The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 48, March 15, 2012


Customer Project

Miniature Craftsman Tool Set/Roger Ronnie

Gun engraver, clock tool maker and model engineer Roger Ronnie also likes to restore old Cushman scooters. He is currently building a running scale model of the Cushman engine. He found that turning the tiny bolts on the model engine using full size tools was a difficult task, so he decided to make scaled-down tools as part of the project. Rather than just make functional open end wrenches, he decided to go all the way and scale down a functional ratcheting drive wrench and a set of sockets in addition to a set of wrenches. Being an engraver, he was even able to engrave the Craftsman logo on the handle and the sizes on the individual sockets. (Note that even the shape of the ìSî in ìCraftsmanî is the correct shape.) This is the type of beyond-the-ordinary detailing that helped the Joe Martin Foundation name Roger their ìMetalworking Craftsman of the Yearî in 2004.

(Above) Functional parts of the miniature ratchet wrench can be seen during construction. The last photo above shows a tiny universal joint drive that goes with the set.

The completed, engraved set includes the ratchet handle, three different length extensions, a universal extension, seven sizes of sockets and a 7-piece combination open end/box end wrench set. What craftsman would not be proud to own this set?

You can see many other customer projects in the Workshop section at

Shop Tip of the month

Mill Table and Saddle Travel Stops/Tracy Atkinson

Charles Tracy Atkinson wanted to make a number of duplicates of a particular part and didnít want to have to count handwheel revolutions every time. While depth stops are not to be counted upon when extreme accuracy is needed, they will put you very close. They will also keep you from accidentally going one revolution too far and ruining a part. Additional photos and a description of these stops can be found in an article Tracy wrote for the December, 1997 issue of Projects in Metal magazine. (That magazine has since been renamed Machinist's Workshop.)


The above photo shows one of the X-axis depth stops. In this prototype, Tracy tried a knurled brass knob (far left of photo) to lock the bar but felt it couldn't be tightened enough to keep the rod from moving. He now uses screws with a larger plastic handle for more leverage but suggests a small piece of brass between the end of the screw and the rod will protect the surface of the rod. T-nuts include a short section of threaded rod for use with the wing nuts for quick installation and adjustment.

Here both the Y-axis and X-axis locks can be seen along with the larger red locking screws.

On the X-axis, Tracy made two bars that attach to the table using the standard T-slots and T-nuts. From this bar a block is suspended toward the front of the table. The block is cross-drilled to allow a rod to slide through it. The rod is locked with a locking screw. Two small angle brackets are secured to the top of the saddle for the bar to ìstopî against. Tracy has tried both brass and steel screws and suggests the best combination between a strong screw and a material that won't mar the sliding rod's finish would be a short length of round brass inserted in the threaded hole for the steel screw to push against the rod. He found commercially available steel screws with handy plastic handles for easy tightening.

On the Y-axis, Tracy attached an aluminum bar to the front face of the mill base to the right of the Y-axis handwheel. This bar is cross drilled and a rod is inserted through the hole. The rod stops against the side of the table and is fixed in place with a knurled brass thumbscrew. The photos above make it all pretty clear. Though not described here, in the photo you can also see the dovetailed Z-axis stop Tracy added to the column.

You can view this and 65 additional handy tips for Sherline machinists at

Product Spotlight

Mill Hold-Down Sets, P/N 3012 and P/N 3013

P/N 3012 set: $25.00

The initial solution to holding down parts for milling that was used by Sherline makes use of round-headed carriage bolts used upside down, with the round head against the table. A washer should be placed under the round head to spread the load and keep from putting indentations in the mill table. The advantage of this set is its simplicity and a lower cost of $25.00

(Above) Parts included in the P/N 3012 Hold Down set.

(Below) The P/N 3012 hold-down set in use clamping a part for milling. Sherline now recommends placing round washers under the carriage bolt heads to keep from marring the mill table surface.


P/N 3013 set: $40.00

The P/N 3013 set includes 6 pairs of different length threaded rods for a larger range of potential height adjustments compared to the 3012 set. Angled step blocks make adjusting the height of the stepped clamps a simple procedure. A third un-anodized step block is included in case you want to cut it into two smaller blocks for additional height options for either very low setups or additional height as shown in the right-hand drawing below.

Following the practices used on full-size milling machines, the P/N 3013 step block hold-down set is a more recent development and slightly more expensive than the 3012 set but offers some significant advantages. The six pairs of threaded rods accommodate a larger range of part thicknesses that can be clamped to the table. The hold-down nuts have a radius on the bottom surface that registers in a washer with a matching internal radius so that even when clamping down at a slight angle, the washer always seats flat on the top of the clamp.

A short part (left) and a taller part (Right) are held down with the 3013 clamp set. Note that the bottom surface of the clamp is kept either level or pointed slightly downward so that only the tip of the clamp touches the part. Matching radii on the nut and washer keep the nut pulling straight down even when the clamp is angled slightly.

As can be seen in the right-hand illustration above, two stepped blocks can be used together for taller part setups. The majority of machinists who do much work on the mill will probably want to have at least two clamp sets to cover any contingency. It is better to use multiple clamps for more holding force when possible rather than trying to hold something with only a single clamp and possibly over-tightening the hold-down nut to keep the part from moving.

Did you know?

ï Many gunsmiths have found that Sherline tools are the best way to make some of the small custom parts and fasteners needed to restore old guns. They are also ideal for making miniature weapons like those made by Roger Ronnie. A page on gunsmithing projects done on Sherline tools can be seen at

ï What are people saying about their Sherline tools and the company that makes them? View some of the comments that people have sent in over the years on the Testimonials page.

ï At trade shows Sherline always has free decimal equivalent charts for both inch and metric sizes to hand out. These handy 3" x 5" pocket size charts cover all the common fractional dimensions and number and letter drill sizes from #80 (.0135") to 1-1/2" and from .35mm (.0138") to 25mm (.9843"). Common pipe thread sizes and Morse tapers are also included. If you canít get to a show or stop by in person, you can request either or both of these charts be included with your order when you order directly from Sherline by phone at 1-800-541-0735.

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, where Gary Conley will be presented with his award as the Foundationís Metalworking Craftsman of the Year.

Send us your show details and we will post them hereÖ

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï New Craftsman Added to the Museum Web SiteóPhilip Warren started work on a ship-building project in 1948 at age 17 and is still working on it. So far he has created over 450 model ships all in the same scale of 1:300. These include at least one model of every post-WWII ship in the British Navy plus 50 US Navy ships and 60 or so from other navies of the world. What is even more unusual is that all of them are made using only wooden matchsticks and thin sheets of wood from tiny wooden match boxes. Over 1200 aircraft models were needed to populate the decks of the aircraft carriers, and these range from biplanes to modern jets. Phil has shown his massive collection of ships at many exhibitions, but recent internet sharing of photos of his work brought him to our attention. At age 79 he continues to add to the fleetóan on-going 63-year project that seems threatened only by the dwindling availability of the old style wooden match boxes.

ï Club VisitsóOn March 10th the museum was visited by the San Diego Chapter of the Over-The-Hill Gang hot rod club. Twenty-one hot rods graced our parking lot in the morning, bringing in even more visitors than usual as passers by pulled in to see the cars and went on to visit the museum. See the CLUB VISITS page for photos of the cars and club members.

ï New YouTube Video PublishedóThe YouTube video showing our old museum is still available, but you should now refer to the latest video showing our new facility at The 6 minute and 47 second video features shots of the outside and inside of our 16,000 square foot facility in Carlsbad, CA that opened February 7, 2011. Images include some of the hundreds of engines, models, guns, tools and ships on display plus some footage of steam and gas engines in action. Over 1100 people have already viewed the video, so check it out and send the link to your friends.

ï New ExhibitsóSeven 1/32 scale model firefighting vehicles have been added to the museum. Built by prolific firefighting apparatus historian Tom Showers, they represent some of the most significant types of vehicles used to fight fires. Photos of the models can also be seen in the page highlighting museum displays on our web site. Tom passed away years ago, but with the help of fellow model maker and fire apparatus historian John Ackerman, we are in the process of documenting Tomís career as a firefighter and model maker. Watch for his page soon.