Friday, August 26, 2016

Sherline Lathe: Good Quality Aluminum Tests

Back on the Sherline lathe, I had some new ideas for how to improve the quality of the absolutely awful aluminum test I did recently. They turned out to give amazing results on aluminum.

The plan was simple- just increase the feed rate all the way to 2000 RPM, which is the maximum, and use cutting oil and a slower feed rate. It was literally that easy- the aluminum has a beautiful smooth finish, is polished to the touch, and easy to work with. I suppose patience is really key with the Sherline lathe- the most important thing to do is just to be cautious and careful, and the part will turn out great.

A glimpse of the smooth finish.

The comparison's not even close- the upper part is clearly more carefully machined than the lower one. Same aluminum scrap piece, just different methods!

I also tried out turning the longer portion of the aluminum scrap piece, just to see if it would work. So far there have been no issues besides a slight wobbliness as I progress out further from the headstock, which is to be expected.

I also tested out making a small raised part in the middle of the aluminum scrap piece, which worked well.

Lastly, I tried out facing on the end of the scrap part as well, which worked pretty well. The main issue here is simply that the cutting tool isn't completely in line with the part, creating this small nub on the end. But it's not bad for a first part on the Sherline lathe.

Lots of scraps. The lathe makes quite a mess, but is completely worth it.