TAILSTOCK-To maximize the machine's tailstock alignment, first make sure that there are no chips caught in the dovetail of the bed and no chips or dents in the taper of your tailstock center. Now put a 6" long piece between centers and take a long, light test cut. Measurements at either end will tell you if you need to use an adjustable tailstock tool holder in the tailstock to achieve better tailstock alignment. We manufacture adjustable tailstock tool holders (P/N 1202 & 1203) and an adjustable live center (P/N 1201) which can help you attain near perfect alignment at the tailstock should your job require it. Instructions for their use are included with each item.
Remember that unless you drill very small holes (less than 1/64") or turn a lot of long shafts, you are giving up a very useful feature to solve a problem which can usually be handled with a few passes of a good mill file. The inaccuracy inherent in any drill chuck is such that perfect machine alignment is meaningless unless you use adjustable tailstock tool holders.
Use of cutting oils and lubricants
Much can be written about the use of lubricants, but they may usually be dispensed with where production rates are not very important. A small amount of any kind of oil applied with a small brush will be sufficient. Aluminum and its alloys may require the use of cutting oils to prevent the chips from welding to the tool's point. Do not use oils with a low flash point or a bad smell. If desired, a mixture of one part soluble oil to six parts water may be used on steel to assist in producing a smoother finish and reduce tool chatter when parting off. Brass and cast iron are always turned dry. Cutting lubricants should be cleaned off the tools after use.
Cutting oils can be purchased at an industrial supply store. We used to sell cutting oil, but dropped it from the line because we received so few orders. We assume our customers prefer to purchase their cutting oil from local sources. Do not use high sulfur pipe thread cutting oil. It is good for hard to machine materials, but is so dirty to work with we do not recommend it. We also find some of the tap cutting fluids are too smelly and unpleasant to use for general machining.
The main purpose of using lubricants is to keep the chips from sticking to the cutting tool. When used properly, modern high speed tool bits are not likely to be affected by heat on the type of work usually done on Sherline tools.
General machining terms
Two terms frequently used in machining are "Feed" and "Cut". Reference to the diagrams below will show what is meant by these terms. Normal turning on a lathe, when used to reduce the diameter of a work piece, involves advancing the cutting tool perpendicular to the lathe bed by an appropriate amount (depth of cut) and feeding the tool along parallel to the lathe bed to remove material over the desired length. (See Figure 13A below.)