The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 37, February 15, 2011

Sherline Workshop Project of the Month

A holder for 1/8" square tools for the lathe/Don Brouse

On the left is the tool holder Don machined from 1/4" mild steel. On the right are four typical 1/8" cutting tools he has ground. The adapter inserts in the slot of a standard 1/4" Sherline tool post.

Don Brouse sent in some photos of an adapter that allows 1/8" square tool bits to be used with a standard Sherline 1/4" tool post. He notes, ìGrinding 1/8" tool bits requires a lot less metal removal than 1/4" bits and is a real timesaver, especially when grinding radius tools for small inside diameters. 1/8" bits still have more than enough rigidity for most Sherline projects. They also cost a little less than 1/4" bits and take up less storage room.î

The adapter is made from 1/4" square mild steel and has a 1/8" deep by 1/8" wide slot centered on one face. Overall length is 2". The top sides of the channel should be milled down so they are slightly less than 1/4" high so the clamp screws tighten on the 1/8" tool bit, not the adapter.

Here is the holder and 1/8" tool being held in a tool post on the lathe. Note that the cutting tool sticks up slightly higher than the top of the holder.

Shop Tip of the month

Lathe Tool and Indicator Holder/Natt Emery

The tool holder contains fixtures for Tommy bars, T-handle and an indicator holder among other tools.

Keeping Tommy bars and wrenches handy is always a problem on a busy workbench. Natt has solved the problem by attaching a piece of mild steel plate to the motor mount using the motor mounting screws. Natt kept the plate narrow enough that he can still use the P/N 4360 chip guard when needed. Machined brass ìcupsî inserted in the plate hold the Tommy Bars and T-handle. The plate extends around the rear of the speed control where additional holes can be used for other tools like a collet drawbar. In the corner, Natt has mounted a fixture that contains an adjustable dial indicator holder that can be swung down into position to measure part runout. On top of that fixture you can also see part of the blue base of a flexible work lightóanother nice feature.

Here is the indicator holder being used to check runout on a part. A slotted wood block containing a number of tool holders with different tools mounted in them can be seen to the rear of the lathe.

Another tip from Natt

Another of Nattís modifications includes a way to quickly remove the tailstock from the lathe. He has cut off the side of the tailstock that holds the brass gib and made a knurled knob on a threaded rod to adjust the outer part against the bed dovetail. Pins made from drill rod are pressed into holes in the moveable side and slide in honed holes in the tailstock body to keep the outer part parallel as it is tightened. The brass gib is attached to the moveable part with button head screws. In addition to allowing rapid removal of the tailstock, the knurled knob eliminates the need for a hex key when locking the tailstock in position.

The tailstock opened up for quick removal.

More handy Sherline shop tips can be found at

Product Spotlight

Sherline Collets

Sherline collets are all made in the Sherline factory as are our chucks. They are highly accurate for their relatively low cost and are used when holding very small parts or when centering accuracy is needed that exceeds that available on a scrolling chuck. They are machined from steel, bored to size and slit using Sherline CNC fixtures and are not hardened or ground to keep the cost down. Most Sherline collets above the smallest sizes cost only $17.00 each, whereas hardened and ground collets can cost over $100 each with some smaller ones costing up to almost $500.00. We feel this choice gives the home user the best ìbang for the buck.î Metric WW collets are sized in 0.1mm increments or about 0.004" apart as the closing range is rather limited to keep accuracy high. Inch collets are graduated in 64ths of an inch or about every 0.015". See for more on Sherline WW collets. The collet size and decimal equivalent are laser engraved onto each collet face. They are available individually, in sets of five or in deluxe sets on oak boxes.

WW vs. 8mm Collet sizesóSherline makes WW-type watchmaker collets in both inch (1/64" to 5/16" by 64ths) and metric (0.3mm to 8.0mm by 0.1mm) sizes. The body diameter is 0.312-0.313". We refer to them as ìWWî collets, and they are sized to fit the taper of many popular watch maker lathes. Other collets that look identical but have a slightly larger body diameter of 0.314-0.315" are often referred to as ì8mmî collets.

WW and 8mm Collet AdaptersóSherline Collet adapters have a #1 Morse taper on the outside and either a WW or 8mm taper on the inside. Sherline collet sets come with the WW adapter that fits our collets and collets by other manufacturers that have the same body diameter. We also make a slightly larger adapter that will handle the larger 8mm collets. If you are using a mixture of collets from Sherline and other manufacturers including the larger 8mm size, the larger adapter, P/N 11560 ($22.00) can be purchased separately and will hold both WW and 8mm collets. If you are using only Sherline or similar collets, the slightly smaller P/N 11580 adapter ($17.00) would be more appropriate. Both adapters are used with the P/N 11590 drawbar ($30.00), as the threads on both size collets are common at .275 x 40.

Mill ColletsóSherline also manufactures a selection of collets to hold common sized milling cutter shanks from 3/32" to 1/4" and 3.0mm to 6.0mm for $16.00 to $20.00 each. They have a Morse #1 taper, fit directly into the headstock spindle without an adapter and are pulled closed with a 5/16-24 x 4.5" drawbolt and washer, P/N 30840 ($4.20). Custom sizes may be special ordered for $40.00. See to learn more about mill collets.

Did you know?

ï Size specifications and tolerances for all Sherline lathes and mills can be found at .

ï Thinking of starting your own business out of your garage? Joe Martin started small and worked his way up to build the Sherline business and wrote a book about what he learned the hard way. See to read it on-line and maybe save some time avoiding some of the pitfalls he mentions. If you think you received something of value from it we welcome your donations to the Joe Martin Foundation, which are tax deductible.

ï Does anybody have an old Sears Craftsman version of the Sherline lathe? We sold them for about 15 years but do not have a single copy of the Sears instruction manual that came with them. We would like one for our archives. If you could copy or scan one and send it to us we would very much appreciate it.

ï Want to save 20% on a selected Sherline accessory? See each month to find out what is on special.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows

ï North American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) ExpoóApril 30-May 1, 2011, Southgate, Michigan. Americaís original model engineering show. See Sherline will be there!

ï Western Engine Model Exhibition (WEME)óAugust 27-28, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA, to be held in conjunction with the Good Guys car show. Hotrods, show cars and model engineeringóa great combination! See for details.

(Send us your local model engineering show dates and we will publish them here.)

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï The Foundation announced the winner of this yearís Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award. Louis Chenot will be presented with his award and $2000 check at the NAMES show in April. Lou is best known recently for the spectacular 1/6 scale Duesenberg SJ with running engine that he recently completed.

ï The new Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum has just reopened. The move from Vista to Carlsbad is complete and the new facility opened on February 7th. The new building is about Ω mile away from the Sherline plant and is located on the site of the old Carlsbad Raceway drag strip. The address is now 3190 Lionshead Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010. The phone number remains the same at 760-727-9492. New museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 9-5 (Closed Holidays).

ï The Foundation has brought two new assistant managers on board at the museum. Former Sherline employee Mike Sheehy is in charge Monday through Wednesday and museum display builder Paul Healey is in charge Thursday through Saturday. Tom Boyer remains as the shop craftsman, normally working in the museumís machine shop Wednesday through Saturday.

ï New exhibits for the opening! A º scale Marmon Coupe is on temporary loan from Paul Bundy of Escondido, CA. It was passed on by his late uncle, John R. Bond, who was publisher of Road & Track magazine for many years. Built by the Marmon factory in 1921 as a show display, the miniature auto is one of only a few made. Also on display is a 1/192 model of the WWII German battleship Bismarck made by Fine Art Models in Michigan.

ï Volunteers sought! With our extended hours, we are seeking docents to host visitors and volunteer machinists to help build model engines in our enlarged machine shop. If you live in North San Diego County and would like to spend a few hours a week helping us man the museum, please call Craig at 760-727-9492.

ï New tools added to museum machine shop include a Hardinge toolroom lathe, a second, larger Deckle pantograph mill, a Bridgeport EZTRAK mill and a large DoALL band saw.