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Should I buy a Shaper?

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drom68

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#1
I enjoy working with older machinery. I don't have a specific need for a shaper nor have I ever used one. They just look like a machine to have so I can watch it do its magic.

The purchase of a shaper would be because I want one.... or at least I think I want one. :dunno:

I have the space, a few extra dollars, and the desire to use one. What i don't have is a good reason to get one.

So, I would appreciate any comments on having or not having a shaper. I have read many post, not many disappointed shaper owners out there. But, I see them for sale all the time and they seem to go quick. Owners want to clear space, never use it, want to purchase something else, bought it but it sat for years, etc....

I don't have a specific shaper in mind and not in any hurry to get one.

Thanks in advance.
 

Dranreb

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#2
My shaper was bought to do square-ish sort of work that my lathe can't, I can't justify buying a mill and don't really need one now as I'm not in a hurry..

I just wanted one and one came along, I haven't been bored since, putting a lump of old rusty old metal in it and watch in become new again is one of my favorite things.....

Bernard
 

JimDawson

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#3
Like you I don't really NEED a shaper, but I might buy one if the right deal came along and I had a few extra bucks in my pocket. There is a certain cool factor about them, and it's fun to watch them work.
 

chips&more

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#4
I have been making metal chips for about 45 years now. And during all that time have had the opportunity to buy several shapers at or near scrap prices. And I honestly can’t ever remember saying “I should have bought that shaper”. I have a BP and it does it all for me. It even has a shaper/slotting attachment that is very similar in theory. And I have not used that either! I have stroked the quill on those jobs to suffice. Being careful not to overwork the quill and all. I just think about the involvement with swinging the head around and all the other set-up stuff and just stroke the quill instead. Most of us have real estate issues in the home shop. Buying something that takes up floor space better have a need and get used…Good Luck.
 

chuckorlando

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#5
I dont see any reason a man "needs" a tool to buy one. It aint no different then buying a old gas pump. crapers, power hacks, these inda tools are just cool as all get out even if just sitting.

That being said, I dont spend large chunks of change on nick nacks if there are things I could really use. And that list is way to long to be buying shapers for me.
 

ScrapMetal

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#6
What a silly question, of course you should buy a shaper. You want one, don't you? :biggrin:

Sorry, this is the wrong bunch to ask that question to. The "sickness" runs rampant here. :eek: :thumbzup:

-Ron
 

Tony Wells

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#7
There's an old saying....You can make anything with a shaper, except money. That's why most of the commercial concerns have gotten away from them and they end up scrapped or on the secondary market. But as a hobbyist, money isn't what it's for anyway. They can do some tricky work that is difficult to do otherwise, and also they can do complicated work that is child's play on a mill. It's rarely a legitimate need, but they can be quite handy to have. Mine sits more than it gets used, for sure.....but I sure am glad I have it when I need it. But then, I have the room and often enough the need. I do make money with mine.

I say get it.
 

Cactus Farmer

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#8
I make money with mine too, and I have a pair of them. Both 7" machines, a Logan floor model and a South Bend bench top. Each has things it's better at doing. The Logan was cheap, the Sb was a gift from a departed WW2 vet. And no ,neither is for sale........
 

cjtoombs

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#9
I have shapers, and I use them. I also have a milling machine that I use. In my opinion, here are the advantages/disadvantages of shapers:

Advantage: You can buy ones in the 12 and larger range cheap, and the larger end of that range can remove metal at a high rate, higher than a BP or it's clone.

Advantage: They use a cheap tool that is easy to sharpen to remove that metal. You can do angles, including dovetails, fairly easily with a cheap tool on a shaper.

Advantage: If you add some switches to the crossrail to shut it down at the end of the cut, you don't have to babysit it. I havn't done this to mine yet, but it is something I plan to do. It's one of the advantages of a CNC machine, you can set it doing a job, then go work on something else.

Advantage: You can do internal keyways/splines, including blind splines (you do need to cut a chip relief). This is a capability that I most hear people needing shapers for now. For very small quantities making a broach is too much trouble. It's only worthwhile to the repair shop or the hobbyist, for production this would be done with a wire EDM or a broach.

Advantage: They are cool.

Disadvantage: Small ones are expensive. I know you guys on the east coast can probably still pick up and Atlas 7B in great shape for 300 bucks, but the same example out here will cost you a grand.

Disadvantage: They are a 2D tool. Think of a linear version of a lathe. You can't produce a pocket with a shaper alone. They are good at things like flat surfaces, slots, dovetails, gears, splines etc. I wouldn't rely only on a shaper for my shop, and I wouldn't get one before a milling machine unless the deal was too good to pass up.

Disadvantage: The big ones take up a lot of space. That ram has to have room behind the machine, unless you plan to cut a hole in the wall.

Disadvantage: They can be quite heavy. Depending on when they were made, a 16" shaper can range from ~1500 to around 4000 lbs. Generaly speaking, the newer they are, the heavier they tend to be. A 24" Cincinatti HD will tip the scales around 7000 lbs, but I consider that to be out of the league of all but the most hardcore hobby machinsts.

Disadvantage: There are a lot of things that need to be done to set them up, compared to a milling machine. You have to set the stroke, then the tool position, the toolhead setover, the toolhead angle and the autofeed. Depending on how old it is, you will probably have to oil about a thousand oil holes, or a few less if it is a newer machine. This may or may not be a disadvantage, depending on how you look at your shop time.

I use mine, not as much as the lathe or mill, but but they do get use. It all comes down to whether you want one or not. They seem to be an ideal machine for the home shop guy, since they can generaly be had cheap, and use cheap, easy to sharpen tooling. It all depends on if you have the space and want one. They seem even better every time a destroy a $50 carbide end mill in my CNC machine.

As an aside, if you do a bit of searching on the internet you will find they still make new shapers in India and China. From what I understand, they are used by repair shops and small job shops in third world and developing countries because the tools are so cheap, and can be easily sharpened with a simple bench grinder. Labor is cheaper there, so the longer set up time and (possibly) longer run time don't make as much difference.

Also, there is a bit of a misconception that they are slow, mainly due to only cutting for ~ 2/3 of the stroke, but a 16" shaper should be able to match the metal removal rate of a milling machine that is typicaly found in the home shop, namely the BP or one of it's clones. I saw a picture of a large one (32" Rockford, I believe) taking a 2" deep cut with a .060 feed in mild steel, the chips were curled strips of sheet metal. I'm sure they were blue, but the picture was in black and white. Ok, enough for today.
 

Marco Bernardini

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#11
If you have the space and the money, why not?
A shaper is far more useful than an ultra-large flat-screen TV with huge Bose speakers, and a lot funnier too!
With a shaper you can always start a business into planing and dovetailing… or in the worst case into beer can smashing :biggrin:
 

drom68

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#12
I advise against buying a shaper. Go for a planer :) :)
The quote of the day!!!!


Thanks for the responses and all points taken into consideration, Looks like I will have a shaper in the near future!
 

Bishop

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#13
I use my SB shaper every chance I get, the finish it produces exceeds any other tool in my shop. Post pics when you pick one up.

Shawn
 

darkzero

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#14
I'd buy a shaper if I could, not cause I think it would be usefull, only cause I love tools & would like to have something that might not exist anymore one day, like a classic car. Seems like most anything that can be done on a shaper can be done on a mill in much less time. A mill so is so much more useful than a shaper. I think of a shaper as a horizontal bandsaw. Set, power on & walk away to do something else. Probably not as likely to be true but it remknds me of that. I'd rather buy a surface grinder next rather than a shaper even though I may not use very much at all. But a shaper is not even on my want list.
 

GK1918

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#15
Although I have written this a thousand times. I have changed my long winded opinion to "lets have a mill v/s shaper showdown" a simple
no brainer... lets machine some simple shelve stock out of the most rusted bad free junk you can find. Quite evident who won with a cheap
HSS tool bit. Why because I value my expensive end mills. On a shaper just about anything can be used from a ground allen wrench to a twist
drill for a tool bit. Shapers do not care about rust. A common job of a gear tooth implant, again its a shaper. No waiting for an expensive
mill cutter from UPS, just sharpen a profile tool for the shaper and go at it. Amazing parts can be made with a rotary table on a shaper.
Ya just gotta understand the thing.... I think the whole thing comes down to mastering tool grinding. Once mastered the results are truly
amazing. Even more since I put a DRO on my shaper.......




once you buy it you cant keep your hands off it....
 

projectnut

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#16
I've had a 7" Ammco shaper for several years. The machine came out of the Badger Army Ammunition Depot in Baraboo WI, and is in like new condition. It's main job is to cut internal keyways. I've used it for other jobs, but most are done quicker on the mill. It cost less than a good broach set so it's paid for itself many times over. I also have tentatively purchased a 16" leuter and Gueis floor model in storage. It's a great machine, but has a fairly large footprint. It also weighs a couple tons, so I have to be sure I have the proper place for it before transporting it to the shop.

To me a shaper is one of those specialized machines that can do things a mill and lathe can't without special attachments. It takes time to setup and longer to make most parts than on a mill. The great thing is that it's versatile. They've long fallen out of favor in the production business. In shops where per part fabrication time is measured in tenths of a seconds they wouldn't stand a chance. To those in the repair business or hobbyists they still can be useful tools.
 

drom68

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#17
I advise against buying a shaper. Go for a planer :) :)
So I thought about this. Maybe it should be another thread, but which one? I dont have space for both.

I have both a verticle mill and horizontal with verticle head attachment. For some reason I prefer the horizontal mill and my verticle is more of a giant drill press. Lathe and surface grinder is my shop as well.

Hhmmm.......
 

Ulma Doctor

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#18
What a silly question, of course you should buy a shaper. You want one, don't you? :biggrin:

Sorry, this is the wrong bunch to ask that question to. The "sickness" runs rampant here. :eek: :thumbzup:

-Ron

+1 Here Ron, could not have said it better myself!!!!

:roflmao:
 

Bill Gruby

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#19
I enjoy working with older machinery. I don't have a specific need for a shaper nor have I ever used one. They just look like a machine to have so I can watch it do its magic.

The purchase of a shaper would be because I want one.... or at least I think I want one. :dunno:

I have the space, a few extra dollars, and the desire to use one. What i don't have is a good reason to get one.

So, I would appreciate any comments on having or not having a shaper. I have read many post, not many disappointed shaper owners out there. But, I see them for sale all the time and they seem to go quick. Owners want to clear space, never use it, want to purchase something else, bought it but it sat for years, etc....

I don't have a specific shaper in mind and not in any hurry to get one.

Thanks in advance.


You answered the three basic questions already, #! You have the space, #2 You have the cash, and #3 You want to operate one. IMHO you asked the wrong question. It should read "Where can I buy a Shaper?"

I want one also but intend to build one, the Acto Super 8 Shaper.

http://www.machineryplans.com


"Billy G"
 

Marco Bernardini

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#20
Just now I'm looking on eBay for "shaper".
I don't post links, since many of the results would not be allowed here… but take a look anyway.
Better to add many "excluding words" in the query if you are at work… specially "-lace"
:roflmao:
 

cjtoombs

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#21
The best way to search for a metal shaper on eBay is to search for metal shaper in business & industrial under the metalworking category. Some idiots will still list wood shapers there, but you can mostly filter them out. On Google, use the parentheses "metal shaper", that will filter most of the other stuff out. Looking for a metal planer is much more difficult.
 

projectnut

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#22
A far better place to look for a shaper than eBay is Craigslist or a public online auction site. Most eBay sellers think their stuff is made out of gold or something even more precious. I've seen small shapers with a listed starting price of over $600.00. In most cases they weren't worth the price of scrap. A look on Craigslist through our state came up with several with an asking price of $250.00 to $400.00. I managed to purchase one a few years ago in like new condition for less than $200.00. It was part of a lot at the Badger Army Ammunition Depot auction. The buyer didn't want the shaper but was interested in some of the other machines in the lot. He knew I was interested in the shaper and offered it to me for a price I couldn't refuse.

Many community colleges, high schools and universities also sell at auction sites like these.


http://www.maxanet.com/cgi-bin/mncal.cgi?rlust

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/all,wi/browse/home?tm=m

The University of Wisconsin system just went through an upgrade of industrial shop equipment used in their Industrial Arts Teacher Training Program. Over the last 2 years they've sold dozens of pieces of high quality manual equipment to make way for more modern CNC machines. All of the equipment has been in like new condition and goes for pennies on the dollar. There are still a couple campuses scheduled to sell industrial shop equipment later this year and early next year.

Most states have similar auction sites. It's well worth your time to find and visit them regularly when looking for shop equipment.
 

drom68

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#23
You answered the three basic questions already, #! You have the space, #2 You have the cash, and #3 You want to operate one. IMHO you asked the wrong question. It should read "Where can I buy a Shaper?"

I want one also but intend to build one, the Acto Super 8 Shaper.]

Ha ha, I have been looking at several shapers over the last several months. Finding one is not too hard, finding one in good to great shape at a decent price is not hard either.

My main concern was misusing the space and money for "want". Many of the post have detailed the many uses and practicality of having a shaper. SOOOOOO......

I do own a small repair shop, not into production so this would be a great addition. Interestingly, many of my customers really seem to appreciate the older manual machinery. I always see their eyes light up when they see all the equipment. I often hear the phrase of "man, wish they still built stuff like this". I had a few youngsters ask if I needed help and listened to them talk of how they were taught cnc and wished they had more training in manual machinery.

Thanks again for all the responses.

Cheers
 

FirstEliminator

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#24
A shaper is a great remedy for people that have severe iron deficiency even when their bloodwork comes back normal.

There is a Cincinnati 24" shaper on my roster. I use it to resurface cylinder heads for other general repair shops. The set-up for finding square is pretty quick.

A couple weeks ago I had to square up some ends of 4" black pipe that were 79" long in my lathe. Here was the reason to get a steady rest I purchased a year ago properly fit to the lathe. I fiddled with this follower rest on my Van Norman 26 trying to get it secure and square. I planed to use a 2"x8" end mill to do the job. After a long time of checking squareness I was ready to cut. It chattered to matter what. So much that it moved in the vice and got cut diagonally. I was about ready to give up. Looking at the shaper, I didn't have to balance the part in the vice and use shims. I could just lock it in however it is secured best. Then simply rotate and tilt the table to find square. I don't have a tilting or rotating table for my mill. Even if I did, there wasn't enough table to spindle height to accomodate. Yes, I could have layed down the follower rest on the table and face off the end. But, I would still have to fiddle with shimming it square. Once square the mill could zip past in a few passes. The cutting time of the shaper is much longer. But, the overall job was done faster in the shaper because set-up was only a few minutes.

Plus, a shaper is probably the coolest tool in the shop to watch it work.

Here is a link to resurfacing a Subaru cylinder head on the Cincinnati 24".
http://vid52.photobucket.com/albums/g39/FirstEliminator/MVI_3626_zps63bffdab.mp4

Slow, but you can do other things while it works. If I had a bunch of the same heads to surface that all needed to be done in short order I'd have to find a faster way. The shaper is easy to set up for what ever comes walking in the door. Making it good for a repair shop.

Mark
 
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Scruffy

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#25
Bill Gruby pretty well sumed it up. i had never seen a shaper nor knew how one worked. That all changed when i was given a very nice 16in cinn for removing it from a house basement. i had space,the price was right, so i wanted it!
i'm slowly learning how to use it. word of warning, make sure the huge vise is tightened to the table! repeat tighten vise to table!
it is really hard on the floor and noisy too!
thanks scruffy ron k
 
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Kevinb71

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#26
Although I have written this a thousand times. I have changed my long winded opinion to "lets have a mill v/s shaper showdown" a simple
no brainer... lets machine some simple shelve stock out of the most rusted bad free junk you can find. Quite evident who won with a cheap
HSS tool bit. Why because I value my expensive end mills. On a shaper just about anything can be used from a ground allen wrench to a twist
drill for a tool bit. Shapers do not care about rust. A common job of a gear tooth implant, again its a shaper. No waiting for an expensive
mill cutter from UPS, just sharpen a profile tool for the shaper and go at it. Amazing parts can be made with a rotary table on a shaper.
Ya just gotta understand the thing.... I think the whole thing comes down to mastering tool grinding. Once mastered the results are truly
amazing. Even more since I put a DRO on my shaper.......




once you buy it you cant keep your hands off it....

I for one would really like to see some of the work you have done on the shaper with a rotary table. maybe a new thread on "using a shaper"
 

Downwindtracker2

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#27
I've fixed up a couple. They simply the most fun machine tool there is. It's like stepping back in time .
 

drom68

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#28
Found a shaper this week and picked it up today. Made a few chips with it already, nice smooth running and quite. Very little wear, was used very little according to PO. Came with 9 unused Rex tool bits.

01111_gSiiwwgUluA_600x450.jpg 00C0C_4aGL7WXQIwW_600x450.jpg
 

JOEZ

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#29
That looks Awesome. It looks like one of the very early shapers.
 

kd4gij

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#30
What a silly ? Ofcorse you should muy any and all machines you have the space and money for.:roflmao:
 
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