This month, CWB talked to shaper manufacturers to provide its readers with invaluable information on ensuring burn free operation, avoiding classic operator mistakes and what technological developments users may want to look for. This is the full web version which includes all questions and responses.

Q: How can shaper operators ensure smooth, burn-free shaping?

Bill Crofutt, quality control manager, Grizzly Industrial Inc.: Sharp tooling with the appropriate relief ground on the cutting edge is the best place to start to avoid problems burning the wood. Tooling like our Industrial Line of shaper cutters and especially our 5-wing micro grain carbide cutters really make a difference. And of course using a proper feed rate that is fast enough to prevent burning yet still provide a smooth cut are critical.

Carl Stout, president, Martin Woodworking Machines Corp.: This is a simple correlation between spindle rpm, tool diameter and feed speed. Species also comes into play. The tool should be balanced and sharp. The shaper should have quality bearings and produce a vibration free cut.

Steve McGhee, classical line product manager, SCM Group-USA: Quality of tooling. Proper tooling will make a huge difference in providing the best finish possible. Certain tooling has limitations that shaper operators need to be aware of when running parts. Some tools have maximum quality output at certain RPM spindle speeds. Getting with your tooling supplier and discussing what your application is and what is the best tooling based on your current machines capabilities is another way to ensure proper finishing of parts.

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see shaper operators making and how should they avoid it?

Crofutt: Undoubtedly the biggest mistake we see is the failure to take the small amount of extra time required to fabricate a guard that will better protect the operator. It is impossible for a machine manufacturer to provide guarding for every conceivable operation, tempting operators to leave that final step out. But in most cases not only will the operation be done safer but faster too once the guard is installed.

Stout: Not having proper safety guards in place, period!

McGhee: Not having proper holddown while running small parts. When operating a shaper for small part production always utilize a power feeder to feed parts properly and safely. This will reduce the possibility of injury to the operator.

What is the latest technological development or feature on your company’s shapers?

Crofutt: One I particularly like is on the G0608X Tilting Arbor Shaper where it has a built in degree gauge as apposed to a degree scale. The gauge allows for very accurate repeatability when angling the spindle reducing setup time and assuring each run will be the same. A scale and pointer simply doesn't have that accuracy making for a lot of trial and error during the setup process.

Stout: The most recent developments with the MARTIN line of shapers is the advent of a touchscreen controller that acts as an interface between operator and machine. Easy to understand icons lead the operator through the intuitive menus. MARTIN includes menus available in almost every language that contains either Latin or Cyrillic letters. This is important as the workforce in America no longer speaks just English.

Another important trend is adopting HSK tooling platforms to the shaper. Some manufacturers prefer the idea of having one tooling system. It simplifies everything in the tool room and all of the processes downline. It also saves money. High traverse times on a CNC router have lead some manufactures to take certain jobs to the shaper. The two machines complement one another quite well. MARTIN also offers the WEINIG Powerlock system. This allows moulding producers to have a solution for short runs and not have to tie up the Powermat.

McGhee: In 2008 SCM introduced into the shaper line-up two advancements in shaper technology. Two of the latest advancements for SCM Group shaper line-up is the introduction of the electro-spindle motors with 900-12,000rpm. The electro spindle developed and engineered by our CNC Router Division is designed with high performance bearings, alloys and cast iron components, which eliminates vibration, giving these machines the best quality finish possible. Also, the wear a tear of traditional belt driven motors is eliminated offering less maintenance and a longer life of the motor and bearings. (Features available on TF 135 EP Class, TI 155 EP Class and T2600 L'invincible series shapers.)

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