The amazing detail of this tiny steam tractor is apparent
when compared to the dime in the foreground. Made by Dennis Franz of
Newton, Kansas, this project placed 2nd in the 1995 N.A.M.E.S. Machinist's
Challenge sponsored by Sherline. It was built using Sherline tools (and
probably a good pair of magnifying glasses!). A project like this makes a great
conversation piece on your desk or coffee table.

"Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily."

--Johann Von Schiller

Sherline's Metalworking Resources and Hotlinks List

Links shown in GREEN have been found to be dead. If you have any information on a current correct address please let us know. Otherwise they will be removed within 30 days.

Sherline Products would like to encourage users of our miniature machine tools and those interested in learning more about machining to expand their horizons. Following are some resources that are associated with the tools, processes and materials used in miniature machining. Click on any highlighted name to go directly to that resource for more information. If you offer a product or service that would be of interest to miniature machinists and would like to be listed on this page, call Craig at Sherline, 1-800-541-0735 or mail information us at 3235 Executive Ridge, Vista, CA 92081. If you have a web page that would be of interest to miniature machinists, provide the your URL and we will create a link to your site.

If you leave Sherline's site, please remember to come back any time you need to learn more about machine tools, accessories and how they are used. Check the "What's New" page to find out what has been added or changed since your last visit.


This page has grown to be so large it takes a long time to sift through it all. On the right are a few of our favorite links for quick reference.

If you've got the time to go through the whole list below, you'll be sure to find something of interest to you. This page continues to grow as we find more interesting sites to add. Check back now and then.

A bonus site just for fun? Try here to see How Stuff Works.

1. --The Museum of Retro Technology is an incredible collection of links to bizarre, unusual, dubious, brilliant and sometimes spectacular technological achievements (and attempts at achievement) from the past. You'll be on this page for a while.

2. --Animated engines...See what makes 'em go! Clever animations explain the movements of many kinds of engines.

3. --Machinery's Handbook --The book every machinist should own, it covers everything about machining.

4. --Enter the word "Sherline" to read daily e-mailed discussions between several thousand Sherline owners. A great resource for beginners! Join for free and ask any question. These are the guys "in the trenches" using the machines.

5. News magazine has put together an "Engineering Fundamentals" web page packed with great information on metalworking.

6. --Look in the "archives" at this site to learn about the history of just about any machine tool ever made. An amazing historical resource including stats, photos and old catalogs.

7. and, and are 2 sites for those looking for plans for small steam engines.  For engine kits here's three more:, or in England.

8., The late Bob Shores' site offers excellent hit-n-miss engine plans for several size engines and a book on miniature magnetos and coils.

9. --Village Press puts out several magazines just for the home shop machinist with plans for projects you can build.

10. --Learn about the tools and processes of the watchmaker's art. A great page loaded with good information on tools and gears.

Convert any dimension from one system of measurement to another fast:

* Metal Raw Materials, Fasteners, Tools and Shop Supplies...

This section grew to the point where we felt it needed a page of its own. For a great selection of sources to buy the metal and plastic raw materials you need plus fasteners, fittings and other hard-to-find items, see our Materials Online page.

Coolant—If you need cutting lubricant in small quantities, try your local Sears tool department or the W.W. Grainger Catalog. You can find them on line at Do a search for "cutting fluid." Tap Magic also offers their coolant in small quantities from their site at

Cutting tools—Kodiak Cutting Tools offers HSS and carbide drills, end mills, taps, reamers and burs. See their site at

Tiny fasteners—

     • Modeler Bob Breslauer now offers a selection of very tiny brass and stainless steel nuts and bolts. See

    • Model Motorcars, who specializes in parts for Pocher model autos is now the US distributor for Knupfer Model Precision Engineering's line of tiny fasteners. These include small hex head bolts, nuts, washers, threaded rod and even miniature chrome acorn nuts down to 1.0mm in size. See for Knupfer's own web page too.

    • More small fasteners—Fastener Express supplies a host of the kind of small screws needed by model engineers. They also sell fastener assortments fine-tuned for various hobbies like R/C cars, helicopters, socket head screws or metric size screws. The offer fasteners in nylon, anodized aluminum and black oxide steel as well as fasteners for special jobs. They are located in Orange County, CA and can be contacted at Their toll free number is 877-546-1148 or locally call 949-716-6038 or Fax 949-716-6129. Their physical address is Fastener Express, 23132 La Cadena Drive Suite E, Laguna Hills, Ca 92653.

    • Small Parts Inc. in Florida has an extensive line of raw materials, parts and fasteners for those working small.

Measurement tools, indicators and more—MSC (Manhattan Supply Co.) offers the largest catalog of all kinds of tools including but not limited to measurment tools. See their site at or call for a giant free catalog at (800) 645-7270.

Metal Bar Stock, plastics and other raw materials—(See our page at of links to many On-Line Metal Suppliers.)

Valve Parts, Fittings, and Packages—Valtorc Valves ( supplies valves, fittings, custom bolts and nuts for any custom project. A supplier for many universities, the U.S. government and space programs as well as certain robotic applications, Valtorc products are made in the USA. Though not specifically made for sub-miniature applications, our industrial customers will find some helpful American-made products here.

Knifemakers—Need to know the content of various steels used in knifemaking? A.G. Russell lists a chart at

Everything you wanted to know about metals—See for a good source on the properties of various metals explained in a very easy to understand way.

Everything you wanted to know about stainless steel—and possibly more can be found at

*Model Engineering Shows...

Sherline attends 4 or 5 model engineering shows around the nation each year. Below are links to photos from a number of those shows. Many beautiful steam and gas engines, auto, boat and aircraft models, farm tractors, miniature guns, model machine tools and other small metalworking projects are displayed at shows like this. Click on the links to take a look at some of them.

 North American Model Engineering Society (N.A.M.E.S.), held in the Detroit, MI area each April. View photos of past shows by visiting the following pages: 1998 NAMES Show, 1999 NAMES Show, 2000 NAMES Show, 2001 NAMES Show, 2002 NAMES Show, 2003 NAMES Show, 2004 NAMES Show, 2005 NAMES Show.

American Precision Museum’s Model Engineering Show & Maker Space Held in Windsor, VT, Saturday October 24, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Admission prices: $10.00 adults; $5.00 students. Model Engineers, Kids Engineering Activities, Maker Space, Presentations and Demonstrations.

Gas Engine Antique Reproduction Show (G.E.A.R.S.), held in Portland, OR starting in 2004 to take over for the former PRIME show. See photo examples from the 2004 GEARS Show and 2005 GEARS Show here.

  Cabin Fever Expo is held in Lebanon, PA. The Cabin Fever show is in January and is accompanied by a large equipment auction on Friday, and it has now become the biggest in the nation as far as attendance. See their site at

Western Engine and Model Engineering Show (WEME), See for information. This exhibition is held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA in conjunction with the Good Guys National Hot Rod Show.

* Find anything on the Internet or this web site fast...

If you haven't tried when doing searches on the Internet, do yourself a favor and make it your first choice for a search engine. The response times are incredibly fast, and the answer you are really looking for always seems to be right near the top of the list. There are now many competing search engines out there, but we still feel Google gives the most useable choices. We try to optimize our web pages so they achieve a high ranking in a Google search when you look for common words like "lathe," "mill" or "rotary table."

In addition, Google offers a site search feature that we have taken advantage of. At the very top left of our home page is a "SEARCH" link that opens a query box. Just type in the part number or name of the part you are looking for on our site and it will search for you--not the whole web, just our site. Pretty handy.


 "rec.crafts.metalworking" will take you to a newsgroup that discusses metalworking projects. It is an interactive site where you may read what others are doing, ask questions or answer those of others. This site includes information on metalworking projects of all sizes and complexities. It is not strictly limited to miniature machining. Even so, there is quite a bit of information about Sherline equipment available. If you ask about a particular tool, you will no doubt get a response.

 Newsgroups are non-commercial, although individuals may offer equipment, plans and information free or for sale. This being a "moderated" site, the moderator is supposed to filter out not only trash messages but also blatantly commercial plugs from manufacturers. You may ask other machine users about their opinion of the quality, utility and durability of any product. Presumably the information they offer is honest and unbiased.

 "rec.models.scale" is another group devoted to modelmaking. It is primarily for those interested in superdetailing plastic and other model kits. Discussions include techniques for producing realistic paint and finish effects as well as tools and other tips of the trade.

* Lubrication...

• Since we recommended the use of Teflon-based grease in our instruction manual, many have asked where they can get it. In most cases you can find Mobil 1 teflon-based grease at an auto parts store in small canisters that are used in grease guns. The actual brand of what we use to lube the machines at the factory is Super-Lube by Synco Chemical Corporation. We buy it in 5-gallon containers, but they have a web site and you can purchase their multi-purpose synthetic lubricant directly from them in small amounts. See or call (800) 253-LUBE. The call their PTFE additive "SYNCOLON®".

See-Lect Industrial Equipment Co. Inc. makes very nice precision oilers and other specialty tools. They also happen to be Made in the USA. See their site at or call them at (914) 769-9113. They are located at 174 Brady Ave., Hawthorne, NY 10532. We use their oilers in our museum machine shop and in the Sherline product showroom where we do machine demonstrations. (See

*Sherline machinist home pages...

Some of the people using Sherline tools have put up web sites of their own relating to what they make with their tools. Here are a few: is the home to Tauseef Tahir's CNC helicopter parts page. It shows some examples of what can be done with a CNC setup using Sherline tools. (Updated address, 5/20/02)

Interested in turning titanium? Need a unique wedding band? In either case you might find Dan Statman's web site interesting. He uses a Sherline 4400 lathe to make titanium to make some very nice looking rings. Take a look at to see what can be done in titanium using Sherline tools. Using carbide tools and appropriate safety practices, titanium is no more difficult to turn than many other machineable materials.

"Elm Grove" has published photos of six projects he designed and built on Sherline tools on his web site at Included are a tap handle, tapping guide block, simple hold-down set, digital camera battery adapter, 4-shot electrically fired muzzle loading pistol and a multi-part receiver for an AR-15 rifle. These projects illustrate the range of things that can be done on tabletop machine tools. He also passes along some safety tips, suggested tools and practical tips he has learned over the years.

Steve Bachanek of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada has posted a web site with a collection of useful tips on a number of machines including Sherline. They are mostly gathered from various on-line tool discussion groups and feature the clever solutions to problems common to both particular machines and machining in general. You can browse through his site at and end up with a lot of clever shop tips from many different people. He has also expanded and updated his ACME Digital Photography Primer that is intended to help home machinists learn to take more effective digital photos in their workshops for web posting. There are tips for anyone using digital cameras or scanners in general. (updated 5/06)

*CNC Miniature Machine Tools, Software and Accessories...

A number of companies offer CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) Lathes and Mills based on Sherline equipment. For a complete listing and links directly to some of the companies, click on the highlighted words above to jump to the "CNC Dealers" section of this site.

Make your own automatic tool changer! Joe Vicars displayed the prototype of his automatic tool changer for the Sherline mill at the 2003 NAMES show. There is also a photo of it on page 71 of the August 2003 issue of The Home Shop Machinist magazine. Though CNC is not necessary to make it, because some parts are repeated up to 12 times it would be handy. It can also be used on a manual machine, but would be a really cool addition to a CNC machine. Joe now has plans available so you can make this tool changer. See his web site at for more details on the changer and for how to order the plans.

Flying chips and coolant making a mess in your shop? IM Services offers a sheet metal and plexiglas enclosure that is sized for Sherline machines. See their web page at for more information. The individual panels ship flat to take up less space and keep costs down but are easily assembled with screws and bolts provided.

  Looking for free, open-source software to control your CNC system?  Try the Linux-based EMC system described at They define their project as follows: "The Enhanced Machine Controller (EMC) program is a NIST effort to develop and validate a specification for interfaces to open architecture controllers." In simpler terms, EMC is a free and open source CNC controller program. The EMC can control machine tools, robots, or other automated devices. It can control servo motors, stepper motors, relays, and other devices related to machine tools. This is the same system Sherline now uses on their complete CNC systems.

A company offering a wealth of information on CNC and motion control can be found at They are called Magna Associates, Inc. They offer an extensive "links" section to take you even further on your quest for information about CNC.

  Anyone interested in learning about CNC machining might find a new book by David Hayden interesting. It is called 7 Easy Steps to CNC Programming. You may find out more about the book by clicking on the underlined title to visit Mr. Hayden's web site. Mr. Hayden taught himself NC machining over 20 years ago while working as a lathe operator. Since that time he has attended hundreds of hours of training courses and has also developed his own course in CNC programming. The cost of the book is $39.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling. (E-mail:

*Software for Machinists...

   Here's an interesting site with lots of handy software for the shop that has one major attraction...IT'S ALL FREE! Marvin Klotz has put up a page called "Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things" that includes a wealth of programs at for your use. It's worth looking over the list to see if there is anything that could help you solve a problem. I'll bet you find something you'll download. It's cool stuff and the price is right.

Frederik Rombach has come up with a neat little program that will help you calculate spindle speed/FPM for a number of material and cutter size combinations for the lathe, mill and drill press. CLICK HERE to download his small (348 kb) .exe program. Select the material from the top menu and enter the known values of cutter size and so on in the boxes. It's as easy as that. This program will run on any Windows-based computer with a Windows 98 or newer OS.

The Machinist's Friend® is a valuable utility program for Machine Shop Owners, Machinist, CNC Programmers, Metalworkers, Students, Engineers, or anyone else who needs to solve Trigonometry calculations. Also a great utility tool for cad or cad-cam users. This user friendly program is not only quick and easy to learn and use, but it aids machinists and other users who need accurate calculations of measurements for making machined parts. This is a program written by a machinist for machinists and is a must have for your electronic reference library.

(The above is quoted from their web site, 6/03. The site gives lots of examples and screen shots of how the program solves various problems like speeds/feed rates, bolt circles and chord lengths.)

Need a quick way to do trig calculations? See Just fill in the sides or angles you know and it does the rest.

 This link to CNC information comes from Robert Adams. He offers a tutorial on using a CAD program to help create a tool path at There are also links to software for the home shop machinist to convert a .dxf CAD drawing to a G-Code program. The whole package of software programming tools can be purchased for $29.95. The home page is at Bob's address or telephone are on his webpage. (Rev. 5/12/05)

*Other Interesting Tools...

 THE CLISBY LATHE - The original design for the Sherline lathe was developed by Australian engineer Harold Clisby in the 1960's. It was called the "Clisby lathe" until Mr. Clisby turned the project over to Ron Sher who had the facilities to put it into production. It then became the Sherline lathe, and Mr. Clisby put his energy into many successful business ventures as far ranging as clothing manufacturing and air compressor manufacturing. He and his son visited the Sherline factory in 1998 and we found him to be fascinating person to talk to. He knows a lot about a lot of things and has an energy and vitality that belie his years. He now has developed a neat little 12-volt micro-lathe which is again called the Clisby lathe. It is a small and inexpensive but nicely designed lathe suitable for small parts in wood, plastic or easily machined metals. You might find it interesting to visit his site and see what he is up to. His address is

*Accessories Made by Other Manufacturers for Sherline Tools...

 A company called DESIGN MACHINE in Wakefield, RI makes a quick-change turret tool post for the Sherline lathe as well as several other accessories for micro machining equipment. If quick tool changeover is critical to your jobs and you'd like to look at an alternative to Sherline's quick-change tool holders, give them a call. Their address is 2196 Post Road, Wakefield, RI 02879 and their phone number is (401) 783-0487.

 OMW Metalcrafts makes accessories for small lathes. Among other things now available are ball turning tool (radius cutter) and a die holder. To find out more about these and other tools, take a look at their site by clicking on the name above or going to  You can reach Joe Osborn by e-mail at:

Sparro Machine Products Inc. makes a First Word wide range indicator holder that makes indicating a large bore easy. It can also be used to help you align your mill column perpendicular to the table. It attaches quickly  to any shaft held in a chuck or collet from 3/8" up to 2" in diameter. Although designed for full-size machines, it will work on any size mill. They make some other time-saving tools for full-size machines that you might want to check out, even if it's just for ideas on something you could adapt or make in smaller scale for your miniature machine. See

  Plastools, LLC in Pennsylvania has a web site at They make triangular inserted tip carbide tools. The tool holders come with inserts and are sized in 1/4" and 3/8" shanks to work with Sherline tools. They provide a great finish on most metals and are quite economical.

Fisher Machine Shop, Inc. of Hawthorne, CA makes a nice little edge finder that is a good fit for your Sherline mill. It has a 1/4" shank that fits in a collet or 1/4" end mill holder. It is Model 250 and sells for $10.50. They also have an "audible edge finder" in the same size as Model A250 for $12.00. You can reach them at (310) 644-8375 or write to 11704 Inglewood Ave., Hawthorne, CA 90250. Their line also includes a larger 3/8" shank "Model A" that lists at $8.00 as well as combination edge and center finders, metric versions plus sine bars, V-blocks and indicator holders.

Jim McDade of Proto-JEM at makes a neat little Sherline Drawbolt Puller that keeps you from having to hit the drawbolt with a hammer to release an arbor or collet from the #1 Morse spindle taper. Just slip it in place, tighten a screw and it pushes the tool out of the taper without risk of knocking the machine out of alignment. Jim has other interesting projects listed on his site as well. Stop by and see what he's up to. (3/18/05)

Denitool in Murfreesboro, TN is a distributor for these Swiss made miniature inserted tip carbide tool holders. Sized appropriately for Sherline tools, they offer IC boring bars that will go into holes as small as 1/4". They also offer a variety of insert orientations including ones that allow you to go in and face of the back side of an undercut. Their web site offers quite a bit of information at You would need to make or buy a reduction bushing to be able to hold these smaller diameter holders in you Sherline 7600 3/8" IC tool post.

*Plans and Projects You Can Build...

PLANS FOR STEAM, STIRLING and IC ENGINES...The web site of the late Jerry Howell offers a large selection of well-drawn CAD plans for an interesting variety of engines. See or its new address, The Joe Martin Foundation has built Jerry's V-4 engine as a shop project. Documentation of the build can be found in the Craftsmanship Museum web site.

FREE PLANS FOR STEAM ENGINES...Elmer's Engines was the site of the late Elmer Verberg. A new page by John Tomlinson dedicated to the distribution of Elmer's plans can be found at It was Elmer's wish that these engines be built, so the plans were put into the public domain at his request. 3D drawings of many of the engines were done in Alibre. This site offers a lot of information for the builder as well as sources for plans of other projects from steam locomotives to replica guns.

PROJECT PLANS ON CD FROM GUY LAUTARD...You get a lot for your money on this CD featuring plans for several projects, letters with all kinds of handy shop tips and more. Plans include: a universal vise for holding small parts, a surface gage based on a 120-year old design and a small hammer for fine work. There are also links to other interesting sites, three "shop tales" and much more. For details and prices for various parts of the world, contact Guy Lautard, 2570 Rosebery Avenue, W. Vancouver, B.C. V7V 2Z9, Canada or see his web page at Guy is well known in the machining world for his "Bedside Reader" series and for providing quality information to the hobby, and with his digital camera and the use of modern technology, it looks like he is taking this quality to the next level. (5/05)

Guy's latest set of plans allows you to build a highly efficient tire pump. See for details on how to order plans. (6/06)

FREE PLANS FOR PROJECTS OF ALL KINDS...See John Tomlinson's page at for a big collection of plans and projects. Included are model boat plans, engine plans and other projects from model tanks to guns. (3/13)

STEAM ENGINE PLANS...Ray Hasbrouk has a web page at that offers plan sets for some nice engines he has designed. Many are sized small enough for Sherline tools. The plans are very reasonably priced, most at around $15.00. He can be reached by mail at:  Ray F. HasBrouck, 20 Brouck-Ferris Blvd., New Paltz, NY 12561

MORE STEAM ENGINE PLANS...Kelly T. of the Estevan Model Engineering Show sent a link to a page with many free resouces. See for Elmer's Engine pages. That will keep you busy for a while. Not enough choices? Read on...

MORE STEAM ENGINE PLANS...Here's a simple, fun one. Try for instructions and photos on building the "Saimese Twins" two-cylinder steam engine by Dave Goodfellow. Plans are available for download in .pdf format. The design is based on the steam engine in Rudy Kouhoupt's video with the addition of a second cylinder, and Dave built it on Sherline equipment. (5/01)

  EVEN MORE PLANS FOR SOME SIMPLE STEAM ENGINES...Dean Williams has put up a site with some machining projects and some reasonably priced plans for simple engines. There are shots of his Sherline shop layout too. See his site at

HUGE SELECTION OF FREE STEAM AND IC ENGINE PLANS...Join the forum at and get access not only to the discussion group, but also a very large collection of scanned engine plans in their download section. The drawings and articles are high quality zipped .tif files that print out nice and clear.

The "Little Angel" Hit 'n Miss engine by Bob Shores finished 4th in the 1996 N.A.M.E.S. Show Contest. More details on the engine can be found by going to Bob's site at Others have also built winning versions of this engine. Bob offers complete plans for this handsome, smooth running engine as well as a similar engine called the "Silver Angel". They can both be built on Sherline equipment. The plans are full scale on 5 sheets of 18" x 24" blueprint paper (6 sheets for the Silver Angel) with each part fully detailed and dimensioned in a very professional style. A detailed set of typewritten instructions is also included for each. If you have a little experience in machining and want to go beyond working with kits, this could be a good way to do your first scratch built project. Plans are $25 in the USA which includes postage and handling. Add $5 for delivery outside the USA. Contact Margaret Shores, 108 Carmelina Street, Ruskin, FL 33570. (813) 645-8322. E-mail:

NOTE: Bob Shores passed away May 18, 2004, but his wife Margaret will continue offering the plans and kits he developed.

Also offered is a new 2-cylinder, 4-cycle gas engine called the "Silver Bullet". It is water-cooled and can be built on a 6" lathe. (Bob says he thinks it could be built on a Sherline lathe with riser blocks.) The casting kit and 26 drawings are $95.00 postage paid in the USA. For shipment outside the USA, add $15.00. Also available are molded spark plug wires, rimfire sparkplugs and a shop wall chart that Bob modestly claimed is "worth hanging on the wall". The serious I.C. engine builder will also want his book, Ignition coils and Magnetos in Miniature. The 253-page hardback book is $25.00 ($30.00 outside USA).

The newest engine from Bob Shores (see address above) was designed with Sherline tools in mind. The little "Hercules" was designed for easy construction and reliable operation. It is truly a nice little engine that starts easy, idles very slow and is not difficult to build.
It is a 4 cycle gas engine with 5/8" bore, side operated valves, splash lubrication, water pump and very efficient radiator. It uses a 'waste fire' ignition system utilizing a motorcycle ignition coil.
The casting kit consists of four Almag castings for the block, oil pan, gear cover and bell housing with 28, 11" X 17" high quality drawings detailing engine construction, water pump, radiator, fuel tank, ignition systems and useful construction tools. The casting kit is $110.00 in the USA or $120.00 outside the USA including postage. (Click on the small image above for a larger version.) Ordering details and more info can be found at Bob's web site at

NOTE: See also Rudy Kouhoupt's video instructions on building a steam engine in the section below on "Magazines, Books and Videos on Machining

AUTOMATIC TOOL CHANGER PLANS...Joe Vicars displayed the prototype of his automatic tool changer for the Sherline mill at the 2003 NAMES show. There is also a photo of it on page 71 of the August 2003 issue of The Home Shop Machinist magazine. Though CNC is not necessary to make it, because some parts are repeated up to 12 times it would be handy. It can also be used on a manual machine, but would be a really cool addition to a CNC machine. Joe now has plans available so you can make this tool changer. See his web site at for more details on the changer and for how to order the plans.

PLANS FOR ENGINES, RIFLES AND MORE...Contact Dick Saunders at Saunders Machine, 145 Delhi Road, Manchester, IA 52057-1801. Dick has designed and offers plans for everything from a top ($5.00) to two different single shot rifles ($12.00 each or $20.00 for both). He also has plans for a tin can hot air engine, a 10" shear, a fire eating engine, a cup engine and a center drill guide. Most are $10.00 or less. Write him for plans or more information.

 PUZZLE PROJECTS...Hex nut within a cube...Some of you may have seen the "cube within a cube" project shown in Joe Martin's book, Tabletop Machining. Matthew Russell has come up with a new twist on that idea. A metal cube with holes in all six sides contains a large hex nut that is too big to fit through the holes. It is all machined from one piece of metal. How is it done? For $5.00 you can find out and build one yourself. It requires some fixtures and careful cutting, but once mastered an interesting conversation piece can be produced in an afternoon's work. For a set of plans on how to make the fixtures and written instructions on how to use them to machine this unique project, send a check for $5.00 to: Matthew Russel, 33 Woodridge Drive, Mendon, NY 14506. Matthew now also has plans for how to make a set of elliptical gears. They have no practical function but look great and provide a very unique motion when cranked, which is reason enough for their existance.

  MINIATURE GUN PLANS...The Miniature Arms Society was founded in 1973 for builders and collectors of miniature weaponry. They now maintain a library of drawings, sketches and plans for old guns and other weapons. These are free for members. The society also recently published a large coffee table type book called The Art of Miniature Firearms, which contains over 300 pages of color photos of the finest craftsman in the miniature weapon world. To learn more about miniature weapons and the society, contact Bill Adrian, 2502 Fresno Lane, Plainfield, IL 60544 or call Joel Morrow at the Imperial Miniature Armory in Houston, Texas at 1-800-MINIATURE (1-800-646-4288) or see their site at

  If you are interested in building your own model amphibious assault vehicle, see the site: The author has presented many detailed photos in the construction of his own large model including many setups using Sherline tools to make the metal parts. Though not really a "set of plans", the site is very well done and full of ideas on how to go about making a working model from scratch

FREE PLANS FOR MACHINING A CHILD'S TOP...Karl Schwab provided a reprint of a one-page article he had published about how to build a spinning top he remembers from his childhood. CLICK HERE for the plans. Karl has entered many projects in Sherline's Machinist's Challenge contest and his grandson, Scott won the youth division in 2004. See the 2004 contest results for photos of their projects and all the other entries.

. STEP BLOCK HOLD-DOWN SET organizer block...FREE PLANS! The Sherline P/N 3013 step block hold-down set consists of many small clamps, studs, washers and T-nuts. To keep them all organized at our trade show booth, we designed an oak block with fitted compartments and holes for each part. It looks good and keeps everything organized and in one place. If you'd like a copy of Craig's plans to make this block, a simple afternoon project on a Sherline mill, just call us and ask for your free copy. You can also download a copy of the same plans in .pdf format by going to the instructions for the P/N 3013 set. Ours is made from oak, but it could be just as easily machined from aluminum, plastic or whatever you have on hand and like to work with.

CLOCK KIT...See the section on "Stuff for Clockmakers" below.

WANT TO BUILD A NEW, SUPER-EFFICIENT ENGINE DESIGN?... Tired of building conventional engines? Louis Moore has been advertising in the model magazines for some time. He is seeking people who can build a prototype of a new engine design called the Monomotor. He claims it is perfectly balanced, smooth and efficient. He has the ideas and some plans, but not the skill to build a prototype himself. If you are interested in working on a project like this, contact him at 1-573-435-6666 or write Louis Moore, P.O. Box 522, Edgar Springs, MO 65462. (He does not have a web site or e-mail.) He has a fully equipped shop you can use or you can work with him from your own shop. I have not seen the plans or met the man, but he seems determined to make a better engine. In speaking with him, he seems long on vision but short on details. I'm not sure exactly what to make of his offer, but here it is for anyone who wants to try something different. He says the prototype could be built on small tools. (7/22/05)

ATTENTION AIRCRAFT MODELERS...Aerotec Data offers aircraft manuals for old airplanes that can be a great source of technical information for those building detailed models. Young C. Park used their manuals to produce the interior detail in his cutaway aluminum Corsair and P-51 Mustang models. They are located at P.O. Box 771, Monument, CO 80132. Phone: (719) 481-2286 or FAX: (719) 481-2203. Web site:

BUILD YOUR OWN MODEL POND YACHT...Charles Blume has a web page on traditional model pond yachts at He also offers a set of plans for making your own plank-on-frame "A" class model. Photos of his sailing dinghy are also on the site. Traditional pond yachts used self-steering rigs (shown in photos on the site), but the addition of modern radio control gives much more control and saves a lot of walking around the pond to retrieve your boat. They also look great on the mantle when not in use! (4/11/08)

*Catalogs for Hobbyists...


 QTE North America in Rancho Cucamonga, CA sells drills, taps and other tools. They have recently started specializing in very small taps and other tools for the miniature market. They don't have a web site yet, but if you need a really small tap or special tool you can't find elsewhere, call them at (909) 481-5115.

 Small Parts Inc. is another great source for engineers and modelers. Their catalog subtitle is "Engineering Findings, quality components, materials & tools" which fairly describes the broad range of items they offer. For example, you could make a brass 4-40 thumbscrew 3/8" long on your lathe and have it nickel plated, but you may not want to bother when you can by 10 of them for $5.33 (Spring catalog #19, page 158). They also offer everything from needle bearing stainless steel cam followers to miniature universal joints as well as the more common brass, steel and plastic raw materials for machining. Their catalog is a "must" for your resource library.

Try this page for a good selection of free small drive component catalogs: The company is SDP/SI (Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instrument). The catalogs offer a huge selection of gears, belts, pulleys and so on. They can also be contacted at: 
North American Inquiries E-Mail:
Overseas Inquiries E-Mail:
Phone: 516-328-3300, Fax: 800-737-7436 or 516-326-8827


 Wm. K. Walthers--offers a huge line of trains and model railroading accessories from Z to G scales. If you're building a train layout, they've got what you need.


 Catfish Hollow Toys has a neat site offering toys from the past. Their motto is "Toys the way they used to be", and that kind of sums up the site. The selection includes steam and Sterling kits and other supplies for model engineers. They also offer wooden toys, live steam engines, vehicles and boats, tin lithographed and die cast toys. Their web address is, or you can write them at Catfish Hollow Toys, P.O. Box 82, Ernest, PA 15739. Their phone number is (724) 349-0470 and e-mail is (updated 11/5/01)

 Coles Power Models, Inc. has moved from California to Texas. Their catalog offers a very large selection of kits suitable for the Sherline machinist. They include both gas and steam as well as boilers, fittings, tools and accessories. Although they do not yet carry Sherline tools (please mention that omission if you call them and tell them we're giving them a free plug anyway...), their line of kits and accessories is worth looking into. They have been around since 1928 and have a rather conservative but very complete black and white catalog. They can be reached at the following address and numbers: Coles' Power Models, Inc, P.O. Box 623, Warren, TX 77664, Voice: (409) 547-3400, FAX: (409) 547-3444. E-mail: Hours of Operation (8AM TO 5PM CST) M-F. The new web site is

 Jerry E. Howell of Colorado Springs, Colorado offers plans and kits for Stirling, atmospheric and gas engines as well as other interesting projects. Project plans sets start at $9.00. Miniature ball bearings, transistor ignition kits and other items for model engine builders are also available. His web site at is a complete full color catalog and much, much more. His e-mail address is jerry

 Metal Lathe Accessories offers a diesel model airplane engine of .20 cubic inch displacement. It is made of bar stock materials (no castings), which are supplied along with plans and instructions. For details on the kit, mark "diesel" on your inquiry and the info is free. For a complete list of all their kits, enclose $1.00. Send inquiries to Metal Lathe Accessories, P.O. Box 88, Pine Grove Mills, PA 16868.

 P.M. Research, Inc. makes some really nice kits that are a good starting point for a machinist looking for a first project that includes plans, castings and materials. These aren't railroad steam engines, but rather the kind that did all the work in factories and on farms before the internal combustion engine took over. Some of the kits are also available with the machining work already done in case you just want to assemble and enjoy them. They also offer some miniature replicas in 1/12 scale of old machine tools in kit form. Many of the kits fit within the size capabilities of SHERLINE equipment. They offer an extensive line of books on steam engines and machining too. Almost half of their attractive catalog is filled with conversion tables, machining speed charts and other useful information you'll want to keep as a permanent reference. Internet address: Their mailing address is 4110 Niles Hill Road, Wellsville, NY 14895. Phone: 716-593-3169. Kits start at about $21.00.

  Stuart Models of England offers a line of steam engine kits. They can be ordered as raw castings, machined castings or complete engines. See their site at for more information.

 TINY POWER has a nice web site and offers a variety of kits including a new steam engine by Ed Warren that makes a great Sherline project. See their web site or contact them at (417) 334-2655. They are located near the country music capital of Branson, MO. Write: Tiny Power, P.O. Box 1605, Branson, MO 65615 or e-mail

  Executive Model Design offers an interesting array of casting kits for steam and internal combustion engines. See for their web site. These are not beginner kits, but would offer a good challenge.


 K&G Enterprises is bringing back the sport of racing tether cars. Remember those super-fast gas engine powered cars roaring around in a circle at well over 100 MPH? Gary Barnes of Antelope, CA offers a choice of 12 cars as kits or ready to run. He brought two by our booth at the 2000 P.R.I.M.E. show and they are gorgeous. The chassis is CNC machined from a solid billet of aluminum. The bodies are neat hot rod designs made from tough fiberglass. Look up his site at or call him at (916) 726-9015.

 Lucas Racing in Los Angeles imports some really nice German 1/5-scale R/C race cars that are gas engine powered. The suspensions are patterned after current state-of-the-art race car technology with working shocks and disk brakes. Check out their site at

Mechanical Models offers a line of kits including canons and hot air engines. They can be purchased in three forms: as plans and raw materials, machined parts ready for assembly or completely assembled. Naturally, you'll want the kit, but if you're in a hurry you do have the choice. See They even have a link to a site that explains how Stirling engines work.

Morrison Miniature Machines is a dealer for Stuart model engines and other model machinist-related items. Stuart makes some fine steam engine kits, which can be purchased as raw castings and plans or already machined and ready for assembly. See their web site at or call (501) 753-1749.

Scande Research of Villa Park, IL offers some fun wooden rubber band powered hot rod kits that are great for kids. They also have simple airplane kits including a rubber band powered helicopter, conventional, delta wing and canard gliders and a catapult launched autogyro. They even have delta wing R/C kits. Prices are really reasonable. See or contact for kit information.

  Looking for something really different in electric boats? How about an R/C submarine? Try SubTech for kits, fittings, accessories, radios and motors. They also carry a line of parts for above-the-water electric boats. They're at or call 732-363-7426 for a catalog. For snailmail, try SubTech, 501 Albert Ave., Lakewood, NJ 08701.

Historic Steam Models Ltd. in Surrey, England manufactures steam plant /mill engine combinations assembled and ready to steam or as a kit for the enthusiast to self assemble. Whether completed or in kit form the models are superbly machined and finished with electro-lacquering on all copper and brass, lagging on all hot pipe work and stove enameling on all painted items. Full details can be found on their website where their latest brochure can be downloaded. For more information, email or write to Historic Steam Models, Monument House, Monument Way West, Woking, Surrey, GU21 5EN, England. Phone/Fax: +44 (0) 1403 786206. (Updated web address and phone no. 6/26/06)

The Cotswold Heritage Model Steam Engine Collection in the UK can be found at and features finished models, machined kits you can assemble and casting kits that offer more of a challenge to the machinist. You can order their catalog from the site or sign up for their newsletter. The finished pieces and kits seem to be of high quality. Their address is Cotswold Heritage Ltd.
Bird Industrial Park, Long Marston, Stratford upon Avon, Wawickshire, CV37 8RP, UK or call +44 (0) 1789 721444. (2/08)

*Stuff for Clockmakers and Restorers...

 A list of resources for Clockmakers has been compiled by Douglas Vogt. It's so extensive we made it a separate page. CLICK HERE to view Mr. Vogt's summary. (1/9/12)

 Watch and Clock Schools, Courses, Lessons...

• The NAWCC School of Horology—The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors hosts a highly respected School in Columbia, Pennsylvania. See their site at

• See Bob Tascione's site at for home courses in watch and clock repair. These are available on DVD, plus Bob also holds one-on-one workshops as well as offering a free newsletter called "Bob's Time Buzz.".

 Watch and Clock Review Magazine covers both modern and vintage timepieces. A section on Service & Repair includes articles on repair and restoration of watch and clock parts. The February, 1996 issue has a nice article in the "Apprentice's Notebook" section by Bob Hovey which utilizes the Sherline lathe to make laps for polishing pinions. For information on a subscription, call (516) 295-2516 or write WCR, Subscription Dept., 2403 Champa Street, Denver, CO 80205-9903.

 Horological Times is the official publication of the American Watchmakers Institute. It comes out monthly and covers the technical aspects of the watch/clock making and jewelry industry. It includes technical articles, tips and news. For more information, contact The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, 701 Enterprise Drive, Harrison, OH 45030 or phone (513) 367-9800.

  New to watch and clock making? Start with this site: Hugh Sparks has put together a page that takes the mystery out of watchmaking tools and processes. It is one of Joe Martin's favorite pages; especially the description and formulas in the section on gear making. There is even a cycloidal gear calculator. Plug in the module, number of wheel and pinion teeth and it calculates seven other factors like the gear ratio, circular pitch and more for you instantly. Also included are photos and descriptions of many of the tools of the watchmaker's trade.

NEED OBSOLETE WATCH OR CLOCK PARTS CUSTOM MADE? If you are restoring an old watch or clock and aren't up to manufacturing some of the missing bits and pieces yourself, contact Steve Cotton. His small company now uses a Sherline CNC mill to reproduce obsolete watch and clock parts. See their site at or give him a call at (250) 951-7150 in BC, Canada.

 William R. Smith is well known in the field of clockmaking. He has recently designed a T-Rest for the Sherline lathe which makes it possible to hand turn parts using a "graver", which is a common technique in watch- and clockmaking. His credentials include a degree in mechanical engineering as well as FBHI (Fellow, British Horological Institute), FNAWCC (Fellow, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors), CMC (Certified Master Clockmaker) and CMW (Certified Master Watchmaker). Over his career he has had over 60 horological articles published. He has also published several books and a video on clock making which should be of interest to anyone who is serious about restoring clocks or making them from scratch. The clocks he describes are "skeleton" clocks, which are beautiful and ornate enough that they are not intended to be hidden by a solid case, but rather are displayed in glass or plastic cases so the delicate movement can be seen in action.

We are happy to announce that Bill Smith has posted a web site where you can see some of his work at He has another at The titles of the books now available are:

• Clockmaking and Modelmaking Tools and Techniques

• How to Make a Skeleton Wall Clock

• How to Make a Grasshopper Skeleton Clock

• How to make a Lyre Skeleton Clock

• Workshop Techniques for Clockmakers and Modelmakers

Each book costs $35.00 (postage paid) and includes 12 chapters of text, photos and drawings that take the reader through every aspect of building the desired clock. If you follow his directions, when you are done you will have a beautiful working clock ticking away in front of you.
Mr. Smith has also produced several highly detailed videos. They are available on VHS format and each runs 2 hours. The cost for each video is $60.00 (postage paid).

Wheel Cutting, Pinion Making and Depthing for Clockmakers and Modelmakers

• Graver Making and Hand Turning for Clockmakers and Modelmakers

• Tooling the Workshop for Clockmakers and Modelmakers

The books and videos are available for order from: William R. Smith, 8049 Camberley Drive, Powell, TN 37849. Mr. Smith may be contacted by phone at (865) 947-9671 or e-mail at


  The Morgan Clock Company has just introduced a pivot polishing attachment for the Sherline lathe. The solid carbide wheel makes polishing clock pivots quick and easy. For more information on MORGAN'S PIVOT POLISHER, call (800) 805-2220 or write them at 815 Century Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52002. E-mail: Internet:
  Need a glass dome under which to display your favorite clock? See for a good selection. They are available in both round and oval bottoms, and handsome bases are also offered. Call Ben Bowen in Monticello, FL at (850) 997-3797 or e-mail for more information.


 Hirshmann Antique Clocks--50A River Drive, Titusville, NJ 08560-0194, (609) 737-0800

 S. LaRose, Inc.--P.O. Box 21208, Greensboro, NC 27420, (910) 621-1936

 The Clock Doktor--P.O. Box 39, Silverton, OR 97381, Phone or fax: (503) 873-6475, e-mail:


Mike Kovacich at The Clock Shop in Anaconda, Montana offers a kit to assemble a large brass clock movement. You can buy it as plans only, plans plus materials, plans, materials and pre-machined gears, a complete kit or a fully assembled clock–with or without wooden case. If you want to learn how a clock works, this is a good starting project, and you will end up with a very interesting timepiece for your mantle. See the kit at or call (406) 563-2498.

A number of clock kits are available from Murray Clock Craft. at They used to have a list of clock museums around the world posted on their site, but at last look I could no longer find it.

*Stuff for Pen Makers and Restorers...

Pen World Magazine is a bi-monthly which has articles, photography and news about the world's finest writing tools. For subscription information call (800) 774-8555 or write: Pen World Magazine, P.O. Box 6007, Kingwood, TX 77325-6007.


* Hut Products for Wood, 15361 Hopper Road, Sturgeon, MO 65284, (314) 875-0472

* Berea HardWoods Co., Inc., 6367 Eastland Road, Brookpark, OH 44142, (440) 234-7949

*Stuff for Woodworkers in general...

Jeff Greef has a woodworking site that has a links page with many valuable and informative links. It can be found at He also offers some good tips and free plans on his site, although the projects are more suitable for full size machines. If you are into working with wood, this site still has much to offer.

Ken Grunke is a woodturner who has posted an interesting way to use the Sherline mill to turn ornamental wood projects. See to visit his site. It allows for turning of objects like bowls and knobs while being able to use the mill's handwheels to adjust the centerline height of the object and distance of the tool rest from the centerline. He also shows some easy-to-make ways to hold your work.

PLANS AND RESOURCES FOR WOODWORKERS...For those using Sherline tools for woodworking projects, visit for plenty of links to sources for project plans.

SEVERAL SOURCES FOR WOODEN TOYS YOU CAN MAKE...Toys and Joys at P.O Box 628, Lynden, WA 98264 offers a catalog of patterns, kits and drawings for making wooden toys. Send $1 to the above address for a catalog or see their site at See also for a web site that offers many kits for toy vehicles and trains. Even home repair specialist Bob Vila gets into the act with his site at

*Stuff for Ship Modelers...

The Ships of Scale web site at offers lots of photos and advice for the ship model builder. Donnie Driskell of Madison, MS has put together a nice site including a ship modeler's forum you can join. There is an archive of past newsletters, a gallery where you can send photos of your ship models and a "build log" section where you can follow progress on models under construction.

*Magazines, Books and Videos on Machining...

Guy Lautard sells books, videos and instructions that will be of interest to machinists. He also has a "links" section that can take you to more items of interest for machinists. Visit his site at

Following are some individual publications that cover topics of interest to home machinists:

The Home Shop Machinist--a bi-monthly publication devoted entirely to metalworking. Editorial is directed to professionals and those who have just discovered a new hobby. Each issue contains "how-to" articles on lathe work, drilling, milling, grinding, foundry, and micro-machining, plus metal shop projects (complete with drawings prepared to ANSI specifications and photographs).

Machinist's Workshop--a bi-monthly magazine that is the sister publication to The Home Shop Machinist and the answer to reader's requests for projects they could work on between issues of Home Shop. Intended for serious machinists/metalworkers, each issue offers plans for valuable tools and accessories, and challenging hobby projects. Every project is complete in one issue.

*NOTE: This magazine was former titled "Projects in Metal" but has now been renamed The Machinist's Workshop and has undergone a major change in format to make it even better.

Live Steam and Outdoor Railroading--a bi-monthly magazine devoted to all aspects of steam power. Primarily, it serves the hobby aspect of steam, with most feature articles directed toward the scale model builder. Approximately 80% of the readers enjoy large scale model railroading (mainly steam, but also diesel and electric). Other interests include stationary steam engines, steamboats, steam traction engines, automotive steam and various other engines. Articles of historical interest are often featured, along with construction projects, "how-to" articles and news about the hobby.

Model Engine Builder is a new magazine for those interested in building engines. Unlike Strictly IC (see below) which it is intended to replace, it will not be restricted to only internal combustion engines, but will also give some coverage to Stirling and other interesting engines as well. It will include plans and articles, beginner and advanced projects, articles about builders and their shops and photo coverage of the major model engineering shows. The initial issue should be available March, 2005. For more information or to subscribe to this publication, contact editor Mike Rehmus at 737 Elmwood Avenue, Vallego, CA 94591-6641 or call (707) 643-1970. You can also e-mail or see their web site at It will initially be published quarterly with plans to go to bi-monthly as  subscriptions permit.

Strictly I.C. was the magazine for miniature engine design and construction. Published by expert technical writer Robert Washburn, this magazine served a very focused part of the modeling market. The magazine published its last issue in December 2001, but back issues are available. Write to Strictly I.C. Publishing, 24920 43rd Ave. So., Kent, WA 98032-4160. Their 24-hour fax number is (253) 946-5253. The web site address is

More magazines...

 Model Engineer--is now published in England by It has been around for over 100 years and offers an interesting look at modeling from a European perspective. You'll see things advertised there than often do not appear in American magazines. To contact them, write: MyHobbyStore Ltd., Berwick House, 8-10 Knoll Rise, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0EL, UK. Telephone: 01689 899200, Fax: 01689 899266 (From the USA add a 011 in front of the number to get into the international system.) Their web address is .

 Steam in the Garden--Garden railways combine two hobbies...model railroading and gardening. This magazine specializes in garden railways that run on live steam. They often include articles that would be of interest to miniature machinists interested in making small live steam locomotives and rolling stock. A construction article on building a Vest Pocket Climax locomotive has been running as a series. Sherline tools are used in its construction. One of their readers created a web site that shows the continuing progress of the locomotive. It can be found at

 Seaways' Ships in Scale Magazine is a great source for model ship builders and ship historians. Their site offers a summary of articles in the current issue plus some great photos of model ships. They also have e-mail centers for both ship modelers and ship historians. There is a resource section as well with links to sellers of ship kits, plans, tools and other items of interest to those into ship modeling.

By the way, the Ship Modelers Association's Western Ship Model Conference is held every year or two in the L.A. area. They display some really beautiful models. A few years ago it was held on the Queen Mary. For information on the Association, contact Lloyd V. Warner, 2083 Reynosa Drive, Torrance, CA 90501, (310) 326-5177.


 Machinery's Handbook is the one book every serious machinist should own. It's a bit expensive at around $85.00, but the new 26th edition will answer any question you might ever have about machining. Their web site has a history of the publication as well as a complete table of contents and ordering information. Although you can buy it from a number of sources, if you want to check it out before you plunk down that much hard-earned, after-tax money, their site is the perfect place to start. The book is available on CD-ROM now too.

Tabletop Machining by Joe Martin. NOW IN IT'S FOURTH PRINTING! Written by Sherline's owner and long-time modeler Joe Martin, this book is the ultimate resource for the home shop machinist. It is a large 8-1/2 x 11" size with easy to read 12 point type. The lay-flat binding makes it easy to use as a reference book and the thick, glossy pages give a high quality feel. (The book weighs over three pounds!) The full color format is packed with over 400 photos and 200 line art illustrations of projects, setups, tools and equipment. As both a hobbyist and the owner of a manufacturing business that makes miniature machine tools, Joe is qualified to talk about machining many levels. He brings this expertise to the reader in a down-to-earth style that makes for easy reading. Too many craftsmen are stopped from completing projects because the information they need is found in books presenting only the technically perfect way to do something. Joe shows you the simple methods machinists really use in day-to-day situations to make real parts. If you are just starting out or if you are an engineer recently graduated from school, this book will be a great introduction to the way parts are really made. If you own or are planning on getting Sherline tools, this book is essential. The book is available from Sherline or our dealers as Part Number 5301. Price: $40.00. (25% off if ordered with any machine/accessory package.) Now also available as P/N 5302 in hardbound, author signed, limited edition for $60.00.

The Home Machinist's Handbook by Doug Briney. A complete do-it-yourselfer's guide to machine work...with projects! We highly recommend this book to beginning miniature machinists as all the instructions an projects shown are accomplished on Sherline tools. The book talks about setting up your own home shop, using, buying and storing your tools, how to read shop drawings, measurements, mill and lathe operation, material selection, heat treating, finishing and more. Though the book has not been updated in quite a while, and some of the newer accessories are not included, the basic knowledge presented is not something that goes out of date. Plans for ten projects are also included that range from a simple center punch to a ship's cannon. The book is available from Sherline as Part Number 5300. 7" x 10", 275 pages, black and white. Price: $20.00.

Machine Shop Essentials–Questions and Answers by Frank Marlow, PE. NEW 2004! Mr. Marlow has already written several very popular books on welding that are sold through Industrial Press, but this is his first that is self published and took over a year and a half to write. The introduction says, "Machine Shop Essentials covers the use of manually controlled metal lathes, milling machines, and drill presses to make one-of-a kind parts, prototypes, and industrial models, and to modify and repair existing machines." It is written in a question and answer format and contains over 500 clear, concise drawings that make it much easier to understand the concepts described. It covers all the main aspects of machine shop practice in easy-to-understand blocks. It is a great introduction for a beginning machinist and a good refresher for someone just getting back into machining. Machines from Sherline up to full-size shop tools are covered. 7" x 10", 517 pages, over 500 illustrations, $44.95. For more info you can visit their web site at Available through Sherline as P/N 5305.

 Machine Shop Trade Secrets–A Guide to Manufacturing Machine Shop Practices by James A. Harvey. NEW, 2004! The author is a machinist and plastic injection mold maker with almost thirty years experience. This book is oriented toward the professional machinist striving to get into or learn more about the trade. It is well illustrated with many black and white photos and offers an in-the-trenches view of jobs the working machinist or toolmaker will face in the real world. Although not oriented to small jobs or the home shop, there is much here to be learned by anyone wanting to know how machinists go about cutting metal. There is also a chapter on CNC. 8-1/2 x 11, Black and white, 312 pages, $39.95. Available from the publisher's web on link above or available soon from Sherline as P/N 5306.

 Though not specifically about machining, anyone building an internal combustion engine will gain plenty of valuable knowledge from Ignition Coils and Magnetos in Miniature by Bob Shores. Bob is also the one who offers plans for sale for the "Little Angle" hit 'n miss engine listed above in the "plans" section. The book is hardbound, 255 pages, 5.5 x 8.5" and contains many drawings and diagrams to accompany the text. Information about the book can be obtained by writing Mary Margaret Shores at 108 Carmelina Street, Ruskin, FL 33570.

 One of our devoted Sherline users (and new dealer) in Canada has self-published a small book called Hobby machining, advice and projects for beginners. Ross Heitt is a production machinist working on big production equipment by day. On his own time, he prefers to work with smaller projects and his book is written in a relaxed style as though he were talking to you as a buddy, not a teacher. The latest edition has been expanded to 90 pages, and it contains many interesting tips. The price is just $21.95 (Canadian) or $18.95 (U.S.), which includes shipping and handling. Postal money orders are preferred. It is not a slick production, but the hard-earned knowledge within is well worth the asking price. It also has several project plans for some simple tools you can build to use in your miniature machine shop. For more information visit the book's web site by clicking on the name link above or contact Ross Heitt at Northstar Hobby Machining Supplies, #5, 837 5th Avenue N., Saskatoon, Sask., Canada S7K-2R7, Phone (306) 242-8017 or Fax: (306) 653-5384. His e-mail address is

 Stirling cycle or heat differential engines...Lately we seem to be getting a lot of questions on where one can learn more about these interesting engines. Jerry Howell is mentioned above under "Model Engine Kits", but another source for books on the subject Small Parts Inc. In addition to their tool and findings catalog, they put out a small catalog of books called the "Engineering Book Shelf". The Summer, 2000 catalog includes six books on the subject. Their order number is (800) 220-4242 or visit

Stirling hot air engine plans...We also get a lot of requests for plans for the Stirling hot air engine built by Tim Schroeder shown in Joe Martin's book, Tabletop Machining on page 5. The plans came from a book called Steam and Stirling Engines you can build, Books 1 and 2 which is sold through Village Press Publications. You can find an ad for it in most issues of The Home Shop Machinist magazine or call 800-447-7367. I am told this particular engine is featured in Book 2.

This high quality hardbound book by Ralph Koebbeman is a compact 6" x 9", which somehow seems very appropriate for its subject: miniature artillery weapons. The Wonderful, Wacky, Terrible World of Artillery in Miniature covers projectile-firing weapons from the roman catapult to the huge Dora Railway Gun by showing models built by some of the worlds best  modelmakers. The photos are magnificent, and the book is also very well designed graphically. If you have an interest in both models and artillery, you will want to have this book on your coffee table. Price is $59.75. Order by ISBN 0-9717260-0-0 at your local bookstore or contact Kebby Industries, 1075 Kilburn Ave., Rockford, IL 61101. (815) 963-1466.

Need to learn more about cutting gears? Confused by all the detail in Machinery's Handbook? Gears and Gear Cutting by Ivan Law will get you started. It is published by Nexus (UK) and is No. 17 in their Workshop Practice Series. Go to for details on all the books in the series.

The Machinist's Bedside Reader by Guy Lautard is another often-recommended book for machinists. See for more details. If you go back to Guy Lautard's home page at, you will find more items of interest for machinists..

The Art of Miniature Firearms offers over 300 pages of color photos of the work of some of the world's finest craftsmen in the field of miniature firearms. Weapons from early dueling pistols to Western style pistols and rifles to weapons of war and machine guns are all included. These are in most cases actual firing weapons scaled down from 1/2 to 1/5 size. The engraving, checkering and finish on all parts is an exact duplicate of the original in miniature. For information contact Joel or Wayne at the Imperial Miniature Armory, 10547 So. Post Oak Road, Houston, TX 77035 or call 1-800-MINIATURE. Cost is $100.00, but the photography is spectacular, and once you see the book (which took five years to produce) you will agree it is worth the price.

Stop-Motion Armature Machining by Tom Brierton shows how to design and make the anamatronic framework for claymation and other frame-by-frame photo-animated models. Details can be found at by doing a search in the author section under "Brierton". It is 112 pages 8-1/2 x 11" with hundreds of photos and sells for $49.95. Tom used Sherline tools throughout the machining examples. A photo of one of Tom's creations can be seen on page 19 of our own book, Tabletop Machining.

Building the Pocher Rolls-Royce by David Cox and Marvin Meit features ways to build and super-detail Pocher's 1/8 scale models. Many of the techniques could be applied to any car model. The 64-page book lists for $22.00 and can be found at

Books military aircraft and history plus more—The Shiffer Millitary and Aviation History catalog offers a host of books on subjects that are often hard for researchers to find. They provide books for the gift shops at places like the San Diego Aerospace Museum among others, but you can order from their on-line site at If you are more into crafts like making pens, knives, bows or boats, their arts and crafts site might be of more interest to you at The Joe Martin Foundation library now has on hand the book The Master Scratch Builders: Their Aircraft Models and Techniques by John Alcorn thanks to a donation by Schiffer Books publishing rep John E. Jones of Vista, CA.

Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute...Though a fiction novel, this is a "must read" for every model engineer. I passed it by for years thinking the word "trustee" referred to a prison story. It doesn't. It is simply a wonderful book about a model engineer set in the 1950's. An English modeler of very modest means who writes articles for model magazines about his engines and clock designs is forced from the security of his home shop to travel the world to settle his late brother's estate. In his travels he is surprised to learn how many people around the world have been influenced by his articles and work. It was Nevil Shute's last and perhaps best book, although it never achieved the notoriety of "On the Beach". Find an old copy on eBay or order a new one from I borrowed a copy to read it and then bought a copy for my library, as I am sure I will want to read it again.


 Steam Engine Video-A video lesson which offers a wealth of information on machining. The video (two VHS tapes or one DVD) is about 3-1/2 hours, so you get plenty of actual shots of parts being made. It was done by the late Rudy Kouhoupt, a long-time editor at Home Shop Machinist Magazine. The video takes you from start to finish in building a small steam engine. With the video you get a set of dimensioned plans which detail each individual part. You also get a bill of materials showing you exactly which raw materials you will need to assemble before starting. It's like having a machinist with 30 years experience standing by your side while you turn the handles and crank out the parts and is the perfect way to build your first steam engine or just learn about good machining practices. When done you will have learned a lot plus you'll have a beautiful steam engine to display on your desk or coffee table. The video is available from Sherline
as P/N 5328-VHS ($69.95 while they last)  -or-  P/N 5328-DVD ($72.95).

Shop Secrets—Measurement Tools by Mike Rehmus/ByVideo Productions (DVD, 2 Hrs). This professionally produced video covers all aspects of measuring for metalworking. From micrometers and calipers to the correct use of hole gages and how to read Vernier scales, the author clearly shows and explains the features and proper use of each tool. Maintenance is also covered. Excellent, clear color video work and professional, animated illustrations make everything easy to understand. Mike not only knows his tools, he knows how to produce a really professional video that both holds your attention and teaches the concept clearly. You'll want to review this one periodically - P/N 5329-DVD, $40.00.

How to Set Up and Operate a Sherline Lathe by Mike Rehmus (DVD, 3.6 Hrs.). Like the video on measurement tools above, this video is very professionally produced by a guy with many years of machine tool experience and expert quality video gear. He takes the new lathe owner from assembling the lathe to aligning the headstock, use of the 3-jaw and 4-jaw chucks, proper safety practices, machine maintenance and use of many of the most popular accessories. Even experienced lathe users can learn from this video, and seeing the machine in action taking cuts will give the new user a better feel for what the machine should sound like when the cut is going the way it should be. Mike also talks about tool "chatter" and how to eliminate it, cutting speeds and feed rates, lubrication and more.—P/N 5335, $49.95.

 N.A.M.E.S., P.R.I.M.E. and Cabin Fever Exposition Videos and DVD's by Michael H. Rehmus at By Video. These videos and DVD's document all the interesting models displayed at the 1998 North American Model Engineering Society Exposition in Wyandotte, Michigan. If you couldn't make it to the show this is the next best thing to being there. If you were at the show, this coverage is much better than you got with your own video or snapshot camera. There are many close up shots of the mechanisms of running steam and gas engines and a wide variety of interesting equipment and superb craftsmanship. Many of the projects fit into the "miniature machining" category. For more information or to order contact: By Video, 55 Springstown Center, Suite 257, Vallejo, CA 94591. Mr. Rehmus may also be contacted by e-mail at or see their web site at

 Reproduce Almost Anything--The author, Ben Ridge is a University graduate of Plastic and Metal Technologies, former injection molding plant manager, vocational plastics instructor and profitable longtime inventor. One of his inventions that he started with $300, using silicone molds, has grossed over $500,000.00. His 49-minute video comes with a 44-page workbook and shows you how to make silicone molds and then cast parts in plastic, rubber, plaster, low temperature metals...even chocolate! Make parts for models, auto and clock restorations, all kinds of projects. This might be a useful skill to add to your bag of tricks. For more information see the link above ( or contact Ben at 2128 Farrol Avenue, Union City, CA 94587. Phone: (510) 471-5770 to order the video direct of see Cost is $39.95 plus 3.80 shipping (4.20 to Canada) and 8.25% sales tax (3.30) in California.

*Places of interest to visit while traveling...

 The American Precision Museum is located at 196 Main Street, Windsor, Vermont. Their phone number is (802) 674-5781. They are open from Memorial weekend through the end of October and feature a number of exhibits donated by expert machinists of the past.

 The San Diego Aerospace Museum is located in Balboa Park near the San Diego Zoo in downtown San Diego. It is about 45 miles south of Sherline's facility. Besides having an outstanding exhibit on the history of flight, their model shop does some excellent work on the displays using Sherline tools.

 The Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum is only a few miles from Sherline's facility in Vista. It has an excellent permanent exhibit of steam and gas engines, many of which saw life on the farm many years ago. From tractors to sawmills to food harvesting and processing equipment to water pumps, there's plenty to see. Several times a year they also have special events where much of the equipment can be seen running and additional displays of tractors and steam engines are brought it. The museum is located at 2040 N. Santa Fe Avenue, Vista, CA 92081. Their phone numbers are (760) 941-1791 or (800) 5-TRACTOR. If you are planning to visit Sherline, you might want to include the museum in your day's tour.

*Other Cool Web Sites...

The Museum of Retro Technology at is an incredible collection of links to bizarre, unusual, dubious, brilliant and sometimes spectacular technological achievements (and attempts at achievement) from the past. You'll find lots to enjoy on this fascinating page. Plan to stay a while.

Rons Model Engine Page...Ronald Chernich has put together a large, interesting and informative web page on engines at It is well organized and the archives cover a huge assortment of article on IC and steam engines. (10/06)

SHOP TIPS galore can be found at Though many are related to full-size tools, a good number can apply to a miniature machine shop as well. (1/4/10)

World's largest Diesel engine...The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine is the most powerful and most efficient prime-mover in the world today. This engine sure wouldn't qualify for entry in Sherline's miniature machining contest, but at the other end of the size scale it's pretty amazing to see how big something can be built. Available in sizes from 6 to 14 cylinders, the 14-cylinder engine puts out 108,920 HP at 102 RPM and is 89 feet long. It is used to power huge container ships. See for specs and photos of it under construction. Imagine the size of the machine tools needed to make some of these parts!

DESIGN NEWS magazine has put together an "Engineering Fundamentals" web site at It is loaded with just about anything you would ever want to know about metals and metalworking processes. Also included are calculators and tables of all sorts. This is a great resource and should be the place to go first if you have any questions about metalworking.

Researching the history of an old lathe or mill? Here's a site with a tremendous amount of information about old (and current) lathes and mills of all sizes. Visit for a massive listing of machines. In the "Archives" section, you will find historical and specification information on each machine along with a review of the strong and weak points of many machines. There are plenty of large black and white pictures that load quickly and offer a lot of detail. There are also other sections on machines for sale and articles of advice on buying machines. Once you get to this site, I guarantee it will be a while before you move on. You'll learn about machines you never knew existed. If you ever have a question about a machine you see for sale, check it out here to learn more about it.

Need data on screws? Exactly how big is the head of a 10-32 socket head screw anyway? Try They offer full specs on most Imperial threaded fasteners in a graphic, easy-to-use format.

Radio Control modelers, and all modelers for that matter, will find an interesting list at Go to the section titled "Model Related links from A to Z". In addition to Sherline you will find many companies and services that might come in handy. Our thanks to Glenn Whitener for letting us know about the list.

Ron Newman offers some advice on his web site on how to ANODIZE ALUMINUM AT HOME and sells an even more complete book and the supplies you need. His process is done at room temperature, and only simple tanks and the right tools and chemicals are needed. See for lots of process photos, detailed explanation and photos of finished examples.

Another site with some good basic instruction on using a milling machine is the Virtual Machine Shop at Clear simple explanations and motion graphics make all the basic concepts easy to understand.

If you like engines, don't miss this photo tour of the '98 NAMES show by Jim Dunmyer. See Jim took a digital camera to the show and shot lots of pictures. The site loads instantly because it is a series of links describing each engine. Just open the ones that interest you. If you want all of them (4.5 MB), there's a link to download them all.

If you like engines, Part II: Matt Keveney has created a clever site that has animated illustrations of how all the major engine designs work. Visit Describing the complicated motion of a steam locomotive is difficult with just words, but with an animated drawing it becomes easy to understand. Also include are 4-cycle, 2-cycle, Wankle and many other less well known engine designs. This site is not to be missed. On slower modems, some of the animated gif files may take a while to load, but wait them's worth it.

  If you like machine tool models, Barry Jordan's site at displays some of his spectacular miniature work. He started out making a miniature Bridgeport mill and has since added many interesting tools to his collection. His work is among the best in this area. More on Barry can now be found on the Joe Martin Foundation's museum web site at His 1/14 scale Bridgeport mill model has been donated to the physical Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, CA and can be seen by those who visit.

Another world-class modeler from the UK is Gerald A.Wingrove. You can see the models of the Wingrove Collection at There are many photos offered that show how each part on his current project is handmade. If you are into scratchbuilding automobile models, you can get a lot of inspiration and education here. There are also plans available for sale. They claim to offer the largest collection of car and carriage plans on the Internet. See also

Gold plated brass presentation models of NASCAR and IndyCar race cars are his specialty. To see some really fine 1/12 scale metal models by Michael Dunlap, visit his site at

 Stirling engine fans will enjoy The Little Engine Pages. I was given a business card at the '99 NAMES show by Richard Egge and Roy Rice and only regret that it took me months to get around to looking it up. Though specializing in Stirling engines, the site covers other interesting projects too. Ever heard of a "South-pointing chariot"? I hadn't until I looked at this page, but found the history and concept fascinating. (By the way, Stirling engines are, as this site proclaims, completely Y2K compliant.)

 Interested in miniature steam engines? The Steam Works features "the best of British steam" in the form of complete, ready-to-run steam engines and accessories. Their contact numbers are: Phone: (813) 338-2848, Fax: (813) 338-1322, E-mail:, Web site:

 Brown & Sharpe make some of the finest measuring tools in the world. Their web site includes a lot of information on the history and use of measuring tools. The "Origins of Metrology" page is interesting and graphically very well designed. It's definitely worth a look. Their new address is

 Model Railroaders, ever wonder what that tiny imaginary engineer sees from the cab while cruising around your layout? Now you can find out by installing a miniature color video camera in your engine. To find out how, visit TrainCam's site. See your layout from cab height, tunnels, stations and all!

GEARS AND THREADS—More than you ever wanted to know about gears and gear-cutting can be found at DR Gears' page at The site is for gear manufacturers, but it explains any term you are likely to come across in clear terms and also gives formulas for just about any gearcutting situation. You can learn a lot here.

MORE CALCULATORS—Joe Martin has developed a couple of simple Excel® spreadsheet calculators for figuring Helical and other gears and for calculating threads. See the Calculators page for links.

The American Single Shot Rifle Association has a web page at They are into making and restoring long range and benchrest rifles. They also maintain an archive on shooting history and arms research and put out a publication called the Single Shot Rifle Journal.

An interesting and rather out-of-the-ordinary collection of links for metalworking, woodworking and other tool resources can be found at

CONVERSIONS! This link from Machine Tools Online offers a number of handy conversion calculators for dimensions, time, money and more, or for dimensional conversions between systems, see

MORE CONVERSIONS for just about everything from fluids to currency:

MORE FREE CALCULATORS, formulas, conversions, cost of name it. See Cleave Books' Specialist Calculators page at

(Click photo for larger image.) MINIATURE MODELS...This miniature (9.5" long) stainless steel and brass sword and scabbard is typical of the products made by Impact Enterprises in Hong Kong. It is a miniature ceremonial sword, but they also make daggers and other military replicas. They are looking for markets for these items as well as looking for jobs to make other custom small parts. Contact Paul Trieu at for more information if you're into offering military miniatures. (They also diecast and plastic aircraft models for collectors.)

Here is where you can find some handy home shop software made available by Marv Klotz. He calls his page "Software for people who build things." See for his collection of free programs and helpful information for home machinists.

 OK, so this doesn't have anything to do with machining either, but it's a cool site nonetheless. Bookmark it for your kids too. Try The name says it all.

*Organizations and Shows for Hobbyists and Miniature Machinists...

 North American Model Engineering Society (N.A.M.E.S.) This is an excellent group of craftsmen who build some very interesting projects. The organization is headquartered in Michigan, but they draw members from all over the country. Among other activities, this group sponsors an excellent show near the end of April each year in the Detroit, Michigan area. (The show moved to Toledo, OH in 2006.) The show features miniature machining projects that are incredible to behold. Sherline attends this event and sponsors a contest for miniature machining projects. More information about the SHERLINE Machinist's Challenge is available right here in SHERLINE's site.

View photos of past shows by visiting the following pages: 1998 NAMES Show, 1999 NAMES Show, 2000 NAMES Show, 2001 NAMES Show, 2002 NAMES Show, 2003 NAMES Show, 2004 NAMES Show, 2005 NAMES Show, 20006 NAMES Show.

GEARS Show—The Gas Engine and Antique Reproduction Show is the replacement show for the PRIME show in Oregon and it will be held in 2004 in Portland, Oregon on September 25th and 26th with the expectation of becoming an annual event. See their web site at for more details and updates. As with the former PRIME show, Sherline will be there as a factory to display our tool line.

View photos from past shows by visiting the following pages: 2002 PRIME Show, 2004 GEARS Show, 2005 GEARS Show, 2006 GEARS Show.

 Cabin Fever Exposition-This show is rapidly growing in popularity. It splits the time between the PRIME and NAMES shows and gives the snowbound Midwesterners and Easterners an excuse to get out of the house in mid-winter and go to a show. The 2006 show will be held again in January in York, PA. Contact Gary or Jared Schoenly, 340S New Holland Road, Mohnton, PA 19540, 1-800-789-5068 for more information about the show. See their site at There is also a summer show put on by the same people that is held in York each August called Iron Fever.

See photos from past shows by visiting the following pages:  2004 Men, Metal and Machines (Visalia, CA), 2005 Cabin Fever, 2006 Cabin Fever..

New England Model Engineering Society—This is a group of over 150 members with a common interest in mechanical things and machining. They meet monthly on the first Thursday of each month at the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham MA. The meetings include a featured speaker and a time for members to "show and tell" about their work. They publish a monthly newsletter and hold an annual show for the public on the third Saturday in February. They also organize charter bus trips to model shows and often have field trips to a member's shop or other place of interest. There are organized Saturday seminars and arranged group purchases of material to save money. Anyone with an interest in the mechanical world is welcome to join. See their web site at for more information.

  Florida Area Model Engineers—Well-known model engine designer Bob Shores and friends are starting a new organization in Florida to bring model engineering way down south. See their site at for information on their activities and how to join.

Estevan Model Engineering Show—This show in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada has been held annually since 1987 and is put on thanks to the efforts of Kelly Tytlandsvik. You can see their web site for details or e-mail Kelly at Estevan is about 150 miles North of Minot, ND. It is a very friendly, non-competitive show for modelers in the heart of the country. Joe Martin Foundation Craftsman of the year for 2004, Roger Ronnie attends this show and recommends it highly as a fun experience.

Southern California Home Shop Machinists is a club for home shop machinists in the Los Angeles area. See their site at for more details or a list of current officers to call for information. They have many small machine users among their membership and some members with interesting scientific backgrounds that make the meetings quite interesting.

The Northwest Steam Society at has a site with plenty of good information and photos of steam engines. If you are in the Pacific Northwest area and interested in steam, you should look into joining and attending some of their meets. Even if you're not in the area, take a look at the site. You'll like the steam whistle on the opening page too.

The Home Metal Shop Club of Houston-This is a club typical of many around the country dedicated to sharing of ideas, resources and instruction in all phases of metalworking including machining, casting, welding, CAD, blacksmithing and more. The site has a web site at and meets the second Saturday of each month at the Collier Library in Houston at 1 PM. Visitors are welcome. Dues are $15.00 for the first year and $12.00 per year thereafter.

The Miniature Arms Society-A worldwide group of builders and collectors of miniature weaponry since 1973. Annual dues are $35.00 the first year and $25.00 thereafter which also includes a quarterly publication called the Miniature Arms Journal, free access the organizations library of gun plans, a network of experts available to answer your questions and other benefits too. For more information or to join, contact Bill Adrian, 2502 Fresno Lane, Plainfield, IL 60544.

The North Texas Ship Modelers Club can be found at This small but growing group meets monthly.

The Model Engine Collectors Association is an organization for those interested in the restoration and collecting of old  I.C. model airplane, car and boat engines. They hold local, national and international events and put out a publication called the M.E.C.A Swap Sheet. Contact information can be found on their web site at

*Full Size Machine Tools For Sale...

 MachineryNet is a very extensive marketplace for purchasing machine tools. Listings often include photos and sometimes video clips. (When you see how much the big stuff costs, you'll really appreciate SHERLINE's prices!)

 Surplus Record offers a directory of surplus, used, and new industrial capital equipment listing over 50,000 items including machine tools, machinery, electrical apparatus equipment, chemical & processing equipment, cranes, pumps, and power equipment. They call themselves the "Used Thomas Register" for industry, and started in the same year-1924. If you're looking for used full size tools, give Tom Scanlan a call at (312) 372-9077. Their fax number is (312) 372-6537. E-mail is:

*Resources for Inventors...

• There is a magazine for inventors called Inventors' Digest. It covers the design process, marketing your ideas and the legal aspects of protecting your invention. The March/April 2000 issue has a nice article on "Machining Plastic Prototypes" that covers use of the Sherline vertical mill. They can be reached at 58 Batterymarch Street, Suite 24, Boston, MA 02109, Fax (617) 723-6988 or e-mail: Their web site is at

• Got that invention that's going to change the world? Go straight to the source for a patent or trademark. The U.S. Government's Patent and Trademark Office has a site at: You can find out how to protect your idea and even file for a patent electronically.

• Though it may sound a little out of place here, there is a publication out of Minnesota called FARM SHOW that is for people who invent things for use on farms and ranches...or around your house and garage. It is all ideas…no advertising. I found out about it when they did an article on small machine tools and included Sherline. They sent me a sample issue and it was really interesting. If you think everything worthwhile has been invented, read one copy of this magazine and you will have renewed faith in the old “Yankee ingenuity”. Many of the inventions are not just farm related but are good for everyday use in any home. They also sell a CD with 24 years worth of ideas—every story ever published in the magazine. To order, call (800) 834-9665. One year is $17.95. That has got to be the best idea-per-dollar bargain around. They also have a web site at if you want more information.

*Craig's Selected Quotes...

If you've stuck with me this far, you're really into metalworking. Every once in a while when I come across a quote that is worth repeating, I'll stick it here. They will relate mostly to craftsmanship, building things, inventiveness and accomplishment. Some are there just because I like them. I hope you do too. --Craig

Sherline's owner, Joe Martin remembers this saying from a plaque on the wall of his uncle's shop when he was a kid and still has a copy on the wall of his office:

A man who works with his hands is a laborer.
A man who works with his hands and brain is a craftsman.
A man who works with his hands and brain and heart is an artist.
—Louis Nizer

The Joe Martin Foundation's "Lifetime achievement award" winner Kozo Hiraoka described the difference between a novice and a pro thus: “Think, and find a sure and easy way. The pro does his job in a way by which even the novice can do it – while the novice tries to do it in a way by which even the pro fails.”

The National Football League in a TV commercial they produced describes professionalism by saying, Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can't get it wrong.

Regarding mistakes, Jewelry craftsman Bryan Freund notes: Clearly, mistakes are a key to learning anything worthwhile, but try to make the STUPID one's as a rookie. They are easier to digest when you have a good excuse.”

Craftsmanship is a marriage between the hands and the soul. —From a brochure from the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. (Submitted by Larry Simon)

Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board, the soft foam bodyboard that brought millions of new people into surfing, had this to say on craftsmanship: Reasonable results require excellent effort. Reasonable effort will tend to produce less than reasonable results.

 “Think, and find a sure and easy way. The pro does his job in a way by which even the novice can do it – while the novice tries to do it in a way by which even the pro fails.” Kozo Hiraoka
(See for the story of his work in building small live steam locomotives)

One controlled experiment is often worth more than a thousand expert opinions. —Unknown author, (contributed by Dave Albert.)

You will always do much if you accomplish perfectly what you do. —A.D. Sertillanges

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. —Bill Cosby

The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. —Lloyd Jones

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. —Samuel Johnson

(I recently heard an updated version of the same thought: "If you wait for all the traffic lights to turn green before you pull out of the driveway, you'll never go anywhere.")

The following quotes illustrate the fact that you know your design is right when you have distilled it down to something so simple that it appears obvious:

Simplicity is the most difficult thing to achieve. Gae Aulenti, architect

Inventing is a combination of brains and materials.
The more brains you use, the less material you need.
—Charles F. Kettering

Here are a couple of favorites sent in by the late Bob Shores, who designed the outstanding "Little Angel" hit 'n miss engine mentioned previously in this page...

Everything is simple, nothing is easy.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

How good do you make something? Automobile model craftsman Michael Dunlap describes his quest for doing his best work as follows:

The issue I struggle with most days in my shop is, “When is it good enough?” Whether I’m assessing the quality of an individual part or a complete model my answer is this: It’s good enough when, based on my current ability, any further attempt to improve it will probably cause it to be damaged. That having been said, my constant goal is to improve my abilities tomorrow over what they are today. For me, building models cars is a very personal expression. When I cease to improve my skills and thus, my models, I’ll go do something else.

Tony Davidson sent in the following quote from Nikola Tesla's autobiography. The motors and modifications identified with Tesla's name evolved in less than two months in a flash of concentrated creativity that he described as follows:

For a while I gave myself up entirely to the intense enjoyment of picturing machines and devising new forms. It was a mental state of happiness about as complete as I have ever known in my life. Ideas came in an uninterrupted stream and the only difficulty I had was to hold them fast. The pieces of apparatus I conceived were to me absolutely real and tangible in every detail, even to the minutest marks and signs of wear. I delighted in imagining the motors constantly running, for in this way they presented to the mind's eye a more fascinating sight. When natural inclination develops into a passionate desire, one advances towards his goal with seven-league boots. —Nikola Tesla


When the creative urge seizes one--at least, such is my experience--one becomes creative in all directions at once. —Henry Miller

Here are a few that are unrelated to machining or inventing but I liked them anyway...

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen all at once. —Albert Einstein

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the decision.
 —Benjamin Franklin, 1759

The purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a conflict. —Mr. Spock (Star Trek)

Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. —Arthur C. Clarke

In activities where performance is the over-riding concern, cost becomes relatively unimportant.—George Genevro (Regarding the use of titanium in military aircraft.)

Think as though success was certain, but work as though it was not.—From a favorite saying of his grandfather, sent in by Kevin Roscoe

Speaking of your grandfather's favorite sayings, my grandfather was a popular comedian in Vaudeville, nightclubs and even appeared five times on the Ed Sullivan show, although because his act was mainly pantomime, he is rarely quoted. I did find this quote on an Internet discussion group on comedy. It doesn't relate to anything here, but it's from my grandfather, so I'm adding it anyway in hopes that someone will get a laugh out of it: Television has a lot of first-grade comedy in it. Trouble is, most of the audience has gone beyond the first grade. —Frank Libuse, Vaudeville comedian


From the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig
(On design and working with steel...)
That's all a motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel. There's no part in it, no shape in it, that is not out of someone's mind. I've noticed that people who have never worked with steel have trouble seeing this--that the motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon. They associate metal with given shapes--pipes, rods, girders, tools, parts--all of them fixed and inviolable, and think of it as primarily physical. But a person who does machining or foundry work or forge work or welding sees "steel" as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not. Shapes, like this tappet, are what you arrive at, what you give to the steel. Steel has no more shape than this old pile of dirt on the engine here. These shapes are all out of someone's mind. That's important to see. The steel? Hell, even the steel is out of someone's mind. There's no steel in nature. Anyone from the Bronze Age could have told you that. All nature has is the potential for steel.


If there are not at least three ways to do something, it is impossible. —David Simmons

Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right. —Henry Ford (Contributed by Jerry McDonald)

Never confuse motion with action. —Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author and inventor (1706-1790)

Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment. —unattributed (from Chuck Hackett)

An engineer is a man who can do for five bob what any bloody fool can do for a quid.—origin unknown, quoted as the introduction to Neville Shute's great book Trustee from the Toolroom.

I often come home and say to my wife: 'That was much harder than I thought it would be.'  One day she replied: 'That sounds like a great epitaph'.—Abrasha (See for more on Abrasha's work.)

On mistakes: The master does not make mistakes...he only has a change of design. —Ancient proverb sent in by master engraver Roger Ronnie.

On achievement: The difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is so often just simply that little word – extra. And for me, I had always grown up with the belief that if someone succeeds it is because they are brilliant or talented or just better than me…and the more of these words I heard the smaller I always felt! But the truth is often very different…and for me to learn that ordinary me can achieve something extra-ordinary by giving that little bit extra, when everyone else gives up, meant the world to me, and I really clung to it. Bear Grylls, ex-special forces survival star of TV's Man vs. Wild

On flying...

Any damned fool can criticize, but it takes a genius to design it in the first place. —Edgar  Schmued

When asked by someone how much money flying takes: Why, all of it!  Gordon Baxter

Thoughts on machine construction from a conversation with Jerry Kieffer…

Quality—The results you can achieve are in proportion to the quality of your tools. There is no limit to how bad a part a hacker can make even with the best tools; however, there is a limit to how good a part a good craftsman can make using poor quality tools. In order to fully achieve the level of craftsmanship of which he is capable, he needs tools that can properly translate his skills into reality.

Lathe Lead Screws—For precise feeds, you need an accurate leadscrew driven by a marked handwheel. A rack gear is fast and convenient, but cannot provide the accurate feed you need for small, precise parts.

Materials—Heavy cast iron construction is appropriate on large machines because of the horsepower of the machine and the size of the parts they are expected to hold and cut. However, that same mass limits the feedback and “touch” to the user needed to make very small, precise parts. For making small parts, stiff but light weight materials like aircraft grade aluminum provide good feel, are sufficiently strong for the horsepower involved and maintain portability, an often overlooked advantage of small machines.

If you've heard any good quotes, send them in and I'll add them to this list with a credit to you. I'll leave you with this one:

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.—Mark Twain

People forget how fast you did a job—but they remember how well you did it. —Howard Newton

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. —Yogi Berra


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