Looking for a Readers Digest version of the difference between the Rockwell/Delta "Heavy Duty" shaper and the Powermatic 26 & 27 shapers. I have the Rockwell so I'm looking to see if the 26 or 27 buys me much. I'm not spinning large diameter bits, mostly edge profiles.
IMHO not too much. I had a Delta HD and a Powermatic 27 and the PM27 is definitely a better quality machine, but don't know if I'd really bother upgrading if I had to do it again. The one thing that was better on the Delta was if you had the aluminum fence....that was a nice upgrade. Think you'd likely be much better off moving up to the next class of machine.
I wasn't looking to upgrade as much as to add a machine for a specific operation/profile. There's always a couple of Rockwell HDs available on Craig's List and there happens to be a couple of PM 26 as well.
There is definitely a difference between the two. Both are definitely "light duty" but the bearing size, spindle diameter, and spacing between bearings is bigger all around on the Powermatic. If, however, you are only edge profiling, and the quality of cut is acceptable from the Delta, problem solved.
A Powermatic 27 was my first shaper. I did a lot of work I shouldn't have on that machine, but it did do the job. I have no interest in that level of machine again though.
A shaper is a pretty simple machine. Couple bearings, motor and starter. There is a big difference between a heavy european machine and a 27. I have a 27 that we changed bearings in 2x so far. Shakes and wobbles, make noise. I have a Casadei and a Martin that run smooth as silk and have for years.
If you plan on doing this for a while and can swing it I would look at auctions for a european shaper. It is a foundational piece of equipment. Get an old one, clean it up and change the bearings. You'll be ahead in the end.
Thanks Bill, I remember about 10 years ago here in California there was an auction every other month with 10hp shapers going for next to nothing. Wasn't into larger equipment then. Very few cabinet shops left in the Sacramento area. Now my motto is "don't change the cutter, just add a machine". The Delta HDs (and I'm assuming the PM26) are great to have set up with edge profile cutters so they're always ready to go.
I see your point. Depending on how you approach it a larger shaper can be cheaper in the long run. If you are using insert tooling and the diameters are the same you can run three ( or multiple) tools on the spindle. Put a pro scale on it and run the spindle up and down for each profile. One shaper, one dust connection one feeder.
Doesn't work depending on the tools and profiles but worth consideration.
Thanks Bob for the visual, it really puts things into perspective. I did some checking on bearing and this is what I found, the PM27 uses a 6205, bore is 25mm, Rockwell HD uses s 6204, 20mm bore. The PM26 shows a discontinues New Departure bearing so who knows about that one. The PM TS29 uses a pair of 6008, 40mm bore for the top bearing and so on. That said, I wouldn't put a 1" spindle on a HD. The bearing race is barely over 3/4". Without the extensions the HD is a nice compact 20"X27" works well for <3" cutters that I would have ran on a router table in my younger days. A 10hp 1 1/4" machine is on my list so right place, right time.
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