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what experience do you have with Little machine shop

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I have seen equipment on Little Machine Shop and their extensive library of helpful information.


I was wondering if anyone had experience with their lathes and mills or with their support. I have found them helpful for accessories but wonder about their machines, especially as compared to Sherline.



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Just hearsay here, but I've heard nothing but good things about them over the years.  Little Machine Shop seems to be oriented towards serious machinists, which is a good thing.  They have a wide range of machines and tooling.  It's a demanding market.  If an outfit isn't pretty good, they aren't going to be in business long and TMS has been around for a while now.


As for buying Sherline, or any "micro" machines, I'd offer the observation that it's really important to get as much information up front as possible.  (Which you are doing here.)  I'd suggest you check out the "home shop machinist" type forums and ask your questions there.  Those guys have a huge amount of knowledge to share when it comes to machine tools.  While I won't call myself a machinist by any stretch of the imagination, the advice I got was to get the biggest machine I could fit in my shop (and afford) and to get good used "old Amurricun 'arn" which is a lot less expensive than questionable new Chinese stuff.  I scored a late-model Craftsman/Atlas 12" X 42" with all the tooling anybody could hope for thanks to Craigslist and I've been very happy with it. (The tooling it came with is probably worth three or four times what the lathe itself is worth.) I paid probably a third of what a basic Sherline or Taig set up would run.  The Atlas isn't the top choice for doing serious production machining because it is somewhat light weight for a 12X lathe, but it's entirely serviceable if you don't get impatient and try taking 1/4" cuts!  It does anything I need for modeling, as well as general shop use and properly set up is as accurate as I will ever be able to need..  The big advantage is that the tooling is standard and readily available.  There's plenty for sale used as well, which means big savings.  Figure to spend at least as much on even basic tooling as you do on the machine itself.  That's where the problems I've heard of arise with the Sherline and Taig type of machinery.  Sherline's tooling, at least when I checked it out, was pretty much all proprietary.  In other words, if you want a widget, you will have to by a Sherline widget because none of the standard widgets will fit on your Sherline machine.  That makes the Sherline hugely more expensive.  Somebody may want the Sherline and that makes the expensive justifiable for them, of course.  I'm not saying Sherline makes a poor machine, one way or the other, but If you buy a machine that is based on standard tooling, i.e. standard Morse tapers, standard T-nuts and so on, you will probably be a lot happier and a lot richer.  The thing to remember about machine tools is that an accurate big machine will do small work, but a small machine can't do big work and the small machines don't cost all that much less, either.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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I have dealt with Little Machine Shop for years.  They have responded to any problem I have experienced with their equipment , quickly and satisfactorily.  I have only ordered accessories for my Mini Lathe or Mini Mill.  I have been very happy with these for larger work, which I can not handle in my Sherline , Unimat 3 or Taig.  The accuracy is a little less though.


 I also have an Atlas 6 inch, which is a smaller model of the one described above by Bob.  I applaud his comments regarding size.  You can do small work on a larger lathe but not large work on a small one.  Having said this, I do find it more comfortable sometimes to set up something on a smaller lathe if it is available.  I am an old guy who has been building models for years so I have accumulated more tools than I really need but this has proven to be a luxury often.  The old Atlas lathes are good lathes for model work and are often available at reasonable prices.  E-Bay always seems to command a greater price so watch the Craig's list for something in your area and you may find a better deal.  It is always better to find a package deal with a lot of accessories as they are difficult to find when you need them and command higher prices.  I still use my Unimat 3 but admit that I purchased it new when it was only a couple hundred dollars.  The Atlas attachments were also much cheaper years ago when Atlas was producing the lathes and accessories.  They have been steadily rising too.  Good Luck with your search, I hope you find something nice.

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  • 4 months later...

For a detailed review of their mill go to http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/5783-a-review-of-a-mini-mill-from-little-machine-shop/?hl=%2Blittle+%2Bmachine+%2Bshop


I have used this mill for some time and am very happy with it. It runs quietly, goes up to 5000 rpm with a digital speed indicator right in front. The vertical motion can be changed from an accurate dial indicator type to a 'drill press' type with the push of a single button. The table is larger than most mini mills and the accessories are great and of good quality.

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