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Thread: Sherline lathes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zhongshan, China
    Posts
    169

    Question Sherline lathes

    Does anyone have any experience with Sherline lathes or milling machines? I'm trying to smuggle a small shop into China from Hong Kong, and only a Sherline will fit into my luggage. I know it has size limitations, of course, but what about the general quality of construction and the work that it can do?

    If I don't go with the Sherline, I'll have to get a Chinese machine, something that's made for the local market, not export. Export machines are generally not for sale here. This isn't an attractive proposition. Although the price is cheap, so is the quality, and the manual is in Chinese, and there's no local demand for a "hobbyist" machine. Also, the Sherline has the advantage of a universal power converter, to deal with the 220 voltage here.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    205

    Post

    I've had both Sherline model 4400 (longbed) lathe and 5400 mill for about two years. I've been very happy with the quality. They are sometimes a bit smaller than I want, but you can generally work around such problems. For example, the mill has an upgrade kit that will add 3 inches to the Z axis, which is usually where I run out of room. The lathe has riser blocks for headstock, tailstock and tool post that allow turning up to 6" diam. Sherline has LOTS of accessories and adds a few more every year. See their web site (sherline.com) if you haven't already; it's extensive.

    I'm not a "real" machinist, but I have been using these tools for a bunch of projects over the last two years: I'm on steam engine #3 currently, and have made lots of tooling, such as a knurling attachment (the Sherline knurler works fine, but only for diameters up to 1"), a rotary table (yes, Sherline has one too which I'm sure is high quality, but making your own rotary table seems to be a right of passsage for a fledgling HSM),
    a trombine mouthpiece (no, it's not tooling, but I made it just to see how well I could; a sort of "etude" :-), a tool height gauge, and several other projects, such as some wooden boxes (the mill makes great finger joints) and various threaded adaptors for connecting digital cameras to telescopes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zhongshan, China
    Posts
    169

    Post

    jeastwood,

    Thanks for the information. I'm not a "real" machinist either, but I'm anxious to start getting my hands dirty again after too many years of just staring at the computer. In a previous life, I was a glasscutter (among many other things), running CNC glass cutting machines and some robotics. My former employer had a machine shop, where they custom fabricated very sophisticated vacuum coating chambers for optics. I used to really envy those guys, and I want to see what I can do.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zhongshan, China
    Posts
    169

    Post

    jeastwood,

    Thanks for the information. I'm not a "real" machinist either, but I'm anxious to start getting my hands dirty again after too many years of just staring at the computer. In a previous life, I was a glasscutter (among many other things), running CNC glass cutting machines and some robotics. My former employer had a machine shop, where they custom fabricated very sophisticated vacuum coating chambers for optics. I used to really envy those guys, and I want to see what I can do.


  5. #5

    Thumbs up

    grannygear:
    They are pretty good for their size. Just expect to do things on a smaller scale than most lathe project for those of us with phat phinger desease. I would also recommned that you get the 10,000 rpm speed upgrade kit from Sherline. With Diamond tooling you will be able to do beautiful stuff in Aluminum because of the very high speed. The accessories are a little pricy, but there are some very interesting things that Joe has come up with - make them GIVE you the Sherline "Table Top Machining" book by Joe Martin (Sherlines CEO) - some incredible stuff in that "Sherline propaganda". The newer machines are universal voltage and frequency - useble nearly anywhere.

    Have fun - don't get shot smuggling that in!

  6. #6

    Post

    Hello grannygear,
    I have been using the long bed sherline and the milling column attachment for the last year, with hss and carbide tooling. I have found that it is well made, for the price and compact for the size of parts that you can "spin". Its a great machine,I can pick it up and move it really easy but I must admit that within a few prodjects I was looking for a little more in the way of size.
    all in all I think that its important to be making chips, period.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zhongshan, China
    Posts
    169

    Post

    Thanks everyone for the input. I'll let you all know how it works out when it's a done deal.

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