Changing Heads on an Eighteen-Inch Planer

      A woodworker who is swapping out straight knives for an S-helix head for his new Powermatic planer gets advice on the task.October 19, 2013

Question
(WOODWEB Member) :
I just purchased a Powermatic 180 18" planer in beautiful condition for $400. Because I got it for such a good price I've decided to invest in upgrading to a Byrd Shelix cutterhead. The head is on its way with bearings mounted, so I've started to get the machine ready for the change-out. I'm in as far as needing to remove the flanged bearing housing from the drive side of the machine. My problem is that the outside diameter of the housing and the inside diameter of the hole in the cast iron portion of the frame are virtually without tolerance and I can't get this thing to move at all.

Does anyone have experience with this? I'm just going step by step removing parts until, I hope, the logic of how to change heads presents itself. I can't find any info online about how to do this and there are no service techs left in the Philadelphia area that I can call on.

Has anyone done this change-out on this particular machine? Could you provide any info on making it happen without disassembling the entire machine (though what better way to get to know it, right?!)?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor B

Click to View Member Profile Member Contact Info Project Gallery Shop Built Equipment Gallery Categories

My Model 100 has what sounds like a similar bearing installation arrangement. The bearing housing is held in by a bolt on the top side that pinches the housing in place. Perhaps there is a similar bolt on the 18" machines.

I actually had just the opposite problem years ago with the Model 100. Unknown to me, the bearing housing was vibrating due to the bolt being loose and became undersized. I went through a few sets of bearings before finally replacing both the bearings and the housings. This solved the problem, and now I check the bolts with each blade change.



From the original questioner:
I'll take a look first thing tomorrow morning and see if there's anything like a set screw holding it in place. Hadn't thought of that. Stay tuned.


From contributor J:
I too have a PM180 and swapped out the original 4 knife cutter head for a Byrd head. I am absolutely thrilled with the results. Plan to take as much time as necessary to make the swap. In my case, it was about 8 hours. Also, an arbor press is almost mandatory. Spend some time tweaking the bed rollers and pressure bar.

Another tip, double check the torque on the cutters using a good quality torque wrench. The driver Byrd ships with the spare cutters is mickey mouse at best. Let me know how it goes.



From contributor M:
I've replaced the cutterhead bearings in mine, same work, but sadly no new head out of it. I'll take a peek at it tomorrow to see if I can remember, but you are probably stuck at either needing a gear puller or a spanner wrench. It seems like I remember that housing having a threaded collar to hold the bearing in. You can tap it around ever so carefully and evenly with a fat nail set in the spanner wrench notches if you don't want to drop a Grant on a use-once tool.


From the original questioner:
So I've managed to get the head out - it took 2 gear pullers, one really small and one large - but it went off without a hitch. It's amazing how tight the fit is between the bearing housing and the machine body. Still waiting for Byrd to make the head, but it should be done in the next day or two, so for now I'm just cleaning the machine up as best I can. Thanks for the help.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: Setup and Maintenance

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: Tooling


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article