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4 wheel or track power feeder


I am looking at adding a larger power feeder to my shaper. I have several 3 wheel feeders in the shop already. I was going to get a 4 wheel but thought that a track might be better. Is there a down side to a track over the 4 wheel. This is for general shaper use.

11/12/19       #2: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Dustin orth

I have both, the track feeder is better for small parts but not good at deep profiles on narrow stock. Wheel feeder better at deep profiles since you could take a wheel off to get better depth yet still hold a part. Downside is that short lengths can not be held that great due to how close the holding power of the wheels are or are not. There is a new feeder from Comatic I believe that has small diameter wheels yet still has the suspension travel and added bonus of variable speed. Someone else that has one of these models please chime in here.

11/13/19       #3: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Bill Member

I have the 7 wheel feeder. It is good but we have had problems with it since new. It shudders when the work piece gets to the end of the cut. We are continuing to work with the manufacturer but at this time I would not recommend it. We have tried everything and if it is not replaced with a new one I will be disappointed and removing it from the shaper it is on to a less critical operation. It has drive shafts that drive the wheels and I think then bind.

11/21/19       #4: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Rufus Cooke  Member


Given its versatility, I recommend looking closely at how you most often use the shaper.
I worked for years with a shop using 4 wheeled feeders. When I started my shop, I bought what I could afford at the time - 3 wheel types. I made a lot of true divided light doors with cope and stick mullions. Some parts would occasionally be as short as +3". Although I created workarounds, I regretted not having a 2nd wheel bearing on the part while under the cutterhead. I was always tweaking the pressures adding finger jigs to avoid the parts kicking up ever so slightly. A 4-wheeler would have reduced the messing about by at least 60%.
As for the track feeders, I found them limited mostly to when the cutter was under the workpiece. They were 3 wheel types with aluminum v-belt wheels and tracks. I needed the shaper to dimension parts while profiling (either between the table or a remote fence) and this meant that the cutter really needed to straddle the wheels - hence 2 wheels infeed and 2 wheels outfeed seemed to be my common default.
Also, if doing curved work, I would just pop off a wheel or 2 as needed.
Lastly, if you're occasionally using a very large diameter cbn head, you can at least remove one of the middle wheels and still have 3.

12/4/19       #5: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Bill Member

We have gone through a lot with the Comatic DC 7 wheel feeder. The problem is that the feed shudders when the material reaches the out feed side of the cut. On a shaper it puts ripples in the cut. They sent us a 4 wheel DC feeder of the same design and it does the same thing. We replaced it with a standard 4 wheel feeder and it cuts as smooth as glass.

I would avoid Comatic DC feeders, I believe there is a design flaw.

12/6/19       #6: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Karl E Brogger  Member


Bill, any idea what could be causing the shuddering?

I have one Comatic DC feeder and haven't experienced that. But, that feeder is in a very light duty application. So I may not be pushing it hard enough to expose the problem you're having.

I never used the tires that came with it and put stickier ones on as soon as I had it bolted down.

12/7/19       #7: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Larry Schweitzer

I totally agree with Rufus. I've got both 3 & 4 wheel. Much prefer the 4 wheel. Also have one of the tall stands so I can feed panels on edge. Bought one of the large diameter single wheel units for contour banding but the guys don't like it.

12/9/19       #8: 4 wheel or track power feeder ...
Bill Member

This is not Comatic in General it is specifically their DC (direct current variable speed models).

I think the front set of wheels and the back set are driven off a different gear, I am not really sure why it happens but on the two feeders we have it definitely does happen. We tried everything and I mean everything over a series of months.

This is on a Martin NC controlled shaper.

I need the 7 wheel for a specific operation so I want it to work! It just doesn't. From what you are saying it is not every feeder. Somehow I got two.

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