Info on the Taig;
Good place to shop for related tooling;
I own some Sherline gear, and it is fine, but if I could get my hands on an old Atlas or Hardinge (and I have), I would restore and tool them as is. I think putting a Sherline of Taig head on one of those machines (if you could) would be like getting a late 60s muscle car and swapping the Cragar rims for econo car donut wheels...
I've already seen a machine that a guy did those very modifications to.He attached a Taig head to his Atlas horizontal machine,and a Sherline head would probably work just as nicely.The hard part is getting the Atlas horizontal mill,or the even harder to find Hardinge BB4 horizontal mill.They are really difficult to find and to get fair prices for.I'm looking at an old Clausing 8520 which I really hope to get.The only thing I have issues with is the crappy Chinese tools/tooling.I know why people go for it,its cheap,but the tools are junk and the economic side of it that you are supporting a foreign economy.I understand people have to stick to a budget that works for them,I have a budget too,but in the end..."you get what you pay for".The old U.S lathes and mills are far superior to anything China can turn out and worth every penny in the end.
I have had my Sherline mill and lathe for about 21 years. For small, tabletop machines, I think they are exceptional machines for making armatures. The only problems I've had in the 21 years I've used them, is replacing the drive belts when necessary, but that's to be expected, and replacing an occasional lock nut on the milling column and/or lathe feed or saddles.
Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone else who's used them, so I'm unable to steer you to a second opinion. Suffice to say, I've been very happy with mine (though someday I'd like to graduate to a Clausing, preferrably before I retire).
Occasionally I like to snoop around on Ebay to look for mills, and there are quite a few. I suppose getting the right mill for the job, at a cost-effective price, for what one wants to do, is the key. I should think that as long as the mill and late have little backlash, are bolted down securly, and getting the ways to lock down sufficiently whilst cutting, you really can't go wrong. The Sherline mill is too small to crank out larger parts (like say for puppet animatronics), but for stop-motion armatures, they are really efficient, at least that's been my experience.
To me the main difference (and disadvantage) of the Sherline over a Clausing or Hardinge is mass. Less mass=more vibration=less accuracy. To compensate one must go far more slowly with lighter cuts. A totally reasonable solution, however, and I agree Sherline is a great tool for people who don't (can't) own full size machine tools. Once you get used to a full size machine, going back to a table top one is tough. My Sherline gear is now primarily for my son to learn on (although he prefers my Logan over his Sherline lathe; opinionated 4 year old that he is). I still prefer to do miniature wood turnings on it though, it's fantastic for that. Anyway, that's why I would not consider putting a smaller, lighter head on a bigger machine; I would just fully restore the bigger machine as it's meant to be and enjoy the benefits (and cool factor)
That's probably the main reason why I'd prefer to settle on an older machine such as a Hardinge,Clausing or Rockwell.Having a larger machine with more weight/mass for machining efficiency/stability.However,with the older machines come some disadvantages.With the exception of the Hardinge which will accept either 5c or 4c collets,the Clausing only accepts specific tooling that can be a real headache to track down,and it isn't cheap.Plus just general "tooling up" of the mill is also costly.You need dial indicators and such for sweeping in the head and zeroing your mill vice,a good mill vice is a good investment,parallel bars and T-clamps/nuts and bolts,collets endmills,spot drills,twist drills ect.The Rockwell if you can find one still in good shape/working condition is ideal.It accepts "standard" R8 tooling which pretty much all the newer mills use like Bridgeport.These older "tool room" machines are no longer in production,so if you need to rebuild or replace any broken or worn out parts,you are really limited,so it pays to know your machine and to recognize a train wreck over just an old,"dirty" machine,unless your goal is to have a "fixer upper".Expect to put some money into these older U.S machines,but the pay off is well worth it I.M.O.In the end(as always),"you get what you pay for".
There is nothing too special about the tooling on a Clausing. Yes, they made some cool tooling for it back in the day, but all you need is a set of 2MT collets and you're good to go. You can even get a Taig collet set and 2MT adapter for 65$ (around the same for a an import-good-enough set of 7 2MT collets);
Anyway, even just one 1/2 inch 2MT collet opens up a world of tooling possibilities. As for the buyer beware part, absolutely educate yourself first; they can make for awfully big, heavy (and expensive) paperweights...
Well,that all greatly depends if you get the Clausing mill that took 2MT collets or if you have the model that takes only 7B&S.The 2MT collets may be easier to find(I'm not sure?),but the 7B&S collets appear to be much more difficult to locate if you invest in a machine with no tooling at all.Also,Hardinge made some other milling machine models,one of which (the BB2) that is miniature version of the larger Hardinge TM/UM mill. The BB2 also only accepted "specific tooling".I don't recall what tooling/collets they were?Its a nice little milling machine if you can get one w/collets.Often they sell for affordable prices,but its the tooling that can cost as much(if not more) than the machine itself.
I wanna thanks all guys for sharing all knowledge and sugestions, its great to see so many replys.
A especial thanks to Tom, for sharing your many years armature machining experience with us.I have your book beside my bed, thanks.
I'm trying to push the stop montion boundaries here in Brazil, and all these comments make some diference.
most of the sherline machine is aluminum. the motor has maybe 1/8 of horsepower. if you are going to machine steel you will have to make very, very light cuts with the sherline which isn't the best for tool life because you're not engaging much of the tool tips and they will heat up and dull quickly.
plunging on the sherline is terrible. so any z axis cuts are going to be a disappointment. bad for ball joints.
look for something with at least a 1/2 horse power motor and something that can actually make a controlled plunge cut.
the sherline lathe works fine for armature work since you're just turning down rods a little bit and drilling holes for pins and maybe drilling some balls. but, it's also mostly aluminum. the bed's on both the lathe and the mill can get chewed up pretty badly. especially under the tool holder that comes with the lathe if you let any chips get under it when you're tightening and loosening the holder to change cutters, etc.
i haven't used a taig. i have used sherline mills and lathes, alot. personally, i have a wabeco f1200 mill and a full size bridgeport. for making stop motion joints there's not too much difference in ease of fabrication using either machine except the z-axis is easier to control on the bridgeport. on most machines that's going to be your real challenge.