Questions for Sherline lathe users

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mcpesq817

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Hi everyone,

I'm brand-new to pen turning, and had a few questions for those that use Sherline lathes or are familiar with the tool.

1. I believe the Sherline headstock is a #1 Morse taper, and the tailstock is a #0. I'm very new to lathes as well (I had a very basic mini woodturning one years ago, the Proxxon DB250), but from what I understand, I would select a #1 mandrel to go into the headstock, and use a live center in the tailstock?

2. For the "mandrel saver" devices, it looks like they come in #1 and #2 sizes. I'm not exactly clear how these work. Do I just buy the one that matches the mandrel size (which would be a #1 mandrel)? Or do they need to slide into the tailstock and thus I would need a #0 piece? Since #0 pieces aren't made, what do Sherline folks do?

3. Is it possible to turn between the centers on a Sherline lathe? If so, what components would I need? Does the #0 tailstock cause any issues in sourcing tools?

4. I was planning to drill the blanks on the lathe, as I don't have a drill press and didn't want to buy one of those pen blank drilling jigs if I can avoid it. I have a Sherline mill which an extended column which might be an alternate, but was just wondering how feasible it was to drill using the lathe.

5. Any other recommendations or tips for folks using a Sherline? I have the 8" bed lathe, and see myself mostly doing this recreationally. To start, I wanted to make myself a nice workbench pencil, and am going to turn a few colorful pencils for my girls.

Sorry for what probably seem like very basic questions. Many thanks in advance!

Mike
 
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mcpesq817

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Do you have any idea of how to work metal using the Sherline? Because what I would do is buy a Sherline blank arbor for the headstock and make my own turn between center version. I would also make my own turn between center bushings. https://www.sherline.com/product/3051-1-morse-blank/
Metal would be a first. I could always try though. Ultimately I could see crafting the metal components of the pen, but would start with on the market stuff for now until I get the hang of this.
 

BRobbins629

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I have an old Sherline clone and you can use a regular pen mandrel, unscrew the Morse taper and just put the shaft in the headstock chuck assuming you have one. A 60degree live center for the tailstock is available from Sherline. With that you should be able to make pens.
 

dogcatcher

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I think BRobbins way is the best way to get you started. But I would also buy a few chucks of aluminum to play with and start getting some experience with using the cross slide and making parts.
 

leehljp

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Back when I got my Taig, (2004) I did not pay attention to MT. I added chucks and used a mandrel. As soon as I bought a larger pen lathe (Rikon 12 inch, 2006) I put the Taig up. Part of the reason was at that time, I had problems with the mandrels and inconsistent roundness. And that transferred to the Rikon until I ditched the mandrel and went TBC.

Back then 2005 - 2007 or 2008 as pen turning companies were coming on the scenes, there were enough people complaining about bushings that were not centered or fitting tight in the tube allowing for minuscule amount of slop. I still have one bushing for the Sierra that the mandrel hole is visually off center.

Back to the Taig/Shurline - I would go with the metal route. I think I bought a 3/4 in adapter and used a chuck to hold the mandrel. I was living in Japan at the time and had to order things from the USA to get it going to making pens.

BTW, here I a chuck that Taig is offering for $20.00 in case you don't have one.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f18/taig-4-jaw-scroll-chuck-20-00-a-157714/
 

Curly

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Hank that chuck probably won’t fit the Shearline. I believe the Shearline come with a 3/4” shaft like the Taig lathe does, but that chuck has a 1” thread that is common on small wood lathes.
 

mcpesq817

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Thanks guys. Too bad about that Taig chuck - I have a 4-jaw independent, but a 4-jaw self-centering would be nice!

So, I bought a 1 Morse taper mandrel from Woodcraft. Wouldn't that mandrel work in the headstock without removing the taper?

With the mandrel saver, am I screwed because the tailstock on the Sherline is a 0 Morse taper and the mandrel savers only come in 1 and 2 Morse tapers?
 

More4dan

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Even better would be to get a dead center with no taper or make your own. Just chuck it in your 3 jaw chuck. With a live center in the tail stock you would be ready to turn between centers. I started with a mandrel and unscrewed the rod from the Morse taper end. Then chucked the rod in my 3 jaw chuck. It worked but between centers worked better.

Danny


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leehljp

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Hank that chuck probably won’t fit the Shearline. I believe the Shearline come with a 3/4” shaft like the Taig lathe does, but that chuck has a 1” thread that is common on small wood lathes.
I have so many adapters I think I could open a hardware store! :biggrin: Seriously though I do have adapters and I bought that chuck for an addition to the Taig, as I try to get it going again by this summer.
 

dogcatcher

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Here is another idea, pick up a Taig blank arbor, Taig Tools - Desktop Milling Machines and Lathes.

It screws on to the headstock, threads are the same for the Sherline as the Taig, so it should fit fine. Then cut down the end to the size of a mandrel, both length and diameter. This can be the driving end of your turn between centers, use it in conjuntion with the live center.
 

mcpesq817

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Sorry to ask additional questions, but I'm running into difficulty with my current lathe setup.

I have the smaller bed Sherline, which I believe is 8" between centers. That is probably fine for turning, but I'm trying to think of how I would drill the blanks since I don't have a drill press. I was hoping to use the lathe to drill out the blanks, but when you add the drill chuck and the drill bit, that 8" gets eaten up fairly quickly. It almost seems impossible to drill blanks, especially with single barrel blanks and/or thicker drill bits (which are longer).

I have a Sherline mill with the extended column, but even that is not tall enough to substitute for a drill press. The main reason I have it is to work on my hobby of building model ships. In that case it can substitute for a drill press with great precision, but it seems like it won't work for drilling blanks.

So, I think I'm left with the following options:

1. Add a 17" between centers bed to my current lathe (or sell my current one and buy one with a bigger bed). That should give me enough clearance to drill blanks. One limiting factor is that the drill chucks Sherline sells only go up to 3/8". That obviously isn't enough for one of the bigger pens that need 10-11mm bores. The solution seems to me to buy some kind of adaptor that will work to accept a larger chuck, or buy bitts with reduced shanks that might not be great for drilling certain types of blanks.

Pros: I don't need to add new tools to my current limited space, just replace a current one with a bigger footprint.

Cons: More costly in upgrading the lathe, and need to find a solution for the tailstock drill chuck to be able to drill larger bores.

2. Buy a drill press and drill vice to drill blanks.

Pros: Probably the less expensive option.

Cons: Not sure I'd use it for anything but pen turning, and it will add another tool to my limited space that takes up a fairly good sized footprint.


I'm almost leaning more towards getting a bigger lathe just to limit the tool footprint, especially since I don't think I have any other uses for a drill press. I could use a drill press as a spindle sander I suppose which would be helpful in my model ship building, but I already have an oscillating spindle sander (could sell that I suppose).

Any thoughts? I'm kinda going into this blind and probably don't fully appreciate what I'm getting into. I thought I would just find another use for my lathe by doing pens, but it doesn't look that simple (and is going to be more expensive than I originally envisioned!).

Thanks in advance!
 

mredburn

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I turned a lot on A sherline lathe, I do not recomend it for penmaking other than metal parts. You will can drill on it if you can research chucks that open 1/2 with a 38/-24 mounting thread. here is a setup on ebay. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-2-Jacobs-Drill-Chuck-on-MT0-Arbor-NEW-Fits-Sherline/322386728004?hash=item4b0fbf1444:g:lRQAAOSwjDZYdbKA:rk:10:pf:0 YOu can still only drill and inch deep at a time. Drill a little move up the tailstock drill some more. The blank will ike to grab the chuck and spin it so hold on to it, that short modified 0 taper doesnt hold well. they make a live center for the tailstock as well. with the short bed you will be forever out of room. I would really recomend a larger lathe.
Edit in search Ebay for "sherline drill adapter and you can find a 0 morse taper 1/2-24 for the sherline that will fit larger chucks as well. Be aware your accuracy suffers on larger drill bits as the machine flexes.
 
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mredburn

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and while I think about it, Taig makes a 4 jaw scroll chuck that fits the 34/-16 threads on your headstock, they cost around $77.00 plus shipping.
 

BRobbins629

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There’s actually a good after market for Sherline lathes. I would sell it and buy something like a Jet mini or equivalent. You will be much happier in the long run and have significantly more capability.
 

mcpesq817

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Thanks guys, really appreciate it. Lot of food for thought, thank you!

I turned a lot on A sherline lathe, I do not recomend it for penmaking other than metal parts. You will can drill on it if you can research chucks that open 1/2 with a 38/-24 mounting thread. here is a setup on ebay. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-2-Jacobs-Drill-Chuck-on-MT0-Arbor-NEW-Fits-Sherline/322386728004?hash=item4b0fbf1444:g:lRQAAOSwjDZYdbKA:rk:10:pf:0 YOu can still only drill and inch deep at a time. Drill a little move up the tailstock drill some more. The blank will ike to grab the chuck and spin it so hold on to it, that short modified 0 taper doesnt hold well. they make a live center for the tailstock as well. with the short bed you will be forever out of room. I would really recomend a larger lathe.
Edit in search Ebay for "sherline drill adapter and you can find a 0 morse taper 1/2-24 for the sherline that will fit larger chucks as well. Be aware your accuracy suffers on larger drill bits as the machine flexes.
Do you think the 17" bed would be enough to both drill blanks and turn the pens? Seems like it might, but I'd hate to have to deal with selling the lathe, removing all the DRO stuff I just added to it, buy a new one, then reattach all the DRO stuff on the new lathe. It's an option though.

and while I think about it, Taig makes a 4 jaw scroll chuck that fits the 34/-16 threads on your headstock, they cost around $77.00 plus shipping.
So after going through my lathe jaw, I realized that I have the Sherline 4-jaw independent chuck as well as the 3- and 4-jaw centering chucks :bulgy-eyes:

There’s actually a good after market for Sherline lathes. I would sell it and buy something like a Jet mini or equivalent. You will be much happier in the long run and have significantly more capability.
Looking at mredburn's and your suggestion for a larger lathe, I think you're right, maybe a larger woodturning lathe would be better. I could turn other (larger) things on it besides pens, and would get more use out of it than a drill press. Buying a longer bed Sherline would help a bit with pens, but I couldn't turn anything larger. I'd probably keep the Sherline lathe just to turn small metal stuff for model ships, and if I was feeling up to it, metal components for pens.

Is this the Jet you are talking about:

https://www.amazon.com/d/Wooden-Lathes/Jet-JWL-1015-Wood-Working-Lathe/B00F2ZC33K

With 15" between centers, looks like I should be able to both drill blanks and turn them pretty easily? Would just need a headstock chuck to hold blanks and a drill chuck? And depending on whether I went mandrel or TBC, would need stuff like live centers, etc.?

I see there are others by Harbor Freight and PSI that seem to get decent reviews, but are cheaper. Sounds like this one is preferred on this board?
 

More4dan

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I use a 7 x 10 metal lathe that is actually only 8” between the chuck and the tail stock. I drill on it all the time. Moving the tailstock to drill deeper hasn’t been a problem. The Taig lathe does have a spindle with a #3 Morse taper that allows me to pass the blank through the chuck recessed inside the spindle. It helps when drilling long sections of blank or with longer bits.

I did buy a 16” bed to convert for more room.

Danny


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Charlie_W

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Should you go with a mini lathe ( Woodturning) I do always recommend getting a model with variable speed. You will still have speed ranges with the belt/ pulleys but the variable speed is like driving an automatic vs a stick shift.
 

mcpesq817

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I use a 7 x 10 metal lathe that is actually only 8” between the chuck and the tail stock. I drill on it all the time. Moving the tailstock to drill deeper hasn’t been a problem. The Taig lathe does have a spindle with a #3 Morse taper that allows me to pass the blank through the chuck recessed inside the spindle. It helps when drilling long sections of blank or with longer bits.

I did buy a 16” bed to convert for more room.

Danny


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Thanks Danny.

So I just took a look at my lathe. The 4-jaw independent chuck that I have is fairly shallow in depth, so it doesn't impact the the distance between centers much (the spindle on the headstock has only an 11mm internal diameter, so I'm not sure that I can put a blank into the spindle). I have a 1/4" jacobs chuck, which reduces the distance between centers to about 6 3/8". Looking at the 3/8" and 11mm bitts that I bought from Woodcraft, they take up a good 4-5", so there's no room for blanks.

This is really frustrating. I was hoping to use the lathe for something other than model ship building. It looks like I can use it to turn metal parts, but at this time, I'm nowhere near that skill level. I just ordered a bunch of kits, blanks and other stuff from PSI last night too :frown:

It seems like if I want to enter the hobby, I need a way to drill blanks. That means either a drill press or a larger lathe. I don't see much use for a drill press other than drilling blanks because I already have a mill for fine drilling work. Adding a larger bed to the Sherline will almost cost half the price of a new lathe - at that point, I'd just sell my current lathe and buy one with a larger bed. But that's a pain in the posterior when it comes to selling and shipping, replacing all the DRO stuff I just added to the lathe, etc. I already have a lot of the Sherline lathe accessories, but would still need to buy a larger drill chuck, and a few other items.

Looks like the most expensive option would be to buy a larger wood lathe. That would give me the most flexibility to branch out into turning larger items, and seems easiest to not have to find workarounds like with the Sherline. But with the lathe, I think I'd have to buy a chuck for the headstock, a drill chuck, etc. I'm assuming that will set me back $500-700 and add a new big tool to my space. :thunder:
 

Curly

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If you hold the drill bit in the metal chuck and the blank against a dead centre in the tailstock I think you should have ample room to drill by holding the blank with pliers and turning the tailstock to feed into the spinning drill bit.
 

Curly

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Like this. You can make your own dead centre to fit if you don't have one but I'm sure Shearline or Taig does. You can also choke up a bit more on the bit. This one is a 3/8" and the blank is 2 3/4" long. Once you get almost through stop the lathe and take the dead centre out and slip a short bit of wood in its place if you need to drill through. Lots of ways to skin those cats. ;)
 

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mcpesq817

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If you hold the drill bit in the metal chuck and the blank against a dead centre in the tailstock I think you should have ample room to drill by holding the blank with pliers and turning the tailstock to feed into the spinning drill bit.
Do you mean something like this? Is that fairly accurate?

 
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dogcatcher

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I believe you can drill the most blanks on this lathe, but it will take some playing within the parameters. First find a source of short drill bits, my local hardware store has them. You will drill first with a center bit, then stubby bit, then switch to the regular bit.

If you cannot find the stubby bits, buy 2 of the regular bits and use a Dremel with a diamond cut off wheel to shorten the shank.
 

mcpesq817

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I believe you can drill the most blanks on this lathe, but it will take some playing within the parameters. First find a source of short drill bits, my local hardware store has them. You will drill first with a center bit, then stubby bit, then switch to the regular bit.

If you cannot find the stubby bits, buy 2 of the regular bits and use a Dremel with a diamond cut off wheel to shorten the shank.
Thank you. When I went to Woodcraft the other day, I bought a couple of pen turning bits for two types of kits. One was 3/8", the other 27/64". The second is a massive bit, very long! That's what worried me. I'm going to return everything to Woodcraft given that I was able to get everything from PSI.

I also assume that even on single barrel pens, the length of the barrel should be around 4" or so? Putting 5" blanks alongside the 27/64" bits seemed to take up all the room between the centers and then some.
 

mredburn

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A 17 inch bed will give you all the room you need to drill. An ER 32 collet chuck from Beal Tools will allow you to hold larger blanks in it to drill. The head stock wont allow much more than 7/16th stock to pass through. You might find a used bed for sale on Ebay or one of the Sherline forums on FB. You will not be able to drill std blanks just holding then in the jaws of the chucks as they are two shallow.
A quick check on Ebay shows the 24in bed(17in working length) is around $200 new. I didnt check the website for price comparison. NO used ones. Unfortunately the Sherline solution is to throw more money at it and you still would be better off with a 7 14 or even better a 7 x 16 lathe. if you want to stay with a metal lathe.
 

mredburn

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Would you be able to build a wooden box to house your Sherline lathe in and store it until you need it and move on to something else that fits better?
 

mcpesq817

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Here is a site that sells the stub bits, it also has the lengths listed. https://www.gamut.com/c/machining/short-length-drill-bits
Fantastic, thank you! The stub bitts make a lot of sense and seem to be a very good solution.


Most kits have tubes that are under 3” long and if you turn between centres you won’t have any problem making pens with your lathe.
That's great news. I might start with the mandrel to get the hang of things, but ultimately it sounds like TBC will be a good option. Will need to figure out how to cut metal, etc. for the two centers.

A 17 inch bed will give you all the room you need to drill. An ER 32 collet chuck from Beal Tools will allow you to hold larger blanks in it to drill. The head stock wont allow much more than 7/16th stock to pass through. You might find a used bed for sale on Ebay or one of the Sherline forums on FB. You will not be able to drill std blanks just holding then in the jaws of the chucks as they are two shallow.
A quick check on Ebay shows the 24in bed(17in working length) is around $200 new. I didnt check the website for price comparison. NO used ones. Unfortunately the Sherline solution is to throw more money at it and you still would be better off with a 7 14 or even better a 7 x 16 lathe. if you want to stay with a metal lathe.
Would you be able to build a wooden box to house your Sherline lathe in and store it until you need it and move on to something else that fits better?
Thanks very much for your thoughts on this. I agree, 17" would work great, though it's going to run me about $300 after buying the bed, lead screw, etc. - just to essentially drill blanks (not sure I would ever have a need for more length, but maybe when turning masts for my model ships). I definitely want to keep a metal lathe as model ships have lots of metal components that you can scratch build.

I posed this question to a friend of mine, and he suggested I might be able to make a drilling jig using a drill stand that is clamped to the table. Seems like that would be a very inexpensive way to drill using my current setup.

As a spin on the holding the blank with pliers approach, I was thinking that maybe I can figure out a way to clamp a jig to the cross slide on my lathe (or to the bed). I'm envisioning a block of wood with a center channel milled out to support the blank from moving front to back. Then, a clamp or two that hold the blank to the bed so that it doesn't move up and down. The drill bit and the dead centers should hold the blank in place side to side. Actually, I have a bunch of vises for the Sherline - I bet one of those can support the blank.
 

mcpesq817

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Just wanted to circle back on this and thank you all again for helping me work through my Sherline lathe and mill set up. As I mentioned before, the lathe should be fine for turning. A MT1 mandrel from Woodcraft fit perfectly on it, so I think I will try a few pens on that before trying TBC.

The tricky part has been how to drill the blanks without a drill press or having to buy a longer bed Sherline or wood lathe. After a lot of playing around with configurations, I finally found one that work using my Sherline mill:

image1.jpg

What I did was turn the headstock on my mill 90 degrees, and chuck a drill bit in the jacobs chuck into the headstock. For the blank, used a 90 degree tilting table to hold the milling vise on the far end of the milling table. The lowest the headstock could go was probably 1/8" higher than the blank set with the milling vise resting on the bottom of the tilting table, so I made a wood spacer to give the vise a little extra height.

Worked perfectly! Essentially converted my mill into a lathe-type setup, with the added benefit of using the milling vise to hold the blank very securely while it was being drilled. Thankfully I had bought the extended table for the mill (along with an extended column) which gives me plenty of working space. Not sure if this will work on some of the smaller Sherline mill tables.

Sherline comes standard with a 1/4" jacobs chuck, so I had to buy a 3/8" chuck (I bought the one with changeable arbors that can fit in the MT1 headstock and MT0 tailstock). Not sure how other mills/lathes work, but with Sherline, the headstock of the mill and lathe use a draw bolt to hold the jacobs chuck in place.

Because I bought some kits that need to be drilled out with 10mm and 11mm bits, I also bought an aftermarket 1/2" jacobs chuck (max Sherline sells is 3/8") that similarly has MT1 and MT0 arbors. The difference though is that the arbor does not have a draw bolt for locking it into the headstock. The MT1 arbor is a good 2.5" long, but I'm not sure how secure it will be in my mill setup to drill blanks. It will probably be fine when pressed into the blank, but when backing the bit out, it might have a tendency to pop out given the centrifugal force/RPMs. I'll have to try it out though. Maybe the approach is to turn off the mill when backing the drill out, clean the flutes and blank, reinsert the drill bit as far as it can go, then turn it on again. Alternatively, I might barely be able to use the lathe, but that 1/2" chuck takes up a ton of room so I'd need to work with stub bits, etc.

Anyway, just wanted to share with everyone in case this question comes up again for Sherline owners. Thanks again to everyone for their help!
 

mcpesq817

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Hi again everyone, hope you all are having a good Memorial Day weekend.

So I've probably make close to two dozen pens and pencils in the last few months. Have really enjoyed it! I've made pens in acrylic and woods, and have really gotten into burls and spalts and other figured woods. It's been a lot of fun trying out various kits, finishes, etc. So I should start by thanking everyone again who helped me enter the hobby!

I've made my Sherline mill and 8" lathe setup work. The mill has surprisingly worked very well for drilling the blanks. No problems at all, no blown out blanks, etc. That being said, I ended up selling the 8" lathe earlier today and will be ordering a 17" Sherline to give me more room to work with for this hobby and my others.

Question about chucks to drill on the lathe: With the extra room, I'd like to drill blanks on the lathe if possible. I have various chucks for the lathe, but the jaws don't extend very far so I don't think the blank will be secure enough. I can get new jaws that are a bit longer for the Sherline chucks, but that's going to run me like $200 :oops: Anyone have any recommendations for a chuck with longer jaws? The swing over the bed is 3.5", so I will need something a little smaller. I'll probably also need an adaptor, as my lathe's headstock spindle is 3/4" and 16TPI.

I saw this from Penn State - is it any good? Any other recommendations?



Thanks very much in advance!
 

Curly

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The PSI chuck has 1” x 8TPI thread so won’t work on your lathe.

I think the Nova chuck can be had with the correct adapter. With pen jaws it should be able to do the job you want.
 

mcpesq817

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It looks like you can get an adaptor to convert the 1”x8 TPI Penn State chuck to 3/4” 16 TPI. Doesnt the Nova chuck also need an adaptor? I’m just wondering which would be better for the Sherline setup.
 

mcpesq817

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You can get an Er32 chuck from Beal Tools that will fit your Sherline. It will hold your blanks securely while you drill.
Thanks for the recommendation. Looking at the chuck, do you need to round a square blank first before using the collet? Seems like an extra step before actually drilling the blank that the PSI chuck avoids?

Also, how does one turn a long square blank if you haven't drilled a hole through it? I get the TBC method using bushings, but do you turn an un-drilled square blank using a dead center in the headstock and a live center in the tailstock after drilling a small pilot hole in the ends of the blanks? Or do you need something like this spur driver in the headstock to keep the blank steady?

 
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mredburn

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you have to round the blank first. YOu can use a spur drive, a 4 jaw chuck and a live center with the pilot hole. You will have to round it down to about 3/4 or more.
 
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