Throughout the years since we have been producing Sherline tools, certain questions come up over and over again. To help you make the best use of your equipment and to help the new machinist become familiar with some of the details involved in learning to become good at metalworking, we have prepared instructions on the aspects of machine adjustment and use that are often sources of puzzlement for new machinists. We hope you find it interesting and informative.

  • Assembling the Headstock, Motor, and Speed Control
    Instructions accompanied by step-by-step photos reprinted from the Sherline Assembly and Instruction Guide that comes with each machine. For more on the motor and speed control CLICK HERE.
    For a YouTube instructional video showing the assembly of a new lathe including the headstock/motor/speed control unit CLICK HERE.
  • DC Motor Wiring
    Shows diagram of factory connections on the DC speed control board and motor wire colors for Leeson and Hill House DC motors.
  • Aligning the Lathe Headstock and Tailstock
    Taken from the Instruction Manual that comes with each lathe.
  • Lathe Alignment and Micro-Drilling
    Aligning your headstock, tailstock, and chuck, especially with regards to micro-drilling.
  • Gib Installation and Adjustment
    If you need to adjust or replace a worn gib, these tips will make it easy.
  • Gib Removal Tool
    A gib removal tool is included with each Sherline lathe or mill.
  • Removing Rust Preventive Coatings
    Instructions for removing the factory-applied rust preventives from the raw steel parts of your new machine.
  • Saddle Nut Replacement
    The inexpensive saddle nut is made from brass so it will wear out before the steel leadscrew. Here are the steps involved in replacing one if yours wears out.
  • Preload Nut Adjustment and Pulley Adjustment
    The spindle preload can be tightened to reduce end play or loosened to keep bearings cooler when using the 10,000 RPM pulley set. Here’s how. Also, the proper use of the two pulley positions is illustrated.
  • Aligning a Mill
    In order for any mill to be able to make accurate cuts, it must be properly aligned or “indicated in.” Procedures for both the 2000-series and 5000-series mills are included.
  • Lathe Assembly and Backlash Adjustment
    Simple instructions on how to unpack and assemble your new lathe, including how to adjust the anti-backlash nut.
  • Adjusting Leadscrew and Handwheel Backlash
    What is backlash and how is it adjusted? Find out here.
  • Mill Z-Axis Backlash Support Screw Installation
    A screw added to the center of the Z-axis handwheel helps support the weight of the motor/speed control to keep excess handwheel backlash from developing.
  • Installing New Motor Brushes in the DC Motor
    A few hints to make the job easy and to prevent bearing damage on older motors that don’t have the externally replaceable brushes offered since 2002
  • Lubrication
    Where to lubricate your machine and what to use. Also included is where NOT to lubricate on your 2000 mill.
  • Adding a Reversing Switch to the Speed Control
    Though it shortens brush life slightly and voids the motor warranty, some machinists and clockmakers prefer a motor that can run in either direction. Here’s how to do it yourself for a few bucks in parts.
  • Straightening an Out-of-Square Motor Mount Bracket
    In June 2006 we became aware of some out-of-square cast motor mounting brackets that were shipped with machines. Here is a quick way to square up one of the brackets if you’d rather do it yourself and not deal with the time delays involved with returning it.
  • Grinding Your Own Lathe Tools
    The key to good cuts on a lathe is a properly sharpened tool. These step-by-step instructions show you how it’s done.
  • Making Your Own Gravers
    Watchmakers have long used a handheld tool called a graver to cut metal much like wood is cut on a wood lathe. Master watch and clockmaker William R. Smith tells you how to make your own and how to use them.
  • Installing Sherline Digital Readout Handwheels on Stepper Motors
    Installing stepper motors for CNC requires that any installed DRO handwheels be removed. This modification makes it possible to reinstall the DRO handwheel/encoder units on the rear shaft of a dual shaft stepper motor as a cross-check to be sure the CNC system is actually moving the amount it is supposed to be.
  • Changing the Direction of the X-axis Digital Readout
    The Sherline DRO normally reads so the plus direction is the same as the engraved scale on the side of the table; that is, plus is from left to right. To change the readout to read the way most CNC systems work; that is, with positive movement being from right to left, see this help sheet.
  • DRO Backlash Assembly
    The following are instructions for assembling your DRO handwheel on the Z-axis of your lathe. With proper assembly, you will be able to reduce the backlash in your machine to .002″ or less.
  • Installing Stepper Motor Mounts on a Lathe
    Converting your lathe to CNC? Here’s how.
  • Installing Stepper Motor Mounts on a Mill
    Converting your mill to CNC? Here’s how.
  • Removing Stepper Motors
    On occasion, you may need to remove the stepper motors from your CNC machine. Here are clear instructions on how to remove the motors and avoid some of the typical pitfalls.
  • Removing Stepper Motors and the Mill Saddle
  • Removing Stepper Motors and the Mill Saddle to Gain Access to the X-Axis Slide Nut
  • Inch vs. Metric Calibrations
    The advantages of each system and part numbers for converting a Sherline machine from one system of measurement to another.
  • CNC axis Stopped Working
    It is likely that a fuse in the driver box has blown to protect the circuit. These instructions help you troubleshoot the issue.
  • Using a Rotary Table
    One of the most useful accessories for a mill, the rotary table can help you make spoked wheels, circular hole patterns, and even cut gears. These instructions will help you understand how a rotary table is used in machining.
  • Programming and Using a Sherline CNC Rotary Indexer
    Based on the Sherline rotary table, this programmable indexer can make repetitive indexing tasks easy. Learn how easy it is to program it yourself even if you know nothing about G-code or CNC programming.
  • Tips from Other Sherline Machinists
    Shop wisdom, modifications, and shortcuts to simplify your machining projects submitted by the folks who use Sherline tools.
  • A Free RPM Gauge
    Print out this PDF file, cut out the RPM gauge, and glue it to your lathe or mill pulley. The flashing of 60-cycle fluorescent light causes the various rings to appear to stand still when your spindle is turning at a particular speed. It’s very “low-tech,” but it indicates speeds of 100, 300, 400, 480, 600, 720, 800, 900, 1200, 1800, and 2400 RPM quite accurately. (Reprinted from the Sherline Shop and Accessories Guide.)
  • Power Cord Conversion
    Sherline machines are supplied with a USA type plug but can be easily rewired to accept a European or UK type plug by attaching the wires using these instructions.
  • Replacing the Toggle Switch on the Speed Control
    Sometimes it’s necessary to replace the on/off toggle switch (P/N 30230) on your speed control unit, and these instructions cover the toggle switch replacement process. Customers who cut a lot of wood or brass tend to get wood dust or fine brass particles in the toggle switch, and these contaminants will short out the on/off switch. Woods with a high oil content seem to be the worst, e.g. African Black Wood. Our toggle switch dust cover (P/N 3015) was designed to prevent fine particles from getting into the speed control electronics.
  • Climb Milling vs. Conventional Milling
    Roughing cuts and cutting hard materials should be done with “Conventional Milling.” Finish cuts can be done with “Climb Milling.” Climb milling is, as the name implies, the cutting edge of the tool that is literally climbing up the side of the part. Conventional milling has the cutting edge of the tool digging into the side of the part.

The following is a list of pages you will find on this site that will help answer questions, find resources, give instruction, or offer helpful tips for Sherline users.

A complete set of instructions for our most popular accessories.

Exploded view diagrams of Sherline machines with part numbers.

Answers to questions regarding Sherline tools and machines.

Answers to questions regarding the Sherline/MASSO CNC controller

Answers to questions regarding CNC machines.

Answers to questions regarding DRO machines

Answers to questions regarding Ball Screw machines

Sherline lathes and mills can be ordered new with factory installed digital readouts, or retrofitted to include a digital readout, regardless of age.

Details explaining how to select the right mini-lathe or mini-mill for you.

Resources that are included are drawing-to-g-code converters, books on CNC, and links to other sites of interest for people learning and using CNC.

Includes specifications on CNC lathes and mills, CNC components, and CNC systems. Click on the pertinent tab near the top of the page for information.


Includes sources from raw materials, terminology, clubs and groups, to free calculators.

This listing offers a logical way to locate the part number of a particular accessory. The list is divided into five sections: Lathes, Vertical Milling Machines, Accessories for both Lathe and Mill, Accessories for Clockmakers, and Books and Videos.

Price lists include machines, packages, accessories and replacement parts.

Resources that are associated with the tools, processes and materials used in miniature machining.

If you are making special tooling or a custom accessory for your Sherline tools, this will save you the trouble of measuring your particular machine to find a dimension, some of which are actually quite difficult to measure.

Shop wisdom, modifications and shortcuts to simplify your machining projects.

Following are some brief descriptions so that you can see how the numbering system is organized. Though there may seem to be many choices, they are simply combinations of a few basic machines and accessories.

Craftsmanship requires quality tools. When Joe Martin founded Sherline Products Inc. in the early seventies, his vision was to produce a miniature tool line with every accessory needed to build small, complex  machined parts from metal on a kitchen table if need be.