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i am looking into getting a shaper in the 4-6k range for a small cabinet shop having never had one it can be a bit overwhelming looking at all of the ones with all of the features
i will be doing mostly rails stiles and raised panels any suggestions or warnings would be a big help
5HP for panels. Might be nice to have a sliding table for copes. 1 1/4" spindle if you want to stack cutters. Nice fence.
Power feeder. Power feeder
I bought a used grizzly 3hp. Itís been great
1 hp 3 wheel power feed. Do not buy a shaper without a power feed.
What Leo wrote.
The other big option is tilting. Personally I would skip the tilting and buy a better brand of shaper. We have rarely ever used the tilting in many years. Some people say they use it a lot. For what I have no idea.
The tilt feature is something I use quite a lot on mine, the sliding table hardly ever. Those 2 features come at a cost that might not be worth it for you yet. Definitely get a power feed, some of those big panel cutters get pretty scary when you have never used something that big before. 5 HP minimum if you are planning to do raised panels, I would go up to at least 7.5 myself. Look into an older big cast iron machine that you can still get parts for, you'll get more bang for your buck that way, and get the best power feeder you can afford. Feed wheels are cheap, fingers are not.
thanks for the advice i am looking at new over used any suggestions on brands like SCMI Felder Hammer PM
You might want to buy a few used Weavers for that amount of money if you are interested in making doors.
If you want a higher quality single machine, I would look at Used SCM or other european machine. A shaper is a pretty simple machine. Spindle, bearings, belts and motor.
Our experience with PW is not good.
If you are looking for one machine to do it all, you will be very disappointed in any shaper under $25k...i mean its doable but it would get frustrating fast. Or you could get like a Casadei F200 and add on an aigner fence as the fence that comes standard is junk. The mechanical height readouts are not preciese just takes time to dial it in. Add a power feeder and Weaver air tenon and Shapermaster jigs you are already at $10k.
It all depends on how enjoyable you want doormaking to be. lol
I'm still a fan of getting 3 shapers and door cutters with the same outside diameter. I have three 3HP Delta shapers and 2 feeders, the cope doesn't need one. I have Freeborne cutterheads that all I need to do is take one out and put a new one in and it's setup, minus vertical adjustment if you are working with a Shaker setup.
Makes the door process very nice. Just hop from machine to machine and it's all there and setup. Think I paid $1200 for the shapers, $475ea for the 3 wheel 1/4HP feeders. It was a decade ago so there's that.... And that's all you really need for feeders.
Going to a 1HP is overkill unless you plan on using a lot of speed which won't fair well on the mill marks of your parts. I can see it for a saw but not a shaper for doors.
I'll get flak for this, but I'd avoid Felder. It's not a good value in my opinion. Some of their stuff is okay, but the small amount of exposure I've had to them, they're under built.
I do think that Cantek is a good value though. They're cheap and solid, but I question the longevity of them.
Look for a used SAC or SCM shaper. And get something with some mass. I wouldn't bother with anything less than a T130 in SCM. 5hp is an absolute dead minimum. 9hp or better is superior.
Lesser machines cost too much, but I do understand being on a budget.
If you are mass producing doors then I would agree. But if you are making them for kitchens and cabinets you are making then I'll disagree.
I've had my lightweight shapers since 1990 and they've been great to me. It's a good investment to start out.
I would look for a used Scm, T130, 9 hp like mentioned, if patient you can find a good used one for $4000-$5000, a lot of uses come with power feeds on them.
You can do absolutely everything you need on one of these shapers.
I agree with Leo if all you are going to do is doors or a lot of doors it would be way more efficient to have 3, but if you just build a set of doors every so often all you need is 1. Why does it matter if you have to fart around for an extra hour to set it up the next time you run doors.
One of these shapers will last forever if you look after it. Like mentioned, there is not much to a shaper.
I have heard a few guys say they really like cantek, I have never used one, Casadei is just a cheaper off shoot brand made by SCM. I think Felder is also not build that great like others mentioned.
If you are buying used get a dial indicator and check the spindle on some different brands and see what they are like before you buy one.
I absolutely agree with you on efficient cabinet door making. 3 small shapers like your Delta's or the Weaver or the Grizzly equivalent.
If you were going to buy 1 shaper for a shop to do anything and everything the 5hp 1.25 slider is a really good choice. I used to make doors on one. If you are experienced & skilled it takes little time to switch between setups. The reality is every set of cabinet doors were different profiles & panel types. Plus miles of wainscotting mixed in the door pile.
Its like 5-10 min setup to switch and get everything lined up perfectly.
The reason I would go with a 1hp feeder is for running molding and cutting mdf raised panels, full size door parts. The extra mass of feeder helps with chatter and wheel slippage.
My favorite feeder is actually a 1/2hp Comatic. The changes are super fast because its got a 45 degree swivel. Plenty of push and not too big.
What quantifies as "not many doors"?
We use four shapers currently for making doors. I don't feel we build that many doors. If I were to ballpark, we've probably done around 1200 this year, including the five piece drawer fronts. But it wouldn't be profitable at all for us if we did it on one or two shapers. The change overs are expensive enough just swapping heads with no fence or spindle adjustments.
Unless you can spend the money for NC controlled everything and an hsk electro spindle, changing gears for different processes takes a lot of time.
I've still got two Powermatic Model 27 shapers. They're both in need of retirement. When we stepped up to heavier shapers, those two PM's got setup solely for coping rails. The tighter tolerances and heavier build allowed us to swing bigger heads at a lower rpm which delivered a much smoother cut and better fitting joint.
Cheap shapers cost too much. Can you do it with cheap, light shapers? Of course you can, most of us probably started there. But better tools, in my experience, are always worth the price of admission. I wish I would've been smarter and poured a little more money into that much sooner than I had.
The used market isn't like it was in 2012, but there's still really good used equipment out there for a lot less than new.
We have had many shapers over time
I believe in dedicated setups. Most of these were used in dedicated setups or with the same diameter tool an an Accurate technology scale on it for quick precise setups.
Of these the Casadei and the Martin are very good high quality machines. The Northfield was so old I canít comment on it and the rest needed lots of love over time in a production environment to continue running.
The Martin is very impressive. We found a Great Lakes tooling insert head that is very cost effective for a head of that type and gone to that for our lessor used profiles. In the Martin setup takes a minute, pop in the head, pull up the program and go.
I am not suggesting it is the right solution in this case but sharing whatís out there. When the Martin is on you canít hear it.
My suggestion to the OP is donít make doors buy them and take the time you save and work ON your business and increase sales while the market is hot.
I get a lot of my business because I make my own doors and drawers. They specifically ask that question and I get the job because I don't say I buy them from someone else.
Like others, I started with light shapers. Don't have any now. Currently have 6 shapers. All have 1 1/4" spindle except one old one that is setup for just one operation. I have no idea why it was made with and 1 1/8" spindle but the rest of the machine is heavy and works fine. There is a big difference between running heavy shapers and junk like the PM26 that I bought new to just run 1/4" grooves. It wasn't even good for that. All but one of my current shapers were bought used. All have power feeds. I prefer the 4 wheel as it allows two wheels before and two after the cutter. The shaper set up for lock miter has two feeds so we don't spend time changing from vertical to horizontal. We have a big tilt Gomad that is very nice to use. All of our shapers have at least 5 hp. We can use the molder heads on any of the 1 1/4" machines with a bushing set. Having the ability to grind your own knives opens doors for true custom work. Eliminate setup when ever possible.
Anyone else ever wonder what the Walzcaft factory looks like inside? It would be truly amazing to take a tour of Walzcraft!!
Door shop guy,
It's been about 9 years, but I took a tour of Walzcraft. They had banks of Northtech shapers set up with coping sleds to handle every profile they had. The only thing I can't recall from that visit was how they were doing their sticking.
We've always done a combination of work. Outsourcing when we can and should. Unless you choose to be a kitchen and closet company the inability to make a simple cabinet door limits the scope of all your work.
In order to work in the big houses you need to do everything. Ordering 6 sapele cabinet doors from Walzcraft. Those need to be perfect and match the same wood in the hutch. In the next room over I've got a kitchen with 30 doors. I'll order those because they are getting painted white(we own the same profile). The last kitchen I couldn't because it was an applied molding door and I wouldn't trust someone else to build them. Drawers are drawers. Somebody else can make those unless we get really, really slow.
There is nothing like a customer that just dropped a pile of money on a kitchen and one of the doors gets damaged for whatever reason. They want a new door yesterday. Telling the builder and customer that it will take 2-3 weeks to get the door made and installed doesn't go down well. If you get the call on a Friday and show up Monday morning at 8am with a new door you will have more work than you ever wanted.
We've currently got (3) 5 hp shapers. Dedicated slider for coping. Fixed for the pattern. Tilting we use for panels, trim, every other odd thing. Small molder for base & crown.
i really appreciate all of the responses great info since i am limited on space and power i will be looking at the 5hp scmi wish i had more room and larger power supply but those are out of my budget unless somebody has a cheap shop stretcher i only do 800-900 doors a year in my shop with it being mostly just me
Get a 4 wheel power feed.
About used shapers: Most of the heavy shapers will be 3 phase. That's not a big deal for the small shop guys. You can put a Chinese VSD on that will run off single phase 220 and produce 3 phase variable speed out. Cheaper than a rotary phase converter. 3 phase is much better than single for motors.
Larry can you provide a link to one?
VFD's are getting really good, I am going to put one on my biggest shaper in the next few months so I don't have to get underneath to change belts to accommodate the large variety of cutters I put on this shaper. We have 7 shapers in our shop, all but 1 are dedicated setups. The VFD is for the multi purpose shaper. I get mine from a place called driveswarehouse.com .Very knowledgeable people and shipping times are very quick as most are in stock. If you only have room for one shaper, get as big of a motor as your power will allow, get a power feeder and put the VFD on it. This will give you the most bang for your buck getting the most out of it as you can. Adding digital readouts to the fence and height will add so much also you won't understand why you didn't do that sooner and you'll look around your shop and see all sorts of places you can put them. Best of luck in your decisions.
Bill, use google. One note of caution about using a VFD, when you slow a motor you will also reduce it's power available. Not a big deal when used within reason.