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Thread: So I went to an Auction this weekend...

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by HWooldridge View Post
    "You can make anything on a shaper except money..."
    I think of it this way: I look at all of the cheap pieces of HSS lathe bits that Ive ground to different profiles like dovetail cutters and T slot cutters for the shaper, and look at how much the cutters for the mill are to do the same thing. Also you dont need to send cutters out to get resharpened like you do with a mill, or just toss them, with the shaper, just regrind/resharpen the bit and your back to work.

    You can defenitely make money with a shaper, just set it up, make sure it isnt going to crash, and let it go while your turning a part on the lathe. It's like having two people in a shop running two pieces of equipment. You dont need to be right there to run a shaper like a milling machine does, so you can do multiple things at once. With the correctly ground bits and a good and tight machine, you can get a better finish and more precise cuts than you can with a milling machine, which makes it invaluable for making stuff that is going to be scraped into precision. I have a few people that keep coming back to me because they like the finish that my shaper gives over a milling machine's drunken monkey looking circles froma fly cutter, the shaper gives a ground finish, even in aluminum. Also, on alot of operations, Ive found a shaper can actually go faster than a bridgeport when dealing with custom profiles like V grooves and such. Also, just grind a tool bit and your good to go, or order a custom endmill, pay quite alot, wait a week for shipping to get the new cutter, and spend more time waiting on a cutter for the mill rather than just doing the job on the shaper, lol. The downtime and cost of that stupid cutter is what would hurt you the most in a production environment.

    Ive used a bridgeport for a while, but got a little 7" shaper and that thing is probably the most used machine in the shop just cleaning up some casting while Im making something on the lathe. It's defenitely alot cheaper when it comes to cutters. I needed to do a 3/32" slot in a piece of steel the other day around 1" deep, with an endmill, that would snap it off probably, and would take quite a while with a slitting saw, but I just put the lathe parting tool holder in the shaper and turned it on just letting it cut down into the part like it was parting it off. It worked great and was defenitely alot faster than the slitting saw or endmill imo, lol.

    The only thing I have to say about the shapers are tho, the HSS lathe bits seem to be getting more and more difficult to find good bits. With everything going to carbide insert tooling and CNC everywhere, HSS is kinda dissappearing from the market slowly, which really sucks and you normally have to special order it. I know of a place or two to get the bits locally for really cheap still, but yea, the places to buy it is slowly dwindling away.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by cae2100 View Post
    I think of it this way: I look at all of the cheap pieces of HSS lathe bits that Ive ground to different profiles like dovetail cutters and T slot cutters for the shaper, and look at how much the cutters for the mill are to do the same thing. Also you dont need to send cutters out to get resharpened like you do with a mill, or just toss them, with the shaper, just regrind/resharpen the bit and your back to work.

    You can defenitely make money with a shaper, just set it up, make sure it isnt going to crash, and let it go while your turning a part on the lathe. It's like having two people in a shop running two pieces of equipment. You dont need to be right there to run a shaper like a milling machine does, so you can do multiple things at once. With the correctly ground bits and a good and tight machine, you can get a better finish and more precise cuts than you can with a milling machine, which makes it invaluable for making straight edges and such. I have a few people that keep coming back to me because they like the finish that my shaper gives over a milling machine's drunken monkey looking circles froma fly cutter, the shaper gives a ground finish, even in aluminum. Also, on alot of operations, Ive found a shaper can actually go faster than a bridgeport when dealing with custom profiles like V grooves and such. Also, just grind a tool bit and your good to go, or order a custom endmill, pay quite alot, wait a week for shipping to get the new cutter, and spend more time waiting on a cutter for the mill rather than just doing the job on the shaper, lol. The downtime and cost of that stupid cutter is what would hurt you the most in a production environment.

    Ive used a bridgeport for a while, but got a little 7" shaper and that thing is probably the most used machine in the shop just cleaning up some casting while Im making something on the lathe. It's defenitely alot cheaper when it comes to cutters. I needed to do a 3/32" slot in a piece of steel the other day around 1" deep, with an endmill, that would snap it off probably, and would take quite a while with a slitting saw, but I just put the lathe parting tool holder in the shaper and turned it on just letting it cut down into the part like it was parting it off. It worked great and was defenitely alot faster than the slitting saw or endmill imo, lol.
    I didn't invent the original saying and yes, I believe you can do a lot on a shaper. Otherwise, I wouldn't have it in the shop taking up floor space - I just don't have much use for it in the things I build or repair. All of what you say is true regarding cutters vs. tool bits but you won't find shapers anymore in a modern production environment. However, none of that detracts from their usefulness on one-off or short run jobs.

  3. #13
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    Same here... hobby machining that is.

    The final shove for me to build a rotary phase was my recent lathe purchase. It's underpowered right now with a single phase 3hp. A VFD for a 5hp 3ph is too costly for me. For a fraction of the cost of that VFD I can build a RPC and have the added bonus of not needing any VFDs further down the road. I don't mean to sound preachy. Just passing on my hindsight.

    I've also read (don't know if it's true) that single phase motors on metal working machinery will affect surface finish. I think that may have been directed toward lathes specifically but I'm not sure.
    FLAME ON...!!!!

  4. #14
    Thanks for the Insights and comments guys! I really like hearing both the good and the bad. I'm an electrical guy (got a piece of paper on the wall that says that) that ended up in the computer / networking field. Metal working has always been interesting but I don't live and breath it everyday, So I get a ton out of the discussions here (on this site not just this thread). I'm listening to it all, even when I go off the wrong direction I heard you... I'm just a little slow sometimes
    Got a call last night from the school that sold the mill and shaper turns out they have some tooling and "stuff" that goes with both of them that didn't make it to the auction. So I've got to run over one day and pick it up.... I might need to make 2 trips in my little car.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyBillyBob View Post
    Thanks for the Insights and comments guys! I really like hearing both the good and the bad. I'm an electrical guy (got a piece of paper on the wall that says that) that ended up in the computer / networking field. Metal working has always been interesting but I don't live and breath it everyday, So I get a ton out of the discussions here (on this site not just this thread). I'm listening to it all, even when I go off the wrong direction I heard you... I'm just a little slow sometimes
    Got a call last night from the school that sold the mill and shaper turns out they have some tooling and "stuff" that goes with both of them that didn't make it to the auction. So I've got to run over one day and pick it up.... I might need to make 2 trips in my little car.
    Yeah, it looks like the spindle attachment for the horizontal mill is missing in the original picture. I'd go get everything they want to give you - no telling what attachments exist that could go in the trash bin at any time.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyBillyBob View Post
    Thanks for the Insights and comments guys! I really like hearing both the good and the bad. I'm an electrical guy (got a piece of paper on the wall that says that) that ended up in the computer / networking field.
    Looks like we're cut from the same clothe Billy. However my electrical cert is in a brown envelop somewhere in a desk at home. Starting out doing industrial work and have made my way into machinery controls programming.

    Metal working has always been interesting but I don't live and breath it everyday
    I love goofing around on my meager collection of metal working machinery. I find since I've moved away from wiring machinery into the programming end of things I have a greater desire to build with my hands. It's cool to write the code and get the hardware to play nicely enough to get a machinery moving like you want it to, but at the end of the day when it's just sitting there it looks no different than it did before I got my hands on it. I think I'll always have a need to build something tangible. Metal fits that bill fairly well.

    Got a call last night from the school that sold the mill and shaper turns out they have some tooling and "stuff" that goes with both of them that didn't make it to the auction. So I've got to run over one day and pick it up.... I might need to make 2 trips in my little car.
    I strongly suggest that that "one day" turns into an asap. You've won the lottery as far as getting that phone call. Don't roll dice on hoping everyone at that facility is as kind as the person who called you. Usually in these situations the "extras" will just get tossed, and the cost of tooling is way too high to run the gamble that someone else won't just do that.
    FLAME ON...!!!!

  7. #17
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    Goodie box! Run, dont walk! Lol.

  8. #18
    It helps a little that I worked for the school... And still do from time to time. My buddy Is there full time so... I think I'll be fine (just don't look in the trunk of my car trip 1 is in the records books)...

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