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From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: shaper operation question
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 13:48:19 GMT

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules David.

Small shapers don't often have but one axis of "self act" (what a curious, old
English term for "Power Feed") When they get expensive enough, or big enough the
next one to be added is invariably the Up/Down feed on the work table.  Lastly
comes the tool slide, but most "Industrial Strength" shapers have all three (or
even four if they have a power rotation on a universal table)

So, it is obvious that shapers are intended to be fed "any which way" that gets
the job done best.  Certainly, I was taught to use them that way.

Most of the "down cuts" you do are short, many are at an in
dovetails.  It that case I always use the tool slide downfeed, keeping my hand
(and FULL attention!) on it.  I love getting in close, usually sat on an old
typist chair, sleeves and collar buttoned, safety face shield on, and with both
hands and full attention on the machine.  It is a time of close "Communion" with
the machine and the metal, that never quite seems the same on any other
machine.  Part of the attraction of the shaper I believe.

The crank handle stays on the cross feed, ready to apply the next cut (or for an
emergency).  More importantly, the work table stays locked to it's slides, with
the support rod down so I know everything is still in tram. Plus, I have one
less "axis zero" to worry about as the job progresses.

However, if I have a longer vertical cut to make, or one that I need to know is
"Dead Square" to the horizontal faces, then I will use the vertical table feed
without compunction.


"David M. MacMillan" wrote:
> A question about operating a shaper...
> The Logan 8-inch shaper now in my shop does not have an automatic
> or power downfeed.  I'm wondering how one should operate the downfeed
> when slotting or vertical facing?
> Should I simply run the shaper slowly, keep my hand on the downfeed
> handle on top of the oscillating ram, and feed it down a little on each
> stroke?
> This seems potentially dangerous, though it certainly could be done with
> appropriate care and attention.
> Should I stop the shaper after each stroke, downfeed while stopped, and
> then start up again?
> This seems difficult; the shaper doesn't stop all at once, and one would
> have to reposition the ram by hand-crank each time.
> It also causes the lights to dim each time it starts up; I'd like to
> minimize this.
> In theory one could run it by hand (hand cranking), which would be quite
> safe but very laborious.
> (It is fun, though, turning the shaper over by hand crank and watching a
> chip being shaved off.  Very instructive.)
> None of the sources I've checked have anything at all to say about
> actually operating the downfeed.  (I've checked three books from
> Lindsay,
> several other old shop texts, and two newer shop texts.)
> All suggestions welcome, however simple.  Don't assume that I know
> what I'm doing :-)
> Thanks!
> David M. MacMillan

From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: shaper operation question
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 17:34:03 GMT

A shaper is at its best when taking a relatively wide, shallow cut, especially
when finishing.

Here are the depths of cut and feed I use on steel in ideal situations.

Roughing.......0.06 to .09 deep  x  .005 to .010 feed

Finishing......0.002 to .005 deep x .025 to .050 feed

on cast iron I will aim for at least a 1/8" wide feed using a broad tool, 3/8"
wide, with a fair amount of rake and shear, honed razor sharp and set DEAD flat
to the work surface.

Tip for seting tool face dead flat to surface...

Set the tool as close as you can, by feel and by eye..get down on one knee and
backlight it.

Then raise the tool to about 1/8" closer to the surface than the thickness of
your best honing slip. (say 1/4" away if your slip is 3/8" thick.

Place a clean sheet of paper** on the work surface, under the tool, place the
slip on the paper and gently press the tool edge down on the slip.  Now slide
the slip back and forth a few times..It will hone the edge dead parallel to the
work and the 1/8" of "tilt" you used will have left just about enough of a back
rake and a tiny land, to prevent dig in and chatter.

** The paper is used on cast iron because the surface MUST NOT be contaminated
with oil.  Even an oily thumbprint will cause the tool to skid and slip..leaving
an ugly blemish in your perfectly planed surface AND a measurable high spot!!


kenneth knaell wrote:
> Thanks Robert, great information there.  I have had an Atlas shaper that
> needs alot of work before it is ready to go for quite a whle but some
> day....  The problem of feeding the tool sliide occurred to me also and I
> thought about putting a digital stepper motor on it and route the wires to
> it in such a way as to be safe and secure.  This seems like a perfect
> application of a small stepper motor since one would advance the slide when
> the load is off the tool although one obviously needs drag on the feed
> itself.  If not a stepper motor, how about a small permanent magnet gear
> head motor.  One would just hold a pushbutton down for a length of time
> corresponding to the amount of feed needed.  Only a twisted pair needed for
> this.
> While we are on the subject, what size of feed steps would be appropriate
> for the tool slide on a 7" shaper so maybe I can have a good gear motor on
> hand when the project is reactivated?
> Thanks,
> ken knaell
> Robert Bastow wrote in message <>...
> >I don't think there are any hard and fast rules David.
> >
> ...<snip>...
> >
> >teenut
> >
> >"David M. MacMillan" wrote:
> >>
> >> A question about operating a shaper...
> ...<snip>...
> >>
> >> Thanks!
> >> David M. MacMillan
> >>

From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: shaper operation question
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 21:03:18 GMT

Felice Luftschein & Nicholas Carter wrote:

> You can even cut tee slots with a shaper, but I haven't done that yet.

I have..and the first coupla times rank along with your first quadruple bypass
so far as stress levels are concerned.

Two ways to do it..

I. lock the clapper box so the "Elling" tool (Thats its name..honest!)..can't
lift and jam.  That, I tried once, briefly...way too stressful for me, it seems
like a disaster waiting to happen!

2.  Put a "lifter" behind the tool. It can be a hinged flap..I used an old
cupboard hinge once.  Or, as I now do, use a strip of spring steel shimstock
clamped behind the tool.

The idea is that on the cut stroke, the hinge or shim lifts up over the
workpiece.  Then, at the end of the slot (DO allow enough space at the end of
the stroke for this) it flips down behind the tool and lifts it clear of the top
surface of the job.

Works like a charm..put it on power feed and go for a cuppa kind of stuff..once
you get used to it!!

teenut  (teeslot???)

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