Harold Hall


Milling on the Lathe, an introduction. Harold Hall.

It was in the late 1940's, then in my mid teens, that I first became aware of the hobby of model engineering. The occasional purchase of the Model Engineer magazine and a couple of visits to the Model Engineers exhibition in London and my interest in metalwork was firmly established. An old Myford ML4 was obtained but quickly replaced by a new ML7. Equipping the workshop beyond this was though limited to the absolutely essential small tools.


A drilling machine was though desirable and I set about making a Cowels of Watford machine, doing this entirely on the ML7. This was though the limit of my workshop activity until a few months prior to my becoming editor of MEW. However, I did in those early days discover that making workshop equipment and engineering models was invariably carried out with just limited equipment, milling machines being a rarity. Making the drilling machine gave me my first experience of using a lathe for more than just turning.


It was not until the 1970's and the introduction of the Mill/Drill that the milling machine began to be much more common. Even in MEW issue 7 (1991) it was found that only 45% of the respondents to a survey had a vertical milling machine and a very small number, a horizontal mill. The milling machine was though high on the list of probable major purchases for the future. Even so, there are still a large number of workshops using a lathe for both turning and milling.


These no doubt fall loosely into three categories, lack of finance, lack of space, or a newcomer to the hobby who has made their first purchase of a lathe and will no doubt want to wait awhile before purchasing a milling machine. There may well be a fourth, others who simply do not have sufficient time available for major workshop activities and cannot therefore justify obtaining a milling machine on these terms. The projects elsewhere on this site will be of particular interest to such readers as none will take more than 25 hours to construct. That excludes the milling head which was not part of the original series.


These projects, together with this introduction to the method, is therefore primarily for the lathe only workshop owner. Even so, much of this will also be of interest to the owner of a fully equipped workshop where the occasional milling or boring operation on the lathe, rather than the mill, can be preferable.


The projects are not intended purely for beginners and assume  the reader is conversant with milling practices. However, as is my usual approach I do go into a fair amount of detail, with this introduction to the projects particularly having the newcomer to the format in mind.


Workshop Processes