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Thread: CNC Shaper

  1. #1

    Default CNC Shaper

    There's an article in Machinst's Workshop magazine by someone who bought an old shaper, did sufficient restoration on it, then added two axes of CNC control - the X crossfeed and the head downfeed. At first glance it would seem like just a flight of whimsy. The crossfeed ordinarily has a self feeding mechanism and feeding down automatically would be interesting but how often would you need that?

    However, actually reading the article made a rather better case for it. On the crossfeed he can set the distance for anything from tiny to almost 7/16". Okay, so what you say. But he does it exactly when the slide is fully retracted and it takes about a quarter of a second. That means that he's never dragging the tool as the feed is being moved and he said the clapper box never really actuates. That makes it much more interesting.

    One can only wonder if he'll keep up the pace of computerization and we'll see a subsequent article about his shaper with full contouring capability.
    .
    "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

  2. #2
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    How long ago was that? It's not ringing a bell with me, but perhaps I put it together in my sleep! I do tend to lose track of all the articles after a while, but I think (hope) I would have remembered that one.
    George

  3. #3
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    I don't understand about the clapper as presumably the tool is still dragged back across the work. Unless of course he uses his control of the downfeed to lift the tool for the back stroke.

    One interesting possibility is that his machine may be able to shape various contours.

    I am looking at my little Adept 2 power shaper with a new interest.

  4. #4
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    I don't recall an article like that either, and while I don't have every issue, I've been a regular reader for a good long time now.

    I do know there was a long discussion of the idea here on HSM a good while back, and I think there was a link to somebody who may have actually done it- but without any photos or, you know, actual evidence - over on PM, but I'm not certain.

    I did just see a video recently- like in the last month or two- of somebody that had one set up specifically for gear-shaping, you might check YouTube for that.

    The idea is easy enough, of course- you'd need a fairly stout stepper or servo for the table cross feed, and a smaller one for the clapper downfeed, and a sensor to let the controller know when the ram has reached it's full stroke, in either direction, so it knows when to raise or drop the clapper.

    The tricky part will be the software. It'll require an almost entirely new program to run something like that, and I suspect that's why we haven't seen many yet.

    The number of people that can do the mechanical part of the build is pretty large. Almost everyone here can pull that one off. The number of people that can write their own CNC software pretty much from scratch, however, is pretty dang small. And considering this would very much be a "just for fun" type project of relatively limited utility... Well, first you need somebody with a shaper they're not doing anything with, who has plenty of free time for the build, who has both the mechanical and physical knowledge to build it, and is a member of one of the popular boards so they can share it with us.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  5. #5
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    I don't quite agree with your statement that shapers usually have auto downfeed.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmagpie View Post
    I don't quite agree with your statement that shapers usually have auto downfeed.
    I only said auto on crossfeed. If they were ever built with some auto advance mechanism on the down feed I don't remember seeing it. I do recall Stephen Thomas having set up an auto lift for the clapper and something like that might be contrived with a ratchet.

    It's in the March 2019 issue, number 278 so only just out. The author is in Namibia of all places so I think deserves even extra credit.

    The closest things I can recall hearing about anywhere similar were a planer set up to do curved pieces for bridge deck expansion compensation supports but I think that was a tracer, and a huge vertical machine to contour marine engine components that might have had actual electronic control.
    .
    "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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    Quote Originally Posted by TGTool View Post

    It's in the March 2019 issue, number 278 so only just out. The author is in Namibia of all places so I think deserves even extra credit.
    Am guessing it's Model Engineer's Workshop that it's in. I would have remembered Nambia.
    George

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Nickel View Post
    ...The tricky part will be the software. It'll require an almost entirely new program to run something like that, and I suspect that's why we haven't seen many yet.

    The number of people that can do the mechanical part of the build is pretty large. Almost everyone here can pull that one off. The number of people that can write their own CNC software pretty much from scratch, however, is pretty dang small. And considering this would very much be a "just for fun" type project of relatively limited utility... Well, first you need somebody with a shaper they're not doing anything with, who has plenty of free time for the build, who has both the mechanical and physical knowledge to build it, and is a member of one of the popular boards so they can share it with us.
    Doc.
    Hmmm-I don't see why any standard CNC software controller couldn't do it. You'd need to hand write your G-Code, though, unless you figured out how to make a shaper post-processor for a CAM program....

  10. #10
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    Just to be clear, the ram stroke is still the original mechanicals in these concepts correct?

    For more CNC vertical stroke perhaps you could motorize the table elevation instead of the compound. Advantage motor assembly can be mounted stationary, disadvantage lose some rigidity.

    Do you really even need a compound anymore?

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