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Which machines to buy

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  • Which machines to buy

    I am in the process of setting up my new home machine shop (dream come true) I build 1:8 scale classic car models and will be working mostly in aluminum, brass, lucite and steel.

    I am currently looking at purchasing the Sherline 8-way mill and 14" lathe (both metric). (Along with a 4-jaw self-centering chuck, rotary table, and tilt table)

    I have studied the product offerings from MicroMark and Grizzly and all indications are that the Sherline require very little adjusting out of the box, have accessories for just about every project need and are extremely well made. They are also rather expensive (compared to the other units pieces mentioned.)

    I have other bench-top power tools, but these are the most expensive and versitile that I've ever acquired. I appreciate any advice that anyone can offer regarding my upcoming purchase.

    Thanks very much.


  • #2
    What specifically would you like advice about?
    Location: North Central Texas


    • #3
      Are the Sherlines worth the extra money?

      Also, does the 8-way mill have "adequate" rigidity in the verticl (y-axis). I like the added adjustments options of the 8-way head, but am concerned about flex or wiggle in the mount.

      Thanks very much.


      [This message has been edited by AndyMarks (edited 04-27-2004).]


      • #4 generally get what you pay for, even though it may not immediately be obvious.

        The Sherline is pretty small, but for the size work you contemplate it ought to be fine.

        As you may have noticed in the discussion that appeared in another thread about tool springback, there is no such thing as "rigid." It's all a matter of degree. I expect the Sherline, given its size, will do as well as anything else of similar proportions. I don't think you'll have any problems -- or, at least no problems that you don't have a right to expect. It ain't a Bridgeport! Adjust your expectations accordingly and I think you'll be satisfied.

        Notice that nearly all of this is surmise on my part...I don't actually own any Sherline equipment.

        Oh -- you may want to investigate the wonders of Delrin. It's great stuff to work with.

        Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
        Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
        Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
        There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
        Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
        Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


        • #5
          I have the Sherline 5400 mill and extended lathe.

          For me they work great. As long as the size your milling doesn't routinely exceed about 4" wide by about 6" long you'll be happy.

          On the lathe, risers let you turn 5" dia or so, but again you wouldn't want to do it everyday.

          One thing about the sherlines is the lathe and mill have the same "headstock" so they share tooling.

          Get the Sherline, you'll be happy you did.


          • #6
            I have the 4400 lathe and 5400 mill (not the 8 way). Even though I've since "graduated" to somehwat larger machines, I was quite happy with the Sherline tools, especially the lathe. They are most definitely products that were just fine out of the box; no Cosmoline to wipe off, and very few adjustments are required.

            My main complaint with the mill was running out of Z room. This can be alleviated by buying a longer Z column and lead screw, something you can find on their web site.
            You'll find that screw length drills will be a must.

            These are ligth tools, but of high quality I think.


            • #7
              If your going to go small, I'd get the Harbor Frieght Micro mill for 269$ on sale, its bigger, and uses MT2 tooling. Atleast you can use standard size tooling. I have one, and still wish I had a bigger one.


              • #8
                There is nothing basically wrong with the Sherline machines, a lot of people accomplish some beautiful work with them.
                That said, I would not buy one for several reasons.
                One, they are expensive for what you get. Added to this, the accessories are also expensive, and only a few are available from suppliers other than Sherline.
                Two, anything you do beyond straight turning requires accessories or a lot of fiddling to accomplish.
                For a lathe for model work or other small machining operations, I would use a 6" Atlas, 9" South Bend, a Prazi, Emco or similar machine.
                These are real lathes with power feeds and the ability to thread directly with no attachments. They accept standard tooling, such as Morse taper, etc. They are all rigid machines with cast iron beds and headstocks, and can use real motors.
                For a milling machine, a small mill drill such as the Micro Mark with a dovetail column would probably prove adequate.
                Generally speaking, it is better to have dedicated machines rather than combination machines, as you will spend a lot of time setting up for one function ar another.
                Jim H.