Sherline’s Metalworking Resources and Hotlinks List
Sherline Products would like to encourage users of our miniature machine tools and those interested in learning more about machining to expand their horizons. Following are some resources that are associated with the tools, processes, and materials used in miniature machining. Click on any highlighted name to go directly to that resource for more information. If you offer a product or service that would be of interest to miniature machinists and would like to be listed on this page, you can contact us by email. If you have a web page that would be of interest to miniature machinists, provide your URL and we will create a link to the site.
Click the links below to jump quickly to that section.
- A Quick Top 10 List of Links
- Metal Raw Materials, Fasteners, Tools and Shop Supplies
- Model Engineering Shows and Organizations for Hobbyists
- Sherline Machines Online
- CNC Miniature Machine Tools, Software, and Accessories
- Accessories Made by Other Manufacturers for Sherline Tools
- Plans and Projects You Can Build
A QUICK TOP 10 LIST OF LINKS
This page has grown to be so large it takes a long time to sift through it all. On the right are a few of our favorite links for quick reference.
If you have the time to go through the whole list below, you’ll be sure to find something of interest to you. This page continues to grow as we find more interesting sites to add. Check back now and then.
“Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.”
—Johann Von Schiller
- The Museum of Retro Technology—This is an incredible collection of links to bizarre, unusual, dubious, brilliant, and sometimes spectacular technological achievements (and attempts at achievement) from the past. You’ll be on this page for a while.
- Animated Engines—See what makes them go! Clever animations explain the movements of many kinds of engines.
- Machinery’s Handbook—Search the Industrial Press site for the book every machinist should own. It covers everything about machining. Multiple editions are available.</li
- eFunda—Design News magazine has put together an “Engineering Fundamentals” website packed with great information on metalworking, materials, processes and more.
- Lathes UK—Look in the “archives” at this site to learn about the history of just about any machine tool ever made. An amazing historical resource including stats, photos and old catalogs.
- Here are some sites for those looking for plans, or kits for small steam engines:
- Tiny Power—A collection of Steam Boats, steam engines and models and steam fittings.
- J. E. Howell Model Engine Plans—A large catalog of plans for model Stirling engines, atmospheric engines, gas engines and other model engineering projects.
- Stuart Models in England— Allowing you to machine your own model steam engine these sets of castings come with drawings, with the majority of kits including necessary materials and fixings.
- Watchmaking—Learn about the tools and processes of the watchmaker’s art. A great page loaded with good information on tools and gears.
- Village Press, Inc.— Village Press puts out several magazines just for the home shop machinist with plans for projects you can build
- How Stuff Works—Just a fun site.
Metal Raw Materials, Fasteners, Tools and Shop Supplies
For a great selection of sources to buy the metal and plastic raw materials you need plus fasteners, fittings, and other hard-to-find items, see our Raw Materials Online page.
Kodiak Cutting Tools offers HSS and carbide drills, end mills, taps, reamers, and burs. See their site at www.kodiakcuttingtools.com.
- Modeler Bob Breslauer now offers a selection of very tiny brass and stainless steel nuts and bolts. See www.scalehardware.com.
- Model Motorcars, who specializes in parts for Pocher model autos is now the US distributor for Knupfer Model Precision Engineering’s line of tiny fasteners. These include small hex head bolts, nuts, washers, threaded rod and even miniature chrome acorn nuts down to 1.0mm in size. See www.knupfershop.de for Knupfer’s own web page too.
- More small fasteners—Fastener Express supplies a host of the kind of small screws needed by model engineers. They also sell fastener assortments fine-tuned for various hobbies like R/C cars, helicopters, socket head screws or metric size screws. The offer fasteners in nylon, anodized aluminum, and black oxide steel as well as fasteners for special jobs. They are located in Orange County, CA and can be contacted by email at email@example.com. Their toll-free number is 877-546-1148. See their Contact page for more details.
Measurement Tools, Indicators and more
MSC (Manhattan Supply Co.) offers the largest catalog of all kinds of tools including but not limited to measurement tools. See their site at www.mscdirect.com or call for a giant free catalog at (800) 645-7270.
Valve Parts, Fittings, and Packages
Valtorc Valves supplies valves, fittings, custom bolts and nuts for any custom project. A supplier for many universities, the U.S. government and space programs as well as certain robotic applications, Valtorc products are made in the USA. Though not specifically made for sub-miniature applications, our industrial customers will find some helpful American-made products here.
Need to know the content of various steels used in knife making? A.G. Russell lists a chart at www.agrussell.com.
Model Engineering Shows and Organizations for Hobbyists
See the links to the left for photos from a number of shows. Many beautiful steam and gas engines, auto, boat and aircraft models, farm tractors, miniature guns, model machine tools and other small metalworking projects are displayed at shows like this. Click on the links to take a look at some of them.
“A man who works with his hands is a laborer.
A man who works with his hands and brain is a craftsman.
A man who works with his hands and brain and heart is an artist.”
- North American Model Engineering Society (N.A.M.E.S.), held in the Detroit, MI area each April. View photos of past shows by visiting the following pages: 1998 NAMES Show, 1999 NAMES Show, 2000 NAMES Show, 2001 NAMES Show, 2002 NAMES Show, 2003 NAMES Show, 2004 NAMES Show, 2005 NAMES Show.
- American Precision Museum’s Model Engineering Show & Maker Space Held in Windsor, VT. Model Engineers, Kids’ Engineering Activities, Maker Space, Presentations, and Demonstrations.
- Cabin Fever Expo is held in Lebanon, PA. The Cabin Fever show is in January and is accompanied by a large equipment auction on Friday, and it has now become the biggest in the nation as far as attendance.
- Western Engine and Model Engineering Show (WEME), This exhibition is held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA in conjunction with the Good Guys National Hot Rod Show.
- New England Model Engineering Society—This is a group of over 150 members with a common interest in mechanical things and machining. They meet monthly on the first Thursday of each month at the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham MA. The meetings include a featured speaker and a time for members to “show and tell” about their work. They publish a monthly newsletter and hold an annual show for the public on the third Saturday in February. They also organize charter bus trips to model shows and often have field trips to a member’s shop or another place of interest. There are organized Saturday seminars and arranged group purchases of material to save money. Anyone with an interest in the mechanical world is welcome to join.
- Florida Association of Model Engineers—Well-known model engine designer Bob Shores and friends are starting a new organization in Florida to bring model engineering way down south. See their site at for information on their activities and how to join.
- Southern California Home Shop Machinists is a club for home shop machinists in the Los Angeles area. See their site for more details or a list of current officers to call for information. They have many small machine users among their membership and some members with interesting scientific backgrounds that make the meetings quite interesting.
- The Northwest Steam Society has plenty of good information and photos of steam engines. If you are in the Pacific Northwest area and interested in steam, you should look into joining and attending some of their meets. Even if you’re not in the area, take a look at the site. You’ll like the steam whistle on the opening page too.
- The Miniature Arms Society—A worldwide group of builders and collectors of miniature weaponry since 1973. Annual dues include a quarterly publication called the Miniature Arms Journal, free access to the organization’s library of gun plans, a network of experts available to answer your questions and other benefits too. For more information or to join CLICK HERE.
- The Model Engine Collectors Association is an organization for those interested in the restoration and collecting of old I.C. model airplane, car, and boat engines. They hold local, national and international events and put out a publication called the M.E.C.A Swap Sheet. Contact information can be found on their site.
Since we recommended the use of Teflon-based grease in our instruction manual, many have asked where they can get it.
In many cases, you can find Mobil 1 Teflon-based grease, used in grease guns, at an auto parts store in small canisters.
The actual brand of what we use to lube the machines at the factory is Super-Lube by Synco Chemical Corporation. We buy it in 5-gallon containers, but they have a website and you can purchase their multi-purpose synthetic lubricant directly from them in small amounts. See Super-Lube or call (800) 253-LUBE. They call their PTFE additive “SYNCOLON®”.
See-Lect Industrial Equipment Co. Inc. makes very nice precision oilers and other specialty tools. They also happen to be Made in the USA. See their site at www.See-Lect.com or call them at (914) 769-9113. They are located at 174 Brady Ave., Hawthorne, NY 10532. We use their oilers in our Sherline product showroom where we do machine demonstrations, and in our Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum.
Sherline Machinists Online
Some of the people using Sherline tools have put up websites of their own relating to what they make with their tools. Here are a few.
Cutting Edge CNC is the home to Tauseef Tahir’s CNC Machining and RC website. It shows some examples of what can be done with a CNC setup using Sherline tools.
Interested in turning titanium? Need a unique wedding band? In either case, you might find Dan Statman’s website interesting. He turns titanium on a Sherline 4400 lathe to make some very nice looking rings. Take a look at Statman Designs to see what can be done in titanium using Sherline tools. Using carbide tools and appropriate safety practices, titanium is no more difficult to turn than many other machineable materials.
CNC Philosophy is a site that is the personal project of Richard Keefe. The aim of this site is to provide useful, actionable advice and information for home machinists to help begin, or improve, their CNC experience. Richard has worked in various industries throughout his career, including injection mold tools, aircraft manufacturing, and the oil and gas industry.
CNC Miniature Machine Tools, Software, and Accessories
A number of aftermarket manufacturers offer CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) conversions for Sherline equipment. Click on the previous link for a listing of companies, and direct links to their sites.
“Think, and find a sure and easy way. The pro does his job in a way by which even the novice can do it – while the novice tries to do it in a way by which even the pro fails.”
—Kozo Hiraoka, winner of The Joe Martin Foundation’s “Lifetime achievement award.”
Make your own automatic tool changer! Joe Vicars displayed the prototype of his automatic tool changer for the Sherline mill at the 2003 NAMES show. Though CNC is not necessary to make it, because some parts are repeated up to 12 times it would be handy. It can also be used on a manual machine but would be a really cool addition to a CNC machine. Joe now has plans available so you can make this tool changer. See his site at Home Shop Accessories for more details on the changer and for how to order the plans.
Flying chips and coolant making a mess in your shop? IM Services offers a sheet metal and plexiglass enclosure that is sized for Sherline machines. See their webpage at www.cadcamcadcam.com for more information. The individual panels ship flat to take up less space and keep costs down but are easily assembled with screws and bolts provided.
Looking for free, open-source software to control your CNC system? Try the Linux-based EMC system described at LinuxCNC. They define their project as follows: “The Enhanced Machine Controller (EMC) program is a NIST effort to develop and validate a specification for interfaces to open architecture controllers.” In simpler terms, EMC is a free and open source CNC controller program. The EMC can control machine tools, robots, or other automated devices. It can control servo motors, stepper motors, relays, and other devices related to machine tools. This is the same system Sherline now uses on their complete CNC systems.
Magna Associates, Inc. is a company offering a wealth of information on CNC and motion control can be found at Simple Step. They offer an extensive “links” section to take you even further on your quest for information about CNC.
7 Easy Steps to CNC Programming is the book for anyone interested in learning about CNC machining by David Hayden. The book is available on Amazon, and Google Books. Mr. Hayden taught himself CNC machining over 20 years ago while working as a lathe operator. Since that time he has attended hundreds of hours of training courses and has also developed his own course in CNC programming.
CNC Cookbook is a site that wants to make you a better CNC’er. They offer good information covering a wide range of CNC machining information.
Software for Machinists
Here’s an interesting site with lots of handy software for the shop that has one major attraction…IT’S ALL FREE! Marvin Klotz has put up a site called Software for People Who Build Things that includes a wealth of programs for your use. It’s worth looking over the list to see if there is anything that could help you solve a problem. I’ll bet you find something you’ll download. It’s cool stuff and the price is right.
The Machinist’s Calculator is a valuable utility program for Machine Shop Owners, Machinists, CNC Programmers, Metalworkers, Students, Engineers, or anyone else who needs to solve Trigonometry calculations. Also a great utility tool for CAD or CAD-CAM users. It’s available for purchase, but also is offered as a 30-day demo, and it is available on multiple platforms like PC, iOS, Android, and Blackberry!
Need a quick way to do trig calculations? See Page Tutor, and just fill in the sides or angles you know and it does the rest.
This link to CNC information comes from Robert Adams. His site, CAD2GcodeApps is now offering all DXF to G-code conversion programs in one package for your lathe or mill.
Accessories Made by Other Manufacturers for Sherline Tools
Here’s a list of companies that provide accessories that are either made for, or fit, Sherline machines.
OMW Corporation makes accessories for small lathes. Among other things now available are a ball-turning tool (radius cutter) and a die holder. Take a look at their site to find out more about these and other tools.
Plastools, LLC in Pennsylvania, makes triangular, inserted-tip carbide tools. The tool holders come with inserts and are sized in 1/4″ and 3/8″ shanks to work with Sherline tools. They provide a great finish on most metals and are quite economical.
Fisher Machine Shop, Inc. of Hawthorne, CA makes a nice little edge finder that is a good fit for your Sherline mill. It has a 1/4″ shank that fits in a collet or 1/4″ end mill holder (Model 250). They also have an “audible edge finder” in the same size as Model A250. You can reach them at (310) 644-8375 or write to 11704 Inglewood Ave., Hawthorne, CA 90250. Their line also includes a larger 3/8″ shank “Model A” as well as combination edge and center finders, metric versions plus sine bars, V-blocks and indicator holders.
Proto-Jem makes a neat little Sherline Drawbolt Puller that keeps you from having to hit the drawbolt with a hammer to release an arbor or collet from the #1 Morse spindle taper. Just slip it in place, tighten a screw and it pushes the tool out of the taper without risk of knocking the machine out of alignment. Jim has other interesting projects listed on his site as well. Stop by and see what he’s up to.
Denitool in Murfreesboro, TN is a distributor for these Swiss-made miniature inserted tip carbide tool holders. Sized appropriately for Sherline tools, they offer IC boring bars that will go into holes as small as 1/4″. They also offer a variety of insert orientations including ones that allow you to go in and face of the backside of an undercut. Their website offers quite a bit of information at www.denitool.com. You would need to make or buy a reduction bushing to be able to hold these smaller diameter holders in your Sherline 7600 3/8″ IC tool post.
Plans and Projects You Can Build
Plans for Steam, Stirling and IC Engines—The website of the late Jerry Howell offers a large selection of well-drawn CAD plans for an interesting variety of engines. The Joe Martin Foundation has built Jerry’s V-4 engine as a shop project. Documentation of the build can be found at the Craftsmanship Museum website.
Free Plans for Steam Engines—Elmer’s Engines was the site of the late Elmer Verberg. A new page by John Tomlinson dedicated to the distribution of Elmer’s plans can be found HERE. It was Elmer’s wish that these engines be built, so the plans were put into the public domain at his request. 3D drawings of many of the engines were done in Alibre. This site offers a lot of information for the builder as well as sources for plans of other projects from steam locomotives to replica guns.
More Steam Engine Plans—Kelly T. of the Estevan Model Engineering Show sent a link to a page with many free resources. That will keep you busy for a while. Not enough choices? Read on…
More Steam Engine Plans—Here’s a simple, fun one. Try building the “Siamese Twins” two-cylinder steam engine by Dave Goodfellow. Plans, with photos, are available for download in PDF format. The design is based on the steam engine in Rudy Kouhoupt’s video with the addition of a second cylinder, and Dave built it on Sherline equipment.
Want To Build A New, Super-Efficient Engine Design?— Tired of building conventional engines? Louis Moore has been advertising in the model magazines for some time. He is seeking people who can build a prototype of a new engine design called the Monomotor. He claims it is perfectly balanced, smooth and efficient. He has the ideas and some plans, but not the skill to build a prototype himself. If you are interested in working on a project like this, contact him at 1-573-435-6666 or write Louis Moore, P.O. Box 522, Edgar Springs, MO 65462. (He does not have a website or email.) He has a fully equipped shop you can use or you can work with him from your own shop. I have not seen the plans or met the man, but he seems determined to make a better engine. In speaking with him, he seems long on vision but short on details. I’m not sure exactly what to make of his offer, but here it is for anyone who wants to try something different. He says the prototype could be built on small tools. (7/22/05)
Project Plans on CD from Guy Lautard—You get a lot for your money on this CD featuring plans for several projects, with all kinds of handy shop tips and more. Plans include a universal vise for holding small parts, a surface gage based on a 120-year old design and a small hammer for fine work. There are also links to other interesting sites, three “shop tales” and much more. For details and prices for various parts of the world, contact Guy Lautard, 2570 Rosebery Avenue, W. Vancouver, B.C. V7V 2Z9, Canada or see his website. Guy is well known in the machining world for his “Bedside Reader” series and for providing quality information to the hobby, and with his digital camera and the use of modern technology, it looks like he is taking this quality to the next level. (5/05)
Guy’s latest set of plans allows you to build a highly efficient tire pump. CLICK HERE for details on how to order plans.
Free Plans for Projects of All Kinds—See John Tomlinson’s website for a big collection of plans and projects. Included are model boat plans, engine plans, and other projects from model tanks to guns. (3/13)
Automatic Tool Changer Plans—Joe Vicars displayed the prototype of his automatic tool changer for the Sherline mill at the 2003 NAMES show. There is also a photo of it on page 71 of the August 2003 issue of The Home Shop Machinist magazine. Though CNC is not necessary to make it, because some parts are repeated up to 12 times it would be handy. It can also be used on a manual machine but would be a really cool addition to a CNC machine. Joe now has plans available so you can make this tool changer. See his website at Home Shop Accessories for more details on the changer and for how to order the plans.
Puzzle Projects—Hex nut within a cube—Some of you may have seen the “cube within a cube” project shown in Joe Martin’s book, Tabletop Machining. Matthew Russell has come up with a new twist on that idea. A metal cube with holes in all six sides contains a large hex nut that is too big to fit through the holes. It is all machined from one piece of metal. How is it done? for $5.00 you can find out and build one yourself. It requires some fixtures and careful cutting, but once mastered an interesting conversation piece can be produced in an afternoon’s work. for a set of plans on how to make the fixtures and written instructions on how to use them to machine this unique project, send a check for $5.00 to Matthew Russel, 33 Woodridge Drive, Mendon, NY 14506. Matthew now also has plans for how to make a set of elliptical gears. They have no practical function but look great and provide a unique motion when cranked, which is reason enough for their existence.
Free Plans for Machining a Child’s Top—Karl Schwab provided a reprint of a one-page article he had published about how to build a spinning top he remembers from his childhood. CLICK HERE for the plans. Karl has entered many projects in Sherline’s Machinist’s Challenge contest and his grandson, Scott won the youth division in 2004. See the 2004 contest results for photos of their projects and all the other entries.
Step Block Hold-Down Set organizer block—FREE PLANS! The Sherline P/N 3013 step block hold-down set consists of many small clamps, studs, washers, and T-nuts. To keep them all organized at our trade show booth, we designed an oak block with fitted compartments and holes for each part. It looks good and keeps everything organized and in one place. If you’d like a copy of Craig’s plans to make this block, a simple afternoon project on a Sherline mill, download a copy of the plans in PDF format. Ours is made from oak, but it could be just as easily machined from aluminum, plastic or whatever you have on hand and like to work with.
Clock Kit—See the section on “Stuff for Clockmakers” below.
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the decision.”
—Benjamin Franklin, 1759
Miniature Gun Plans—The Miniature Arms Society was founded in 1973 for builders and collectors of miniature weaponry. They now maintain a library of drawings, sketches, and plans for old guns and other weapons. These are free for members. The society also recently published a large coffee table type book called The Art of Miniature Firearms, which contains over 300 pages of color photos of the finest craftsman in the miniature weapon world.
Plans for Engines, Rifles and More—Contact Dick Saunders at Saunders Machine, 145 Delhi Road, Manchester, IA 52057-1801. Dick has designed and offers plans for everything from a top ($5.00) to two different single shot rifles ($12.00 each or $20.00 for both). He also has plans for a tin can hot air engine, a 10” shear, a fire-eating engine, a cup engine and a center drill guide. Most are $10.00 or less. Write him for plans or more information.
“Any damned fool can criticize, but it takes a genius to design it in the first place.”
When asked by someone how much money flying takes: “Why all of it!”
Attention Aircraft Modelers—Aviation Shoppe.com offers aircraft manuals for old airplanes that can be a great source of technical information for those building detailed models. This material spans an era of over 100 years. Their personal archive contains over 7,000 items including vintage manuals, aviation film reels and microfilm (reels). It’s a true repository of historical aviation information for researchers, pilots, and enthusiasts. Young C. Park used manuals like these to produce the interior detail in his cutaway aluminum Corsair and P-51 Mustang models.
Build Your Own Model Pond Yacht—Charles Blume has a website on traditional model Pond Yachts. He also offers a set of plans for making your own plank-on-frame “A” class model. Photos of his sailing dinghy are also on the site. Traditional pond yachts used self-steering rigs (shown in photos on the site), but the addition of modern radio control gives much more control and saves a lot of walking around the pond to retrieve your boat. They also look great on the mantle when not in use! (4/11/08)
Build Your Own Model Amphibious Assault Vehicle—The author has presented many detailed photos on his site, Technogap, in the construction of his own large model including many setups using Sherline tools to make the metal parts. Though not really a “set of plans”, the site is very well done and full of ideas on how to go about making a working model from scratch.
How to Protect Your Models—This site, Protecting Your Model Cars, Trains, and Planes, came to our attention from a volunteer instructor at the Home Schooling Adventures in Florida with a scale-model building program for students. The main focus of the online curriculum is building model cars. One of the teacher’s students shared the site as a part of an extra-credit class research project. The kids are doing virtual learning these days, and we thought adding this link would help lift their spirits showing them that companies do respond to their outreach.
Catalogs for Hobbyists
Tools for Modeling
QTE North America in Rancho Cucamonga, CA sells drills, taps and other tools. They have recently started specializing in very small taps and other tools for the miniature market. They don’t have a website yet, but if you need a really small tap or special tool you can’t find elsewhere, call them at (909) 481-5115.
Try SDP/SI (Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instrument) for a good selection of free small drive component catalogs. The catalogs offer a huge selection of gears, belts, pulleys and so on. They can also be contacted at:
North American Inquiries Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Overseas Inquiries Email: email@example.com
Phone: 516-328-3300, Fax: 800-737-7436 or 516-326-8827
Micro Fasteners’ inventory has been relied upon for many years by hobbyists and engineers. They offer affordably priced socket screws, machine screws, locknuts, washers, sheet metal or self-tapping screws, wood screws, other fasteners and related items in U.S. and metric sizes.
Wm. K. Walthers—offers a huge line of trains and model railroading accessories from Z to G scales. If you’re building a train layout, they’ve got what you need.
Model Engine Kits
Jerry E. Howell offers plans and kits for Stirling, atmospheric and gas engines as well as other interesting projects. Project plans, miniature ball bearings, transistor ignition kits and other items for model engine builders are also available. Download a complete full-color catalog in PDF format.
Stuart Models of England offers a line of steam engine kits. They can be ordered as raw castings, machined castings or complete engines. Download their catalog in PDF format.
The Cotswold Heritage Model Steam Engine Collection in the UK features finished models, machined kits you can assemble, and casting kits that offer more of a challenge to the machinist. You can order their catalog from the site or sign up for their newsletter. The finished pieces and kits seem to be of high quality. Their address is Cotswold Heritage Ltd.
Bird Industrial Park, Long Marston, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 8RP, UK or call +44 (0) 1789 721444. (2/08)
Executive Model Design offers an interesting array of casting kits for steam and internal combustion engines. See www.executive-model-design.com for their website. These are not beginner kits but would offer a good challenge.
Mechanical Models offers a line of kits including canons and hot air engines. They can be purchased in three forms: material kits (material and drawings), assembly kits (fully machined parts ready for assembly), and fully assembled models. Naturally, you’ll want the kit, but if you’re in a hurry you do have the choice.
Stuff for Clockmakers and Restorers
A list of resources for Clockmakers
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.”
“Clearly, mistakes are a key to learning anything worthwhile, but try to make the STUPID ones as a rookie. They are easier to digest when you have a good excuse.”
—Bryan Freund, jewelry crafstman
Watch and Clock Review Magazine covers both modern and vintage timepieces. A section on Service & Repair includes articles on repair and restoration of watch and clock parts. The February 1996 issue has a nice article in the “Apprentice’s Notebook” section by Bob Hovey which utilizes the Sherline lathe to make laps for polishing pinions. For information on a subscription, call (516) 295-2516 or write WCR, Subscription Dept., 2403 Champa Street, Denver, CO 80205-9903.
Horological Times is the official publication of the American Watchmakers Institute. It comes out monthly and covers the technical aspects of the watch/clock making and jewelry industry. It includes technical articles, tips, and news. For more information, contact The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, 701 Enterprise Drive, Harrison, OH 45030 or phone (513) 367-9800.
New to clock- and watchmaking? Hugh Sparks has put together a Watchmaking site that takes the mystery out of watchmaking tools and processes. It is one of Joe Martin’s favorite pages; especially the description and formulas in the section on gear making. There is even a cycloidal gear calculator. Plug in the module, the number of the wheel, and pinion teeth and it calculates seven other factors like the gear ratio, circular pitch and more for you instantly. Also included are photos and descriptions of many of the tools of the watchmaker’s trade.
NEED OBSOLETE WATCH OR CLOCK PARTS CUSTOM MADE? If you are restoring an old watch or clock and aren’t up to manufacturing some of the missing bits and pieces yourself, contact Steve Cotton. His small company now uses a Sherline CNC mill to reproduce obsolete watch and clock parts. See his Precision Micro Machining site or give him a call at (250) 951-7150 in BC, Canada.
William R. Smith is well known in the field of clockmaking. He has recently designed a T-Rest for the Sherline lathe which makes it possible to hand turn parts using a “graver”, which is a common technique in watch- and clockmaking. His credentials include a degree in mechanical engineering as well as FBHI (Fellow, British Horological Institute), FNAWCC (Fellow, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors), CMC (Certified Master Clockmaker) and CMW (Certified Master Watchmaker). Over his career he has had over 60 horological articles published. He has also published several books and a video on clock making which should be of interest to anyone who is serious about restoring clocks or making them from scratch. The clocks he describes are “skeleton” clocks, which are beautiful and ornate enough that they are not intended to be hidden by a solid case, but rather are displayed in glass or plastic cases so the delicate movement can be seen in action.
Bill Smith also has a number BOOK titles and VIDEOS available on the subject. Each book includes 12 chapters of text, photos, and drawings that take the reader through every aspect of building the desired clock. If you follow his directions, when you are done you will have a beautiful working clock ticking away in front of you. Mr. Smith has also produced several highly detailed videos. They are available on DVD and each runs 2 hours.
Some of the titles include:
- Clockmaking and Modelmaking Tools and Techniques
- How to Make a Skeleton Wall Clock
- How to Make a Grasshopper Skeleton Clock
- How to make a Lyre Skeleton Clock
- Workshop Techniques for Clockmakers and Modelmakers
- Wheel Cutting, Pinion Making and Depthing for Clockmakers and Modelmakers
- Graver Making and Hand Turning for Clockmakers and Modelmakers
- Tooling the Workshop for Clockmakers and Modelmakers
The Morgan Clock Company has just introduced a pivot polishing attachment for the Sherline lathe. The solid carbide wheel makes polishing clock pivots quick and easy. For more information on MORGAN’S PIVOT POLISHER, call (800) 805-2220 or write them at 815 Century Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52002. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need a glass dome under which to display your favorite clock? Check out Glass Dome for a good selection. They are available in both round and oval bottoms, and handsome bases are also offered. Call Ben Bowen in Monticello, FL at (850) 997-3797 or email email@example.com for more information.
A short article going over the history of clockmaking and watches.
Sherline Dealers Who Sell Watch and Clock Repair Parts and Tools
Hirshmann Antique Clocks—50A River Drive, Titusville, NJ 08560-0194, (609) 737-0800
S. LaRose, Inc.—P.O. Box 21208, Greensboro, NC 27420, (910) 621-1936
The Clock Doktor—P.O. Box 39, Silverton, OR 97381, Phone or fax: (503) 873-6475, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuff for Pen Makers and Restorers
Dealers Who Sell Pen Repair Parts, Kits and Tools
Hut Products for Wood, 15361 Hopper Road, Sturgeon, MO 65284, (314) 875-0472
Berea HardWoods Co., Inc., 6367 Eastland Road, Brookpark, OH 44142, (440) 234-7949
Stuff for Woodworkers in General
Plans and Resources For Woodworkers
“Craftsmanship is a marriage between the hands and the soul.”
—From a brochure for the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. (Submitted by Larry Simon)
Ken Grunke is a woodturner who has posted an interesting way to use the Sherline mill to turn ornamental wood projects. Visit his site HERE. It allows for turning of objects like bowls and knobs while being able to use the mill’s handwheels to adjust the centerline height of the object and distance of the tool rest from the centerline. He also shows some easy-to-make ways to hold your work.
Several Sources for Wooden Toys You Can Make
- Toys and Joys at P.O Box 628, Lynden, WA 98264 offers a catalog of patterns, kits, and drawings for making wooden toys. Send $1 to the above address for a catalog or see their site at www.toysandjoys.com.
- Check out U-Bild for a site that offers many plans and kits for toy vehicles and trains.
- Even home repair specialist Bob Vila gets into the act with his site at www.bobvila.com.
Stuff for Ship Modelers
Ships of Scale offers lots of photos and advice for the ship model builder. Donnie Driskell of Madison, MS has put together a nice site including a ship modeler’s forum you can join. There is an archive of past newsletters, a gallery where you can send photos of your ship models and a “build log” section where you can follow progress on models under construction.
Magazines, Books, and Videos on Machining
Following are some individual publications that cover topics of interest to home machinists.
The Home Shop Machinist—a bi-monthly publication devoted entirely to metalworking. Editorial is directed to professionals and those who have just discovered a new hobby. Each issue contains “how-to” articles on lathe work, drilling, milling, grinding, foundry, and micro-machining, plus metal shop projects (complete with drawings prepared to ANSI specifications and photographs)
Machinist’s Workshop—a bi-monthly magazine that is the sister publication to The Home Shop Machinist and the answer to reader’s requests for projects they could work on between issues of Home Shop. Intended for serious machinists/metalworkers, each issue offers plans for valuable tools and accessories and challenging hobby projects. Every project is complete in one issue.
Live Steam and Outdoor Railroading—a bi-monthly magazine devoted to all aspects of steam power. Primarily, it serves the hobby aspect of steam, with most feature articles directed toward the scale model builder. Approximately 80% of the readers enjoy large scale model railroading (mainly steam, but also diesel and electric). Other interests include stationary steam engines, steamboats, steam traction engines, automotive steam and various other engines. Articles of historical interest are often featured, along with construction projects, “how-to” articles and news about the hobby.
Model Engine Builder is a magazine for those interested in building engines. Unlike Strictly IC (see below), it is not be restricted to only internal combustion engines, but will also give some coverage to Stirling and other interesting engines as well. It includes plans and articles, beginner and advanced projects, articles about builders and their shops and photo coverage of the major model engineering shows. For more information, or to subscribe to this publication, contact editor Mike Rehmus at 737 Elmwood Avenue, Vallego, CA 94591-6641 or call (707) 643-1970. You can also email email@example.com.
Strictly I.C. was the magazine for miniature engine design and construction. Published by expert technical writer Robert Washburn, this magazine served a very focused part of the modeling market. The magazine published its last issue in December 2001, but back issues are available. Write to Strictly I.C. Publishing, 24920 43rd Ave. So., Kent, WA 98032-4160. Their 24-hour fax number is (253) 946-5253.
Model Engineer—is now published in England by My Hobby Store. It has been around for over 100 years and offers an interesting look at modeling from a European perspective. You’ll see things advertised there than often do not appear in American magazines. To contact them, write MyHobbyStore Ltd., Berwick House, 8-10 Knoll Rise, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0EL, UK. Telephone: 01689 899200, Fax: 01689 899266 (From the USA, add a 011 in front of the number to get into the international system.)
Steam in the Garden—Garden railways combines two hobbies…model railroading and gardening. This magazine specializes in garden railways that run on live steam. They often include articles that would be of interest to miniature machinists interested in making small live steam locomotives and rolling stock. A construction article on building a Vest Pocket Climax locomotive has been running as a series. Sherline tools are used in its construction.
Seaways’ Ships in Scale Magazine is a great source for model ship builders and ship historians. Their site offers a summary of articles in the current issue plus some great photos of model ships. They also have email centers for both ship modelers and ship historians. There is a resource section as well with links to sellers of ship kits, plans, tools and other items of interest to those into ship modeling.
Sherline offers a number of reference books for the beginning machinist to the experienced home craftsman. These books detail simple and practical methods of machine usage, as well as information on selecting materials, using accessories, setting up a home shop and more.
Machinery’s Handbook is the one book every serious machinist should own. It’s a bit pricey, but the new 29th edition will answer any question you might ever have about machining. Their website has a history of the publication as well as a complete table of contents and ordering information. Although you can buy it from a number of sources, you can check it out before you plunk down that much hard-earned, after-tax money, their site is the perfect place to start. The book is available on CD-ROM now too.
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
Tabletop Machining by Joe Martin. NOW IN ITS FOURTH PRINTING! Written by Sherline’s owner and long-time modeler Joe Martin, this book is the ultimate resource for the home shop machinist. It is a large 8-1/2 x 11″ size with easy to read 12 point type. The lay-flat binding makes it easy to use as a reference book and the thick, glossy pages give a high-quality feel. (The book weighs over three pounds!) The full-color format is packed with over 400 photos and 200 line art illustrations of projects, setups, tools, and equipment. As both a hobbyist and the owner of a manufacturing business that makes miniature machine tools, Joe is qualified to talk about machining many levels. He brings this expertise to the reader in a down-to-earth style that makes for easy reading. Too many craftsmen are stopped from completing projects because the information they need is found in books presenting only the technically perfect way to do something. Joe shows you the simple methods machinists really use in day-to-day situations to make real parts. If you are just starting out or if you are an engineer recently graduated from school, this book will be a great introduction to the way parts are really made. If you own or are planning on getting Sherline tools, this book is essential.
The Home Machinist’s Handbook by Doug Briney. A complete do-it-yourselfer’s guide to machine work…with projects! We highly recommend this book to beginning miniature machinists as all the instructions and projects shown are accomplished on Sherline tools. The book talks about setting up your own home shop, using, buying and storing your tools, how to read shop drawings, measurements, mill and lathe operation, material selection, heat treating, finishing and more. Though the book has not been updated in quite a while, and some of the newer accessories are not included, the basic knowledge presented is not something that goes out of date. Plans for ten projects are also included that range from a simple center punch to a ship’s cannon.
Machine Shop Essentials–Questions and Answers by Frank Marlow, PE. Mr. Marlow has already written several very popular books on welding that are sold through Industrial Press, but this is his first that is self published and took over a year and a half to write. The introduction says, “Machine Shop Essentials covers the use of manually controlled metal lathes, milling machines, and drill presses to make one-of-a kind parts, prototypes, and industrial models, and to modify and repair existing machines.” It is written in a question and answer format and contains over 500 clear, concise drawings that make it much easier to understand the concepts described. It covers all the main aspects of machine shop practice in easy-to-understand blocks. It is a great introduction for a beginning machinist and a good refresher for someone just getting back into machining. Machines from Sherline up to full-size shop tools are covered. 7″ x 10″, 517 pages, over 500 illustrations.
Machine Shop Trade Secrets–A Guide to Manufacturing Machine Shop Practices by James A. Harvey. The author is a machinist and plastic injection mold maker with almost thirty years experience. This book is oriented toward the professional machinist striving to get into or learn more about the trade. It is well illustrated with many black and white photos and offers an in-the-trenches view of jobs the working machinist or toolmaker will face in the real world. Although not oriented to small jobs or the home shop, there is much here to be learned by anyone wanting to know how machinists go about cutting metal. There is also a chapter on CNC. 8-1/2 x 11, Black and white, 312 pages.
How to Run a Lathe-Revised Edition 55: The Care and Operation of a Screw-Cutting Lathe, published by South Bend Lathe, Inc. The first edition, in English, was printed in 1907. The complete manual is split into two documents.
How to Run a Lathe-1 of 2
How to Run a Lathe-2 of 2
South Bend Lathe Works sent out this manual with every lathe they sold. You get everything you need to set up a lathe and get it running. All 11 chapters are profusely illustrated. The chapters include: history and development of the lathe, setting up and leveling the lathe, operation of the lathe, lathe tools and their application, how to take accurate measurements, plain turning (work between centers), chuck work; taper turning and boring, drilling reaming and tapping, cutting screw threads, and special classes of work. All the basics are here.
Ignition Coils and Magnetos in Miniature by Bob Shores–Though not specifically about machining, anyone building an internal combustion engine will gain plenty of valuable knowledge this book by Bob Shores. Bob is also the one who offers plans for sale for the “Little Angle” hit ‘n miss engine listed above in the “plans” section. The book is hardbound, 255 pages, 5.5 x 8.5″ and contains many drawings and diagrams to accompany the text.
Stirling Hot Air Engine plans—We also get a lot of requests for plans for the Stirling hot air engine built by Tim Schroeder shown in Joe Martin’s book, Tabletop Machining on page 5. The plans came from a book called Steam and Stirling Engines you can build, Books 1 and 2. This particular engine is featured in Book 2. Originally published by Village Press Publications, it is now available from Knowledge Pubications.
The Wonderful, Wacky, Terrible World of Artillery in Miniature—This high-quality hardbound book by Ralph Koebbeman is a compact 6″ x 9″, which somehow seems very appropriate for its subject: miniature artillery weapons. This book covers projectile-firing weapons from the Roman catapult to the huge Dora Railway Gun by showing models built by some of the worlds best modelmakers. The photos are magnificent, and the book is also very well designed graphically. If you have an interest in both models and artillery, you will want to have this book on your coffee table. This title is available at your local bookstore or online; order by ISBN-10: 0-9717260-0-0.
Gears and Gear Cutting—Need to learn more about cutting gears? Confused by all the detail in Machinery’s Handbook? Gears and Gear Cutting by Ivan Law will get you started. It is published by Nexus (UK) and is No. 17 in their Workshop Practice Series. Go to Bookstore – Workshop Practice Series for details on all the books in the series.
Guy Lautard sells books, videos, and instructions that will be of interest to machinists. He also has a “links” section that can take you to more items of interest for machinists. Visit his site at www.lautard.com. The Machinist’s Bedside Reader, by Guy Lautard, is another often-recommended book for machinists.
The Art of Miniature Firearms offers over 300 pages of color photos of the work of some of the world’s finest craftsmen in the field of miniature firearms. Weapons from early dueling pistols to Western-style pistols and rifles to weapons of war and machine guns are all included. These are, in most cases, actual firing weapons scaled down from 1/2 to 1/5 size. The engraving, checkering, and finish on all parts is an exact duplicate of the original in miniature. It is available on Amazon.com, or for information contact the Imperial Miniature Armory, 10547 So. Post Oak Road, Houston, TX 77035 or call 1-800-MINIATURE. The photography is spectacular, and once you see the book (which took five years to produce) you will agree that it is worth its hefty price.
Stop-Motion Armature Machining by Tom Brierton shows how to design and make the animatronic framework for claymation and other frame-by-frame photo-animated models. It is 112 pages 8-1/2 x 11″ with hundreds of photos. Tom used Sherline tools throughout the machining examples. A photo of one of Tom’s creations can be seen on page 19 of our own book, Tabletop Machining.
“People forget how fast you did a job—but they remember how well you did it.”
“Reasonable results require excellent effort. Reasonable effort will tend to produce less than reasonable results.”
—Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board
Building the Pocher Rolls-Royce by David Cox and Marvin Meit—The book features ways to build and super-detail Pocher’s 1/8 scale models. Many of the techniques could be applied to any car model. Check out Model Motorcars, Ltd. for models, parts, and other books for foreign luxury model cars.
Books military aircraft and history plus more—The Shiffer Military and Aviation History catalog offers a host of books on subjects that are often hard for researchers to find. They provide books for the gift shops at places like the San Diego Aerospace Museum among others, but you can order from their online site at www.schiffermilitary.com. If you are more into crafts like making pens, knives, bows or boats, their arts and crafts site might be of more interest to you at www.schifferbooks.com. The Joe Martin Foundation library now has on hand the book The Master Scratch Builders: Their Aircraft Models and Techniques by John Alcorn thanks to a donation by Schiffer Books publishing rep John E. Jones of Vista, CA.
Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute—Though a fiction novel, this is a “must read” for every model engineer. I passed it by for years thinking the word “trustee” referred to a prison story. It doesn’t. It is simply a wonderful book about a model engineer set in the 1950’s. An English modeler of very modest means who writes articles for model magazines about his engines and clock designs is forced from the security of his home shop to travel the world to settle his late brother’s estate. In his travels, he is surprised to learn how many people around the world have been influenced by his articles and work. It was Nevil Shute’s last and perhaps best book, although it never achieved the notoriety of “On the Beach”. Find an old copy on eBay or order a new one from Amazon.com. I borrowed a copy to read it and then bought a copy for my library, as I am sure I will want to read it again.
Our DVD videos include topics like how to set up and operate a lathe, how to use and maintain shop measuring tools, and how to build a small steam engine.
Steam Engine Video—A video lesson which offers a wealth of information on machining (DVD, 3 1/2 Hrs.)—This in-depth video gives you plenty of actual shots of parts being made. It was done by the late Rudy Kouhoupt, a long-time editor at Home Shop Machinist Magazine. The video takes you from start to finish in building a small steam engine. With the video, you get a set of dimensioned plans which detail each individual part. You also get a bill of materials showing you exactly which raw materials you will need to assemble before starting. It’s like having a machinist with 30 years experience standing by your side while you turn the handles and crank out the parts and is the perfect way to build your first steam engine or just learn about good machining practices. When done you will have learned a lot plus you’ll have a beautiful steam engine to display on your desk or coffee table.
“You will always do much if you accomplish perfectly what you do.”
“The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”
Reproduce Almost Anything—The author, Ben Ridge, is a University graduate of Plastic and Metal Technologies, former injection molding plant manager, vocational plastics instructor and profitable longtime inventor. One of his inventions that he started with $300, using silicone molds, has grossed over $500,000.00. His 49-minute video comes with a 44-page workbook and shows you how to make silicone molds and then cast parts in plastic, rubber, plaster, low-temperature metals…even chocolate! Make parts for models, auto and clock restorations, all kinds of projects. This might be a useful skill to add to your bag of tricks.
Places of Interest to Visit while Traveling
The American Precision Museum is located at 196 Main Street, Windsor, Vermont. Their phone number is (802) 674-5781. They are open from Memorial weekend through the end of October and feature a number of exhibits donated by expert machinists of the past.
The San Diego Aerospace Museum is located in Balboa Park near the San Diego Zoo in downtown San Diego. It is about 45 miles south of Sherline’s facility. Besides having an outstanding exhibit on the history of flight, their model shop does some excellent work on the displays using Sherline tools.
The Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum is only a few miles from Sherline’s facility in Vista. It has an excellent permanent exhibit of steam and gas engines, many of which saw life on the farm many years ago. From tractors to sawmills, to food harvesting and processing equipment, there’s plenty to see. Several times a year they also have special events where much of the equipment can be seen running and additional displays of tractors and steam engines are brought it. The museum is located at 2040 N. Santa Fe Avenue, Vista, CA 92081. Their phone numbers are (760) 941-1791 or (800) 5-TRACTOR. If you are planning to visit Sherline, you might want to include the museum in your day’s tour.
The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum—The Craftsmanship Museum used to be housed on the Sherline Products premises, however, the collection grew so large it was moved to a new location just a short distance from the Sherline facility. They run multiple demonstrations of the machine shop and engines during business hours. In addition to the working engines, the collection includes scale models of planes, trains, and automobiles (and yes, boats), antique models, doll houses, etc. The museum is located at 3190 Lionshead Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010. You may contact the museum at 760-727-9492 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission is free.
Other Interesting Websites
Chock full of information, tips, achievements from the bizarre to brilliant, and just some other cool stuff.
“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome.”
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
The Museum of Retro Technology is an incredible collection of links to bizarre, unusual, dubious, brilliant and sometimes spectacular technological achievements (and attempts at achievement) from the past. You’ll find lots to enjoy on this fascinating site. Plan to stay a while.
Ron’s Model Engine Page—Ronald Chernich has put together a large, interesting and informative website on engines. It is well organized and the archives cover a huge assortment of articles on IC and steam engines.
SHOP TIPS galore can be found at Home Shop Tech. Though many of the articles are related to full-size tools, a good number can apply to a miniature machine shop as well.
Engineering Fundamentals is a website put together by Design News magazine. It is loaded with just about anything you would ever want to know about metals and metalworking processes. Also included are calculators and tables of all sorts. This is a great resource and should be the place to go first if you have any questions about metalworking.
All About Circuits is an extremely active electrical engineering online community that provides both interesting content and useful resources for Electrical Engineers, including various engineering calculators as well as a free electrical engineering textbook.
Below are some direct links at All About Circuits that may be helpful to our machinist community.
Researching the history of an old lathe or mill? Here’s a site with a tremendous amount of information about old (and current) lathes and mills of all sizes. Visit Lathes.co.uk for a massive listing of machines. In the Archives section, you will find historical and specification information on each machine along with a review of the strong and weak points of many machines. There are plenty of large black and white pictures that load quickly and offer a lot of detail. There are also other sections on machines for sale and articles of advice on buying machines. Once you get to this site, I guarantee it will be a while before you move on. You’ll learn about machines you never knew existed. If you ever have a question about a machine you see for sale, check it out here to learn more about it.
Try Crank.com if you need data on screws. Exactly how big is the head of a 10-32 socket head screw anyway? They offer full specs on most Imperial threaded fasteners in a graphic, easy-to-use format.
If you like engines, don’t miss this photo tour of the ’98 NAMES show by Jim Dunmyer. Jim took a digital camera to the show and shot lots of pictures and posted them HERE. The site loads instantly because it is a series of links describing each engine. Just open the ones that interest you. If you want all of them (4.5 MB), there’s a link to download them all.
Michael Dunlap of Michael Dunlap Studio creates some very fine 1/12 scale metal models. Gold-plated brass presentation models of NASCAR and IndyCar race cars are his specialty.