The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 43, September 21, 2011

Shop Tip of the month

A Carriage Lock for the Sherline Lathe/Vince Pugliesi

This monthís project was featured in the August/September issue of Machinistís Workshop magazine, but for those who donít yet subscribe to that fine magazine we thought we would reprise it here. A fully dimensioned drawing is included in the article.

Vinceís carriage lock attaches without having to drill any holes in the lathe saddle. Two thumbscrews lock it in the X and Z directions.

Vincent Pugliese noted that the Sherline web site ìTIPSî page, tip #34 by Jim Knighton showed a way to lock the lathe carriage, but it involved drilling some holes. Vince figured out a way to mount a two-axis lock without drilling any holes in the lathe saddle. Mounting it in the way Sherline came up with to mount the Follower Rest (P/N 1090) to the saddle, a set screw is used to mount the locking fixture to the bottom of the lathe saddle. Thumbscrews then tighten a threaded brass shaft against the side of the lathe table (X-axis) or the side of the steel lathe bed (Z-axis on lathe, Y-axis when milling) to keep them from moving during a cut.

Photos show the lock from two different directions.

Why use a carriage lock? Because the forces when using a mill are in many directions, the Sherline mill was designed with carriage locks built in; however, the Sherline lathe does not share this feature because during most lathe operations no locks are needed. However, being able to lock the carriage is a nice feature when using the lathe as a mill with the addition of a P/N 3050 or 3480 vertical milling column.

Vince used Google SketchUp to create these 3D drawings which show the part in blue. The metal to be removed is indicated by yellow.

Vince started with a block of aluminum 1" x æ" x 1-3/4" and drilled and tapped the holes for 10-32 fasteners, doing the drilling and tapping after squaring the block but before machining away the part shown in yellow above. This made it easier to hold the part during the drilling and tapping operations. The basic dimensions of the block shown above are 1.525" high, .730" wide and .810" deep (parallel to the two holes at the bottom). The space between the bottom tabs that fit over the lathe saddle is .345" wide. Vince used a carbide saw to remove the bulk of the metal to save time, but an end mill can also be used. Standard knurled brass fasteners can be purchased and epoxied to a length of brass rod to save time, or custom fasteners can be turned and threaded. Brass was used so as not to mar the surface of the table or bed, but plastic or nylon screws could also be used.

Vince suggests that each time an axis is locked, as soon as the milling operation is completed he immediately unlocks the thumbscrew so he doesnít forget and later try to move the locked axis. He also notes that very little pressure is needed on the thumbscrews to keep the axis from moving. Sherline often stresses ìDO NOT OVERTIGHTENî in its instructions, and this is another case where excess force is not required.

Product Spotlight

Tool Post Options for the Sherline Lathe

Sherline lathe users have many options when it comes to holding cutting tools. Tools can have 1/4", 5/16" or 3/8" square shanks or 3/8" round shanks. In addition to the standard height tool posts there are also several extended height versions available for use with riser blocks. Also offered is a deluxe all-steel quick-change tool post set for those who switch back and forth between cutting tools often. Seen below are some of your options.

40180  3003   †3008

†3057   7600   7603   

(L to R) 40180 standard tool post (standard with 4000-series lathes), 3003 2-position 1/4-1/4 tool post, 3008 2-position 5/16-3/8 tool post, 3057 Rocker tool post (standard with 4400 and 4500-series lathes), 7600 3/8" square and round tool post and 7603 2-position 1/4-3/8" rocker tool post.

Tool Post Options...

P/N 40180 Standard 1/4" tool postóThis tool post is included with the 4000-series basic lathe. It holds 1/4" square shank cutting tools and is not adjustable for height. If the tip of a reground tool is not on center compared to your part, inserting a small piece of shim stock under the tool may be necessary to bring it up to centerline height. If shim stock is not available, cigarette paper works well as a thin shim or a business card makes a suitable thicker shim.

P/N 3003 1/4-1/4" 2-positon tool postóThis tool post holds two standard 1/4" shank cutting tools with one facing each way. The advantage of a 2-position tool post is the ability to switch from one tool to the other quickly by loosening the center hold-down screw and rotating the post 180∞. You could, for example, load two different form tools, a roughing and a finishing tool, a left-hand and a right-hand tool or any combination of two tools needed for your particular job.

P/N 3008 5/16-3/8" 2-position tool postóThe purpose of this tool is to allow you to hold either a 5/16" shank or 3/8" shank tool or a combination of the two at the same time.

P/N 3057 Rocker tool postóThis tool post is included as standard equipment with 4400- and 4500-series lathes. The rocker under the tool and two adjustment screws above allow the tool tip height to be adjusted to exactly on center or slightly below center as you choose. If, for example, you have resharpened a high speed steel cutting tool and the tip has ended up a little low, this tool post makes it easy to bring it back up to the centerline of the part.

P/N 7600 3/8" square and round tool postóThis tool post can be used to hold 3/8" square shank tools as well as round 3/8" round shank tools like boring tools or a boring bar. Most carbide insert tools are based on a 3/8" shank, including those sold by Sherline. For insert holders see P/N 2255 (80∞ cutting) 2258 (55∞ cutting), 2259 (80∞ boring), 2260 (55∞ boring), 2262 (55∞ straight) and 2267 (threading/grooving).

P/N 7603 2-position 1/4-3/8" tool postóHave both a 1/4" or and 3/8" tool ready for use at any one time. Made at the request of several customers, this tool post is the newest in our line.


NOTE: Carbide inserts and inserted tip tools are available through Sherline. See our page on carbide tools.

Other tool posts and accessories available:

†3002    †3009 †2250

(L to R) P/N 3002 parting or cut-off tool holder and blade, 3009 Tool height gauge and P/N 2250 Quick-change tool post with three holders. (Click on any photo to view a larger image.)

P/N 3002 Cut-off tool and holderóHolds a 0.40" thick HSS blade for cutting off a part from the blank stock.

P/N 3009 Tool height gaugeóThe easy way to set tool tip height on a rocker tool post. Just set the tool on the lathe table and bring the tip up under the flat surface until it just barely touches. Second higher position works with riser tool posts.

P/N 2250 Sherline's quick-change tool post and holder setóDovetailed steel post accepts steel holders for 1/4" square tool, 3/8" round tool and cut-off blade. (Tools not included.) Additional holders are available for 3/8" tools and carbide inserts. Height is adjustable with a knurled knob. Holders lock in place on the tool post with a quick turn of the included hex key.

Riser Tool posts are also available for use with the P/N 1291 Riser Block Set.

Riser Tool Posts:

  1289    †1288       †1291

(L to R) The P/N 1289 is a plain riser 1/4" tool post with a round hole to support a 3/8" round boring bar. It taller than the normal tool post with enough height to bring the cutting tool up to center when the riser blocks are in place. The second holder is the same thing but with the addition of an adjustable center "rocker" for adjusting tool height. P/N 1291 shows the two halves of the spacer block kit: the riser rocker tool post and the 1.25" headstock riser block. (Click on any photo to view a larger image.

For turning larger stock, a riser (or spacer) block kit is available that raises the headstock about 1.25", making it possible to turn a part as large as 6" in diameter over the bed and 4" over the table. P/N 1288 provides a taller tool post for use with the riser block in place. The P/N 1291 Spacer Block Kit includes both a P/N 1297 riser block and additional precision ground key, it also includes the taller toolpost P/N 1288. (The P/N 1297 spacer block is also be used on the Sherline mill to obtain additional throat distance.)

Did you know?

ï Sherline lathes and mills are used in the classroom at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors School of Horology in York, Pennsylvania. New horologists (watch and clock technicians) are now taught the techniques of working on timekeeping instruments using modern tools and techniques to build and keep these fine timepieces in working order.

ï El Camino College in Los Angeles just purchased a number of Sherline CNC machines to outfit a new working lab for training machinists. Despite the high unemployment figures, many manufacturers are desperate to find people with the skill to operate CNC machines.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows


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

ï Estevan Model Engineering ShowóOctober 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.


ï Cabin Fever ExpoóJanuary 14-15, 2011. (Auction January 13th), Toyota Hall, York Fairgrounds & Expo Center, York, PA. See

ï North American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) ExpoóApril 21-22, 2011, Yack Arena, Wyandotte, (Detroit area) Michigan. See Sherline and the Joe Martin Foundation will be attending this show.

Send us your show details and we will post them hereÖ

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï We regret to announce that friend and museum contributor Les Cade passed away September 7th. A number of fine steam and hit/miss engines from Lesís collection are on display in the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad.

ï New exhibits added to the museum this month include a Napoleonic Coach built for the 1932 GM Fisher Body Design Contest by the father of Bernhardt Goettker, a Francis engraving machine from Walter Yahn, a vintage toy Weeden steam plant from Judith Haxo and two large 100 MPH+ R/C racing boats (one with 4 engines!) from Dave James. The largest addition, however comes from the Paul and Paula Knapp engine collection with the addition of 49 new engine exhibits brought down following the WEME show in Pleasanton at the end of August. These include the prototype for the Challenger V8, a unique experimental rotary engine from Bell Laboratories, a very mean looking steam tractor called the ìIron Maidenî, a Mark IV battle tank model, a number of new radial engines, Scotty Hewittís ìworldís smallest tether carî with a CO2 engine built into a Matchbox racecar and several miniature vintage outboard motors. They are now being added to the Knapp Collection page on the museum web site.

ï The museum was privileged to have a one-day visit from the 2011 Metalworking Craftsman of the Decade, Louis Chenot on September 2nd. Lou and his wife June spent the day exhibiting his world famous 1/6 scale Duesenberg model. The straight-8 engine was run for the last time before it will be re-installed in the car, and video of the event can be seen on YouTube.

ï Car club visits to the museum in the past month included the Antique Automobile Club and the Vintage Ford Thunderbird Club.