The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 23, November 16, 2009

Sherline Workshop Project of the Month

Half scale Briggs & Stratton engine in progress/George Baisz

The head begins to take shape on Georgeís Sherline mill. At the right is the half size head next to the real thing.

George Baisz is taking on the project of making a running scale model of an engine that is hugely popular but rarely modeled. There are no casting kits out there to make a miniature size lawn mower engine. Though many kids may have gotten their first powered ride in a home-made go-kart powered by an engine in this family, you rarely see them honored in reproduction form at model engineering shows. George has changed all that.

The camshaft and gear are shown in full and half size. At the right is the nearly finished block and head. This is all machined from billetóno castings were used.

George is machining all the parts for this engine from billet stock. He has recently completed the valves and springs and is starting on the crankshaft next. When the engine is completed this project will be featured in the ìWorkshopî section, where many other completed projects can already be seen.

Shop Tip of the month

An easy to make On/Off switch extension/Graham Taylor

The late Graham Taylor was an engineer at General Motors, a regular at the NAMES show and contributed to several designs that Sherline put into production as accessories. Here is his take on an easy way to make the speed control On/Off switch easy to find in a hurry. This was the first tip we published when starting the Sherline web site in 1996.

This simple extension makes it easier to hit the On/Off switch on your speed controller. By simply cutting a 7/8" length of 3/8" rubber tubing which has a 1/8" inside diameter and slipping it over the ball end of the on/off switch, it just takes the flick of one finger to operate the switch instead of having to search for it. A short length of 3/16" diameter brass or other material pressed into the open top end gives the switch extension a professional, finished look.

This and more than 50 other helpful tips for Sherline machinists can be found at

Product Spotlight

Work holding accessories

This month we feature a number of ways to hold work on the mill. Each has its uses and advantages.

P/N 3012, Hold-Down Set, $25.00

This is the first hold-down set Sherline introduced and it is still in the line. It is simple and economical and uses a Carriage bolt as an adjustable riser. The round head sits on the table with a washer under it to keep from denting the table. The other end of the clamp is pulled down using various length socket head screws through the slot in the clamp that go into T-nuts in the table T-slot.

P/N 3013, Step Block Hold-Down Set, $40.00

The step block set is a miniature version of the most popular kind of mill hold-down set. Steps in the back of the clamps engage steps in the angled blocks for quick height adjustment. Various length threaded rods go into the T-nuts to put you in the right height range. The nuts that tighten down on the clamps have a convex bottom, and the washers have a matching concave top, so the nut always pulls straight down, even when the clamp is not sitting level. Though a little more expensive than the 3012 set, it can hold taller parts and is quick and easy to adjust.

P/N 3551, Mill Vise, $75.00

The mill vise is more than just a drill press vise. The rear (moveable) jaw is pulled down and in at the same time by the tightening screw, which keeps the part being held from being pulled upward by the forces of milling. The fixed front jaw has a vertical and a horizontal groove to help align round stock, and both steel jaws are replaceable. The vice is held down using two angle clamps in the grooves around the edge, and two sets of clamps and screws are provided with the vice.

P/N 3559, 90∞ Angle Plate, $60.00

This anodized aluminum plate has two T-slots running the length of both the vertical and horizontal surfaces, making it possible to clamp parts vertically that are not square on the bottom. This is a handy fixture for the Sherline or any mill or drill press. It is 10" long with two 4" wide surfaces. Included are six sets of 10-32 socket head screws and T-nuts for mounting to the mill table.

P/N 3560, Mill Tooling Plate, $60.00

A tooling plate serves several purposes. 1) The additional Ω" of thickness stiffens your mill table. 2) It protects your mill table in case you mill or drill too deep accidentally and 3) The multiple hole pattern makes it easy to clamp down fixtures in many locations. It is made of a 4" x 10" piece of cast tooling plate, so there are no internal stresses to cause it to warp if you drill more holes in it to make custom fixtures of your own. Additional holes are provided to accommodate the Sherline mill vise and rotary table.

P/N 3561, Short 90∞ Angle Plate, $60.00

A shorter 4" long version of the P/N 3559 angle plate, this fixture can be handy in tight setups. Suggested by Sherlineís lead toolmaker, Pam Weiss, this fixture can come in handy in many work situations where holding something vertically is required. Included are four sets of socket head mounting screws and T-nuts.

P/N 3750, Tilting Angle Table, $110.00

Hold your mill vise, rotary table or any part at any angle from 0∞ to 90∞. A fixture is also included to attach any 3-jaw or 4-jaw Sherline chuck. A laser-engraved scale on one of the steel side supports indicates the angle. Four socket head screws and T-nuts are included for mounting to the mill table. The stress-free cast tooling plate table table can be drilled and tapped for mounting additional fixtures or clamps. In the 90∞ position it mounts the P/N 3700 or 8700 rotary table at the same height as the 3701 90∞ Angle Plate, so the optional 3702 Adjustable Right Angle Tailstock will align with the center of the table.

Did you know?

ï Sherline now assembles its own CNC computers in-house. This offers Sherline and our customers several advantages: 1) We control the quality of each component, 2) Having parts in stock allows us to replace components on customer computers if needed during service instead of sending the whole unit back to the manufacturer, 3) Running changes and improvements can be more quickly incorporated into the line, 4) It provides work for Sherlineís American employees in these tough economic times instead of paying outside labor, and 5) It gives our technical support and service people a thorough understanding of ìwhatís in the boxî and access to each component for evaluation and testing if need be.

ï The Sherline web site home page at has had over 2,350,000 visits since 4/28/2000 (when we added a counter).

ï Do you tow a trailer? Sherline makes a sturdy, inexpensive hydraulic scale just to measure tongue weight and another to measure hanging weight up to 5000 pounds. To learn about Sherline hydraulic estimating scales CLICK HERE.

Upcoming Shows

ï The Cabin Fever Expo in York PA each January is the largest show on the east coast. See for information. This is its 14th year and the show will be held January 16-17, 2010.

ï The North American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) will host its next major exposition in Southgate, MI the weekend of April 24,25, 2010. This is the 21st annual presentation of this prestigious show. See for details. Sherline will be a vendor at this show.

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï Donations this month include two vintage Russian model airplane engines from Richard Mack and 55 back issues of the NAWCC Bulletin magazine from Michael Molitsky that filled in many gaps in our library collection. One of our finest donations also was received a few days agoóa magnificent brass miniature model of an 1835 locomotive called the Adler. It was made by Polish craftsman Szymon Klimek and blurs the line between model engineering and art. In September, Mr. Klimek was given a Special Achievement award by the foundation, and seeing his work first-hand really reinforces the fact that we made a good choice in the award. The model, displayed in a glass goblet, will be a featured exhibit at the Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, CA.

ï Due to low attendance on our first Saturday of each month hours, after the first of the year we will be open on any non-holiday Saturday by appointment only. Any group of 8 or more that wishes to visit on Saturday should contact the museum at least one week in advance, and we will make arrangements to open up and host a personal tour for your group. The museum will still be open Saturday, December 5th from 10 AM to 3 PM as in the past.

ï The Joe Martin Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and can offer a tax deduction for the full value of high quality miniature metalworking projects, tools or books donated for display. Contact Director Craig Libuse for details at (760) 727-9492 or Donít let your fine work end up in a swap meet or on eBay if something should happen to you. Make plans for peace of mind.