Sherline 2000 Manual
Full One Year Warranty
On Sherline’s 3.5” Metal Lathe, Vertical Milling Machine and Accessories
If within one year from the date of purchase a new* Sherline power tool fails due to a defect in material or workmanship,
Sherline will repair it free of charge. In addition, it has always been our policy to replace at no cost all parts, regardless of
age, which are determined to have been incorrectly manufactured or assembled and have failed due to this cause rather than
because of improper use or excessive wear caused by continuous use in a production environment. In cases such as this,
Sherline will inspect the machine or part and will be the sole judge of the merit of the claim. Freight charges for returning a
machine are not covered. Merchandise which has been abused or misused is not subject to warranty protection. Disassembly
of a machine or accessory beyond normal maintenance procedures described in this manual may void the warranty. Before
attempting major repairs, call the factory for advice and instructions.
Warranty service is available by simply returning the machine, defective assembly or part to:
Sherline Products, Inc., 3235 Executive Ridge, Vista, CA 92081-8527
Please write, fax, call or e-mail to let us know that you are retuning a part and to receive a return authorization number.
This will speed up the warranty process. (E-mail is
This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state.
*NOTE: Only new machines purchased directly from Sherline or from an authorized Sherline dealer are covered by this warranty. This includes machines
purchased via on-line auctions when offered by Sherline or its authorized dealers. Machines purchased second-hand or from a non-authorized dealer are
considered “used” and are not subject to warranty even if they appear to be new in the box. If you are in doubt about the status of a dealer or are suspicious
about an offer that doesn’t seem quite right, you can always confirm a dealer’s status by checking our DEALERS page (
for a listing or by calling (800) 541-0735 to confirm a dealer’s authority to represent Sherline.
Sherline Service Policy
Sherline’s policy regarding customer service is simple: CUSTOMER SATISFACTION!
Because products manufactured by Sherline are produced and assembled in our Vista, California plant, we offer fast and
reasonably priced service. All we ask when you pack the items for shipping is to use common sense, individually protecting
items from one another during shipping. Ship by UPS or FedEx ground whenever possible. If you have attempted a repair
and then decide to return the item it is not necessary to reassemble the machine. If you have lost a part, don’t worry, we’ll
still get it looking great for you and return it via UPS or FedEx*. Work and parts not covered under warranty can be charged
to your credit card for your convenience or we can call with an estimate at your request before performing any work. Again,
please e-mail or call Sherline to obtain an RMA number before returning anything for service. Cleaning the returned items
thoroughly before you ship them will save time and money.
*If merchandise is received damaged by the shipper, keep the original shipping carton and contact your local shipping office.
How to Order Replacement Parts
The model number of your machine will be found on the chrome nameplate attached to the top or side of the headstock.
The serial number is laser engraved into the back of the headstock. Always mention the model number when requesting
service or repair parts for your machine or accessories.
Replacement parts may be ordered from the factory or from any Sherline dealer. The most expeditious way to order parts is
directly from the factory by phone, fax or our e-commerce web site at Office hours are 8 A.M. to 4
P.M. (PST or PDT) Monday through Friday. We do our best to see that orders received before 12 noon (Pacific Standard or
Daylight Time) will be shipped the same day. We accept payment by Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.
Parts orders:
Toll free order line: (USA and Canada) 1-800-541-0735
International or Technical Assistance: 1-760-727-5857 • Fax: 760-727-7857
New Electronic Line Filter makes Sherline Tools CE Compliant
As countries around the world have tightened up their import regulations, Sherline has
taken the extra step to make available an in-line electronic filter between the DC motor
speed control and the incoming AC current in order to meet CE standards. Users outside
the USA will only need to supply a wall plug adapter to go from the American style 3prong plug to the type of plug used in your country. An extra charge applies for machines
ordered with this filter installed, but the shipping box will state that the machine complies
with CE standards. We highly recommend that customers in countries requiring CE
certification order this part in order to avoid possible problems with customs.
New filter cuts electronic emissions
CE Filter added to any machine: Part number plus letters -CE, Retrofit filter/cord only: P/N 45500
to meet CE standards.
Table of Contents
Accessories for the lathe
3-Jaw, 4-jaw and drill chucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Thread-cutting attachment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Steady rest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Live center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Digital readouts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3-Jaw Chuck Operation and Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . 27
Vertical Milling Machine Operation
General description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Helpful tips for machining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Securing the workpiece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Locking the mill axes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Before you cut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Purchasing raw materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Types of work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Types of milling cutters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Standard milling vs. “climb” milling . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Working to a scribed layout line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Using a dial indicator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Locating the edge of a part . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Determining the depth of cut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Suggested cutting speeds for end mills and drills . . . 33
Using the column saddle locking lever . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Accessories for the milling machine
Sensitive drilling attachment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
3/8" end mill holder and drill holder . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Drill chuck holder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Mill collet set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Boring head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Fly cutter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Drill chucks and center drills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Milling vise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Step block hold-down set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Tilting angle table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Horizontal milling conversion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
4" rotary table (Manual and CNC-ready) . . . . . . . . . . 36
CNC rotary indexer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
CNC-ready and complete CNC systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Learning more about CNC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Extended columns and tables for Sherline mills. . . . . . . 38
Books and videos for machinists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Stereo microscope for lathe and mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
10,000 RPM spindle pulley set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Industrial applications for Sherline components . . . . . . . 39
Motor and speed control wiring colors, connections . . . . 39
Exploded view, manual 4000/4400-series lathes . . . . . . . 40
Exploded view, CNC 4000/4400-series lathes . . . . . . . . . 41
Exploded view, manual 5000/5400-series mills . . . . . . . 42
Exploded view, CNC 5000/5400-series mills . . . . . . . . . 43
Exploded view, manual 2000 series 8-direction mill . . . . 44
Exploded view, CNC 2000-series 8-direction mill . . . . . 45
Tips on using the handwheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Technical specifications, Sherline lathes and mills . . . . . . . 46
Sherline warranty and service policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Ordering replacement parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Safety rules for power tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
An introduction to the world of miniature machining . . . . 4
General precautions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Machine Terminology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Customer’s responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Learning more about machining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Lubrication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Initial assembly of a new machine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Mounting the lathe crosslide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Installing the mill X-axis handwheel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Installing the mill X-axis digital readout handwheel . . . . . 7
5000/5400-series mills, installing the column . . . . . . . . . 7
2000-series mills, installing the multi-direction column . . 8
Mounting the motor and speed control assembly . . . . . . . 8
Mounting the headstock to the lathe or mill . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Operation of the motor and speed control . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
What to do if the motor shuts down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Replacing DC motor brushes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Mounting lathe and mill to a base board . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Converting machines from inch to metric . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2-speed pulley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Spindle preload . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Gibs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Leadscrew backlash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Handwheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Saddle nut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Tailstock gib adjustment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Aligning the lathe headstock and tailstock . . . . . . . . 14
Squaring up your mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Use of cutting oils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
General machining terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Rules for feed rates and cutting speeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Lathe Operation
Leveling the tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Initial test cutting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Controlling “chatter” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Holding the workpiece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Turning between centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Removing tools from Morse tapers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Center drilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Tailstock drilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Headstock drilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Reaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Faceplate turning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Taper turning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Tool shapes and cutting angles, use of tools . . . . . . . 22
Using the cut-off or parting tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Inserted tip carbide tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Turning speeds and feed rates, general rules . . . . . . . 25
“A man who works with his hands is a laborer.
A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.
A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist.”
—Louis Nizer
Safety Rules for Power Tools
kept near an operating grinder, it should be kept covered
when not in use.
21. Don't Let Long, Thin Stock Protrude from the Back of the
Spindle—Long, thin stock that is unsupported and turned
at high RPM can suddenly bend and whip around.
22. Wear Your Safety Glasses—Foresight is better than NO
SIGHT! The operation of any power tool can result in
foreign objects being thrown into the eyes, which can
result in severe eye damage. Always wear safety glasses
or eye shields before commencing power tool operation.
We recommend a Wide Vision Safety Mask for use over
spectacles or standard safety glasses.
1. Know Your Power Tool—Read the owner’s manual
carefully. Learn its application and limitations as well as
the specific potential hazards peculiar to this tool.
2. Ground All Tools—If a tool is equipped with a threeprong plug, it should be plugged into a three-hole
receptacle. If an adapter is used to accommodate a twoprong receptacle, the adapter wire must be attached to
a KNOWN GROUND. Never remove the third prong.
(See Figure 1.)
3. Keep Guards in Place—and in working order.
4. Remove Adjusting Keys and Wrenches—Form a habit of
checking to see that keys and adjusting wrenches are
removed from the tool before turning on any machine.
5. Keep Work Area Clean—Cluttered areas and benches
invite accidents.
6. Avoid a Dangerous Work Environment—Do not use power
tools in damp or wet locations. Keep your work area well
7. Keep Children Away—All visitors should be kept a safe
distance from the work area.
8. Make Your Workshop Childproof—with padlocks, master
switches or by removing starter keys.
9. Do Not Force a Tool—Do not force a tool or attachment
to do a job for which it was not designed. Use the proper
tool or accessory for the job.
10. Wear Proper Apparel—Avoid loose clothing, neckties,
gloves or jewelry that could become caught in moving
parts. Wear protective headgear to keep long hair styles
away from moving parts.
11. Use Safety Glasses—Also use a face or dust mask if a
cutting operation is dusty.
12. Secure Your Work—Use clamps or a vise to hold work
when practicable. It is safer than using your hand and
frees both hands to operate the tool.
13. Do Not Overreach—Keep your proper footing and
balance at all times.
14. Maintain Tools in Top Condition—Keep tools sharp and
clean for best and safest performance. Follow instructions
for lubrication and changing accessories.
15. Disconnect Tools—Unplug tools before servicing and when
changing accessories such as blades, bits or cutters.
16. Avoid Accidental Starting—Make sure the switch is
“OFF” before plugging in a power cord.
17. Use Recommended Accessories—Consult the owner's
manual. Use of improper accessories may be hazardous.
18. Turn the Spindle by Hand Before Switching Motor On—This
ensures that the workpiece or chuck jaws will not hit the
lathe bed, saddle, crosslide or cutting tool and that a key
or spindle bar was not left in the chuck.
19. Check that all Holding, Locking and Driving Devices Are
Tightened—At the same time, be careful not to overtighten
these adjustments. They should be just tight enough to
do the job. Overtightening may damage threads or warp
parts, thereby reducing accuracy and effectiveness.
20. Don't Use Your Lathe for Grinding—The fine dust that
results from the grinding operation is extremely hard on
bearings and other moving parts of your tool. For the
same reason, if the lathe or any other precision tool is
NOTE: Power cords are
available with UK and
European plugs.
UK—P/N 40630
Europe—P/N 40640
FIGURE 1—Proper grounding for electrical
Electrical Connections
The power cord supplied is equipped with a 3-prong
grounding plug that should be connected only to a
properly grounded receptacle for your safety. Should an
electrical failure occur in the motor, the grounded plug
and receptacle will protect the user from electrical shock.
If a properly grounded receptacle is not available, use a
grounding adapter to adapt the 3-prong plug to a properly
grounded receptacle by attaching the grounding lead from
the adapter to the receptacle cover screw.
NOTE: The electrical circuit designed into the speed
control of your lathe or mill reads incoming current from
100 to 240 volts AC and 50 or 60 Hz and automatically
adapts to supply the correct 90 volts DC to the motor. As
long as you have a properly wired, grounded connector
cord for your source, the machine will operate anywhere
in the world without a transformer. This has been true
for all Sherline machines built since 1994. Prior to that,
an AC/DC motor was used. Use that motor ONLY with
the power source for which it was intended. It will not
automatically adapt to any other current and using it with
an improper power source will burn out the motor or speed
control. Also, the first few DC units built did not include
the circuits to adapt to other currents. If you think you
may have an early DC model, remove the plastic speed
control housing and look for a label on the aluminum
speed control frame. If it has a small metallic label on top
of the frame that lists input voltage as 120VAC, DO NOT
CURRENTS. Models that can be used with any current
have a paper label on the end of the speed control frame
which lists the model number as KBLC-240DS.
See page 1 for information on ordering an optional CE
compliant electronic filter if required in your country.
An Introduction to the World of Miniature Machining
There Are no Shortcuts
Machining is a slow process because parts are made one at
a time. The interesting thing is, a skilled machinist may take
almost as long to make the same part as a novice. Shortcuts
usually end in failure. Unlike some other trades, mistakes
cannot be covered up. There are no erasers, white-out or
“putting-on tools” for machinists; you simply start over. To
expand a little on an old rule: “Think three times, measure
twice and cut once!”
The Craftsman’s Strength—Anticipating a Tool’s Limitations
The skill in machining isn’t just “moving the dials.” It is a
combination of engineering and craftsmanship. A file is just
as useful a tool to a good machinist as a multi-thousanddollar machine tool. Tools “deflect” or bend under load,
and anticipating this bend is what it is all about. Sharp tools
deflect less than dull tools, but with each pass the tool gets a
little duller and the deflection becomes greater. If you try to
machine a long shaft with a small diameter, the center will
always have a larger diameter than the ends, because the part
deflects away from the tool where it has less support. You can
go crazy trying to machine it straight, or you can simply pick
up a good, flat mill file and file it straight in a few moments.
Machine tools will never replace the “craftsman’s touch,”
and machining is a combination of both good tools and good
You Don’t Become a Machinist by Buying a Machine
You should strive from the beginning to make better and
more accurate parts than you think you need. Work to closer
tolerances than the job demands. Be on the lookout for ways to
make a job easier or better. Having a selection of appropriate
materials on hand and a good cutoff saw to get them to rough
size is a good start. Take some time and read through this
instruction book before you try machining anything. We
want you to enjoy the process of creating accurate parts from
raw metal. Buying a machine didn’t make you a machinist,
but using it along with the skill and knowledge you acquire
along the way eventually will. With the purchase of Sherline
equipment, you have taken your first step toward many years
of machining satisfaction. We thank you for letting us be a
part of that.
—Joe Martin, President and owner
Sherline Products Inc.
Getting Answers to Your Questions About Machining
Over the years we have found that the majority of our
customers are both highly intelligent and skilled craftsmen.
Often they are also new to machining. The instructions we
have included in this book, while far more extensive than
anything included with other machine tools—even ones
costing thousands of dollars—still only scratch the surface
when it comes to machining. We have tried to anticipate
the most common problems and questions asked by a new
machinist. What we have provided in this book and with each
accessory, when combined with a liberal amount of common
sense, is more than enough to get you started. If you apply
what you learn here, you will be well on your way to making
good parts. No doubt you will also have many questions
specific to your project that simply can’t be addressed in a
manual of this type.
Answers to questions beyond the scope of this booklet will
have to come from your own research. Bookstores and
libraries are full of excellent books on machining, and the
Internet offers some great user groups that can put you in direct
contact with others who share your specific interests. Our own
Worldwide Web site is a great source of information as well.
We have published there all the instructions for all our tools
and accessories for you to read and print out for free. There
are also links to many other fascinating sites. For the past forty
years I have found Machinery’s Handbook to be the source I
turn to most for answers to my own questions.
I recently wrote a book called Tabletop Machining that is
specifically directed to the owners of Sherline tools and to
anyone who wants to learn to make small, metal parts. The
instructions you are reading that come with your machine are
quite complete; however, if you want to get into more detail
or want to see color photos of setups and projects made by
some of the best craftsmen around, I am sure you will find
more than your money’s worth in Tabletop Machining. May
your journey toward becoming a skilled machinist be an
enjoyable one.
What New Machinists Like Most and Least
If you are new to machining, you may find it to be either one of
the most rewarding skills one can learn or the most frustrating
thing you have ever attempted. What makes machining fun
for some is the complexity and challenge. The same thing
will drive others up the wall. One customer may be overjoyed
because he can now make parts that were not available for
purchase. Another may wonder why he just spent all day
making a part that is similar to one he could have purchased
for two dollars. The difference is that it is not the same as the
two-dollar part—it is exactly the part needed.
Visit Sherline’s factory in North San Diego County and
see miniature machine tools being produced. If you can’t
come by, see the photo factory tour on our web site at www.
of the machine. Carry the machine by lifting under the base
or by the mounting board. It is also advisable to remove the
headstock/motor/speed control unit when transporting the
machine. The inertia of a sudden shock can also overstress
the motor mount.
• A chip guard (P/N 4360) is now available that offers
additional protection from flying chips when working near the
spindle. It is not a substitute for wearing proper eye protection,
but it does offer additional protection. It will also contain
cutting oil to help keep your work area cleaner.
General Precautions
• DO NOT attempt to operate the lathe or mill without first
mounting them to a secure base. (See page 11.)
• DO NOT turn on the motor with a 3-jaw chuck mounted
if the jaws are not tightened on themselves or on a part. The
acceleration of the spindle can cause the scroll to open the
chuck jaws if not tightened.
• DO NOT lift or carry the machine by the motor. The cast
motor mount was not designed to support the entire weight
Machine Terminology
FIGURE 2—Lathe part terminology
(Located behind saddle
on Z-Axis Leadscrew)
“T” SLOTS (2)
FIGURE 3—Milling machine part terminology
WARNING! WD-40 is a rust preventative, not a lubricant. Do
not use WD-40 on your machine slides or screws as a lubricant.
Avoid Overtightening!
One of the problems with designing and manufacturing metal
cutting equipment of this size is that the operator can physically
be stronger than the machine, which is not normally the case
with larger tools. For example, a 10-pound force applied
a couple of inches out on a hex key becomes a 650-pound
force at the tip of the screw. If you tighten both screws on the
tool post this tight, it becomes approximately 1300 pounds
of force on relatively small parts! Tools and/or parts can
become distorted and accuracy will be lost. Overtightening
hold-down screws and T-nuts in their slots can distort
the crosslide or mill table. It is not necessary to overtighten
parts and tools, because loads are smaller on equipment of
this size. Save your equipment and increase accuracy by not
overtightening and by taking light cuts.
Don't Overstress the Motor!
It is also important to realize that you can overload the motor
supplied with this lathe or mill.* The many variables involved
in machining, such as materials being machined, size of cutter,
shape of cutter, diameter of stock, etc., can leave but one rule
to follow...COMMON SENSE!
*The motor is thermally protected, so if it is overloaded, it will
simply shut down until it cools. See note on thermal protection
in the motor/speed control section on page 11.
Read all operating instructions and safety rules carefully
before attempting any machining operations.
The Customer's Responsibility
Always use care when operating the lathe and mill. Follow
the safety rules for power tools on page 3. Turn off the motor
before attempting adjustments or maintenance. (Do not simply
turn the speed control down to zero RPM but leave the motor
switch on.) Be sure the work piece is firmly supported on the
lathe or mill. Accessories should be mounted and operated
following instructions carefully. Keep your machine clean,
lubricated and adjusted as instructed. Do not leave cleaning
rags, tools or other materials on the lathe bed or around
moving parts of the machine.
Learning More About Machining
Many fine books have been written on machining techniques
and are available at your local library or bookstore. Although
these books often refer to machines many times larger than
Sherline’s tools, the principle remains the same. Sherline
offers several good books related specifically to miniature
machining. See page 38 and the back cover for more.
Visit the Sherline Web Site for the Latest Updates
A world of up-to-date information on Sherline tools and
accessories and their use is available at
Here are a few key addresses ( type and
then add the following file names after the "/" symbol):
Accessory instruction links: accessor.htm
Links to interesting and informative sites: resource.htm
Projects by Sherline machinists: workshop.htm
Replacement parts price list: prices3.htm
Reference dimensions of Sherline tools: dimen.htm
Sources for raw materials: online.htm
Tips from Sherline machinists: tips.htm
Sherline photo factory tour: factour.htm
Special instructions and help sheets: hlpsheet.htm
Information on CNC: CNClinks.htm
Machine Slides—Use a light oil such as sewing machine or 3-in1 oil or grease on all points where there is sliding contact. This
should be done immediately after each cleanup. We grease the
slides at the factory to ensure the lubrication stays in place
during shipping, but light oil will work fine once you begin
using the machine. Do NOT use WD-40 for lubrication!
Leadscrew, Tailstock Feed Screw, Crosslide Screw—Light oil should
be placed along all threads regularly. At the same time, check
that the threads are free from any metal chips. Use an air hose
or inexpensive paint brush to keep them clean.
Tailstock Screw—Wind out the spindle as far as it will go and
oil it with light oil.
Handwheels—A few drops of light oil or a little grease behind
the handwheel will reduce friction between the surfaces and
make operation easier and smoother.
Headstock Bearings—These bearings are lubricated at the
factory for the lifetime of the machine and should not need
further lubrication. DO NOT break the seals.
Spindle Motor—Sealed ball bearings require no maintenance.
When NOT to lubricate certain surfaces
The mating surfaces of the arm, the column and the column
cap on the Model 2000 mill are to be kept free from
lubrication. Tightening the column bolt causes friction
between these surfaces to resist movement of the arm during
the forces and vibration of machining. If these smooth surfaces
are lubricated, the arm or the column could move during
machining even if the bolt is securely tightened. Clean these
surfaces periodically with mild detergent or bathroom spray
cleaner to keep a good “bite” between surfaces. The same goes
for the surfaces between the “knuckle” and the ends of the
swing arm. These surfaces are smooth enough that adjustment
is easily accomplished with the nut loosened even without
lubrication. They should be free of dirt and chips, but please
resist your natural inclination to lubricate them, as they do
their intended job better when dry.
A Note on Synthetic Greases
Several years ago we started using a Teflon-based (PTFE)
synthetic grease to lubricate not only the Sherline tools we
sell, but also the factory machines that we use to produce them.
This clear, non-staining grease can be found in most auto part
stores, and it is also available from Sherline as an accessory
in either tube or spray canister form. It offers smoother action
than conventional grease when used on sliding parts, and we
highly recommend it.
Initial Assembly of a New Machine
Your new lathe or mill will come packed in a box with some
items disassembled for shipping purposes. This has been
done to minimize the chance of damage during shipping. On
the lathe, you will install the crosslide table onto the saddle.
On the mill you will install the Z-axis column onto the base.
On some mills you will reinstall the X-axis handwheel. On
both machines you will need to install the motor and speed
control. Some of these parts are assembled and tested for fit at
the factory prior to shipping. They are then disassembled and
FIGURE 5—Installing
the crosslide table onto
the saddle
packaged, so everything should go together easily when you
reassemble it. The motors are “run in” for approximately one
hour to assure proper function and seating of the brushes.
Before you call us and say a part is missing, please look
carefully through the packaging. Some parts are in bags taped
to the bottom of cardboard flaps or spacers, and you may not
notice them when you open the box and remove the major
LATHE—Mounting the Crosslide
Installation of the crosslide requires no tools. It is located
under a flap of cardboard that retains the lathe base in the
shipping box. First, make sure the bottom of the crosslide
has a light coat of grease on all the sliding surfaces. This will
have been applied at the factory, just make sure it has not been
wiped off and that it is evenly distributed.
FIGURE 6—Aligning the slide screw with the brass slide
screw insert
the leadscrew where the set screw was previously tightened.
When reinstalling the handwheel, try to have the set screw
pick up this same position on the leadscrew.
4. Slide the handwheel onto the end of the leadscrew shaft and
push until the handwheel is fully seated and the thrust collar
is clamped tightly between the handwheel and the leadscrew
collar. A 3/32" hex wrench is included with your machine to
tighten the handwheel set screw.
Digital Readout Handwheels
If you ordered your mill equipped with a digital readout,
the X-axis handwheel will again be removed to prevent
damage during shipping. The proper thrust collar has been
factory installed. If a 1/4" shim washer is required, it will be
included in this package. Place it on the leadscrew shaft before
installing the handwheel. Follow the installation instructions
included with the P/N 8100 digital readout to install the
encoder housing and handwheel unit.
5000-Series Mills—Mounting the Column
The mill is shipped attached to a piece of
plywood to keep it from moving in the box.
Before you begin, remove the screws holding
the mill base to the plywood. It was installed
strictly for packing purposes and will need
to be removed so that the column can be
The Z-axis column is mounted to the base with
two 1-3/4" long, 1/4-20 socket head screws.
These screws and the hex key tool you will
need to tighten them are packaged in the bag
with the motor mounting bracket and
drive belt. It is much easier to
mount the column to the base
before you mount the motor and
speed control to the saddle.
Set the column on the base
aligned with the mounting holes
FIGURE 7—Mounting the and hold it in position while you
5000-series mill Z-axis insert the first screw up from the
bottom of the base. Hand-turn
FIGURE 4— Lathe bed, saddle and gib
Next, see that the gib is in the proper position on the saddle.
(See Figure 4.) It is taped into position for shipping. Remove
the tape holding it in place. If the gib has come off, reposition
it on the gib lock as shown.
From the front of the lathe, engage the crosslide dovetail with
the gib and matching dovetail on the saddle. Slide it onto the
saddle about 1/4" (6-7 mm) until it stops. (See Figure 5.)
Look underneath and align the slide screw with the threads
on the brass slide screw insert on the side of the saddle. (See
Figure 6.) Turn the crosslide handwheel clockwise to engage
the threads. Continue to crank the handwheel clockwise until
the crosslide is in the desired position on the saddle.
All MILLS—X-Axis Handwheel Installation
Mills with adjustable “zero” handwheels come with the Xaxis handwheel removed to prevent damage to the leadscrew
during shipping. Reinstalling the handwheel is a simple
1. Loosen the X-axis table lock (the barrel-shaped lock on
the saddle that is tightened against the side of the mill table
with a socket head cap screw). From the end of the mill table
where the X-axis leadscrew protrudes, push on the end of the
mill table to make sure it seats tightly against the leadscrew.
2. Examine the red collar on the handwheel to see that the
small hole is aligned with the head of the set screw. If it is not,
loosen the black locking nut on the handwheel and rotate the
collar until you can see the head of the set screw.
3. The handwheel was installed at the factory and then
removed for shipping. You should be able to see a mark on
the first screw part way in, and then start the second screw.
This can be done with the machine upright by letting the base
hang over the edge of your table or bench just far enough to
expose the first hole. Using the large 3/16" hex key provided,
snug up both screws lightly first, and then tighten evenly.
2000-SERIES MILLS—Assembling and Mounting
the Multi-Direction Column
To assemble the multi-direction column, make reference to
the exploded view on pages 43 and 44 of these instructions
and complete the steps that follow:
1. Attach the round column base (P/N 56700) to the mill base
with the two 1/4-20 x 1-1/2" socket head cap screws.
2. Screw the arm hold-down bolt (P/N 56130) into the top of
the round column base and tighten with an adjustable wrench
using the two flat indentations on the shaft.
3. Slip the round column top (P/N 56550) over the pin and
rotate it until the flat sides are parallel to the mill base and
the engraved degree lines are on the same side as the X-axis
4. Using an 11/16" or a 17 mm wrench, loosen the flange
nut holding the bed and swing arm together. Rotate the bed
away from the swing arm until they are at approximately a 90°
angle to each other. Retighten the flange nut firmly to hold the
column in this position. Discard the protective wood spacer
that was installed between the bed and arm during shipping.
5. Set the swing arm over the column and align it
approximately square with the mill base and in about the
center of its travel. Make sure the swing arm registers on
the flats of the column top and is properly seated. While still
holding the swing arm unit in place, set the hold-down washer
(P/N 56200) over the end of the bolt. Put a flange nut on the
end of the bolt and tighten it against the hold-down washer
firmly to lock the swing arm in place. NOTE: There should
be NO lubrication on the mating surfaces between the arm
and the column base. Friction between these surfaces keeps
the arm from moving during cuts.
6. Place the column adjustment block (P/N 56350) on top
of the swing arm and attach it with two 10-32 x 5/8" socket
head cap screws at both ends. Adjust the 1" long center bolt
so that it is just touching the flat in the bottom of the relieved
section in the top of the pivot knuckle when the column is in
the 90° position.
NOTE: If you remove the column adjustment block to
accommodate a backward tilt movement of the column,
make sure you replace it when returning the column to an
upright position. It not only serves as a reference point when
returning the column to the 90° position, it also keeps it from
accidentally swinging down and damaging the table if the
flange nut is loosened.
7. Slip the alignment key into its keyway in the mill saddle.
Place the assembled headstock/motor/speed control unit
(See next section) over the pin on the mill saddle and over
the alignment key. Tighten the set screw in the side of the
headstock to hold the entire unit in place. Recheck to be sure
you have tightened the flange nut on the shouldered bolt pivot
pin (56210) securely so that all the weight of the column is
not resting on the column adjustment block bolt.
FIGURE 8—The assembled power unit.
Mounting the Motor and Speed Control Unit
to the Headstock
(Refer to Figure 13 and the exploded views and number list
on pages 40 through 45 for part number references.)
In order to keep shipping costs and damage to a minimum,
all new Sherline machines are shipped with the motor and
speed control disassembled. The same power unit assembly
is used on all Sherline lathes or mills, so these instructions
apply to all machines.
FIGURE 9—Components ready for assembly.
Assembly Procedure
Gather all the needed components as shown in Figure 9 above.
Assemble them as follows:
1. Using the small hex key, remove the motor pulley from
the motor shaft by loosening its set screw. Place the inner
belt guard against the motor and secure it using the two hex
aluminum standoffs (P/N 43100). There are four threaded
holes in the motor. Use the pair that aligns with the brush
housings so the cord to the speed control housing points
downward as shown. (See Figure 10.) Reinstall the motor
pulley (P/N 43360) to the motor shaft and tighten the set screw,
making sure it engages the flat on the motor shaft. The end of
the pulley should be even with the end of the motor shaft with
the smaller pulley toward the outer end of the shaft.
2. Place the drive belt over motor pulley. (See Figure 10 on
next page.)
3. Make sure the drive belt is routed properly. Then set the
outer belt guard in place on the inner belt guard, locating the
holes in outer belt guard over the ends of the motor standoffs.
FIGURE 10—Place belt over motor pulley.
Press the two nuts into the hex shaped depressions in the rear
of the inner belt guard and secure the outer cover with two
1-3/8" pan head screws through the covers and into the nuts.
FIGURE 13—DC motor and speed control assembly.
the other pin so the cover pivots on these pins. The plastic
is flexible enough so that you can do this easily and it will
spring back into position.
5. Attach the motor mounting bracket to the rear of the
headstock with two 10-32 x 7/16" socket head screws. These
screws are shipped threaded into the headstock rather than in
the parts bag. There is enough “play” in the mounting holes
to allow the motor to be adjusted so it is parallel with the
spindle axis. (NOTE: If a chip guard is to be mounted, its
attachment screw replaces one of these mounting screws. It
can be mounted at this time or after the headstock is in place.
See instructions that come with the chip guard.)
6. Place the drive belt over the spindle pulley and insert the
two 10-32 x 3/4" socket head screws (with 2 washers on each)
through the motor mount slot and into holes in the ends of the
motor standoffs which are exposed through locating holes in
the outer belt guard. The normal operating position for the
drive belt is on the large diameter groove on the motor pulley
and the small diameter groove on the spindle pulley. Use of
the other (high torque) position is discussed elsewhere in the
instruction manual.
FIGURE 11—Attach outer belt guard.
4. On top of one end of the two belt guard halves you will
see two “ears” with holes in them. These are where the speed
control housing pivots. On the plate on the bottom of the
speed control housing are two pins that go into these holes.
Put the pin closest to the motor in place, then bend the other
“ear” away from the motor far enough that you can engage
FIGURE 12—Insert "ears" of speed control housing into
holes in belt guard tabs.
FIGURE 14—Attach motor to motor bracket.
7. Temporarily tighten the two motor mount screws. Pivot
the speed control unit up and out of the way to check the
alignment of the drive belt. It should be perpendicular to the
drive pulleys. If not, loosen the set screw on the motor pulley
and adjust it in or out on its shaft until the drive belt is square
with the motor.
8. Loosen the two motor mounting screws and push the motor
away from the headstock to adjust tension in the drive belt.
Tighten the mounting screws once again to hold the motor/
speed control unit in place. (NOTE: Do not over-tension the
drive belt. Just make sure it has enough tension to drive the
spindle pulley without slipping under normal load. By not
over-tightening the belt you will not only extend its life, but
will also provide a margin of safety for belt slippage should
a tool jam in a part or an accident occur. The belt must be
a little tighter when used in the high torque pulley range
because small diameter pulleys are not as efficient.)
9. Set the cover mounting plate into the top of the belt guard
housing so it rests on the rails molded onto the inside surfaces
of the housing. (The pressed-in nut in the mounting plate
goes down and toward the outside.) Slide the plate toward
the outside (toward the spindle pulley) until it stops. (NOTE:
The mounting plate is removable to allow easy changing of
the drive belt position.)
Mounting the Headstock to the Lathe or Mill
You may notice that the post onto which the headstock mounts
is a loose fit where it projects from the lathe bed or column
saddle. This is normal, and the diagram in Figure 16 will help
you understand how it works.
The screw in the front center of the headstock has a cone
point. The pivot pin has a tapered slot with a corresponding
angle. When the screw is tightened, its angled face engages the
groove, and, because the pivot pin can not come up, it draws
the headstock down into position, clamping it into place. If
the pin were rigid, it could keep the headstock from pulling
down squarely on the alignment key.
The headstock is aligned with the lathe bed or column saddle
by means of a precision ground key that fits into keyways
in both parts. It is not square in cross section so it will fit in
only one direction. Push the headstock firmly against it as
you tighten the hold-down screw. The mill column saddle has
two keyways milled into it so the headstock can be mounted
in conventional fashion or at a 90° angle for horizontal
FIGURE 16—A cross-section of the headstock showing the
pointed locking screw.
FIGURE 15—Insert mounting plate between belt guard
halves and secure speed control housing to nut in plate.
10. Rotate the speed control housing down into place and
insert the single 10-32 x 1/2" socket head screw through
the hole in the speed control housing and into the nut in the
mounting plate. Tighten it enough to hold the housing in
place, but do not over-tighten.
11. Make sure the power switch is in the “OFF” position
and the speed control knob is dialed all the way counterclockwise to the lowest speed position. Plug in the motor,
turn the On/Off switch to the “ON” position and slowly turn
the speed control knob clockwise until the spindle starts to
turn. Listen and watch the belt to make sure it is not rubbing
on the belt guard or mounting tab near where it exits the belt
guard. If it is, you may need to file off a little plastic until the
belt does not rub. Turn the On/Off switch to “OFF”, unplug
the motor. Headstock unit is now ready to install on a lathe
or milling machine.
FIGURE 17—Headstock and alignment key in position over
CAUTION! Always make sure the key, slot and mating surfaces
are free from dirt and chips before locking down the headstock.
NOTE: Alignment keys are custom fitted to each machine. If
you have more than one component that uses an alignment key,
try to keep the key with the slot it was originally fitted to.
Removing the headstock alignment key permits the headstock
to be mounted in positions other than square. This allows you
to mill parts at an angle or turn tapers on the lathe. When
using the lathe or mill without the alignment key, keep cutting
loads light.
Operation of the Motor and Electronic Speed Control
The motor is supplied with current from an electronic speed
control that produces a comprehensive range of speeds
suitable for all operations. Special circuitry designed into
the DC motor speed control automatically compensates for
speed changes due to increased load. If the spindle RPM drops
noticeably when cutting, you are taking too heavy a cut. The
speed range of the spindle using the speed control is from 70
to 2800 RPM in the normal belt position. This is achieved
without the inconvenience of belt or gear ratio changes as is
the case with other designs. A second belt position is offered
as an additional feature to provide extra torque at low RPM
for larger diameter parts should your job require it.
To operate the motor, turn the speed control knob
counterclockwise as far as it will go Then turn the toggle
switch to “ON” and select the desired speed by turning the
speed control knob clockwise.
The Advantages of Sherline's DC Motor
and Electronic Speed Control
Sherline’s 90-volt DC motor is very smooth and powerful,
particularly at low RPM. The specially designed electronics
package also provides some unique advantages in addition
to smooth speed control and a broad speed range. A special
circuit compensates for load, helping to keep RPM constant.
The machines can also be used on any electrical current
worldwide from 100 to 240 VAC, 50 or 60 Hz without further
adjustment other than seeing that the proper wall plug is used.
The control reads the incoming AC current and automatically
adjusts to output the proper DC current to the motor.
Motors are Pre-tested at the Factory
Your new motor should run smoothly the first time you use it,
as it has been “run in” for about an hour before being shipped
to you. Despite our secure packaging, there have been cases
where extremely rough handling by a shipper has damaged the
magnets in the motor. If the motor does not run when plugged
in, turn the motor by hand. If it does not turn smoothly, it may
have been damaged in shipment. Call Sherline for instructions
on making a damage claim with the shipper. Do not attempt
to repair the motor yourself.
CAUTION—Motor is Thermally Protected
Thermal protection means there is a built-in circuit breaker
that will shut off the motor if it gets too hot. This keeps the
motor from burning out. The breaker will automatically reset
as soon as the motor cools, and you can go back to cutting,
but you should be aware of how it works and what to do if the
machine suddenly shuts itself off. If your motor is shutting
down from overheating on a regular basis, it means you are
taking cuts that are too heavy or operating at too high an RPM
for long periods. Slow your speed down, reduce your cut or
feed rate, and you should have no further problems.
Due to the nature of miniature machining, overloading the
machine is a common problem. It is often tempting to try to
speed up the process by working faster. Keep in mind this is a
small machine, and work with patience and precision—don’t
be in a hurry. Your parts will come out better, and your
machine will last much longer if it is not overstressed.
What to do if the Motor Suddenly Shuts Down
If your thermal protection circuit shuts down the motor while
work is in progress, immediately shut off the power switch
and then back the tool out of the work. It should only take 10
seconds or less for the circuit breaker to reset. Then you can
turn the motor on and start the cut again, this time putting a
little less stress on the motor. If you leave the tool engaged
in the part and the power on, when the circuit breaker kicks
back on, the motor must start under load. This can be very
hard on your motor.
Remember that the circuit breaker turns the speed control off,
which turns off the motor. If power were to be applied to the
speed control with the motor disconnected, it could damage
the speed control.
Thermal protection is built into your motor to insure it is not
damaged by overloading. Use good common sense when
operating the motor for years of trouble-free operation.
Replacing Brushes on a DC Motor
Since 2002, Sherline has used DC motors with externally
replaceable brushes. The brushes are removed by using a
large, flat-bladed screwdriver to unscrew the brush covers
which are located in round bosses on the sides of the motor
near the rear. New brushes and springs are inserted and the
covers replaced. Brushes should be replaced if they are
chipped, worn unevenly or if they are less than 1/4" long.
DC motors supplied before 2002 utilize a different brush
replacement procedure. If you have the older style internal
brushes, instructions for changing them can be found at www. or .pdf.
Mounting the Lathe or Mill to a Board for Stability
Mounting the lathe to a board is necessary because of the
narrow base. This keeps the machine from tipping. We
The overall sizes are based on standard
laminated shelf material. You may adjust
them to fit the material available to you.
The mill mounting boards will have to
be cut to length as shelf material is not
normally available in lengths that short.
(12” Base)
(10” Base)
1.5” (5000)
.75” (5400)
10” x 12”
FIGURE 18—Plans for mounting board hole patterns.
Confirm actual dimensions from your lathe or mill before
CAUTION! Check the Tightness of all Bolts—Vibration in shipping can cause some bolts or screws to loosen up. Before using
your new machine, check the tightness of all fasteners. It is also a good idea to check tightness periodically when using the
machine, as vibration from operation may cause some fasteners to loosen up.
FIGURE 19—Machines mounted to a
base board for stability.
FIGURE 20—The two pulley positions. Position A is the
conventional setting, position B offers more torque at low
RPM when turning large diameter parts.
larger motor pulley and smaller headstock pulley, will suffice
for most of your machining work. Moving the belt to the other
position (smaller motor pulley, larger headstock pulley) will
provide additional torque at lower RPM. It is particularly
useful when turning larger diameter parts with the optional
riser block in place. To change the pulley position, remove the
speed control hold-down screw and pivot the speed control
housing up out of the way. Remove the mounting plate from
its position on the rails of the two halves of the belt guard
housing. Loosen the two nuts that hold the motor to the motor
mounting bracket and take the tension off the belt. With your
finger, push the belt off the larger diameter groove of the
pulley and into the smaller one. (Depending on which way
you are changing it, this could be either the motor or spindle
pulley.) Then move the belt to the larger diameter groove on
the other pulley, and rotate the headstock by hand to get it to
seat. Push the motor outward on the motor mounting bracket
to put the proper tension on the belt, and retighten the two
motor mounting screws. Now you can replace the mounting
plate, pivot the speed control back down, and refasten it.
Moving the belt back to the other position is simply a reverse
of the above procedure.
Spindle Preload Adjustment
If any end play develops in the main spindle, it can be easily
eliminated by re-adjusting the preload nut. (See part number
40160 in the exploded view.) When the headstock is assembled
at the factory, the preload nut is adjusted to .0002" (.005
mm) of end play. This is controlled by the outer races of the
bearing being held apart by the headstock case and the inner
races being pulled together by the preload nut. This setting
was determined through experience, and, like everything in
engineering, it is a compromise. If the machine is only to
be run at high-speed, this setting may be too “tight.” The
headstock will run fairly warm to the touch normally, but
extended periods of high speed operation may bring about
excessive temperature. The headstock should not become
too hot to touch. If this is your case, the preload tension may
need to be reduced slightly.
To change the adjustment, remove the spindle pulley, loosen
the set screw in the preload nut and back the preload nut off
4° of rotation (counter-clockwise). The bearings are lightly
pressed into the case, so the inner race will not move without a
sharp tap with a plastic mallet to the end of the spindle where
the pulley is attached.
If you find your bearings are set too loose, you may want to
take up on the end play. You can check them with an indicator
or by spinning the spindle without the motor belt engaged. If
the spindle spins freely with a chuck or faceplate on it, it is
too loose for normal work. Adjust the preload nut until it turns
only about one and a half revolutions when spun by hand.
recommend mounting the lathe on a piece of pre-finished shelf
material, which is readily available at most hardware stores.
(See Figure 18 for sizes.) The machine can be secured to the
board using four 10-32 screws with washers and nuts. Lengths
should be 1-1/2" for short bed lathes and 1-7/8" for long bed
lathes. Rubber feet should be attached at each corner on the
bottom of the mounting boards. They are also readily available
in hardware stores. This arrangement gives the machines a
stable platform for operation yet still allows for easy storage.
The rubber feet help minimize the noise and vibration from
the motor. Mounting the tool directly to the workbench can
cause vibration of the bench itself, which acts as a “speaker”
and actually amplifies the motor noise. Bench mounting also
eliminates one of the best features of Sherline machines...the
ability to be easily put away for storage.
The mill may be mounted in a similar manner on a 10" x 12"
to 12" x 24" pre-finished shelf board with rubber feet using
10-32 x 1" screws to attach the mill to the board. You may want
to drill clearance holes through the mill base board to access
the column screws so the column can later be removed from
the mill without removing the mill base from the mounting
REMEMBER: Do not lift your machine by the motor!
Carry the machine by lifting under the base or by the mounting
board. The cast motor bracket was not designed for lifting.
To keep your Sherline tools clean, soft plastic dust covers
are available. The lathe cover is P/N 4150 for the Model
4000/4100 and 4500/4530 short bed lathes and P/N 4151
for the Model 4400/4410 long bed lathe. A mill dust cover is
available as P/N 5150 for 5000-series mills and P/N 5151 for
2000-series 8-direction mills.
Converting Machines from Inch to Metric and Vice Versa
All Sherline tools and accessories are manufactured in your
choice of inch or metric calibrations. Converting a lathe or
mill from one measurement system to the other is possible, but
it takes more than changing the handwheels. The leadscrews,
nuts and inserts must also be changed. A look at the exploded
views of the machines on pages 40 through 45 will show which
parts need to be purchased. (Look for parts that have both a
metric and inch version in the parts listing.) Conversion kits
with all the necessary parts are available. If you are a good
mechanic, you can do the conversion yourself, or you can
return your machine to the factory for conversion.
The normal pulley position, which is placing the belt on the
Want to see some projects built by other Sherline
machinists? Visit
Adjusting the gibs
Gib Adjustment
(Lathe and Mill)
(See Figure 21.)
Tapered gibs are
fitted to the mill
headstock, saddle
and table and to the
lathe saddle and
crosslide. Correct
adjustment of the gibs will ensure smooth and steady
operation of the slides. The gib is effectively a taper with an
angle corresponding to the one machined into the saddle. It
is held in place by an “L” wire gib lock that is secured with
a locking screw. It is adjusted by loosening the gib locking
screw and pushing the tapered gib inward until “play” is
removed. After adjusting, retighten the locking screw. Milling
operations require a tighter adjustment of the gibs than lathe
FIGURE 22—Mill Backlash Adjustment
(NOTE: Older mills use a “pointer” type lock instead of
the star gear.)
Backlash Adjustment (Lathe and Mill)
Backlash is the amount the handwheel can be turned before
the slide starts to move when changing directions. This is a
fact of life on any machine tool, and on machines of this type
it should be about .003" to .005" (.08 mm to .12 mm).
Backlash must be allowed for by feeding in one direction only.
Example: You are turning a bar to .600" diameter. The bar
now measures .622" which requires a cut of .011" to bring it
to a finished diameter of .600". If the user inadvertently turns
the handwheel .012" instead of .011", he couldn’t reverse
the handwheel just .001" to correct the error. The handwheel
would have to be reversed for an amount greater than the
backlash in the feed screw before resetting the handwheel to
its proper position.
Backlash on the X- and Y-axes of the mill may be reduced to
a minimum by adjustment on the anti-backlash nuts. These
nuts are located on the handwheel ends of the mill saddle. The
nuts are secured by button head screws that hold a star gear
that interlocks with teeth on the nut.
To adjust backlash, simply loosen the button head screw that
locks the star gear. Rotate the anti-backlash nut clockwise
on the X-axis or counter-clockwise on the Y-axis until snug.
Retighten the button head screw while pushing the gear toward
the nut. With the anti-backlash nuts properly adjusted, the
leadscrews should turn smoothly and have no more than the
proper .003" to .005" of backlash.
Handwheel Adjustment (Lathe and Mill)
The handwheels are secured to their corresponding leadscrew
shafts by a small set screw in the side of the handwheel base.
Check them periodically to make sure they have not been
loosened by vibration. On the adjustable “zero” handwheels,
you must first release the rotating collar by loosening the
locking wheel. Then rotate the collar until you can see the
set screw through the small hole in the side of the collar and
adjust the screw as necessary.
If a handwheel has been removed, when reinstalling it, make
sure it is pushed up tightly against its thrust collar before
tightening the set screw. Push the appropriate table or saddle
toward the handwheel to remove any excess play before
tightening. For the mill Z-axis, lift up on the headstock to
remove play.
If excessive backlash develops at the handwheel and thrust
collar junctions, adjust by first loosening the handwheel set
screw. Index (rotate) the handwheel so the set screw tightens
on a different part of the shaft. (If you don’t, it may tend
to keep picking up the previous tightening indentation and
returning to the same spot.) Push the handwheel in tightly
while holding the saddle and retighten the handwheel set
Saddle Nut Adjustment (Lathe and Mill)
Both the lathe saddle and mill column saddle are connected
to their respective leadscrews using a similar brass saddle nut
(P/N 40170/41170 or 40177/41177). The saddle should first be
positioned at the end of its travel as close to the handwheel as
possible. A socket head cap screw attaches the saddle nut to
the saddle, while two set screws align the nut to the leadscrew.
Loosen the cap screw, bring each set screw into light contact
with the saddle nut and retighten the cap screw. If binding
occurs, readjust the set screws.
NOTE: The mill column saddle nut differs from the lathe
leadscrew saddle nut in that it includes a spring-loaded ball
that engages a detent in the saddle locking lever. See pages 18,
33 and 34 for details on use of the saddle locking lever.
Adjustment and Use of the Tailstock Gib
The brass tailstock gib should be adjusted so that it is equally
tight at both ends and slides easily on the bed dovetail when
the adjustment screw is loosened. As the brass gib wears,
any play that develops can be adjusted out by loosening the
two set screws, readjusting the two button head screws and
then relocking the set screws. To lock the tailstock in place
on the bed, tighten the center socket head cap screw. Do not
(Note: Lathes made prior to 1999 do not have a tailstock gib
adjustment. They are locked by means of a horizontal screw
through a split in the tailstock case.)
Components of the
tailstock case and
adjustable gib.
General questions about tools or accessories? See our “Frequently asked questions” section at
an adjustable live center (P/N 1201) that can help you attain
near perfect alignment at the tailstock should your job require
it. Instructions for their use are included with each item.
Remember that unless you drill very small holes (less than
1/64") or turn a lot of long shafts, you are giving up a very
useful feature to solve a problem which can usually be
handled with a few passes of a good mill file. The inaccuracy
inherent in any drill chuck is such that perfect machine
alignment is meaningless unless you use adjustable tailstock
tool holders.
Aligning the Headstock and Tailstock on the Lathe
The versatile feature of Sherline machines that allows the
headstock to be removed or rotated for taper turning and
angle milling keeps us from being able to lock the headstock
in perfect alignment. Precision ground alignment keys
and accurate adjustment at the factory, however, make the
machines highly accurate. In standard form, alignment should
be within .003" (.08 mm). This should be more than acceptable
for most jobs you will attempt.
Only someone new to machining would talk about “perfect”
alignment. Machinists speak instead in terms of “tolerances,”
because no method of measurement is totally without error.
We believe the tolerances of your machine are close enough
for the work for which it was intended; however, for those
searching for maximum accuracy, here are some tips for
maximizing the accuracy of your machine.
Loosen the headstock, push it back evenly against the
alignment key and retighten. This will maximize the accuracy
of the factory setting. To achieve greater accuracy, you will
have to be willing to sacrifice one of the better features of your
lathe or mill; that is, its ability to turn tapers and mill angles
in such a simple manner.
HEADSTOCK—If you choose total accuracy over versatility or
need it for a particular job, proceed as follows. Remove the
headstock and clean any oil from the alignment key and slot
and from the area of contact between bed and headstock.
Replace the headstock, pushing squarely against the key
and retighten. Take a light test cut on a piece of 1/2" to 3/4"
diameter by 3" long aluminum stock held in a 3-jaw chuck.
Use a sharp-pointed tool to keep cutting loads low so as not
to cause any deflection of the part. Measure the diameter of
both machined ends. If there is a difference, the headstock
is not perfectly square. Now, without removing the key, tap
the headstock on the left front side (pulley end) if the part is
larger at the outer end. Tap on the right front side (chuck end)
if the part is larger at the inner end.) You are trying to rotate
the headstock ever so slightly when viewed from the top until
the machine cuts as straight as you can measure. There should
be enough movement available without removing the key, as
its factory placement is quite accurate.
Take another test cut and remeasure. Repeat this procedure
until you have achieved the level of perfection you seek. Then
stand the lathe on end with the alignment key pointing upward
and put a few drops of LocTite™ on the joint between key
and headstock. Capillary action will draw the sealant in, and
when it hardens, the key will be locked in place. We prefer this
method to “pinning” the head with 1/8" dowel pins, because
it offers you the option to change your mind. The headstock
can be removed by prying with a screwdriver blade in the
slot between the bottom of the headstock and the lathe bed
to break the LocTite™ loose should you wish to be able to
rotate the headstock again.
TAILSTOCK—To maximize the machine’s tailstock alignment,
first make sure that there are no chips caught in the dovetail
of the bed and no chips or dents in the taper of your tailstock
center. Now put a 6" long piece between centers and take a
long, light test cut. Measurements at either end will tell you
if you need to use an adjustable tailstock tool holder in the
tailstock to achieve better tailstock alignment. We manufacture
adjustable tailstock tool holders (P/N 1202, -03, -04, -06) and
Squaring Up Your Mill
The following tips are taken from the Model 2000 mill
instructions. Though the 8-direction mill is shown in the
examples, the same procedures would be used for aligning
the 5000-series mills, or any mill for that matter.
axes of movement of
a Sherline 8-direction
mill. Table left/right
movement is referred
to as the X axis. Table
in/out movement is
the Y axis. Headstock
4 up/down movement
is referred to as the Z
axis. The headstock
can also be rotated on
its saddle on Sherline
ills (Shown as
Y m
movement #4). Four
additional column movements available on the model 2000
mill are also illustrated here as numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Determining the Level of Accuracy You Really Need
Squaring up a multi-direction mill can be a chore if you want
“perfection.” It is best to determine how accurate the setup
must be before you start. The larger a close tolerance part is
the better the setup required. An error of .001" (.025 mm)
per inch (25.4 mm) would be a very small error on a part .4"
(10 mm) long. However, a part that is 5" long would have
an error of .005". The type of machining that is going to be
performed also has a bearing on the quality of the setup. As
an example, a drilled hole doesn’t usually require the quality
of setup that would be used for a bored hole, (assuming the
hole is being bored for accuracy rather than for lack of a drill
of the proper size). The amount of work that will be done with
the setup should be considered too. If your setup is just to do
one particular job you only have to set it up close enough to
do that job. If the setup will accommodate future operations as
well, it should be adjusted to the tolerances of the most critical
job. For example, squaring up a mill and vise to work on a
number of precise parts is worth more of your attention than
setting up to drill one clearance hole in a non-critical part.
Limitations of the Production Process
Before starting you should realize that these mills are
relatively inexpensive machine tools. They have accurately
milled slides but the surfaces are not ground. To increase the
accuracy of a Sherline tool only a percentage point would
dramatically increase the price. We try to give a customer
what we consider “the most bang for the buck.”
Why Aren’t Alignment Pins Used to Square Up the Machine?
If you are a novice to machining, you probably believe a
machine should be designed so that a couple of pins could be
dropped into holes, squaring up the machine and eliminating
this whole alignment process. After all, that is the way they
do it with woodworking tools. The truth is the tolerances
that work well for wood cutting tools simply aren’t accurate
enough for most metalworking jobs. You just can’t hold the
tolerances required with “pins.” When they fit tight enough to
lock the head square to the table you can’t remove them to do
work that isn’t square. They become more of a problem than
the problem they were installed to eliminate. For example,
an alignment or assembly error of .010" in a wooden kitchen
table will never be noticed. Usually the floor it sits on is not
even flat. It would be a waste of time and effort to make it
more accurate than it has to be. On the other hand, a cylinder
that has been bored out of square with the crankshaft in an
automobile engine could wear the entire engine at an alarming
rate. The piston can go up and down over a million times in a
normal day’s use. The additional cost in fuel and shortened life
demands accuracy. Your Sherline mill should be adjusted and
aligned to the degree of accuracy demanded by the particular
job you are attempting to do.
Start by Getting the Column Close to Square with the Table
All Sherline Mills—The first place to start is to get the column
approximately square with the table using the pointers and
laser engraved scales on the machine. The first time you
set it up you will have to use a machinist’s square on the
side-to-side column rotary adjustment as the pointer will not
have been “zeroed in” yet. None of these adjustments must
be extremely precise at this point because a finger type dial
indicator will be used to make the final adjustments later.
Remove the headstock/motor/speed control unit from the
saddle. Place a machinist’s square on the table and line up the
front of the saddle to get the column approximately square
front to back. Then line up on the right side of the saddle to
get the column approximately square side to side. Reinstall
the headstock assembly.
Check for Any Built-in Error in Your Machine
All Sherline Mills—(See Figure 25.) To check the built-in error
of the machine use a dial indicator mounted in the spindle.
Move the table under spindle with the Y-axis handwheel
and note the error. This error will usually be around .001" to
.002" (.05 mm) in 3" (76 mm). (Remember, the components
are not precision ground, they are precision milled.) When
squaring the head later on this error should be accounted for.
Remember you are squaring the head and spindle to the base
of the machine where the saddle travels, not the surface of
the table itself. The head doesn’t have to be square for this
operation as long as you don’t rotate the spindle since you
are only checking for square in one direction.
Squaring Up the Column
Model 2000-Series Mills—(See Figure 26.) The next decision
to make is where the spindle is to be located. With all the
adjustments that can be made with the 8-direction mill you’ll
probably start with the spindle located near the middle of
the X/Y table movements. Something that isn’t too obvious
should be considered now. If the ram (the two-bar slide that
allows you to move the head in or out and left or right) isn’t
square with the X-axis, the rotating column calibrations will
have an error. To square up the ram, mount a dial indicator
FIGURE 25—Checking
for built in error in the
table travel along the
to the worktable and move the X-axis back and forth while
reading the left and right surfaces of the column bed near the
bottom. This only has to be done if you will be rotating the
column and want to be able to rely on the angle graduation
readings. Once set, lock the ram in place with the flange nut.
Now you can scribe a line on the column base opposite the
“zero” mark for future reference as shown in Figure 25. We
can't pre-engrave this mark at the factory. For perfect accuracy,
it must be done after each machine is aligned.
Model 5000-Series Mills—Though the column ram does
not rotate on the 5000-series mills, its squareness can still be
checked in the same manner if desired. The factory alignment
of the holes is quite accurate, but a small amount of adjustment
is available by loosening the two screws that hold the column
base to the bed and pressing the base to one side or the other
while retightening.
Squaring the Column with the X-Axis
Model 2000-Series Mills OR 5000-Series Mills with Optional
Rotary Column Attachment—(See Figure 27.) The column
should next be squared with the X-axis. This is accomplished
with an indicator mounted in the spindle. Have the four socket
head cap screws used to clamp the column rotation tight
enough to keep the column from rotating, but not so tight
that you can’t move it with a light tap from a plastic mallet
to the column bed. Because the axis that allows you to tilt the
column in and out hasn’t been squared yet you should only
read the indicator at the same Y-axis location on the worktable
that you used before. Offset the indicator at an angle in the
spindle so that when the spindle is rotated it describes about
a 2" to 3" circle on the table. Take readings at the extreme left
and right positions. Adjust the column with light taps until
there is little difference in the readings at either extreme. I
wouldn’t try to get it perfect yet, just close enough so there
isn’t a gross error.
Hint: To keep the tip of the indicator from falling into the Tslots, some machinists keep a large ball bearing on hand. The
two surfaces of a precision bearing are generally parallel. The
FIGURE 27—Squaring the left to right rotation of the
column with the X-axis.
Model 5000-Series Mills—This axis is not adjustable on the
5000-series mills, but it can be checked in the same manner.
Again, factory alignment should be quite good, but a slight
amount of adjustment can be obtained by loosening the two
screws that hold the column to the base and shimming the
column at the front or back with thin metal shim stock* as
needed. Recheck your X-axis alignment after shimming.
*Hint: Shim stock can be purchased from most tooling
supply catalogs. If you don’t have metal shim stock available,
cigarette paper or business card stock can be used as a
temporary substitute depending on thickness needed.
If the indicator reading is larger at the front of the table than
the back, that means the column must be tilted back. Say your
reading is “0” at the back and .010" (.25 mm) at the front. If
you tipped the column back until the indicator read zero at
the front, the reading at the back would not remain at “0” but
would now be a negative reading. This is caused because the
pivot point is located far enough behind the spindle so that
both front and rear measuring points are still in front of it.
Swinging the column back actually raises both points. The
front point raises more than the back point, but both do go up.
You will have to keep tilting the column back and measuring
until you get the same reading front and back. This may require
more movement than you first thought based on the difference
between the initial measurements.
Fine Tuning the Headstock Alignment
All Sherline Mills—It is time to make the final adjustments to
the rotating column, but first I’ll add a little more confusion
to your life. Remember when I said that alignment pins are
somewhat useless to line up a machine? Well, as much as
I hate to admit it, in a sense we already have one. It is the
alignment key that holds the headstock assembly square to
the column saddle, which is mounted on the column bed.
Removal of this key is what allows you to pivot the headstock
on Sherline lathes and mills. It is one of the features that make
our machines easy to use, versatile and very adaptable. It is
FIGURE 26—Squaring up the ram parallel to the Y-axis on
the 2000-series mill. The indicator can be held with a chuck
on the table or a mill vise as shown here. When square,
tighten the nut on top of the column. 5000/5400-series mills
can be adjusted slightly by loosening the two bolts that hold
the column base in place, twisting the column slightly and
retightening the bolts.
bearing is placed on the mill table centered on the spindle and
the indicator is run around the surface of the bearing race,
which provides a round, flat, parallel surface for the tip of
the indicator to run against.
Model 5000-Series Mills—This axis is not adjustable on the
5000-series mills, but it can be checked in the same manner.
Again, factory alignment should be quite good, but a slight
amount of adjustment can be obtained by loosening the four
screws that hold the column to the base and pressing the
column to one side or the other while retightening.
Squaring the Column with the Y-Axis
Model 2000-Series Mills—(See Figure 28.) Loosen the flange
nut on the horizontal pivot pin just enough so that the column
can be moved using the adjustment screw in the alignment
block but there is no slop in the assembly. The tilt is harder
to set because the spindle doesn’t rotate at the pivot point,
but once you understand this, the task becomes simpler.
This is explained in the example that follows. The alignment
block adjustment screw helps make fine adjustments in this
direction easy. With the block in place and the flange nut
loose, the entire assembly is kept from falling forward by
the adjusting screw. This block can be left in place unless
the ram is completely retracted or the column is tilted back
at an angle that interferes with the block. With the indicator
still held in the spindle, take readings parallel with the Y-axis
near the front and rear edges of the table. Raise or lower the
column with the alignment block adjusting screw until the
readings are the same front and rear. Remember the location
of the pivot point as you take these measurements and allow
for it. (See following example in next column.)
FIGURE 28—Squaring the fore and aft pivot movement of
the column with the Y-axis. (See the hint in the section on
squaring the X-axis above for a way to keep the tip of the
indicator from dropping into the T-slots.)
also another thing you have to consider when searching for
“perfect” alignment. If you have more than one key, try not
to mix them up because they are matched during assembly
to fit as closely as possible. I have found the best way to deal
with this potential problem is to push the head square against
the key before tightening the cone point screw that locks the
headstock in place. If you ever want to check alignment of the
key to the column bed, mount a dial indicator in the spindle.
Raise and lower the head while reading the vertical edge of a
precision square. (See Figure 29.) Adjust the rotating column
until there is no error as the indicator moves up and down the
square. Now read the table with the indicator. If the slot and
key are perfect there shouldn’t be any error, but in most cases
there will be a small amount. This can usually be eliminated
by taking advantage of what play does exist in the alignment
key and slot. With the cone point set screw loosened slightly,
tap the headstock with a plastic mallet to take out play in the
direction you want to go. Then retighten the set screw.
Making Final Adjustments
The rotating column and tilting adjustments can be finalized
so the indicator needle shows no movement as the spindle is
rotated, however the error we measured when checking the
table flatness could be accounted for now if need be. If the
pointer on the back of the rotary column disk doesn’t line up
with the zero mark, loosen the screw holding it in place and
reset it to indicate zero for future reference. (Model 2000 mills
and 5000-series mills with rotary column attachment only.)
Your machine is now “indicated in” and ready to use. As you
get a feel for your machine and go through this adjustment
procedure a few times, the time it takes to get good results
will decrease. Being able to accurately indicate in a mill is
one of the skills that must be developed by any machinist who
plans on making accurate parts. Though the adjustments on
larger machines may be made in slightly different ways, the
skills and procedures you learn here can be applied to other
machines as well.
FIGURE 29—Fine tuning the headstock rotation alignment
with a machinist’s square and dial indicator. The headstock
pivots on the saddle pin. Even with the alignment key in
place, slight adjustment can be made to get the headstock
perfectly square.
Using the Column Spacer Block
Model 2000-Series Mills (Standard)—In normal use the
column spacer block will not be required. However, if you are
working on a larger part or your setup requires more clearance
under the swing arm, the spacer block can be installed to raise
the column an additional two inches. (Installation will be made
easier if you first remove the headstock/motor unit to reduce
the weight of the column.) To install the spacer block, remove
the flange nut on top of the column hold-down bolt, and lift
off the hold-down washer so that the entire column top and
swing arm assembly can be lifted off of the hold-down bolt.
Screw the extension bolt onto the end of the column bolt and
tighten with an adjustable wrench. Slide the column spacer
over the bolt and reinstall the column top and swing arm
assembly. Reinstall the headstock/motor unit.
NOTE: The column spacer block (P/N 56770 + 56110) is
included as standard with the Model 2000 mill. It is optional
at extra cost on all mill column upgrades and 8-direction
vertical milling columns and upgrades.
Model 5000- and 54OO-Series Mills (Optional)—There is
now an optional column spacer block available for use with the
standard mill column. It is P/N 1300 and includes longer bolts
needed to attach the column to the base through the spacer
block. The spacer block will add 2" of additional distance
between the spindle and the table. If you simply need more
travel, there is also an optional 15" column bed (P/N 45260)
and matching leadscrew (P/N 45270/45280), allowing your
column to be converted from the standard 11" height to add
four more inches of Z-axis travel. This taller column can be
ordered as an extra cost option on all new mills.
require the use of cutting oil to prevent the chips from welding
to the tool’s point. Do not use oils with a low flash point or
a bad smell. If desired, a mixture of one part soluble oil to
six parts water may be used on steel to assist in producing
a smoother finish and reduce tool chatter when parting off.
Brass and cast iron are always turned dry. Cutting lubricants
should be cleaned off the tools after use.
Cutting oils can be purchased at an industrial supply store. In
the past it was sold only in “industrial” quantities that were too
large for home shop use; however, several industrial suppliers
now sell it in quantities small enough to be practical for the
home machinist. Do not use high sulfur pipe thread cutting
oil. It is good for hard-to-machine materials, but is so dirty to
work with we do not recommend it. We also find some of the
cutting fluids used for tapping are too smelly and unpleasant
to use for general machining.
The main purpose of using lubricants is to keep the chips from
sticking to the cutting tool. When used properly, modern highspeed tool bits are not likely to be affected by heat on the type
of work usually done on miniature machine tools.
Working with Setups that Require Extremely Low
or High Column Travel
MODEL 2000 MILLS ONLY...An upgrade to the Model 2000
mill was introduced in March, 1999. It adds 1.6" of travel to
the lower end of the Z-axis movement so that end mills can be
brought down below the surface of the table for working on
the edge of parts. This travel extension is now standard on all
Model 2000 mills. The headstock may be lowered even more
by placing the column top (P/N 56550) above the swing arm
instead of below it. Remove the flange nut, hold-down washer
and swing arm. Place the swing arm over the hold-down bolt
directly on top of the column base (P/N 56660). Place the
column top back onto the hold-down bolt upside down and
replace the hold-down washer and flange nut. Although you
cannot use the alignment lines to help square up the head, this
makes for a very strong and stable setup. In most cases the new
travel extension will make this procedure unnecessary.
Should you wish to work on extremely tall setups that combine
several holding devices (i.e., a chuck on top of a rotary table
on top of a tilting angle table) you can extend Z-axis travel
on the top end by either adding an additional spacer block to
the column or by removing the saddle travel extension and
attaching the saddle directly to the saddle nut as is done on
standard Sherline mills.
Using the Saddle Locking Lever
All Sherline Mills—Along with the travel extension, a
new saddle locking lever was installed to replace the old
saddle friction lock used prior to 2/99. This new locking
lever is standard on all non-CNC-ready mills and vertical
milling columns as of that date. This lever is located on the
Z-axis leadscrew behind the saddle. When turned to the full
clockwise position the saddle will move freely. A springloaded ball locates in a detent in the bottom of the lever to
hold it in this position. To lock the saddle in position, move
the lever to the full counterclockwise position. This locks the
lever against the saddle nut which prevents the leadscrew from
turning. The exploded views on page 42 (manual) and page
43 (CNC) show the location of the components.
Engineering Compromises
I’m always at odds with myself when I write instructions
on complicated procedures like describing the alignment
procedure for this mill. By giving you this much information
I know that I am making life easier for some customers by
answering their questions. At the same time I am probably
confusing another customer who would never have asked the
question because of the type of work that the mill or lathe is
being used for. I don’t want to create a customer who spends
all his time trying to achieve perfect alignment for work
that doesn’t require it and ends up never using the machine.
Engineering is always a compromise. I deal with this fact
with each new product that I design. While our machines
aren’t accurate enough for some customers, they are still too
expensive for others. I hope you are pleased with the new
capabilities this multi-direction mill can bring to your shop.
I think you will find the combination of features offers a very
good machining value.
Use of Cutting Oils and Lubricants
Much can be written about the use of lubricants, but they may
usually be dispensed with where production rates are not very
important. A small amount of any kind of oil applied with a
small brush will be sufficient. Aluminum and its alloys may
General Machining Terms
Two terms frequently used in machining are “feed” and “cut.”
Reference to the diagrams that follow will show what is meant
by these terms. Normal turning on a lathe, when used to
reduce the diameter of a work piece, involves advancing the
cutting tool perpendicular to the lathe bed by an appropriate
amount (depth of cut) and feeding the tool along parallel to
the lathe bed to remove material over the desired length. (See
Figure 30A.)
FIGURE 30A—Directions of Feed and Cut showing (A) Turning work between centers and (B) Facing off a work piece
In normal lathe turning, the depth of cut is set by the
crosslide handwheel, and the feed is provided by the
handwheel on the end of the bed. When facing off the end of
a work piece held in a chuck or faceplate, the depth of cut is
set by the handwheel on the end of the bed, and the feed is
provided by the crosslide handwheel. (See Figure 30B.)
FIGURE 30B—Directions
of Feed and Cut when
working with a milling
When using a mill, cut is
determined by the amount
of depth the cutter is set to
by the Z-axis handwheel.
Feed is supplied by either
or both the X- or Y-axis
handwheels depending on
the desired direction of
the cut.
What is "Tool Chatter?" To see a video demonstration of what "chatter" actually sounds like and how to cure it, see the
Sherline web site at The page contains short video clips of various materials from Delrin
to Inconel being cut on a Sherline lathe. At the bottom of the page is a link to a video demonstration of chatter.
When a tool chatters, it gets dull faster, because it must keep
cutting through the previously machined surface that has
been “work hardened” by machining. As you can imagine,
there are limits to how much you can increase feed rate, so
the answer lies in adjusting both speed and feed to achieve
the proper cut.
Proper cutting speed is the rate a particular material can be
machined without damaging the cutting edge of the tool that
is machining it. It is based on the surface speed of the material
in relation to the cutter. This speed is a function of both the
RPM of the spindle as well as the diameter of the part or
size of the cutter, because, as the part diameter or cutter size
increases, the surface moves a greater distance in a single
rotation. If you exceed this ideal speed, you can damage the
cutting tool. In the lathe and mill instructions, we give some
examples of suggested cutting speeds, but what I wanted to
get across here is that the damage isn’t a slow process. A tool
can be destroyed in just a few seconds. It isn’t a case of getting
only one hour of use instead of two. The cutting edge actually
melts. If you machine tough materials like stainless steel, you
will ruin more tools than you care to buy if you don’t pay a
lot of attention to cutting speeds. Charts showing suggested
cutting speeds for various materials are included in both the
lathe and mill sections that follow.
General Rules for Feed Rates and Cutting Speeds
Before attempting to machine any metal, please try to
remember this simple rule about machining:
“If the tool chatters,
decrease speed and increase feed.”
Understanding this simple rule can save you many hours of
grief. When the tool “chatters,” it is not cutting in a continuous
fashion. Metal likes to be machined in a way that allows the
material to come off in a continuous strip while the tool is
in contact with the metal. If the tool is not fed at a rate that
is fast enough, the tool skips along the surface, occasionally
digging in. The surface of the tool that is doing the most
cutting will find a frequency of vibration that is a product of
all the variables involved. This can cause anything from a high
pitched whine on light, high speed cuts to a resonating racket
that can rip the work out of the chuck on heavy cuts. If you
maintain the same feed rate and reduce the RPM, the feed will
increase because chip will be thicker. (If that sounds wrong
at first, think of it this way: At the same feed rate, if you cut
the RPM in half, twice as much metal must be removed with
each rotation to get to the end of the cut in the same amount
of time. The chip is twice as thick, so the feed is GREATER
at lower RPM if the feed RATE stays constant.)
Lathe Operating Instructions
of the dead center as possible. Inspect with a magnifying glass.
The tip of the tool bit may be raised or lowered by sliding a
shim* underneath it. The cutting edge must be on center or
just below center (0.004" or .01 mm maximum). Ensure that
the tool is fixed securely in position by firmly tightening the
socket head screws. Try not to have the tool cutting edge
protruding more than 3/8" (10 mm) from the tool post.
*NOTE: Thin metal shim stock is available for this purpose.
If you don’t have any metal thin enough, a single thickness of
paper business card stock will usually do the job. Do not use
more than one thickness as it will compress too much. Our
optional rocker tool post (P/N 3057) allows this adjustment
to be made without shims. It comes standard with the Model
4400/4410 long bed lathe.
Initial Test Cutting
If you have never operated a lathe before, we suggest that you
make a trial cut on a scrap of material to learn the operation of
the machine. In a 3- or 4-jaw chuck, secure a piece of round
aluminum stock approximately 3/4" (19 mm) diameter and
1-1/2" (38 mm) long. Secure the pre-sharpened 1/4" square
right-hand cutting tool supplied with the lathe in the tool post,
making sure that it is properly positioned. First, turn the speed
control all the way counter-clockwise, then turn the motor
on. Bring the speed up to approximately 1000 RPM (about
1/3 speed). To establish tool position in relation to the work,
bring the tool in slowly until it just starts to scribe a line on
the work. Crank the tool towards the tailstock until it clears
the end of the work. Advance the tool .010" (.25 mm) using
the crosslide handwheel (10 divisions on the inch handwheel
scale). Using the bed handwheel, move the tool slowly across
the work toward the headstock.
Cutting tools used on lathes are designed to remove metal
much as paper is removed from a roll. It takes a positive feed
rate to accomplish this. If the feed rate isn’t fast enough, it
Read All Operating Instructions Carefully Before
Attempting Any Machining Operations.
Leveling the Cutting Tool
Each type of turning work requires the correct tool for the job.
It is important that the cutting tool be sharp and correctly set up
in the tool post. The cutting edge of the tool should be exactly
level with the center height of the lathe. Check this by bringing
the tool tip up to the point of either the headstock center or
tailstock center. (See Figure 32A.) We also manufacture a
simple tool height adjustment gage that allows you to check
tool height at any time by measuring from the table surface.
(See Figure 32B.)
P/N 3009
NOTE: Upper position is for
tools held in extended tool
post used with riser blocks.
FIGURE 32—Leveling the tool using (A) the tip of a heador tailstock center or (B) Sherline’s tool height gage P/N
The standard Sherline tool post is designed to hold common
1/4" square tool bits which have had a few thousandths of an
inch (.1 mm) ground off the top edge for sharpening. Loosen
the hold-down bolt and slide the tool post as close to the point
would be similar to tearing an individual sheet of paper off
the roll. The results when cutting metal would be shorter tool
life, a poor finish and tool “chatter.” Chatter is a function of
rigidity, but it is controlled by speed (RPM) and feed rate.
Since you already have a piece of aluminum chucked up,
experiment with speed and feed rate. You just took a cut of
.010" (.25 mm) and probably noticed that the machine didn’t
even slow down in the slightest. Now take a 1/2 inch long cut
.050" or 1 mm deep, which is one complete revolution of the
handwheel. If you used the sharpened cutting tool that came
with your machine, it should have made the cut easily. If the
tool “squealed”, reduce the RPM a little and take another
.050" cut while feeding the tool faster. You will probably be
surprised at how easily your machine takes cuts this heavy.
Inducing Chatter and Learning How to Overcome It
To better understand what is going on, we will now purposely
try to make the machine “chatter.” Make sure the stock you
are cutting is sticking out of the chuck no more than 1 inch
(25 mm). Crank the handwheel two turns further in from the
last setting which will give you a .100" (100 thousandths of an
inch) or 2 mm cut. Set the spindle speed to about 1000 RPM
(1/3 speed) and feed the tool slowly into the material. Vary
speed and feed until you get a substantial chatter. Without
changing the depth of the cut, drop the speed to about 200
RPM and feed the tool into the work with more force. The
chatter should disappear. Once you have learned to control
chatter by adjusting speed and feed, you will be well on your
way to becoming a machinist.
Holding the Workpiece
Work can be held between centers, in 3-jaw or 4-jaw chucks,
on the faceplate or with a collet. Sometimes it is necessary to
use a chuck and center, and, if the work is spinning fast, a live
center should be used. (See Figures 33, 34 and 35.)
The dog is driven by fitting it into one of the faceplate holes.
This method of turning is ideal for bar work or turning of
steps on a bar. The tailstock center must be greased to prevent
overheating. (An optional live center—such as P/N 1191—
turning on ball bearings is the solution preferred by most
machinists.) The headstock spindle has a #1 Morse taper in the
spindle nose. The tailstock spindle has a #0 Morse taper.
Removing Tools from the Morse Taper Spindles
HEADSTOCK—Accessories held in the Morse #1 taper
of the headstock spindle can be removed with the use of a
knockout bar (not supplied) approximately 3/8" in diameter
and 6" long. The bar is inserted through the back of the spindle,
and accessories, such as centers, can be removed with a few
taps. Accessories like the drill chuck that are drawn into the
spindle taper with a drawbolt are removed by loosening the
drawbolt a few turns and then giving the head of the bolt a
sharp tap with a mallet to break the taper loose. Supporting
the headstock by lowering it onto a block of wood extending
FIGURE 34—Holding a square work piece in a 4-jaw
FIGURE 33—Holding a round work piece in a 3-jaw
Turning Between Centers
This is done by fitting the dog to the work which is to be
turned and placing the work and dog between the centers in
the headstock and tailstock. The maximum diameter that can
be held with the dog is 5/8" (15 mm). (See Figure 35.)
Grease tailstock center to
prevent overheating or use a
"Live center."
FIGURE 35—Turning between centers with a faceplate and
drive dog.
to the table on the mill will keep from knocking the column
out of alignment.
TAILSTOCK—The tailstock spindle does not have a through
hole and a drawbolt is not used. It is equipped with a Morse
#0 taper, and accessories such as drill chucks and centers
can be removed by turning the handwheel counter-clockwise
until the back of the taper hits the inside of the spindle and
the accessory is ejected.
FIGURE 37—Headstock drilling. The drill turns in the headstock spindle while the work is held stationary.
Headstock Drilling
The drill chuck comes fitted with a #0 Morse arbor that fits
in the tailstock spindle. To use it in the headstock, you will
need to first change to the #1 Morse arbor that is included
with your chuck. To change arbors, put the drill chuck key in
its hole to give you better purchase to grip the chuck while
using a wrench to remove the #0 arbor. Replace it with the
larger #1 arbor. Put the drill chuck in the headstock. Then put
the drawbolt with its washer through the spindle hole from
the other end of the headstock and tighten the drawbolt. DO
NOT OVERTIGHTEN! (See Figure 37.)
Twist drills will generally not drill perfectly accurate sizes,
and very small boring tools are not satisfactory in deep holes
because of their flexibility. Therefore, reaming is used for
holes requiring accuracy within .0005" (.013 mm). Reamers
are available in any standard size, but they are rather expensive
and are generally not purchased to do one-of-a-kind type work.
Use them only when a boring tool cannot be used because
of the depth or size of the hole. Because of their length, they
cannot always be used on a small lathe.
Reamers are used only to “clean up” a hole. To make an
accurate hole, the work is drilled approximately .010" (.25
mm) smaller than the reamer size. The work should be slowly
rotated and the reamer slowly fed into the hole while applying
plenty of cutting oil. The reamer should be frequently removed
and cleared of chips. Never rotate a reamer backwards in the
work as this can dull the cutting edges.
Faceplate Turning
The faceplate has three slots that allow work to be bolted to
its surface. Flat work can be screwed directly to the faceplate.
Extra holes can be drilled to suit odd shaped work unsuitable
for a chuck. If the work is mounted off-center, be sure to
counterbalance the faceplate and use very low RPM. Don’t
hesitate to drill holes in or modify the faceplate as needed
to do a particular job. That’s what they are for. They are
inexpensive and you can have several on hand modified for
special jobs.
Taper Turning
On some lathes, a taper is cut by offsetting the tailstock. On
the Sherline lathe, taper turning is done by removing the
headstock key and turning the headstock to any angle away
from dead center. To rotate the headstock, the alignment key
must first be removed. Loosen the set screw in the front of
the headstock, and lift the headstock and motor unit off the
locating pin. Tap the alignment key out of its slot on the bottom
FIGURE 36—Tailstock center drilling. The work turns while
the drill is held stationary in the tailstock.
Center Drilling
Because the work turns and the drill does not on a lathe, it is
necessary to use a center drill before a standard drill can be
used. Due to the flexibility of a standard drill bit, it will tend
to wander on the surface of the rotating work, whereas a center
drill is designed to seek the center and begin drilling. The 60°
point of the center drill makes a properly shaped index hole
for the tip of a live or dead center. It also provides an accurate
starting point for a standard drill. Cutting oil is recommended
for all drilling operations. A center drill should be withdrawn,
cleared of chips and oiled several times during the drilling of
a hole to keep the small tip from breaking off.
For more information, see the chart of commonly available
center drill sizes on page 36.
Tailstock Drilling
Hold the work in a 3- or 4-jaw chuck. If the work is longer
than approximately 3" (76 mm), support the free end with
a steady rest. Seat the drill chuck’s #0 Morse arbor into the
tailstock spindle and secure a center drill in the chuck. Adjust
the tailstock to bring the center drill close to the work and
lock it in position. Turn the tailstock handwheel to bring the
center drill forward. After the hole is started with the center
drill, switch to a standard drill bit of the desired size to drill
the hole. (See page 35 for more on drilling holes.)
The easiest way to center drill the end of a round shaft that has
a diameter too large to be put through the spindle is to support
it with a steady rest (P/N 1074) while the end is being drilled.
If this isn’t possible, find the center with a centering square,
prick punch a mark and center drill by hand. (See page 26 for
a photo of a steady rest.)
(P/N 1200)
*These shapes are available in high speed steel tool set, P/N 3007.
**The 60° threading tool is included as part of the carbide tool set, P/N 3006
and also comes with the thread cutting attachment (P/N 3100.)
***The parting tool comes with the cutoff tool holder, P/N 3002. Other
shapes are custom ground to accomplish special purposes as needed.
FIGURE 38—Turning a taper with the headstock slightly
FIGURE 40—Cutting tool shapes
Do not grind the top face of the tools, but confine sharpening
to the end and/or sides except form tools which are ground
on the top surface. Remember that heavy cuts and rapid feed
will cause greater strain on the chuck and lathe. This may
induce “spring” or binding of work and tools that can produce
a poor finish.
NOTE: Because of the importance of a sharp and properly
ground tool to the cutting process, Sherline has prepared a
special instruction sheet on Grinding Your Own Lathe Tools.
There are a few tips that can make the process a simple one.
The instructions are included with each lathe and with cutting
tool sets when you order them from us, or you may call us and
request a copy. (Cost is $5.00 postage paid.) They are also
available from our web site at no cost. (See www.sherline.
com/grinding.htm.) Unfortunately, space does not permit us
to reprint them as part of this booklet.
Cutting tools are ground to various shapes according to their
usage. Tools are usually ground to shape as needed by the
operator. Some standard tools are described below:
Normal Turning Tool—or RIGHT-hand tool feeds from right
to left, is used to reduce work to the desired diameter and is
the most frequently used of all tools.
Side Tools—These are used to face off the ends of shoulders
and may also be used as normal turning tools. Note that a tool
that is fed from left to right and has its cutting edge on the right
is called a LEFT-hand side tool because the chip comes off to
the left. Cutting tools are named based on which direction the
chip comes off, not which side has the cutting face.
Parting Tool—The conventional parting tool or cutoff tool
is shaped like a dovetail when viewed from above and is
used to cut off work pieces by feeding the end of the tool
across the lathe bed and through the work piece. The Sherline
parting tool instead uses a thin .040" (1 mm) blade that has a
slightly thicker ridge at the top to accomplish the same job of
providing clearance for the tool while cutting. Parting tools
thicker than .040" (1 mm) will be too thick for use on your
Sherline lathe.
Boring Tool—A boring tool is used in the tool post on a lathe
or in an offsettable boring head on a mill to enlarge holes in
a work piece. (See Figures 41 [lathe] and 58 [mill].)
FIGURE 39—Long, shallow tapers can be cut in a continuous
pass by pivoting the headstock to the proper offset while
supporting the other end with the tailstock. The work is driven
by using a drive dog in the faceplate. The dog acts like a
“universal joint” as the drive pin slides in the faceplate slot.
A dead center is used here in the tailstock but an optional live
center could also be used.
of the headstock, and replace the headstock unit on the pin.
While pressing down on the headstock, rotate it to the angle
you desire by referring to the angle scale on the bed. The base
is calibrated in 5° increments up to 45° on either side of center.
When set to the proper angle, retighten the set screw against
the pin to lock the headstock into position. Tapers can also
be cut without turning the headstock by using a compound
slide (P/N 1270).
Short work can be inserted in a 3- or 4-jaw chuck and turned
as shown in Figure 38. If the headstock is angled towards the
lathe front, the taper will be cut smaller at the right. Tapered
holes can also be bored in work held in the 3- or 4- jaw chuck.
To machine a taper on longer stock, center drill both ends of
the bar, set the headstock angle and mount the part between
centers using a faceplate and drive dog. (See Figure 39.)
Tool Shapes and Grinding Your Own Cutting Tools
The shaping of cutting tools to suitable angles for the type
of material and nature of work being performed can be very
important to satisfactory work. When tools become dull,
gently re-grind and preserve the original angles and shapes.
FIGURE 43—Arrows show direction of tool feed in all
handy feature normally found only on larger, more expensive
machine tools. New tools may be ordered with them already
installed, and existing tools can be retrofitted with them on
any axis.
The second feed is now commenced, stopping at the same
reading on the leadscrew handwheel as before. This procedure
enables turning to accurate length.
Repeat the procedure until the work has been reduced to within
about .010" (0.25 mm) of desired diameter, noting that each
.015" (0.4 mm) increase in depth of cut will reduce the work
diameter by twice this amount; that is, .030" (0.8 mm). For
the finishing pass, advance the tool by the required amount
and feed along the work just far enough to gage the finished
diameter. Adjust depth of cut if necessary and complete the
final pass using a SLOW feed to obtain a smooth finish and
exact size.
Using the Cutoff or Parting Tool
(See Figure 44.) After completing a part in the lathe,
it is frequently necessary to separate the part from the
excess material used for chucking. This operation is best
accomplished with the use of a cutoff tool or “parting tool”
as it is sometimes called. The Sherline cutoff tool and holder
utilizes a very slender, high-speed tool steel cutting blade
mounted in a special tool holder. The thinness of the blade
(.040") enables it to feed into the part quite easily and at the
same time minimizes the amount of waste material. A word
of caution: Never use a parting tool on a part mounted
between centers. The part may bind on the cutter, resulting
in a scrapped part or a broken cutting tool.
Always try to lay work out so the cutoff tool is used as close
to the spindle as possible. Set blade height by sliding the blade
back and forth in the slightly angled slot in the tool holder. It
should be set so the tip is aligned with the centerline of the
part being cut. An unusual diameter may require a shim under
the front or rear of the holder to accomplish this. The tool can
also be mounted on the back side of the table by using the
rear mounting block, P/N 3016.
FIGURE 41—A boring tool in use on the lathe
FIGURE 42—Form tool and part
Form Tool—A custom contour can be
ground into a tool to produce a special
shape like a radius in a part. The width
of the cutting edge must be less than 2TOOL
1/2 times the smallest diameter. Cutting
speed must be slow to prevent chatter.
The clearances ground behind the cutting
edges indicate the type of material for which the tool may
be used and the direction in which it is fed along the work.
When grinding tool bits, correct clearances are essential or
“rubbing” can occur.
The shape shown here would be difficult to grind on a home
bench grinder; however, the same form could be achieved by
grinding two separate tools with half the needed arc on the
outside corner of each tool–a “left” and a “right.” By using
a number of simple shaped tools in sequence, complicated
forms can be generated.
Turning Tools (Left- and Right-Hand)—Reference to Figure
43 will illustrate the lateral positioning of this tool. Note the
clearance behind the point between the end of the tool and
the work. Insufficient clearance will cause the tool to “rub,”
and excessive clearance will produce a ridged or wavy finish
due to the small length of tool edge in contact with the work.
This ridging becomes more pronounced with rapid feed.
To provide a smooth finish, the sharp cutting point may be
slightly rounded with an oilstone, taking care to preserve the
side clearance underneath this corner.
This type of tool should not be advanced directly endwise
into the work. The depth of cut is set while the tool is clear
of the end of the work. The starting procedure is to advance
the tool until the point just touches the work. Note the reading
on the crosslide handwheel, withdraw the tool slightly and
move along until clear of the end of the work. Now advance
the crosslide to the above reading, add desired depth of cut and
then feed the tool along the work piece the desired distance.
Withdraw the tool clear of the work, having noted the reading
on the crosslide handwheel. Mentally note the reading on the
leadscrew handwheel, return the tool to starting position and
advance to the previous reading plus the desired cut.
NOTE: Sherline offers optional adjustable “zero” handwheels
that allow you to reset the handwheel to zero at any time...a
Always use cutting oil when using the cutoff tool. The
cut will be made much smoother, easier and cooler.
The turning speed for parting should be about one-half the
normal turning speed, and feed rate should be a little heavy
so the chip will not break up in the slot. If speed and feed are
correct, there will not be any chatter, and the chip will come
out as if it were being unrolled. Cutting oil plays a major roll
in this occurring properly.
FIGURE 44—A parting tool used to separate a part from
it’s bar stock.
If the tool chatters, first check to see if the work is being held
properly. Then decrease speed (RPM) or increase feed rate or
both. Once the blade has chattered, it leaves a serrated finish
that causes more chatter. Sometimes a serrated finish can be
eliminated by stopping the spindle, adding a liberal amount of
cutting oil, bringing the blade up so there is a slight pressure
on it without the spindle turning, and then turning the spindle
by hand or as slowly as possible with the speed control.
Very small work may be completely cut off when held in a
chuck and allowed to fall onto the crosslide. It is too small
and light to cause any damage. Hollow articles, such as
rings, may be caught on a piece of wire whose end is held in
a suitable position.
Side Tools
While these may be, and often are, used as general purpose
turning tools, their specific use is for facing the sides of collars
and shoulders; that is, finishing these to correct dimension and
with a smooth, flat surface. They are also for facing work held
on a faceplate or in a chuck. The facing of work in this manner
is very useful for the production of truly flat surfaces and for
producing articles to an exact thickness. The uses of side tools
are illustrated in Figures 40 and 43. The sharp corner at the
cutting point should not be slightly rounded, as may be done
with the normal turning tool, as knife tools may be required
to produce sharp corners.
Boring Tools
The use of this tool requires the existence of a drilled or cored
hole, or it may be used to enlarge the bore of a tube. The work
must be mounted in a chuck or on a faceplate and the boring
tool set as shown in Figure 41. Note the clearance behind the
cutting point as shown in Figure 45 below.
A slow rate of feed should
be used, as the turnings are
not able to escape freely
from the hole and can
jam the tool. Frequent
withdrawal of the tool to
allow turnings to escape
may be necessary. Care
FIGURE 45—Boring tool
should be taken not to
feed the tool beyond the
depth required or to feed so deeply as to damage the chuck
or faceplate.
Where a hole must be bored right through the work, it should
be shimmed out from the faceplate to provide clearance for the
tool to feed through. The leadscrew handwheel graduations
can be used to indicate the correct depth at which to stop the
feed. Notice that, with boring, the depth of cut is increased
by moving the tool and crosslide towards the operator and
not away as with normal turning.
The boring of holes often necessitates greater than normal
overhang of the tool from the tool post, so the depth of cut
and rate of feed should be reduced from normal.
Inserted Tip Carbide Tools
Sherline brings the home shop machinist into the space age
with cutting tools that add a new dimension to small lathes.
When working with tough metals, high-speed steel tools need
constant sharpening and have a relatively short life. Brazed
carbide tools cut great but chip easily. Inserted carbide cutting
tools are the answer and have replaced those other tools in
the modern machine shop. Carbide inserts have the ability to
consistently give good finishes and long tool life at a much
higher cutting speed. This is especially important with small
lathes, because they do not have excessive power at low
RPM. With inserted carbide tools you can cut stainless steel
at the same RPM you were formerly using to cut aluminum
with high-speed steel tools without any sacrifice in quality
in surface finish.
FIGURE 46—Carbide insert tool and tool post. The tool post
holds both 3/8" square and round tools.
These tools are more expensive than high-speed steel;
however, they are worth every penny if you have problems
grinding your own steel tools or are cutting exotic materials
like stainless steel. Sherline offers a tool post (P/N 7600) that
holds the larger 3/8" square tool shanks used to hold carbide,
ceramic or diamond inserted tips. It also has a 3/8" round
hole for boring tools.
A good starting point for an inserted tip tool is the P/N
2256 right-hand holder with a 35° offset. This holder uses
the P/N 7605 carbide insert,
which is a 55° insert good for
turning, facing and profiling. A
left-hand tool is also available
as P/N 2257, or a set of both
left- and right-hand tools is P/N
2258. Tools are also available
to hold 80° inserts, which are
slightly less versatile but offer
FIGURE 47—Negative longer tool life because of their
stronger, more square shape.
rake insert tool holder
These tools should not be used to
(P/N 7610)
FIGURE 48—The P/N 2265
negative rake ceramic insert
and 3/8" holder make it possible
to cut hardened tool steels.
Keep in mind that, apart from possible production of excessive
heat and the fact that excessive speed may damage the cutting
edge or cause it to “rub” instead of cutting, turning speeds are
not too critical. Slower than normal speeds cause no harm,
except by increasing the time involved. Aluminum, however,
usually gives a better finish turned at high speed and with the
use of lubrication (coolant).
cut hardened steels or piano wire. Materials such as those are
normally ground to shape, not cut, although ceramic inserts
can sometimes be employed to cut these materials. Abrasive
materials such as glass-reinforced plastics can be easily cut
with these tools.
Another tool available to Sherline machinists that holds
carbide inserts is the 3/8" IC 55° negative rake insert tool
holder (P/N 7610). The indexable carbide insert sits on the
tool holder at a 5° negative angle. This gives the sides of the
cutter clearance even though the insert has square sides. By
having square sides, both top and bottom of the insert can be
used as cutting edges, giving a total of four cutting edges on
each insert. Because of its design, it cuts like a positive rake
cutter, which requires less rigidity than a negative rake cutter.
It gives you the best of both worlds—the four cutting edges
of a negative rake tool along with the lower stress loading
of a positive rake cutter, which is appropriate for a lathe of
this type.
Sherline also offers a ceramic insert and holder, P/N 2265.
(See Figure 48.) The 3/8" IC negative rake ceramic indexable
holder will bring a lot of enjoyment to your machining,
particularly if you choose to turn hard materials such as tool
steel or abrasive materials like fiberglass or composites.
When searching for a mirrorlike finish on copper or aluminum,
diamond inserts are also available. Though expensive, certain
jobs can make their use desirable.
Accessories for Your Lathe
Your lathe can be made more versatile with the addition of
suitable attachments and accessories. These include various
chucks and collets, a thread-cutting attachment, vertical
milling column, knurling tool, a live center and many others.
Remember that accessories and attachments must be cared for
in the same way as the lathe. Always make sure that threads
are free from metal chips and dirt. Chucks should be lightly
oiled frequently so that they continue to function smoothly
and accurately. Gears in the thread-cutting attachment should
be lightly greased when in operation. Some attachments have
moving slides, and these should be lubricated in the same
way as the slides in your lathe. Each accessory comes with
complete instructions for its use when it is purchased.
3-Jaw, 4-Jaw and Drill Chucks
Chucks are used to hold work in the lathe. They can also be
used to function like a vise to hold a part for milling. Drill
chucks can be used in the lathe headstock or tailstock or in
the mill for drilling. Here are some of the chucks available
for your Sherline tools:
Three-Jaw Self-Centering Chucks—Three jaws
scroll in unison to grip round or hex stock
The 2.5" chuck (P/N 1041) holds from
3/32" (2 mm) up to 1-3/16" (30 mm) in
diameter. Jaws are reversible for holding
larger stock up to 2-1/4" (56 mm) in
diameter. The chuck has a .687" (17 mm) through hole and
3/4-16 spindle thread. The larger 3.1" (70 mm) diameter P/N
1040 chuck is similar but holds parts up to 2-3/4" in diameter
with the jaws reversed.
Four-Jaw Self-Centering Chucks—These scrolling
chucks hold round or square stock. The
2.5" diameter P/N 1075 version holds
from 3/32" (2 mm) up to 1-3/16" (30 mm).
With the jaws reversed, it will grip stock
up to 2-1/4" (56 mm). The jaws scroll in
unison as on the 3-jaw chuck. (NOTE:
stock held in this chuck must be perfectly round or square to
be gripped by all four jaws.) The larger 3.1" diameter version
of this chuck is P/N 1076, which can hold parts up to 2-3/4"
in diameter with the jaws reversed.
Four-Jaw (Independent) Chucks—Each jaw is
adjusted independently, allowing precise
adjustment for perfect centering or for
holding odd-shaped parts. Four-jaw
chucks take a little more time to use, but
offer much greater accuracy and versatility
than a 3-jaw chuck. Holding range is the
same as for the 2.5" and 3.1" 3-jaw chucks above. The 2.5"
4-Jaw is P/N 1044 and the 3.1" 4-Jaw is P/N 1030.
Jacobs Drill Chucks—Various size conventional Jacobs drill chucks
are fitted with a #0 Morse arbor for use in the tailstock for
center drilling parts. They also come with a #1 Morse arbor
While inserted tip carbide, ceramic and diamond cutting tools
will improve the performance of the Sherline lathe, they will
not correct poor machining technique. Rigid setups are a must
for tools such as these.
Turning Speeds
The following chart in Figure 49 provides a guide to speeds
at which work of differing materials should be rotated. Note
that the turning speed is inversely proportional to the diameter
of the work; that is, the larger the diameter, the slower the
turning speed. Material often differs in hardness, so these
figures may have to be adjusted. The harder the material, the
slower the turning speed should be.
Guide to Approximate Turning Speeds
Cut Speed
Stainless, 303
Stainless, 304
Stainless, 316
Steel, 12L14
Steel, 1018
Steel, 4130
Gray Cast Iron
Aluminum, 7075
Aluminum, 6061
Aluminum, 2024
1/4” (6mm) 1/2” (13mm) 1” (25mm)
1000 RPM
500 RPM
250 RPM
FIGURE 49—High-speed steel cutting tool turning speeds
and drawbolt for use in the headstock
on the lathe or mill. Adjustment keys
are included. Chucks available include a
5/32", 1/4" and 3/8" size.
5/32” Drill Chucks—These small chucks hold tiny drills from
size #80 up to 5/32". Because they have a #0 Jacobs taper
in the back, the adapter arbor must be pressed in, so it is not
interchangeable. P/N 1010 comes with a #1 Morse arbor and
P/N 1015 has a #0 Morse arbor. A sensitive drilling attachment
(P/N 1012) using this same chuck is available for the mill.
1/4” Drill Chucks—The 1/4" drill chuck has a threaded hole in
the back so it can accept either a #1 Morse or #0 Morse arbor.
Drills from 1/4" down to 3/32" can be held in the chuck. P/N
1072 comes with both arbors, a drawbolt and key for use on
either the lathe or the mill. P/N 3072 comes with just the #1
Morse arbor, drawbolt and key for use on the mill.
3/8” Drill Chucks—Like the 1/4" chucks, the 3/8" chuck has a
threaded hole to accept either a #1 or #0 Morse arbor. Drills
from 3/8" down to 3/32" can be held. P/N 1069 includes both
arbors, drawbolt and key, while P/N 3073 includes just the #1
Morse arbor, drawbolt and key.
Thread Cutting Attachment, P/N 3100
Common threads are most easily cut using taps and dies, but
it would be impossibly expensive to own a tap and die for
every conceivable thread size. Cutting threads on a lathe is
the traditional alternative and one of the real advantages of
owning a lathe. A lathe cuts threads by gearing the leadscrew
directly to the spindle. This is called “single pointing” a thread.
When the spindle turns, the saddle moves.
With this attachment and your lathe, you will never be stuck
without a way to come up with the right thread. Even if a tap
or die is available, you can set up and cut a thread faster than
you could get to the store and back to buy it and save yourself
some money as well!
Steady Rest, P/N 1074
A steady rest supports longer work with
three adjustable brass pads that rub on
the outside surface of the part. It keeps
long parts from deflecting away from
the tool or from wobbling while turning
and centers the end of a part for center
drilling. Along with a live center, this
is one of the first accessories most lathe
owners acquire.
Live Center, P/N 1197
The lathe comes with a "dead" (non
rotating) center for the tailstock. This is
the traditional way of supporting the free
end of long work, but a live center is more
popular for this task. On a "live" center,
the center point rotates in a ball bearing, turning with the work.
This eliminates the need for lubrication at the tailstock center
and prevents the buildup of heat from friction.
Digital Readouts, P/N 8200
Add the convenience of electronic digital readout to your
lathe. They can be ordered that way from the factory or you
can install them as an accessory later. Reads out to .0005" or
.01 mm plus a readout of spindle speed is also included. Return
the count on any axis to zero with the push of a button. No
more counting handwheel revolutions on long moves.
FIGURE 50—Sherline’s thread cutting attachment.
(Handwheel is removed for clarity.)
Digital Readout for the lathe
Sherline’s thread cutting attachment provides all the necessary
gears and support arms to cut any thread from 80 TPI down to
5 TPI. Both left-hand or right-hand threads can be cut. With
the use of a 127-tooth change gear, metric threads from .25
to 2.0 pitch can be cut on an inch machine and inch threads
can be cut on a metric machine. A large handwheel replaces
the motor and speed control to drive the spindle so that you
have total control over the thread cutting process. Though
this might sound like a step backwards, it actually is a very
practical system for cutting small threads, allowing you to
cut right up to a shoulder if need be. A carbide 60° thread
cutting tool is included, and an inside threading tool (P/N
1200) is also available as an option. Complete instructions
include a chart of the gear combinations to achieve the threads
mentioned above.
Learning About Other Accessories for Your lathe
The best place to learn about Sherline accessories is on our
web site. Instructions for their use are posted there. A complete
list of accessories with links to instructions for each can be
found at If you do not have
an Internet connection, Sherline offers a collection of printed
instructions called the Sherline Accessories Shop Guide, P/N
5327. A color catalog featuring the tools and accessories may
be requested by calling (800) 541-0735 or (760) 727-5857.
Additional Tips from Sherline Machinists
For some helpful tricks and tips when working with your
Sherline machines see
3-Jaw Chuck Operation and Maintenance
The 3-jaw self-centering chuck is the most popular of all the
accessories available for the Sherline lathe. It is available in
both 2-1/2" diameter (P/N 1041) and 3-1/8" diameter (P/N
1040). These chucks will grip round or hexagonal work
quickly, since the jaws move simultaneously to automatically
center the work being held. The jaws on the chuck are
designed so that the same chuck can be used for both internal
and external gripping. Jaws are reversible for holding larger
diameter work. Due to the nature of the design of a 3-jaw
chuck, it cannot be expected to run perfectly true. Even 3-jaw
chucks costing five times more than the one made for this
lathe will have .002" to .003" runout. If perfect accuracy is
desired in a particular operation, the use of a 4-jaw chuck is
recommended. Each jaw is adjusted independently so parts
can be centered with total precision. Both a 2-1/2" and 3-1/8"
4-jaw chuck are available for the Sherline lathe as P/N 1044
and P/N 1030 respectively.
FIGURE 52—Reversing the chuck jaws.
NOTE: Always start with position “A.”
To reverse the chuck jaws, rotate the knurled scroll until the
jaws can be removed from the chuck body. After the jaws are
removed, they can be easily identified by the location of the
teeth in relation to the end of the jaws. (See Figures 51 and
52.) To maintain chuck accuracy, the 2nd jaw must always be
inserted in the same slot even when the jaws are reversed. This
slot is identified by the laser engraved letter “B” next to the
slot. Always insert the jaws in the order and location shown on
the drawings. Turn the scroll counter-clockwise when viewed
from the face of the chuck until the outside start of the scroll
thread is just ready to pass the slot for the first jaw. Slide the
first jaw as far as possible into the slot. Turn the scroll until
the first jaw is engaged.
Due to the close tolerances between the slot and jaw, the most
difficult part in replacing the jaws is engaging the scroll thread
and first jaw tooth without binding. Therefore, never use force
when replacing the jaws, and, if binding occurs, back up the
scroll slightly and wiggle the jaw until it is free to move in the
slot. Advance the scroll and repeat for the second and third
jaws. The scroll thread must engage the first tooth in the first,
second and third jaws in order.
Removing a Stuck Chuck from the Spindle
Use one tommy bar in the hole in the spindle and another tommy
bar in a hole in the chuck body to achieve enough leverage
to unscrew the chuck (counter-clockwise) from the spindle
thread. If the chuck becomes stuck on the spindle thread, put
a tommy bar in the hole in the chuck body. Place a block of
wood against the tommy bar where it enters the chuck. With
a small mallet, give the block of wood a sharp tap, turning
the chuck in a counter-clockwise direction. It should not be
necessary to hold the spindle, as its inertia should be sufficient.
(Don’t hit the tommy bar anywhere other than right where it
enters the chuck or you could bend it.) This small but sharp
force at the outer edge of the chuck should break the thread
loose and the chuck can then be unscrewed by hand.
FIGURE 51—Jaw locations and identification.
NOTE: Do Not Turn the Lathe Spindle On Without Having
the Chuck Jaws Tightened on Themselves or a Part!
The acceleration of the spindle can cause the scroll to open the
chuck jaws if not tightened!
The 2-1/2" 3-jaw chuck (P/N 1041) is designed to take up to
1-3/16" (30 mm) diameter stock with the jaws in the normal
position. The 3-1/8" 3-jaw chuck (P/N 1040) is designed to
take up to 1-1/2" (38 mm) diameter stock. For larger diameter
work, reverse the jaws (See Fig. 52). To prevent permanent
damage, finished, turned or drawn stock should only be held
with this chuck. For rough castings, etc., use a 4-jaw chuck.
Do Not Overtighten the Chuck!
Use only moderate pressure with the spindle bars (P/N 40580)
Vertical Milling Machine Operation
NOTE: See pages 4 through 19 for setup, lubrication and
general machining instructions. Read Safety Rules for Power
Tools on page 3 before operating machine.
General Description
At first glance, a vertical mill looks similar to a drill press,
Read all operating instructions carefully before
attempting any machining operations.
but there are some important design differences; for example,
the mill has a spindle that can take side loads as well as end
loads and an accurate method of moving work in relation to
the spindle on all three axes. It is wise to memorize these
“X,” “Y” and “Z” axes, because, since the advent of complex
electronically controlled milling machines, these terms have
become common “shop talk,” even outside engineering
departments. Feed screws with calibrated handwheels control
movements on these three axes. The handwheel calibrations
are quite accurate and should be used whenever possible.
Angles can be machined by removing the headstock alignment
key and rotating the milling head to the appropriate angle to
the work or by holding the work at an angle to the spindle.
3 (Z-axis)
1 (X-axis)
2 (Y-axis)
FIGURE 54—Eight directions of movement of the model 2000
series milling machines.
FIGURE 54—The axes of movement for milling on a standard
3-axis vertical milling machine.
(Note: Lighter than normal cuts should be taken when the
alignment key is not in place.) The latter method must be
used for drilling on 5000/5400-series mills to keep the drill
movement parallel with the machine slide. Angle drilling can
also be accomplished without removing the alignment key
by using the optional rotary column attachment (P/N 3500).
(The Model 2000 mill is also capable of angle drilling due to
its multi-axis design.) All machine slides have an adjustable
gib to compensate for any “play” that may develop. (See
“adjusting gibs” on page 13.)
It is assumed that anyone purchasing a vertical milling
machine has had some experience working with metal cutting
tools; therefore, these instructions are somewhat limited for a
beginner. There is enough information, however, to enable a
good craftsman to get started. Using a vertical mill correctly
takes more skill and experience than is required for lathe
operation because of the additional axis (vertical) and the
more varied type of work that can be performed.
The machine must be well maintained, for it is subject to
higher stresses than a lathe. This particular mill is one of
the smallest being manufactured and is an extremely useful
tool. However, it would be unreasonable to clamp a 3-pound
piece of stainless steel to the work table and expect to make
a 1-pound part from it. The key point is to work within the
capabilities of the machine, and those limitations can only be
determined by the operator.
Helpful Tips for Milling
• This is a small, light-duty mill and should not be used to
remove large amounts of stock that could be easily removed
with a hacksaw. For efficiency, select a piece of stock as close
to finished size as possible.
• Stresses on a mill are quite high when cutting most materials;
therefore, gib and backlash adjustments must be properly
maintained. (See “Adjustments” section beginning on page
• End mills must run true and be sharp. Holding end mills
in a drill chuck is a poor practice. Use collets or an end mill
holder instead. The 3/8" end mill holder (P/N 3079) allows
you to use a large range of readily available 3/8" end mills
with your machine. (Several other size inch and metric end
mill holders are also available.)
• Fly cutting is an excellent way of removing stock from flat
• Normal machine alignment is adequate for most work, but if
the work is exceptionally large or requires extreme accuracy,
shims may be employed to improve machine alignment.
• For accurate setups you should have and know how to use
a dial indicator.
• Often, more time will be spent making fixtures to hold work
than doing the actual machining.
• To help save time on many simple setups, a good mill vise
is a must. A drill press vise is not designed for the forces
involved in milling.
• Plan ahead. Always try to have one point from which to
measure. Do not machine this point off part way through
the job. This would leave you with no way of measuring the
next operation.
• Remember the basic machining rule that says: “If the tool
chatters, reduce speed and increase feed.”
• It takes a long time to accumulate the knowledge, tools
and fixtures required for many different types of milling
operations. Do not become discouraged by starting with a job
that is too complex or by using materials that are extremely
difficult to machine.
CAUTION! Because the tool spins on a mill, hot chips can be thrown
much farther than when using a lathe. Safety glasses and proper
clothing are a must for all milling operations.
Securing the Workpiece
The first problem encountered will be holding the work
and aligning it to the machine. It is important for reasons of
safety and accuracy that the workpiece be solidly secured.
This may be the most difficult task, since once the work is
clamped in position, the method of doing the entire job has
been established. Usually, a rectangular block can be easily
held in a mill vise. Note that round stock may also be held
in a “V” shaped vise slot. Mill vises are specially designed
to pull the movable jaw downward as they tighten on it. (See
Mill Vise P/N 3551 shown on page 36 and in the Sherline
Tools and Accessories Catalog.)
Certain objects can be secured with a 4-jaw lathe chuck, which
is, in turn, clamped to the machine. Some irregular shapes
such as castings may present greater difficulties. Often they
may be clamped directly to the table. Very small or irregular
shapes can be secured by epoxying them to a second, more
easily held piece of material. They are broken loose after
machining. A mill tooling plate (P/N 3560) is a very useful
fixture for holding parts. It has a number of holes predrilled
for holding clamps, and additional holes can be drilled and
tapped as needed. It also provides additional stiffness and
protection for your mill table.
Locking the Axes
To keep the table from moving in a particular direction during
an operation, there is a lock available on each axis. To lock
the X-axis table from moving side-to-side there is a barrel
lock on the front of the saddle. (See Figure 55.) The Saddle is
locked by means of a thumbscrew on the left side that presses
a nylon plug against the gib to pull the saddle tight against the
dovetail. The Z-axis can be locked during milling operations
by means of a brass lever that tightens against the saddle nut
on the back of the column. (See Figure 66, page 34.)
Things to Consider Before You Start Cutting
The following steps should be considered before commencing
any part:
• Is the material about to be machined best suited for the
job, and is it machinable with available cutting tools and
equipment? Work with aluminum, brass, plastic or cast iron
whenever possible. Too often a hobbyist will pick up the
first correctly-sized piece of material he finds at his local
salvage dealer thinking that, if it is rusty, it’s steel, and that
all steels are pretty much the same. Not so! Anyone who
has ever tried to machine an old automobile axle can attest
to this. If the part must be steel, grade 12L14, commonly
called “lead-loy,” is about the best material for machining.
It was developed for screw-machine use and is available in
round stock only. However, it works so well that many times
it may be advisable to machine rectangular parts from it. It
can also be case hardened. Your local screw-machine shop
will usually have scrap pieces available and may be a good
source for obtaining it.
• Avoid exotic materials, such as stainless steel, unless
absolutely necessary because of machining difficulty and
poor milling cutter life. (If each new mechanical engineer
were given a block of stainless steel to mill, drill and tap
upon his graduation, stainless steel sales would probably
drop considerably!)
• Before beginning, carefully study the part to be machined.
FIGURE 55—Large or odd shaped parts are usually clamped
to the mill table as shown here. Smaller parts can be held in
a milling vise. Here a center drill is used to accurately locate
the holes to be drilled in a clamped part.
Select the best surface from which to work (usually the
• Decide if work should be “rough cut” to size. Some materials
will warp while being machined. Close tolerance parts can be
ruined by attempting heavy machining at the end of the job
rather than at the beginning.
• The method of holding the work is also determined by the
type of machining to be performed. For instance, work that
involves only small drilling jobs does not have to be held as
securely as work to be milled.
• Lay the job out so that it can be machined with the minimum
number of setups.
• Be sure to have all needed cutting tools available before
beginning a job.
• Do not start off with a job so complex that the odds of success
are limited. Making complex machined parts requires a great
deal of intelligence, planning and skill. Skill is acquired only
through experience.
In summary, you should be aware of the fact that milling
is difficult, but not impossible. There are many more
considerations than just moving the handwheels, and you
should not start your first step until your last step has been
Purchasing Materials in Small Quantities
Commercial metal suppliers are not set up to serve the
home shop machinist. They usually have large minimum
order quantities and high “cutting charge” fees that make it
impractical to purchase small amounts from them. However,
there are now a number of suppliers that cater to the hobby
market. They have complete catalogs of the materials most
commonly used by hobbyists, and you can order as much or
as little as you need. The price per inch is somewhat higher
Not yet on line? Many public libraries offer Internet
access. Call your local branch for information.
than industrial rates, but the convenience and overall savings
make it well worth it. There are several suppliers listed on
Sherline’s web site. Your local scrap yard can also be a good
source for raw materials at good prices. Bring your own
hacksaw, and be aware that the some yards are better than
others at identifying and organizing the materials. If you are
not sure exactly what kind of metal you are getting, you could
be letting yourself in for a lot of trouble when you start cutting.
See for a list of sources for
obtaining raw material in small quantities.
Three Types of Work
There are three basic types of work that can be performed
with a vertical milling machine: milling, drilling and boring.
It would be extremely difficult to determine whether a
vertical mill or a lathe would be the most valuable machine
in a shop. Theoretically, most vertical mills are capable of
reproducing themselves with standard milling accessories
such as a rotary table and centers. This would be impossible
on a lathe without exotic modifications and attachments.
These instructions briefly describe standard vertical mill work.
Several comprehensive books are available on this subject,
and, although the machines they describe are much larger, the
principles remain the same. A good starting point is a book
we offer called Tabletop Machining. It is printed in full color
and is available through Sherline as P/N 5301. Sherline tools
are used throughout in all the setups and examples. (See more
on books and videos for machinists on page 38.)
Types of Milling Cutters
Milling on a vertical mill is usually accomplished with end
mills. These cutters are designed to cut with both their side
and end. (See Figure 64, Page 33.) Drilling is accomplished
by raising and lowering the entire milling head with the Zaxis feed screw. Center drills must be used before drilling to
achieve any degree of accuracy. (See Figures 55 and 70.) Note
that subsequent holes may be accurately “dialed in” from the
first hole by using the calibrated handwheels. Each revolution
of the wheel will yield .050" of travel or 1mm for the metric
machines. There is no need to start with the handwheel at
“zero,” although this can be easily accomplished with the
optional resettable “zero” handwheels to make calculations
Boring is a method of making accurate holes by rotating a
tool with a single cutting edge, usually in an adjustable holder
called a “boring head.” It is used to open up drilled holes or
tubing to a desired diameter. (See Figure 57.)
Another type of milling is performed with an adjustable fly
cutter, which may be used for surfacing. For maximum safety
and rigidity, the cutting bit should project from the holder no
further than necessary. A 1-1/2" diameter circle of cut is quite
efficient, and multiple passes over a surface should overlap
about 1/3 of the circle size. For machining aluminum, use a
speed of 2000 RPM and remove about .010" (0.25 mm) per
pass. (See Figure 69 on page 35.)
Standard Milling Versus Climb Milling
It is important to understand that the cutting action of a
milling cutter varies depending upon the direction of feed.
Study the relationship of cutting edges to the material being
cut as shown in Figure 57. Note that in one case the tool will
tend to climb onto the work, whereas in the other case the
tool will tend to move away from the cut. The result is that
FIGURE 56—A complex setup shows a part held in a 3-jaw
chuck, which is mounted to the rotary table, which is mounted
to the tilting angle table, which is in turn mounted to the mill
table. A mill arbor holds a geartooth cutter which is cutting
teeth in a bevel gear. The horizontal milling conversion is
used to mount the headstock in the horizontal position. With
Sherline tools and accessories, the parts you machine are
limited only by size, not by complexity.
climb milling should normally be avoided except for very
light finishing cuts.
FIGURE 57—Standard
vs. climb milling. For
clarity, imagine the
cutter is moving rather
than the part.
Climb Milling Advantages and Drawbacks
Though you will almost always use conventional milling,
climb milling can create a better finish in two ways. First,
the lightest part of the cut is at the end of the cut. Second,
the chips are tossed from the cutting area and do not affect
the finish.
The major problem with machining in this direction is that
the cutter may actually do just that—climb up on the part and
break. Also, when a climb cut is first started, the work has
to be pushed into the cutter. Then the cutting action pulls the
backlash out of the table leadscrew, and a heavier cut is taken
than planned. If you understand and compensate for these
drawbacks, climb milling can be used. However, for those
new to milling, it is best to try and plan your cuts so that the
end mill is cutting in the conventional manner.
Working to Scribed Layout Lines
A common practice when working with a mill is to lay out the
hole centers and other key locations using a height gage and
a surface plate. A coloring (usually deep blue) called layout
FIGURE 58— Boring the inside of a hole to exact size with
a boring tool held in a boring head.
FIGURE 59—Indicating in the jaws of a vise. Shown is a
Starrett “Last Word” Indicator. Starrett gages are available
in numerous sizes and types. They are manufactured in Athol,
Massachusetts and can be purchased from most industrial
pressure can cause inaccurate readings. Also, try to keep the
indicator finger at a reasonable angle to the indicated part
or surface. When the part is properly aligned, there will not
be any deflection on the indicator. If you wish to locate the
spindle over an existing hole, place the indicator in the spindle
and read the inside surface. Move the X- and Y-axes until there
is no deflection when the spindle is rotated. At this point, the
spindle is in perfect alignment with the hole’s center.
When aligning the spindle to used bearing holes, remember
that the hole may be worn out-of-round, and it may be
impossible to attain zero indicator deflection reading. Boring
out a worn bearing hole to a larger diameter and sleeving it
with a simple bushing made on a lathe is a fairly common
machining operation. With the new bushing pressed in, the
bearing will be like new.
The squareness of your machine may also be checked with
an indicator. For instance, alignment of the head can be
checked by offsetting the indicator in the spindle so the tip
will move on about a 3" to 5" diameter circle. The amount of
reading relative to the table is the amount of error. Don’t be
discouraged to find a few thousandths of an inch error in your
machine. This machine has been designed to have the most
accuracy commensurate with reasonable cost. In machine
tool manufacturing, accuracy and cost run hand-in-hand. To
increase accuracy only a few percentage points could double
the selling price, because entirely different manufacturing
processes would be required. However, you can personally
improve the accuracy of your machine with a few shims, if
needed, by employing your dial indicator.
The column bed is aligned with the column block at the
factory. If you remove it, it will have to be realigned by
mounting a known “square” on the mill table and adjusting
placement of the bed by running an indicator on the square
as the headstock is raised and lowered. (See Figure 29, page
fluid or “Dykem” is brushed or sprayed on a clean surface
of the part. A thin layer is best because it dries quicker and
won’t chip when a line is scribed. The purpose of this fluid is
to highlight the scribed line and make it easier to see.
Don’t prick-punch the scribed, crossed lines representing
a hole center. Using a center drill in the mill spindle and a
magnifying glass, bring the headstock down until the center
drill just barely touches the scribed cross. Examine the mark
left with a magnifying glass and make any corrections needed
to get it perfectly on center. You should be able to locate
the spindle within .002" (.05 mm) of the center using this
Once the first hole is located in this manner, the additional
holes can be located using the handwheels. (This is where the
optional resettable “zero” handwheels are useful.) Now the
scribe marks are used as a double check and the handwheels
take care of the accuracy. Don’t forget the rules of backlash—
always turn the handwheels in the same direction as you go
from one point to the next.
Using a Dial Indicator
(NOTE: For more on use of a dial indicator to square up your
mill, see pages 14-17.)
The basis of most accurate machining involves the use of a
“universal dial test indicator”; a small, inexpensive indicator
which is calibrated in .001" or .01 mm divisions. An indicator
with a large face or one that reads in finer divisions is not
necessary for use with this mill. Three major tasks that can
be accomplished with an indicator are:
1. Checking the squareness of a setup.
2. Finding the center of a hole.
3. Aligning the work with the machine.
A vise can be mounted or a part can be clamped down exactly
parallel with the machine slides by holding the test indicator
stationary and moving the slide with which you wish to align
the part. When “indicating in” a vise, always take the reading
on the fixed jaw. To start with, use approximately .005"
indicator deflection from neutral. Remember that excessive
FIGURE 60—Indicating in the center of a hole.
17.) The same method can be used to check alignment of the
column bed to ensure it is square with the Y-axis. To correct
any error (which should be small), place a shim between the
column block and the mill base.
Locating the Edge of a Part in Relation to the Spindle
There are two quick methods of “picking up an edge” of a
part on a mill. The first is to put a shaft of known diameter in
the spindle and see that it runs perfectly true. Using a depth
micrometer against the edge of the part, measure the distance
to the outside diameter of the shaft. To that dimension add half
the known shaft diameter. You now have the distance from
the edge of the part to the centerline of the spindle. Rotate
the handwheel on the axis being set exactly this distance and
you will have the centerline of the spindle lined up with the
edge of the part from which you measured.
The second method is much easier. It involves the use of a
clever tool called an “edge finder.” These devices have been
around for years and have two lapped surfaces held together
by a spring. One surface is on the end of a shaft that fits in
a 3/8" end mill holder and is held
in the spindle. The other is a .200"
diameter shaft held to the larger shaft
with a spring so it is free to slide
around. With the spindle running
at approximately 2000 RPM, the
shorter shaft will be running way off
3/8” SHAFT
center. As this shaft is brought into
contact with the edge you are trying
to locate in relation to the spindle,
the .200" shaft will be tapped to the
center as the spindle rotates. This
keeps making the .200" shaft run
continually truer. When the shaft
.200” DIA. SHAFT
runs perfectly true it makes contact
with the part 100% of the time. This
finder” to
creates a drag on the surface of the
shaft that will “kick” it off center. accurately locate the
(See Figure 61.) At this point you edge of a part.
FIGURE 62—Indicating in a 30° head tilt using a mill vise
and draftsman’s triangle
know the part is exactly .100" (half the diameter) from the
centerline of the spindle. Advancing the handwheel on a
Sherline mill two revolutions (.050" per revolution) will bring
the edge of the part into alignment with the spindle.
It is important to use a high quality edge finder such as the
Starrett 827A shown in the drawing. It must have a 3/8" shaft
to fit the end mill holder on the Sherline mill. Metric sized edge
finders are also available which work in the same manner.
For those who like to own the newest gadgets, electronic
edge finders are now available. Import models are available
for less than $100.00.
Determining the Depth of Cut
There are no firm rules other than common sense for
determining depth of cut. A .030" cut depth with a 3/16" end
mill in aluminum could be considered light, but .003" cut
depth in steel with a 1/32" diameter end mill would break the
cutter. Start with very light cuts and gradually increase the
depth until satisfactory results are achieved. Try to develop
the skill of knowing how much of a cut is satisfactory without
breaking the cutter or damaging the work.
Note that regular end mills should not be used for drilling;
however, they may be employed to enlarge an existing hole.
The cutting edges deserve more respect than those of drills
even though similar in appearance; they are designed to cut
with their sides. Handle and store them with care.
Work Accurately
It should be remembered that a good machinist is capable
of making a part to much closer tolerances than those of the
machine with which he is working. The accuracy of the parts
you make is limited only by your skill as a craftsman and the
quality of your measurement equipment. Accuracy should be
the ultimate goal of every machinist!
END MILLS (Slot and side milling)
CUT SPEED (S.F.M.) 1/8" DIA. 1/4" DIA. 3/8" DIA.
Stainless Steel, 303
Stainless Steel, 304
Stainless Steel, 316
Steel, 12L14
Steel, 1018
Steel, 4130
Gray Cast Iron
Aluminum, 7075
Aluminum, 6061
Aluminum, 2024
Aluminum, Cast
Cutting Speeds for Milling
Speed Adjustment Chart
SPINDLE RPM = 3.82 x S.F.M.
S.F.M. = The rated Surface Feet per Minute for milling. For
drilling, use 60% of the rated surface feet.
The rated spindle speed in Revolutions Per Minute
The Diameter of work in inches
FIGURE 63—Formula for adjusting spindle speed for cutting
a given diameter.
NOTE: To estimate RPM, remember that the speed range of
your vertical mill is from 0 to 2800 RPM. (The lowest usable
speed is about 70 RPM, so we use that in our specifications.
To obtain much more torque at the lower speed ranges, the
drive belt can be switched to the smaller diameter positions
on the spindle and drive pulleys.) Therefore, in the normal
belt position, half speed is approximately 1450 RPM and so
on. You can estimate these speeds by a combination of the
setting on the speed control knob and the sound of the motor
itself. When using the optional digital readout (P/N 8100), the
exact RPM is displayed constantly on the LCD screen.
End Mills
End mills are the standard cutting tools used on a vertical mill.
We recommend 3/8" shank end mills held in the 3/8"end mill
holder (P/N 3079). One of the benefits of 3/8" end mills is
that they are available in a large range of sizes. The end mill
is held with a set screw on its flat surface, and it can be easily
changed. They are also lower in price than miniature cutters
because of their popularity.
You can also use
miniature series
end mills having
3/16" or 1/4" shank
sizes which should
be held in collets
or end mill holders
sized for those tools.
Many “Dremel®”
type cutting tools
FIGURE 64— 4- and 2-flute double- come with a 1/8"
shank. End mills
ended end mill sets.
held in collets must
be single-ended, while end mill holders are capable of holding
single- or double-ended end mills. We recommend using 2flute, high-speed steel (HSS) end mills for aluminum because
the flutes are less prone to clog with chips. Use 4-flute cutters
for cutting steels with lower RPM. The solid carbide tools are
not suggested since they are very expensive and the cutting
edges will chip unless used with heavy-duty production
As a convenience to our customers, Sherline keeps in
inventory many of the popular sizes of end mills that are
appropriate for use on our machines. See our “Cutting Tools
Price List” for selection. End mills may also be purchased
on-line or from your local industrial machine shop supply
outlet. Do a search for or see the yellow pages under “Machine
Shop Supplies.”
Carbon Steel
Cast Iron, Soft
Stainless Steel
Aluminum, Bar
Aluminum, Cast
1200 RPM 600 RPM 400 RPM
1/16" DIA.
1/4" DIA.
2000 RPM
550 RPM
FIGURE 65—Drill and milling cutter speed chart.
Because small diameter cutters (less than 1/8") are quite
fragile, the largest diameter cutter possible for the job
requirements should be employed. Be certain that the RPM
is appropriate before attempting to remove any metal. An end
mill can be instantly damaged if a cut is attempted at excessive
RPM. Like all cutting tools, end mills will have a short life
span when used for machining steel or other exotic materials.
Save new cutters for finish work. Because of excessive cutter
deflection (bending), do not use small diameter end mills with
long flutes unless absolutely necessary.
Resharpening End Mills
End mills can be resharpened by your local tool and cutter
grinding shop. End mills lose their cutting edge clearance after
a couple of sharpenings and should no longer be reused.
Using the Mill Column Saddle Lock
The saddle locking lever is located on the back side of the mill
column just above the saddle nut. This lever tightens against
the saddle nut on the column leadscrew to keep it from moving
during milling operations.
With the lever released, adjust the Z-axis handwheel to the
desired setting. Rotate the lever counter-clockwise to lock
the saddle. This will eliminate any backlash in the leadscrew.
Friction on the gib can still cause a little backlash to be present
between the handwheel and the leadscrew thrust. To eliminate
this, push down on the saddle to make sure the handwheel
is fully seated against the thrust. Double check your height
adjustment. Now, when milling, the saddle cannot move any
further down.
To release the saddle, rotate the lever clockwise. A springloaded ball in the saddle fits in a detent on the lever to keep
it from locking accidentally when the Z-axis is adjusted. (See
Figure 66.)
An adjustable saddle lock is available that allows adjustment
of backlash on the Z-axis. This is particularly useful in CNC
applications but can be used on manual machines as well. It is
FIGURE 66—Mill
column saddle lock
3/16" (P/N 6080), 1/4" (P/N 6079), 5/16" (P/N 3075), 6.0 mm
(P/N 3076), 8.0 mm (P/N 3077) and 10 mm (P/N 3078).
Drill Chuck Holder (P/N 3074)
In order to allow for a quick way to
change chucks, a similar holder with a
3/8-24 threaded boss on the end instead
of a hole is now available. This allows
1/4" and 3/8" Jacobs drill chucks to be
threaded onto a holder and changed quickly. During CNC
operations this also means drills can be changed without
having to change the tool length in the “tools” table.
Mill Collet Set
(P/N 3060)
The main purpose of
the mill collet set is
to hold single-ended
end mills accurately on
center. The spindle nose
has an internal Morse
#1 taper that closes the
collet as the drawbolt is
tightened. Mill collets are available individually or in sets of
the three most common sizes with a drawbolt included.
Boring Head (P/N 3054/3049)
The main purpose of the boring head is to eliminate the need
for a large inventory of drills and reamers. A small milling
machine would not have the power or rigidity to turn a oneinch diameter drill even if one could be obtained that would
fit. However, holes of up
to 1-3/4" (44 mm) can
be accurately bored to
size with a little patience
and care.
Boring heads for the
mill work on the same
cutting principle as
lathe boring, except that
the cutting tool turns
while the work remains
stationary. (In the case of a lathe, the work turns and the
cutter remains stationary.) The boring head is designed to
employ round cutting tools with a 3/8" shank. Sherline offers
three boring tools with sizes and lengths appropriate for the
Sherline mill. It is sometimes advisable to remove excessive
tool shank length from standard (non-Sherline) 3/8" boring
tools in order to improve rigidity. (See Figure 58, page 31 for
a boring tool in use.)
Tool sizes are listed indicating the smallest diameter hole
that can be bored and the maximum depth that can be cut. For
best results, use the largest diameter possible with the shortest
lengths. A .010" cut represents a good starting point.
If boring a hole where a flat bottom is required, it is advisable
to stop the down-feed at about .002" above the desired depth,
turn off the motor and cut the remaining distance by handturning the spindle to eliminate any possibility of chatter.
Boring Tools Available—3/8" diameter shanks
P/N 3061—Min. hole size: 1/4" (6.4 mm), Max. depth: 0.6" (15 mm.)
P/N 3063—Min. hole size: 5/16" (7.9 mm), Max. depth: 1.0" (25 mm)
P/N 3064—Min. hole size: 5/16" (7.9 mm), Max. depth: 1.5" (38.1 mm)
standard on new CNC machines and available as an upgrade
for manual machines as P/N 4017Z/4117Z.
Machining Tip
Use of a tooling plate (P/N 3560) is an inexpensive way
to protect the surface of your mill table while providing
a flat, versatile clamping surface with a predrilled pattern
of tapped holes for mounting parts and fixtures. The
additional thickness also adds rigidity to the mill table. A
round tooling plate is also available for the rotary table
(P/N 3725).
Accessories for Your Milling Machine
The addition of accessories can greatly enhance the utility of
your mill. A few of the more popular milling accessories and
how they are used are described below.
Sensitive Drill Attachment (P/N 1012)
The sensitive drilling attachment provides both
faster drilling of multiple holes and better “feel”
for the cut when using drills smaller than 1/16".
This is essential to keep from breaking tiny drill
bits that can be quite expensive. A Jacobs 5/32"
drill chuck is fitted to a spring-loaded shaft that
inserts into the spindle. A red knurled collar with
a ball bearing at the center, allows the user to
hand feed the chuck. A spring inside the brass
tube helps return the chuck to the up position
when done. The chuck holds drills from 5/32" (4
mm) down to much smaller sizes. The attachment
is easily installed by screwing it onto the external
3/4-16 thread of the spindle.
3/8" End Mill Holder (P/N 3079)
The 3/8" end mill holder makes it easy to use the popular (and
less expensive) 3/8" end mills. Using double-ended end mills
is economical and easy with this holder, as tools are changed
by simply loosening a set screw and changing the tool.
Sherline now offers similar holders
for other size cutting tools as well.
For CNC use, these holders allow for
quick tool changes and unlike when
using collets, the cutter length does
not change. The following additional
sizes are available: 1/8" (P/N 6081),
Typical setup for fly
FIGURE 67—A digital readout makes life easier for the
machinist. The electronic display reads out to .0005" and any
axis can be reset to “zero” with the push of a button. It also
helps eliminate mistakes due to losing track of the number of
handwheel revolutions on longer dimensions. As a bonus, the
spindle RPM is displayed at all times. The digital readout or
“DRO” is available for both the lathe and mill.
Drills should be kept in excellent condition, either by
replacement or proper resharpening. Good quality highspeed steel drills should be employed. A dull or improperly
sharpened drill can cut oversize by as much as 10%. When
you start to drill, the initial penetration should be no more
than twice the diameter of the hole before you retract the drill,
clear the chips and add coolant with the tip of a small brush.
From then on, do not try to drill deeper than the diameter of
the drill without clearing the chips and adding coolant. For
To drill a 1/8” diameter hole 1” deep:
Total Depth
1st Pass: 2 times diameter or 1/4"
2nd Pass: 1 times diameter or 1/8"
3rd Pass: 1 times diameter or 1/8"
(You may encounter recommendations exceeding this, but
they are meant for automatic equipment with pressurized
coolant systems.)
It is difficult to maintain tolerances of better than +.003"–.000"
with a drill. If tolerances closer than these are required, a
reamer must be employed. Try to use fractional size reamers
whenever possible rather than decimal sizes, because the
cost difference can amount to 2 or 3 times higher for decimal
sizes. (The length of reamers may prevent their use for some
operations on machines of this size.)
Center Drills
To accurately start holes, center drills must be used. They have
a small tip that accurately starts the hole, and then the shaft
widens with a 60° cutting face to the final diameter.
Care must be taken to employ cutting oil and
to clear chips from the drill frequently.
If this is not done, the fragile tip may
load up and twist off, even in soft
materials. Center drills are available
in a variety of sizes, but for general FIGURE 70—Three
work we recommend size No. 1. (See center drills in the
size chart on next page.)
P/N 3021 set.
FIGURE 68—Fly cutters and drawbolts
Fly Cutters (P/N 3052 and P/N 7620)
For machining flat surfaces, fly cutters are recommended.
It is imperative that the tool be used with utmost care. EYE
PROTECTION IS A MUST, and the work as well as the
cutting tool must be properly held. The big advantage of a
fly cutter is its ability to take light cuts up to 2" wide and to
give an excellent surface finish. It is ideal for squaring up
work. Also, the machining stresses are lower than one might
imagine, because, unlike an end mill, very little crushing
action takes place at the cutting edge. Fly cutting tools look
like left-hand lathe tools, and, although the fly cutter (P/N
3052) comes with a brazed carbide tool, high-speed tools
work quite well and can be sharpened on any grinder. (See
Figures 68 and 69.)
Drill Chucks (P/N 3072) and Center Drills
The 1/4" drill chuck available for this vertical mill is supplied
complete with a #1 Morse arbor and a drawbolt to hold it
securely in place. Drilling can be accomplished by raising and
lowering the entire head with the vertical feed handwheel. This
allows for very accurate control of feed rate and hole depth.
For accurately located holes we again stress the importance
of using center drills.
precise angles without tilting the column or headstock. In the
90° position, the rotary table is held at the same height as it
would be on the P/N 3701 right angle plate, eliminating the
need for that accessory.
FIGURE 71—Table of common HSS center drill sizes.
Mill Vise Set (P/N 3551)
The vise shown here and in use in Figures 59 and 62 is
furnished with special clamps that allow it to be clamped in
any position on the mill table. The vise capacity is 2 inches. It
has a movable jaw that
is pulled down while
clamping, eliminating
any chance for the jaw
to lift. Perpendicular
grooves in the fixed
jaw help secure round
stock. It is the most
convenient way to hold
small parts for milling.
Also available for the
mill vise is a rotating base (P/N 3570) that greatly adds to the
versatility of this basic machining accessory.
Step Block Hold-Down Set (P/N 3013)
When a part can’t be held in a mill vise due to its size or shape,
the step block set is the next most popular way machinists have
traditionally clamped work to the mill table. Its versatile design
makes setups quick and
easy. The set includes
two step blocks and
two step clamps plus
an extra unanodized
step block that can be
cut and milled to make
smaller blocks to suit
your special needs.
Also included are six
pairs of threaded studs
from 1" to 3.5", T-nuts and special convex nuts and concave
washers that tighten flat on clamps even if they are slightly
tilted. This set is more versatile than the older P/N 3012 holddown set and easier on your table surface, but the 3012 set
remains available as a lower cost alternative.
Tilting Angle Table (P/N 3750)
This accessory opens up a great variety of setup options. The
table can be tilted to any
angle from 0° to 90°. A
hole pattern in the table
is designed to easily
mount the mill vise or
rotary table for holding
parts. A chuck adapter is
included that allows the
3-jaw or 4-jaw chuck to
be screwed directly to
the table as well. Parts
mounted to the table can
be machined or drilled at
FIGURE 72—One of the configurations possible with the
horizontal milling conversion, P/N 6100.
Horizontal Milling Conversion (P/N 6100)
FOR 5000/5400-Series Mills
A number of milling operations require the application of the
cutting tool from the side rather than from the top. A 3/4" thick
aluminum base 10.5" x 12.5" allows a 5000/5400-series mill
column to be mounted separately from the base for a variety
of milling configurations. The headstock is rotated 90° and
work is machined from the side, allowing larger surfaces to
be worked on without having to reclamp the work. (Note: The
greater versatility and capacity of the 2000-series 8-direction
mill eliminate the need for this accessory on those mills.)
The black anodized mounting plate is predrilled to mount the
base and column in several possible locations. Alignment bars
and a selection of appropriate bolts are included to make it
easy to accurately relocate the column. Rubber feet insulate
the table for quiet, vibration-free operation. (Note: The column
base should be shortened by 2" for best operation. Instructions
are provided with the accessory, or we can shorten your
column for you. The modification is listed as P/N 6101 on
the price list. New mills purchased along with the horizontal
milling conversion can be factory ordered with the column
already split.)
4" Rotary Table (P/N 3700)
The rotary table mounts to the mill table and provides a rotary
axis for milling. Each increment on the handwheel represents
1/10° of rotation, so a
circle can be divided
into 3600 segments
without interpolation.
Seventy-two handwheel
revolutions rotate the
table one time. It can
be used to mill a radius
on a part, cut a circular
slot or drill precision
circular hole patterns.
To view or print complete instructions for all Sherline
accessories, see
Used with the right angle attachment (P/N 3701) and right
angle tailstock (P/N 3702), it can also be used to cut gear
teeth. A rotary table used with a mill allows a machinist to
produce virtually any part he can design. On a Sherline mill,
the only limits are size, not complexity. The compact size of
this high quality rotary table also makes it a good choice for
use on larger machines as well, where its size would offer an
advantage in working with small parts. (See Figure 56 for a
photo of the rotary table in use.)
CNC Rotary Tables
The rotary table can
also be purchased in
CNC-ready form with
a stepper motor mount
attached ready to accept
a NEMA 23 size stepper
motor of your choice.
The CNC-ready table
is P/N 3700-CNC. If
you prefer to purchase
a rotary table with a
FIGURE 73—The CNC-ready
Sherline stepper motor
rotary table can be purchased
already attached it is
with or without a stepper motor. P/N 8730. The motor
is prewired with a 5-pin plug that is ready to plug in to the
Sherline driver box (P/N 8760) and go to work as the 4th axis
of your CNC mill system.
CNC Rotary Indexer (P/N 8700)
This completely self-contained, programmable unit is perfect
for repetitive radial operations like gear cutting, drilling
multiple hole patterns, cutting splines on a shaft or spokes in
a wheel. Using the keypad, you enter the parameters such as
the number of divisions or degrees of rotation required, speed
and direction of rotation. When the command is given, the
indexer will move precisely to the next programmed position.
The computer keeps track of the divisions to many decimal
places, so error is virtually eliminated. Backlash can also be
accounted for electronically if a direction change is required.
The unit includes a programmable keypad unit, rotary table,
motor mount, stepper motor, power supply and all connecting
cables. It can also be “daisy chained” with other rotary or
linear units to produce sequenced operations.
A linear version of this same keypad and motor unit is
available that functions like a power feed on any axis of the
lathe or mill. Various kits are available with motor mount,
keypad and stepper motor to convert any mill axis from
manual to stepper motor driven. The motor and keypad unit
is P/N 8800. If you need to install a motor mount in place
of a handwheel, the P/N 8850 kit includes the mount, motor,
keypad, power supply and everything you need to convert
either the X or Y axis of the mill. Other kits are available for
the Z axis or for the lathe leadscrew or crosslide.
Additional Mill Accessories
For a complete list with links to the instructions for use of
each, see our web site at
CNC and CNC-Ready Sherline Lathes and Milling Machines
Computer Numeric Control (CNC) is the way most machine
tools are run in the modern machine shop. As more people
have learned the advantages of using CNC and costs have
come down, it has become more popular in the home shop
as well. Therefore, Sherline now offers you several options.
Any existing Sherline lathe or mill can be purchased in any
one of three configurations:
1. MANUAL—Any standard machine can be converted to
CNC later with the purchase of a CNC upgrade kit.
2. CNC-READY—These machines come with stepper
motor mounts on all axes ready for the application of stepper
motors. You can use our P/N 8760 4-axis driver box, our
stepper motors and your own computer running either our
Linux/EMC2 G-code software (included with driver box) or
Windows® based software you purchase elsewhere. (Note:
These machines cannot be operated manually until stepper
motors with dual shafts are installed.)
3. FULL CNC—These CNC packages include a mill with
three stepper motor mounts or a lathe with two stepper
motor mounts, the appropriate number of stepper motors,
a new computer with built in 4-axis driver box (includes
keyboard and mouse but not a monitor), a Linux operating
system and EMC2 (Enhanced Machine Controller) G-code
control program preinstalled in the computer and all necessary
cables to connect it. With handwheels mounted to the rear
motor shafts, the operator has the choice of manual or CNC
Of course, no matter how you order your machine in relation
to CNC, all machines are still available in your choice of
metric or inch leadscrews and any of the accessory packages
can also be ordered with the machine itself.
Learning About CNC
CNC means instead of you turning the handwheels directly,
you are giving a computer instructions to turn the handwheels
for you. The language the computer uses to communicate
with the machine is called “G-code.” G-code is a simple
text-based language where each line of code tells each axis
of the machine where to go next. A driver box converts these
instructions into signals the stepper motors understand, and
they move the various axes for you. A stepper motor accurately
divides a single rotation into several hundred steps, providing
a predictable and repeatable method of precisely moving the
table when the appropriate number of pulses are sent to it
from the driver box.
FIGURE 74—This simple programmable indexer brings
computer control to operations like cutting gears.
FIGURE 75—P/N 8020 CNC
system includes 2000 mill,
motors, computer and software.
G-code can be written directly by you, or for more complicated
2D curves or 3D shapes, it can be translated from a CAD
(Computer Aided Drafting) file using a utility program, or it
can be output from a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing)
program as part of a CAD/CAM package. Sherline does not
promote one CAD or CAD/CAM system over another, and
there are many good ones out there, but we do offer references
to what is available from our web site. See www.sherline.
com/CNClinks.htm for a wealth of information about CNC
and G-code. CNC systems come with a CD that includes
several free translation utilities to help convert your CAD files
(in .DXF or .STL file formats) into G-code text.
Several Reasons to Consider CNC
There are several reasons people choose to use CNC over
manual machining methods:
1. CAPABILITY—CNC makes it possible to turn all the
handwheels at once so you can make curved, 3-dimensional
shapes, helical gears or other designs that would be impossible
to do manually. The ability to go directly from a CAD/CAM
design to a CNC machined part has helped establish a new
era of product design.
2. PRODUCTION—CNC can speed up the process on short
run production parts. It can also take the boredom (and
resulting mistakes) out of making the same part over and
over again.
3. EDUCATION—If you are thinking of becoming a machinist
today, you will need to know how to use CNC. Learning on
an inexpensive machine is an excellent training experience
with no worries about “crashing” a more expensive, high
powered machine.
4. CHALLENGE—Some simply enjoy the challenge of seeing
if they can get a high-tech robot to do what they command,
and a computer controlled machine tool is simply a special
purpose robot.
Longer Tables and Taller Milling Columns Available
Sherline now offers an 18" long mill table that adds 5" of extra
X travel as well as a 15" tall mill column that adds 4" more Z
travel. Matching inch or metric and manual or CNC leadscrews
are available.
These items can be
ordered as a factoryinstalled option on
new mills or can be
retrofitted to any
existing Sherline
mill. Call for part
54182 18" mill table
Books and Videos about Machining
Tabletop Machining—
Machining—Sherline’s owner,
Joe Martin has written the most
complete and up-to-date book ever
on machining small metal parts.
Its high quality format makes it
equally at home on the coffee table
or workbench. Naturally, Sherline
tools are featured. Softbound or
hardbound, full color, 8.5 x 11", 350
pages, over 400 color photos and over
200 illustrations, P/N 5301
Home Machinist’s Handbook—
Features Sherline equipment throughout. It is
a complete guide for the amateur machinist
covering lathe and mill use as well as information
on reading plans, measuring, using hand tools,
selection of materials, and heat treating plus plans
for practice projects such as a punch, a ball peen hammer,
gages, a cannon and more. By Doug Briney. Softbound, black
and white, 7.75 x 9.25", 275 pages, P/N 5300
Machine Shop Essentials—Tips and sound shop advice
for tools from miniature to full size. By Frank
Marlow. Copiously illustrated, softbound, 7 x
10", black and white line drawings, 518 pages,
P/N 5305
Machine Shop Trade Secrets—
Secrets—Practical knowledge
relating to all size machines from a seasoned shop
pro. By James A. Harvey. Softbound, black and
white photos, 8.5 x 11", 312 pages, P/N 5306
Machine Shop Know-How—Problem
Problem solving insights
and practical knowledge focused on manually
operated machine tools. By Frank Marlow, PE.,
Softbound, 7 x 10, black and white, 520 pages
with detailed line art illustrations on every page.
P/N 5307
Sherline Shop Guide—This collection of instructions
from all Sherline’s major accessories is a great
source of machining information and a good
way to learn about an accessory before you
decide to buy. 8.5 x 11", 204 pages, P/N 5327
Sherline Lathe Video—Learn to set up and use
your Sherline lathe. From unpacking and
assembling to machining techniques including
use of accessories. Produced by Mike Rehmus
of ByVideo Productions, this is a great way for
a beginner to get started or for someone who
has been out of the shop for a while to get reacquainted with
cutting metal on a lathe. 2 hours, DVD, P/N 5320
Steam Engine Video—Master machinist Rudy
Kouhoupt takes you through the steps to build
a small steam engine from start to finish using
Sherline tools. Includes dimensioned plans and
materials list. Watch an expert as you learn
machining skills and build confidence. 3-1/2
hours, DVD, P/N 5328
Shop Secrets–Measurement—Learn proper use and
care of the essential machinists measuring
and set-up tools. By Mike Rehmus/ByVideo
Productions. 2 hours, DVD, P/N 5329
FIGURE 78—A typical
Sherline industrial slide based
on components from the tool line.
Industrial Applications for Sherline Components
For many years, Sherline spindles, slides and motor units
have been especially popular with designers of custom tooling
for small industrial applications because of the low cost and
the large number of Sherline accessories that fit the spindle.
In fact, we use them in our own production facility for a
number of operations. Sherline is now offering a complete
line of components made specifically for the production
tooling designer. As you would expect, the size range is best
suited for smaller operations, but if your needs fit within
the specifications of Sherline components, excellent design
results can be achieved. For more information on products
from Sherline’s Industrial Products Division, see our web site
FIGURE 77—The stereo microscope can be mounted on any
Sherline lathe or mill for close-up viewing of small parts.
Stereo Microscope and Mount
P/N 2125 (Lathe) or P/N 2127 (Mill)
Working on extremely small parts puts a strain on even the best
of vision. A high quality microscope focused on your work
makes small jobs a lot easier. This is especially important if
you are working on high value parts where mistakes are not
an option. This rock solid Russian-made microscope offers a
great combination of top quality optics, handy features and an
affordable price. In addition to use on the specially designed
lathe or mill mount, the microscope can also be used by itself
as a stand-alone inspection scope. It offers powers from 6x
to 100x and a positionable light to brighten up the stage area.
The scope swings easily out of the way for setups. On the mill
mount it can pivot through 90° for a front or side view.
10,000 RPM Spindle Pulley Set
P/N 4335
The standard pulley set allows
a maximum spindle speed of
about 2800 RPM, although the
bearings are rated for 10,000
RPM. Sherline offers a special
pulley set that gears the 6000
RPM motor up to 10,000 RPM
at the spindle. A second pulley position offering a maximum
3000 RPM is similar to the high speed ratio of the standard
pulleys when you need more torque but less speed. This high
spindle speed is useful for engraving operations or using
very small drills or turning small shafts. Although torque is
somewhat reduced, this is not normally a problem because
you will be removing only small amounts of metal in those
types of operations. We recommend reducing the preload
adjustment on the spindle bearings from .0002" end play to
.0003" to keep from overheating the bearings when using this
accessory. Instructions to do this are provided.
Wire Colors
and Motor
P3 P1
GREEN (Green/Yellow)
BLACK (Brown)
WHITE (White)
(MOTOR, Thermal Lead)
WHITE (Blue)
GREEN (Green/Yellow)
Thermal Lead)
P2 P3
USA colors listed first, European
colors in parenthesis when different.
FIGURE 79—Electrical wiring color codes for motor and
speed control
Sherline is on the Internet—Get Prices, Tips, Projects, Instructions and More at
list as well as a “Resources” page with links to many
other items of interest to miniature machinists. There
is even a “factory tour” in photos. You have a wealth
of free information at your fingertips. Our address is: You may now place your order
by e-mail at or order on-line
24 hours a day at
To take a look at the newest offerings from Sherline
Products, visit our Internet site. You will find a
complete list of all our accessories as well as the fully
illustrated instructions for each one. Learn how a part is
used before deciding to buy, or print out the directions
for your later use. There is also a U.S. and worldwide
dealer listing, replacement parts listing, current price
Replacement parts can be ordered through your dealer or
directly from Sherline. If in doubt about whether you are
ordering the correct part number, please contact Sherline.
We will be glad to help you make sure you are selecting the
proper parts for your needs. For a complete list of parts and
prices see
Sherline Manual Lathes Exploded View and Part Numbers
NOTE: Where different, Inch part number is given first, followed by Metric part number.
43200 (Label)
Tailstock Feed Screw Body—40221 (41221)
Crosslide Slide Screw Body—44211 (44221)
40630 (UK)
40640 (Europe)
43180 32100
45450 (Leeson)
45460 (Hill House)
40280 40530
40520 40520
40660 40300
40600 40501
40890/41890 44880
40820 40600
NOTE: Some factory assembled machines
may have a 0.005” thick shim washer (P/N
40030, not shown) placed between the
handwheel and thrust to adjust backlash.
If removed when servicing the machine they
should be replaced in the same position.
Sherline CNC-Ready Lathe Exploded View and Part Numbers
NOTE: Where different, Inch part first, followed by Metric part number.
43200 (Label)
SADDLE (40910)
Crosslide: 34230/34240
Leadscrew: 34260/34270 34210
67035 (6”)/67036 (8”)
*See Lock Detail at Top
44211/44221 (6”)
67210/67221 (8”)
67111 67105 40520
12050 (4)
12050 (4)
40600 40501
40380 40860
45450 (Leeson)
45460 (Hill House)
41080 43180
40620 (USA)
40630 (UK)
40640 (Europe)
Crosslide: 40050/41050
Leadscrew: 40080/41080
Sherline Manual 5000- and 5400-Series Vertical Milling Machines
NOTE: Where different, Inch part number is given first, followed by Metric part number.
NOTE: Some factory assembled machines may have a 0.005” shim washer P/N
40030 (not shown) placed between the handwheel and thrust to adjust backlash. If
removed when servicing the machine they should be replaced in the same position.
Exploded View and Part Numbers
45450 (Leeson)
45460 (Protech)
43200 (Label)
40820 40100
43460 43110
54180/54190 (Engraved)
50180 (Plain)
40620 (US)
40630 (UK)
40640 (Europe)
See Leadscrew Detail
50170/51170 R/H
Leadscrew Body*
See Leadscrew Detail
54160/54170 L/H
See Leadscrew Detail
*Leadscrew Body Part Numbers:
X-Axis (All)—50171/51171
Y-Axis, 5000-Series—50161/51161
Y-Axis, 5400-Series—54161/54170
Y-Axis, 2000-Series—56161/56151
Sherline CNC-Ready 5000- and 5400 Series Vertical Milling Machines
NOTE: Where different, Inch part number is given first, followed by Metric part number.
Exploded View and Part Numbers
40620 (US)
40630 (UK)
40640 (Europe)
40820 40100
43460 43110
43170 30230
12050 (4)
43200 (Label)
12050 (4)
45450 (Leeson)
45460 (Protech)
67051/67052 (deluxe)
67106/67108 (RH)
67050 (Std.)
X-, Z-Axes: 34260/34270
Y-Axis: 34230/34240 34210
5000-series:50161/51161 (7”)
5400-series: 54161/54171 (9”)
X-Axis: 40080/41080
Y-Axis: 40050/41050
Z-Axis: 34000/34100
12050 (4)
67107/67109 L/H
Sherline Manual Model 2000/2010 Vertical Milling Machine
NOTE: Where different, Inch part number is given first, followed by Metric part number.
40177 (Inch), 41177 (Metric)
Exploded View and Part Numbers
1/8” BALL, P/N 40178
SPRING, P/N 22630
P/N 40179 (Inch)
P/N 41179 (Metric)
40175 (Inch)
41175 (Metric)
45011 (Inch)
45161 (Metric)
56330 (Inch)
56331 (Metric)
For part numbers of table, column bed
and headstock/motor/speed control
portions of mill, see exploded view in
the color Instruction Guide book that
came with your mill.
56160 (Inch)
56150 (Metric)
56010 (Inch)
56020 (Metric)
New Sherline Accessories
Sherline introduces new accessories every year.
See our web site for new product introductions.
Exploded View and
Part Numbers
12050 (4)
67115 40600
NOTE: See P/N 4017Z for additional
components in the Z-axis backlash lock upgrade
50200/51200 50930
(Nylon Button)
43450 (Leeson)
43460 (Hill House)
NOTE: Where different, Inch part number is given first, followed by Metric part number.
Sherline CNC-Ready Model 2000/2010 Vertical Milling Machine
67107/67109 L/H
12050 (4)
X-, Z-Axes: 34260/34270
Y-Axis: 34230/34240 34210
X and Z-Axes: 40080/41080
Y-Axis: 40050/41050
67106/67108 (RH)
12050 (4)
43200 (Label)
40620 (US)
40630 (UK)
40640 (Europe)
43460 43110 30220
43170 30230
Machining Basics—Using the Handwheels
recision leadscrews and the handwheels that drive
them make it possible to produce highly accurate parts on
a mill or lathe. Here are some tips that should help first-time
machinists get off to a good start.
keep a smooth, continuous feed going. On small machines, the
handwheel is turned by its outer knurled surface using the thumb
and a finger of one hand. Then, as that hand is released, the thumb
and finger of the other hand pick up the rotation. Using the handle
on the handwheel can introduce pushing and pulling motions that
can adversely affect the finish. (See Figure 86.)
Handwheel Increments
The handwheels on Sherline machines are marked in increments
of one one-thousandth of an inch (.001") for inch models or
one one-hundredth of a millimeter (.01 mm) for metric models.
One turn of the handwheel causes the leadscrew to advance the
tool or part .050" (inch models) and 1 mm (metric models). The
leadscrews are precision rolled and are quite accurate. Therefore,
moving the handwheel three rotations, for example, moves that
axis exactly .150" (or .03 mm on metric machines). This precise
method of moving the tool or part is what makes it possible to
make accurate parts on a metalworking lathe or mill.
When advancing the crosslide handwheel to take a cut on the
lathe, keep in mind that the amount of metal removed is actually
twice the amount you dial in. You are removing a given amount
of material from the radius of the part, which means you are
actually removing twice that amount from the diameter of the
part. (Some lathes are set up with the crosslide feed reading the
amount the diameter is reduced; however, since it is possible
for Sherline lathes to also be used in a milling configuration
where the crosslide feed becomes the X-axis feed for milling,
this system was not used.)
Turning the Handwheels
Each handwheel has a small handle. This is mainly used to
advance the leadscrew quickly over long distances. When
actually making a cut, or at least when making the final cut on
a part, most machinists will turn the handwheel itself, using the
outer surface and alternating back and forth between hands to
two-handed technique for turning
the handwheels
yields a better
final finish on
your part. Shown
in use here is an
adjustable “zero”
Adjustable “Zero” Handwheels
Adjustable handwheels are optional on all Sherline machines and
are standard on the deluxe models. The increments are marked on
a collar which can be disengaged from the handwheel and reset to
“zero” or any other desired setting. To release the collar, turn the
black, knurled release knob on the outer face of the handwheel
counter-clockwise. The collar can then be adjusted without
moving the handwheel itself. When reset to zero, carefully
retighten the black locking knob to reengage the collar and then
advance the handwheel. The advantage of this system is that it
can eliminate errors when “dialing in” a dimension, as you are
starting from zero each time, rather than adding one number to
another to come up with the next stopping point.
Technical Specifications
Swing over bed
Swing over carriage
Distance between centers
Hole through spindle
Spindle nose ext. thread
Spindle nose int. taper
Travel of crosslide
Tailstock spindle taper
Protractor graduations
Handwheel graduations
Leadscrew Pitch
Electronically controlled
spindle speed range
Length overall**
Width overall**
Height overall**
Shipping weight
4000 (4100)
4400 (4410)
3.50” (90 mm)
1.75” (45 mm)
8.00” (200 mm)
.405” (10 mm)
3/4-16 T.P.I.
#1 Morse
3.25” (83 mm)
#0 Morse
0° to 45° by 5°
.001” (.01 mm)
.050”/rev (1 mm/rev)
3.50” (90 mm)
1.75” (45 mm)
17.00” (430 mm)
.405” (10 mm)
3/4-16 T.P.I.
#1 Morse
3.25” (83 mm)
#0 Morse
0° to 45° by 5°
.001” (.01 mm)
.050”/rev (1 mm/rev)
70 to 2800 RPM
23” (584 mm)
10.25” (260 mm)
8” (203 mm)
24 lb. (10.9 kg)
70 to 2800 RPM
32.5” (826 mm)
10.55” (267 mm)
8.5” (216 mm)
30 lb. (13.6 kg)
Max. clearance,
table to spindle
Throat (no spacer)
(w/ headstock spacer)
Travel, X-axis*
Travel, Y-axis
Travel, Z-axis*
Hole through spindle
Spindle nose ext. thread
Spindle nose int. taper
Handwheel graduations
Leadscrew Pitch
Electronically controlled
Spindle speed range
Width overall**
Depth overall**
Height overall (Max.)**
Table size
Spindle Motor Specifications
Input voltage—100 to 240 VAC, 50 to 60 Hz
Output to motor—90 VDC
Current draw—.5 to 15 amps depending on load
No-load output shaft speed—6000 RPM (no pulley)
NOTE: Motor and speed control can be purchased
separately. Part numbers are as follows:
P/N 33050—DC Motor and Speed Control
P/N 33060— Headstock, DC Motor, Speed Control
Hold-down provision
Shipping weight
Movements in addition
to X-, Y- and Z-axes
5000 (5100)
5400 (5410)
2000 (2010)
8.00” (203 mm)
2.25” (50 mm)
8.65” (220 mm)
3.00” (76 mm)
6.25” (159 mm)
.405” (10 mm)
3/4-16 T.P.I.
#1 Morse
.001” (.01 mm)
.050”/rev (1 mm/rev)
8.00” (203 mm)
2.25” (50 mm)
3.50” (90mm)
8.65” (220 mm)
5.00” (127 mm)
6.25” (159 mm)
.405” (10 mm)
3/4-16 T.P.I.
#1 Morse
.001” (.01 mm)
.050”/rev (1 mm/rev)
9.00” (229 mm)
8.65” (220 mm)
7.00” (178 mm)
5.38” (137 mm)
.405” (10 mm)
3/4-16 T.P.I.
#1 Morse
.001” (.01 mm)
.050”/rev (1 mm/rev)
70 to 2800 RPM
14.75” (375 mm)
11.75” (298 mm)
20.75” (527 mm)
2.75” x 13.00”
(70 mm x 330 mm)
2 T-slots
33 lb (15.0 kg)
Headstock rotation
(90° L/R)
70 to 2800 RPM
15.00” (381 mm)
14.00” (356 mm)
20.75” (527 mm)
2.75” x 13.00”
(70 mm x 330 mm)
2 T-slots
36 lb (16.3 kg)
Headstock rotation
(90° L/R)
*Standard dimensions listed. Optional longer tables and taller
columns with extra travel are available.
**All overall dimensions include motor and speed control.
70 to 2800 RPM
15.00” (381 mm)
22.25” (565 mm)
23.38” (568 mm)
2.75” x 13.00”
(70 mm x 330 mm)
2 T-slots
38 lb (17.2 kg)
Headstock rotation
(90° L/R),
Column rotation (90° L/R),
Column pivot (90° Fwd/Bk),
Column swing (90°L/R),
Col. travel (In/Out) 5.5” (140 mm)
Sherline’s owner, Joe Martin, has put together the ultimate book for the Sherline machinist...
This Book Gives You Not Just the “Hows,”
But Also the “Whys” of Machining
The Perfect “Next Step” Beyond this Instruction Book
Right now you are holding one of the most complete
instruction manuals ever given away with any machine tool,
regardless of size or price. However, as complete as it is, most
new machinists will have more
questions than can be answered
in a basic instruction guide. The
book, Tabletop Machining, gave
Sherline’s owner, Joe Martin,
the chance to stretch out and
expand these basic instructions to
include much more detail on the
machines and processes related
to working with metal. Naturally,
the book can not provide stepby-step instructions for your
particular project, but rather it
concentrates on the basics of
metalworking. Armed with the
right facts, tips and techniques,
the machinist can then apply what
is learned to his particular needs.
Information is given on selecting
materials; using a lathe and a
mill; using measurement tools;
coolants; sharpening cutting tools;
using accessories for threading,
indexing and gear cutting; setting
up a home shop and much more. Plans and instructions for
several projects of varying levels of difficulty are provided
for beginning machinist so you can get started.
Creative Inspiration As Well As Instruction
A gallery of photos of superb miniature projects will show
you what others have been able to produce using miniature
machine tools. Seeing these fine projects will set your mind
to work in all sorts of new directions. A history of Sherline
tools is also included. It is written from the point of view
of giving you some guidance if you’ve ever thought of
starting your own business or
taking a product of your own
to market.
Printing Quality You'd Expect
in a Book that Chronicles the
Quest for Perfection
This book will be equally at
home on your living room coffee
table or your shop workbench.
Printed on 350 pages of high
quality, glossy paper, this large
8.5" x 11" softbound book is
packed with over 400 detailrich color photos and hundreds
of informative line drawings by
longtime Sherline art director
and technical illustrator, Craig
Libuse. The “lay-flat” binding
makes it easy to read and use as
a reference in your shop. The 12point cover is laminated with a
plastic coating to protect it. Both
the quality of the printing and
the information within have resulted in excellent reviews
from customers and magazine editors alike. If you like
tools and working on small, intricate projects, you should
plan on adding this book to your library.
P/N 5301 (Softbound)–$40.00
Enjoy the work of some of the world’s
best craftsmen at
www.CraftsmanshipMuseum .com
Sherline's factory and offices
in Vista, California, USA
3235 Executive Ridge, Vista, CA 92081-8527, USA
Toll Free Orders (USA): 1-800-541-0735 • Local/International/Technical Assistance: 1-760-727-5857
Fax: 1-760-727-7857 • E-mail:
Place orders 24 hours a day:
Information, instructions, photos, dealers, prices:
Products Made in USA • Manual Printed In USA
1/8 scale running John Deere tractor model by
Jerry Kieffer, DeForest, WI.
Miniature Lathe and Milling Machine
Assembly and
Instruction Guide
Seventh Edition
P/N 5326
©2010, Sherline Products Inc.
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF