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Sherline mill and lathe questions


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I currently own the base Sherline mill (5000) and the 8" lathe with the upgraded hand wheels (4530).  I bought both used on eBay, and have slowly accumulated a bunch of the accessories that would likely be needed for ship modeling.  

 

I saw that Sherline is offering the digital readout accessories (DRO) on sale this month, so was going to buy one for each (they would share the readout box).  But, I realized that my mill is in inches while the lathe is in metric.  I was hoping it wouldn't matter w'ith the DRO, but the screws, etc. are all calibrated so I'd still have to work in inches on the mill and in metric on the lathe.

 

Since I pretty much only like to work in metric these days, I'm thinking of selling the mill and buying a new one that is metric.  I'm thinking of going with the 5410, which has a slightly wider Y axis (5" versus 3") and a few other upgrades.  In trying to work all this out, I was considering other alternatives:

 

1.  Upgrade to 8-directional (2000) mill?  The next model up that has 8 directional milling (the 2000 I believe) is nice, but probably overkill I think for what I would use it for.  Anyone think the 2000 is worth it?  I have the tilting and rotating tables, so to the extent I needed to mill at angles, I could change the angle of the working piece, rather than the mill.  I'm sure there are various scenarios where one is better than the other, but I don't have enough experience to know for sure.

 

2.  Instead, buy a new lathe with the vertical milling column?  Is anyone using the vertical milling column setup?  I understand that the "milling base" would be a little smaller than the base of the standalone mills, but is that a problem for modeling ships?  Putting aside the hassle of having to sell both my mill and lathe, having one unit versus two would save some space in my workshop.  It seems like Sherline has done a nice job of making it fairly easy to switch from milling to lathe work without much issue.  I just don't know how much functionality one loses by combining the two machines.

 

3.  Upgrade to 17" lathe?  Another thing I could think about doing is upgrading to a longer bed lathe.  I think I posted this before, but if I recall correctly, folks (including DVM) suggested the 8" was more than sufficient, and if I needed to mill longer pieces, planing those pieces would work better than having to try and support the longer thin piece on the lathe.  Not to mention, the 17" lathe is almost a foot longer than the 8".

 

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.  If anyone is looking for a Sherline 5000 mill, feel free to PM me.  I'd prefer to sell it to someone here than to have to list it on eBay.

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Lot's of choices as usual!  

 

I have a 2000 mill that I bought 2nd hand and have not seen any need to consider the "8-axis" adjustments.  As you point out with a tilting table already in your accessories it is even less likely to want the additional "axes".  I have read that the re-alignment of the mill after rotating the head has to be done carefully which adds to the time to make the changes.

 

My mill is inch version as well but I have just ordered the metric leadscrew (and the 18" table) so that it will be compatible with the 17" metric lathe also on order.  I have also read opinions that support the longer lathe (see John Earl's comments for one).

 

I would have accepted the recommendation to add DRO option except that the mill I purchased is CNC and that pretty well removed the need for DRO.  I've chosen the CNC lathe package as well.

 

If space is not too much of an issue I think having both the mill and the lathe will be an advantage to avoid reconfiguration of a single machine. 

 

 

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I agree with all of Doug's comments. I have the 8-axis Mill and have never found the need to set it up as such, the Tilt Table and Rotary Table as well as a few other bits and pieces have removed the need to use the extra axes.

 

I also have the long-bed lathe, and I rarely use the extra length (I shape all my masts and yards by hand - it's actually a lot easier once you know the technique ;)). The long-bed lathe is useful in so far as the extra length allows you to move the tailstock well out of the way when setting up longer pieces that won't go through the centre hole.

 

I have both machines fitted with DRO (an absolute MUST HAVE in my opinion), and both share the one Readout box. Changing from one machine to another can be done in about 30 seconds.

 

In regard to your "Inch" Mill - about all you would need to change are the leadscrews and handwheels. I'd say this would be considerably cheaper than buying a new mill even if you got a really good price for the old one.

 

Cheers, Danny

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I kind of wound up with the opposite situation - inch lathe and metric mill. I use metric a lot in modeling, so I thought it would be good to have a metric mill, purchased a year or two after the lathe. However I didn't think about the fact that the end mills that come with the tool are in inch sizes as are most edge finders and much of the stock I work with. So I have to keep a chart next to the mill that shows the size of the cutters in mm. Sure - I could replace them all with metric end mills, but the ones that came with it are perfectly fine, so I haven't done that. And if you want to move to the center of, say, a 1-inch part, you have to convert that to mm as well. So a minor annoyance but if I had it to do over again, I'd just get an inch mill.

 

Since my name was mentioned above with regards to the 17" lathe, I'll say I still wish I'd gotten the longer bed. It would only have been $100 more up front but the cost to change out all the parts is around $300. While I don't often need the length for parts I make, getting that tail stock out of the way would really be helpful when I have something like the 3-jaw chuck and a drill bit in it.

 

Although I would probably use the DRO on the lathe if I had it, I really can't say I've missed it. And because I don't have room to leave my lathe out all the time, it would just be an extra effort to move the DRO box and plug in cables. The two machines don't sit anywhere near each other. Just wouldn't be worth the cost to upgrade the lathe to DRO to me. Your mileage may vary.

 

Cheers -

John

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Mike,

I don't have the Sherlines but my lathe just sits on the work bench.  At 90 pounds, it's not (and doesn't) wander about at the bench.  The mill on the hand, is bolted to 3/4" particle board and that is then screwed to the bench.  Mills are very top heavy and I don't want this one falling over.  The particle board is about 6" on a side bigger than the mill footprint.

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Mike I made a base with 2 drawers in it that store the smaller accessories. I find that on a crowed bench I am always misplacing, bits, the key for the chuck etc. It is worth the effort. Of course it does not hold the larger items like the tilting table but does hold the vise. My base for the mill is 17 1/2 X 14 X 3 1/2. The base has 4 rubber feet.

 

I have yet to work out a good system for all the cables as you can see.

 

Joe

P1010261.JPG

Edited by Thistle17
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38 minutes ago, SJSoane said:

I mounted my lathe and mill on laminate MDF as Doug just showed; nice surface for cleaning up. And after previously experimenting with tools in drawers, I more recently tried mounting them all on the wall, where I could see them all. I prefer this method now.

 

Mark

USA_MT_Polson__20171004_7.jpg

 

Nice Collection and Presentation!

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Mike, I have the long bed lathe with the milling column, and just added DRO to them. It is easy to change between the lathe and mill setup, and the only draw back is the limited movement of the XY axes in the mill setup. For example, to drill all the holes for the jackstays on the lower yards, I had to remove the yard from the vice and move it to another location. While it wasn't too hard to get it indexed to the previous location, it was still a pain. I am thinking of getting the mill base, where I can use the same Z column I already have. Maybe if that goes on sale like the DRO did...

 

I find I like the longer bed lathe for the reasons already given. I have not had a use for it yet that the shorter bed couldn't have worked. I mounted it on a pice of pine shelving with rubber feet that I clamp to the work bench. It seems very solid. With the vertical milling column on it is top heavy, so being able to clamp it down is important.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide on.

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Got some shelving in solid beech staves cut to size, or you may find cut-offs from similar kitchen tops. I sanded them nicely and gave them a coat of cellulose sanding filler, which was rubbed down with steel wool. This gives a nice satin finish that is quite resistant to oil, easy to clean and pleasing aesthetically.

 

Otherwise, I made boxes or under-bench cupboards with drawers for the numerous attachments and tools one tends to collect with time. For the spindle tools (chucks, collets) I turned the drawers upside-down and drilled holes for the shanks into them:

 

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/Marine-Forum/WorkshopLathe-72a.jpg

Edited by wefalck
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Hi again guys, thanks for all the thoughts and insight.  I think I was able to locate the inch to metric conversion kit for the mill, which is about $126.  Certainly cheaper than buying a new mill.

 

I thought about selling the mill, and converting my lathe to a mill with the vertical attachment to save space and it would be a little cheaper (for example, I think you only need on DRO set up).  Looks like the milling area would be really small though, so the option would be to buy a separate milling table and share the power system between the two machines.  That saves a bit of money, but results in the same amount of space as two separately powered machines.  So, probably not worth it.

 

I took a look at my lathe, and saw what people mean by the tailstock getting in the way.  I suppose I could always upgrade to a longer lathe if that ever becomes a real problem.  I don't really have the space to accommodate a 3 foot lathe though with my current work space... :(  So, probably keeping what I have makes the most sense at the moment.

 

So, after all this, I think I'm back to where I started as to whether to buy a new mill, or just outfit my current one to metric.  If I bought a new mill, it would only make sense if I got one with a bigger table.  Is there any reason for ship modeling to upgrade from my current 10" table to a 12" table?  I see that they also offer an 18" extended table for another $200.  I'm guessing that the 18" bed might be nice to have, but it's not really necessary (and would take a lot of space)?

 

Thanks again for all the input on this thread, I really appreciate it!  I have to say that after all this recent research, I really am impressed with how Sherline makes things standardized as well as modular to adapt for various circumstances and budgets.  I didn't quite get all that when I bought my mill and lathe.

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Very cool wefalck!  I wish I had the space to put something together like that.  Right now I'm using two work benches put back to back for a "work island" so to speak.  But, after adding my table saw, disc sander, thickness sander and mill, I don't have much room left for anything else if I want working space for my model.  So, the lathe and certain other tools are on shelving units :(  I am jealous of folks that have the room for separate work stations with different tools on them!

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Mike it is always a "tug" of what to buy and which version i.e. longer bed etc. My DRO mill has the 13 inch bed and I vacillated about the longer bed as well. It has not been missed. Recently I have been milling aluminum masts for the Atlantis and they are about 5 feet long. It is a bit awkward but I manage by adding a "rest" on the free end and moving the work piece (mast) along as needed in the vise, keeping the "y" position steady when I have to work over more than the bed will allow. Granted the things I am doing; drilling holes. milling a flat etc. do not require extreme accuracy. So at this stage of my usage I do not see the need for the longer configuration.

Joe

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Mike:

I agree with just about all the previous comments and suggestions.  I have the 2010 mill in which I've added the long bed and column and long work plate.  I've mounted my rotary table on it with my machine vise on top of that.  With the 8 axis I rotate the column to do angle cuts and put my angle plate away...  I've also mounted a 'microscope light' to the mill and placed my DRO (a must) on the motor housing.  I used 'split cable tube' (zip ties as well) to enclose the various cables.  My base if plywood with 'rubber feet' and never moves with all that weight and the long column does not seem to make it 'top heavy'.

 

You might consider the following options of which I've found work very well:

1. Convert to the 10K RPM pulley system (vs. the 2.8K RPM standard) which will save small end mill breakage (I do a lot in 0.5mm and 1.0mm) and makes much cleaner cuts.

2. Consider the longer column and table....

3. A rotary table is a must for modeling!

4. Consider a ventilation system (I've gravitated to the 'carvers filter' shown behind the mill.  I am a bit allergic to some woods so getting the dust under control is a must.

5. Sherline sells the beginners book with a lot of VERY USEFUL tips and suggestions, worth the money.

Best of luck and enjoy many hours of modeling!

Bill

 

Mill.jpg

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A ring-light is definitely a most useful attachement to any mill. I found the microscope-ones to bulky for my machines and thus fabricated one myself. The basis was a so-called angel-light, an LED-ring to be installed in car head-lights that you can buy for a Euro or so from ebay, plus another couple of Euros for a small electronic transformer ('LED-driver'): http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/tools/attachments/attachments.html#Ring-light

 

Not sure that I would go for the Sherline 8-axis configuration. Tramming the column to be vertical can be a pain. I would rather go for tilting vice or the Sherline-native tilting mounting plate.

 

I would agree that a rotating table is a useful implement, if not even a must ...

Edited by wefalck
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