[Note: All of these pictures are actually larger than shown.  If you open the pictures individually, you can see them in a larger format.  I'm going to replace these with images from my new camera, which will have better color and higher resolution.  Also, there will eventually be a lower resolution "thumbnail" picture, and a higher resolution image you can get by "clicking" on the image.  Creating this sort of 'user interface' isn't hard, but it is time consuming.]

This little V-block was inspired by need.  I wanted to cross drill a hole in a boring bar, and I couldn't figure out how to accurately center the hole.  I happened across a similar design that uses a V-block mounted to the lathe compound.  However, that design required the accurate machining of the V in at the proper height.  I couldn't do this because I didn't have a way to mill the V.  The way I accomplished this is by tilting the V block blank at a 45 degree angle, and then milling the V as shown.  Then, I cut T-slots in the back to clamp a piece of square stock.  This piece is held in the Sherline compound tool rest as shown.  The T-slots allow the height of the V-block to be adjusted.

Home made Sherline T-Slot cutter
I made this little T-slot mill by following instructions found in The Shop Wisdom of Frank McClean. First I turned a piece of 1/2" OH drill rod down a bit, and created a disk on the end.  Then, I filed the teeth by hand.  It worked much better than I thought it would.  The dimensions are correct to reproduce Sherline style T-slots.

To align the V-block, you first mount a round, straight saft between centers.  Next, you snug the V up against the shaft, and then tighten things down.  Now it is a simple matter to swing the compound around to any desired angle for cross drilling.

I really got ambitious with this project.  Its a small milling vise made out of some really ugly scrap cut offs from the local scrap yard.  I polished it up by rubbing it on silicon carbide sand paper backed up by a piece of glass.  I'm not sure just how flat it is, but it sure is pretty.  I didn't know that metal that started out looking so ugly could look so beautiful when finished.  By the way, I've never used it.

In another fit of ambition, one night I carved these six little hold down clamps from a stray piece of 1/4" steel I had lying about.  Why six?  Well, that how much metal I had.  I polished these up using the sandpaper-on-glass technique (which I think I saw in one of Rudy Kouhoupt's books).  They may not be flat, but boy do they shine!

These are handy little things.  They are 1x1x1" cast iron angle blocks that I bought at Kitt's Industrial Tools.  I modified them with a 10-32 threaded hole in one face, and a 10-32 clearance hole in the other.  They are for mounting things on Sherline equipment.

Bench Block
This small bench block was fashioned from another ugly piece of scrap metal that I had been pounding on for several years.  One day I decided to elevate its status.  It's still a work in progress, and I do consider it somewhat sacrificial, depending on the needs of the project I happen to be working on.

Here is another vise that I've been working on.  This I actually use and abuse.  It is loosely patterned after the finger vise design found at the end of Frank McClean's book.

The Quorn

Well, at least I wish it looked like this.  Click on the image to see what mine looks like.
(This is actually from Chris Heapy's web site.)

Being consigned to a life with corrective lenses, I tend to accumulate these plastic bottles.  They originally contained saline solution for my contact lenses.  If you know anyone who uses this stuff, I'm sure they would be more than happy to supply you with a few gross.  I used the ubiquitous carbide scribe to scratch the name of the contents into the plastic.  Ever present black oily dirt fills in the scratches so that you can read the labels.

Sherline Flycutters & MT1 arbors
I wanted a flycutter for my Sherline mill, so I set up the lathe to make the MT1 tapers.  While I had it all set up, I figured that it would be a good idea to machine a couple of extra blanks for some future use.

Tap WrenchDisassembled Tap Wrench
After purusing Guy Lautard's Machinist's Bedside Reader, I took his advice and made the small tap wrench he wrote about starting on page 35.  I didn't do it exactly the same way he did, though.  I made the body pretty much the same, but the arms are equal in length.  I machined the basic form from a chuck of 1/2" round stock of unknown lineage.  I used the compound tool rest to cut both of the tapers.  Next, I drilled a 1/8" hole in the right end about half way through, ending about where the cross drilled hole would later be added.  I enlarged the hole to tap for a 10-32 thread about 3/4" deep.  After this, I cut the machined part off, reversed it in the lathe (held by the yet-to-be-machined center portion), to machine the cut off end.  I cheated and used a metal cutting band saw to do the parting.  If you decide to use a hack saw in the lathe, be sure to protect the lathe ways from any accidental slip.  When I first got my lathe, I made this mistake.  Now I am forever reminded of my naiveté every time I see the nicks in the lathe bed.  Also, I think I actually did skim the rust off of the centeral portion of the tap wrench blank.  So when I say "yet-to-be-machined center portion", I mean that the hole has not yet been drilled, and the flats have not been milled.

I cut a short length of 1/8" drill rod to use as the ram.  I did take the time to harden the end that will press up against the tap so that it would not mushroom.  My first version had a 90 degree V filed in the end.  Two problems with that.  First it tended to rotate with the screw.  Second, one time, it cracked at the point of the V.  The latest version is just machined flat.  This seems to work just fine.  The screw is merely a 10-32 set screw.  Lautards version, and indeed the Starrett version both have knurled screws.  I figured that the minor inconvenience of having to use an Allen wrench outweighed the effort in machining  a knurled thumb screw.  Besides, you can exert an impressive amount pressure on the tap wrench with that little set screw.

One note:  I later bought a Starrett version of this tool from Kitt's Industrial Supply for about $10.  If you are looking for a learning exercise project that makes something useful, this is a great one.  I you just simply need the tool, well, $10 really isn't bad.

Here are a couple of other accessories I made for the Sherline lathe.  The angle plate in the upper left corner is made from a piece of 1/4" aluminum angle.  Holes of the correct size and spacing were drilled to finish it.  The second item is a 3/8" thick piece of aluminum that mounts on the lathe cross slide table.  The Sherline lathe cross slide table lacks rigidity, so if you are planning on doing any between centers boring, you will might need something like this small tooling plate.

Steady rest & follower rest

These are the steady and follower rest castings for the 7x10 that I received from Mert Baker.  Sorry to say, I haven't done much with them yet.

...and here is George Bush.  I threw this in because I liked the picture.

February 25, 2001 (My application to Star Fleet Acadamy is in the mail.)