Why Sherline tools
are your best buy
∙ Versatility ∙ Portability ∙ Power ∙ Control ∙
Service ∙ Support ∙ Engineering ∙ Modular Design ∙
Materials ∙ Experience ∙ Informative Web site
Filling a need
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.
These could be the individual machined parts needed to build a perfect miniature
4-cycle V8 or a beautiful clock. All you have to do is examine the beautiful projects
created by Sherline machinists to realize Joe accomplished his goal.
was no small undertaking because there weren’t any machine tool accessories
available that would fit a Sherline. Each year several new accessories would be
added to the line to make Sherline tools more user friendly, and now after 30
years of doing that Sherline undoubtedly manufactures the most complete line of
tabletop machine tools today.
the product line grew the demand for new accessories dropped and Joe Martin
took on a new challenge. He wrote a book Tabletop Machining (about to go
into its forth printing)
isn’t just another company selling imported goods for a quick buck. We are in
it for the long haul. Sherline has been producing what we sell in our own
facility for over 30 years, and you’re welcome to stop by for a visit at our
factory in Vista. By purchasing a Sherline
product you are not just buying a tool, you’ll be joining a team that works
together for your benefit.
You get what
you pay for
manufacturers know exactly what their tools are worth and price them
accordingly, trying to appeal to a particular segment of the market. Some
customers are strictly price oriented and some are strictly quality oriented,
but most are somewhere in between. They want the best quality for the price.
They don’t want to overpay, but they also don’t want to find themselves
handicapped by poor tools when it comes time to make a challenging part.
Newcomers sometimes don’t realize that the less expensive machine tools often
require a lot of shimming, scraping and adjustment before they are capable of
making accurate parts. A good machinist knows how to do this and can turn these
“kit” machines into good tools, but most beginners need a tool that is accurate
right out of the box. Unfortunately, the proliferation of shoddy imported tools
has prevented many beginners from enjoying the fun of miniature machining. They
have gotten tools that kept them from making good parts and wrongly assumed it
was because they just weren’t good enough. That person doesn’t usually buy a
better machine, he finds another hobby.
machine tools have been our specialty for the past 30 years. Unlike some large
foreign factories, we weren’t making sewer lids yesterday and won’t be making
cast iron kitchenware tomorrow. We know our machine tools, what it takes to
make them well and what the people who use them do with them. Though not the
cheapest tools you can buy, we do feel that Sherline tools offer the best
value—the most “bang for the buck”—of any tool in the miniature machine tool
market. We have 30 years of satisfied customers who agree that we have achieved
and continue to achieve that goal. We hope you will consider becoming one of
A large selection of high quality accessories is one
of the things that adds value to a tool line.
best value for your money
is the relationship between price, function and quality, but the value of a
good tool cannot be calculated in dollars per pound. When buying a tool that
you are going to depend on to help you produce precision parts there is more to
consider than just the price. Many tools are now coming in from Asia that are sold at low prices, but are they really a
“good deal” compared to American-made Sherline tools? Here are some of the
features that we feel offset the price advantage of third-world labour rates:
construction—All metal construction, dovetail
slides, precision machined parts, instrument quality finishes, laser
engraved markings—Sherline tools have the look and feel of quality and the
accuracy that goes with it. For example, our thread cutting gears for the
lathe are hobbed from aluminium bar stock, not moulded from plastic.
(Plastic is only used where appropriate; like for a speed control housing
tools are designed to provide maximum utility in a small space. The tools
themselves are capable of any machine shop operation, particularly when
combined with the very large line of available special purpose
accessories. The only limits are size and your imagination.
- Portability—A major consideration in Sherline tool design is to
provide maximum rigidity while still keeping weight to a point where the
machines can be easily transported and stored when not in use. This is why
many of the parts are made from costly aircraft grade aluminium rather
than less expensive cast iron or steel.
- Power—The 90 volt
DC motor we use provides torque in the lower RPM ranges where you really
need it. AC/DC motors must run at high RPM to produce their rated power
and are noisy. AC motors are large and run at a fixed RPM without
extremely expensive controls. A comparable Sherline DC
drive system purchased through the industrial market would cost as much as
a complete Sherline 4000 lathe, over $600!
quality—Making our own tools rather than outsourcing them to someone
half way around the world means we have total control of both quality and
inventory. A problem that crops up can be fixed immediately, not after a
boatload of tools arrives. A shortage of one particular part can be
remedied in a few hours or days, not months. This means fast service for
you, whether you need a tool, an accessory or a small replacement part.
and support—Our written instructions are the
most informative and complete in the business, bar none. Our web site is
also the largest in the field and can probably answer any question you
might have without having to call anyone. If you do need to call us, you
will talk to a real person, not a voice mail merry-go-round. Any questions
or problems you have WILL be solved quickly and professionally.
engineering—From digital readouts (DRO) to
Computer Numeric Control (CNC), Sherline is always on the leading edge in
machine tool design for the hobbyist. In most cases existing tools can be
upgraded as changes occur or improvements are added. DRO and CNC can be
added to any existing Sherline machine, or you can order a new machine
with digital readouts installed or CNC-ready with stepper motor mounts in
place ready for the application of CNC controls. You can even purchase a
complete CNC system that includes not only the machine but also the
motors, drivers and a new computer with software already installed so you
can pull it out of the box and get right to work in CNC.
design—Because all Sherline components are
designed as a system, they can be combined to work in many configurations.
New accessories are always designed to work with existing machines, so
your tool will never become obsolete.
cost long term operation—Many Sherline tools are used not just by
hobbyists a few hours a week. Many fulfil production needs for small parts
in industrial applications. The parts that do eventually wear out and need
to be replaced are designed to be the least expensive on the machine.
quality, graded materials—One advantage of
working with American metal suppliers is that we know when we order a
particular grade of aluminium or steel, that is exactly what we get. This
allows us to maintain consistent quality, but this is sometimes not the
case in developing nations using un-graded materials produced locally.
has been making quality tools for 30 years. Our key management people have
all been with the company for well over 20 years. Our average length of employment
is over 7 years. This is a good company to work for and our personnel have
a personal investment in seeing that quality is maintained at every level.
owner’s groups on the web—Sherline owners have joined together on the
web to form a discussion group offering advice and assistance to other owners. You can find out how
others have solved specific problems or what they think of certain tools,
processes or accessories. See www.yahoogroups.com
and join the “Sherline” (public) and/or the “SherlineCNC”
groups. We also have a bulletin board type forum for machinists on our own
site at www.sherline.com/forums.
best tools we’ve ever made—How often have you
bought a product from a favourite manufacturer only to discover the “new”
version is now made from cheaper materials and no longer has the quality
that you expected? The pressure to lower price by cutting corners is a
strong one, but we have not taken that route. In fact, due to the
improvements in the past decades in accuracy and repeatability of the large
CNC tools we have purchased for our factory, the tools we now make are the
best we have ever produced. We continually add features and improve
designs too. Of course, we are always on the lookout for ways to keep
costs down, but never at the expense of quality. Compare a new Sherline
tool to one from 10, 20 or 30 years ago and you will see we have made no
changes except to make something better.