The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 41, July 15, 2011

Sherline Workshop Project of the Month

Contest-winning scale models of a Sherline Lathe and Mill—Iqbal Ahmed

In this spot we usually show photos of projects made on Sherline tools. Here we are taking a different look at the subject by showing you some models OF a Sherline lathe and mill. These were made in by India’s leading model engineer, Iqbal Ahmed. (In the last issue we featured his ¼ scale running Benz motorwagen.)


Iqbal Ahmed’s tiny Sherline mill and lathe are complete with wooden toolbox bases with drawers containing tiny tooling for the machines. A US Quarter is shown for size scale. The little electric motors actually power the machines using AC current.

In 2007, Sherline held a contest at the North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Toledo, Ohio for small model engineering projects that could fit in a 64 cubic inch volume (roughly 4 x 4 x 4 inches). Iqbal Ahmed had entered the contest several times before but had not taken the top spot. This time he went “all out” with two miniature Sherline machines that were sure to capture the hearts of the spectators at the show. The judging on the contest was done by the spectators, and they rewarded his efforts with a first place win for the mill and a second place for the lathe out of many entries. Iqbal had flown all the way from India with several members of his family to enter the contest, so the win was a very gratifying.

Sherline’s owner Joe Martin (Left) accepts the donation of Iqbal Ahmed’s prize-winning lathe for display in the Joe Martin Foundation’s Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA.

Shop Tip of the month

Spoked wheel fixture—Michael W. Klipp


Photos 1 & 2 above—The faceplate with modified chuck adapter screwed in.

Photo 3 shows the modified chuck adapter and attaching screw and washers.

A fixture using all Sherline parts for making spoked wheels is a snap.

Parts Required:

·         Sherline faceplate P/N 40070

·         10/32 x 1/2" SHCS with washer and lockwasher

·         Chuck adapter  P/N 37090 (Comes with rotary table)

With chuck adapter inserted in rotary table using proper centering tools, drill and tap a hole dead center in the chuck adapter. Then screw on faceplate. All that is required is to drill a clearance hole for the 10-32 screw in the center of your wheel blank and secure it to the faceplate. No more worries about milling into the rotary table or setup fixtures in the way of your work, and if you mess up on your first light cut, you can reface the wheel without further setup; just screw it back on the faceplate and it's still centered. You can also true up the wheel on your lathe without removing your work from the faceplate.


(Above) The wheel blank is held to the rotary table using a 10-32 screw and washer in the center hole that has been drilled into the chuck adapter. Here the spokes of a wheel are being cut without using any additional clamps.

The last photo shows the fixture chucked in the lathe. The unthreaded portion of the chuck adapter is held in the chuck jaws.

If you feel that further lock-down to the table is necessary (I've never had a problem), just clamp it down on the outside lip of the wheel without interference.

This takes less than an hour to produce, is reusable, and the best part is the chuck adapter is still functional for any other uses you have for it. You don't even need to buy another one because one comes with the rotary table. The photos above show how it works, and I hope this helps and prevents “buggering” up the best rotary table made for the price.

—Michael W. Klipp CPO US Navy ret.

Product Spotlight

4-Jaw Chucks

Sherline offers 3-jaw chucks in 2.5" and 3.1" diameter. In addition, Sherline also manufactures 4-jaw chucks in both independent jaw and scrolling versions in the same two diameters.

The P/N 1030 3.1" independent jaw 4-jaw chuck is ideal when perfect centering is needed.


Each jaw of an independent jaw chuck is adjusted individually using a hex key that comes with the chuck. The advantage of this is that using a dial indicator you can adjust each jaw until a part is held perfectly on center. Although this procedure takes a little longer, it is really the only way to achieve perfect centering accuracy when it is needed.

The 3.1" P/N 1076 scrolling 4-jaw chuck offers the advantage of 4 gripping jaws along with quick operation. Two steel “Tommy” bars are included for tightening and loosening the chuck rings.


The advantage of a scrolling chuck, whether it has 3 jaws or 4, is that of speed and ease of use. Turning the knurled inner ring scrolls all the jaws together at one time. A 4-jaw becomes the proper choice when holding square or octagonal stock as well as when holding thin-wall tubing where you want to spread out the gripping force so as not to crush the tubing. The price to be paid for this convenience is that a scrolling chuck cannot be expected to provide the same degree of centering accuracy as a chuck where the jaws can be adjusted one at a time. Sherline scrolling chucks can be expected to hold centering tolerances of 0.003" or less, which is accurate enough for most jobs on a lathe.


Keep in mind that a 3- or 4-jaw chuck clamped to a mill table can be used as a work-holding fixture. An independent 4-jaw can hold odd-shaped parts that might be difficult to hold in a mill vise. Sherline offers a chuck-to-T-slot adapter (P/N 1187) for 3- or 4-jaw chucks and a 4-jaw hold-down set of clamps (P/N 3058) that allow the independent 4-jaw to be clamped to the table using the slot that is cut around its outer diameter.

Did you know?

• Last month the Sherline web site hit counter passed the 3-million visitors mark.

• Sherline does not use any tricks to achieve a high ranking in Google searches. (Try searching for “milling machine” or “rotary table” and see how high we rank.) The large size of the site with its many links and abundance of information is honestly analyzed by Google’s search spiders to bring it to the top page or two without any tricks or gimmicks. Others try to fool Google into moving them up in the rankings using programming tricks, but Google is constantly working to defeat these tricks, so these sites won’t stay at that artificially high rank for long. Sherline is there year after year.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows

Western Engine Model Exhibition (WEME)—August 27-28, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA, to be held in conjunction with the Good Guys car show. Hotrods, show cars and model engineering—a great combination! See for details. Sherline will be there!

Gas Engine and Antique Reproduction Show (GEARS) September 24-25, 2011, Kliever Armory, 10000 N.E 33rd Drive, Portland, Oregon 97211-1798. For information see their web site at

Estevan Model Engineering ShowOctober 15-16, 2011, Wylie Mitchell Building on the Estevan Fairgrounds. Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada is located 15 minutes north of the North Dakota Border. See for details.

Send us your show details and we will post them here

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

• It is with much regret that we announce the passing of our long-time museum docent, Larry Simon on April 20th. Larry worked every Monday plus other days when needed for the past four years giving guided tours to museum visitors. He was also an excellent craftsman, and his 1/32 scale Manitowoc Lift Crane remains on display in the museum. Larry was kind enough to leave all his shop tools to the museum machine shop as well. Our thanks and a final craftsman’s salute to Larry!

The foundation’s Craftsman of the Year winner for 2010, Michel Lefaivre of Paris, France visited the museum in person to share his expertise on making miniature guns with visitors July 13th through 15th.

• Several new museum donations can now be seen on display in the museum in Carlsbad, California. Model maker Will Neely has loaned a second vintage racecar for display for at least the coming year. This one is the white #32 car styled like a Miller sprint car. Joe Martin purchased a fully restored McColloch vintage target drone engine that is now being prepared for display. Eight rare Orwick model airplane engines have been loaned to the museum by the family of the late Noel Martin. In addition, former model airplane pylon racing champion Dale Nutter has donated two rare engines made by Clarence Lee that he used to win several championships. The trophies he won with the engines are also on display.

• The 1819 Riley Whiting “wag-on-wall” clock donated by Joe Kunkler is now on display and in operation on the museum wall. The gears made of cherry wood can be seen in motion from either side.