The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 38, March 15, 2011

Sherline Workshop Project of the Month

A working º scale 1896 Benz Motorwagen/Iqbal Ahmed

The finished º scale running model Benz Motorwagen is exhibited at a car show in India complete with its own tiny fashion model.

In 1896 Karl Benz was the first to apply an internal combustion engine to a 3-wheeled, 2-passenger vehicle. Steam engines had been used to power bicycles prior to that, but this is believed to be the first commercial application of internal combustion to motorized transport. Expert machinist from Nagpur, India, Iqbal Ahmed chose this historically significant vehicle as the subject for a º scale model. He made every part of it himself, from the engine castings to the spoked wheels and wooden floor and seat. Using only a Sherline milling machine he designed a special tool post so he could turn round parts with the mill spindle in the horizontal position. Iqbal has shown extreme resourcefulness in the past, producing projects from miniature model machine tools and running engines to models of a Sherline lathe and mill that took first and second place in the 2007 Sherline Machinistís Challenge contest at the NAMES show in Toledo, OH. He is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for his tiny steam engine that fits on a fingernail.

Two black and white photos of the finished project capture the vintage look of the vehicle.

Upon completion of the model, it was presented to the public at a World Automotive Day event hosted by the Central India Vintage Automobile Association where it was recognized with an award for excellence. You can view more photos of the vehicle in production on Mr. Ahmedís page in the on-line Craftsmanship Museum,

Iqbal Ahmed is seen machining a round part using his Sherline mill and a fixture he developed for the purpose. On the right is the finished engine ready to run before it was installed in the vehicle. Iqbal did all the casting patterns and castings as well as the machined components and woodwork himself.

Iqbal Ahmed receives his award on January 29, 2011 in honor of World Automotive Day.

Shop Tip of the month

Special purpose soft aluminum jaws for the mill vise/Pam Weiss

(Left) Finished aluminum jaws are shown bolted to the fixed and moveable jaws of vise. (Right) After squaring the vise to the mill, the jaws are clamped on a spacer, and an edge finder is used to find the center of the gap between them to locate the spindle for the boring operation.

Special work-holding fixtures like custom soft jaws serve two purposes: They make it easier to repeat operations with accuracy, and they save time when repeating an operation on a number of parts. The example shown here is a set of aluminum jaws made to hold pistons being machined for a 1/6 scale Porsche racing engine.

The jaw surfaces are first machined true on a mill. Then the holes for the mounting screws are drilled and countersunk. Once the jaws are mounted, they can be drilled and bored to hold the piston or other part to be machined.

(Left) The jaws are bored to the diameter of the piston to be held. (Right) The piston is clamped in the jaws. Parallels are used underneath to set the height because this fixture was designed to be used for two operations that required different depth settings. Otherwise, the hole could simply be bored to the proper depth and the bottom of the hole would act as a depth stop.

This tip was published in Joe Martinís book Tabletop Machining. More handy Sherline shop tips can be found on Sherlineís web site at

Product Spotlight

P/N 6100 Horizontal Milling Conversion ($130.00)

The P/N 6100 kit contains the base, alignment bars and necessary 10-32 fasteners. The base sits on four rubber feet for quiet operation.

Sherline Model 5000 and 5400 mills include a feature that allows the headstock to be rotate 90∞ to bring the spindle into a horizontal position. However, to be useful as a horizontal mill, the headstock needs to be moved from its normal position so that the cutter can be applied from the side as a part is moved past it. The horizontal milling conversion allows the mill column to be positioned either to the side of the mill base or with the spindle aligned along the long axis of the table. In the side position, a surface of up to 6" x 9" can be machined without moving the partóa very large area for a machine this size. In the other position, deep drilling or boring operations can be accomplished, taking advantage of the long table travel.

The base is made from black anodized æ" thick aluminum plate and is 10.5 x 12.5" in size. The mass of the base plus its four rubber feet help keep the milling operations quieter. Alignment bars are attached to make it easier to re-mount the base in the future once it has been squared up the first time. Some have purchased the base simply as a solid, professional looking way to mount the mill even when used in its normal configuration.

The 5400 mill set up for horizontal milling.

Lowering the ColumnóIn the lower left corner of the photo above is the 2" portion of the mill column that has been cut off in order to lower the spindle, allowing it to get closer to the table. This can be done by the customer or the customerís column base can be returned to Sherline and we can make the modification as P/N 6101 for a small fee. As an alternative, a shorter column base is available as P/N 61060 ($42.00), allowing you to keep your unmodified base for normal milling operation. This accessory was designed to work with either the 5000-series or 5400-series mills but was not intended for use with the 2000-series 8-direction mill. The multiple direction adjustability of that mill makes this accessory unnecessary.

Did you know?

ï At the top of the Sherline home page is a navigation bar to help you find the most popular sections quickly. From there you can find out ìwhatís newî on the site, go directly to the product section, price list, dealer list, frequently asked questions sections, the CNC section, instructions, videos, links (resources), find contact information and more.

ï In addition to the ìsearchî link in the nav bar at the top of the page, there is another link to the site search if you scroll down a little and look for the words ìSEARCH This Siteî on the left side. Either way, you are taken to a page with a Google site search dialog box. Just type in the name or part number you are looking for and it will search just the Sherline site, giving you links to pages that relate to what you are looking for. Itís just like using Google to search the web, except this searches only the Sherline web site.

ï Want to save 20% on a selected Sherline accessory? See each month to find out what is on special. The March special is the rotating mill vise base, P/N 3570 or 3575.

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 most recent significant donation includes a large selection of model Hit ëN Miss and steam engines from local builder and collector Les Cade. In addition, Les donated a beautifully restored full-size (but small) Hit ëN Miss engine by Root & Vandervoort as well as a Cleator ìpopcornî steam engine. Another tiny steam engine uses a silver dollar for a flywheel. Some of the engines are now available to be run for museum visitors while Tom is in the process of cleaning them up for display.

ï Recently added to the on-line museum were photos of Iqbal Ahmedís º scale 1896 Benz Motorwagen featured above.

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 Pam Weiss has now completed the electrical and air line installation in the museum machine shop, and the tools are now up and running. We are back in business and ready to start on our next engine projectómost likely a ìBlack Widowî V8. Tom Boyer mans the shop Wednesday through Saturday.