The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 67, December 16 , 2013


Product Spotlight

ï P/N 8763 CNC Parallel Port Signal Booster, $50.00

Signal BoosteróThis small amplifier plugs into your parallel port to boost output voltage.

As 25-pin parallel ports on computers become rarer, their average quality seems to be going down. A weak signal from a sub-standard parallel port on your computer can cause problems when running CNC. It typically seems to show up as an axis failing to change directions when called for in the G-code. Although this has not been a documented problem with any Sherline computers, reduced quality of parallel ports in some customer-supplied computers has been noted. We thought for months it might be a fault with our driver box, but could not duplicate it in our tests using our own computers. It turns out it was low voltage coming out of the port on some non-Sherline computers.

We do have a fix, however. This compact power booster designed by Bryan Mumford at Mumford Microsystems has worked fine in every case weíve encountered so far. The $50 cost is far less than having to keep trying additional computers until you find one with a good parallel port.

The voltage booster plugs into the driver boxís parallel port. The 25-pin parallel cable from the computer plugs into the other end of the booster. A separate cable from the booster plugs into any available USB port on your computer to supply power to the tiny amplifier board.

Sherline Shop Project of the Month

Send us your workshop projects and tips for publication here!

Aluminum Fishing Reels/Dave Triezenberg, North Branch Reels

This project illustrates the type of high quality products that can be produced in a home shop using Sherline machine tools. Dave started machining parts in 2009. Though he has a background in engineering, he was not trained as a machinist. However, he has an abiding interest in fishing and making his own fishing gear and has produced some excellent results using Sherline tools. He makes his own rods too.

He also likes to document the process, so his blog at offers a wealth of photos and information about his reels and how he makes them. He also extends his writing to cover other processes (like anodizing) involved in his reel-making and even does some tests on his Sherline tools to confirm accuracy. Whether you are interested in reels or not, we suggest you visit his site to see what he has done. He shares a lot of good information there and also offers plans for sale to make your own reels.

A reel for WF4F line is a recent post from November, 2013. It has a 2.53 inch diameter and 2.8 ounce weight.

Daveís previous reel design had multi-piece spool and frame, for a total of 43 parts. By using the one-piece spool and one-piece frame, the part count is cut to 21.

This photo is typical of one of many setups that Dave shows on his site, illustrating the parts making process.

Other projects done on Sherline machine tools can be found on the Workshop Projects page at

Shop Tip of the Month

Loosening a Stuck 3- or 4-jaw Chuck/Sherline

Last month we talked about loosening a stuck Morse taper in the headstock. Another common question we often get relates to removing a stuck 3- or 4-jaw chuck from the headstock spindle. The forces involved in turning a part tend to tighten the chuck on the spindle. If you put the Tommy bars in the holes in the chuck and spindle and try to loosen it by squeezing the bars together, only to find the Tommy bars starting to bend but the chuck isnít coming loose, itís time to try a different method.

What works best is to use a sharp tap at the base of the Tommy bar right where it enters the chuck to break it loose. (Remember, the chuck unscrews in the conventional direction, counter-clockwise.) The easiest way to do this is to place a block of wood so it is against the Tommy bar where it enters the chuck. Then give the block a sharp tap with a mallet. You donít even need to hold the spindle while you do this. Usually the inertia of the spindle, drive belt and motor is enough to keep it from turning much when you tap the chuck at its outer circumference. Once the chuck breaks loose from the threads and the surface contact at the spindle base, you can unscrew it easily by hand.

Place a block of scrap wood at the base of the Tommy bar where it enters the chuck and give it a sharp tap to break a chuck loose from the spindle.

See the Sherline TIPS page for more useful machine shop tips. If you have a useful tip from your Sherline shop that you would like published, please send photos and a written description to

Did you know?

ï Sherline will be closed December 25th and January 1st for the Christmas and New Yearís holidays. We will also close by about 2 PM on Christmas Eve.

ï The DRO option for Sherline machines remains out of stock. We are in the process of an updated redesign. Watch the Sherline web site for news of its re-introduction.

ï 40 Years of Sherline in the USA, 1974-2014óAs we celebrate the coming of the new year, Sherline enters its 40th year of production in the United States. Sherline USA was incorporated in 1974 producing tools in nearby San Marcos, CA, having started as an importer selling tools from Australia to Sears Roebuck in the USA. The Sherline tool line is now sold worldwide.

ï This month Sherline is introducing a fun new kit you can build with your Sherline lathe. Watch this newsletter next month for an announcement or see ìNew Productsî at the top of Sherlineís web page at

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows


ï April 11-13, 2014ó18th Annual Cabin Fever Expo Model Engineering Show & Auctions in the Utz Arena (Formerly Toyota Arena), York Fairgrounds & Expo Center, York, PA 17404

ï April 26-27, 2014óNorth American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) Expo, Wyandotte, MI. Sherline will have a booth there and the Joe Martin Foundation will present its annual award to Metalworking Craftsman of the Year during the show. See for details.

(Send us your show information and we will post it here.)

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï Groups Visiting the Craftsmanship Museum in the past monthó

††††††††††† October 15th: West Los Angeles United Methodist Church Seniors

See the Club Visits page for a photo of all past groups. You are welcome to visit our museum with your club or group. Call to arrange a group visit. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 9-4. Admission is free.

New Exhibitsó

FIRST, THE BIG NEWS! The museum just acquired the 1/6 scale Duesenberg model built by Lou Chenot. It took 20,000+ hours over a ten year period to build this running model. We have seen no other miniature auto model that rivals it for quality, detail, function and craftsmanship. The museum is very proud to be able to exhibit it for visitors. As part of the acquisition, Lou also included his 1/6 scale Bentley BR2 rotary aero engine.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT ADDITION! The niece of Phillip Duclos brought in ten of his engines to the museum for permanent display. Phillip is well known among model engineers for the many articles he wrote on how to build engines. He was often featured in Live Steam and The Home Shop Machinist magazines in the 1980ís and 1990ís. A book entitled The Shop Wisdom of Phillip Duclos is also available from Village Press.

ï †Daniel ìBuzzî Brunkow loaned 15 additional commercial electric and gas outboard motors. His display now fills one whole case and includes some rare and unusual engines. See the museumís ìOther Enginesî page for photos and descriptions.

ï Jeweler Bryan Freund donated two more jewelry items to add to his displayóan eagleís head pin with aquamarine eye and a beautiful pin featuring an eagle in flight.

New Craftsmenó

ï Phillip Duclos now has a page in the model engineering section of the museum. Though little is known about his personal life, much is known about his craftsmanship, which was documented for years in model engineering magazines.

ï Museum VolunteersóAnyone interested in joining the museum staff as a docent (guide) or machinist in the shop, please contact or call 760-727-5857 and ask for Craig.

ï Construction Map UpdatedóConstruction on desalination plant water pipeline from Carlsbad to San Marcos has reached the intersection of Business Park and Lionshead. See our Construction page for a map of how to best avoid congestion in the coming months. The pipeline will pass directly in front of the museum in January. We will remain open, but you should consult the map before visiting to find out which streets are open for your approach. The map will be updated as necessary.