View Full Version : How to cut key ways in a Shaper

02-25-2005, 01:57 PM
How to cut key ways, slots, and splines using a Shaper Part 1

I will attempt to describe to the Shaper owners here, the procedures and setup for cutting key ways in a bore. Once mastered, you can move on to internal gears and splines with a few other attachments.

As you have noticed, if you have read some of my previous posts, I describe in detail how to complete a machining task, (it’s not that I am trying to bore you). I can “only assume”, when I am writing my reply to questions asked here, that there is Someone just starting a “new” hobby or learning a “new skill”, the last thing I want to here, is that you hurt yourself. This is why the detailed reply is so…… o…o..o long winded, trying to accomplish this using typing and using a few pic’s is “new to me”, if I were there, in your shop with you, I could demonstrate much quicker, then, have “you” do it, to show me that, you have a full understanding of the lesson just taught.

The following procedure was taught to me by my mentors over 30yrs.ago, they, were taught by their mentors some 40 to 50 years before me (pre-dial indicator days) , when I came to the shop, there was only 1 dial indicator, and it was kept locked up, only to be used for ”special jobs”, not by an apprentice cutting key ways!

Ok, let’s start,
To cut a key way in a bore the following “stuff” is required,

1 well lubed shaper with a long enough stroke to cut the key way + ¾”, and a way of stopping the clapper from clapping. (If you read one of my replies to the “Alba 1A post”, the “allen head cap screw”, or set screws).
YOUR Safety glasses,”or lesson ends here” If you don’t wear them,……….. hard to teach a blind guy this!!
1 shaper vise or large angle plate to hold the work
1 key seat bar that will fit in the bore with the finishing cutter installed
1 of each, ¼”wide roughing cutter and finishing key way cutter of the required key size
1 machinist square at least a 12” blade, 18” to 24” preferred
1 small machinist square 4”
1 flash light (torch) as the Brit’s say
1 can of cutting lubricant and a 1” brush (we used an old soup can)
1 only 6” scale
1 can of layout blueing
1 scriber
1 only 6” half round smooth file
1 piece of key stock of the required size
1 HSS tool bit ½ of the width of the key to be cut
1 lead or brass hammer (dead blow)
1 set of matched parallels
1 work bench to put all this stuff on, shapers, are for cutting metal, not storing tooling!
“Oh, ya”, we need the thing or things you want to key seat, sprockets, gears, pulleys, couplings, crank arms etc.

From the above list you can see that most of the tools and accessories are readily available in an average machine shop. The two items that are not so common to find are the key seat bars and key way cutters.

The key seat bars are shop made to suit the shaper being used. They are made up as follows:

The bar is just like a normal boring bar from a lathe, with a ½”square hole through the end at 90°, but modified to attach to the tool post hole in the clapper. Bars are made of 1045 or 4140 steel, on one end a square hole is cut into the bar to hold the key way cutter bit. In this end of the bar, two set screws hold the bit in place one small set screw on the side to push the bit to the side of the square hole, and a larger set screw in the end of the bar to securely hold the bit in place. On the smaller bars you may only have room for the one large set screw on the end
The square hole for the cutter must be straight (up and down) through the bar, and the square hole is set square on the bar, what is meant here is, when the cutter is placed in the bar, it is not cocked to the axis of the bar, the cutter's corner cutting edges must enter the bore at the same time, if only one cutting edge contacts the work the bar will be pushed to one side of the bore, you will have cut a tipped key way (angled from the bore). This square slot can be done various ways, first, in the shaper using a vise with a V block, in a lathe using a simple milling attachment, in a miller using a staggered tooth saw, you cut a double depth slot then place a piece of square carbon in the slot , then a piece of key stock “V’d for welding or brazing to the end of the bar, or the “easiest method”, in a drill press, Drill and ream a hole then use a store bought “square hole tool bit sleeve” pressed in, then checked for square, adjusted by inserting a piece of key stock held in a vise, until square hole is aligned as above then drill and tap for set screws.( Dam, another secret exposed) see pic below. Oh yes these sleeves allow you to build custom boring bars for your lathe as well as portable boring bars for field machining.


At the other end that attaches to the clapper, the bar is machined and externally threaded so that it replaces the regular tool post, the bar is inserted from the back side of the clapper, and held securely with a nut, another way to hold the bar ( the larger dia. ones) is, when the bar’s dia. is too large to go through the clapper hole, the end of the bar is machined down to go through the hole, the length of the reduced dia. is about a 1/4” less than the thickness of the clapper “small bore” length, and, less the counter bore in the back of the clapper. The end of the bar is drilled and taped for a good size allen head cap screw or 82° countersunk machine screw ½”NC minium, a thick holding plate to accommodate the head of the cap screw, is machined with a step to fit the counter bore, and small bore of the clapper, a counter bore hole is drilled in larger dia. end to accept the cap screw when the bar is assembled in the clapper there should be a small space between the bar and the plate so when the cap screw is tighten the bar is held firmly in place. Neither the plate or cap screw can protrude past the back side of the clapper, if they do the clapper will not sit down in the clapper box, the bar will be tipped up. You may have to shorten the length of the head of the cap screw so it doesn’t stick out past the plate, a 1/16” off each face will do, “they do make “shallow head” cap screws” but maybe hard to come by. They are perfect for holding the bar.

The pic’s below shows some various type bars and holders, first right, small bar with holder to get close as possible to the vise without hitting the vise, 2nd from right, eccentric bar, also to get close to the vise without hitting vise, 3rd from right, 1-3/8”dia. bar, waiting for square hole, and set screws, left side of pic, a factory made bar with 3/8” square hole, from Elliott Machine Works, note change square head set screw to safety set screw. Notice that the bars are different lengths, for longer or shorter bores.



The shorter the bar, the more ridgid it is ( that’s a good thing). But there are times you may need longer bars, the second pic is of an assortment of bars from work, left behind as our two shapers left the mill over 7yrs. ago. Both of our old shapers had the same size hole in the clapper, we had around 15 to 20 bars that the two shapers shared.
Both our shapers had a 5/16”dia safety set screw in the bottom of the clapper that tightened on the bar as a safety device to keep the bar from “rotating” in case the regular hold down nut or bolt came “loose” while cutting a key way. The clappers, both had an allen cap screw through the clapper into the clapper box to prevent the clapper from lifting up. On some smaller shapers they use set screws on the side of the clapper box through to the clapper.

Next how to make and sharpen key way tool bits Part 2


[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 02-25-2005).]

02-25-2005, 04:01 PM
Thanks Doug , this is brilliant. And no its not too wordy.

Mike Burdick
02-25-2005, 04:19 PM

I don't know if a new "tips" thread was started but I do know that HSM going to publish another in that series. I think you should put this in that thread!

Good work!


Oh...here it is!



[This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 02-26-2005).]

02-25-2005, 05:24 PM
Clapper movement locked by installing tooling bar 180 degrees to the norm. Upside down I mean.

02-25-2005, 07:14 PM
Thanks a million for that! This is what I'm cooking up to cut a keyway in a 5/8 hole:
I need to turn the bar down so it'll fit in the bore. I was thinking about 1/2. It'll be threaded with a shoulder that'll allow it to fit in my shaper toolholder.
Any advice on this one?
I have an angle plate that I was thinking of machining a recessed V into with a hole in it for a dedicated keyway plate for machining pulleys.
As soon as the foundry is up and running I'll be THE PULLEY KING! Maybe...
(Can't be the milling king until I get another collet...)

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

02-26-2005, 03:22 AM
Part 2a
How to make and grind shaper key way cutters

Oh, Hi there! You actually came for “more”…………… Ok,

The Roughing Cutter

The cutter most used and abused, while cutting key way slots, is the” roughing cutter” It’s not too big, I call these roughing cutters “beavers”. The beavers knaw out 97% of the key way slot so, the “fancy finishing cutter” can be slipped in the bar and remove the last .040” to .050” on the sides of the key way slot in one glorious pass, and claim all the glory for the perfectly formed key way !

To make a beaver (rougher) you start with a ½” or 3/8” piece of HSS tool bit, usually I cut them in half, using a zip cut disk in a mini grinder holding the HSS tool bit in a vise, just like cutting “butter”, the old way, “pre zip disk”, notch a HSS tool bit on the 4 corners in the middle of the bit, using the pedistal grinder, then connect the notches grinding a groove around the perimeter of the HSS tool bit, now wrap the HSS bit in a rag, and resting one end on a raised surface(like the base flange of the mechanics vise), the other end on the steel work table top, then hit the rag where you think the groove is on the HSS bit, once or two, or 3 smacks it breaks in two, the rag is to keep flying pieces of the bit from imbedding themselves in you or a bystander. Caution to be used when unwrapping the tool bit, very sharp needle like pieces are hidden in the rag, best is to lift one corner of the rag, sending the pieces of the broken tool bit out on to the steel table.

Anyway with a zip disk it’s just a few seconds, no flying projectiles!!! The edges of the bit where the zip disk cut through will have sharp burrs, handle with gloves. I will usually cut up 2 full HSS bits so that I can make 4 roughers at once, I stagger the cut off center around a ½”, the reason being these cutters are the first one’s in the bore, cutting, some have to go into a 1-1/4”dia. bore or smaller, so you need a variety of lengths.

The rougher is ground back, narrowing the cutting edge to ¼” wide, and various lengths of tooth, also, a rougher that chews out a 1-1/2” wide key way has to be ground back at least 15/16”, to get to the bottom of the key way, while a rougher for a 5/8” wide key way only needs to be ground back ½”, as the longer ones wear, or chip, and need regrinding, they become the shorter roughers.

The bits, are ground from both sides, so that, the cutting tooth, let’s say, ends up in the middle of the HSS tool bit. The actual cutting edge is not more than ¼” wide, if it is too wide, being mounted in the springy bar the cutter will chatter, and give a poor finish, as well, that’s when the tooth of the cutter will break off, rendering your roughing tool completely useless, If your lucky, the vibration from the bouncing of the cutter won’t loosen the grip of vise on the work( rolls out of the vise). It is best to leave a small radius in the ground back corners, this gives the tooth a more rigid support or footing, now take the 4” square and grind the cutting end square with the flank (side) of the tool bit, care is to be used to do this, as the rougher can be pushed over in the slot if the end is not square to the flank, grinding all cutters, roughing and finishing, so the cutting edge is 90° to the flank of the tool bit, will be shown later, to be a benefit to you, when changing out different cutters, “you only set up one cutter” per bar change.

Next you grind the end clearance on the cutting edge ( 3 to 4°) being careful to keep the cutting edge square to the shank. Next step is to taper the sides of the tooth on the face of the tooth, back to the radii of the tool bit (1° to 2°), if you grind too steep of an angle the tooth will be prone to snapping off, you don’t want the tooth, cutting on it’s sides, only on the end of the bit.

Next you need to grind side clearance on each of the sides of the tooth (2° to 3°) the side clearance angles are not critical as long as when the bit is placed in the inside corner of the 4” square, the top face of the tooth touches the square, and at the bottom of the tooth, you can see a little clearance when held up to a light.

Lastly you want to give the tooth a little top rake, using extreme care and a pair of vise grips hold the bit from the bottom edges of the tool bit, on the un-ground shank of the bit, just behind the radii of the tooth, you want to lay the top face on the face of the grinder so that the stone contacts the tooth in front of the radii, the grind stone will form a shallow top rake on the top of the tooth, this helps reduce the bulldozing of the metal, you will know if the top rake is sufficient by observing the chips coming off the work , they will almost curl into a figure “6” or “9” shape, also the sound coming from the cut will be that of “frying bacon”. This top rake also helps reduce the "crowning" in the middle of the key way , "crowning" is, the cutter, is too blunt at the cutting edge, and pushes itself away from the cut making the key way too shallow in the middle of the bore, I have seen as much as .060” crowning in key ways, cut with a dull, or too blunt of a cutter.

Now, to protect the bore of the work above, or opposite end of the tool bit, a radius is ground on the non cutting end of the tool bit, as well, the 2 sharp edges forming the radius where it meets the top and bottom surfaces of the tool bit, are ground off, the radius is to make the cutter more compact in the bore, the rounding of the edges of the non cutting end of the tool bit, keep the bit from cutting or scoring the bore 180° away from the key way.

Well, if you followed the above instructions, your roughing bits (beavers) should look like the one in the pic below.

Working end


Safety end


This is a pic of things to come "Part 2b"



[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 02-26-2005).]

02-26-2005, 10:28 AM
Dont be afraid to keep the shaper stuff coming !

im printing this out and filing it away.

where might those tool bit sleeves be sold i wonder ?

02-26-2005, 11:39 AM
I think MCS, Jergens Inc., Reid tool have them in their catalogs and pricing is from $8.00 to $20.00 each. Reid, I think gives a discount when buying more than 5. The one's I have are threaded on one end so you can advance the tool bit in small increments


02-27-2005, 06:22 PM
Hey great stuff here Doug! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//cool.gif

I've been away playing radio op's for the weekend so only just caught up with your post. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Your doing a excellent job explaining things. Don't worry about being too wordy. The effort you are going to with this it certinly needs to be put some were in a form that will endure time better than on the bbs.

Keep up the good work Doug. Looking forward to the next lesson. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


02-27-2005, 08:12 PM
I concur with you John.
This information will enable more shapers to be used in the way they were intended and hopefully save some more from the scrap heap http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif.

Doug, Well done!! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//cool.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//cool.gif your contribution is highly appreciated and valued. I have not found this to be too wordy either, it is clear and well illustrated, just the thing for shaper novices like me. This is definitely being filed for reference ( my shaper is still in the store room http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif ).
Keep the knowledge alive!

cheers, Ken

[This message has been edited by speedy (edited 02-27-2005).]

02-28-2005, 03:44 AM
Hi Shaper Owners,

Before I get into the making and grinding of finishing cutters, I want to respond to replies to this post. This is to prevent any confusion about these instructions on “describing how to cut key ways using a Shaper” to the members of this web site. I look forward to replies and questions concerning my instructions, they let me know “Someone is actually reading this”. To have little or no feedback from the group, makes me question continuing. So keep those replies coming.
Thanks Guys

To Stanko,
Thank you for the encouragement, I guess you didn’t think the answer to your post would be so…ooooo..oo wordy (long). I write these instructions, as if “I were in your place”, and being “you” I would want to know “why” I can’t take short cuts. As I type the procedures, I try to state “why” they (steps) are done that way………… I too, was once an apprentice, I also asked “why”.

To Mike Burdick,
I am not as good as my son with computers, I am more used to working with metal, a file to me is what you use to take off the sharp burrs on the metal, my son says computer files are inside the “hard drive”, their different Dad,……… what ever!!!!!!!…………… if someone here wants to move this procedure to another post, he’s more than welcome, if your waiting for me to do it……. “GOOD” luck……… it ain’t gona happen!
To madman,
I can’t visualize what you are saying, I don’t understand how putting the key way bar in as you say

” installing tooling bar 180 degrees to the norm. Upside down I mean.” will “lock the clapper”

from moving, I am not understanding your reasoning/procedure, can you possibly post a picture, or if you are not able to post a picture, then describe “what locks the clapper from moving” I am not being sarcastic, I am just not understanding your short statement, in my mind if I rotate the bar 180° the only difference that I can see is that the position of the set screw that pushes the key way cutter to the side of the square hole will be 180° different from what it was, the clapper will still move freely, please reply.

To hoffman,
Your idea looks good, “if the faces of the bore”, in your holder, are square to the shank of the holder, and the “bore is square to the shank” of the holder, the bar especially in this case, because of cramped space in the bore, must be on the same axis as the bore, this can be checked using a square lightly held in the vise, with the blade going away from the ram, look from the side and from the top to see any angularity of the bar, the bar must be parallel to the square. If the bar is angled, you may think it is Ok when starting the cut, but as the cutter pushes out from the bore, the bar may be pushing on the bore where the cutter started. I would want a good size shoulder on the bar to take the force of the cut and transfer it to the holder, other wise the bar could be forced in the holder bore. The fit between the bar and holder should be just a slip fit (.001” to .006” loose in the holder, ask your self “what happens if the nut comes loose, will the bar move/rotate in the holder, the cutting stroke, forces the bar into the holder.

As to turning the bar down in size to ½”dia. and putting in a 3/16” cutter, you will need 1/8” of the cutter sticking out from the bar, this is so the bar does not rub on the bottom of your 5/8” bore, it will be tight, but can be done. If you decide to cut down the bar, only cut down the length just enough to let the bar and cutter pass through the bore to eject the chip, without the larger dia. of the bar hitting the face of the work (pulley) if the chip hangs on to the end of the bore, the cutter will drag the chip back into the already cramped bore, on the return stroke, this does happen, as the cutter becomes dull, the result is (even in a not so cramped bore), is the cutting tip of the cutter breaks or chips because the cutter is trying to climb over the chip.

Try to keep the large dia. of the bar as long as required, long small dia. bars are very springy. The holder I have shown in the picture above (4 bars on the shaper table) was shop made, to allow you to adjust the length of the bar sticking out, three allen head cap screws (tighten very tight) to keep the bar from sliding in the holder. Bar spring is kept to a minimum.

For all the work you have to go through, if it were me,….. I would opt for a 3/16” broach and 1 only 5/8” bushing done a press. If, I couldn’t obtain the broach I would have to decide weather the shaper or the lathe would be the least labor intensive, “yes a lathe can be used as a key way cutting machine”! At work we had a broach set for key ways that cut from 3/32” to 3/8” wide, anything bigger was a shaper job. When the odd small metric key way would be required, the lathe was chosen before the shaper, reason being, the work was usually already set up in the lathe! Take a small boring bar, rotate the square hole in the bar to horizontal, grind and install cutter, center the bar in the tool block, put the lathe in low gear, “do not energize the spindle”, then crank the carriage forward and back off the cutter with the cross feed crank (prevents chipping the cutter, now back out of the bore, remembering the dial setting on the cross slide dial, return cross feed to first setting + .003” and, repeat the procedure until correct key way depth is attained.

That said, doing your pulleys in the shaper, will be an excellent test of your shaping skills, Please be very thourough in your setup, the bar must be parallel to the bore not angled in any way, “think the job through in your mind”, before actually cutting the key way. If you have any more questions please ask.

To thistle
Ok all ready, we’ll “keep the shaper stuff coming”……………. Geeesssss…. Pushy or what!,
Just kidding

Part 2b
The Finishing key way cutter


To make finishing key way cutters, (spoilt premadonna’s) you need some square shank HSS tool bits, these square shank HSS bits (same size square as your roughers)and are made from ½ length pieces of HSS tool bits, these cutters are used for key ways that are the same width or smaller width than the roughing cutter body (1/2” sq.). Here is a pic of what you start with.


When the width of the key way is wider than the roughing cutter body, “we cheat”, well not really (Alistair will like this) we use a piece of key stock or “to recycle”, the shank off of a ½” sq. scrap brazed carbide tool bit, because once you cut the broken carbide off, it’s the perfect length!.(2-1/2”) To the soft steel shank we weld ( use stainless #309 rod for welding dissimilar metals)or sliver solder a piece of parting blade (we, used 1-1/4 x 3/16” wide parting blades), you know, the short used up one’s, (more recycling) or at work no one liked the old unground parting blades made by Armstrong, or Williams, among others, the boy’s would only use them nice shiney ground ones for parting off. And they even quit using “them”, when they brought in the HSS Seco parting blades with the carbide insert!
If your silver soldering the un-ground blades you will have to grind a clean area on the blade so the silver solder can bond to the blade, the same must be done to the soft steel shanks. We found it quicker to weld the two pcs together, the parting blade pulls a little bit from the weld, but Ok for what were doing. It is helpful if a welding jig is made to hold the two pieces to be welded in the correct orientation, when using a jig, you can cut your parting blades closer to finished size, let me think on it a while, I’ll sketch something up.

The old parting blades are cut 1/8”to 3/16”(less if you use a welding jig) over size for the key ways cutters required, this over size is to allow for misalignment when welding the parting blade to the shank. Cut parting blades using the zip cut disks in the mini- grinder, hold the parting blades in a vise again. Please wear a face shield. and Safety glasses. Caution DO NOT try to pick up those pieces of parting blade right after you cut them off, their” HOT”, wear leather gloves, and make sure your “ZIPPER” is done up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who don’t know what a zip cutoff disk is, it is a cutting disk, but the thickness is "only .040” to.045” thick", when spun at 10,000 + RPM = hot knife through butter = zip disk, your local Wallymart doesn’t carry these thin ones, too dangerous around “Homer Simpson type guys"). We buy them from an industrial supply house, but (I have seen them at our local NAPA) they come in various dia. from 3” to 7”.

Short story here: an Uncle of mine, Bob, (and he is even Scotish) came over to change out the rusted tail pipe from his car, after removing the clamp the pipe was still firmly held to the catalic converter, he grabbed my grinder with the (new zip disk) to just cut the exhaust pipe, he slid under the car and flipped the switch to the grinder, I didn’t have enough time to tell him how fast the zips cut. The next thing I heard over the sound of the grinder was a LOT of cursing about cutting into the GD catalic converter, as he was coming out from under the car, he was hollering and shaking the grinder at me,“WHY didn’t you tell me how fast them new fancy disks cut?????????? I had to leave my shop to get the smirk off my face……EXxxxxCUUUssssssseeeeeeeee me.

Ok, back to the key way cutters, you will have two styles of finishing cutter blanks now , square shank HSS, and mild steel shank with a piece of parting blade attached. By looking at the drawing in my last reply, you will see the required angles that need to be ground on the blanks. If you look closely at the drawing, at the cutting edge, you will notice that the middle of the cutting edge is ground back, starting in 3/16” in from the actual cutting corners of the cutter, “why”, well, as I have said, the finishing cutter, just cuts on the corners to “size” the key way, it doesn’t even finish the bottom of the key way, the little rougher bit finishes the bottom of the key way!!! By grinding back the middle of the cutting edge around 1/16” to 3/32” back, you prevent the finishing cutter from trying to cut the full width of the key way at the bottom of the key way seat.

If this ground relief was omitted, the cutter would really chatter, when trying to cut the “full width” through the key way, the first time you forget, you may need an under ware change (“Alistair is exempt” only if he is wearing the kilt!!!) it's sort of like a space shuttle liftoff, you swear the ground is shaking, horrible noise, you rush to hit the clutch, too late, busted cutter, and damaged key way slot, you call for God, "NO answer". The key way cutter mounted in a bar, is not held in the most rigid set up, those key seat bars can be very springy, the longer the bar length is, the more amplified the chatter becomes.
We are trying to give the cutter, by grinding the grind back on the cutting edge the most optimum conditions to cut, under the circumstances.

More on setup and chatter in the actual cutting procedure, later, we have to finish grinding the cutters, You will want to have selection of different width cutters, inch widths, "maybe metric widths", "maybe oil grooving cutters", "maybe radius cutters", maybe “even gear or spline” cutters (do I know how to “dangle a carrot” or what)“you decide”, what types and range of cutters "you will be using" to complete your projects.

Ok enough dreaming, you have work to do, the small square shank HSS cutters can, with care, be ground by hand, using a 4” square, a 1” micrometer, a protractor is helpful to verify clearance and relief angles, but not absolutely necessary. Clearance and relief angles are “just that”, “clearance”, they are ground on the cutter so as, to “only present the actual cutting edge to the work” (the two corners), no other part of the cutting bit, the relief on the sides, the side clearance on the sides, the end clearance on the cutting corners, the back grind in the middle of the cutting edge, is “all clearance”, only the cutting edge corners of the tool bit should be contacting the work.

The drawing (or carrot) that I gave you in the post above was/is, the one I used at work when I was on the tool cutter grinder, it is a “just” reference guide to work from. You use the guide whether hand or machine grinding a cutter. You can make up simple jigs (on the Shaper, or if you’re a “WUSS” you can use a miller!!) to hold the cutter in the correct position for grinding or for checking for square to the shank of the cutter, and, for the cutter to be centred to the shank. You can use some simple blocks(1.2.3 blocks) or spare HSS bits, (it is best if you have different sizes) or the jig below.


Here is a simple jig (fixture) to mount the cutter in to grind clearances and relief angles. This jig lays or leans the cutter shank over 3°, as well it also locates the tool bit angle to relive the sides of the cutter 1°. This is a neet job for you to make as an accessory for your Shaper. I had designed it to do all the finishing cutters large ones with the old parting blade, and also the smaller cutters, HSS solid sq. bits. This jig is made for half inch shank cutters, but can be made, or you can modify this one to do the three-eight’s shank cutters. I will come up with another jig for you to do the cutting edge square to the shank and end clearance (front) of your tool bit, Ok,…………..( your suppost to say yes!!!) Ah just nod your head.

GGRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrr…. it’s snowing ……… AGAIN…………….. I’ll have to go and plow out the driveway AGAIN, Oh ya the neighbor’s tractor is sick too, the dam snow is already over 5’ deep here *&^%$#@, the wife says it’s almost 8” of fresh stuff, anyone for Snow Angles????? Ah well, these two typing fingers need a break anyway!!.

Tune in later if you want more.


[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 02-28-2005).]

[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 02-28-2005).]

02-28-2005, 06:33 PM
Thanks for the help and advice. Believe it or not I have a broach set http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif but no press as of yet. Plus I could get a pulley for a couple of bucks. This is just a little exercise in fiddling about with my little shaper.
This is what I've cooked up so far:


Everything is square but I obviously have some tool grinding to do plus the bar may be a little long. I'd like to cast some aluminum step pulleys in the future and cut keyways in em. It would just be neat to do!
I got the idea from some original tooling built for these little machines. Mine's just an 8".
Got my eye on a 16" though and the experience should transfer over well.
Keep up with the shaper info!!
Sorry about the crappy pics... I just can't seem to get any decent ones...
Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

[This message has been edited by hoffman (edited 02-28-2005).]

03-01-2005, 03:01 AM
Excellent stuff Doug....even, as yet, without a shaper on hand to relate your methods to the detail of your descriptions make things very clear indeed.

Hoping the snow has not distracted you too much from your tutorial tasks....we had snow here in plymouth a couple of weeks ago, almost 1/8" deep at one point !!....the whole city was preparing for shutdown http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif



03-01-2005, 07:04 AM
The first grinding step:

You will have an easier way to accomplish the first grinding step, if, …. “you build this simple jig before hand”. If you make two of these, make one of them with a straight key way not tapered, it will be your welding jig to hold the parting blade to the soft steel shank for the BIG cutters


This jig presents the cutting edge at 90° to the shank of the cutter, the jig also tips the working end of the cutter up at a 4° to provide end clearance for the cutter. The jig is simply a squared block of metal with a tapered key way running down the center of the block, a clamp is attached to hold the cutter in place for grinding or welding. If you sharpen or just dress (re-sharpen) all your cutters (even the beavers)…………………….. ( J.H.Ch *%$%^&* “what the hell’s a beaver again”, this guy writes in code,…he’s driving me nuts!!…….. “A ROUGHING TOOL”, …..OK……CHILL Out) using this jig, your key way shaping will be a quick and easy task from now on! .

Well……..maybe a little shaping experience here “for you”! First, set the fixed jaw of your Shaper vise parallel to the ram. Open up the movable jaw of the vise, loosen the 2 vise hold down nuts, or on some shaper vises, the 4 base nuts, which ever one’s allow the vise to rotate. By eye, and don’t take that literally (or your gona be sent back to the BP millers!!!!! And you will forever be known as a **WUSS**), use your hands, and swivel the vise so the jaws are parallel with the ram. Wipe clean with a rag, the face of the column (large flat machined surface behind the table) cross rail ways on the body of the shaper. Using a 12” or longer blade square, place the base of the square against the column face, now slide the square towards the fixed jaw, all the while, keeping a firm pressure with your hand on the base of the square until they just touch, look at both ends of the fixed jaw, “is there a gap at one of the ends of the jaw where it meets the blade”? If so, lightly tap the handle end of the vise to have the fixed jaw contact the blade the full length of the vise jaw, snug the vise nuts up, (half tight), reposition the square and check again using a piece of paper between the square and both ends of the fixed jaw at the jaw face. If each piece of paper has the same drag while lifting the paper out, the vise is within .001” of being parallel with the face of the cross head ways, BUT, not necessarily parallel to the ram stroke of the Shaper.

To check parallel with the ram, mount a dial indicator on the side of the clapper box, not the clapper!! Adjust the stroke length to keep the dial indicator tip from leaving the vise. Set the shaper in low gear, “table feed off”, tighten cross head locks, energize ram, watch the indicator for arm movement, if the jaw is out, just tap the handle end of the vise to have the dial show no movement at it’s arm, Now stop the ram, and “now” you can really tighten “them vise nuts”(pretend it your bosses Nu?!!), energize ram and check one last time.

This is the correct way to align your vice, angle plate, or other holding fixtures, including a “dividing head or rotary table” to the “shaper’s ram”, (more carrots, you guys are starting to look like bunny’s). It is the RAM that does the traveling, not the cross rail column. All fixturing must be aligned to the moving RAM,……… “everyone bow to the moving RAM” ……. RAM!!…………... You mean 426 cu.in. Hemi RAM POWER. Sorry, got a little carried away there…………I’m ………Ok……..I ….guess?
Now it’s a quick job to machine your block in “your shaper”, JUST a minute here,……….. you might as well learn from the start how to check and adjust your machine, only then,…………. will “you produce accurate quality parts”, and may just put a few millers to “shame to boot”, first loosen the cross rail lock, to adjust vise height, then apply the lock again, “then,… then,…. Then…. “AFTER” set and lock the front table leg/foot.

If you reverse the lock sequence, your front table leg will not be resting on the shaper base. This mix up in “lock sequence” is just one cause of vibration especially while cutting key ways, like when keying a 10” long stepped bore of a $20,000.00 stainless steel pump impeller, the last thing you want is one of those “shuttle launches”.

While you have the dial indicator on the ram, set, a “known” (actually measure with a mic) full length parallel on the base of rail ways of the vise, position the dial’s tip on top face of the parallel, energize the ram watch the dial, it should read “0” movement, if not, stop the ram, and shim with paper or shim stock “under” the parallel on the low end to correct, re check. You wouldn’t believe how may scrap bins are filled because “ the operator didn’t check BEFORE doing”!!!!!

Back to the jig, set the rough block on parallels after removing any saw cut or torch cut burrs or lumps (slag). Shape (that’s what us Shaper type guys say for machine, Kool, Eh ya Shape) “First surface (this is the first cut on your block)”, mark with marker, rotate plate 180°, the newly shaped surface is now on the parallels, tap the block down for full contact on parallels, shape to size, rotate block 90°, set on parallels, just move the parallel at the fixed jaw away from the fixed jaw(1/8”) to allow you to place a square on the parallel or the top of the fixed jaw, tap your block square to the blade, check with paper shim, shape the 3rd surface, remove burr, check again with square NOW on the 1st or 2nd surface and the 3rd surface using paper, if the block’s surfaces are square with each other, loosen vise jaw, rotate block 180°, shape to size, one note here remove all burrs from ,(the just shaped surface edges) before rotating to next surface to be shaped, if NOT………. Your best customer will be the “dumpster” Ok one last step for the shaper, set block in the vise with “first surface” (now you know why you marked it) on fixed jaw face, block on parallels, take a .010” to .020” cut on the 5th surface of the block, sharpen up finishing tool bit and put a smooth finish on the 5th surface with .005” depth of cut, remove all burrs, rotate block 180° and shape 6th surface the same as the 5th
Now all that’s needed is a slot for the key seat cutter at a 4° tilt. If you are using my measurements from the drawing, you need a spacer at the far end of the block, away from the ram, or at the end of cut on your block, This spacer needs to be approximately 3/16” high, and in from the edge of the far end of your block, I have stated earlier, clearances are approximate for key way cutters, we don’t need 0°0’5” accuracy here, take a piece of 3/16” square key stock, cut 1/16” shorter than the width of the block, next lift the block up and place the key stock under the block’s bottom surface at the far end, the key stock should not stick out past the end of block , the key stock is flush with the far face of the block, straddling both parallels, tighten vise, tap block down with dead blow hammer to insure full contact on both parallels and 3/16” key stock, check that the 3/16” key stock is flush on the whole far edge of block. It helps to keep a couple of fingers on the key stock to keep it from moving. Note remove your fingers from the key stock, prior to any further shaping.

Ok, now you can cut “just cut a key way down the center of the block”,……. WAIT, Wait, ……wait….Ummm, There is a “setup for the vertical head of the shaper”, you “HAVE TO DO” in order to “cut a key way”, and “MUST” (this is why we “Shaper Guys” have it over those “BP miller WUSSES”) be done before cutting any key way, “IF” you have moved the vertical head” from” perfect 90° to the work, for any reason, you must reset to 90° and verify, yes test again!

Much time will be saved if you learn to leave and shape with the vertical head “setup” for cutting key ways (perfect 90°) unless you, really,…. Really,…….. really, need angular travel (eg: machining dovetails) then it’s Ok!?…. I.??. guess!??……. If you have to?!.

You want to cut the compound angle key ways for the Shaper tool jig!! Well....""it's for the Shaper""... .."Ok"....but remember, there are Left and Right Hand key ways, and the Vertical slide goes back to perfect 90° as soon as your done! "I MEAN IT"

Ok, prior to cutting any perfect 90° key ways, (no “leaning key ways” that are off center of the shaft centre, “Oh, off center, that’s done with every key way cut using a HSS helical flute end mill”), Oh, you didn’t know “eh”, ask a seasoned machinist sometime, “NO not now”,……………………. that’s another lesson. Quit trying to side track me, I’m doing quite well on my own………………………….Thank you!!

Now back to the vertical slide. Ok, prior to cutting any perfectly centred 90° key ways, like properly set up shapers can, dead center, through the center of the shaft, or bore, you have to set up the shaper, I explained in detail how to check and setup the “shaper vise” to the all mighty RAM, well…………. You also have to check the table for square, and parallel, (you know, where the vise sits) you also check the T slots of the table, are the T slots parallel to the travel of the RAM?

A well seasoned machinist will know his/her machine much better than they know their own spouse, no, that isn’t a joke, it is a fact. Only when the machinist knows the condition of the machine, good or bad, can they produce accurate, parts.

How does he do this, “even with a worn out machine”, he does a series of checks (tests for accuracy) of the machine he is about to operate. If you know the wear spots or where the inaccuracies are, you can compensate for them, just like I taught you to do concerning the shaper vise, remember!!!!!, you checked, tested, compensated, tested again, or maybe this will ring a bell

“While you have the dial indicator on the ram, set, a “known” (actually measure with a mic) full length parallel on the base of rail ways of the vise, position the dial’s tip on top of the parallel, energize the ram watch the dial, it should read “0” movement, if not, stop the ram, and shim with paper or shim stock “under” the parallel to correct, re check.”
You checked, you measured , you tested, you compensated, and you tested again, “only when you found and corrected any inaccuracies, did you proceed. That is a learned skill that puts you way “out in front of the rest”.

There’s an old saying
“Only a poor tradesman blames his equipment/tools, for his mistakes”
And it is very true!


[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 03-01-2005).]

[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 03-01-2005).]

[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 03-01-2005).]

[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 03-01-2005).]

03-01-2005, 08:56 AM
These are great posts...I have a little Rhodes shaper that I have not set up yet. The last shaper I used was a 36" G&E in about 1979 so this is a great "refresher" course!

03-02-2005, 07:56 AM
I am in the process of rebuilding a small Atlas shaper and one of the uses I have for it is cutting keyways. This post is very helpful and greatly appreciated.

I hope to make some Aloris type tool holders with the shaper so any advice on cutting dovetails would be great also.

One question for anyone reading this post who has a 7" Atlas shaper - - is there a low profile 4" vise with swivel base that you can recommend? There isn't much room on top of the table.


03-02-2005, 07:00 PM
I'm also looking for a low 4 or 5 in. swivel vise. Palmgren has a "lowboy" vise but I'm not sure about the quality.

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

03-03-2005, 01:36 AM
Setting Vertical Head to 90°

To cut key ways, the vertical head (slide) must be set to 90° to the table, the gib of the slide should be adjusted to just remove looseness in the slide. There should be a “small” amount of drag when turning the feed screw through it’s travel. Some vertical slides on shapers have been fitted with a small dowel pin and nut This dowel pin is to automatically fix the slide at 90°. The removal nut is used to pull (unseat) the dowel so the dowel pin can be removed to allow the slide to rotate for angular travel. Some of these shaper rams also had dowel holes at 45° and 60°.
If your machine doesn’t have the dowel pin that’s Ok, you just have to set the vertical slide to 90° manually.

How I was shown this “for key ways” was to raise the table enough, so you could place a machinist square on the table with the blade slide up to the machined side of the top half of the vertical slide (the part that moves). Hold a flash light so the light beam is behind the blade where the blade touches the slide. You will see if you need to loosen the vertical slide locks/nuts to adjust to 90°. Paper can be used instead of the flash light, like you did on the vise. This is not accurate enough to use the vertical slide for long or full length travel of the slide.

Here is a pic of squaring the vertical slide


For long or full length travel you “very lightly” clamp (just so it can’t move) a square (We had a big 24” Starrett) to the table and attach a dial indicator, to the top half of the vertical slide (part that moves) , then set dial tip on the edge of blade of the square, now traverse (move the top slide) through it’s travel. Note dial arm reading (you want “0” movement) adjust if necessary. Tighten lock/nuts of vertical slide, if you don’t have a dial indicator, you can use a paper feelers, checking at both ends of slide travel.

At work we had two shapers, one of the shapers was always left set up for cutting key ways, “NOBODY” moved the vertical slide off 90°, if you weren’t cutting key ways use the “other shaper”.

Ok. Now you can get busy and finish the 3 jigs, 1 for welding, 2 for grinding, I would suggest you pre drill & tap the two holes in the bottom of the angled key ways PRIOR to shaping the key ways. Counter bore/drill the holes with an “F”size drill bit 5/16” deep, then tapping size 13/64”dia. another 5/8” deeper. Well……………………………….!

Coffee break is over.

Remember to “OIL”(Vactra #2 way lube) especially the RAM ways & crank pin/block on the rocker arm of your shaper “BEFORE” starting.

To cut your key ways in the jigs, you won’t use the bars, they, bars are used for getting into a hole or bore and to reach out past the travel of the ram. You use your straight tool holder that you use for regular shaping. If you have a smaller machine, your holder will be smaller than ½” or 3/8”, in those cases use just a ½” or 3/8”tool bit and a spacer to fit in the tool post. Grind the cutting end of your bit square with the side of the bit, then grind thegrind relief and clearance angles, and using the corner of the grind stone back grind the middle of the cutting edge of the bit, leaving 1/16” flats instead of 3/16”wide flats . Yes it’s just like the one’s in the bar. They can, with a radius ground on the back side of the bit, be used for key seating “shafts” when you get some experience under your belt.

You will want to swivel the vise from parallel with RAM, to 90° to the RAM, for rough setting, open the jaws of the vise so you can hold the blade less the base from your square, on it’s edge up against the face of the fixed jaw, using a small scale, measure from column to blade on both sides of the vise adjust the vise to have the scale read the same on both sides of the vise. For dead nuts square (Kentucky term) use a dial indicator fixed to the clapper box, traversing the table back & forth, note dial arm reading, you want”0” reading, when “0” is found across the length of the jaw, tighten vise nuts and test again to verify.
You will need a roughing & finishing bit same as I described earlier, for the smaller shapers, the rougher might have to be even narrower than a ¼”, remember to keep the cutting edge square to the side of the bit when grinding.

Why I have been repeating myself “edge of cutter to be square with side of cutter”

Here is “why you want the cutting edge square” with the side of the bit.

You want the slot or key way to be in the exact center of a bore for a hole, or you want the sides to be 90° to the top surface of your jig and the bottom of the key way to be parallel to the top surface of the jig. Confused, that my fault, it’s easier and much quicker to “show you “ then have to put it in words. “NOW I know” why this is not in any text book!!!!.

Hang in there it will be clear as mud, let’s go back to cutting a key way into a hole or bore! The vise is empty, you put the key seat bar in the clapper, align the square hole in the bar to be straight up & down before tightening the nut, it helps to put a full length bit (just snug the side set screw) to help you, your doing this by eye (not critical here)

Using the long bit to roughly have cutter at 90°, then tighten bar holding nut


Note; “We did the following to any new bars, we tightened up the set screw on the bottom of the clapper, which would leave an indent in the bar for next time we used the bar” Ok, let the bar down, install the cap screw that keeps the clapper from moving (clapping), on some shapers they have 1 or 2 set screws through the box into the clapper.

Now place a high parallel or stack 2 regular parallels so the top face of parallel is above the top of the vise. Take out the long tool bit and replace it with a finishing bit, it can be wider than the key way, it’s just used for setting the side of the square hole, in the bar, that just happens to hold “all the key way cutters”, I know your drowning, just a bit more, hang in there .

Lower the vertical slide with the bar and finishing cutter (just snug 1st the side screw, then front set screw) towards the top of the parallel Move the RAM so as to place the cutter directly over the parallel. The RAM is not energized, loosen the nut on the “clapper”,but snug so you can tap the clapper box around, get the flash light (torch). SLOWLY lower the vertical slide so the cutter “just touches” the parallel. Only one of the corners will touch the parallel,(unless you have a horse shoe up your ass!) NOW gently tap the clapper box to have BOTH corners of the cutter touch the parallel at the same time, shine the flash light from behind the parallel, you will have to raise & lower the vertical slide a few times, you can test with paper at the corners too, tighten the clapper nut. The tool bit cutting edge (the 2 corners) is now parallel with the top of the parallel and, the side of the tool bit is 90°,*** THIS IS WHY you want the cutting edge square” with the side of the bit*** so “what ever key way cutter” you place in the square hole will be exactly the same, both corners just touching the parallel with the cutter’s shank at 90°, or parallel to the vertical slide. This ***allows you to interchange any of your cutters after without the above setup procedure***!. “To cut a key way is, less than a 15 to 20min. job” If your still wondering “why” the cap screw in the clapper,…… the clapper is cocked, be it ever so little, but enough that it will jamb if allowed to lift and tilt to one side, on the return stroke. Your using the clapper to tweak the cutter cutting edge to be 90° to the vertical slide, and at the same time the side of your cutter is parallel with the vertical slide,

Ram out of position,”unless” you have more table hiding somewhere, the stroke is already set


Ram position now set to cut key way, with ram at start of stroke.


Now, move RAM back by moving table( moving the table puts the position of the Ram to one side of the vise), from the vise, place your gear, or sprocket, or pulley, in the vise to one side of the vise, in the jaws but away from the bar, “why”, you have to adjust the length of stroke of the RAM to the length of the bore, the RAM’s travel is adjusted to place the cutter edge ½” to ¾” at start of stroke and ¼” to ½” past the bore at end of stroke, you may also have to reposition the RAM so the correct length of stroke at the cutter is where the work is in the vise. Setting length of the RAM stroke is one action, (the RAM lock on top of the RAM is still locked) positioning the RAM so the cutter will traverse the work is another and completely different action (you must loosen the lock to reposition the RAM for this action!!). Now you place your work (the gear) in the center of the vise jaws. Never have the work at one end of the vise by it’s self. It will lift out, if it has to be there, you must use a spacer of the same length at the other end of the vise jaw. This prevents the movable jaw from cocking in the vise and pushing your work out of the vise.
I have had to do this when cutting 20° to 35° angular key ways on the ends of pump sleeves, the key way is to keep the sleeve locked to the shaft, you use a spacer of exact length on the other end of the jaws, and angle the vise to the correct angle, AND the key is cut into the side of the sleeve, I feed the “table”, not the “vertical slide”!!

As I proof read this article, “DAM” it’s turning into a novel. I see me going off on tangents, this is, because for me, to set up and “just” cut a key way, no problem ah,…all these tangents (“what to watch out for”) are automatically programmed into my brain, I don’t have to think about them, but YOU have “NEVER” done this before, then, like I said before, I have “to be in your shoes and I have to ask why”& "why not".

Ok, back to the main point here “ You set the gear or part, that needs the key way in the vise in the middle of the jaws, make sure the bore is high enough from the top of the vise jaws to let the cutter cut to the bottom of the key way, ½ the width of the cutter +1/8”, “WITH OUT” hitting the vise jaws, OK !, tighten vise jaws. One point here, if the work has a hub, and you don’t have very much of the hub below the top of the vise jaws, THE CUTTING ACTION could and can LIFT the work from the vise. You will have to lower the work in the vise to the point of not having any hub to cut the key way in above the vise jaws, your key way will have to be cut on the top of the bore, NO PROBLEM, just turn the cutting bit upside down.

You see “you all ready set” the side of the square hole parallel to the vertical slide, (“hey” remember, I kept saying, “cutter cutting edge “square to” the side of the shank”) that’s one reason why! It is also “why” you can, “if you center the cutter tooth or blade width, center, to the tool bit shank center, YOU can cut key ways 180° “exactly” apart, or 4 key ways 90° “exactly” apart “NO ROTARY TABLE” required!

I will know if you understand this center of cutting edge, centred, to center of shank” IF YOU”, reply to this post asking how to check this, center to center thing, THAT thing, I have left out of this post, your all ready on **OVER LOAD**,… Ok………Say yes………………………………..Nod your head then…..Ok

Now by cranking the table and moving the vertical slide, position the key way bar in the center of the bore approximately, place the shaper in neutral, some shaper gear boxes (transmissions) a lever drops down, so one of the levers move in between gear ranges, you want to be able to move the RAM by hand crank and shaft, the same one you use to adjust stroke length. Crank the RAM to position the cutter inside of the bore.
On larger bores (3” and larger), have the cutter just come out of the bore a ¼”, take and set a square and a 6” scale, on top of the movable jaw, so the base of the square is going away from the bore, the blade (not the 6”scale, you will need it shortly, just have it close by), the blade of the square is close to the bore’s edge, now take a small rod ¼” or a pencil, place into bore, horizontal,(parallel to bore) slide, the rod/pencil up the side of the bore, and at the same time move the square to contact the rod/pencil half way up the side of the bore, don’t move square, put rod/pencil at bottom of bore, take scale and measure from the edge of blade of the square to the nearest side of the cutter, at the cutting edge do this to the other side of the bore, compare scale readings, move table ½ the difference in measurement, do the measurement again, until scale measurement are equal. It sounds harder than it is to do, what you are doing is centering the cutter, roughly with in .005” of bore center.

Now with the cutter back in the bore, lower the cutter just enough, until one of the cutter’s corners touch the bore, look from the front of the shaper, into the bore, yes the flash light again, shine light from back of bore, behind the fixed jaw. Looking into the bore, you will see one corner not touching,(who knows you may have 2 horse shoes stuck up your ass), you want to move the table to bring the bore closer to the cutter corner, you move the table to reduce this space by half, now both corners will have space in the bore, lower the vertical slide a little more, and repeat until the two corners of the cutter are just about to touch the bore at the same time. Now lower your vertical slide a few thou at a time and crank the RAM through it’s stroke, each time before the cutter enters the bore lower the vertical slide a few thou until the corners scribe two lines at the same time, through the bore! Look at the scribed lines are they the same width?


A couple of little points here, set your dial on the vertical slide to “0”after any cutter change out, and snug up the lock on the vertical slide, not so you lock the slide, but so that it has more resistance when feeding down while cutting the key way, also, seeing you have 2 scribed lines and your square, layout dye (blueing) you can scribe layout lines on the gear face for your key way, the depth of key for inch keys, is half the width of the key +.010” to .015”, measured from the side of the key.

Before I remove the finishing cutter I cut down into the bore .010” to .015”, this leaves a pocket or notch to realign the finishing cutter back to center. Then (lift cutter clear of bore or you will chip the cutter&^%$#), then backup the RAM to start of stroke, change out finishing cutter, installing roughing cutter, leaving enough of the roughing bit sticking out for depth of key + 3/16” (if I can, sometimes the bore is so small, I can only leave 1/16”). I bring the cutter to the inside of the scribed line - .030” to .040”away,(you leave .030” to .040” on each side of the scribed key way, so the finishing cutter has “something “ to do, yes size the key way) of course!!. I touch the bore with the corner of the rougher, set vertical slide dial to “0”, DOUBLE CHECK THAT THE TABLE FEED IS IN NEUTRAL, sometimes if there is no neutral detent I will “take off the feed rod”, otherwise you will cut heilical key way for a bit of time anyway!, till the emergency shuttle launch!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND VERY VERY IMPORTANT, run the RAM using the crank handle, through it’s travel, make ABSOLUTELY SURE, the “nut holding the key seat bar” WILL NOT SMASH INTO the vise, while cutting the key way to depth, UNLESS YOU REALY WANT TO ACTUALLY SEE THE POWER OF THE “ALL MIGHTY RAM” tight vise nuts or not…………………….

You also need to check the clearance at the bottom of the clapper,(it's lower than the nut) see pic


.I was on one of the millers at work when the not so tiny 32”G & E’ shaper, operated by a 1st year apprentice, didn’t check, ……. He needed clean shorts, and, he shook for about an hour or so after!, BIG eyes, boy real BIG eyes!!!!!! HE had a lot of respect after that, for the G & E Shaper.

I swear............. that shaper was laughing at the kid!,....................... maybe it was the oil girgling.

You cut one side of key way, then the other side of key way, then chew out the rest, feeding down to the required depth checking the vertical dial, but watching the cut.

As how to feed the cutter, I bump the handle or ball of the crank on the back side with palm of my hand, just as the cutter, “on the return stroke leaves the bore (you have about 3 to 4 seconds, too early, you will chip the cutter. To cause the slide to advance down .003” to .005” per stroke, bump the handle or ball at the end of the back stroke, then about every 6 strokes, no down feed for a couple of strokes, this will shave down the crowing of the key way, then feed down another 6 or 7 strokes, keep repeating until you have reached the bottom of key way, it would be good to practice, to get the “feel” prior to cutting a key way, to get the right feed rate and rythem, YOU gota BOOGY Ya BOOGY,Boogy, BOOGY.


One more note here, before starting roughing of the key way, ONLY, half fill the soup can with cutting oil “ONLY HALF FULL”, don’t ask why.........., if you fill the can full it’s going to “some how” spill, and of course on YOU, it NEVER, NEVER, FAILS, THIS IS EXPERIENCE TALKING, don’t belive me,Eh..... I DARE YOU,... naw,.. I DOUBLE DARE YOU!!!! GO AHEAD…………… FILLER UP…………..YOU”LL SEE!!!!!!!!!

This stuff just keeps trickling out of my brain, I never realized how much of this was automatically programmed into me, HELL, I’m impressed!!

Another point, when to paint(apply) the cutter with cutting oil, you can paint (brush)or oil can) the bore with cutting oil just before you start to cut, it makes everyone think you started smoking stinky cigars!!, and, or, as the cutter pushes out of the bore, on the forward stroke, paint the cutter at the end of it’s push stroke, if your cutting bit doesn’t extend out of the top of the bar, you can fill the remaining square slot in the bar with cutting oil. The oil will weep down the shank of the cutter onto the cutting edge, this doesn’t work too good on the wider cutters, you know 1" & 1-1/2” or 2” wide key ways.

WHERE do we have key ways that big,…… Oh, on a 71 ton Sym Z roll, cost $1.5 millon U.S Dollars, (it has 42 hydraulic cylinders inside to adjust the crown on the roll, while it’s rotating), speed of roll on circumference of roll 4800 feet / minute, driven by a 1200Hp motor, the paper machine, the roll belongs to, makes 800 tons of news print a day (24hrs).

This is a lot for you to digest today especially without any pretty pictures, I will go and try to set up some shots for you, and post later, Ok.

PS; I hope I haven’t scared you off from grasping how to cut key ways, like I said “IF I were there, “WITH YOU” it’s a 20 to 30 min. lesson,…no more than 40min.….Honest, don’t believe me, I taught a 72yr old member “of this group” a couple of yrs ago.

BUT writing “EVERYTHING”, YOU MUST have to be aware of , while grinding cutters, what to watch for when setting up cutters, how to center cutters, how to hold the work, are the locks on or off, checking that the mighty RAM isn’t going to give you cause for an under wear change is something else.

My mentors were taught, they taught me, I taught our apprentices, and I hope I can pass on this knowledge on to you, to keep shapers around to enjoy, and have you “experience the feeling” of learning to “Master the Machine”. In case you didn’t know, “that’s why they call us” Machinist’s”,Eh, we, make the machine, do the work! What a novel idea!!!!

There is more but you need to rest,……………I’ll be back
Take Care


[This message has been edited by vmil3 (edited 03-05-2005).]

03-04-2005, 02:34 PM
Hi Doug!

Don't be discouraged by no replies The lack of responce is we are digesting all the information you have given us. I'm still here watching & learning. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


03-04-2005, 04:43 PM
Thanks for taking the time for all that-like my mate zulu lima one ect my brain is now full.

in fact i feel like Mr Creosote.

03-05-2005, 02:56 AM
Thanks Guys, Here are the pic's to help you grasp what I am writing. They say a pic is worth more than a thousand words, or was that my two typing fingers talking ****!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for the next enlighting chapter right after a word from our Sponser!


Bob Quale
03-05-2005, 08:09 AM
Great thread!!!

There is a lot to digest, I read it two to three times. The pics make it much clearer!

The pics are worth 1000 words!!

Thanks Bob

03-05-2005, 01:07 PM
Great Thread?... I'll say!
I think this is one of the most instructive threads we've had. I have a shaper, but having never seen one in use by a knowledgeable user, this info is just what I need.

Thanks Doug!!!

You know, this would make a great series for publication in HSM. Hey Neil, ...sign this guy up.

[This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 03-05-2005).]

03-11-2005, 02:07 AM
Starting Position of Vertical Slide when cutting key ways as well as most other shaping jobs, it is of importance, that the operator should insure, that top half of the vertical slide’s bottom surface (under side) should be flush with the bottom half of the vertical slide for the start of the cut.

Pic of correct starting position for the vertical slide when shaping


There are a couple of reasons for this, the first is for greater rigidity, never allow the vertical slide or the tool holder to overhang too much, if necessary, raise the table as required. Too much over hang can cause chatter because of springing in the slide and/or tool holder.

Second, when cutting internal key ways, the ram, is often positioned to the far, rearward position, this also positions the vertical slide inside of the main body of the shaper, with the ram ways on either side of the vertical slide. Look at the pic above, notice the open space under the vertical slide, in the main body of the shaper, this is the amount of travel the vertical top slide can move down, less a quarter inch, if the slide starts in an “all ready low position”, it may run to (crash into) the main body of the shaper, during the stroke of the ram, and be badly damaged.

The open space under the ram has a couple of purposes as well, as stated above, it allows the top half of vertical slide to travel down past the bottom half of the vertical slide without colliding into the main body of the shaper, when the ram is in it’s most rearward position, and the vertical slide is inside of the main body of the shaper.

Now the second purpose of the hole, and this is NOT on all shapers, is to allow a small diameter shaft (1”to 2”) but long in it’s length, to be positioned through the body of the shaper, through the yoke in the top of the rocker arm. This is only used when cutting key ways in a shaft that are not at the ends of the shaft, but, in between the ends, closer to the middle of the shaft.

This requires a “very high degree of skill”, by the operator, to setup the shaft in this way, and should “NOT” be attempted in anyway what so ever by the inexperienced operator, which “MEANS YOU”, I have only mentioned it here as a second reason for the hole under the ram. If the shaper does not have a yoke that connects to the ram, (not all shapers do) this setup can NOT be used.

The standard way to “key seat a shaft”, using a shaper, that is long or short, is to off set the vise to the far side of the shaper body, so when the fixed vise jaw is set parallel to the ram, the shaft can be placed in the vise and along side of the shaper body. The vertical slide is then angled at a 45° angle to cut the key ways in the shaft. The position of the ram, as well as the stroke of the ram must be set with “great care”, so as to NOT have the vertical slide CRASH into the ram ways of the main body of the shaper on the return stroke of the ram.
You probably didn’t know that shafts can be keyed in a shaper also, well, before milling machines and portable key seaters, that’s how key ways were cut in a shaft! Ok, back to key seating bores.

Holding the Work
The work must have it’s bore parallel to the ram, do not “assume” that by placing the work in the vise, the work is parallel to the ram. The best example to show you, is think of a weldment, such as a sprocket or gear with a hub. You can bore and face both ends of the hub, then weld it to the sprocket or gear. If the work is a good size, and you place the work in the vise jaw, only grabbing the work by the un-machined faces, the bore will not be parallel to the ram, failure to notice this, and cut the key way, will give you a crooked key way in the bore. You must always make sure the faces, you are holding the work by, are square to the bore, you may have to set the work in a lathe and take a light surface cut on the faces where your holding the work in the vise of the shaper. Also when holding work in the vise you must make sure that the moveable jaw of the vise is not lifting the work upon tightening of the vise jaws,(this happens on long bores) if the hub can be set on parallels in the vise , you can check after tightening, by trying to insert feelers between the work and the parallels, if there is any gap, tap hub down onto parallels using a dead blow hammer. A double check is, to look at the work where it meets the fixed jaw face, there should be full contact between the work face and jaw face, a flash light is handy for this check, shone from the back side of the work towards you.

As stated earlier if the vise is holding only, by a small amount on the hub faces, of the work, it will move in the vise. If the work can be lowered in the vise, and the key way cut on the top edge of the bore, then Ok, but this is not always the case. When work of this type is set up in the vise it is shakey, you will have a bad experience trying to cut a key way, one way to correct the shakey setup is to hold the work on a 90° angle plate. This plate is made for the shaper, using heavy plates or heavy angle iron with support gussets, then a hole or slot is cut on one of the faces of the plate, the pic below is an angle plate from work, this is looking from the back side, you can see the slot.

Pic of Big angle plate for shaper


This plate can be mounted directly to the shaper table, using 4 bolts, the face with the slot is set at 90° to the ram, just like the fixed jaw of the vise, for small work, the face, the work mounts to, is facing the column, for larger work, where the table can be lowered enough, the face the work mounts to, is facing away from the column, at the end of the table, this allows the work to over hang the table. The work is held on to the plate by at least 2 clamps or more if required, the plate is drilled and tapped . The portion of the bore where the key way is to be cut is placed in the slot portion of the plate to allow the key way to be cut without cutting the plate.

We used to cut a 1-3/4” key way in a 16” bore of an 80” bull gear on a 24” Hendey shaper using the angle plate in the pic above, we had removed the concrete in front of the shaper to allow the big gear’s O.D. to be lowered into the hole so, to allow it’s bore to be low enough to cut the key way, the bull gear was held in place using 4 bolts and clamps, a metal plate (cover) was placed over the hole in the concrete after the job was done till next time.

Crowning of the key way is, when the cutter, is too blunt at the cutting edge, and pushes itself away from the cut, making the key way too shallow in the middle of the bore. This can also happen when using a long key seating bar, and/or the bar is too small in diameter (springy).

Once the key way has been cut to depth, a check is done, if you take the piece of HSS tool bit (from the list) that is half the width of the key way. Place this tool bit in the key way, you have taken the 6” half round file and taken the sharp edge of the key way in the bore off. Move the bit to one side of the key way, place your finger on top of the tool bit, then move your finger towards the bore. If a ridge is felt as your finger has reached the bore, that’s good, your at least the correct depth in the key way, but now do the same check along the length of the bore, on both sides of the key way, if at any point the ridge disappears the key way will be too shallow. Just touch up your roughing bit on the grinder to give a good sharp cutting edge to remove the crowning in the key way. With a sharp roughing cutter, you will contact the high spot in the key way, usually in the middle of the bore.

The last check of your key way is to try the actual key in the newly cut key way, the key should just slide through the key way, then file off the burrs at each end of the key way.

Chatter at the tool bit can be from many places

1. Too small dia. bar, or too long of a bar, use the thickest bar for the bore, allowing for key way cutter, only use a bar that is long enough to cut the key way. If the bar is small because of bore size, reverse cutting sequence, cut on the back stroke, or pull stroke instead of forward or push stroke.
2. Locks left loose, wrong sequence of tightening locks, check before start of cut that the cross rail lock is tight, then check and adjust front table leg support, and lock. The vertical slide too loose, adjust tension lock. The vertical top slide too long of overhang,(springing of the vertical slide.) Failing to lock down clapper to prevent clapper movement.
3. Dull or chipped key way cutters, always check cutter condition prior to cutting key way, sharpen as necessary. Roughing cutters need a little top rake, also, too wide of a roughing tool bit can cause chatter, for small machines 3/16” wide, for larger machines ¼” wide for roughing cutters. Too wide of a finishing tool, failing to grind back the finishing tool in the middle of thee cutting edge.
4. Weak, or wrong setup of work, work too high in the vise, holding by too small of a hub, work not centred in the vise, work tipping in the vise after tightening, check for gaps under parallels, work that is small and flimsy such as step pulleys, should be mounted on an angle plate instead of the vise for better support.
5. Too heavy of a feed of tool bit, feed tool bit .002” to .004”, stopping feed every 6 or 7 strokes, to reduce crowning of key way.
6. Lack of cutting lubricant, for steel, bronze, sulfer base oil, for aluminum penetrating oil, fuel oil, or WD40, for cast iron, or yellow brass, no cutting lube required.

To make a Angle Plate for your shaper

An accessory the 90°angle plate, that has come in handy especially if you have to key seat a 80" dia. plus bull gear, this is, a 90° angle plate, these are used for larger jobs than the vice can hold. It can, if made with some fore thought also be a table extension to mount a dividing head or rotary table.

If your going to make only one, a good rule for size is, what ever your table width is, should be the size of the bottom and end of the angle plate. The base should have at least 4 holes to anchor it to the table, measure the table's T-slot spacing for center distance. The vertical end has a 2” to 3" wide slot starting from the top edge to the center of the plate this is to let the key seat bar pass through the angle plate. The other plate has just a shallow slot (1/4” deep) in it’s centre that matches the centre T slot in the table, this shallow slot is used to align a dividing head or rotary table.

This is easy to make and will give you some shaper experience, start by cutting 3 square plates, 1” thick minimum, using the width of your table to give you the length and width of the two end plates, cut the third plate it can be ¾” thick (same size as the end plates) diagonally, these become the two gussets of the angle plate. Shape the gussets to a 90°. Hints here, “shape them together”, next drill the 4 holes, give1/16" bolt clearance in both plates to match the slots of the table. Take your time in laying out the holes.
Assemble the pieces, "paying close attention to keeping it square". Tack weld and check for square, if all's ok, finish weld, AND "NOT" on the shaper table....@$#%^!!

After deburring your weldment, bolt the angle plate to the side of the table, use shims or packing to balance out the plate, "what is meant here is", to "shim the weldment so that your NOT" taking a large amount of metal off one edge of the plate and little or nothing off the other edge, you have to find a happy medium between both, bottom, and end plates, this is why close attention is given to squaring prior to welding.
Change clamp positions of plates, that's why 4 holes in "both" plates, balance out the unmachined plate, same as before but no shims this time, and machine.

Scribe a cross on the end plate, center punch, scribe a 2" or 3" circle. This is the hole I described earlier, now with a square on the machined 90°corner, scribe lines from the hole to the opposite edge of the vertical plate, do "NOT" use a torch to burn out the slot, doing that will warp your angle plate. If you have a hole saw, drill the hole, no hole saw, use 1/4" to 3/8" drill bit for the hole, drilling around the circumference.

If you have machined the gusset side of the angle plate square, you can bolt the weldment to the table side. You can now shape two grooves from the top edge of the vertical plate to the hole. Deburr and your ready for the big stuff. Some drilling and tapping maybe required on the vertical plate to clamp your work to Safely.

Well that's about it for cutting key ways in a bore.
I have described how to
1. Make roughing cutters
2. Make finishing cutters
3. Make grinding jigs to grind cutters
4. How to set up the shaper to cut key ways
5. Cutting actual key ways
6. What to watch for as you are cutting key ways.
7. Causes of Chatter and how to remedy
8. How to make an angle plate for your shaper.
9. Safety while operating a shaper.

I hope it wasn't "TOO" boring for you.

END of Post


03-11-2005, 12:07 PM

this has got to be one of the best threads ever. i've been following it since you started.

andy b.

03-11-2005, 01:39 PM
Once again, very well done Doug. I knew by your posts on the other thread you would do a excellent job. You exceeded all expectations.

Thank you.


kap pullen
03-12-2005, 07:29 AM
I wanted to post a couple of shaper keyway ideas I've used over the years.

These may or may not be of my invention.

I have made a block like this for three shapers for keyway and spline work.
I looked for a couple of days for the last one. I must have left it dureing a former move.

This aluminum one made yesterday is only light duty but will get the idea across.

The former blocks were steel and would hold a 2" dia bar.



This is simply a bar with a "vee" milled in the end, a clamp and a couple of tapped holes.

The old fixtures were bolted directly to the slide face instead of the clapper.

This holder will hold any size bar up to it's limit of about 1.5" You can bore your part, move part, and boring bar to the shaper and go.

This little fabricated fixture has a slot milled that can be used to center the keyslot cutter.

The pin holes located on 45 degree angles will center varius sized parts around the slot.

C clamps can be used to hold plate type work. The fixture cam be mounted in the vise, or bolted to the table.


This block will set all the angles for grinding up on the surface grinder.



This photo shows the grind fixture on the surface grinder at work.


The keyway bar holder can also be used to hold shafting extended off the milling machine table vertically for end holes and slots.

That's the way I do things, "Quick, and Dirty"

Just another option.


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Treven Baker
07-07-2005, 02:16 AM
I have read the whole thing. I cannot figure out how the finishing cutter works. It looks too big to go in the hole and I cant tell what orientation it has to the keeway???????

I am wondering if cutting on the return stroke would work well. It would keep the cutter from self feeding with flex.
I have a shaper attacment built for keyways on my Master Machine lathe converter ( Later Versa Mil ) that cuts on the pull back stroke. I guess you would have to lock the clapper extra securely.

On smaller holes could one use a bar that was the same size as the hole so the hole becomes the guide and cuts the key by slowly extending the cutter out of the bar?

Your Old Dog
07-07-2005, 06:37 AM
Thanks Doug! The thread gives this newbie some insight on the shaper. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

I saved this thread off to this point on a PDF file. Anyone wants it just email me at

rayswanATrochester.rr.com (using the @ where it goes!)

It might take awhile for you dialup boys ! But, it's a keeper.

[This message has been edited by Your Old Dog (edited 07-07-2005).]

07-07-2005, 08:40 AM
thanks Doug, that book you wrote is enough to make me want to go and buy a shaper!

Treven Baker
07-07-2005, 11:32 AM
Does anybody understand the use of the finish cutter and could you explain if you do?
Thank you,

07-07-2005, 11:32 AM
Thank, Treven, for bringing this thread back up again. I missed it entirely as I was away (cycling in New Zealand) at the time.

Thanks, also, to Doug for the huge amount of work you did in getting this posted. So practical and clear.

Best regards,


Treven Baker
12-16-2005, 10:51 PM
Well it's been a few months.

I'm asking again:

Does anybody understand how to use those finising cutters he shows?

12-17-2005, 12:23 AM
Yes, "I do",
The finishing cutters wider than 3/8" are used in "the start" of cutting the keyway, for "centering the key way cutter" in the bore, just to have both corners of the finishing cutter contact the bore at the same time, leaving two scribed lines as a guide in the bore.

Now the finishing cutter is removed from the bar, and replaced with the roughing cutter, which is used to rough out the keyway slot to the finished keyway depth plus .010" to .015", leaving about .020" on the two keyway sides.

What you have in the bore is a .040" narrower keyway than what is required. This rough keyway depending on the width may have several 1/4" wide grooves across the width of the bottom of the keyway, I have cut keyways as wide as 2" using this procedure. Now change back and with the finishing cutter back in the bar, re-centre the cutter to the two scribed lines in the bore, once centred you can now clean out the .040" from the sides of the keyway.

The reason for the two cutters is, if you tried to cut the keyway just using a finishing cutter alone, there would be too much surface contact with the work, resulting in chatter in the bar,and seen in the bottom of the keyway, you would also see crowning in the keyway from the deflection in the bar.

The cutting of a keyway in a bore using a shaper with a bar and cutter is "not a ridgid setup", the shaper is solid enough, but the bar is like a tuning fork, (like a fishing rod). You have to reduce the tool bit width on the work, this will reduce chatter,the roughing tool bit is only a 1/4" wide,with a slight top rake ground in the bit, this helps the bit to cut into the work, with no top rake the bit would spring away from the work.

Once the roughing bit has done it's job, the bit is changed to the finishing bit, it's job is to remove the .020" from both sides of the roughed out keyway, finishing the roughed out keyway to width. That is why the finishing bit has a hollowed out centre, so that when approaching the bottom of the keyway, it will not make full contact with the bottom of the keyway.

You can try a little test, insert a wide(say 1/2" or 3/4") cutter "in the bar" in the shaper, hold a piece of plate, bar, in the vise, see what happens when the cutter contacts the work across the bit's full width, now change the bit to one that is only a 1/4" wide, "note the difference".

A shaper in an older or smaller shop has many jobs to do, shaping material to thickness, width, irregular shapes and forms, such as beveling plates for welding, and removing old welds from work as well as cutting keyways, splines, dove tails and gears, slots, irregular shapes like "D" holes.

To accomplish these tasks, cetain tooling is used along with the shaper, but tooling alone will not get the job done, what is also required is skill in knowing how to sharpen the tooling and experience on how to use the tooling available at hand to get a professional job done.


Treven Baker
12-17-2005, 12:38 AM
Sorry to be dense headed but why not use the roughing cutter to widen the key way out the .020 on each side at the end of the roughing work? I believe that is the way it is explained in the books. I trust your way is better or you wouldn't bother with a special cutter. Would it be because of side deflection that your finish cutters wouldn't suffer from?

What is your opinion on cutting on the return stroke for keyways instead of the push stroke?
Thanks for explaining the use of the finish cutter.

I now understand it's orientation for the finish cut.

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[This message has been edited by Treven Baker (edited 12-17-2005).]

12-17-2005, 12:57 AM
Yes you will get a noticeable enough deflection of the bit, compounded by 2 sides, if the cutter is the least but dull, it will push away from the work. The keyway will be narrower in the middle of the keyway and can be tapered in the bore.

By using a finishing cutter to "just size" the keyway, the keyway width is fixed, your also centring the cutter with the centre line of the bore. Trying to size the keyway with a narrower roughing cutter, cutting the sides to the correct distance from the centre line of the bore would be difficult, by using the finishing cutter the centring is done with less work from you.


12-17-2005, 01:42 AM
My opinion on cutting on the back stroke using a shaper.......... Well, I can only go from experience, which dates back over 35yrs ago, my old mentors, who taught me, never taught me that. I was shown only cutting using the forwad stroke of the shaper. Im guessing here, it may have been omitted for "Safety" reasons. When cutting on the forward stroke most chips fly away from you, the odd time, was when cutting in 316SS the chips would tend to weld to the tool bit and pop off as the cutter was just entering the bore.(I think "this is how break dancing started out") Cutting on the return stroke every chip is comming at "YOU", Im not saying it can't be done, as I've heard on this BBS, cutting on the back stroke is more suited to the smaller bench top shapers, my experience with the little one's has been very limited, at work all I had was a 24" Goulds& Ebehart and a 32" Hendey shaper, at home here I have an Elliot 14S, and an Elliot 18" Major shaper.

That said, I own a VersaMil 32 with a "shaper attachment", in the instructions they state the cutting is done on the back stroke, the body mounted on a lathe carrage is brought up to the work the *lathe carrage* is locked down, this "sort of" clamps the work between the shaper attachment and the cutter, to reduce deflection of the bar, the work is held in the lathe chuck. I have yet to try it out though, I do have an internal spline to cut in an adapter for my milling machine, as well as some for my VeraMil.

In case you don't know, a VersaMil is an attachment, that can be mounted on a lathe , planner, shaper, drill press or it can be a stand alone machine as well,it is a self powered milling attachment for a lathe.


Treven Baker
12-17-2005, 03:09 AM
I have the older version of the V Mill. It is called a Master Machine Lathe converter. It has the shaper/keyway cutter and cuts on the back stroke and has a "leg" that props it against the work so it can't move under the cut pressure. It is probably the same as yours. That is the reason I asked about cutting on the backstroke. I havn't used mine yet either and I will probably do most of my cutting on my rack and pinion drive friction drive Hendy 16" shaper.

Thanks for the great detailed tech. posting.

12-25-2005, 12:04 AM
Kap: This thread has had quite a life. I just printed all of Doug's lessons. Reason, I will be getting a small (10 or 12") shaper soon. Anyway, would you be willing to repost the Photobucket links. I missed this thread the first time around and I'd like to catch up.


11-18-2011, 09:50 AM
My mill is down right now, and I need to make a keyway in a shaft to repair it. I tried a few things myself Wednesday night without a whole lot of luck--lots of chatter, but not much luck. . . . Anyway, did a Google search on "shaper make keyway", and found this thread! The level of detail and effort by the OP is absolutely extraordinary!

I'm going to pop it back up to the top so that maybe someone else can get benefit from this.


11-18-2011, 09:55 AM
Good post return Jim, i hadn,t seen this before.


11-18-2011, 10:39 AM
This is a very useful thread.
Thanks for posting.

I do have a problem I am getting text that looks like this

(Ok, let’s start,
To cut a key way in a bore the following “stuff” is required,)

anyone know what's going on???
I get the same results on AOL and Internet Explorer

11-18-2011, 11:23 AM
The OP's message(s) are filled with weird characters on my (PC) screen.

Many of them come through as ASCII but many as e.g. “stuff”

(did that last word look right to you? didn't to me!)


11-18-2011, 12:07 PM
I've wondered about that in the past.
Seems like a common occurence with really old threads; but not all.

Just from casual observation, it appears to always be the same weird characters displayed.

I remember when VMIL3 provided this thread. He presented us several great, informative shaper topics.
Don't recall seeing his presence here recently. Anyone know anything about him?

I hope he, and all you other talented people who take it upon yourselves to put forth the considerable effort to type up extensive
tutorials like this, realize how much it is appreciated. I've at times thought that we ought to institute some sort of
group awards program. You know, like "Contributor of the Month" ...or Quarter.
Maybe chip in and buy the winner(s) a new Bridgeport. :)
Of course Sir John would then attempt to win every one. :D

11-18-2011, 04:18 PM
Those weird characters are shown because this BBS has its character encoding set to western ,but the OP post uses the extended unicode char set..

In Firefox..if you goto the view menu -> character encoding ....and select unicode...they will disappear and the text will look ok.
In IE ...edit-> coding


The OP's message(s) are filled with weird characters on my (PC) screen.

Ohio Mike
11-20-2011, 11:30 AM
I remember when VMIL3 provided this thread. He presented us several great, informative shaper topics.
Don't recall seeing his presence here recently. Anyone know anything about him?

I don't know anything about him but he is certainly a real asset. I think I need to read this several more times to absorb it all. He's still around because his profile shows he was signed in on 11-10-2011.

Black Forest
11-20-2011, 12:38 PM
THis is a great thread. I am awaiting delivery of a shaper. I have no clue about using a shaper. I have never seen a shaper used in person. ONly by way of YouTube videos.

Thank you Doug for the time you invested in this thread!

11-27-2011, 03:33 AM
"Those weird characters are shown because this BBS has its character encoding set to western ,but the OP post uses the extended unicode char set.."

MrSleepy seems to have sorted it out. When I originally posted the instruction's everything came out normal. Then after a year or so the weird characters started to show up, taking a quick glance it looks like the following have been changed.

° was () or degree symbol

” was ("), or inch

“key seat a shaft” was (")key seat a shaft("), or quotation marks

Brit’s was Brit's

I think that is all the changes to my original post, I don't get here that often, as we have young grandchildren who demand our attention.

Black Forest
11-27-2011, 04:38 AM
I don't get here that often, as we have young grandchildren who demand our attention.

No Excuse! Grandchildren grow up and have no time for the old folks.

We are forever!

I got my shaper but am having trouble getting the super finish you all talk about.

We want more info!!!!

07-04-2013, 05:39 AM
Its great to read a thread written by an experienced tradesman who knows the machine and how to use it .
Shapers are often scorned by those who dont know how useful they can be .
They are a machine that can be setup and let run while you are working on other jobs .

big job
07-04-2013, 06:30 AM
Ya me too, Looks like china graffics us old timers aint got a clue what bbs means. Anyways I can add tremendous amt. of
info with pics. No way I tried photo bucket all that stuff guided by a member here, this thing will not do it. Why cant this
site just allow attachments like other sites do, should be easy to allow it. I bet my kid can do it in 5 sec but I cant. I cant
count the attachments I came up with for a shaper. Hard to describe without a pic. What we do requires a shaper and
a mill to work together. Right or wrong the two working together works for me. No way getting around the cost of tooling
shapers beat all. I see above "insert image" enter URL I got no clue what that is. " Us Real Lazy" dont know

Like the OWWM site so easy for pics in a post or reply

07-04-2013, 06:53 AM
Those weird characters are shown because this BBS has its character encoding set to western ,but the OP post uses the extended unicode char set..

In Firefox..if you goto the view menu -> character encoding ....and select unicode...they will disappear and the text will look ok.
In IE ...edit-> coding


Great! ...now how does one get to the "view" menu? My Firefox has no view option that I can find.

Is this unicode election a one-time shot? Does it screw up the appearance of something else days, weeks, or months later when I've forgotten about changing that setting?

07-04-2013, 07:31 AM
Its the main menu bar

ie File Edit View History Bookmarks etc.

you can use the ALT and V keys to show the view menu aswell.

Then goto "Character Encoding" and select unicode .

It will change the firefox character encoding for all tabs in firefox. (wont affect any other program or the OS).

Most everything is unicode these days anyway...but you can always revert back to western if you dont like unicode.

HSM is also coded in western...so even if you select Unicode an override a particular page, it will reset to western when you choose anothe thread to view.


07-04-2013, 08:02 AM
Thank for bring this thread back into view, Really great information.

Regards, Matthew

07-04-2013, 08:18 AM
No way I tried photo bucket all that stuff guided by a member here, this thing will not do it. Why cant this
site just allow attachments like other sites do, should be easy to allow it.

It would be very easy for this site to allow attatchments.

Those attatchments would have to be stored.

Storing them would cost money.

Pay up!

07-04-2013, 09:00 AM
I have some 4mm internal keyways to cut in a 19mm (3/4) bore using my Elliot 10m

Some advice (Duplex book) is to lock the clapper and cut on the pull stroke... while other books advise to use the clapper as normal on the push stroke.

Is there any concensus as to which is best and why..


07-04-2013, 09:55 AM
It depends on the size of the bore. If its a big hole, with room for the bar to move, I cut on the push and let the tool lifter pull up the clapper on the back stroke. If there is no room for that cutting on the pull stroke is a better idea.

07-04-2013, 02:11 PM
You need to be absolutely careful the tool has room to retract (during clapper rise) without getting bound in the work or the ram will break something expensive. That sometimes means modifying the clapper to keep it from lifting more than necessary for the job. I don't know how to configure a clapper to remain rigid enough to pull the cut and still allow the cutter to pass over the work on the reverse (push) stroke without dulling the cutter, but would like to see somebody's solution

Richard P Wilson
07-04-2013, 03:26 PM
I was always taught that when cutting keyways in the shaper or planer, cutting on the push made the cutter tend to dig in, hence a tendency to chatter. Cutting on the pull, the cutter tends to deflect out of cut, result, a smoother keyway. Its the same with the old style swan neck tools - in a lathe the cutting edge is roughly level with the top of the shank, used in a shaper or planer, the cutting edge should be level with the bottom of the shank.
My shaper simply has a pin which passes through the sides of the clapper box and the clapper, and locks it solid. Its important when drilling and reaming the hole that the clapper is firmly clamped against the bottom of the clapper box, so everything is 'solid' in use. The planer has an Allen screw though the clapper, under the tool, into the base of the clapper box. Both seem to work well. I don't do production work at most 2 or 3 at any one time, mostly cast iron flywheels, and I've had no trouble with the HSS tool dulling on the return stroke.


J. Randall
07-04-2013, 10:08 PM
Ya me too, Looks like china graffics us old timers aint got a clue what bbs means. Anyways I can add tremendous amt. of
info with pics. No way I tried photo bucket all that stuff guided by a member here, this thing will not do it. Why cant this
site just allow attachments like other sites do, should be easy to allow it. I bet my kid can do it in 5 sec but I cant. I cant
count the attachments I came up with for a shaper. Hard to describe without a pic. What we do requires a shaper and
a mill to work together. Right or wrong the two working together works for me. No way getting around the cost of tooling
shapers beat all. I see above "insert image" enter URL I got no clue what that is. " Us Real Lazy" dont know

Like the OWWM site so easy for pics in a post or reply

Any chance your kid could help you with the picture posting? Sometimes it just seems so much simpler if one of my kids happens by and can show me where I am messing up. Sounds like you already have the account, and then we could see your pics.

big job
07-05-2013, 04:21 AM
all I can say Jim is this site or members say to use photo bucket and photo bucket doesnt work. As far as our work and
shaper attachments they are on other forums (with no problems with pics) in which forums I rather not say so I dont get
accused for advertising. However you are free to look around on the internet.

07-05-2013, 10:20 AM
I have an Atlas 7b shaper that I use for cutting key ways in small gears. I made a tool holder to hold hss tool bits specifically for key way cutting. I do not have easy access to a photo site so I will describe the holder. It is a cylindrical piece of aluminum, with a threaded hole, bolted in place of the tool post. Several holes for different size bits are bored at a slight angle to provide clearance. The tools are ground a little like a tangential cutting tools for a lathe. I did not grind any side clearance. I added a screw to lock the clapper. For 1/16 inch key way, I made a holder for a piece of cut off blade. So far, I have successfully cut 1/16 key way in a 3/8 bore and others up to inch key ways. If anyone wants more detail, I can send it by email. I am Hugh at bytewise .. at .. optonline.net