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View Full Version : Small shapers, any good???



DR
06-29-2011, 09:16 PM
Hi,

Are the small bench top shapers like Atlas, SB, etc ,etc comparable to the bench top lathes from the same companies. In other words, are these basically hobby machines like the lathes.

I occasionally have use for a shaper, but don't want to get one if they're very limited in the depth of cut, feed rate, etc ,etc. What are typical metal removal rates in mild steel (depth of cut, feedrate, and so on)?

An opportunity to pick up an Atlas shaper for almost a give away price has come up. But, if it's no better than a small Atlas lathe I'll pass on it.

Thanks.

ENTERPRISE LATHE
06-29-2011, 09:22 PM
If you have a chance to get for a good price I would get it. I have a 7" atlas, A 7" south bend, and a 16" HD cincinnati shapers. The atlas is a nice machine and I would say it is like the atlas lathe. I don't know what the max depth of cut is. I've cut the dovetails in my carriage stops for my 5 lathes with no problem. I'm no expert but there are two models an A and a B the B has the support leg under the table.Sometimes the feed housing for the table left and right movement can get cracks in it, something to look out for. There is no pressure lube system like the south bends, All lube is done manually. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at slcortez@zoominternet.net I usually don't check my PM'S often
Scott

RussZHC
06-29-2011, 09:41 PM
I don't own a shaper but am keeping my eyes open for one and so have read a fair bit (both threads and more formal remarks).

One of the more interesting comments was, IIRC, on Tony's lathe site where the comment was "this" 10" size shaper is ideal for a home shop.

Related to that, the most frequent comment I have seen relates simply to size of work possible (quite small work envelop) as opposed to material removal amounts.

Off the top of my head each smaller shaper seems to have one weak spot...not saying its specific to small or to shapers more generally just that some issues appear related to design and others to quality of part somehow related to design/material (thin castings to fit in a particular place e.g.) so you can end up with a hard to replace part that could cost way more the an entire machine.

There also appear to be a couple of "hobby" machine groupings generally (as opposed to production machines), those in the 7" or 8" range (Logan, South Bend, Atlas and others) and those a bit bigger such as the Sheldon 12".

Its just what I imagined but I look at the length of the dovetails on my current lathe (10" x 24") and since a task I foresee being done by a shaper, if I ever get one, it has to be capable of that length at least...so for me a bit bigger say 12", 14" is more likely and from what I have seen, perhaps a disproportionally bigger machine than a 7" shaper.

sasquatch
06-29-2011, 10:03 PM
There is a shaper site by Kay Fisher, lots of info there from what i remember, if you google that name you should be able to locate it.

Duffy
06-29-2011, 11:02 PM
I have an Atlas 7B and it is ample for what I do. It is accurate and seems able to hog metal, but it is still a bench-top machine. I think it weighs close to 400lbs. Shapers seem to suffer from the "cube law." A 7" stroke, (really only about 6.5",) weighs 400 lbs while a 24" will probably push between 2000 and 3000 lbs. By the pound, it will surely be a bargain!

justanengineer
06-29-2011, 11:49 PM
I say go for it. The Atlases are a relatively simple machine to tear down and restore, and I definitely would not insult them by comparing them to the Atlas lathes. Unlike the lathes, there isnt really a common weak link under normal use. Theyre pretty common and parts are on ebay regularly, but most anything you should need is pretty easily machined if you have a lathe and mill. I personally cant fit a larger machine, but the benchtop shaper is hardly noticed.

JRouche
06-30-2011, 12:04 AM
There is a shaper site by Kay Fisher, lots of info there from what i remember, if you google that name you should be able to locate it.


http://www.neme-s.org/shapers/shaper_columns.html

Tinkerer
06-30-2011, 12:06 AM
DR you need not that shaper... (while waving hand like Yoda). Yes tell me it's whereabouts and I'll save you from the Dark Side of the Shaper :D.

Ok all fun behind... get it you'll have a nice machine. The gear case for the ratchet drive is the weak link but it was a fuse part back in the day. I've built a couple of them for kicks. I use mine as much as any of my other machines maybe more. :eek:

DR
06-30-2011, 01:31 AM
Thanks for the info guys.

I'm planning on taking a look at it tomorrow morn.

Bob Fisher
06-30-2011, 01:58 PM
Recently bought a 7 in Rhodes(Ca 1920/1930ish). Have restored and repainted it, really didn't need any repair to speak of. Here it sits waiting for the need.I just like to watch it work, and will wait for the need to arise. Bob.

laddy
06-30-2011, 03:28 PM
I have an atlas and I love it. Just to hear it run is a pleasure. It is smooth and once set up you can walk over to the lathe or whatever and do something else. Could I do with out it....probably but I have used it more and more every week. I got it about two years ago and was quite intimidated by it so used it little, but now we are friends and I use it alot...probly 10 times this week. Could I have used the mill to plane the metal? Yes. Would it have been more fun? NO!!!! Did I get other things done while it was working? Yes! I love my shaper... Fred

The Artful Bodger
06-30-2011, 05:00 PM
My tiny Adept 2 shaper is in pride of place in my modest workshop, of course it can only do small jobs but 'she' attacks any old piece of rusty scrap without hesitation turning it into beautiful shiny steel. No whirly lines on the work and no expensive cutting tools to chip.

ulav8r
06-30-2011, 08:56 PM
There is one other weak point in the Atlas. The head on the end of the ram is mounted on an extension of the ram. If the ram is mis-adjusted, it will hit the body of the machine and break the head off. I bought mine at an auction, there were two there and one was broken. I bought the other one and checked it when I got it home. It was adjusted so the head would hit the body. It is a good thing I did not turn it on without turning it over by hand first.

J. R. Williams
06-30-2011, 09:10 PM
I have a Logan shaper and was using it today to cut a flat on a 1/2" dia shaft. It is relaxing to watch the unit work. I had a job a couple weeks ago to cut a keyway in a special coupling. I did not have a pilot for my broach set that was large enough to be able to use a broach. My vote is to keep the small shaper.
JRW

justanengineer
06-30-2011, 09:24 PM
There is one other weak point in the Atlas. The head on the end of the ram is mounted on an extension of the ram. If the ram is mis-adjusted, it will hit the body of the machine and break the head off. I bought mine at an auction, there were two there and one was broken. I bought the other one and checked it when I got it home. It was adjusted so the head would hit the body. It is a good thing I did not turn it on without turning it over by hand first.

Thats actually a common possible problem with many shapers. Ive got half a dozen or more texts that have sections on shapers and planers, and most of them warn you to not overadjust the machine for that very reason.

Duffy
06-30-2011, 11:13 PM
I think that it is SOP, a bit like "prooving" a gun, to cycle the ram through a full stroke by hand, BEFORE turning it on and engaging the clutch.

Optics Curmudgeon
07-01-2011, 11:57 AM
Just like it says in the manual, but who reads those?

Al Messer
07-01-2011, 12:15 PM
I had an Atlas "A" Model. It was a perfect match for my Atlas 6 x 18 lathe---also had the Atlas Milling Attachment, I have a South Bend Shaper now, but still wish I had the Atlas back as it was easier to adjust.

Al

RandyZ
07-01-2011, 12:24 PM
The problem with small shapers is that once you have one, It's never big enough. You end up having to get a second bigger one.
It's sort of like 2 foot-itis with boats ( damn I wish it was a couple of feet bigger ).
Nice thing about small ones is that you can keep them in you basement workshop.

justanengineer
07-01-2011, 01:49 PM
The problem with small shapers is that once you have one, It's never big enough. You end up having to get a second bigger one.
It's sort of like 2 foot-itis with boats ( damn I wish it was a couple of feet bigger ).
Nice thing about small ones is that you can keep them in you basement workshop.

Nope, after having one you realize you need to purchase a planer next.

I really need to buy a house with a barn...

Al Messer
07-01-2011, 04:29 PM
There is/was a small Planer on display at the California Railway Museum in Sacramento, Calif. It was not in operation, but I'd love to have one that size in my Basement. I'll bet that it could really peel off a chip!

Al

bob_s
07-01-2011, 04:37 PM
I really need to buy a house with a barn...

I think that you really mean "You need to buy a barn with a house"

Ohio Mike
07-01-2011, 04:43 PM
Or a barn with a live in loft! :cool: