Do you have a small shop with a lathe/mill?

ssdesigner

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have a small-ish shop but would love to add a lathe mill to my arsenal. So many small tasks are way, waaaay too tedious without these tools.

I'd love to hear your tips, tricks, stories and recommendations!! Thank you in advance!
 

JFB64

Well-Known Member
My small, but well equipped enough, shop is in the basement. I bought an Atlas 618 lathe over ten years ago and it has served me well since then. I found it on Ebay as a local pick up. I have a three and four jaw chuck, face plate and a half inch jacobs chuck for the tail stock. I added a Sherline 2000 manual mill several years ago which was also found on Ebay. I researched several models before hand and was very interested in the Taig but I saw the Sherline was a good deal and went with it. It is small but very well built. I've since added an angle plate, a three jaw chuck, jacobs chuck, and a rotary table and tail stock. I haven't used it a lot but it has done everything I've asked of it. I am by no means a machinist but can comfortably use both tools well enough to get good results without damaging the work piece, the machine or me. For the most part. Sometimes I wish I had bigger machines but I am thankful that I have these.

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Duncanator

Sr Member
I also have a Sherline mill and lathe. The nice thing about them matching is that a lot of parts are interchangeable. They are quite capable machines. They aren't big, but most of what I build fits on them.

Be aware that you can spend more on accessories than the cost of the machines themselves.
I got mine several decades ago, and i have probably bought triple the value of the mill and lathe in tooling and accessories.
 

ssdesigner

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great info, thanks to you both! So can you tell me what the largest piece that could be worked on in your mills? For the lathe, what's the largest diameter steel rod?
 

JFB64

Well-Known Member
The Sherline website has the specs on all their machines and can give a better idea of what meets your needs. My lathe will supposedly handle a 6" diameter and a 18" long between centers hence the name 618. I would never attempt something that big in diameter. I have never turned steel. I mostly use aluminum, acrylic, and some brass.
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
JFB64 is right. The specs on the Sherline site will give you the sizes, but the power of the motor gets taxed the larger the diameter you are turning. They make spacer blocks to raise the head, tailstock and tool post which you can even theoretically double-up on, but at a certain point it gets ridiculous. The larger diameter gives the cutting tool more leverage to over power the motor.

I have turned 6" steel parts on my Sherline, but I needed to keep the cuts light to not stall the motor. I just had to take more passes than I would have on a large lathe. I was surprised how well it works on bigger parts, but a smaller machine just isn't going to have the grunt of a large machine. That being said, most of the parts I've ever made have been small - even on big machines.
 

awol007

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The Central Machinery metal lathes at Harbor Freight aren't that bad really. I have one and like it for small jobs.
 

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