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Thread: CNC Shaper?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb CNC Shaper?

    I just got a good look at a 24" shaper. I have seen CNC lathes and mills, does anyone make a cnc shaper?

    I am new to metalworking and I am trying to learn everything I can. I see how shapers were used alot in the past but the machine shop I have friends at doesnt seem to use them.

    Dont bomb for the question, it just seems to fill a gap I see in machine technology. Mills and lathes have limits.

    By the way just bought a SouthBend 9" model "c". I pick it up monday. This is going to be a long weekend!

    Marc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    21

    Thumbs up

    Welcome to the world of hobbist machining! I am new to metalworking also, just finished redoing a South Bend 8" lathe. It is a honey! Congrats on buying a great little lathe. A CNC shaper sounds neat, too bad the use of the shaper is all but dead in commercial shops.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    533

    Post

    I think the main reason the shaper has disappeared from the machine tool builders catalogs is due to the proliferation of other types of equipment and the relative cost of these machines. Think about making a woodruff keyway in a shaft. How many ways can can you do this? Knee mill, horizontal mill, lathe with milling attachment, not on the shaper. The knee mill will probably be the first choice for most people if it is available to them. How many different things can you do with the mill that you cannot do with shaper? Any thing that requires that you have a rotating tool. When compairing the size of the machines a knee mill will require much less space in the shop than a shaper that has similar capacity. A Bridgeport mill with a 9x42 table travels somewhere around 36" one way and 10" the other. A shaper capable of the same travels is monsterous in size. The mill requires no hydraulics or complicated cam systems and can be manufactured for less and in turn sold for less. You must also consider ease of set up. The shaper requires that you grind complex tools for many jobs that can be purchased of the shelf for a knee mill.

    I don't think the knee mill is the only thing to cause a decline in demand for shapers it seemed like a good example to illustrate what I was thinking.

    If you get the opportunity to purchase one I would reccomend the purchase. A shaper is fantastic to have and will be just the thing to have in many situations.

    You could add CNC controls to all of the axis of movement that use lead screws. I would think that trying to add CNC control to the sliding head would approach impossible.

    Good Luck


  4. #4

    Thumbs up

    The shaper was made redundant by vertical and horizontal mills. A Bridgeport with a slotting head can do anything a shaper can - faster. There are many times I have drooled at the thought of an old hand powered shaper converted to hydraulics (sorta CNC!).

    Most of them were built like tanks and still perform very well - they have just fallen out of favour because they were too slow. Time is money in a machine shop.

    Reading as much as you can will assist you in this never ending learning experience - and it is fun too! Make sure you follow safety procedures in your shop and always pay attention - have fun!

    Dave Smith



    [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 09-30-2001).]

  5. #5

    Lightbulb

    Mill tooling was very expensive and had limited availability for many years. Today you can get end mills for pennies, and the supply is huge. Back then mill tooling was very expensive, expensive to maintain, and took a long time to make which limited availability. We see the shaper starting to disappear from production around the 50's. This is when modern development of mill tools made them very affordable to industry. When the tools for the mill became less expensive and more durable, the mill tooling then became a more versatile, widely available, and economical solution for shaping operations. Shapers have stayed around for so long, because of there low cost of operation.

  6. #6

    Post

    I know a shaper can be used fo cutting keyways in a wheel. How do you do it with a mill? (;{)}}

    ------------------
    grace & peace
    will
    grace & peace
    will

  7. #7

    Post

    Will,

    You get a slotting head for your knee mill. It is also possible to do keyways in the lathe - HSM has had a few articles in the past on that.

    Dave


  8. #8

    Post

    As I remember a lathe method that involved using the carriage movement to do a shaper-like function.

    I have no idea what a slotting head looks like for a mill.

    ------------------
    grace & peace
    will
    grace & peace
    will

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    214

    Post

    a slotter is a vertical shaper.....for keyways & w/ table tilted for old tymey die work .....keyways quickly done w/ broach & press(vise ) & yes ,forgive me father , lead hammer!......also beleive it or not they still make a vert. mill tool for keyways( bevel gears rotating a cutter in tube inserted IN the bore of gear, pulley ,etc.
    best wishes
    docn8as
    docn8as

  10. #10

    Cool

    Will,

    I think KBC still sells a slotting head in their catalog. Yes, the carriage mounted cutter was the lathe method I mentioned.

    Docn8as,

    Never heard of the tube/bevel drive slotting tool - sounds as expensive as a slotting head. It sure is interesting the solutions people come up with for the same problem, is it not?

    Dave

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