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Sherline and platinum mill / lathe


Aloha, The Sherline mills and lathes, are fine hobbyist tools. In Joe
Martin’s (owner of Sherline) own words, “Backlash on the leadscrew is
usually about .003” to .005", “I can easily turn a diameter, close to
the chuck, on the lathe within .0002” (2 tenths of a thousandth of an
inch)" and also ," to increase the accuracy less than 1% would
increase the the cost by a factor of 10". This resolution is not bad,
for the price of the tools offered. They have lots of accessories
available and US made (on CNC equipment :wink: . If you are not doing
high tolerance work, this maybe good enough for you. The machine tool
will cut what you want, with the right tool, setup, feedrate, RPM and
depth of cut. Different materials, require different technique and
tooling. You should do well with this machine. Some other manual
tools to consider are TAIG, Emco-Maier, Sakai, and Prazi, to name a
few of that size. Personally, I have 2 Emco Maier Instrument Makers
mill / lathes for down and dirty machining. If you know someone that
has any of these small machines, you should give one a try. Remember,
“Accuracy is speed” and “measure twice, cut once”. Good luck and have
fun on your adventure.

Best Regards,

Christian Grunewald
Precision Modelmaking Technologies
(808) 622-9005


I have a EMCO/Maier Compact 5 lathe mill combination I would not
recommend it it has too much slop in its gibs as the wear strips in
them are made of plastic and lack rigidity also there are too many
pot metal parts. I have heard very good things about the Sakai but
have not used one. I own a Sherline mill and am going to buy the
lathe. They are not the highest precision but to get better you would
need to spend many times the price of the Sherline and unless you are
an instrument maker or watchmaker you probably do not need that level
of precision. However if you are interested in a precision lathe look
at a Levin at those are very
nice machines.

I do machine platinum on my mill and lathe . The nature of platinum

makes it hard on tools and the surface finish is not very good
unless you use diamond tipped tooling which is very expensive (a
lathe tool bit insert is about $150!). So you want to make sure you
can get into thew areas you have machined and clean them up with
files and abrasives.

James Binnion Metal Arts

Member of the Better Business Bureau


We have been using the compact 5 lathe for 12 years now with good
results when we machine platinum and titanium. We use sharp cutting
tools (carbide), and cutting fluid (ususaly WD-40). With the proper
cuts and feed rates we get excellent surface finishes. We often turn
between centers on an expanding mandrel. Plastic gibs are found on
many machine tools (Including the Sherline), and are not a problem if
they are adjusted correctly. I have used both the compact-5 mill and
the sherline mill extensively and I am not a great fan of either one.
They are just too small to make anything except light cuts. With
milling machines mass matters more than it does with lathes. On a
jewelry scale they are okay, and both are great for machining wax.
John <@johnjuan>