Metal Shapers

by Kay Fisher

It is time for my favorite question. Should I anchor my Shaper to the shop floor? Yes, you should. However this is a case of do as I say not as I do. In general you don't have to anchor small (9-inch or less) shapers but this assumes you never run them unattended and seldom at high speeds. Some would argue there are no high speeds on a shaper, but everything is relative. They will all tend to walk around a bit. I run a 9-inch and two 7-inch shapers without anchors but I watch them and they do move – especially if run at the highest speed. This brings up my favorite shaper story from Jay Stryker.

“A shaper has a faster ram motion retracting than cutting, which means that it will "rock" on its base. It needs to be bolted down. There have been accidents with the larger shapers when set to the maximum speed with no or minimal bolting, the whole thing will "walk" forward across the floor! I heard of a shaper being "tested" in a machine shop just after delivery: they set it on the floor and plugged it in. It had been left at the highest speed, so it "walked" into and “through” a cinderblock wall within a few seconds, and ripped out the power cord, which stopped it. The whole shop staff was just standing there dumbfounded. I guess they had some very interesting explaining (and masonry work) as their very next job!”

Notice his reference to “minimal bolting”. In real machine shops they don't just drill a hole in their cement floor and put in a lag bolt. The floor has a reinforcement mesh laid down with it and special receptacles for the shaper anchor bolts. A big shaper will easily rip your lag bolts out of a normal basement (wimpy) cement floor.

Who would have such a large shaper? Seems like it is time to share the picture that Stephen Lovely brought into out last meeting.

24” Cincinnati Shaper        photo by Leslie Russell

The above picture shows Steve standing next to Howard Gorin's 24” Cincinnati shaper. As my daughter used to say in high school – “Wicked totally awesome and far out”!

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