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Byrdy Shelix head problems, breaking teeth, Is this normal?2/18
Could the knives be of poor quality? I fitted a Byrd shelix head to my jointer. I thought it was fantastic until I had to rotate the knives and got witness marks which I couldn't remedy. I had to change back to my old straight knife HSS block. I never had the problem that you talk of.
I've got some Caster blocks supplied by Oertly on another machine which are very good.
If you're breaking carbide inserts then get different brand inserts, as far a 'witness lines', It's because the saddle was NOT clean when you turned the inserts, be clinical clean when turning inserts
Amen on cleaning the seats, and don't ever over torque them when installing inserts.
Could that be part of the problem?
Mark & Kevin are right on target with cleanliness being essential to proper insert knife replacement.
Here is what Byrd recommends on replacing the inserts:
When replacing or rotating inserts, the seat should be as clean as possible. This will prevent breakage of inserts and ensure proper insert alignment. To properly align the insert, press the
Also, we offer inserts made in Germany for specific use on the Shelix heads. They may be a little more expensive, but taking into account how long it takes to replace inserts, it is usually the more economical way to go.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the responses. I've been running this planer for about 6 years so its not a day to day problem with turning or torquing the inserts. If i'm running select cherry i'd say it would run forever with no problems. The problem lies in knots that pull loose. I am extra careful not to run things with loose knots but this planer tends to pull things out that i wouldn't call "loose". When the chunk of wood pops out, the pieces bounces around. I've read where you need to watch out for "loose" knots but that doesn't inform you what to expect in a day to day operation. Each pulled knot takes us down for an hour or so replacing and cleaning broken and chipped teeth, firing up, finding more problem teeth, fixing those etc. Its not something discussed much. Maybe its just a trade off in running carbide, its brittle. It could be the quality of my carbide, i put an email in to the company i bought from to see where they are made and if they have any helpful hints.
The teeth are very exposed on this type of journal. I've seen pictures of different brands styles and some of them have the tooth buried in the journal with only what appears to be the cutting edge sticking out. I'm wondering if this exposed Byrd style head has something to do with the broken inserts bouncing around and taking out a whole mess of others. The industry could not be running these heads in their giant machines with the trouble i'm putting up with b/c knots pulling are a fact of life.
Anyone here have experience running a planer with a built in grinder on straight knives? Wondering if i would have less downtime???
Thanks for any input,
Cheap carbide? Seating, torquing. Yes, yes, and yes. We've run a good bit of knotty alder through over the years and haven't had carbide inserts breaking. We even ran one planer once because we were so busy until it was dull as a butter knife- kept tripping the breaker until we broke down and serviced it. I have noticed, doing the maintenance myself on three planers for the past ten years a few missing inserts here and there, and broke a few over-torquing them on scaly seats as well....
Wow thats the kind of info i was looking for. It may be cheap carbide. I have to say i did start off buying from Byrd and when i switched to a different company they still had the same "BT" stamp on them so i thought maybe they were just buying them in bulk and were the same thing. I'm talking to the guys who sell the stuff now to find out. Dean was your planer a Byrd brand or a Tersa type head? The byrd inserts look more out in the open and maybe more prone to getting busted while the tersa are really set in there and look protected. Maybe its not that big a difference. It was just a thought from looking at pictures. The big double sided production planers carbide is really deeply inset and look like the Tersa style.
No discernible difference I can tell between brands- one Byrd and two generic chinese here. A good habit is to really clean the head well and properly torque the inserts. Those torque settings on a cordless drill you can get close by breaking one torqued with a torque wrench. Makes a great speed/torque wrench, and you can chuck a wire wheel in it to brush the head clean. I keep a permanent marker handy and mark every used/dull edge on the bottom as I remove them, so I don't accidentally reinstall them with a used edge. If you miss one, and can't tell which edge is sharp or dull- a sure method for me is to make a scratching motion with your fingernail. A sharp one will slide smooth, a dull one will have tiny fractures you can't see, but the jagged edge will be felt. Sometimes heavy pine resin buildup needs to be cleaned, and soaking in solvents sometimes removes my marks. Not a perfect method- but stuff has to be clean. Just loosening and rotating an insert may be causing problems- a tiny bit of debris under an insert will affect your finish, and eventually cause it to break, if it doesn't snap right away when tightening....
Oh dear, we have talked the topic of helix blocks and Byrd tooling to death in this forum but I can't find the related thread where we put it to bed. I took photos of the seating on my shelix which I felt were very poor in my opinion and posted them in this forum. For a comparison I did the same with my caster bocks which had perfect seating. Please don't make me post them again to prove my point. If poor seating has anything to do with the problem then I would point the finger at the design of the block. If you remove one of the inserts from the shelix you will see that there are only two small contact points in the seating that attempt to align the insert knife.
Hi Dean, good to hear from someone from Byrd. Your tolerances for the overall head are great; my shelix fits in my machine fine. There is no vibration; it's really good in that respect. It's the seating that I have an issue with. There are only two contact points to align the knife instead of a nice continuous seat which contacts the knife across the whole of one side like on my caster blocks. I get no problems whatsoever from my caster blocks so I can dismiss the idea that I'm getting debris behind the knives. I would really like to be able to use my shelix again if the witness marks could be solved but I can't see how it can. It was brilliant for the first 9 weeks of use with no witness marks at all.
The strange thing is that after rotating the knives I could set the shelix up to give a nice flat unmarked surface but after a few hours of use we would start getting witness marks again. The knives must have moved in their seats. This makes me think that the seats are not suitable but then again I had no trouble for the first 9 weeks so this indicates the technicians at Byrd must be fitting the knives differently to me and my staff.
Maybe someone from Byrd tooling will chime in- I'm just one of many satisfied customers. That is strange, working for nine hours or so. These marks aren't bumps instead of dimples are they? That would indicate a chip in an insert....
Confusion in the above comments- my tolerances I refered to were the expected finish on the wood, not the head as if I had manufactured it. Sorry about that. Yes, nine weeks(not hours) is actually not abnormal- we run ours three months or so. Perhaps if your Castor head is performing much longer in the same circumstances then that is indeed valuable information for us all....
My castor heads are not being used in the same way as what my shelix was. The information I have that might be of value is the following. With my castor heads I can rotate the knives once and there will be no witness marks because the seats align the knives so well. With the shelix I had to spend time adjusting the knives over and over again until the witness marks disappeared and then they would come back anyway. My problem wasn't down to chipped teeth, my problem was down to the knives not being aligned properly. I know that at least one other member in this forum had the same problem as me. Anyway, I'm trying to say that poor seating could be contributory to knives breaking.
I can feel the poor seating- but we still get great performance. Curious though, you say you can reseat them with better results. All this and the insert has a radius on it(4 inches). I have never had to reseat inserts in ten years. Every time the inserts are changed/rotated I've gotten silky smooth wood coming out. The contact points you mention may not be sufficient for your application. For us, machining everything from pine to white oak daily, we get no broken teeth, and no witness marks until at least 9-12 weeks(and from chipped/missing inserts at that). We keep running them longer even, final dimensioning with the widebelt. Only other things I can think of is maybe taking too much of a bite, or poor dust collection....
I talked with the folks at Global tooling where i bought the original inserts from. I've tried both their inserts and Byrds inserts without really being able to tell a difference in brittleness, but the new Global inserts that are coming out are suppose to be a lot tougher and may give me the impact resistance i need. Worth a shot, they are suppose to have them in April.
I am wondering whether anyone has had problems with inserts cracking due to differences in the thermal expansion of carbide and steel after leaving a shelix head outdoors over the winter. Temperatures get down to 10 below at times here. The last time I used my planer the teeth were perfect. I had just replaced a couple of broken ones and all were good. The planer sat out in the cold all winter and today, I went to plane something and many...like 1/3 of the teeth were broken and pieces of them were on the planer bed just lying there.
Has anyone experienced the same?