If you are new to machining, you may find it to be either one of the most rewarding skills one can learn or the most frustrating thing you have ever attempted. What makes machining fun for some is the complexity and challenge. The same thing will drive others up the wall. One customer may be overjoyed because he can now make parts that were not available for purchase. Another may wonder why he just spent all day making a part that is similar to one he could have purchased for two dollars. (The difference is that it is not the same as the two dollar part-it is exactly the part needed.)
There are no shortcuts
Machining is a slow process if parts are made one at a time. The interesting thing is, a skilled machinist may take almost as long to make the same part as a novice. Shortcuts usually end in failure. Unlike some other trades, mistakes cannot be covered up. There are no erasers, white-out or "putting-on tools" for machinists; you simply start over. To expand a little on an old rule:
"Think three times, measure twice and cut once!"
Anticipation of a tool's limitations is the craftsman's strength
The skill in machining isn't just "moving the dials". It is a combination of engineering and craftsmanship. A file is just as useful a tool to a good machinist as a multi-thousand dollar machine tool. Tools "deflect" or bend under load, and anticipating this bend is what it is all about. Sharp tools deflect less than dull tools, but with each pass the tool dulls a little and the deflection becomes greater. If you try to machine a long shaft with a small diameter, the center will always have a larger diameter than the ends because the part deflects away from the tool where it has less support. You can go crazy trying to machine it straight, or you can simply pick up a good flat mill file and file it straight in a few moments. Machine tools will never replace the "craftsman's touch", and machining is a combination of both good tools and good technique.
You don't become a machinist by buying a machine
You should strive from the beginning to make better and more accurate parts than you think you need. Work to closer tolerances than the job demands. Be on the lookout for ways to make a job easier or better. Having a selection of appropriate materials on hand and a good cutoff saw to get them to rough size is a good start. Take some time and read through this instruction book before you try machining anything. We want you to enjoy the process of creating accurate parts from raw metal. Buying a machine didn't make you a machinist, but using it along with the skill and knowledge you acquire along the way eventually will. With the purchase of SHERLINE equipment, you have taken your first step toward many years of machining satisfaction. We at SHERLINE thank you for letting us be a part of that.
Joe Martin President and Owner