The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 57, December 14, 2012


Customer Project of the Month

Making an electroplated copper ship’s funnel/Phil Mattson

Phil Mattson is a world class ship modeler from La Jolla, CA. In Joe Martin’s book, Tabletop Machining, Phil offered a couple of pages of handy tips for modelers. A few issues ago in this newsletter, we covered how Phil goes about making brass ships propellers. Here is another tip from Phil from page 106 of Joe’s book.

“In modeling, if you have to make one of something you might make it one way, but when you have to duplicate a number of parts, a semi-production process is needed. Here is a clever method master model maker Phil Mattson came up with to make a number of metal ships funnels for his model of the Pacific Star.”


1) A wooden model of the inside size of the funnel is carved from wood. A box and sprues are made to create a mold of the part.

2) The mold is filled with Redi-Mold™ material. Once hardened, the mold is opened and the wooden shape removed, leaving a cavity.

3) Cerro-Bend™ is a metallic material that melts at or around the boiling point of water. It is melted on the stove and poured into the mold.

4) Once cooled, the mold is opened, the Cerro-Bend funnel is removed, the sprues are cut off and the shape is filed and sanded to a good finish. Make as many as you will need.

5) Each Cerro-Bend funnel is wired for electroplating with copper. The copper electrode is also shown.

6) The part is plated using current from a small battery charger until a copper coating about .015" thick is built up.

7) (Left 2) The copper plated Cerro-Bend funnels. (Right 5) The plating is removed from the top opening of the funnel. The funnels are reheated and the cerro-Bend melts and flows out, leaving just the copper shell. The opening is hand finished.

8) The parts are shown here painted and installed on the model of the Pacific Star.”

—Phil Mattson

You can see more workshop projects on the Sherline web site at

Shop Tips

Rubber Tommy bar grips/G.W. Flint

Sherline customer G.W. Flint came by the showroom in Vista, CA a few days ago and dropped off some rubber EPDM caps from the McMaster-Carr catalog that turn out to be perfect, ready-made rubber grips for the Sherline Tommy bars used to tighten and loosen chucks and end mill holders. They are chemical resistant and are designed to mask threads during a plating or painting process. They slip on easily but stay securely in place. They offer a soft, secure grip that is easy on the fingers and is not slippery. In addition, they make it less likely the bars will roll off your workbench and make them easier to pick up.

Tommy Bars—One is shown with the rubber cap in place and one ready to slip on.

The McMaster-Carr part number is 6448K772 (page 3748 in their catalog #118). The size to order is 1/8" (ID) x 1" long. They are sold in packages of 50 for $6.47 or about 13 cents each. Share them with your friends.

Four more Tommy bar solutions can be found at

Another Taper Tip…

In the last newsletter shop foreman Karl Rohlin shared some tips on the proper way to seat a tailstock drill chuck arbor in the #0 Morse taper so it won’t slip. Karl forgot one piece of advice, as customer Tom Bank reminded us. He noted:

“Any oil, even the slight amount of oil that comes from your fingertips, can reduce the hold between a Morse taper and an accessory like a drill chuck. Keep a smallish “flip-top dribble bottle” like some liquid soaps or hand creams come in with your cutting oil dispenser. Keep it filled with rubbing alcohol. Dampen a lintless tissue with the alcohol and wipe both taper surfaces with it before twisting them together. The difference this makes is amazing.­”

—Tom Bank

Product Spotlight

Quick-Change Chuck Re-introduced

 P/N 1045 3.1" 4-jaw 5C Quick-Change Chuck ($150.00)

Changing from a collet to a 4-jaw chuck on your full-size lathe or mill is as easy as changing collets. Use the 4-jaw when you need perfect part centering or when you don’t have the correct collet size. See for this and some of the other size chucks that are available.

Sherline introduced this and several other sizes of quick-change chuck with collet backs in the mid 1990’s, but it was such a good idea they were immediately knocked off by the big tool companies who had copies made in China. Their prices have now risen to the point where we can again make this compact chuck and sell it for less than they do even when it is on sale. It’s our way of getting back at the knock-off artists. The 1045 is based on the Sherline 3.1" diameter 4-jaw independent chuck but with a back for a 5C collet holder. The chuck and 5C back are turned from one solid piece of steel, and the jaws are reversible.

Lubricants from Sherline

My father used to tell me, “Most things that go wrong with a machine could have been prevented with better lubrication.” That goes for machine tools too. In newsletter No. 42 we gave some tips on lubrication, but here we will remind you what we have to offer to make your machine work better and last longer.

 SuperLube Multi-purpose grease, P/N 7550 ($6.50)—This comes in a 3 oz tube and contains the Teflon-based additive PTFE for superior lubrication. It is what we use in our assembly shop to lubricate new machines before shipping them to you. It is also more pleasant to use than most greases, because it is clear, non-toxic and non-staining. Super Lube is a NLGI grade 2 heavy-duty multi-purpose lubricant that is compatible with most other lubricants. It outlasts conventional greases by 40-100% and has excellent adhesion. It is dielectric and impervious to water and is listed as a USDA food grade lubricant (rated H-1) having an effective temperature range of –45° F. to 450° F. It will not run, drip, dry out, melt or separate and does not evaporate or form gummy deposits. The grease is recommended for leadscrews and behind handwheels where they rub against the thrust. It can also be used on the bed, carriage and saddle dovetails of the lathe and mill, on gears, hinges and bearings.

 SuperLube Dri-Film, P/N 7555 ($9.50)—The dry spray in an 11 oz spray can also contains PTFE. The propellant from the spray evaporates almost immediately, leaving behind a thin, dry layer of PTFE or Teflon, one of the slipperiest substances known to man. The dry spray is excellent for use on machine slides because chips don’t stick to it. It can also be used on leadscrews, locks, linkages, cables, pumps, small gears and garage door chain or screw drives.

NIKX-STIKX metal cutting compound (P/N 7560, $5.00)—Comes in a 2.2 oz. Stick form. This is not actually a lubricant, but is applied to cutting tools and sawblades to keep them cutting smoothly. The waxy compound is rubbed on and can’t spill like liquid coolants. It works great on parting tools too.

Parallel set part number change

 New 7506 Mini-parallel set

In the last newsletter the new mini-parallel set was called out as P/N 7505. Because they are completely new and not a duplicate of the set we offered before, they have been given a different part number. The new set can now be found as P/N 7506.

Microscope availability

The model of microscope we had been using has just been discontinued by the supplier. We are now in the process of looking for another scope that will work on our mount while providing equal optical quality. We had no notice this was coming, so until we find a compatible scope we are temporarily out of stock.

Did you know?

• Sherline’s home page at just passed 3.5 million hits on the counter. The huge and highly informational site consistently lands on the first page of Google searches for common terms like “rotary table,” “lathe” and “mill.” How do we do it? We don’t use any tricks, we just provide what Google and other search engines are looking for in a highly rated web site—a lot of information and many photos and links.

Holiday Hours—Sherline will be closed Monday and Tuesday, December 24 and 25 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013. We will be open Monday, December 31st.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows


Cabin Fever Expo, York, PA, April 12-14, 2013. The east coast’s largest annual model engineering show has moved from its former January date. See for more information.

North American Model Engineering Society Expo (NAMES), Wyandotte, MI, April 20-21, 2013. This is the oldest Model Engineering show in the USA and where the Joe Martin Foundation presents its annual award for excellence in metalworking craftsmanship. Sherline will also have a booth featuring our tools at the show. See This show retains its traditional late April date.

Send us your show details and we will post them here…

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

New Craftsmanship Museum exhibits

Four wooden toy trucks built by George C. Russell were donated by John McGinley. They can be seen in the EXHIBITS section of the on-line museum as can the boiler below.

—A vintage toy steam engine and boiler by California Tech. Toy Co. was donated by the family of the late Les Cade.

—Andy Moore loaned the museum a vintage A.D. Muelmatt “Victor” engraver’s vise with custom made mallet and two boxes of vise jaws that had belonged to his uncle, George Matten who was an engraver in Los Angeles. See the VINTAGE TOOL COLLECTION on the museum’s web site.

We are currently putting together a display of the history of computing, including slide rules, mechanical calculators and vintage computer components and drives. If anyone has a nice abacus they would care to donate, that would be a good starting point for the display.

Club and Group Visits—On December 11th, the a group of 18 senior citizens were brought to the museum by a San Diego organization that takes Alzheimer’s and dementia patients with mild impairment out to local attractions. See the “VISITS’ page for photos and story and other groups that have made the museum a destination.

Holiday Hours—The museum will be open Monday, December 24 and 31 and will be closed Tuesday December 25 and January 1. The museum may close a little early on the days before a holiday if attendance is low, so come early or call (760) 727-9492 and let them know you are coming.