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Shaping up a stand...

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  • Shaping up a stand...

    Back in late February or early March, I picked up a 10" Lewis Shaper from a local seller. In very good shape, needing little more than just some cleaning and lube.

    The one thing I didn't like was the spindly stand that came with it- a set of some thin cast-iron legs that supposedly originally went to an old Craftsman saw-sharpener or something, braced a bit and bolted. Kinda creaky and very much top-heavy.

    Also, while the motor was handy and well-installed, it was placed so the machine was almost a foot longer than it needed to be, and I'm running out of space.

    I decided to make a stand that was both stronger and emulated the "cabinet" stands that many smaller machine tools from the 40s and 50s came with. Still a work-in-progress, but here's how it sits now:

    The body and 'tray' are both 10-gauge hotroll sheet that I had a local heavy-fab shop 'brake' for me. On the tray, I notched the corners, had it broke, then fitted curved and tapered pieces to, in order to give it the look of a pressed or stamped (or even cast) drip tray. In other words, I wanted it to look like a factory piece, not an obviously-bent-sheetmetal tray.

    The "foot" of the base is 4" tube split into quarters, with some pie shapes and creative welding to make a sort of curved radius to the corners. They'll be filled with a little bondo and smoothed a bit before painting. (Dark Machine Grey like my drill-grinder stand.)

    I plan on installing the motor (or A motor, anyway- I might be using a speed-controlled DC treadmill motor) inside the cabinet body, with only the end of the jackshaft sticking out the right side and driving via a short belt. (The tray'll get a notch for clearance.)

    There'll be a control box on the left corner below the tray, and probably a small drawer directly under the front edge, and/or a cabinet door for storage and motor access.

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

  • #2
    Sweeeeet !

    Very nice "factory" looking job there Doc. Looks a lot like the original stand & tray on my 7" Logan shaper. The Logan has a variable speed drive so there is a round crank wheel & handle coming out the front of the cabinet but other wise it looks similar. I don't recall seeing a pic of the whimpy cast leg stand but what you have built has got to be way nicer, Atta boy, 2 thumbs up !!



    • #3
      Nice job.

      A very nice job Doc.

      Is is going to be fastened to the floor or is it to be free-standing?


      • #4
        Don't notch that tray much...

        Great job, sure wish there was a shop in my rinky dink town that did real sheetmetal work. I can get plates sheared to size but thats it.

        I wouldn't notch that tray much, these little shapers leak oil like an old tanker flagged in some African country! The oiling is total loss and that tray will come in real handy. If you notch it much THATS were all the oil will run to!
        James Kilroy


        • #5
          Doc that is great looking, I think you achieved your objective - it looks factory. how did you split the pipe and put the curve on the small corner bits?
          in Toronto Ontario - where are you?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Doc Nickel

            The "foot" of the base is 4" tube split into quarters, with some pie shapes and creative welding to make a sort of curved radius to the corners. They'll be filled with a little bondo and smoothed a bit before painting.

            Doc, very nice but you will be hearing from my patent lawyer shortly

            I thought I had invented the " split tube " concept a few years ago.

            Local firm bought a big Wadkin moulder in for resale and either dropped it or hit it with the fork lift with the result it smashed the end cover which was a nice iron casting with flowing lines.

            They got the local sheet metalworks to make a new sheet cover but it looked too boxy and ugly and the manager was complaining that it was affecting the sale of the machine.

            I built a new cover out of 6mm steel plate and 4" pipe split into 4 sections all MiG welded together and ground up. When it was finished and painted it looked just like the original and the machine sold OK then.

            Also just as Jkilroy has said about notching the tray, if you do then weld a dam round it then it will look even more like an original cabinet.

            Are you putting a door in the side and shelves ?


            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


            • #7
              Good looking job as well as a good looking machine.


              • #8
                Back in the 1970's, I bought a 7" Atlas Shaper on a home-made stand, consisting of a large semi-truck rim for a base, with a piece of 6" pipe for the vertical upright with the "shelf" for the machine to rest upon made out of a single piece of channel of the proper width, braced with 1" pipe in the appropriate places. You talk about rigid and massive--took a bit of muscle just to move the "stand"!


                • #9
                  Wow, Very nice work! Any guesstimate on the cost to have this done if you don't mind sharing? I'm still looking for ideas for a better stand to replace the original that came with the IH Mill/Drill.
                  "The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." H. L. Mencken

                  "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                  "When fear rules, reason and logic are ruled out."


                  • #10
                    Thanks guys.

                    Oldtiffie- Freestanding. I have some large rubber disc "feet" that came off a large gym-size treadmill, about 2-1/2" in diameter each. There'll be a heavy brace at each corner holding a foot right at the corner, with one of them having some sort of adjuster to compensate for my floors (and the inevitable welding warpage.)

                    I don't think the machine'll get violent enough I'll have to worry about it capsizing, though I may have a lower tray down in the base for a cinderblock or other (removable) ballast.

                    Jkilroy- As John notes, I'll be welding a 'dam' around the belt notch. Here, again, I plan to spend a few minutes trying to make it look like an "intentional" notch, and not just a square-ended hack.

                    The machine has no lube system like the large industrial shapers, so it's kind of a given it'll collect oil in the tray. I was thinking I'll lay a bead of silicone or similar sealant as I final-mount the shaper to the stand, but I'll need to check and see if there's any way that oil can dribble through the casting and potentially collect inside the 'foot'.

                    McGyver- Simple plasma cutter. I marked out quarters kind of roughly just by making a strip of cardboard, and folding it twice. Then I tacked a strip of angle-iron to the 4" tube as a guide for the plasma cutter head. Took about ten minutes, but each piece had to be straightened a bit as the heat of the plaz still warped 'em.

                    The corners are just some pie-wedge shaped bits cut from one of the leftover quarters, and welded in with a MIG set on "gap filling" mode. I'd considered finding a pipe elbow or weld-ell to split for the corners, but nothing had the tight radius I needed nor matched the 4" tube size well. The corners are close, and I'll smooth them over with some bondo (or more likely some fiberglass-reinforced bondo so they won't chip as easy.)

                    The seam between the foot and the column will also get a slight bondo radius to smooth the transition a bit. I want it to look one-piece.

                    John- Yes, there'll be some kind of door/access, but I haven't decided exactly what, yet.

                    As above, I was thinking a small drawer right in front, maybe about a foot deep and 3" or 4" tall, for tools and bits. Then maybe a cabinet door below that (also on the narrow front face) to access two or three small shelves and a lowermost tray for piling ballast.

                    But I was also thinking that, instead, I'd have a larger side door that's part storage and part motor/jackshaft access. (I was thinking of using the speed-controlled DC motor so I won't have to swap belts on pulleys to get different working speeds.) Or I might have the front cabinet door and a bolted-on side cover for motor access.

                    I haven't decided yet, and it kind of depends on the motor/jackshaft system I come up with- among other things, I want to mount the drive with some sort of rubber isolators so the humming motor doesn't vibrate the column sides like a speaker cone.

                    Al- I also have an Atlas horizontal mini-mill that'll probably get this same treatment. The "stand" that came with it was a beefy but kind of ugly collection of angle iron and flat plate welded into a drip tray- which is what convinced me I didn't want the square-cornered "bent sheetmetal" look to the trays.

                    I looked at the mill briefly, and I think it'll be possible to run the drive belt down through the casting to a motor mounted underneath, rather than hung off the side. In which case I'll make a similar (though not as long/deep) stand for it.

                    That ones' up the road a bit, though.

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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ProGunOne
                      Wow, Very nice work! Any guesstimate on the cost to have this done if you don't mind sharing?
                      -Well, I think the sheet steel and the 4" tubing for the base ran me $120 to $140 or so. I can't recall off the top of my head, but that's also Alaska prices. I also bought over twice as much tubing as I thought I needed.

                      The fab shop charged me $5 a corner to bend, and already had a radius die in the brake. (About 3/4" rod or so- I actually wanted a larger radius if I could, but they'd have charged me a setup fee on top of the brake fees.)

                      After that, 'til as you see it here, has been little more than MIG wire and electricity, time, and some grinding.

                      The motor I plan on using is a salvage out of a free treadmill- the 1.5HP type 56 motor that was on the shaper, will go to replace the 3/4HP frame 56 in my Logan lathe, which desperately needs a bit more oomph.

                      I'll also be reusing the fabricated jackshaft setup off the shaper, but I'll probably have to fab at least one pulley (for the treadmill's poly-vee type belts.)

                      After all that, there's some tidbits like door hinges and/or drawer slides, bondo, paint, etc. All told, I'll probably be into this stand for around $300, almost certainly less than $400.

                      Not counting, of course, time.

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


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the advice

                        Thanks for the advice and updates Doc - appreciated.

                        Excellent work - and planning.

                        I support what you say about the plasma cutter - as they work well - but a guide is usually (always here!!) needed for line of cut.

                        Those that don't have a plasma cutter can get very good results using a fair bit of care with the newer thinner (2mm approx) disk cutter wheels in a small angle grinder.


                        • #13
                          Very nice Doc,looks good,it would look even more original if you had a bead edged door in the front panel.Maybe even add the mfg name and city in the middle of said door for further detail.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!


                          • #14
                            Weird- That's already been suggested, actually.

                            Lewis apparently didn't really have a "logo", per se, just the name in script. It wouldn't take much to take that script ( has a copy of the catalog cover) and have a vinyl sticker cut for the door.

                            I hadn't yet decided if I wanted a close-fit, flush-fit door or the classic cast-iron-look door. The former will be easier, the latter more "period correct"- but will also take a lot more work.

                            Anybody have some photo examples of either style?

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


                            • #15
                              Doc, For a period door how about getting a bit of 5/8" round bar, heating the corners up and bending a rectangle with a butt welded end.
                              Then drop a plate in from the back trimmed so it lies with the back of the plate flush to the top of the bar and MiG it in place from the back only.

                              Bondo rubbed in the front will give an inner radius and it will look as cast ???


                              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.