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Thread: Shaper Which One?

  1. #1

    Shaper Which One?

    Looking to by a shaper, I only have regular house wattage what do you guys recommend?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Northeast of Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    228
    I have the Jet and it runs on 110. It takes 1/2" and 3/4" shaper bits and also includes a chuck for 1/2" shank router bits. It has 2 speeds as well as forward and reverse. In 4 years I have had no problems. I have never used any other shapers.
    Any day I wake up is a good day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,919
    I have a 3HP shaper, General International model 40-250 shaper. It comes with a 1/2" and 3/4" spindle, a 1/4" and 1/2" router bit collet. I also purchased the 1 1/4" spindle for it.

    The shaper is a 240 volt single phase unit, and I use it with both carbide and insert HSS knife cutters.

    It works very well, two speeds 8,000/10,000RPM and of course has a reversing switch.

    It's latest project was 960 feet of tongue and groove work.

    Regards, Rod.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    857
    I just recently got the steel city shaper. It is 3 HP, 240V. The extension table is on the front which should make it much better for raised panel doors. It comes with 3/4" and 1" spindles and 1/4" and 1/2" router collets. I think the larger spindle sizes will be much more useful than the 1/2" spindle. The fence is the best one that I've seen short of an exotic high priced production machine.

    The best part is that at around $1100 the Steel City shaper is half the price of the delta and not much more than the little jet. In fact, what finally pushed me into the purchase is that when I realized that after spending the same amount of money to get the ultimate router table setup then it would still not be as good as the shaper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Randolph County NC
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Jones III
    It comes with 3/4" and 1" spindles and 1/4" and 1/2" router collets.
    Tom,
    What has been your (or others) experience with the smaller bits? Any issues with the (relatively slower) speed of the shaper when using these smaller bits?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    857
    I have not had it long enough to be certain. Right now I have a 1.125" bullnose cutter in the shaper so that I can cut some stair treads. As soon as I have all the bullnose cut then I plan on testing some smaller bits. Before buying the shaper I turned my router down to 10,000 rpm and tested a couple smaller router bits in walnut. The feed rate needed to be slower but the cut quality was fine.

    When I bought the shaper, I had assumed that I was going to keep the router table for use with smaller bits. Now that I have used the shaper I am reconsidering that assumption. I do a lot of stopped dado cuts using a 1/4" straight bit. When I'm done with the bullnose I plan on giving this a try in the shaper. This is about the worst case test I can think of.

    I had also planned on keeping the router table so that I could have 2 machines setup simultaneously, ex. when doing raised panel doors you need 3 bits to be setup, an ideal situation would have 3 machines where you never take the bits out or change the setup. At this point I'm not certain if I want to free up shop space or keep the extra machine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    East Brunswick, NJ
    Posts
    1,475
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Williams
    Looking to by a shaper, I only have regular house wattage what do you guys recommend?
    I don't know anything about shapers, but if by "regular house wattage" you mean 110-120V service and no 220-240V, it is quite easy to add 240V service to your workshop. All you need is to have some empty bays in your main circuit breaker, and if you don't, you could always add on a subpanel.

    Besides, with the big motors that shapers come with, you should have a 240V line.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Randolph County NC
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Jones III
    I do a lot of stopped dado cuts using a 1/4" straight bit. When I'm done with the bullnose I plan on giving this a try in the shaper. This is about the worst case test I can think of.
    Yep. I'd be REAL interested to hear the results.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
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    10,919
    Hi, I've used router bits in the 3/8" diameter range at 10,000 RPM in my shaper. While not ideal, the results were certainly acceptable. I use router bits occasionally, however use shaper cutters whenever possible.

    Of course compared to a shaper cutter, I've found that even large routers bits are inferior in cut quality to a shaper cutter.

    If you want anextraordinary cut quality in solid wood, use HSS knives in a cutter head. There's no substitute for a razor sharp tool, correct cutting geometry, and the power required to get the job done in one pass.

    You will be very pleased with a 3HP or larger shaper, anything smaller will not be capable of running full size cutters. Also, a 1 1/4" spindle will allow you purchase used cutters from shops, as that is the most common spindle size.

    I looked at routers and tables, and came to the conclusion that for the amount of money I would spend on a good table and router that I would purchase a shaper instead. I haven't regretted it.

    Regards, Rod.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, MI
    Posts
    2,924
    I have the grizzly 3 HP. Nice unit, plenty of power and a large table. I just finished a boat load of cabinet doors on it.

    My dad has the jet (1.5 HP I think) and it is a nice machine. Plenty of power, the table is a lot smaller though. I have not tried that one with single pass raised panels. I either need a bigger powerfeed or have to get braver.

    A friend has the shopfox (2 HP I think) and he likes it a lot.

    I ran several hundred feet through a 1/8 roundover without any problems using a router bit and collet. As mentioned the feed needs to be slower.

    My money would go to the 3 HP grizzly but I have heard good things about the general and steel city in the same price range. Mine has a vibration that I think is from the pulleys or belt. I haven't fixed it yet as it isn't a real problem just a tad annoying. The large table will be very useful if you do any 5 piece doors.

    Even a small feeder will pay for itself soon. Safer, faster and better results. I can't imagine not having it anymore.

    Enjoy

    Joe
    JC Custom WoodWorks

    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." - Padmť Amidala "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Delaware Valley, PA
    Posts
    479
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Jones III
    I just recently got the steel city shaper.
    Hi, Tom. Have you used the shaper enough to form an opinion about it's dust collection? Is the machine is built to facilitate dust collection, and if so, how? Thanks in advance.

    Regards,

    John
    What this world needs is a good retreat.
    --Captain Beefheart

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Delaware Valley, PA
    Posts
    479
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Chritz
    I have the grizzly 3 HP.
    Hi, Joe. Same question as for Tom--is your machine built to facilitate dust collection, and if so, how? Thanks in advance.

    Regards,

    John
    What this world needs is a good retreat.
    --Captain Beefheart

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,919
    Hi, shapers have a large cast iron or steel housing over the cutter, with a 4" or 5" port at the rear to connect to the dust collector. I use a 5" drop with a reducer to 4" at the shaper. You will need about 500CFM for a shaper.

    Almost all of the chips are captured on a shaper.

    Note that on a shaper, there isn't any under table dust since the spindle is sealed to the bottom of the table, unlike a router.

    A shaper is also much quieter, and has far less vibration than a router.

    Regards, Rod

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    857
    Ditto what Rod said. On my setup, I have a dust gorilla with 6" ducting reduced to a few feet of 4" flex hose to plug in to the machine. the shaper is at the extreme end of the ducting run. When the fence is setup and the guard over the cutter, there is little space for chips to go, other than into the DC. After running almost 15 stair treads through the shaper, I would say that it is one of the cleanest tools in my shop.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Williams
    Looking to by a shaper, I only have regular house wattage what do you guys recommend?
    Wouldnt a 3 1/2 HP table mounted plunge router do the same for a lot less money? Since the heavy HP routers and the huge variety of 1/2" shank shaping bits for routers have come about, I always thought shapers were more for a production environment.

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