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Sherline Mill 15" Column - Any Drawbacks?

tomw

Active Member
Active Member
#1
Dear All,

I frequently need just a little more vertical space on my Sherline mill (5400) than available. I am thinking about getting the 15" vertical column. What are the drawbacks of such a modification.

Thanks tons,

Tom
 

kvt

Active User
Active Member
#2
Don't know but would be worried about how sturdy it would be more to flex. I had thought abut getting or making a raised block to go under it to give it a couple of inches. I also saw one on ebay. IT seems that might be a bit more sturdy. Keep us informed.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#3
My 5400 is sitting on a Sherline riser block and has the 15" column. Much more room in Z and no issues I've ever noticed. There may be more flex but I haven't tried to do a back to back measurement; it just works well for me. I don't often need to go that high but the added room has come in handy and makes using other tooling much easier - boring head, ER-32 chuck, jobber drills, reamers - all used with more room. I even use my Blake co-ax indicator in a collet to dial in my rotary table and have enough room to work. The only real downside is that you have to crank the Z-axis handwheel more to raise the head - tiring!

I would go for it if you have the need.
 

MontanaAardvark

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
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#4
Mine has the Sherline 15" vertical column and the A2ZCNC X/Y table with Kerk leadscrews. It was originally a stock 5400 and I made the work envelope bigger. The longer column has not given me any issues at all.
 

tomw

Active Member
Active Member
#5
Thank you for the replies. I think I am going to go for it. If I run into any problems I will post here.
 

itsme_Bernie

Active User
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#6
+1 on Mikey and Aardvark. I loved it. You can surely mill with it up at it's full capacity, but you will find it's greatest advantage to be the ability to use all the other tools without running out of room! :)
Your going to love it- and be surprised what a difference those two extra inches (?) are going to make!

Bernie.
 

tomw

Active Member
Active Member
#7
Your going to love it- and be surprised what a difference those two extra inches (?) are going to make!
Actually it is 4 inches. I am really glad to hear that the extension does not add a bunch (used in the most precise way) wobbliness (X-Y variableness?) to the set up.

Which really is the meat of my question: does the extended column effect the precision of mill.

Again, thanks tons for replies.

Cheers,

Tom
 

itsme_Bernie

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#8
Ok- the answer is that it adds none at the same height as the original, of course, and technically it will not cut with the same rigidity as you go higher. But this is true of any machine anywhere. You always lose rigid it the higher you go from the table. It is true of the Sherline even with the stock Z column. The closer you were to the table, the more rigid it was, and is.

Is it still usable rigid at the new height? Absolutely! Is it almost as rigid? Probably very good, but it would be impossible to be exactly the same extended all the way up.


Bernie


Bernie
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#9
Ok- the answer is that it adds none at the same height as the original, of course, and technically it will not cut with the same rigidity as you go higher. But this is true of any machine anywhere. You always lose rigid it the higher you go from the table. It is true of the Sherline even with the stock Z column. The closer you were to the table, the more rigid it was, and is.

Is it still usable rigid at the new height? Absolutely! Is it almost as rigid? Probably very good, but it would be impossible to be exactly the same extended all the way up.
Bernie is absolutely right. I've never had to cut a work piece at the upper edge of the column envelope ... yet. However, at the height I use for almost all the work I do I have noticed no difference at all in performance or accuracy. You just have to give it a try and see for yourself. The cost is not a major deal and you can always convert it back if you decide it isn't working for you.

If you just need some additional height why not use a riser block under the stock column? That would take care of any flexibility issues you may be concerned with.
 

tomw

Active Member
Active Member
#10
Dear All,

I ordered and then installed the extended column. Wow, what a difference it makes when trying to do drilling or work with setups that have an angle table or angle table+rotary table+chuck, etc.

I also found out that my old standard column wasn't working right. Any time I used the z lock, the head would move down 3-4 thou. I also had around 6 thou backlash. Nothing I did made it better. This is my first mill, and I am learning milling from books, forums, youtube, etc. So, I assumed that I was doing something wrong.

After I ordered my new column I called Sherline to talk about this problem and what I could do with the new column to ameliorate it. I spoke with Fred, and he said "...that sounds wrong". So he assembled a new extended column with a new saddle and sent that to me.

The new saddle makes a huge difference in z-axis accuracy and, most importantly, precision. I can now lock the saddle with no saddle movement. I also now have 3.5 thou of backlash. I am a very happy customer. BTW, the new saddle and assembly of the column did not cost me anything. My machine is less than a year old.

I mention the above in case anyone else is having z-axis gremlins like mine, and don't know any better.

I sent my old column + saddle back for inspection. I told them I don't really want the old column back, even if they can fix it. However, if anyone here would like it, I can have Fred ship it back to me and then ship it out to you. Just let me know.

Thank you again for all your help.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#11
Glad it worked out for you. 0.0035" of backlash seems excessive, though. Did they install the newer style saddle nut with locking lever for you? If not, you might want to look into that.
 

kvt

Active User
Active Member
#12
That sounds great, I was trying to drill something I had on a turntable mounted on a angle plate, Could not do it, The longer col would have made it work. Do you mind me asking how much it cost.