The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 9, September 15, 2008

Customer Projects

Super-detailed Radio Controlled Model Ships by Andrew Green


Centaur and Helenus are model ships that most would be proud to display on a mantle, but these are actually made to be sailed.

Andrew Green of Halifax, NS, Canada used to work as a draftsman for real ships. He worked on plans for the QE2 while living in Scotland. He then moved to Halifax and worked on oil rigs until he retired. He built and sailed ship models as a child, and now that he has retired he can spend more time on his hobby of ship model building. Though these ships appear to be virtually museum quality in the level of detail they contain, keep in mind they are made to be put in the water and sailed, not just displayed. They are ballasted, powered by electric motors and filled with tiny light bulbs that must make them a joy to see on the water at night. The deck fittings like winches, rail posts, chocks, porthole rims and more are turned from brass and aluminum using a Sherline lathe. To learn more about each ship and see another called St. Ninian see Project #16 on the Sherline Workshop page.

Shop Tip of the month:

A Simple Drawbolt Washer Retainer by Steven Smith


Here's a simple and good looking way to keep a drawbolt and washer together.

When you lift a drawbolt out of the mill spindle, the washer can easily slide down the bolt and fall off if you are not careful. The bolt and washer can also become separated while rolling around in your toolbox. If you don't like spending time looking under your workbench or in toolbox drawers for small parts, here is a tip from Steven Smith that solves the problem. He took a short length of heat-shrink tubing and slipped it over the 1/4" shaft of the drawbolt. If the fit is tight enough, you don't even need to heat it to keep it in place. If it fits loosely, just heat it with a match until it shrinks into place to act as a retainer for the washer. On a larger bolt, he also found that the rubber grip from a ball point pen worked to accomplish the same thing. In fact, any piece of tubing of the proper size will do the job. A few wraps of electrical tape will also work, but heat-shrink tubing is the neatest and most professional looking solution we've seen yet.

Our thanks go to Steven Smith of San Mateo, CA for this suggestion. See the TIPS section of our web site for more helpful hints.

Product Spotlight

P/N 3100 Threading Attachment for the Lathe

Photo 1 shows what you get with the threading attachment, and photo 2 shows the attachment mounted on the lathe with the spindle motor removed..

One of the big advantages of owning a lathe is that it gives you the ability to cut your own custom threads. It is not economically feasible to own every possible tap and die size, and now and then you are bound to run into projects where you need a really odd thread. For example, say you were to want to make a filter ring for a camera or telescope that had a very large diameter with a very fine thread. Purchasing a tap or die for such a thread might not even be possible or, if it were, it would be far more expensive than the whole threading attachment at just $125.00. Even going to the store to buy a tap can take way longer than setting up your lathe to cut a thread yourself. The P/N 3100 attachment contains the engagement lever, primary and secondary support arms and a set of 15 hobbed metal gears that allow you to cut threads from 5 TPI up to 80 TPI, left-hand or right-hand as well as metric threads from .25 mm to 2.0 mm pitch. Optional odd numbered gears are also now available for even more combinations. Inch threads can be cut on a metric machine and vice versa using the 127-tooth translation gear. A large 4" handwheel is also included, as the threads are cut manually without use of the spindle motor in order to give the maximum amount of user control. Add this accessory, and you significantly expand the capabilities of your home machine shop. P/N 3100: $125.00.

Did you know?

ï Linked from the first section of the main menu on Sherlineís web site are links to instructions for all Sherlineís accessories. See to read about how any accessory we make is used. If you've lost your instructions you can reprint them here, or if you just want to learn how an accessory is used before deciding to buy, here's the place to look. This is a tremendous free resource of machining information and another example of how Sherline offers information and service not even attempted by the competition.

ï Sherlineís last price increase was in October, 2003. Given the continual increases in cost of materials and labor, our current prices cannot last forever.

Upcoming Shows

ï Cabin Fever Expo, January 17-18, 2009, York, PA ( There is also a big machine tool auction Friday, January 16th.

ï NAMES (North American Model Engineering Society) Expo, April 18-19, 2009, Toledo, Ohio. ( Sherlineís Machinist Challenge Contest is held at this show each year. The Joe Martin Foundation also presents its award for Metalworking Craftsman of the Year at NAMES.

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï The newest additions to the on-line Craftsmanship Museum are Polish aircraft modeler Andrzej Ziober and East Coast model engineer Fred Heim. Andrzej works at tiny 1/72 scale while Fred builds his trucks and construction equipment models in a more unusual scaleó1/2 size!