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Opinions on Sherline DRO for Lathe


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I am getting closer to purchasing a Sherline lathe.  I am still not comfortable with the zero wheels on my mill.  The calculations seem to go very slowly especially when having to reset or when there is play in the gibs.

 

Thus my inquiry.  Does anyone use a dro on the sherline lathe and is it worthwhile in ship modeling?

 

Thanks,

Richard

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Ahoy Mates

 

Just to start being 63 when I started out in a machine shop bak when I was only 12 there was only the lead screw dial that was on it and the next step was mounting a direct reading indicator to show the movement of either the carriage or tool rest. You had to deal with lead screw backlash and it took a lot of skill and use to use them correctly and get things right.

 

Next was when I was 17 and the shop had travel dials on the Bridgeport mill table and cross feed. They were better than the dial on the lead screws,they showed the table travel. But they could slip and if you had to be very accurate,you still had to set up direct indicators on the X and Y axis to also show any crabing of the machines tables when moved,or to show movement when they had to stay still. Still al lot depended on the skill of the toolmaker  or machinist .

 

Then DRO's first generation came out. they were better than what had been used before,but the resolution was only .001 total because they used a glass scale with lines etched into the glass. The reader owuld detect the bar and the counters would add up the total number of lines crossed. At this stage they used frequency counters that had been around since the 1940's and Nixe tubes for the numbered lights to show how far you had traveled. You could have a total of .001 error since you could be just up to the next line going both ways without the numbers changing-thus the error of distance. I still had to use a direct reading indicator to know where I was really at.

 

Then they went solid state and now use magnetic encoded bars.

 

They have come a long way,and those of you hwo have only used their mills for hobby work,you really can not know the preasure that we went thru before the DRO's came about to know where your mill table was in relation to you mill cutter of boring head. I have not said anything about the spinel that your tool is in. These also deflect and move around either from being lose in the quill of machine head from use,and the bearings in your spindle also make up a large part of being accurate in holding the cutting tool on center and not deflecting when cutting forces are applied.

 

Just gong down memory lane here. Less and less guys around who had to machine before DRO's were around. I also used tooling buttons,which you set suing height gauges and indicators. You would set these round cylinders on the part you wanted to drill or bore a hole in the exact center of the hole. Then set up the part in the mill or lathe. Indicate the button until it was in the center of the spindle where your toll was. Set up direct reading indicators on all moving parts of the table if you were in a mill. Then remove the tooling button and drill and bore your hole in this place. And hope that it did not move,and if so that your indicators would allow you to move it back on the center you wanted.

 

 

Are there any guys out there who know what I am talking about with tooling buttons? I still have about 100 of them in different sizes-home made ones and also Starrette made ones.And one's over 100 years old that I got from my Dad.

 

Keith

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I've seen some of this Keith, back in the 70's when I worked for a defense contractor.  All prototypes were done manually and then if the parts were successful, the data was taken, drawings reworked and offset tables (I think that's what they called them) were punched into tape and fed to the big Cincy Millicron milling machines for the production run.  CAD was a gleam but many companies were doing in-house things on mainframes to get things to the machines.   The CNC of today and all the digital measuring equipment was only a gleam in the machinist's eye back then or maybe a dream.

 

I've also done some milling the old way with engines as most auto machine shops used old manual equipment.  Lots of fun and I've probably forgot more than I want to admit as it was (to me at least) a long time ago.  

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Well, you all have me pretty well convinced that DRO is a good thing.

 

I have been trying to compare power (watts). I am not sure how to calculate that.  The Sherline lists specs are:

 

  • Duty rating: Continuous–10 oz. in. at 6100 rpm, .85 amperes; Intermittent–30 oz. in. at 5500 rpm, 1.75 amperes (5 minutes on / 15 minutes off)
  • Output horsepower: .06 KW (60 W) at 10 oz. in. / 6100 rpm
  • AC voltage (input): Normally 115 VAC, 60 Hz, Single Phase to rectifier (Sherline electronic speed control converts any input from 100 VAC to 240 VAC, 50-60 Hz.)
  • DC voltage: 90 VDC to motor (60 Hz)
  • Normal full load current: .85 amperes
  • Starting current: 17 amperes instantaneous starting current (

Can anyone tell me how many Watts power this lathe? (and is that part of a valid comparison between various mini lathes?)

 

Thanks all,

Richard 

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As always - depends on what your making. I have DRO on my Sherline. The biggest downside is cords running everywhere. Also be aware (as I was not) if you like the bigger wheels they are not available with DRO. The DRO wheels have the sensors in the housing and cannot be replaced.

 

I'm just turning spars and the like, so I probably could get by just fine without DRO.

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I use the DRO on both my Sherline lathe and mill and wouldn't be without them. They make life a LOT easier.

 

Here are some pics of a stand that I made for mine. I have a base screwed to each baseboard, so it's only a matter of unplugging the leads and loosening one screw to go from one machine to the other. It takes about 40 seconds to change from the lathe to the mill.

 

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:cheers:  Danny

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  • 2 months later...

Very helpful thoughts from everyone.  I have been distracted for a couple of months which is why the long delay in responding.

Mark, John, Allen, Al, thanks for the insights, the DRO does sound like the way to go.  

Don, my rework due to on the fly calculations is a primary reason for considering DRO. 

Keith, i wasn't sure that the DRO adjusted for backlash.  That will be helpful.

 

Mike, the restriction for wheel size is something I did not know.  That might put a fly in the DRO ointment. The smaller wheels might be difficult with long use.  

 

Dan

good idea for the stand.  I will keep your set up in mind.  

 

Do any of you use a power feed and would you recommend it?

 

Richard

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I would not buy a lathe without auto feed. It is particularly useful when turning long runs and it is essential to get a nice finish because of the regularity of the feed. Without the auto feed, the finish will be much rougher. To give a comparison, finish by hand would be # 80 and finish with auto feed depending of it's speed could be between # 60 and 1000.

 

Does DRO was invented to help to turn or mill wood?   No

Does turning or milling for model ship is precision turning? No

Is DRO essential for a model maker? No

Does the use of the DRO can facilitate the job? Yes

Is it a good thing to have good tools? Usually the answer is yes

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I bought my Sherline lathe many years ago.  And at that time DRO was just getting started.  Over the years I sometimes wish I had bought the set up.  But I learned how to work things with the help of friends.  I think DRO is perfect for those who have problems seeing the lines on the wheel. And for making those repetitive  cuts where you have to keep track of your turns.

David B

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I had wandered onto the Little Machine shop site and they have a lathe, the Sieg X2D that comes with a power feed and is less expensive than the Sherline and seems to have a larger feature set.

I wondered if anyone had experience with it?

 

I know that by now I am belaboring the point but I really feel the need for due diligence before I spend a thousand dollars or more. I am strongly leaning towards the Sherline based on all I have heard so far, plus it is an American company.  But I want to check the alternatives.

 

Thanks you all for you patience.

Richard

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Richard,

The Sieg is pretty much the same one as the MicroMark version (out of Central Machinery in China) although the MM version has the more powerful motor but doesn't have the digital speed readout that the Sieg has.  Not a bad machine and there's plenty of accessories.  

 

I have the MM version of the older 7X14 version..  I did need to true up the chuck a bit and then there's accessories... but that's another matter.  :)   Figure into your budget for cutting tools, maybe a 4 jaw chuck, live centers, tool holders (not required but helpful if you're changing cutters).  I also bought the DRO's for my lathe.

 

The Sherline doesn't have the autofeed...  but, some of the packages for the Sherline could save a big chunk of change.  It's easy to spend as much money or more on accessories than for the machine.

 

Personally, I'd consider Sherline to be the "top of the line" lathe.... 

 

Follow your heart and your head on this.   Go with the one you'll think you'll be most comfortable with as peace of mind is big part of the purchase.

Edited by mtaylor
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I bought my Sherline lathe many years ago.  And at that time DRO was just getting started.  Over the years I sometimes wish I had bought the set up.

 

 

David (and others), you can retro-fit the Sherline with DRO. Sherline sell the complete package as an accessory.

 

:cheers:  Danny

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/10/2018 at 8:59 AM, biltut said:

This Sherline DRO is on sale this month at Sherline for anyone that is interested.  Usual disclaimer, no connection but just purchased one.

Thanks Bill - I've been meaning to get one but have been waiting to see it go on special.  Forgot to check this month, so thank you!

 

Good to know that you can use the display for both the mill and the lathe.  Saves a bunch of change.

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MIKE/DANNY:

 

I got the DRO set up on my mill and liked it so much I bought another unit without the display for my lathe. 

 

Danny you have a really neat set up on yours.  Did the encoders come with the red handwheels when you bought yours, or did you fashion them somehow later.  I really hated to give up my Adjustable-Zero red handwheels but the DRO comes with some generic looking black wheels.  

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9 minutes ago, biltut said:

MIKE/DANNY:

 

I got the DRO set up on my mill and liked it so much I bought another unit without the display for my lathe. 

 

Danny you have a really neat set up on yours.  Did the encoders come with the red handwheels when you bought yours, or did you fashion them somehow later.  I really hated to give up my Adjustable-Zero red handwheels but the DRO comes with some generic looking black wheels.  

Bill, I can't remember if they came with the wheels or if I bought them separately. It WAS about 12 years ago :D. I do know that they are Sherline items however, and would have just bolted on without any modification.

 

:cheers:  Danny

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Danny,

 

Thanks for the quick reply. They certainly are more handsome than the black ones that are accompany the DRO's now.  

 

 From the photos of the lathe it sure looks like you have a nicely set up shop.  Are there any other pictures on the Forum of other areas of your workspace.  Since I got the DRO I am thinking about building a small stand with a drawer in it for my lathe.  And then I will probably want to do the same thing with my Mill.  This kinda stuff gets out of control for me and is the main cause of my models taking so long to finish.  I will start out with ideas of something simple, then it progresses to hand cut dovetails and so on.  From the looks of what I have seen of your shop, you suffer from some of the same issues.

 

 

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Unfortunately I no longer have that shop setup :(. I've moved house several times since I was there, and am "reduced" to working from a single workbench. I still have all my tools, but anytime I need to do something on the lathe or mill I have to drag it out of a cupboard :(. Another reason why I got into Card modelling ;).

 

Cheers, Danny

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