I just got my hands on a sherline 4400 mini-lathe. I know how metal
behaves with a file/saw/hammer- just not with machine tools.
I've been playing with some brass and learned about the drill bit leaving
triangular holes and other non-obvious things. I was able to turn down
some aluminum castings I made, but other than just making random shapes,
I'm somewhat at a loss as to where to get started. There's got to be
defacto books written 1000 years ago I need to grab.
What's suggested around here?
Lots of reprints of the older books stressing manual
machining and the price is right.
For an overview of the manual machining processes I suggest
For the Sherline you may also find the following helpful
While the manual machining techniques describe remain valid
remember these are reprints from long ago, so don't get too
involved looking for specific obsolete parts and materials
like one student that spent several weeks hunting for a
Skinner chuck as described in Milne.
For the slightly more advance manual machinist see
FWIW -- you can shorten the learning cycle and avoid
establishing some dangerous habits [e.g. not wearing safety
glasses] by taking an introductory machining class at your
local vo-tech or community college. If you take one or more
machining classes as a non credit, this generally makes the
enrollment process much easier, i.e. no transcripts, etc.
Good luck on your self education and welcome to the
Machining fraternity. [and be sure to always wear safety
glasses/goggles when running a machine]
-- Unka George (George McDuffee)
The past is a foreign country;
they do things differently there.
L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author.
The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
The owner of Sherline, Joe Martin, has what appears to be a very good
book called "Tabletop Machining", ISBN 0-9665433-0-0. I say "appears to
be" because I've read it and it all seems clear and seems to make sense,
but I have zero experience with a lathe so I can't really evaluate
whether the descriptions work in real life.
It kind of sounds like you're looking for a project to learn by. I can't
help you there, but a good intro to machining is:
"Fundamentals of machine technology" by Olivo (not "Fundamentals of
machine _tool_ technology"). Amazon used for as little as $5.
At MITRE I inherited a Sherline lathe and mill and "Tabletop
Machining" from a lab I cleaned out. (Bad omen for a technician --
labs turning into offices)
The book is excellent.
Aluminum is good for practice. You can get up to perhaps 1/4" aluminum
and brass rod from a welding supplier and 1/2" Al at a hardware store.
Hobby and model airplane stores have useful rod and tubing stock too.
PVC pipe behaves pretty well if properly supported. Lathes that small
are frustrating and disappointing on steel.
You will quickly learn that metal isn't nearly as stiff as you
Figure out what you want to do with it. Then get some books and read
up. Clocks, live steam, railroads, engines, gun parts, whatever.
There's specialty magazines and books out there covering all those
areas. B&N usually has The Home Shop Machinist and some of the other
Village Press publications on the magazine racks. There's a number of
books on using small lathes, a lot are British and over-priced for the
information in them, but the ones I have are good, see what you can
turn up on Amazon searching for "Workshop Series". Don't buy them
from Amazon, their associated dealers have much better prices. There's
also The Model Engineer, which a really well-stocked library will have
bound back issues of. It's another British magazine, but had a lot of
articles on making tooling and using small lathes. Also multi-issue
projects, castings for which may still be had, at least for some.
If you need general machining texts, archive.org has a bunch of oldies
for free, "lathe", "machining", "machine shop", maybe "Audels", as
search terms should turn up a bunch of stuff to keep you busy.
Trolling is different from deliberate taunting. In the case of the
archived post by CL above, the taunt was toward a specific member of
our little community. It was one of several, including among other
things the proper use of a hammer ("I have a hammer. Which end do I
hold?"). CL appeared to find these posts humorous when they were
actually malignant and immature, like a 12-year-old farting in an
CL has a personality disorder that does not tolerate what the rest of
us might call basic questions about metalworking. This is
rec.crafts.metalworking, not pro.machinist.40yrs.experience. He doesn't
have the right to determine whether or not a participant's question is
"basic" or "advanced." If he feels it isn't, he should just STFU
instead of acting like a 6th-grader at recess.
I see that others responded to CL's query about Sherline lathes as if
it were genuine. Perhaps it was, which makes the whole thing sort of
ironic. I've forgotten more about Sherline lathes than CL will ever
learn. Had the OP been anyone different I might have helped. But I've
already spent enough time on this prick.
See if you can find "How to run a Lathe" by South bend lathe works.
Often reprint companies have it - since you don't have have a SB -
it shows basic operation. Lindsy has some other books. I'd search
Amazon as many book sellers and people sell books there. Might find
a bookstore selling off estate books.