Anyone familar with Sherline Products milling and lathe tools

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Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2009
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I found this company while looking at a hobby robotics site. Looks like very interesting small scale lathes and milling machines. The website is here. They also have CNC type systems that run on a linux box. A basic lathe or mill is under $1000. A CNC unit would only be about $1500-$2000.
I've had one of their lathes for years. I think it was in the $500-$600 range when I got it. It's a pretty nice piece of equipment for the price. You can't do huge stuff on it but I've turned bulkheads, etc for 5.5" airframes. Could probably do 6" airframe parts too.


Read the FAQ.

The machines appear to be well made and if used as intended, should perform well. Having said that, just remember that they are small machines and are not designed to turn large metal items (lathe) or drill large holes in metal parts (mill). They should be fine for turning wood and plastic parts that fit on the lath, but may be quite slow turning metal parts much over an inch in diameter. Same comments apply to the mill. You should not have any problems making parts from wood or plastic, but milling larger metal parts will probably be slow. Probably great with the cnc option for turning balsa nose cones and and milling plywood fins and rings.

I don't personally have experience, but I know from others that they are good tools and you can do quite a bit on them as long as you understand the limitations of the machine. As long as you don't mind working slowly and in small increments you can do some nice metal work on them like Bob said. If you don't already have a subscription to Home Machinist Magazine, or access to a library that carries it, you'll want to check that out too.
Look into the 7X10 or 7X12 mini lathes (and mills, too). I had the 7X10 lathe from Harbor Freight, but Grizzly and others have the same, sometimes in a longer bed like the 7X12. Many all come from the same plant, but ahve different labels and painted different colors.

I sold mine to a friend, since I was not doing much metal stuff, but wish I still had it for wood projects like nose cones. It had decent fit/finish, power feed, and the little variable speed reversible motor was quite good.

There is a HUGE following for these little lathes, and the prices are quite decent.
I had one of the Harbor Freight mini lathes, for the price you cant beat them, having said that, when you get it, take all the slides / gears apart, clean of the cosmoline (nasty heavy grease) that they pack it with and re-lube and re-tighten everything lots of sites on how to do pretty cool stuff with the mini lathes. I quickly started machine all of my own snap ring motor retainers, centering rings, cones etc.

After a few years I 'graduated' to a used Atlas 10" diameter, 42 inch bed lathe, actually cost less than the mini lathe and came with LOTS of cutting tools. Use the heck out of it, including making molds for composite bulkheads / centering rings.

One suggestion on a REALLY handy tool to make, make a 'poor mans tool post grinder' by making a mount for a Dremel tool that you can hold in the tool post. This works well for cutting out wood or G-10 centering rings. I also use it to drill hole patterns on centering rings and slot tubes. The Atlas has a dividing head built in, you can lock the spindle at precise angles and then using the carriage with the Dremel in it like a mill you can run a cutter along the tube to mill out a slot.