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Battle Shaper... Please point me to learning resources

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  • Battle Shaper... Please point me to learning resources

    Back in March I bragged about bagging a Cincinnati 24" shaper in good condition. I said it was so big it could shape battleship armor, and from that it became named "The Battle Shaper". Well, one thing led to another and it took me 6 months to reroof the part of the shop in which it will be sitting, and then arrange transport of this nearly 3 ton beast. I'm going to go get it on Wednesday, along with a hernia.

    My experience using a shaper is ZIP. Nil. Nada. Can you guys point me to some good learning resources on how to use a shaper? Got any hints, any strong DON'Ts and maybe some DOs ???

    This machine comes from a retired machinist who had slowly stopped using it over the years. It probably hasn't run for 20+ years. While it has been unused, it sat unused in his heated shop, so it's not covered in pigeon poop and rust. But the oils may have gummed up and goodness knows what else -- although there were no mouse nests that I could find. Should I lift the ram and clean the ways and put in new oil ? What should I do before I fire this puppy up?

  • #2
    I have found several books in PDF format on the web. Here's a link. I can't remember what all I found there, but I had it bookmarked as "Shaper Books".

    http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books/

    The one piece of advice I can give you is to find out how to jog the machine very slowly through a full stroke before you attempt to cut anything that you have set up. Shapers are very unforgiving of poor setups and even tiny ones are extremely powerful. A full power crash usually results in lots of damage. My machine has a hand wheel that can be used to stroke it to check clearances. Yours may have a powered jog setting. Many shaper compounds have be broken or otherwise damaged in crashes.

    I love mine, although it doesn't get used often. They are mesmerizing machines to run. Even though it sits a lot, I still like having it around. If nothing else, I lets me rough out parts quickly and save my mill cutters.

    Back in the 70's when I first worked as a machinist, one of the shops I worked at had an ancient American shaper. We used it to cut large square sections on shafts for dragline draw works. They were uncommon machines even then.
    Last edited by Bluechips; 08-22-2017, 05:47 AM.

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    • #3
      Bluechips advice is well worth it for you and your shaper. I purchased a 1956 G&E 24 in. universal Shaper about three years ago from HGR Surplus. There was no information or history available, but the machine was in decent shape, no visible damage or wear to the gears with a flash light and had hard chrome ways in great condition leading me to think it had not been abused. After getting it to my shop I began a thorough inspection of the interior. I removed the side cover and went in- looking over it with a drop light. The oil was not dirty, but may have been many years old. There was some water-less than a cup along with some sludge/dirt. All gears were in good shape, with just a small scratch on the bull gear tooth face. I removed the oil paying attention to cleaning out the small pockets in the base casting and finding some more sludge. I removed the oil pump pick up and found some clogging. I removed the oil filter which was needing to be replaced. Next was a wash down of the interior with Kerosene, with a fan for ventilation, and this was slow but removed more dirt that may have accumulated from sitting unused for years. After that was another inspection of the interior for the condition of the coating of the casting. All turned out ok. I then proceeded to apply oil to the bull gear and gear train making sure the sliding block in the crank arm was well oiled along with the ram ways. I rotated the clutch pulley by hand to cycle and inspect. I got a new oil filter from NAPA and installed it along with new oil. I powered it up and got good oil pressure and it has been operating since then. I use the Shaper when ever I can because the HS tooling is easy to deal with and the machine is fun to operate. Remember that any 24 in. Shaper can throw hot chips and your work if not properly secured across your shop. Be safe and enjoy your Shaper.

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      • #4
        The book: Planing, Shaping & Slotting by Fred Colvin is also a good reference, including the use of planer and shaper furniture.

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        • #5
          When I taught beginning machining, we had an 8" shaper. The floor was a one pour concrete. When it ran, the room vibrated with each stroke. Did your pour a deep base to support the 24" shaper? I can't imagine the vibration that it would cause????

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          • #6
            http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books/Shaper%20Work/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dbq49er View Post
              When I taught beginning machining, we had an 8" shaper. The floor was a one pour concrete. When it ran, the room vibrated with each stroke. Did your pour a deep base to support the 24" shaper? I can't imagine the vibration that it would cause????
              The shop is a converted 1942 dairy barn... It has a concrete floor of unknown thickness. If it causes a lot of problems I can have a slab poured, but right now I'm going to see what happens with the floor it has.

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              • #8
                I'm not familiar with your specific shaper so I'm wondering, is this model old enough to have a mechanical drive with a crank shaft, or is it a newer design where the ram moves hydraulically? If it's mechanical, then standard grease and oil everything procedures should apply, but if hydraulic and has been sitting in an unheated area for any length of time then I would recommend changing out the fluids before putting power to it. And watch out for any old degraded hoses, too.

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                • #9
                  Plan on replacing any and all wipers. I found the right felt at Grainger. Lube the clapper box. look for grease fittings and replace if missing or not functioning. lubrication will extend the life and working order. Don't forget the motor, make sure it turns free, and the fan is not dirty-mine was clogged with oily dirt. Start the motor without the belts and listen for any out of place noise or vibration. Replace belts if cracked severely or cords showing wear. Check belt alignment. Sorry if I sound redundant-spent many years in Mills and production line start-ups.
                  Youtube now has many videos of Shapers, set ups, and tooling.
                  Send photos when you get things up and running. Glad to hear another Shaper has been saved and has a new life.

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                  • #10
                    I picked up my small shaper a few months back. It too sat for years. I had to disassemble allot of it to clean up the caked on oil. WD40 made a great cleaner, I applied non detergent 30weight after cleaning. The machine sure is a smooth machine after cleaning and removing caked on oil and grease from years of sitting. Used a razor blade to clean the table of it.
                    12x16" Delta 3d printer (Built from scratch)
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bluechips View Post
                      I have found several books in PDF format on the web. Here's a link. I can't remember what all I found there, but I had it bookmarked as "Shaper Books".

                      http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books/

                      The one piece of advice I can give you is to find out how to jog the machine very slowly through a full stroke before you attempt to cut anything that you have set up. Shapers are very unforgiving of poor setups and even tiny ones are extremely powerful. A full power crash usually results in lots of damage. My machine has a hand wheel that can be used to stroke it to check clearances. Yours may have a powered jog setting. Many shaper compounds have be broken or otherwise damaged in crashes.

                      ......
                      From Bluechip's link;

                      http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books...Technology.pdf -One chapter from some book or other. OK as a general over view.

                      http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books/Shaper%20Work/ - Looking at a couple of chapters at random this book from the list seems like it's well worth the download. The "look" seems like it might have been a text book at some point. But the information is still pertinent to shaper work and I love the campy looking illustrations! ! ! !

                      http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books...r_Work_Delmar/ - This seems like another one well worth downloading and reading for basics.

                      http://www.neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books...y%20Burghardt/ - Another text book in two LARGE files. I've glanced through the first one and it looks like a great one. Deals with both larger crank and hydraulic shapers. So it seems like a book geared towards your big Cincinatti machine.

                      There may be other titles but from the looks of things between the two last downloads anything further you find will be a repeat of what is in these "books".

                      And a hearty "HELL YEAH! ! ! ! !" to the part of the quote in red above ! ! ! It's not just the ram or top slide crashing into the vise or work. Depending on the operation and position of the top slide you are also at risk of the top slide or cutter crashing into the main body casting during retraction depending on settings or the type of cut. If working the top slide screw be sure you can cut down as far as you require without fouling the main casting on retraction.

                      A hand cycle lever or some other way of performing a slow and soft "clutched" engagement is pretty much a "must".

                      From using my own lighter 10" stroke Alba I can attest to this being a machine from a simpler and more elegant time. They have not been popular in big commercial shops for at least 50 years now. But as a change of pace in a home shop where the Journey is at least half the fun I really enjoy using mine.
                      Last edited by BCRider; 08-22-2017, 05:38 PM.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                      • #12
                        I have a shaper but unlike others here it is a tiny machine that could sit on your coffee table. Adept No.2 power shaper.

                        Although tiny in the world of shapers it is still big enough to handle shaper specific jobs like cutting internal keyways in pulleys etc.

                        One shaper use which particularly suits the home shop is stripping rust and cruddy crusts from chunks of acquired unknownium without endangering precious milling cutters. Even my little Adept has proved itself in such service.

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                        • #13
                          Sounds like a nice machine. Waiting to see some pictures.
                          Paul A.
                          SE Texas

                          Make it fit.
                          You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                          • #14
                            I have a 12" Hendey tool room model - good tight machine that sits most of the time - I rarely use it "...but I got her boy, that's what makes me a winner..."

                            It is sitting on a level dirt floor on purlins and doesn't vibrate at all - I think the dirt packed in underneath after the first time I ran it.

                            It's fun to look at and I didn't pay much for it so I don't mind that it sits and collects dust - we can always huddle around it in case of a tornado...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tom_d View Post
                              I'm not familiar with your specific shaper so I'm wondering, is this model old enough to have a mechanical drive with a crank shaft, or is it a newer design where the ram moves hydraulically? If it's mechanical, then standard grease and oil everything procedures should apply, but if hydraulic and has been sitting in an unheated area for any length of time then I would recommend changing out the fluids before putting power to it. And watch out for any old degraded hoses, too.
                              The mule team is hooked up directly to the bull gear... Originally it had a cone pulley to connect it to the overhead line shaft, but the machinist misplaced that over the years. I don't have a firm date on it yet, but the seller thinks it was made 1901 - 1910..

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