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Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Horizontals, Shapers (was Re: The going rate)
From: jmorton@euler.Berkeley.EDU (John Morton)
Date: 14 Feb 1994 01:41:46 GMT

In article <>,
Dave Williams <> wrote:
>-> There were also a couple of horizontal mills, one went for around
>-> $800, the other for $250.  A couple of gear shapers went for $150 and
>-> a huge broaching machine went for $50 (just what you need to fill up
>-> your garage :-)
> I can't come up with any reason to buy a horizontal mill (I guess there
>*was* a good reason for verticals to supercede them) but the shapers...

I will admit that your first mill should be a vertical.  However you 
should not slight horizontals; they are terrific machines which are
underutilized because the current generation of shop workers was
brought up without them.  They are also unpopular with hobbyists. 
This may be because you generally don't use a vise for setups, and
it's a bit unnerving that you can't see the cutter from the operator's

A good example of an ordinary job would be to reduce a  24" long 2" x 2"
steel bar to 2"x 1 3/4".  A horizontal does this with one rough cut,
one finish cut - maybe 5 minutes.

Another characteristic of horizontals is that you have a full range of
solid feeds in all three axes.  The technique is to set it up and let
it go - no riding the handwheels and worrying about how it feels :-).

>I'd love to have a shaper.  I've even found a few in the $200-$300

Shapers are also underrated, and they're a great choice for the home
shop because tooling is cheap and easy to grind.  The main drawback
is that the work envelope has no long dimension until you get up into
the enormous machines, in which case you'd rather have a planer anyway.
The job I proposed above, for example, would not fit on a shaper.

John Morton					University of California			Mechanical Engineering
{decvax,cbosgd}!ucbvax!euler!jmorton		Machine Shop

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: The Forgotten Machine Tool - The Shaper?
From: jmorton@euler.Berkeley.EDU (John Morton)
Date: 1 Aug 1995 14:45:23 GMT

In article <3vjcck$>, HCANNON <> wrote:
>In article <3vj94h$>, says...
>Great post, John!  Brings back mostly fond memories (except for that chip
>down the back one time).

I alway pipe up in favor of shapers, whenever they are discussed.
They have two main limitations vs. the milling machine:  they can't
work in pockets, and they can't be used for spindle operations from
the same setup.

One reason shapers have disappeared from the shops (including this one)
is that they are somewhat counterintuitive to operate.  The mill is
often chosen, even when it's an obvious shaper job.  Therefore the
shaper goes unused, and doesn't pay it's way.

On the pro side:  fast, sturdy, cheap tooling.  The work envelope
is of a different shape than on a milling machine, but of course
the planer is intended to take over where the shaper leaves off.

There is a funny story about a shaper being installed in the EE shop
across the street:  It seems the installation was done in good style,
the machine properly leveled and bolted securely.  When it came time
to cycle the machine under power for the first time, the ram came
back and punched a hole right through the plaster wall in back of
the machine.

John Morton			     Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop	     University of California at Berkeley

From: jmorton@euler.Berkeley.EDU (John Morton)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Horizontal Heaven
Date: 9 Nov 1995 20:57:38 GMT

In article <>,
Orest I Koroluk <> wrote:
>Another really good reason is the generally lower cost of cutters for
>vertical machines.

True.  However, they're cheaper because they're smaller, and cannot
therefore remove material as quickly.  BTW in the shops with horizontals
where I have worked, the overarm-supported arbors were rarely used.
Everything was done with socketed arbors for all the fractional sizes,
same as for a vertical.  Sometimes collets, but those don't have sufficient
grip.  It is also essential to have another set of arbors with
longer reach, e.g. a 6" parallel section running out from the taper,
narrowing at the end as appropriate for the cutter size.  Once you've
arrived at the right angle for your lathe compound, it's pretty quick to
make a few MM taper arbors for yourself.

>This is also the reason that I have a shaper--It uses single point tooling
>that is a breeze to hand grind.

Don't forget that you can also put a flycutter in your horizontal.

I'm not crazy about the vertical attachments, but sometimes they are
necessary.  But if you ever see a slotting attachment, grab it - they're

John Morton			     Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop	     University of California at Berkeley

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