The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter
Sherline will be closed Friday, December 24th and Friday, December 31st.
Sherline Workshop Project of the Month
ìOld Manî Tommy Bars/John Ecker
This tip was originally published in the first Sherline newsletter three years ago, but our mailing list was a lot smaller then, so many of you may not have seen it.
Tommy bars can be slippery and hard on your fingers when tightening and loosening chucks. Here are some simple ways to make them more comfortable. If you donít have a knurling tool you can simply turn a series of grooves in the brass handles for better grip.
John Ecker of
Another idea from Tracy AtkinsonÖ
If you don't want to deal with custom building your handle, here's another way to add a little length and some grip to your Tommy bars. Stock knob handles are available in most hardware stores. Buy the smallest you can find. Tracy Atkinson sent in this photo and suggestion. He used super-glue to hold the knob in place.
El Cheapo Tommy barsÖ
The least expensive Tommy bar we've seen is a large nail with the point ground off. The head of the nail probably isn't the most comfortable handle in the world, but it does give you some grip. Clyde Hackler of Plastools uses these in his Sherline lathe when demonstrating his cutters at shows. It's not fancy, but it works. If you lose your Tommy bar on the bench some time, it might be quicker to find a nail to use until you locate the bar among the chips.
Shop Tip of the month
Clock key tap handles/Jerry Kieffer
Two different size tap handles. The top one fits the Sherline spindle itself, and the smaller one is for use with a º" WW collet. Fitted into the end is a cut-off clock key providing the square hole for the end of the tap. (The apparent curve in the shaft is caused by the wide angle lens.)
Keeping taps perfectly aligned with a drilled hole assures that you will cut straight threads and also that you wonít break small taps. Jerry Kieffer of DeForest, WI came up with two ways to use the spindle on a Sherline mill to guide the tap handle. Square shanks on taps can be sized to the square holes in various clock keys available from clock repair suppliers. Most taps you use will come in size ranges that use the same size square shank, so only a few handles can cover a broad range of tap sizes.
Materials: 9-10" length of 13/32" steel rod, 2-4" length of 1/8" steel rod, Old clock key with square hole in end to fit your tap
Making the tap holder
1) Find or purchase a clock key with a square hole for the size tap you wish to use, cut off a portion of the key shaft and turn the outside down to 13/32".
2) Drill a hole in the end of the 13/32" shaft and bore it out to accurately fit the end of clock key.
3) Press the key shaft into the hole and use a little LoctiteÆ to hold it.
4) Cross drill a 1/8" hole through the 13/32" shaft near the other end.
5) Slip the short length of 1/8" diameter round stock through the hole to act as handle to turn tap.
Using the tap holder
1) Insert the tap holder through Sherline spindle.
2) With the tap centered over the hole, use the handle to twist the tap tool to cut threads.
Using with WW collets for smaller tap sizes
A smaller tap handle can be made with a1/4" diameter shaft. A 1/4" WW collet is placed in the collet adapter in the spindle and held with the collet drawbar but not drawn up. The tap handle is slipped through the collet which acts as a guide to center the smaller holder.
Notes from Jerry
If you donít have any lying around, Timesavers.com offers a large selection of clock keys at http://www.clock-keys.com/pdf/Categories/keys.pdf. Jerry notes, ìWhen using WW collets, projects tend to be smaller. The square ends on taps are of various sizes depending on the tap size and manufacturer. However, the ends of taps 6-32 and smaller tend to be smaller but are generally all the same size from any one manufacturer. For example, 0.110" square is common. These are the sizes generally used for small projects were one may use WW collets and the collet draw bar. On the other hand, 8-32 and larger taps tend to have a larger square end depending on the tap size, but again can be the same size up to 12-24. Sizes 0.125" and 0.150" square are common.î
This and 58 other handy tips can be found at www.sherline.com/pages/tips.htm.
CNC upgrade options
Sherline manual lathes and mills, no matter how old, can be upgraded to computer control (CNC) at any time. The choices can be a bit confusing just looking at the price list, however, so here is a brief summary of your options.
Add stepper motor mounts only
This would be for experienced CNC users who can build their own driver boards and provide their own computers and stepper motors. Motor mount kits can be found for each lathe or mill and are usually numbered beginning with a part number in the 6700 series. They are listed on the accessories price list at www.sherline.com/prices2.htm .
Add stepper motor mounts, stepper motors and a 4-axis driver box w/software
For those who choose to save a little money by using an old computer they have on hand and installing the Linux/EMC2 software we supply with the driver box, kits can be found on the CNC Systems Price List at www.sherline.com/CNCprices.pdf . The are:
6701/6711 for 5000 or 5400 series mills
6706/6716 for 2000 series mills
6721/6726 for 4000 or 4500 series shortbed lathes
6731/6736 for 4400 series longbed lathes
Make sure your computer has the minimum requirements of an 800 MHz clock speed (Pentium III), 256 MB RAM, a CD or DVD drive and a 25-pin parallel (printer) port. Many recent computers no longer contain a parallel port, but USB wonít work for CNC.
Complete upgrades with computer
For the complete upgrade kit including a new Sherline computer with built-in 4-axis driver board, here are your options:
8542/8543 for 5000 or 5400 series mills
8022/8023 for 2000 series mills
8401/8402 for 4000 and 4500 series shortbed lathes
8442/8443 for 4400 series longbed lathes
Sherlineís Christmas Specials at †www.sherline.com †good through December 23rd!
4400A or 4410A Lathe Packageó15% OFF! Save $120.00!
To help out at Christmas, Sherline is offering a 15% savings on our best selling lathe, the 4400A/4410A deluxe longbed lathe with 3.1" 3-jaw and 3/8" tailstock chucks. Instead of the normal $800.00 price, between now and , December 23rd you can order this package for only $680.00óa savings of $120.00! The offer is available by calling Sherline at (800) 541-0735
(Note: 4400A is the part number for the inch lathe, 4410A is the part number for the metric version.)
When completed, Millie is small enough to carry it in your pocket! Thatís a quarter in the picture for size scale.
†ìMillieî steam engine kit free with any lathe or mill purchase!
This kit with plans is not available for sale separately and the offer only lasts until December 23rd.
Did you know?
ï Have you ever seen a steam powered Sherline lathe? No? Check out this one on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GmbeuJGqLI built by Carlos. This fun link was sent to us by Vince Pugliese.
ï Sherline machines were sold in
the past under names other than Sherline. In fact, the brand first came to
ï How do you tell how old a Sherline machine is? See www.sherline.com/usedmach.htm for a guide through the changes over the years to help pin down a date.
ï Every month Sherline offers an Internet Special at www.sherline.com/special.htm . Save 20% on the accessory of the month.
Upcoming Model Engineering Shows
ï Cabin Fever Expoó
North American Model Engineering Society
(NAMES) ExpoóApril 30-
(Send us your model engineering show dates and we will publish them here.)
Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News
The latest addition to the museum in
Holiday hours for the
Construction is now complete on the interior of our new Foundation offices,
shop and museum and the final approval has been given by the city of