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Using a shaping machine

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Peter Simpson 126/12/2012 18:41:04
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172 forum posts
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Hi.

I'm not a total novice and own a good array of machines, lathe, vertical mill, shaping machine etc,

At the moment I'm in the process of making a 5" gauge loco "Speedy".

I have just started to fabricate the crossheads out of bright mild steel stock. I machined two rectangular blocks out of steel and would have liked to machine the slide bar slots using my excellent condition Boxford shaping machine. The two blocks were machined perfectly squre using the shaper. I then attempted to cut the slots in a test piece of steel, but the finish was horrible and on several occasions the tool dug in and shifted the vice. I aborted the Shaping machine in preference to the vertical mill and completed the job with no problem. Is it possible to cut a 1/4 x 3/8 slot with a fiarly small shaper

Martin Walsh 126/12/2012 22:50:34
113 forum posts
2 photos

Please excuse me if this is stupid

But did you have the table support bar set up correctly

as it would do exactley what you explained if it wasnt

Best Wishes Martin {owner of a elliot 10m}

Ady127/12/2012 00:54:03
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3862 forum posts
522 photos

I suspect that cutting a slot is not unlike parting off on a lathe

Using 3 sides of the tool at once means everything needs to be just right

So with practice, and experimentation, you would eventually learn the black art of "parting off" on a shaper

_Paul_27/12/2012 01:00:07
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543 forum posts
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What kind and size of tooling were you using what approach did you take?

I would probably plunge a 1/8" HSS parting tool straight down then come back up and take another say 20-40 thou repeating until done then take a full width pass across the bottom to finish.

_Paul_

Peter Simpson 227/12/2012 08:30:02
28 forum posts
1 photos

Many thanks for the feedback, some further info.

1. Prior to any machining I allowed the table support bar to drop, the pinch bolt was then nipped up.

2. The tool was ground from 3/8" HSS to a parting off profile with very little front rake and plenty of side clearance.

One area which I was not to sure about was the test piece set up.

I had the test piece clamped in the Boxford vice so it protruded from the right side of the vice jaws. I then canted the tool post over to allow the cutting edge of tool to cut across the test piece. The shaper was started, I wound the table feed leadscrew slowly to bring the job to the tool, initially it stated to cut a slot but after a few strokes the tool dug in and twisted the vice on in central holding down bolt.

If I had the test piece mounted central and vertically in the machine vice there would have been no twisting action on the vice. But how could I have moved the job to the tool ? Is it acceptable to adjust the toolpost micrometer adjuster whilst the ram is in operation.

Peter Simpson 127/12/2012 09:46:00
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172 forum posts
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I have put a couple of photo's in my album to show the test piece set up.

Ady127/12/2012 09:51:27
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3862 forum posts
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Ady127/12/2012 09:57:06
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3862 forum posts
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A sideyways cut is bound to have weird forces acting upon it

For max stiffness the machine is designed for a vertical cutting situation

Everything should be as "short" as possible

Anything which "reaches out" any distance will chatter

Again, for max stiffness your slideways may need to be "locked" as well

It's no different from a lathe

The setup is everything

_Paul_27/12/2012 09:58:54
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543 forum posts
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Posted by Peter Simpson 2 on 27/12/2012 08:30:02:

Many thanks for the feedback, some further info.

1. Prior to any machining I allowed the table support bar to drop, the pinch bolt was then nipped up.

2. The tool was ground from 3/8" HSS to a parting off profile with very little front rake and plenty of side clearance.

One area which I was not to sure about was the test piece set up.

I had the test piece clamped in the Boxford vice so it protruded from the right side of the vice jaws. I then canted the tool post over to allow the cutting edge of tool to cut across the test piece. The shaper was started, I wound the table feed leadscrew slowly to bring the job to the tool, initially it stated to cut a slot but after a few strokes the tool dug in and twisted the vice on in central holding down bolt.

If I had the test piece mounted central and vertically in the machine vice there would have been no twisting action on the vice. But how could I have moved the job to the tool ? Is it acceptable to adjust the toolpost micrometer adjuster whilst the ram is in operation.

Any tool advance is normally done with the toolpost and not by raising the box as you immediately lose the support of the table leg....unless your shaper has no table support like my old Alba 1a.

Some Boxfords mine included have a second table operating gear which raise the table rather than operate the traverse I have never used mine for anything other than light surfacing I wouldnt use it for cutting a slot.

Your workpiece should be held as rigidly as possible as should the vice if the cutting forces are really high you could use a couple of toe clamps to hold the vice as well.

I would like to recommend a video or two both by the late Rudy Kouhoupt "Using a Shaper" & "Six Projects for the Shaper" both give a good visual idea of how to operate the machine.

Regards

_Paul_

Ady127/12/2012 10:13:59
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3862 forum posts
522 photos

I remember vaguely from my shaper reading days that a swan necked tool could be used for making slots

The shape of the tool meant the cutting tip was BEHIND the clapper centreline and this stopped any "digging in" during the cut

A standard adapted toolholder can be used in the same way to position the tooltip behind the clapper centreline

I suppose this is a bit like a parting off tool setup on the rear toolpost of a lathe

This means it lifts slightly when the going gets too tuff (and probbly squeaks/scrapes)

Edited By Ady1 on 27/12/2012 10:28:58

Les Jones 127/12/2012 11:15:54
2162 forum posts
149 photos

Hi Peter,
I think the relationship of the position of the clapper assembly and the work piece is wrong to give clearance on the return stroke. As you seem to be cutting the end of the bar then I think the clapper pivot should be vertical.

Les.

Terryd27/12/2012 11:38:31
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1935 forum posts
179 photos

Hi Peter,

I agree with Les. It is a long time since I used a shaper but the way the clapper box is set up on your picture shws that it will try to ift back into the workpiece.

Terry

Ady127/12/2012 12:54:20
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3862 forum posts
522 photos

Right enuf

Imagine it swinging on an arc

Like a clock pendulum

Maybe the top at one o'clock would be the right position

Clive Barker27/12/2012 13:13:13
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46 forum posts
29 photos

Hi Peter,

Not so long ago I machined the narrow part of the T slots in a Hemmingway rotary table kit using an Elliot 10M (which seems to be about the same size as your Boxford). The T slots are the same as Myford cross-slide slots. The material was in cast iron - and I think the tool I used was 1/4in wide. There was no problem as long as I took it slowly (I find the 3 phase inverer speed control useful for delicate work). I agree that you need to pay attention to the clapper box orientation and ensure that clamping of the work is sound. Is all that bar stock necessary or can you work on smaller sections with the slot on top so there is no unhealthly overhang? Alternatively, if the length of bar is necessary, consider clamping the work one of the vertical faces of the work table so the slot is again on the top.

Clive.

Peter Simpson 127/12/2012 13:45:43
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172 forum posts
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Latest update.

I have cut down the test piece and clamped it in the vice vertically. Adjusted the clapper box to the vertical plane. Clamped all the gib strips and slowed the stroke right down.

A slot was cut with reasonable success, being very carefull the tool was brought to the work with the toolpost vernier dial. The initial "plunging" cut was chattery and gave a slightly rough finish. Once at full depth the slot was taken to full width with little problem and gave a good finish. I suppose a with a little practice it would become easier, but with the Tom Senior Light Vertical watching on, it would so much quicker to take the easy option.

Many thanks for all of your good suggestions

John Coates27/12/2012 14:13:10
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558 forum posts
28 photos

Posted by Peter Simpson 2 on 27/12/2012 08:30:02:

But how could I have moved the job to the tool ? Is it acceptable to adjust the toolpost micrometer adjuster whilst the ram is in operation.

Someone lent me DVD showing by Rudy Kouhoupt on how to use a shaper and this was exactly how a slot or dovetail is cut

**LINK**

The feed on the tool holder is finer than the table which is probably why the cutter jammed in the workpiece. You just have to turn the micrometer when the cutter has cleared the workpiece on the return stroke. I agree with Clive that to put a slot in the end of a long bar like that you would normally clamp it to the side of the box and have it vertical

John (Elliot 10M)

Terryd27/12/2012 16:17:57
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1935 forum posts
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Posted by John Coates on 27/12/2012 14:13:10:
......................................

The feed on the tool holder is finer than the table which is probably why the cutter jammed in the workpiece. You just have to turn the micrometer when the cutter has cleared the workpiece on the return stroke. I agree with Clive that to put a slot in the end of a long bar like that you would normally clamp it to the side of the box and have it vertical

John (Elliot 10M)

Hi,

That is exactly how I was taught and did so for many years using the shaper, one of my favourite machines,

Regards

Terry

John Coates27/12/2012 17:01:31
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558 forum posts
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Posted by Terryd on 27/12/2012 16:17:57:

That is exactly how I was taught and did so for many years using the shaper, one of my favourite machines

Terry

I only got the Elliott last March (very cheap as it was mis-advertised locally) but it is now a firm favourite for making true flat surfaces. The DVD by Rudy K was a great overview and introduction on the basic operations and how to do them. In fact all I need now is a new vice of about 6" size as my Vertex K4 seems a bit undersized. Luckily the t-nuts for my Champion mill fit the Elliott table as well.

Ady127/12/2012 18:37:28
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3862 forum posts
522 photos

but with the Tom Senior Light Vertical watching on, it would so much quicker to take the easy option.

---

I would cut a slot with the mill, then finish with the shaper

A shaper can give you an amazingly flat finish

Versaboss27/12/2012 21:57:53
458 forum posts
51 photos

Until now no one mentioned that the vise of the Boxford shaper can be mounted on the side of the worktable. The hole for this can be seen clearly in the picture above. The O.P. could have avoided lots of troubles if he did it that way.

Happy New Year,

Hansrudolf

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