View Full Version : ID this old Shaper...!

Doc Nickel
02-24-2008, 06:15 PM
I have an opportunity to get this shaper, in what's supposed to be pretty good condition, for $200.


The name was apparently cast into the opposite side (there's a door) but that name was ground off sometime in it's past. The seller thinks it came from a military or navy base up here- it was supposedly rescued from their trash pile- and that they (the military) ground the name off for some reason.

Anyway, I couldn't see it, but the seller says you can kinda-sorta read a word like "Worster" or "Worchester" and "New York", but the rest is obliterated.

It's in relatively decent shape- the main body is crusty with oily dust, and the table was apparently used by the seller's son as race-car ballast, so it's kinda rusty. The vise shown is included, no name, but it looks like a drill-press vise- it's definitely been used as one, as it's nearly been drilled in half.

None of the handles exist, although there's a homebrew one for the top ram nut. The ways look okay, at least through the gunk- they're all square ways, no wipers, and each of the top way plates have 1/8-pipe holes that somebody plugged- I don't know if to just keep gunk out or if they didn't know what they were for. I assume oil cups or the old glass-bodied oilers would go here.

I don't know what the plate on the side of the ram is for- there's some gearing in there, that mates up with the stud right above it, which appears to set the ram travel. The plate and gears appears somewhat separate from the ram setting, but is moved by the same top knob.

There's a small T-slot track down the top way plate, presumably some stop or whatnot fits here to trip that lever doohickey on the plate. Again, that stop is gone, the bolts for the plate are gone, etc. One of the gears inside the plate is missing some teeth. Looks like a relatively easy fab job, it's just a normal spur gear, albeit with only about 2/3rds of the circumference was cut with teeth (and of those, about five are missing.)

There seems to be a scale engraved on the top of the way, presumably to help set the travel and/or the missing stop. There's only about 8" or 9" of scale, and that strikes me as odd, as this is a huge machine for only a 9" stroke.

Anyway, I haven't committed to it, and I'm pondering options. I already have a 10" Lewis shaper in good, er, shape, but this one would be far stronger and presumably more powerful. It's large, but not too large for my increasingly-cramped shop, and the price is right.

So the questions are, who made it, about what year or range of years, what's the actual stroke length, what's that mechanism on the side of the ram for, and do you think it's worth $200? :D



02-24-2008, 07:53 PM
It looks like at least $200 worth of entertainment to me.

There were any number of assorted machine tool builders in Worcester, MA, in the 19th century. It might be from one of them...or not.

02-24-2008, 09:52 PM
Did you look inside the door? My shaper has a placard inside the door, instructions for use, I think.

That is all I can add.


Michael Edwards
02-24-2008, 09:53 PM
Here ya go.


Also, the smallest shaper listed for them is a 16" which looks about right. If nothing too important is broken or missing, then it looks like a good deal to me.


Doc Nickel
02-24-2008, 10:32 PM
Gun- Yes, inside the door is blank, as-cast. As I said, somebody ground the name off the door, I don't know why. As you can see, there was a lot of junk around it, keeping me from poking every nook and cranny, but there was no overt builder name anywhere.

Michael- Great start, thank you sir. Again, any chance you can get me a nice high-res scan of those pages? I don't have a copy of that book...

16" stroke? Longer than I expected- as above, there's a scale stamped into the top of the way, and that scale is only about 8" or 9" long. Though if it's 8", I could see it indicating half the stroke- if the pointer or hash mark is on 4" on the scale, that shows 8" of total stroke, and so forth.

Very useful. I was actually worried about that- something that size but only with a 8" or 9" stroke was kind of a nonstarter. I was hoping for 12" or 14" at least, 16" is perfect...


02-25-2008, 01:03 AM
My Atlas Shaper Ram Scale is marked 1 to 7 inch and is 3.5 inches long :)

The table on the shaper is just a tad over 7 inches long..

So if the table is roughly 16 inch long, you have a 16 incher

Doc Nickel
02-25-2008, 02:24 AM
My Atlas Shaper Ram Scale is marked 1 to 7 inch and is 3.5 inches long.

-That's what I was wondering. The way on this unit was pretty cruddy with oily dirt and dust, and I had no rags or solvents to try to clean it off. I didn't notice any numbers on the scale, just the usual "big line, short line, medium line, short line, big line" pattern that looked like the usual ruler markings indicating full, half and quarter-inch.

I suppose with the crud it could have been marking the full 16" somehow, or was just a rough scale- even one added by an owner afterward- for general 'bout-thar ram setting.

Or, given it's position at the front third of the way, might have been marks for setting the automatic downfeed dog.

Anyway, it's all moot for the moment. Mr. Edwards forwarded me a copy of the book pages, and it's a pretty firm match, so if nothing else, we can be almost positive it's a 16" shaper. And it's just about exactly what I was looking for- big, beefy, but not too huge, good long stroke and in overall good condition. The thing's about 5 feet tall at the top of the ram, not too wide, and probably only about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds.


Doc Nickel
02-25-2008, 10:12 PM
Well, I've decided I'll get it- the price is right, anyway- although I probably won't be able to retrieve it for a few months.

Anyway, what would any of you recommend to power it?

I figure my options are a single-phase of what, around 3 to 5HP? And a jackshaft/step-pulley arrangement, to give a small range of speeds.

Or, a 3Phase with a VFD (or a phase converter and the same step-pulley system.)

Or, I already have a 4HP 220VDC motor.

Now, I can get, locally, a very lightly used Marathon 5HP single phase for $175. A jackshaft assembly would be relatively easy and inexpensive to fabricate.

The 3Ph/VFD woould be pretty spendy, but arguably the better setup. I figure I'm looking at $200 for a decent motor and $500 and up for a VFD, is that about right?

Last, I know a speed control for a 4HP 220VDC is going to be expensive, but it'd probably still be cheaper than the 3Ph/VFD option.

Also, what's a good estimate of an input RPM? I don't know the relative sizes of the bull and spur gears, and I'm guessing that for something this size, 50 to 60 strokes per minute is probably faster than one would want to turn it... So maybe around 200 rpm at the input shaft?