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J T Lombard

Sherline model 4400DRO Lathe

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I see no one has responded so far. I don't have the DRO version of the lathe so I can't comment on the usefulness of DRO. I do have it on my mill and am very glad I do but there haven't been many times where I wished I had it on the lathe, although I can see how it could be useful - especially for repetitive tasks. As for accessories, I think it's a matter of what you can afford and what you want to do. I think it's cheaper to buy a package deal up front than it is to add all the same accessories individually later. I got a B package with mine and some of the things I've used and some I haven't. I didn't feel like I'd need the thread cutting attachment that comes with the C package and so far, haven't missed it. I've often thought about buying the compound slide though and likely will one of these days. I also added a 4-jaw, self centering chuck. I have not had occasion or need to use the steady rest, faceplate, or lathe dog so far and I've had my lathe for about 3 years now.

 

One other accessory you might want to consider is a quick-change tool post. I know Sherline makes one, but I think it's too expensive. You can find one for half the price at Little Machine Shop that looks good - http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=4039

I bought one made by another company (A2Z) but they have since gone out of business. It would be much more tedious to use the lathe without that tool post. I often change tools frequently while working on a single part.

 

One other accessory you might consider getting is the WW collet set (1160). If you're working with small-diameter wood stock, a collet can hold it well without causing indentation marks the way a 3-jaw chuck can. The drawback to collets, though, is that the diameter of the stock must be very close to the internal diameter of the collet so their usefulness can be limited. I use my 3-jaw chuck 99% of the time. But if, for instance, you were turning a bunch of wooden belaying pins, the collet would be very nice to have. If you only turn metal or wood where the indentations won't matter, then I think the 3-jaw chuck is just fine.

 

I bought my lathe and mill from Discount Campus.

They have better pricing than Sherline Direct and they are an authorized reseller. I've bought accessories from them as well and have no complaints.

 

Hope that helps -

John

 

 

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I thought of one more thing you might want to consider about the DRO option. I don't have room in my shop to leave the lathe out on a workbench all the time. I have to store it away between uses. There are a lot of wires and things associated with the DRO that would add to the difficulty of moving it around a lot. So if you're considering the DRO option, you'll likely be happier if you don't ever have to move the lathe.

 

Cheers -

John

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One reason to consider the DRO lathe is that Sherline sells a vertical milling column (one with the DRO sensor $190 3050-DRO/3053-DRO & one without $157 3050/3053) for their lathe that allows you to convert it to a mill (though with a reduction of the milling area).  If you don't already have a mill it's a way to get into a full DRO setup without buying two machines as the display box supports 3-axis + the speed readout.

 

But I agree, the DRO on a lathe is nice but definitely not required.  With a mill, I would definitely get the DRO option.

Canute, donrobinson and mtaylor like this

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If you have interests in machining beyond ship building there are certainly some advantages with a larger machine but if it's just for model making then it probably covers all of what you would want.  I have a small non-Sherline mill but after significant deliberation and work on a friend's machines I'm leaning towards getting a standard bench mill and lathe.

 

You might luck out and find a Sherline on Craigslist, on eBay it seems the used prices are 60%+ of the retail prices.  Tooling and accessories seem to be better deals.  A couple of months ago, I missed a craigslist sale of a retired clock maker that was selling both machines with the DRO packages for a fantastic price.  So they are out there.

 

Also, take a look at their distributors list and call around to see what price they can offer since I think most will be drop shipping your order from Sherline.

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I have a Sherline lathe that I subsequently equipped with their DRO as an add-on.  It's a huge improvement on counting the number of times that I've cranked the handwheels. I end up with fewer parts spoiled when I lose track of the number of times I've turned the crank. 

 

With regard to portability, the wires unhook readily, so that's not a problem.

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