 speeds running from 32 to 1200 r.p.m instead of the original rather slow six that spanned a rather slow 35 to 640. It might be that the headstock bearings are also bronze instead of white metal - Myford suggesting, in an
Model Engineer Magazine report that the white metal bearings (by Galcier) had become too expensive and the substitution of bronze (as offered as a replacement in later years, required a hardened spindle. If you have a Minganti-Myford the writer would be interested to hear from you.
Translation from an Italian web site:
"Minganti Joseph , one of the pioneers of the Italian machine tools, was formed in his father working abroad. In 1919 he began to produce their own letter-book presses, moulds for containers cachet and a small drill press . Within a few years the business grew and moved the shop in Via della Fontanina to a new factory in Via Ferrarese .
He was always beside his wife Gilberte Gabrielli , who took charge of the organizational and accounting side of the business. At the Paris Exposition of 1928 Minganti presented the first lathe with hydraulic control and continuously variable speeds , the patents taken out giving him international fame. Then came other machine tools including drills and milling machines, as well as a number of special machines for the packing of cigarettes and production of bearings, wire mesh and, pistons. In 1936 , during the period when Italy tried to become self-sufficient in industrial production, the Company manufactured turret (capstan) lathes - models that proved to be of excellent quality and the equal of foreign ones .
During the WW2, in 1943, the factory was hit hard by a bombing raid and subsequently the German command decided to confiscate the factory's machine tools and transport them in Germany, but Minganti fought the request to obtain the transfer of the machinery and of its engineers to Palazzolo .
When her husband died during the difficult process of reconstruction and in the following decades , it was the wife Gilberte to lead the Company with intelligence and determination, qualities that were recognized with her appointment in 1964, as the first woman in Italy to be awarded the Knight of Merit of Labour.
The company moved in the early sixties in a modern industrial complex, in Via Ferrarese, and contto successfully produce machine tools, precision grinding machines, vertical lathes and automatic."

Missing its badge on the front of the headstock that stated "Atlas Machinery Co.183 Victoria Road, Marrikville, N.S.W Australia", this interesting lathe, based on the Myford Super 7 (but with ML7-like bolt-down-cap spindle bearings) is resident in Australia. Similar lathes were exported to the UK during the 1970s and badged "Whitecote" or "Whitecolt 720" but it is not known if they were by the same manufacturer. To anyone familiar with the fine fit and finish of the English-made Myford a close examination of the following pictures will make for salutary viewing. Users in the UK report that the lathes were accurate with one professional gunsmith, who used his for over 25 years, reporting no problems.
Other versions were also made including a  Super 7 - with a strange mixture of ML7 and Super 7 but with a roller-bearing headstock, no clutch on the ML7-type countershaft, a Super 7-like tailstock but the simpler ML7 form of cross and top slide - a more direct copy of the ML7..

So similar - yet subtly different. An interesting ML7 replica with sufficient small differences to ask  - why bother to make any changes at all ? Some features of the machine indicate that the plagiarists were supplied with a very early example of the ML7  from circa 1946/48 with features including a countershaft upright with open rectangles in its face, a plain, not dished, toolpost clamp and the early style of tailstock. One useful modification on this model was the use of twin pulleys on motor and countershaft - which doubled the number of spindle speeds to 12 - and tapered gib strips on the cross and top slides..

Another example of the Chinese copy of the 1940s Myford ML7

Some obvious differences in the tailstock casting and, more unusual, bolt-on bed feet with that at the tailstock end having an extension plate that acted as a tool tray.

In this view the early form of "open" frame countershaft bracket can be seen (as used from 1946 to 1948 on the Myford) together with a screw-in stud to locate the tumble-reverse lever and differences in the shape of the inner (and outer) changewheel guards. Note the tapered gib strip in the top slide - the same fitting was used in the cross slide and can be seen in the picture below.

Another return to the 1940s with the original "plain" not "ribbed" tool clamp. It looks as though, judging by the extra thickness given to the top slide base casting, that a mistake was made when calculating the depth of the tool deck to bed measurements.

The lines of the distinctive headstock belt cover were faithfully reproduced

Continued on Page 2   Myford Home Page 

Myford Manuals and Catalogues

Myford Clones and Copies
Allied Amco, Colt, Whitecote, White-Colt, Minganti, Tiger Turn, Wei Yii, Warco, 
Prakash Atlas, Tafenglon, My-Turn and "Chinese Unknown"
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories