An installation with Warco lathes and milling machines

Something we are always keen to see is when our machines are used in education and training as we are firm believers in the importance of teaching practical engineering and design & technology skills. In recent years it’s been great to see that alongside more traditional academic subjects, there has been a renewed focus on more vocational qualifications.

We are sure that the teaching taking place in a range of schools, academies and colleges up and down the country, as well as investment in apprenticeships, will go a long way to help create the next generation of engineers.

We’re now almost in our fifth decade of supplying training facilities of all kinds, but there was one in particular we wanted to briefly look back on in this post.

A little while ago we were asked by Riverside College in Cheshire, England to provide them with some metalworking machines.

Riverside College have become renowned for further education in the UK, winning some prestigious education accreditations including the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold award in recognition of their commitment to teaching and student outcomes.

Most notably, Riverside has also been voted top further education college in the vocational sector by the Department for Education. That’s number one in the whole country – and they continued to be ranked in that position for four years running.

We supplied and installed a range of equipment as part of an all new department, here’s a few pics to show how it turned out.

Warco Major GH milling machines
A line up of Warco Major GH milling machines
Warco machines in the classroom
The layout was carefully considered, with machines grouped by section and neatly separated to allow for plenty of teaching and student space.
A row of Warco GH1322 lathes
The metal turning section of the classroom and row of Warco GH1322 lathes.

See also:

Warco at JCB Academy

Warco at Prospects College

Warco at WMG Academy

Who uses Warco machines?

It was in 1975 that we started selling machinery and tools, and over the course of the last 46 years we have supplied many thousands of machines to customers worldwide.

To all of those that have chosen to buy from us, we’d like to take the this opportunity to say thanks. Whether you’re a budding model engineer just starting out needing a tool for a new home workshop, or a volume buyer at a household name company, we still appreciate every single order – even after all this time, and no matter how big we get.

Warco GH1330 lathes in an engineering department
An installation using Warco machines for education. Shown are GH1330 lathes with DRO at Warrington University Technical College.

We’re not normally the types to shout about it, but wanted to briefly share a list of a few highlights from some of the better known names that have bought from us and use Warco machines – that we remembered at the time of writing at least. (Plus we noticed some folks who perhaps hadn’t come across us before had searched “Are Warco lathes or machines any good”, so it was probably about time we posted something like this – by way of reassurance that they were judged good enough for some leading names in sectors such as aerospace, defence and education, as well as well known makes like JCB and Rolls-Royce.)

Automotive

  • BMW Mini
  • Ford
  • Jaguar Land Rover Classic
  • McLaren
  • Mercedes AMG F1
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Construction

  • Balfour Beatty Plc
  • BAM Construction
  • GKN
  • JCB
  • Kier Group Plc

Defence

  • HMNB Clyde
  • Marshall
  • Ministry of Defence

Education

Hundreds of schools, colleges and universities across the UK, including

  • Bath University
  • Bristol University
  • Cambridge University
  • Edinburgh University
  • Eton College
  • Goldsmiths
  • Imperial College London
  • Liverpool University
  • Manchester University
  • Nottingham University
  • Oxford University
  • University College London

Food

  • Arla
  • Cadbury’s
  • Coca-Cola
  • John West
  • Kraft Heinz
  • Ocado
  • Walkers

Museums

  • National Railway Museum
  • The British Museum
  • Victoria & Albert Museum

Transport

Too many to list, but a number of companies within these industry examples

  • Aerospace
  • Railways
  • Shipbuilding 

Other notables

  • BBC
  • Dyson
  • House of Lords
  • Tata Steel

Those are just some of the more memorable names we thought of while writing this so we’ve undoubtedly missed some out, but at least this should go some way to showing that when you buy from Warco, you’re in good company.

Warco milling machines in the engineering department
The Engineering department at Warrington UTC, Warco milling machines in the foreground.

Any colour you like, so long as it’s green

To misquote Henry Ford, it’s fair to say that we’ve been pretty consistent with our machinery colour scheme over the years.

But that isn’t to say we aren’t flexible for those customers who might not share our appreciation for the hue.

GKN are a leading engineering firm in the automotive and aerospace industries. A little while ago they were after a few Warco machines to equip a workshop as part of a new prototyping facility but wanted them in a bespoke colour. It proved to be a really interesting project for us, and we were able to supply the equipment to match their requirements.

They kindly shared with us a few pics of how it turned out and we’ve added those below, including the only white Warco GH1440 lathe and Warco 712 bandsaw in the world.

Covid update

Now that we’re one year on from the first lockdown and things seem to have started to gradually return back to normal, we wanted to briefly note about our approach to the various Covid-19 subsidies offered to business.

In response to the public health crisis, as we know the government implemented a number of measures to try to boost the economy including loans to business and the furlough scheme.

Image credit:  z_wei, Getty Images/iStockphoto

At Warco, we have taken a slightly different approach to many companies.

We made the decision to not take any government finance offering. So we haven’t taken a penny of any government loans, council grants or business rates relief. 

Nor have we haven’t taken any other government subsidy related to Covid-19.

We also haven’t taken any money for furlough – we have been keen to retain all our colleagues on full salaries throughout the pandemic, without any cost to the tax payer.

As part of this same approach, since the beginning we’ve been proud to be a company that is wholly British based and owned, meaning we’ve always paid more than our fair share of UK tax.

Hopefully now we’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel at the tail end of this Covid saga, but in the meantime please continue to stay safe.

Latest Warco brochure

We have just published an all new edition of the Warco brochure. Packed full of metalworking machinery and tools, it includes all our latest products and is now bigger than ever, running to more than 130+ pages.

To all of you who have requested a copy in advance of publication, thanks! If you haven’t already received it, it will be winging its way to you very soon.

We can send a copy of the Warco catalogue anywhere in the UK for free. If you’d like one, just head over to the contact form over at warco.co.uk/contact and let us know the address to send it to.

Classic cars and Warco machines

Over the years we’ve heard from many of our customers using Warco machines as part of a classic car rebuild and it’s something we love to be a part of.

We’ve seen some stunning rebuilds take place, and in this sector customers we’ve supplied have varied from folks restoring a car at home, to global businesses like Jaguar Land Rover Classic using our equipment as part of volume production.

For many vintage vehicles, some parts have long since become obsolete, meaning sometimes the only solution is to get the part made or have a go at making it yourself. That’s where we can help.

Milling machines are a key part of engine building of course, for example when it comes to boring cylinder heads. For classic motorcycle enthusiasts, a lathe can be an important part of the arsenal when it comes to keeping a bike on the road. Another key type of tooling that can required by car builders is sheet metal machinery, with metal forming and fabrication often an essential part of bodywork.

Warco products were mentioned in a couple of car magazines we wanted to share briefly in this post.

Practical Performance Car caters to the motor enthusiast looking for a cost effective way to achieve, as you’d expect, performance. As part of an issue not too long ago they did a feature highlighting Warco milling machines.

The magazine is one of the leading monthly tuning publications, and has a wide array of features dedicated to getting the most out of a motor.

Land Rover Monthly is the bible for followers of the legendary British 4×4. Packed with technical knowhow and practical guides to working on your Landy, they recently did a comparison review of sheet metal folders.

As part of the test, we were honoured to see that our 24″ Box & Pan Folder was awarded Pro Choice by the magazine. We must emphasize that neither of these appearances were paid for features, and to Land Rover Monthly’s absolute credit they ran their own fully independent comparison.

“Pro quality with stability and accuracy”

Land Rover Monthly review of the Warco Box & Pan Folder

You can read their full verdict in the image above.

Both magazines strongly endorse the DIY approach when it comes to mechanics, and the idea that it’s possible for any of their readers to take on many of the challenges that go along with vehicle improving, restoring and rebuilding. We’re also firm believers that with the right pointers, including from how-tos in mags like this, virtually anyone can equip themselves with some of the spannering skills that go along with keeping a classic motor on the road.

Warco Open Day

For decades now we have been hosting our own Open Day where anyone is welcome to visit our showroom and premises. In recent years, the event has expanded more than we could have ever anticipated, with visitors from all across the country and what seems like increasing attendance every time.

At the event, we offer the opportunity for our customers to view our entire product range and buy in person, with many show only discounts and special offers. We always like to keep our prices as low as possible as it means our customers are happy, and we try to make this especially the case for anyone who has taken the trouble to visit us in person for the show.

Set in the heart of rural Surrey, you are welcome to pay us a visit.

Everyone is welcome, and in normal circumstances we hold a few of these events a year. The best way to find out when the next show is and to keep up to date with any other event happenings is the Warco Open Day page.

Another draw to the show is the second hand section, where we always have a barn full of used and ex-display metalworking machinery for sale. In the morning of the event, this part is especially popular, with queues forming well before opening of customers looking to grab a bargain.

Below are some pics of this section in previous years. These are all from inside the barn on our site, where at the event we host the used machines and tools on offer.

How to fit DRO to a milling machine

One frequently asked question we’ve found when it comes to our new glass optical digital readout systems relates to how to fit them. And it’s a good question, as these we started offering the new lower cost systems with customer fitment in mind.

In the past, we’ve tended to fit these systems in our own workshop for customers, and this is something we’re still happy to offer – our engineers have many years of experience fitting these systems so we’ll always be on hand to help.

The advantage of buying one of these systems for self-fitting is the saving on the labour cost of having it done professionally by us. And believe it or not, it can often be a rewarding experience.

Each system we supply comes with both a DRO operation manual and a separate installation manual showing what goes where and how to install. To accompany those instructions – because pictures can often be more useful than words – we’ve posted some mill fitment photos in more detail below.

These photos show as an example an install we’ve completed on a milling machine, in this case a WM14/ WM16. The same principles will apply to larger sized mills too.

Warco WM16 with DRO
The front of the mill, showing the counter location.

DRO scale on milling table
The location of the longitudinal travel scale on the rear of the mill table.

Mill DRO - cross travel scale
A closer look at the cross traverse scale mounted to the machine. We use bright mild steel to support the scale overhang.

Cross traverse viewed from the back of milling machine.
The cross scale viewed from the rear. Here you can see the supports supplied as part of the fitting kit with our system.

DRO mill mounting bracket.
And here’s where we locate the mounting bracket for the DRO counter.

These images are a general guide to fitting locations, and you might find you have a different method that suits your needs in some other way. A general purpose bracket is provided as part of the kit, designed for modification depending on application, so it’s worth noting it may vary in appearance from the one shown above. The counter bracket location is less critical than the scales, you can afford to be more freestyle here.

These images should be a handy starting point in combination with the fitting instruction guide that comes included with our systems. And as ever if you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch – we’re always happy to help.

Further reading:

How to fit DRO to a lathe

Following on from the milling machine DRO images, if you’re looking for pointers on how to mount glass optical digital readout scales to a lathe, we’ve added below some example images of where we’ve fitted them to a Warco WM 250V. Also shown in these examples is a WM 290V.

Cross slide DRO on lathe
Showing the scale for the cross travel. This is after we have drilled and tapped the necessary holes and mounted it into position.

 

DRO lathe cross travel
Another view of the cross travel scale fitted to the lathe.

 

Warco WM 290V
A view from the front with scales fitted. Here a WM 290V is shown (note the milling attachment at the rear).

 

Glass optical scale - view from rear on Warco lathe
View from the back of the lathe showing the longitudinal scale. Note we’ve removed the machine’s rear splash guard for better fitting access.

 

DRO scale - view from back of lathe
Another view from the back, showing the scale mounted after drilling and tapping in the appropriate places.

 

Warco WM290V DRO
And here’s another example of that same axis with the splash guard refitted – here on a WM 290V lathe. Note on this lathe there’s a milling attachment in place; the narrow section design of the scales means with that even with the milling column mounted, movement is still unrestricted.

 

Warco WM250 Lathe with DRO
Finally, there is the mounting of the counter. Positioning of this is less critical than the scales, so you are free to locate it wherever is most convenient. We’ve gone with the headstock end as it makes the most sense for readability, shown in this example on a WM 250. Supplied general purpose fitment bracket is intended for modification depending on your specific application.

 

DRO Warco WM 250V
The end result of a fully configured WM 250V with 2 axis DRO. The visible cables would usually be tucked neatly out of view – we have them on the swarf tray here for convenience as this is a display model.

 

DRO manual
Warco DRO systems come with the above installation manual, illustrated throughout with step by steps. 

With any luck, with the manual to hand alongside these example images, you should be well equipped for completing the satisfying job of your own installation. Anything we missed, or something you’re still not sure about? Let us know in the comments below!

See also:

Warco brochure

We’ve just released the latest Warco metalworking catalogue.

Warco catalogue

With 100+ colour pages of machinery and tools, it’s a handy way to see our range in one place.

Warco brochure

If you have already requested a copy, thanks! It will be with you shortly. If you don’t think you’re on the list and would like one, we will be happy to post you one for free – just send us a message with your address details here: warco.co.uk/contact.