Mill and Lathe setup

Greetings to Orchid Landot sure

Holy Molly I think I may survive X-mas # 30? Any Hoooo All the best
to the best group of folks! I love Orchid!

I need your feedback on a good Mill and Lathe setup. My $ are not
able to go top of the line but I’m not sure that’s needed. I am
hoping you guy’s can give me some suggestions. I’m not sure I can
afford the Prazi stuff but am not sure that the Sherline stuff is
sufficient. Please help me out.

Bowing Deeply


I’ve used Sherline lathes and milling machines routinely in my
jewelry fabrication for 6 or 7 years. They have served me well. I
get sufficient accuracy when I am careful about job setup. I use them
manually, with digital readout; no CNC.

John Palmer
Mackinac Designs

Hey Karl,

You don’t need a mill I’m coming to work with you after the first of
the year. We are going to bang out your wifes ring and a spectrum
award. Go us! Sorry I’ve been out of the loop 14 hour days for 25
days striaght.


Don’t know what you are planning to do with them but you have to
figure out the maximum distance for the lathe from the bed ways to
the center of the chuck. For the dia of the material you will be
turning. The basic Sherline is 3.5" with the riser blocks set you can
turn almost 6"dia material and the the length of the bed for the
length of the material.15" or 24" long. I have the 24". you start
with the basic model in either inch or metric and add the accessories
as you need them or can afford them.I haven’t tried them on wax yet
but they have a wood tool rests that probably would work on wax.

The same on the the mill you have to figure out what is the largest
sized material that I will want to do.But you have to figure the
height, width and length. the height less the tooling. I have the
8-direction model 2000 vertical mill. but any of the mills can be
upgraded by buying the parts at a later time and funds permits. The other machines in the size range of the Prazi or
Sherline are generally ones that need to be fine tuned by the person
that buys them. Grizzly and Jet are two names of larger machines
that are of a better quailty out of the box. Grizzly stands behind
the stuff and is of a price/quality. is the web site and they can be purchased
from most industrial suppliers in the major areas. If you are only
doing small to very small work check out the Taig lathe at

All the standard disclaimer apply. been there, done that and it took
away before making a choice!



I need your feedback on a good Mill and Lathe setup. My $ are not
able to go top of the line but I'm not sure that's needed. I am
hoping you guy's can give me some suggestions. I'm not sure I can
afford the Prazi stuff but am not sure that the Sherline stuff is
sufficient. Please help me out. 

Not knowing what your objectives are, it is a little difficult
suggesting machines which will meet your needs.

would be a good place to start. Many owners of different machines
have weighed in on the pro’s and con’s of the various machines they
own including Mini-lathes.

Additionally there is also guidance and suggestions on milling

What I have is the HF 9X20 and the HF Mini-mill, I researched the
limitations and suggestions for improvements from the various user
groups, the upgrades listed were within my capabilities and allowed
me to purchase less expensive machines. On the mini-mill, I was glad
I purchased the HF because it has the R8 spindle which is very
available at the machine shop sites which carry such things. On the
lathe, I have not regretted going with the MT 3 headstock taper with
the MT 2 tailstock, both tapers are readily available and in a wide
array of adaptors and tooling. As suspected the finishing touches on
the HF equipment are only in the area required by accuracy and
operation. One item I found right off the bat was that the mounting
bolt slots on my machine required grinding as the bolts would not fit
in the slots. Not a big thing, but it was worth my time to take this
action than pay the $300 for someone else to do it, which was about
the price difference at the time of purchase. Things I would suggest
you do upon receipt; a; clean the machine, b; do the alignments,
i.e. trammeling the head and tailstocks. The above two actions saved
me much time in identifying my errors from machine errors, in fact,
there were no machine errors, they were all mine. Poorly ground bits,
poor adjustment control and feeding to fast for the material I was

The accuracy of the machines I have are well within my needs for
anything I have done including making rollers for my rolling mill and
machine plates (holders) for my flexshaft handpieces.

Hope this proves useful.


I need your feedback on a good Mill and Lathe setup. 

Well, the easy answer to that is Whatever you think it is… Meaning
there are as many combos as you like. This is what I have, though:

Mill: Nice folks - also
have a presence on E-Bay.

Lathe: I actually have the KBC tools version, but
the link to that wasn’t going to work. Be aware that ALL of the 9 x
(import) lathes out there are the same machine, just with different
paint jobs - Jet, KBC, Enco, etc.

The mill is probably second up in the world of “real” mills - R8
tooling, 2hp, 750lb. First up is the Rong Fu line. The one I have has
a dovetail z-axis and a gearbox, not belt drive. Of course, REAL
mills start at Bridgeport, but for a bench mill… Nice Machine - I
use indexable tooling, and I can do anything I want in any material,
including steel. I have automatic x-axis feed, too, and put in

I had the smaller import lathe (7x10?), and stepped up to the 9 x 20.
It has a quick-change gearbox, much more power and rigidity, much
more reliable drive, it’s more than twice the lathe than the smaller.
Again, a Logan would be nice, but this works quite well for me - I do
fairly low-precision work, mostly, by machine shop standards. I’ve
had the longitudinal feed gears strip on me lately, but Grizzly has
spare parts. I have a quick change toolpost, and also use indexables,

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with the Taigs - Sherlines are awfully
small, though. I’m planning to get a CNC Taig or similar in addition
to my mill. But I use mine for “real” milling - toolmaking, indexing,
facing and the like.

Hey Karl,

I need your feedback on a good Mill and Lathe setup. My $ are not
able to go top of the line but I'm not sure that's needed> 

I used the Sherline 5400 and 24" lathe for going on 10yrs. I’m
currently looking to increase power and capacity but for basic
jewelry needs: wax, delrin, brass, aluminum, & soft steel that you’re
not in a hurry to get through the Sherline system can’t be beat. They
have the greatest range of accessories and the build quality is very
good, although neither the beds, spindles, or chucks are hardened.

My equipment is all metric manual. Alignment is good when you get
the machines but a little tweaking can put you into an accuracy range
of.005 mm (handwheels are laser engraved at.01mm).

American made, parts readily available, good response from company
reps for problems and questions.

Buy a good dial indicator (probe type not plunger) and a digital
micrometer regardless of what you buy in lathe/mill equip.

Les Brown
L.F.Brown Goldwork, Inc.
17 Second St. East, Ste. 101
Kalispell, MT 59901

Hi Karl,

I use a Sherline lathe and mill attachment. I use this mill in the
traditional way - no digital display etc. I am pleased with the
lathe - I have worked on other, larger lathes. I don’t have any
experience with other, smaller lathes but I am very pleased with
Sherline’s service, the equipment, and the practical, technical help
that they offer. Whatever lathe/mill you purchase - it is only a tool

  • the operator determines the outcome. It is my experience that the
    fineness of adjustment of a mechanical instrument never equals the
    decernment of hand, eye, and intention. And it is also true that
    decernment also leads to a demand for greater and greater accuracy -
    hence the wish for quality tools!


Donna Hiebert Design

Hi Karl,

What do you intend to do with the lathe and mill? We use Sherline
equipment in our studio, and it functions quite well for all sorts
of materials. If you could let Orchid readers know how you intend to
use it, I am sure we would all share our opinions!

Chris Ploof Studio

Hi Gang,

Proxxon makes some very good small lathes, mills & other tools
useful when making small items. Go to to down load their

The website isn’t exactly user friendly, but you can see what
they’ve got. You can also order a hardcopy catalog on the site.


Just to pitch in:

I use a sherline lathe, long bed

I use a taig mill, started manual then CNC’d it after a few months

largest part built so far was a 6’ long drag saw blade.

happy to chat further, myself and many others will be giving demo’s
at the Tucson electric park if you want to stop by.

mark Zirinsky, Denver


I need your feedback on a good Mill and Lathe setup. My $ are not
able to go top of the line but I'm not sure that's needed. I am
hoping you guy's can give me some suggestions. I'm not sure I can
afford the Prazi stuff but am not sure that the Sherline stuff is 

I don’t know what you needs are. I use a cable driven hand piece
mounted in a vice to turn wax. Not a precise as a lathe but works
fine for things that do not need the tightly controlled dimensions. I
can turn up to 3-1/2 inches in diameter wax about 4 inches long. Its
a very simple process and does not need a lot of expensive tools…

If you think that might work for you let me know and I can send a

Lee Epperson