The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 46, January 13, 2012


Customer Project

Model Motorcycles/Steven McDowell

People who donít make things often have no idea of how much time it takes to build a detailed, machined model from scratch. Steven McDowell of Woodland, Washington uses his Sherline lathe to make model motorcycles. He sent in this photo and a description of an offer he just had to refuseÖ


Steveís miniature custom chopper is about 13î long.

ìPlease find enclosed a photo of one of the motorcycle I built, in part using your fantastic lathe. I was fortunate to get the lathe as a Christmas present last year, and I couldnít wait to play with it. It is the smaller unit (Model 4000) and used manually, not with CNC. I use it to make the rims of the motorcycles as well as the rear wheel pulleys, the oil and gas caps, the carburetors and funnel ends to them, the tapered cylinders, and I use a parting tool for the cylinder fins. I also fabricate the handlebar risers and the headlight ring. Any part I can do, I do it on my lathe. My wifeís ex-boss said that he wanted me to make one for him to give his son-in-law. He said he would give me ìnearly $80!î I work nearly sixty to eighty hours on each bike, and although getting money for them sounds nice, I find myself wanting to keep them for MEEEEEE.î óSteven McDowell

Shop Tip of the month

Another way to look at cutting threads/Flosi Gumundsson

Most people are right-handed. If you would prefer turning the manual handwheel on the P/N 3100 thread cutting attachment with your right hand instead of your left, hereís a way that works for Flosi Gumundsson in Iceland. It may not be for everyone, but it works for him and there is no reason you canít try it if it would offer an advantage for you.

ìI have a tip that you might care to publish in the tips section. It is very simple. When I cut threads on the lathe I turn the lathe 180∞ so the handwheel is at the right. I'm right-handed like 90% of mankind. I also remove the crosslide and put it on backwards so it faces me.

I've attached two photos that show this.î



Best regards,

Flosi Gumundsson
, Iceland

For links to 63 other handy Sherline shop tips, see the ìTipsî page at Instructions for the use of the threading attachment can be found at

Product Spotlight

CNC v6.0 instructions update

Several months ago Sherline upgraded the installed version of Linux on their CNC systems to the more WindowsÆ-like ìLucidî build. Though it works pretty much the same as the earlier build the menus are presented a little differently, so we renamed it version 6.0 and the instructions for installing it were corrected to bring all the procedures up to date. Also remember that with the upgrade from EMC to EMC2, you not only get a lathe program in addition to the mill version, but EMC2 also includes some new g-codes and sub-routines that were not supported in EMC.

New microscope now offered with lathe and mill microscope mounts

For the past several years we have been offering P/N 2125 (lathe) and P/N 2127 (mill) microscope mounts that can be purchased with or without a microscope. The scope we included was reasonably priced yet still offered very high quality optics. Our source recently discontinued importing that particular scope and we had to search around for an alternative. Thanks to Jerry Kieffer, we were able to offer an almost identical scope from the same manufacturer that actually offers some new advantages at the same price. The new scope comes with a top-lighted inspection base instead of a bottom-lighted one. Unless you are examining glass slides for biology class this will be an advantage for part inspection. It is also half the power of the old scope (2x to 47x), which provides a wider field of vision at the lowest powers and still offers more than magnification than you need at the high end. The scope did, however, come with an extended focal length which works well for part inspection, but for comfortable use while machining we needed to get the eyepieces lower. The solution was the addition of a 1.5x Barlow lens below the objective lens. This returns the scope to a comfortable operating height while still keeping a wider field of view than before. To attach the lens we have custom machined an aluminum adapter ring. The new scope comes with a 2-piece cast metal light holder that is sturdier than the universal joint version offered previously.

For complete instructions on the installation and use of the microscope and attachment, refer to and If you work on extremely small parts or if failing eyesight makes it difficult to see what you are doing, you will find this attachment can add a lot to your enjoyment of your lathe and mill.

Fuses added to protect circuits on CNC driver boards

In order to further protect the four driver chips in the Sherline 4-axis driver box, small fuses have been added to each axis. Three extra fuses are included with each computer-mounted driver board and with each enclosed 8760 driver box. Though you shouldnít be working your CNC machines to the point where a fuse will blow, it has been known to happen. Changing a simple fuse can save sending a board back to the factory and the resultant expense and lost time. Once you resume, however, you should analyze your procedures to see why you burned the fuse in the first place. Keep in mind these are not huge multi-hundred thousand dollar production machines. Keep them adjusted and lubricated and remember that if you work them too hard they can overheat.

Did you know?

ï Help sheets, installation instructions, machine adjustment instructions and more are available from a home page link you might have missed. The HELP SHEETS link at is a gateway to a lot of helpful information.

ï If youíve lost your instruction manual with the exploded views in the back, you can find machine exploded views on-line at There is a link from the main menu on the home page.

ï You can order Sherline tools, accessories and spare parts 24 hours a day from our secure e-commerce web site at Orders through this site go directly to Kim and Kat at the Sherline factory the same as if you called us on the phone.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows


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 Change of museum hoursóThe Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA is now operating under new hours that were instituted starting December 1st, 2011. The museum is now open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. Special arrangements can also be made for groups of 10 or more on Wednesdays and Thursdays. (Call 1-760-727-9492 or 1-760-727-5857 to schedule a special club or group tour.)The museum remains closed on Sundays and holidays as before.

ï Page added for John AschaueróVisitors to the American Precision Museum in Vermont may have seen the work of John Aschauer. A German immigrant and life-long tool maker, Johnís hobby was to duplicate in miniature the big vintage machine shop tools he loved. He has created a number of beautiful pieces that are featured on his page. Though he passed away many years ago, his work is still being honored in museum display thanks to his foresight in making his wishes known to his family.

ï New engines added to the Paul Knapp CollectionóPaul Knapp stopped by last month and substituted a few of the model aircraft engines in the display. Some are similar water-cooled versions replacing air-cooled version and some are totally new. They were intended for temporary display in another museum, but the details couldnít be worked out, so they will be back on display in our museum soon. See the page on the Knapp collection for details.

ï Ship in a bottle added to displayóBuilding a ship inside a bottle is a craft that has amazed viewers for centuries. Clever sailors with time on their hands found ways to build complicated ships that could be inserted through the neck of the bottle and then rigged once inside. Joe Martin felt this craft should be represented in the museum and found one for sale which is now on display. If you canít come in person, see the Other Displays page.