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Dan_the_Chemist
02-28-2017, 02:14 PM
Over the last few years I've developed a small interest in getting a little 7" shaper. I don't do a lot of keyways or dovetails or stuff that requires a shaper, but the concept of a tool sitting in the corner just quietly and rhythmically nibbling away at metal has a certain appeal.

So, is that true? Are shapers quiet, contemplative little beasts that lend an air of dignity and meditation to a shop... OR are they slow, fiddly, annoying things that went out of fashion for a damned good reason? Are they relaxing, or frustrating? Do they mutter quietly to themselves as they work, or are they grumbling beasts that clank and clatter?

Am I being seduced by a romantic view of shapers that doesn't play out in reality?

Just FYI... I am retired, and speed of production is not important (as long as the speed isn't glacial). I'm perfectly happy to set up a machine and have it chuckling to itself for a few hours while I am puttering in the other parts of the shop. Finish, flexibility, reproducability, reliability, and safety... those are key issues.

Dan

The Artful Bodger
02-28-2017, 02:36 PM
So, is that true? Are shapers quiet, contemplative little beasts that lend an air of dignity and meditation to a shop..

You must be thinking of my little Adept power shaper..


https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/675/32358861463_e9d5dec109_z.jpg

BCRider
02-28-2017, 02:44 PM
At first I suspected we had a Philistine in our midst... :D

From the sounds of your post and situation I think you'd appreciate a shaper. They are not the fastest things around but they are far from "glacial". And what they do they do well. But what they do well can still be done with other means.

What they mostly give us as hobbyists is a DIFFERENT way to do some jobs and a new tool to get to know and work with. And that's hardly a bad thing for a hobbyist. And they also give us a peek at the machining process that was so common for so long but which became obsolete before most of us got into machining.

I wouldn't cry, at least not much, if I were forced to make room for some other toy and had to part with my shaper. But even the little I have used it I'm miss it. I find that I quite enjoy the process of setting it up and observing the different way it processes the metal. And I don't mind that I can freehand grind the cutters easily from inexpensive HSS blanks.

As for safety I have not hit my head with the ram yet. But it quickly became apparent that the best place for me to stand was on the right hand side where all the controls are located just to aid in lowering the chances of leaning in to get a better look and getting a square recess in my noggin from the lantern post screw..... :D

boslab
02-28-2017, 02:49 PM
Shapers relax, big planers can terrify, when the 6s are like scrolls of a gate and hot you jump bout a lot.
Neither boring
Mark

BCRider
02-28-2017, 02:50 PM
AB, is there a thread around where you have more pictures of your Adept? That is so totally different in how the ram is operated that I must see more!

My own Elliot produced Alba has been camera shy up to now. But I'll sneak in when it's not looking and get a few shots today.

Just to add I can say for sure that getting to know the Alba and making the first cuts with it and using it to make a couple of simple things so far has proven to be quite a smile generator. And for a hobby shop can we ask for anything more?

enginuity
02-28-2017, 03:01 PM
I really like my 7" Ammco. It's quiet (the Ammco had a phenolic bull gear). It autofeeds which my mill doesn't. I have limit switches on my to shut itself off when it is done. I can make almost mirror like finishes on it with a $5 tool. Mostly I set it to feed and go do something else.

Now I don't have a proper milling machine (I have a X2 mini mill). As such I use my shaper for a fair bit of surfacing then take it over to the X2 for the hole / pocket work.

If you every have to cut a few internal splines or keyways for whatever reason a shaper pays for itself on that single job. Unless you stumble upon a bunch of broach tooling for really cheap. If you never have to cut an internal keyway or spline, and have a nice knee mill I don't know how much a shaper would get used. If you have a knee mill, you can also maybe find a shaper attachment for it.

I don't know what you area is like, but small shapers around where I live are getting hard to find and expensive.

Shapers have left most commercial shops for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is a shaper usually cuts in one direction. The other big problem with the shaper is most mill work involves pocketing and drilling. Why buy a great big machine for the shop that just adds another setup when for the same space you can put in 2 knee mills (or 2 vertical machining centres)?

That said if I had a commercial job shop I'd keep a shaper in the corner for those jobs that it would save you a pile of money on tooling. Unless of course the customer always pays for the tooling ....

JRouche
02-28-2017, 03:22 PM
I like mine. Quiet? yes, unless the speed is increased for excitement.

I would suggest not paying much for one, they are not worth the 500-700 dollars you see sometimes. I paid 75 for mine and got it up and running better.. JR


Logan 7"
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x461/_GLE_/HSM/logan%20shaper/dayone_zps00651f20.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/_GLE_/media/HSM/logan%20shaper/dayone_zps00651f20.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x461/_GLE_/HSM/logan%20shaper/done_zpsa1207196.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/_GLE_/media/HSM/logan%20shaper/done_zpsa1207196.jpg.html)

ndnchf
02-28-2017, 03:31 PM
I really enjoy watching my 7" AMMCO. I don't use it a lot, but it doesn't take up much space and is fun to use.

http://i1277.photobucket.com/albums/y493/ndnchf/AMMCO%20Shaper/FinishedAMMCO_zpslxhgwqkw.jpg (http://s1277.photobucket.com/user/ndnchf/media/AMMCO%20Shaper/FinishedAMMCO_zpslxhgwqkw.jpg.html)

Chris Evans
02-28-2017, 03:47 PM
Many years ago I worked for a small tool making company that had just started up. I used to set up the shaper to do the bolster plates and impression blocks for the moulds and dies, then get on with milling/turning/grinding other parts whilst the shaper was working. They can certainly shift metal and as noted very cheap to run tooling wise.

nc5a
02-28-2017, 04:13 PM
Over the last few years I've developed a small interest in getting a little 7" shaper. I don't do a lot of keyways or dovetails or stuff that requires a shaper, but the concept of a tool sitting in the corner just quietly and rhythmically nibbling away at metal has a certain appeal.

So, is that true? Are shapers quiet, contemplative little beasts that lend an air of dignity and meditation to a shop... OR are they slow, fiddly, annoying things that went out of fashion for a damned good reason? Are they relaxing, or frustrating? Do they mutter quietly to themselves as they work, or are they grumbling beasts that clank and clatter?

Am I being seduced by a romantic view of shapers that doesn't play out in reality?

Just FYI... I am retired, and speed of production is not important (as long as the speed isn't glacial). I'm perfectly happy to set up a machine and have it chuckling to itself for a few hours while I am puttering in the other parts of the shop. Finish, flexibility, reproducability, reliability, and safety... those are key issues.

Dan

Nicely written Dan, I wish I could write as well.

I recently (mid 2016) bought a 16" Gould Eberhardt shaper for the same reasons you are looking to get one. I bought mine at an auction, no tooling was included (not really a big deal) but vise which is a big deal was attached to the shaper. My home shop is rather small compared to many HSM members shops and my 16" shaper is a bit much for the space so don't over buy size wise. I have very little shaper experience but have liked all of it, very soothing, my kind of Heavy Metal Music. Photo bucket isn't working for me so I can't attach photos but a search in HSM or PM should bring them up.

Ron

J Tiers
02-28-2017, 04:18 PM
They ARE relaxing, and that is a big problem. Nice easygoing, quiet, often little and non-threatening machines, with slow movements and nothing very exciting about how they do what they do, .............But even so, they are machines that can cut your fingers off and never even slow down.

When you get one going, taking a cut if, say. 1/4" deep (in a small shaper), it will throw chips right across your shop. They can be messy.

When you secure work on the table, it needs to be REALLY secure, because nearly any shaper can bulldoze work right off the table, or snap a tool in half if things are done wrong. When you set the stroke and ram position, it is best to operate the machine through a full turn of the bull gear by hand, because if you mess up the setting, it can break the head right off the ram.

So just because they are relaxing does nit mean you can relax around them.

projectnut
02-28-2017, 04:23 PM
The reason shapers went out of fashion is that they are S L O W compared to more modern metal removal machines. However what they lack in speed they more than make up in versatility. You can do as much and more with a shaper than you can with a vertical mill. Most shapers are underutilized mainly because most current day machinists never learned the art of using their full capacity.

As I mentioned in my first sentence speed is the main reason they have fallen from favor. The old joke in the machining community is: "You can make anything but money on a shaper". In days gone by quality of work was more important than speed. Making almost any part was measured in hours or days. In the current market quality is a given and speed determines whether or not you make money. A part that once took minutes to make now needs to be done in seconds to make a profit.

As an example a friend of mine owns a job shop that does contract work for GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Any given contract is from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 pieces. He recently had to upgrade the screw machines that make brake bleeders. His old machines could make a part in 2.3 seconds. He was in danger of losing the contract unless he could cut the time to 1.8 seconds per part. In his case the difference between retaining and losing the contract was a production time of .5 seconds per part.

I have a 7" AAMCO shaper in my shop similar to the one in ndnchf's picture. It's used on a regular basis to make internal and external keyways, profiling, and slab milling. The only thing I can't do on the vertical mill is make the internal keyways. It can be done on the mill, but the tooling would cost more than the shaper and never be used enough to justify the investment. Since I'm not on a production schedule it's more cost effective to spend a couple more minutes making a part than more money on tooling.

firbikrhd1
02-28-2017, 08:56 PM
I have a 7" Southbend and a 12" Vernon and have run my dad's Porter Cable 8". All are quiet in operation with the exception of the clapper block clicking with every stroke. They are slow when compared to milling machines but leave a really nice finish. For home shop guys that really isn't usually a big deal. After all, manual lathes and mills are slow compared with CNC, but we all still like our lathes and mills in the home shop. Without a vise (chuck) setups can be a little challenging but they can do some things milling machines can't do and use cutters that are a lot cheaper than milling cutters, especially when machining dovetails and T slots. Although shapers are quiet and easygoing don't be lulled into carelessness. Even the small ones are powerful machines capable of crushing a finger or hand if put in the wrong place while running and they will throw some sharp, hot curly chips quite a distance if some sort of chip guard/catcher isn't fabricated.

_Paul_
02-28-2017, 09:19 PM
My name is Paul and I'm a Shaperholic.... I have five different machines.

Setting up does require careful thought more than say a vertical mill as the cutting forces can be very high, but with some imagination they will do a lot of jobs a vertical or horizontal mill can do and some things that they cant do easily like internal keyways or internal splines.

They definitely are more time consuming to operate, there is an old saying "you can make anything on a Shaper except money".

Paul

thaiguzzi
02-28-2017, 09:47 PM
The "walking away from the machine whilst it's working and getting on with something else" never works for me. The shaper works, i generally am by it's side, even if it's a whole afternoon.
I see JT is back with his 1/4" DOC on a 7" shaper line...

carlquib
02-28-2017, 10:01 PM
I'm with Paul, except I'm just a toolaholic. I have a 7" Lewis, 16" gemco hvy duty, and a 36" Rockford hydraulic. I'm still looking for a universal shaper in the 16-24" range. [emoji3] They are wonderful machines, if you have the space. I use mine on a fairly regular basis, they are slower than a mill for some things but the tooling costs more than make up for it. They are indispensable when doing some job shop work. They save me when I have to do splines or internal work. They are very relaxing to watch especially when I am surfacing or truing a plate that has been burned out, no stress worrying if I'm going to trash a bunch of inserts or blunt an endmill like I have when using a mill for that work.

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q117/carlquib/Mobile%20Uploads/20160530_220418.jpg (http://s134.photobucket.com/user/carlquib/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20160530_220418.jpg.html)

Hello, my name is Brian and I'm a toolaholic!

J Tiers
02-28-2017, 10:18 PM
....
I see JT is back with his 1/4" DOC on a 7" shaper line...

You betcha! Didn't have a digital camera back then, sorry.

In fact, that's what sold me on shapers. The P.O. had it taking that size cut in mild steel when I came to look at it. The cutter was a knife type. with a round "gullet" of maybe 1/4" diameter, coming up to form the edge.

BCRider
02-28-2017, 10:59 PM
Something that would be cool to use with a shaper for longer duration cuts would be a "carriage stop" that is actually a kill switch for the electrics. If the package permitted it a switch could be mounted on a clamp on stop and when the auto feed causes the box table to travel far enough it automatically shuts off.

Otherwise I totally agree that I would not leave the machine. I might dash away for a second to get something but I could not leave it long term. Not without SOME sort of safety stop.

1-800miner
02-28-2017, 11:06 PM
Not to steal the thread, but the picture above. Cutting an internal keyway. How does the clapper do it's job in that configuration?
I can see it if the keyway was at the bottom. Then the clapper would allow tool clearance on the back stroke.
What am I missing?

jamby
02-28-2017, 11:35 PM
When I went to tech school back in "65" they had 3 monster Cincinnati Shapers close to the one in this youtube shot
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRQwvR24Q2Q
Most of the machines in that class came off old navy ships.
We had several projects we had to build during out year in the course and almost all of them went over the shaper or the planer.

Two great stories from then, one guy ran out front to see where he was with the layout line and caught a blue chip in the back of his collar and as he pulled it out burning his fingers he cut his ear open.
Someone who had been doing short stroke high speed cranked the stroke length all the way up and left it like that. Along came one of the instructors showing a group around and he pulled the on bar out and yahoo the machine jumped 3" forward and scared the crap out of all of them. We laugh for a week.

When I started my apprenticeship at Boeing they still had one in my first shop. The old timers wanted me to square up a part on it and I ruined all their fun.

I'd still love to have one of them but they are hard to find out west and most are junk.

Jim

MrFluffy
03-01-2017, 04:24 AM
Something that would be cool to use with a shaper for longer duration cuts would be a "carriage stop" that is actually a kill switch for the electrics. If the package permitted it a switch could be mounted on a clamp on stop and when the auto feed causes the box table to travel far enough it automatically shuts off.

Otherwise I totally agree that I would not leave the machine. I might dash away for a second to get something but I could not leave it long term. Not without SOME sort of safety stop.
I dont know if my shaper was modified in some way by a PO but it had a section at the very end of the carriage travel with no acme thread on the leadscrew, so it wound itself fully along the extent of the travel if left then just ended there nodding away in thin air until you came along and turned it off.
I used to have it powered via a vfd, and that would have been trivial to rig a estop up onto a microswitch but I took the vfd off to run my bridgeport and a vfd on a shaper isnt the worlds most useful thing apart from softstart and jog being handy at times so I've not replaced it, just run the motor direct.

To the op's original question. They're both.

projectnut
03-01-2017, 07:06 AM
I dont know if my shaper was modified in some way by a PO but it had a section at the very end of the carriage travel with no acme thread on the leadscrew, so it wound itself fully along the extent of the travel if left then just ended there nodding away in thin air until you came along and turned it off.
I used to have it powered via a vfd, and that would have been trivial to rig a estop up onto a microswitch but I took the vfd off to run my bridgeport and a vfd on a shaper isnt the worlds most useful thing apart from softstart and jog being handy at times so I've not replaced it, just run the motor direct.

To the op's original question. They're both.

If you have an AMMCO or Delta shaper the lack of threads on the either end of the lead screw is part of the original design. It allows the operator to setup the part and walk away from the machine. Rather than crash if the machine is left unattended the table will just set idle.

Here's a quote from page 3 of the operator's manual:

"The cross rail feed screw is constructed to provide a safety factor in that the table will run off the cross feed screw when it has traveled it's maximum distance in either direction"

Here's a link to the manual on the Vintage Machinery website:

http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1141/3659.pdf

This is a Delta manual. The machine was made under both the AMMCO and Delta names

wombat2go
03-01-2017, 08:40 AM
When I went to tech school back in "65" they had 3 monster Cincinnati Shapers close to the one in this youtube shot
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRQwvR24Q2Q


Jim

Yes, we used them in Australia in 1960's
Imagine letting 15 year olds loose on those, 30 baby boomers with 2 supervisors.
I think we had a mix of Cincinnati and Elliot.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/shapers/

I still have these projects. I still use the vyce occasionally on my electronics bench
https://app.box.com/s/mj79yp95qr9fb1k21wevzngpur9kf7vy

The clamp was mostly an exercise in marking out ("prick through" ) and hand draw filing flat and square.
I recall the inner surfaces were done on the shaper.

The vyce was done on shaper and end mill.
It is not a "vice" because , pre-metric in Australia it has British Standard Whitworth threads.

A lesson in doing castings was setting up the rough castings so that all surfaces were inside the volume.
We used paper (?) shims in the shaper vyce to get the first surfaces.

BCRider
03-01-2017, 12:59 PM
Not to steal the thread, but the picture above. Cutting an internal keyway. How does the clapper do it's job in that configuration?
I can see it if the keyway was at the bottom. Then the clapper would allow tool clearance on the back stroke.
What am I missing?

For cuts of that sort the clapper is locked out with a screw specifically intended for jobs just such as this. It means there's a bit of wear on the cutter but as you figure the clapper would cause more trouble than it cures in tight spots like this one.

To be fair the extension bar will flex a little too to provide some return relief on the pressure. Then it flexes towards "digging in" a little during the cut.

bob_s
03-01-2017, 08:47 PM
BCRider did you get your shaper through Bell Machinery in Van?

BCRider
03-01-2017, 08:58 PM
Through my father actually. He bought someone's shop from them up in the interior somewhere to get the lathe, mill and tool grinder. The way he made it sound was that if he did not take the shaper as well then the deal was off... :D I was quite captivated with the shaper more than the other toys. The following Christmas he gave it to me.

bob_s
03-01-2017, 09:14 PM
A little hard to get under the tree, but a wonderful gift to receive.

BCRider
03-01-2017, 09:22 PM
A little hard to get under the tree, but a wonderful gift to receive.

They left it in the shop... but Mum did put a big hunk o' ribbon around it with a sticky bow... which fell off due to the cold and oil.. But it looked nice.... :)

And Dad, being Dad, was pretty tickled that I was pretty tickled. He was trained as an old world machinist apprentice before joining the RAF at the early part of the war. He did his apprentice time in an old overhead shaft plant that was still using a massive big steam engine. He was there when they changed over to a bank of two or three over size electric motors to replace the steam engine when the old steam engineer retired and the management didn't replace him because they wanted to upgrade to electric.

It was a different world back when management cared enough about an employee's faithfulness and well being that they kept using the so called "obsolete" steam engine instead of upgrading sooner.

thaiguzzi
03-01-2017, 09:48 PM
If you have an AMMCO or Delta shaper the lack of threads on the either end of the lead screw is part of the original design. It allows the operator to setup the part and walk away from the machine. Rather than crash if the machine is left unattended the table will just set idle.

Here's a quote from page 3 of the operator's manual:

"The cross rail feed screw is constructed to provide a safety factor in that the table will run off the cross feed screw when it has traveled it's maximum distance in either direction"

Here's a link to the manual on the Vintage Machinery website:

http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1141/3659.pdf

This is a Delta manual. The machine was made under both the AMMCO and Delta names

Indeed. Most small (ish) up to 10" shapers i've come across, have this safety feature.

boslab
03-02-2017, 01:12 AM
I learned on a cincinatti 32" too, I was too scared to push it like it needs, I think I rubbed the tools into submission, when I did eventually get retrained by someone who knew what he was doing it was like an episode of Star Trek, she's giving it all she's got captain, your going to melt the dilithium tips
It's hard to recapture the humour in a workshop, it's too spontaneous but at the time was very funny.
Mark

sarge41
03-02-2017, 11:51 AM
Dan_the_chemist:
I own a sweet little Italian made 12" shaper that I love. It is about the size of a 7" Ammco. The noisiest thing about it is the clicking of the ball-check in the lube pump. Very economical. If I run one of my mills all day, I may use a sackful of endmills. If I use the shaper all day, at the end of day, just regrind the tool (by hand) and it is ready for tomorrow. Be careful, they are addictive.

Sarge