The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 52, July 15, 2012


Customer Project

Parts for custom knives/Jeremy Robertson of Calavera Cutlery

Jeremy Robertson in his shop

We first became aware of local knife maker Jeremy Robertson from nearby Carlsbad, CA when he came in to the factory to purchase Sherline tools and accessories. After taking a look at his web site we were pretty impressed with his work. We show a lot of hobby projects in this newsletter, because that is what people usually send us photos of, but this is a good reminder that these tools are often used to produce small parts for custom or short-run production jobs too. The photos below show some of the ways in which Jeremy uses his Sherline lathe and mill to produce parts on his custom knife line.

(Above) Turning some of the small fasteners. Many are made from Titanium.

(Above) Putting a finished edge on part of the lock bar of an ìEl Patronî knife.

(Above) drilling a pivot hole in blade blank made from D2 tool steel.

(Above) A series of production parts for folders after drilling.

A finished ìone-handedî El Patron folder with Titanium handle. It flips open with just the action of your thumb and the blade locks in place.

Handle: 2 slabs of 1/8 thick 6AL-4v Titanium 4 3/4" long

Blade: D2 tool steel Rockwell 60, 3.75" long, 5/32 thick. Convex grind

Features: Titanium Pocket clip for tip up carry, framelock Design, stonewash finish.

Overall length: 8 1/2" open, 4 3/4" closed

For more information on Jeremyís knives, visit his site at

Shop Tip of the month

A Vernier scale for the Rotary Table/Matthew Springer

Matthew Springer was looking for a way to divide more accurately on the rotary table, so he used an old method developed in 1631 by French mathematician Pierre Vernier. A Vernier scale is a sliding secondary scale that is used to indicate where the measurement lies when it is in between two of the marks on the main scale. In this case, ten marks on the Vernier scale make up the same total distance as 9 marks on the handwheel. Whichever mark on the Vernier scale aligns most closely with a line on the handwheel represents the number in the additional decimal place. Here is his explanation of how it works:

ìPrint either the JPG or DXF file in the links below at 1 to1 scale. Cut out and install the scale with the handwheel shaft through the .250" hole in the middle of the scale. Line up the ì10î mark with the ì0î witness mark on the rotary table worm housing. The entire Vernier scale will be to the left of the witness mark. Tape the scale in place so it won't turn with the handwheel, with tape off the right and left side of the scale beside the handwheel shaft the tape will wrap around the sides of the worm housing. Place the small washer that goes between the handwheel and bearing over the scale. Slide the handwheel back on and reinstall 5-40 screw in middle of the handwheel. Tighten the screw, but the handwheel must be able to turn but not scrape against the scale. Tighten the set screw to lock the handwheel to the shaft.

Download the scale art: RTvernier.dxf or RTvernier.jpg

Here the printed Vernier scale is cut out, installed behind the handwheel and taped to the worm housing. The ì10î mark on the scale lines up with the witness mark on the worm housing. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

To use the scale

Each turn of the handwheel rotates the table 5 degrees. Each major mark numbered ì10,îì 20,î etc. represents 1 degree. Each major mark is divided into 10 minor division marks. Each of these represents .1 degree, so you can directly dial 1/10th of a degree.

Example using the Vernier scale to obtain a reading to 1/100th of a degree:

If you want to dial 6.42 degrees:

†††† ï Rotate the handwheel one full turn  =  5 deg

†††† ï Then turn to "10" on handwheel  = 6 deg

†††† ï Then turn 4 more minor marks  =  .4 deg

†††† ï The minor mark will be lined up with the 10 mark on the Vernier scale.

†††† ï Keep turning until one of the handwheel marks lines up with the 2 mark on the Vernier scale.  =  6.42 deg


For a more detailed description of how a Vernier scale works, see

óMatthew Springer

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

Product Spotlight

Books and Videos for Machinists

Get advice on machining from some of the best around. Whether you prefer to thumb through a book or watch a video, Sherlineís book store offers a good selection to help answer your questions on metalworking. Books on woodworking are easy to find, but if youíve looked for good books on metalworking you know they are not so plentiful. Here are some of the ones we have found the most useful:

P/N 5301 Tabletop Machining, by Joe MartinóSimply the best book ever written about metalworking in miniature using Sherline tools. Covers good machining practices with emphasis on projects and techniques at the small end of the size scale. Many projects built using Sherline machines are included to inspire ideas. 350 pages, 8.5 x 11, softbound, full color. $40.00

P/N 5300 The Home Shop Machinistís Handbook, by Doug BrineyóDoug used Sherline tools to illustrate this book years ago. It still gives some good advice on basic machine practices and also includes plans in the back to make a number of handy tools you can use in your own shop. 5th printing, 7-3/4" x 9-1/4", softbound, black and white, 285 pages. $20.00

P/N 5327 The Sherline Shop and Accessories Guide, 7th EdóA collection of all the printed instructions from Sherline accessories. Also included are handy charts, an RPM gauge and more. 8-1/2" x 11", softbound, 224 pages, black and white with color cover. $10.00

P/N 5305 Machine Shop Essentials by Frank Harveyóa great collection of shop knowledge and machining information in this big 520 page book. Done in a question-and-answer style, each concept is clearly explained and accompanied by clear line-art illustrations when necessary. Pamela Tallman has done an outstanding job of creating many hundreds of AutoCadÆ drawings to illustrate these concepts. 7" x 10", softbound, black and white, 520 pages, 500+ illustrations illustrations. $44.95

P/N 5307 Machine Shop Know-How by Frank MarlowóTakes Frankís first book to a new level. Includes step-by-step instructions for dozens of useful shop projects. Also offers ways to construct jigs and fixtures to make your projects turn our right. Provides storage ideas to better organize your shop. 7" x 10", softbound, black and white, 520 pages, almost 600 illustrations illustrations. $49.95

P/N 5306 Machine Shop Trade Secrets by James A. HarveyóSubtitled "A Guide to Manufacturing Machine Shop Practices," this book gets into the down and dirty side of working in a real world machine shop. The author is a full-time machinist and injection mold maker with over 30 years of machine shop experience behind him. Mr. Harveyís conversational style is similar to Joe Martin's in that you feel like you are listening to a machinist, not a professor. 8-1/2" x 11", softbound, black and white, 312 pages, many clear black and white photos. $39.95

P/N 5329 Shop Secrets, Vol. 1 (Measurement) DVD by Mike Rehmus óMike Rehmus, editor of Model Engine Builder Magazine,takes each measuring tool used by a machinist and covers how it works, how it is used and how it is maintained. You will learn about everything from micrometers and calipers to depth mics and sine bars. Even something as basic as using a scribe properly is covered. Where necessary to explain a concept, excellent animated visuals are utilized. If you are new to machining, your parts will only be as accurate as your ability to measure them. Learn what tools you need to buy for your shop and the proper way to use them right from the start. 112 Min, DVD. $40.00

P/N 5335 Sherline Lathe BasicsóHow to Install and Operate the Sherline Lathe DVD by Mike RehmusóMike has put together a professional quality video that answers virtually all the questions first time users have about setting up and using a Sherline lathe. The over 3-1/2 hour video takes you from mounting the machine to a board to aligning the headstock. This is by far the most informative video ever done on how to use a Sherline lathe. 216 min, DVD. $49.95

P/N 5328 Building a Steam Engine Video by Rudy KouhouptóThough shown here as a VHS tape, the video by the late shop master Rudy Kouhoupt is offered in DVD form as well. (In fact, only a few VHS copies still remain.) Rudy clips on a microphone and takes you through every step of building a small horizontal steam engine from billet stock. Itís like having an expert machinist standing over your shoulder and taking you through the process, explaining each step as he goes. Also included is a set of printed plans and a material list to actually build the engine shown in the video. 3 Hr.-38 min. DVD ($72.95) or VHS ($69.96)

Did you know?

ï The EMC2 g-code control software offered by Sherline free with all CNC systems and driver boxes was originally developed by the US Governmentís National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and has been specifically fine-tuned for Sherline users at no small expense to us. Running under the reliable Linux open source software (also provided free) the program turns your g-code instructions into steps to power the stepper motors that drive the CNC slides. It is a very sophisticated program offering virtually the same features you will find in Windows programs that you would have to pay extra for. Linux and EMC2 come pre-installed on Sherline computers when you purchase a complete CNC mill or lathe package. To learn more about Sherline CNC tools see

ï Not sure what the various parts of a lathe and mill are called if you need to order replacement parts? See the Terminology page on the Sherline web site at

ï Not sure how old your machine is? See a chronological history of the developments of Sherline tools that may help you date it. This is also handy to know if you need to order replacement parts. This can be found at

ï Join a Sherline user group to learn from others who are already using their Sherline tools to make outstanding projects. At you will find moderated groups for just about any interest. In the box that says ìFind a Yahoo! groupî type ìSherlineî if you are into manual tools or ìSherlineCNCî if you are operating the computer controlled Sherline machines. Then hit ìSearchî to go to that groupís message site. You can just read the message traffic or you can join (itís free) and ask questions and contribute yourself. The Sherline group has over 4500 members, and the CNC group has over 2000.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows


ï Black Hills Model Engineering Showó12th Annual show, September 15-16, 2012, Rapid City, SD. See for details.

ï Estevan Model Engineering ShowóEstevan, Saskatchewan, Canada, October (Next show: October 14-15, 2012, the weekend following Canadian Thanksgiving). For updates and info see Estevan is about 15 minutes north of the North Dakota/Canada border.

ï Western Engine Model ExhibitionóAugust, 2012, Pleasanton, CA. Held in conjunction with the GoodGuys Hot Rod Show at the Alameda Co. Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA. See for details.

Send us your show details and we will post them hereÖ

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï New ExhibitsóA new engine has just been loaned to the museum for display until the end of the year. It is an unusual 2-piston, 1-cylinder opposed engine with two flywheels built by George Gravatt of the Bay Area Engine Modelers. If you can't come in to see it in person, check out the photos near the top of the Other Displays page. Longtime R/C flyer Joe Bridi brought in a collection of 10 vintage model airplane engines plus two planes which are now on display in the museum. Robert Maine donated a large vintage flyer set up for R/C called a ìMercury IVî that is now being prepared for display.

ï Club and Group VisitsóOn the evening of June 21st the local National Tool Manufactures Association held their meeting in the conference room at the museum, followed by a tour of the shop and exhibits. On June 21st the Corvettes of San Diego car club stopped by for a tour. July 7th saw a visit from the North County Cruisers hotrod club. See the Club Visits page for photos of these and other past tours. These groups arrive in the coolest cars around, and seeing them in the parking lot brings in even more visitors to the museum. If you are a member of a local club who enjoys fine craftsmanship, consider a club tour of the museum. Contact museum director Craig Libuse at for details.

ï If you would like to make a donation or bequest in your will to leave a favorite project or monetary donation to the Joe Martin Foundation to support the museum, see The process is very simple and is explained here.