Planing and Smoothing with CNC Equipment

Fly cutters and spiral heads can smooth surfaces. Some foreign shops have also developed planer-head CNC tooling. May 16, 2005

Does anybody know if there is any reason why a robust CNC router cannot be outfitted with a planer head (helical or straight knife) to make a traveling head planer/joiner - of course, with spindle support on non-driven end? Traveling head planers that travel over the plank or beam are made as dedicated machines in Japan.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor A:
If you are looking to plane boards with your CNC, try your fly cutter that you use to re-surface your spoil board.

From contributor B:
Stark Tooling out of Italy offers a PH24FM Planing Insert head for CNC routers as a standard product.

From contributor C:
There is no reason why you can't. We at Southeast Tool have been doing this for over a year. We are putting a spiral plus head on an ISO or HSK arbor and it works better than mama's apple pie.

From contributor D:
Benz Inc. offers an oil bath lubricated molder head aggregate for CNC machines with an HSK 63F spindle connection. This is a continuous duty cycle head and is designed to house a cutterhead that is 120 mm in length and 180 mm in diameter. It is equipped with a gear reduction system which allows you to run your motor spindle at full torque and horsepower with an output speed that is ideal for the cutterhead. Please refer to the Benz website or contact us directly for more information.

From contributor E:
I recall seeing a planer head in the 8 to 10 inch range installed on a CNC router in either the Heian or Shoda factory in Hamamatsu. This was some years back, but it has been done. The head was a beefy belt drive unit with bearings on both ends.

I would be extremely careful using such an attachment. Unlike a saw, you are not cutting all of the way through the material. There is a good possibility of kickback. Be sure that the stock is trapped by hard stops and that no one is in the flight path of a piece of thrown stock.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all informed responses. I knew about fly cutting and smaller length cutter heads, however I was referring to a spindle (bearing supported at non-driven end) approximately 24" long cutter head. Japanese have dedicated traveling head planers that can face, edge join and plane.