Bench Top Machine Shop

Before I post more process on the jack planes, I would like to briefly explain what equipment I use for my miniature machining.  This picture below is my current bench top machine shop. I use a Sherline 8 direction milling machine and a Sherline 3.5" x 17" lathe for most of my miniatures. I really like the Sherline machines because they have a incredible amount of accessories available, are reasonably priced, and are capable of precise work.  Machinists that are used to large machines will argue that these are toys. Yes, They are small machines that lack the rigidity to take heavy cuts, but that is not what they are made for.  When used within their limits they are excellent.  I converted the mill to CNC a year after I bought it using the Sherlines conversion package.  Although I mostly use the mill manually, the CNC has been nice to have.

 My micro machine shop.

My micro machine shop.

This is the only picture I have of the bench when it was freshly made in 2012.  I fabricated the base from 1/4" wall 2"x4"  rectangular steel tubing. I made it extra heavy to support the 8' open area underneath for my leg room.  The bottom of the legs have threaded adjustable feet so the table can be leveled.  The top is 16 2x4's laminated together and planed down.  I left the ends staggered because I like the way it looks and it gave me a bit of extra bench top.

 New bench - 2012

New bench - 2012

Before I installed the CNC kit, I built a partial enclosure to contain the mess that will be made blowing chips around with compressed air.  The enclosure is 4 welded angle iron frames that sandwich pieces of Plexiglas between them.  I also fabricated a steel mount for the computer monitor.

 New enclosure and CNC conversion

New enclosure and CNC conversion

Over the last few years I have added a lot of accessories to my Sherline machines. My favorite addition to the lathe was the digital readouts. The readouts save an incredible amount of time when making multiples such as screws.  Aside from the readouts, my other most used accessories are the self centering 4 jaw chuck, and threading gear attachment. Most recently, I mounted a stereo microscope over the lathe to get a better look at finishes and threads.  I also rebuilt the speed control enclosure to be mounted on the bench as opposed to the top of the lathe.  I hard piped compressed air to the milling machine.  The compressed air is crucial to getting chips cleared out especially when milling small pockets. 

 Some of the tools and materials that hang out around the lathe.

Some of the tools and materials that hang out around the lathe.

The majority of the last few years has been spent at this bench...time well spent.