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Jim Doherty
06-02-2010, 07:09 PM
I ran across an Atlas 7" shaper for sale. It appears to function like a mill, what are the limitations of a shaper compared to a mill? Would you have a shaper if you could buy it in decent shape and about the same cost as a mini mill.

Thanks, Jim

dp
06-02-2010, 07:11 PM
I have a 7" Atlas shaper and like it a lot. But I'm also looking for an Atlas mill as they solve different problems. And both will fit on my bench.

uncle pete
06-02-2010, 07:25 PM
You can do jobs on a shaper that would be impossible on an average vertical mill, Yes there are accesories that help to adapt a vertical mill to act somewhat like a shaper.

Due to the action and direction a shaper cuts it excells at cutting items like dovetails, All done with a $3.00 piece of HSS. More good examples, Square internal corners, Internal gearing. Plus a lot more. If I already had a vertical mill then buying a shaper would be an excellent addition, Without the mill, Not so much.

Pete

The Artful Bodger
06-02-2010, 07:47 PM
I have a shaper, it is very small and not much more than a coffee table machine, however I have done some interesting things with it.

The only "mill" I have is a vertical slide on my lathe and I must confess to using that sometimes in preference to the shaper! There is a certain skill, and considerable patience, required to get the best out of a little shaper like mine.

laddy
06-02-2010, 07:55 PM
I have a 7" Atlas shaper and an Atlas Hoizontal Mill and a Vernon Verticale mill. The shaper will do alot of things the horizontal or verticale won't do. Great machine Fred

Dr Stan
06-02-2010, 07:55 PM
As others have pointed out a shaper and a mill are different animals. They do some of the same work such as flat surfaces, but there are operations a shaper can do that a mill cannot and vise versa. Consequently I have both.

A big selling point is the much lower cost of tooling for a shaper. I have also cut blind internal dovetails with a shaper and is the only way I know of to produce a knurl on a flat surface.

Tinkerer
06-02-2010, 08:18 PM
By all means grab it... mills can be found at Harbor Freight, Shapers can not. I have a lovely 7B Atlas and would sell my mill before I parted with it. I use my shaper at least once a week.

Heck you don't want it I'll take it... :D

Saratoga Bill
06-04-2010, 09:34 AM
I currently have a SB shaper but used to own a nice 12" Sheldon. In a moment of pure stupidity, I sold it and still wish I had the room to have it back. It did go to a good home though.

Bill

gwilson
06-04-2010, 10:45 AM
Strange that some members find a shaper more useful than their mills. I have a nice one I'd like to sell from lack of use.

A shaper uses cheap lathe tools to cut with,and can use them to plane dovetails. Those are useful points. they can also cut a keyway in a hole on a gear. That's about the only use I ever had for mine.

They could also be used to plane the scale,or rust off of a piece of steel that you don't want to damage your more expensive milling machine cutters on.

They cannot do a start and stop groove,like an end mill can. Most people think they are obsolete,but they do have their uses. It just depends upon your work preferences and habits.

dr pepper
06-04-2010, 11:03 AM
I recently was offered a cheap myford shaper, but I turned it down as I didnt have a mill then and I dont have the luxury of the space to keep one.
Personally I think a mill/drill is a better option if you havent got one.

carlquib
06-04-2010, 11:57 AM
I have several shapers and use them on a regular basis. They aren't a complete mill replacement, but they are very useful. I use them because I am usually not in a huge hurry and the cutters are inexpensive. You can do many operations on a shaper with an inexpensive piece of high speed steel that you grind for the purpose. A dovetail cutter for a shaper has a cost that is the same as any other shaper cutter. Even the blind key ways can be cut if relief holes or grooves are provided at the ends of the cut. For large surfaces you can't beat a shaper finish, especially if you want to scrape it after. Then there is the case that has already been mentioned of cleaning up a flame or plasma cut edge. If I destroy the cutter, a few minutes at the grinder and I am back in business. I have cut gears, splines, and internal keyways all of these operations take a special cutter or attachment on a mill. No I'm not giving my mills up, but I am keeping the shapers too.

Bob Farr
06-04-2010, 04:26 PM
I ran across an Atlas 7" shaper for sale. It appears to function like a mill, what are the limitations of a shaper compared to a mill? Would you have a shaper if you could buy it in decent shape and about the same cost as a mini mill.

Thanks, Jim

Not as an only machine. A shaper is a great compliment to a vertical mill, but if you are limited to one machine because of space or other reasons I'd go with the vertical mill first. In fact, if I could only have one machine, it would be a lathe with a milling attachment, but that's a different question.

You may also want to consider the size of the shaper in question. Although the 7-inch designation may come from the claim that it can square the sides of a 7-inch cube, rigidity and routine workholding considerations reduce that to a somewhat lower size. Carefully consider what you want to accomplish with the machine. It is better to have the work that you want to do dictate the machine that you choose rather than the other way around.

The Atlas 7" shaper is a nice unit. Shapers in general are fun machines to use and can become addictive (I have three). But if it's your only machine and you can't make what you want with it you will come to hate it pretty quickly.

Good luck,

Bob

Al Messer
06-04-2010, 08:06 PM
They cannot do a start and stop groove,like an end mill can.

Oh YES they can! You drill a hole at each end of the groove to provide run out for the tool bit.

Dan Dubeau
06-04-2010, 09:31 PM
Not to hijack the original topic, but does anybody have any info or even heard of a 13" "prima" shaper? Rebadged model of something else? Buying one off a guy at work. He's of really no help on the history

gwilson
06-04-2010, 09:49 PM
Al,a shaper isn't going to do the jobs a mill can do. I wasn't speaking about a groove clear through the metal anyway. Drilling holes and planing between them could be done,but would not give the finished job and precision that a vertical mill will easily give without "piecing" it together.

dp
06-04-2010, 09:59 PM
I think needing a blind slot is one of those operations that came along once mills were common. Before that there was likely a different solution arrived at from the context of the available tools. Kind of like gas stations became necessary only after cars were widely adopted.

J Tiers
06-04-2010, 11:39 PM
A shaper will give a flat surface that a mill cannot, or usually DOES not give...... particularly if you are limited to running a tiny end mill back and forth to flatten a surface......

A shaper is "a lathe for flat stuff"...... I used one as my "mill" for a long time. made gears, bevel gears, all sorts of odd shaped parts, etc, etc.

They are quite useful, but a mill cuts down on your incentive to use the shaper....


Al,a shaper isn't going to do the jobs a mill can do. I wasn't speaking about a groove clear through the metal anyway. Drilling holes and planing between them could be done,but would not give the finished job and precision that a vertical mill will easily give without "piecing" it together.

You don't drill through........ of course.

JCHannum
06-05-2010, 08:05 AM
I think needing a blind slot is one of those operations that came along once mills were common. Before that there was likely a different solution arrived at from the context of the available tools. Kind of like gas stations became necessary only after cars were widely adopted.

The straight keyway somewhat replaced the Woodruff keyway once the vertical milling machine came along, but that could not be done with a shaper either.

Don't forget that the horizontal milling machine and end mills have been around for a long time, I believe longer than the shaper. The shaper, and to an extent the horizontal milling machine were supplanted by the vertical milling machine. The horizontal mill survived, but the shaper did not.

J Tiers
06-05-2010, 09:02 AM
The straight keyway somewhat replaced the Woodruff keyway once the vertical milling machine came along, but that could not be done with a shaper either.

Strange that so many are saying that you "can't" do a keyway with a shaper...... sometimes with an "of course" attached....

When so many others are saying you can. Including the shop texts...... and people who actually OWN a shaper.

I would not suggest it as a mill replacement, simply because mills are handy devices, present in shops due to the fact that they work. But it WILL do much of the work of a mill, and many things that are a nuisance (to say the least) with a mill.

I'd rather scrape a surface that was done on a shaper or planer as opposed to a mill.... and I have done both. Maybe a mill can give a good surface for it, but clearly not the way the items I scraped were done.

Al Messer
06-05-2010, 10:51 AM
I have started a new thread about the history of vertical mills. Please jump in and contribute to our collective knowledge on the subject, such as: Who invented the vertical mill and when and why.

JCHannum
06-05-2010, 11:00 AM
Strange that so many are saying that you "can't" do a keyway with a shaper...... sometimes with an "of course" attached....

When so many others are saying you can. Including the shop texts...... and people who actually OWN a shaper.

I would not suggest it as a mill replacement, simply because mills are handy devices, present in shops due to the fact that they work. But it WILL do much of the work of a mill, and many things that are a nuisance (to say the least) with a mill.

I'd rather scrape a surface that was done on a shaper or planer as opposed to a mill.... and I have done both. Maybe a mill can give a good surface for it, but clearly not the way the items I scraped were done.

Where did I say you can't do a straight keyway with a shaper? Of course you can. A plain keyway from the end of the shaft presents no problem, a blind keyway requires secondary operations and tooling to drill a pocket in the ends. Blind keyways done with a plain milling cutter in a horizontal milling machine were also very common but consumed quite a bit of shaft.

There is nothing "wrong" with a shaper as such, they did serve a purpose in their time, but that time was rather limited. The introduction of the vertical milling machine obsoleted them in a very short time. Much of what is claimed as the benefits of a shaper can be quite readily accomplished with a vertical mill equipped with a flycutter.

Thomas Staubo
06-05-2010, 01:57 PM
There's a good chance that what he has is a Prema shaper, they were made in Sweden. They were good machines it seems, but I don't know anything about them.
Try this search for some more info maybe: http://tinyurl.com/33xjjtf
(kipphyvel=shaper in swedish)


.

Dan Dubeau
06-05-2010, 03:21 PM
There's a good chance that what he has is a Prema shaper, they were made in Sweden. They were good machines it seems, but I don't know anything about them.
Try this search for some more info maybe: http://tinyurl.com/33xjjtf
(kipphyvel=shaper in swedish)


.

cheers, thanks Thomas. Was up last night doing a bit of google, and discovered, that more results come up when I typed Prema, instead of Prima..... Found enough evidence to suggest that I'm getting a pretty good deal on a pretty good shaper. I'm sure when I get it home in the garage (another month) I'll have more questions and will probably post a separate thread with pictures (everybody likes pictures:D ), but for now I'm just happy to ease my mind. Hijack over/

J Tiers
06-05-2010, 11:10 PM
Where did I say you can't do a straight keyway with a shaper?

How about right here, Jim......... No "qualifications and disclaimers" included.....


The straight keyway somewhat replaced the Woodruff keyway once the vertical milling machine came along, but that could not be done with a shaper either.

gwilson
06-05-2010, 11:29 PM
Maybe he meant the Woodruff couldn't be done. Anyway,if your time means nothing,a shaper is a useful machine to have.I'll stick with my Bridgeport and Harrisson universal mills.

Michael Edwards
06-05-2010, 11:48 PM
A good sized shaper is a good companion to a small mill. I have a round column ZX-40 from ENCO. My idea of a good sized shaper is 16-24". Sorry gwilson, but if you think your BP will peal metal faster than my 24" shaper, your smokin crack. :p

ME

gwilson
06-05-2010, 11:55 PM
I didn't say faster. I said I find the versatility of the Bridgeport more convenient. I could have bought several medium to large shapers for scrap price,or less. They just aren't used much anymore in industry.

Michael Edwards
06-06-2010, 12:03 AM
Anyway,if your time means nothing,a shaper is a useful machine to have.



I guess I misunderstood you. Don't get me wrong, you gotta have a vertical mill of some sort, but a lot of times I will do bulk metal removal on the shaper then go to the mill.

ME

Al Messer
06-06-2010, 11:14 PM
Being an old retired amateur, time means very little to me, so, I enjoy the soothing sounds as my South Bend 7 strokes off another layer of metal, converting a piece of scrap that I picked up somewhere along the way to a usable piece of stock. Mind you now, IF I were in production work, the Milling machines would win hands down, but, just hanging around waiting for them to shovel dirt in my face, that cheap HSS cutter in the Shaper is mighty soooooothing, almost puts you to sleep!

aostling
06-06-2010, 11:37 PM
I have a shaper, it is very small and not much more than a coffee table machine, however I have done some interesting things with it.


I confess the last time I ran a shaper was in high school metal shop. By their very nature shapers benefit from being hefty. So I'm curious about your coffee table shaper. Can you tell us more, and post a photo?

uncle pete
06-06-2010, 11:41 PM
I'd like to know if Jim Doherty who started this thread decided to buy that shaper or not, I hope he did.

Pete

Jim Doherty
06-07-2010, 05:54 AM
Uncle Pete, much to my chagrin I did not purchase the shaper. I don't know enough about machines to know its condition nor did I have anyone knowlegeable to assess the machine for me. I'm sure I'll be kicking myself in the rear after I learn more but right now money is tight can't afford to buy something that is worn out or requires costly repairs.

Jim Doherty

uncle pete
06-07-2010, 08:11 AM
Jim,
It sounds to me like you made the right decision for the right reasons. They do show up on Craigslist and Ebay so It's not like it was a once in a lifetime deal.

Pete

J Tiers
06-07-2010, 08:33 AM
For the counter-example..... the worn-out ones are the cheap ones.... And you do NOT buy parts, you MAKE them.

You will probably learn more from repairing one machine, of almost any type, than you will from running perfect ones for many years.

Not everyone wants to do that. That's fine. Not everyone has the patience to do it. Some folks have the money, and/or the willingness to spend it, and buy everything new... we love those folks, they keep the economy going. They probably learn less, but learning isn't everything. You wanna ride a bay, fine. Prefer a gray, that's OK too.

And as for shapers, your chances of buying one new are low, so if it's new or nuthin, it's probably nuthin.

Jim Doherty
06-07-2010, 08:56 AM
I'm not worried about buying new but to make the parts, I need other tools :D so next on the list is a mini mill. With a lathe and mill and a lot of practice and cussing I'll feel confident enough and hopefully know enough to pick up a shaper and make any parts that it or I need. Thanks for all the opinions I appreciate it.

Jim Doherty