Older Sherline 4000 for Beginners First Lathe

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mals

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Hello all, and thanks for all the information I've been absorbing since finding this forum.

I have an interest in learning model machining with the goal of making a few simple projects, and then moving on to some beginner air/steam models, and ultimately small IC / Hit & Miss models.

My original plan was to get something similar to the LittleMachine Shop 5100 7x16" lathe to learn on, prove that I like machining, and then likely move up to something like a Precision Matthews PM1020 lathe and PM25 mill as my skills and projects increase. However, even the LMS 5100 is a big investment in an unproven hobby.

Today a 1976 Sherline 4000 came up locally on Craigslist. It includes the Sherline 3050 Milling Column attachment for the lathe base, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, and a jacobs chuck for the tailstock. This is the original US made model with a brass lathe bed and milling column and a 1/5 HP AC/DC motor. It has been owned by the sellers father since purchased new in 1976. Looks like it has been sitting for a while with some flash rust on the chucks and ways. They are asking $500, and I was thinking of offering $350. That would leave me some money to get the quick tool post and some basic tooling. Sherline also offers and upgrade package to install their current 90V DC 1/2HP motor and controller on the 4000 for about $300.

What are the thoughts on getting this as an intro setup to work on basic skill for a few years while I save up for the PM1020 and PM25 and skip the LMS 5100 all together? I think I understand the limitations of the micro Sherline lathe/mill setup, but it looks like some have tackled small model engine builds with similar equipment.

Any and all input or comments are welcome.

-mals
 
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Your offer on the Sherline seems good, if the lathe is in good shape. Lots of people make some really good things with Sherlines.

Besides the slightly larger capacity of the lathe from LMS, it has the capacity to cut threads, which is a skill that many machinists consider important. Many also consider the 7x Minilathes like the LMS one to be works in progress, which will also give you more to learn.

Even though I went the 7x route myself, If I found the Sherline to be in good shape, I would get it if I was starting out today.

As far as your future upgrade plans, consider that you will find there are many things that will make you change your plans as time passes. Also, remember that you will ultimately spend more on tooling and other needs past the original cost of any machine you will buy. It's probably better to spend less at startup and use the saved money for these other things.

--ShopShoe
 
You find most small lathes are good choice.
The big one most have is tool bits.
Just look great cutting drill bits and take angle use same for tool bits for lathe this about 7° to 10° for most metals (1° to 2° for brass or copper)
This is part make most lathes work geat.

Dave

Hello all, and thanks for all the information I've been absorbing since finding this forum.

I have an interest in learning model machining with the goal of making a few simple projects, and then moving on to some beginner air/steam models, and ultimately small IC / Hit & Miss models.

My original plan was to get something similar to the LittleMachine Shop 5100 7x16" lathe to learn on, prove that I like machining, and then likely move up to something like a Precision Matthews PM1020 lathe and PM25 mill as my skills and projects increase. However, even the LMS 5100 is a big investment in an unproven hobby.

Today a 1976 Sherline 4000 came up locally on Craigslist. It includes the Sherline 3050 Milling Column attachment for the lathe base, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, and a jacobs chuck for the tailstock. This is the original US made model with a brass lathe bed and milling column and a 1/5 HP AC/DC motor. It has been owned by the sellers father since purchased new in 1976. Looks like it has been sitting for a while with some flash rust on the chucks and ways. They are asking $500, and I was thinking of offering $350. That would leave me some money to get the quick tool post and some basic tooling. Sherline also offers and upgrade package to install their current 90V DC 1/2HP motor and controller on the 4000 for about $300.

What are the thoughts on getting this as an intro setup to work on basic skill for a few years while I save up for the PM1020 and PM25 and skip the LMS 5100 all together? I think I understand the limitations of the micro Sherline lathe/mill setup, but it looks like some have tackled small model engine builds with similar equipment.

Any and all input or comments are welcome.

-mals
 
I would by this Sherline. Just keep in mind that these lathes are very small, so you wouldn't be able to make anything big.
Elmer's model engines I think would be a good choice to start making something. If you find that you like this hobby, then you can buy larger machines and because the Sherlines are small you can keep them for really small parts.
 
Thanks for all the replies, and for all the helpful info.

I decided to pass on this particular Sherline. The seller didn't want to come down on price, and with the upgrades I would want to make to the setup and tooling it would start to get close to the price of a more modern sherline with a DC motor, more rigid frame, and less overall wear. I will keep my eyes open for any other similar 3" lathes while I save up for a 7" or 10".
 
I would consider that a pretty decent price myself, certainly compared to what we have on offer here in OZ anyway. And the Sherline's are pretty well regarded in general as a fairly good quality and very workable lathe.

I think they would tend to slowly go up in value too as they are fairly robust and well made.
 
I have a Taig Lathe and Mill, Taig does not have the accessories that Sherline has which means they have to be built if needed, but that is a way of learning for a novice, the lathe is relatively cheap for a starter. and Sherline accessories are fairly expensive,

If you want to see the type of work I produce on my machines go to Walter Maisey's channel on Youtube that should give you some idea

I have attached a couple of photos here,

Edmund
 

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I second the Taig lathe. Mine does everything I need it to do. My Taig mill as well. Great little lathe and mill for the size.
 
Hi Folks,

I had a short bed Sherline lathe and found the combination of not being able to slide the tail stock off the end of the bed and the extra steps needed to remove the tail stock a real irritation. Because of the work I was doing at the time, clock and watch restoration, a flex shaft was used a lot when repivoting and polishing small bits and pieces. The tail stock was always in the way, but was always needed for the steps prior to needed the flex shaft. This may not be something that effects most folks, but it was an issue for me. The quite limited between centers distance also required the use or fabrication of quite short tools for use in the tail stock chuck.

I have both Taig and Sherline lathes, and did replace the Sherline short bed with a long bed. The Sherline has the added benefit / curse of moving the carriage via lead screw with no quick movement option. Given 20 turns per inch, having to turn the knob 200 times to move 10 inches sort of sucks, but being able to turn a 0.047 inch step to a shoulder dead on without multiple measurements and test fits is a joy.

Before we continue, please know that I still have these machines now that I've retired. I just used the Taig to make some bushings for a family tall case clock and still found it a nice experience. The Sherline is used for some model making when having all the movements controlled with graduated dials is beneficial. These are both very good machines, but are coming from quite different design philosophies. Sherline was build to be a fairly complete and good looking system of machines and accessories. Taig originated in the idea that everyone should be able to afford a basic simple metal lathe, to the point of selling it in kit form. I think I saw the original Taig lathes being demoed at one of the Timonium Hamfests back in the late 70's / early '80's so amateur radio equipment builders could make all the weird fiddly little parts needed. I like them both, use them both, and just can't get into a fanboy sort of view towards one over the other.

The Taig VS Sherline question is a recurring theme in many forums and groups. Here's something I wrote maybe 10 years ago on a clock forum, not much has changed in my view but a few updates are incorporated:

The Sherline lathe has the following pluses:

1) Larger through hole in spindle, MT1 spindle nose, good WW adapter for spindle.

2) Better 3 jaw chuck . You can use a sherline chuck on a Taig with a spacer ring or by turning down the register on the Taig spindle.

3) A leadscrew so hand cranked single point threading is an option. While in these sizes, taps and dies are usually preferable to single point work, things like optical adapters and other large diameter fine thread work needs a single point approach unless you are doing thread milling in the CNC world. The Sherline threading adapter is a real pain in the rear Rube Goldberg / Heath Robinson deal, but it works and is sometimes the only way to get a job done. You will grumble while getting it all set up, but you will get some results...

4) A wonderful smooth variable speed motor and controller.

5) A short MT0 tail stock as opposed to the Taig threaded tail stock with hard center.

6) Sherline does sell several different spindles / head stocks these days. Just consider the cost of a complete head stock assembly includes the motor, speed controller, and motor mounting hardware. Swapping head stocks means either buying an expensive complete assembly or moving the motor and speed controller between head stocks.

7) The head stock can swivel. Rarely needed, but sometimes just the thing for putting on a taper without using the silly low profile bass-akwards "compound" accessory. And yes, look at it and you'll see why the quotes are used. The Taig compound isn't really much better, just the larger swing gives a wee bit of useful breathing room if you HAVE to use it.

Things that irk me about the Sherline:

1) Biggest thing for me - you can't remove the tail stock easily. With a long bed you can slide it far enough to be out of the way. On a short bed it's often in the way.

2) Smaller work envelop than the Taig. Some stuff that fits the Taig easily is a pain on Sherline.

3) Silly expensive accessories.

4) Steady rest is unusable as delivered, you have to work the brass bars into a usable configuration and the cast frame is silly thick and bulky. A nit perhaps, but you look at the thing and you wonder what on earth they were thinking. The Taig steady is ugly maybe, but it works.

5) Not really made to easily reconfigure. If you do odd stuff, the Sherline doesn't make it easy to just bolt on a hunk of stuff where you need it for a rest, fixture, or a stop.

Things I like about Taig:

1) ER16 headstock is not much more expensive than the Taig proprietary tape spindle version. If you only need a few sizes or don't mind making your own collets from inexpensive blanks the Taig proprietary spindle makes collets a very affordable option. The Taig collet set is quite well made if you work with stock of standard dimensions. They are double acting collets so like ER series can close over a wider range than WW, Morse, or other single acting collets. The downside of an ER16 spindle is that you can't use all the nice 3/4-16 thread on chucks and adapters. I used a Sherline M22X1.5mm ER16 three jaw on my Taig with the ER16 headstock and this let me use ER16 collets for much of my work while still allowing the use of an excellent three jaw.

2) T slots all over the place. Easy to stick stuff on where you need it. You need a freaky Frankenlathe configuration? Grab some nuts and machine screws an go nuts!

3) Inexpensive accessories. Example: A toolpost is around $5 with hardware. Radius turning tool is around $20. I milled the tool slot in the radius tool over 1/8 inch so right hand tools could be used. A hole was drilled and tapped at the top of a toolpost so the radius tool could be mounted to the tool post (vertically). Mount up a grinding wheel in the spindle and by using feeler gauges you have a precise radius grinder. Great for making form tools to generate gear cutters, something you do a lot of in higher end antique restoration work! Even complete head stocks are fairly inexpensive, and as it is a belt drive with a separate motor mount, you can swap out head stocks in minutes should that be of interest.

4) Lever acting tailstock. Gives better feel when drilling small holes. Mixed blessings here, see below!

5) Very stiff bed.

6) Carriage moves on rack and pinion. Can be a minus sometimes, but after cranking a 20 TPI leadscrew on a Sherline to get room for your mike or calipers a hundred times you really like being able to just get stuff out of your way.

7) Tailstock slides right off the bed easy as can be. If you use a flex shaft much this alone is a huge benefit.

8) The three jaw chuck is a soft jaw, replacement jaws are CHEAP. Full coverage jaws are CHEAP. If you need dead on, nothing like making a parts nest on the machine. Don't need it often, but it can save the day. Taig has released ER16 mount chucks, so this applied to whatever lathe you go with. Note that the soft jaws on the three jaw chuck are alumnum, so they do not grip with the same strength as the steel jaws on the Sherline chuck.

Things I DON'T like about the Taig:

1) Cheesy graduated no zero resetting dials. Not well engraved, not always easy to read. The cross slide "resettable zero" is a wee spring wire clip you are supposed to slip around in a groove.

2) The threaded tail stock ram with a hard sharp turning center as a permanent feature. Really easy to cut the back of your hand when there's always a hard sharp point sticking out and close to or in the working area. I guess the upside is you can thread a blank to screw on, poke a hole from the head stock, and know that hole in the adapter is aligned with the spindle center line to a pretty good degree.

3) Tail stock ram will wiggle about if you don't introduce some drag. Not a happy thing using very small carbide straight flute drills, they like to shatter if not well mounted.

4) No calibration on the tail stock ram. Drilling to depth requires planning ahead, can't just touch off, reset zero, and poke the hole using a dial.

Improvements you just have to make to a Taig 😄 Get a variable speed motor and rig it up. Once you've had one you just don't want to go back to playing with belts all the time. I used the replacement DC motor and controller from Penn State Industries that cost around $120. Make or buy some decent knobs to replace the cap screws used on the tail stock to lock the ram and the tail stock to the bed. There are some kit like aspects to the Taig lathes, some find that endearing,others think it's irksome :)

Cheers,
Stan
 
Danuzzo. an extra long bed would put the chocolate on the cake, Oops, icing,

Edmund
Actually, I have not found a need for a longer bed on the Taig. I also have Southbend 9a with the extra long bed ;) . However, I do find myself using the Taig more often for the stuff I do. Chocolate icing is good :).
 
Hello all, and thanks for all the information I've been absorbing since finding this forum.

I have an interest in learning model machining with the goal of making a few simple projects, and then moving on to some beginner air/steam models, and ultimately small IC / Hit & Miss models.

My original plan was to get something similar to the LittleMachine Shop 5100 7x16" lathe to learn on, prove that I like machining, and then likely move up to something like a Precision Matthews PM1020 lathe and PM25 mill as my skills and projects increase. However, even the LMS 5100 is a big investment in an unproven hobby.

Today a 1976 Sherline 4000 came up locally on Craigslist. It includes the Sherline 3050 Milling Column attachment for the lathe base, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, and a jacobs chuck for the tailstock. This is the original US made model with a brass lathe bed and milling column and a 1/5 HP AC/DC motor. It has been owned by the sellers father since purchased new in 1976. Looks like it has been sitting for a while with some flash rust on the chucks and ways. They are asking $500, and I was thinking of offering $350. That would leave me some money to get the quick tool post and some basic tooling. Sherline also offers and upgrade package to install their current 90V DC 1/2HP motor and controller on the 4000 for about $300.

What are the thoughts on getting this as an intro setup to work on basic skill for a few years while I save up for the PM1020 and PM25 and skip the LMS 5100 all together? I think I understand the limitations of the micro Sherline lathe/mill setup, but it looks like some have tackled small model engine builds with similar equipment.

Any and all input or comments are welcome.

-mals
I am curious about your "offer" for 30% less that the ask. I get wanting a good deal and all but if I would probably not even respond to it. I'm probably older than you but have discovered a common disdain for "lowballers" amongst guys like myself who have done a lot of wheeling and dealing. Most of us don't have the time to waste or appreciate these tactics.
Asking a fair price is subjective indeed but if I had received your "offer" you probably would have been added to the "excluded" list for any services/deals moving forward and never would have known it!
I say this as one who repairs stuff and wheels and deals all the time in my locale............and if I was particularity offended, would share same with my contacts and you'd probably end up on their list too....LOL!! Just food for thought next time you see something and want to make a serious offer, best of luck to you!
 
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