View Full Version : MLA Boring and Facing Head

08-29-2007, 10:18 AM
I know that some of you have built some of the MLA products but I don't ever remember hearing anyone talk about building the boring and facing head. I have had a couple jobs that the facing function would have been real useful on and have been thinking about building one. Here is a link to it.

Boring Head Link (http://www.statecollegecentral.com/metallathe/MLA-7.html)

Anyway, I'm just looking for comments from anyone who might have built one and how well does it work? Pictures of the finished product would be great. I know that there stuff is usually good quality but before I build one I'd like to know that it works good. I've looked for used Wolhoupters but I don't want to pay the price that they bring considering it will sit more than it is used. Thanks in advance for any info.

08-29-2007, 12:34 PM
I built one of these a few years ago. Very nice castings, and well written instructions. Well worth the cost IMHO.

The boring head works very well; but how well it works depends on the builder. I spent some extra hours on mine to make sure everything was right, I figure that it will be around longer than me, so there was no point in rushing it or cutting corners.

A downside to the MLA boring head is its weight. I use mine in my BP clone, and anything more than a few hundred RPM will give it the shakes.

The facing feed takes a little tinkering to get it to work just right.

I get more use out of mine than I had expected, and I'm happy with it.


08-29-2007, 08:44 PM
Thanks for the reply Joeby. I figured with a head as heavy as that one that you would have to watch the rpms on it. What kind of mount are you using to run it in your mill? Straight shank in a collet?

08-30-2007, 12:08 AM
Just curious, but wouldn't steel be a better material for a boring head than cast iron? I woulld think that CI would take a beating and open up tolerances because it is so much softer than steel. I guess if you aren't doing much facing (interupted cuts) it may not be a problem, especially for occasional home shop use.

I've never seen an automatic feed boring head work. How is that done?

08-30-2007, 07:46 AM
The MLA boring head is pretty heavily built. I don't think you would have much trouble with it loosening up on you, not any more than with many commercially built heads. Unless you were to use it with the head toward its travel limits.

I have used mine a good bit, and done some heavy cutting with it with no problems. I don't use the facing capability much, and in fact, I have it disabled right now.

I made an R-8 shank for it to use in my mill. I didn't like the idea of a straight shank.




Digital cameras are nice to have; but have their quirks, I guess. The feed ring looks rusty in the pics; but really is not.


08-30-2007, 08:35 AM
Kevin, thanks for the pics. Looks like you did a good job on yours. I believe it would come in real handy. I have a boring head already but I would like to have one to do facing cuts with and I believe that it would fill the bill.

08-30-2007, 08:41 AM
My experience with a straight shank in a collet for a boring head wasn't very satisfactory. It wasn't rigid enough. I think you'll be happier with a shank to match the machine spindle taper, like Kevin made.

08-30-2007, 08:47 AM
I'd probably just order me one of those premade R8 shanks that fit the other boring heads and machine the MLA head to fit it. That would save a little time.

Gzig5, the facing part is done by holding the big collar at the top of the boring head. When it is held while the spindle is turning it works a feed mechanism inside that advances the head .0015 revolution of the boring head. The MLA head has a fixed rate of .0015 per rev. but the Wolhoupters that we have at work are adjustable from .0015 to .018 per rev. We use the .018 feed to serrate the face of gasket surfaces. And it's really safe as it takes very little force to hold the ring while it is running.

08-30-2007, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the lesson. Now I understand why the Wolhoupters sell for so much.