For producing cabinet and entrance doors, mouldings or radius work, several features of shapers are crucial to high performance: the stability of the fence and spindle; the ability to set and lock cutter height for accuracy; and ease and flexibility in adjusting the fence. Artisan model shapers, introduced last year by Stiles Machinery as part of the company’s Ironwood line of machinery, are geared to what Stiles calls the “classic woodworking shop. Stiles brought its TS750 tilting shaper to the July AWFS woodworking show in Las Vegas.
Stiles’ Artisan shapers have evolved into programmable models with Computer Numeric Control (CNC) capability. The Ironwood Artisan PS1000 Plus, shown here, positions its HSK 63F spindle via CNC with touch screen control. The pivoting touch screen panel controls the critical areas of spindle height, tilting angle and infeed fence positioning with 3-axes programming. When running multiple parts of the same profile, this simplifies getting repeatable production. Set-up is faster, too.
The Ironwood shaper line features rugged cast iron bases, heavy-duty motors up to 10 hp and spindles driven by 5 or 6 speed balanced v-belt pulley systems for speeds ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 rpm.
“A few years ago the idea of a CNC shaper might have sounded unrealistic, says Chris Dolbow, product manager of Ironwood equipment. “But with increased competition, having the ability to create custom pieces this quickly and without using additional floorspace is priceless.”
Dolbow says the PS1000 Plus CNC model shaper goes beyond the basics, with its HSK spindle providing angled cutting capacity from -45 degrees to 45 degrees, and the fence assembly motorized using a parallel guidance system — with functions programmed from the control panel. A 40GB hard drive stores up to 40,000 profile images or programs, particularly convenient for woodshops doing custom work and running multiple jobs simultaneously. The software includes a tooling library, job storage and records machine adjustments.
On shapers, hand feeding can present serious safety problems if done incorrectly. A power feeder pushes the stock through a cutting circle at a consistent rate of speed, and holds the stock up tight against the fence and the bed of the tool. This creates smooth profiles and allows operators to keep their hands away from the rotating cutters. Dolbow says it is generally advisable to incorporate a power feeder into production, and many shapers offer power feeders. Ironwood shapers are pre-machined for a power feeder plug.
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