Sherline Lathe Videos

These videos demonstrate the machining of different types of material.

Cast Iron

A short video of Fred’s hand turning the handwheel is included so you can get a feel for the feed rate. It is about .06″/minute in this case. Cast iron chips tend to be small, dirty (from carbon) and gritty.


Note that Fred uses an even slower feed rate than for cast iron, but once he gets it just right, the chip comes off in one continuous coil. After this cut, one chip was almost 3 feet long.

A light cut. This is a free machining leaded steel that cuts well, leaves a good finish and can be heat treated. Note the slight second cut as the cutter is withdrawn. This is due to a little tool flex and is normal.

A heavier cut with coolant shows some smoke from hot chip and tool. Note that the part is supported by a live center for more rigidity.

A very heavy cut. Starts with .035″ deep cut until it comes to .065″ shoulder, then continues taking .100″ cut (.200″ off diameter). Note the machine does not even slow down or chatter.


A charcoal lighter fluid that contains odorless kerosene can also be used.

As Fred adjusts his feed rate slightly he begins to get a better chip as the cut progresses.


NOTE: Tiny chips can get in speed control and cause a short. A toggle switch dust cover is recommended if you cut a lot of brass or wood.


An easy to cut plastic similar to Nylon, but long chips tend to “birds nest” near the cutter and must be cleared with a brush periodically.


A real challenge to machine. One of a family of super-alloys used in extreme high heat environments like jet engines. Work hardens very easily. Not commonly found in normal applications, but if you can cut this, you can cut about anything.


The harder the wood the better. Interrupted cut on square 3/4″ blank shown first, then a smooth cut on round 5/8″ stock. A toggle switch dust cover is recommended if you cut a lot of wood.

Stainless Steel

Though often feared, cutting stainless with carbide tools is not all that difficult.

Stressproof Steel

A tougher steel that takes hardening well. This sample happens to be a cutoff from the material we use to make the worm gear for the rotary table. A live center is used for additional support.

Titanium (light cut)

Carbide tools work well on stainless steel and titanium, but HSS is used here to show it can be done. Smoke means the chips are HOT.

Titanium (heavier cut)

This is a very heavy cut in a tough material done with High Speed Steel rather than a carbide tool. This is not something you would do every day, but does show the capacity of the machine. CAUTION: Chips can catch fire and burn like magnesium. Clear excess chips from machine often.

Cut with Ceramic

Note the nice finish this cutter provides. An end mill was used because most people know how hard they are. End mills usually need to be ground rather than machined. Note also the blue color of the chip that came off the part. That means it was HOT!