Shaper Heads on CNC Machines
A "shaper aggregate" offers a whole new way to do curved mouldings. Here's some introductory info on the technology. August 14, 2007
Is there a process for using shaper heads on the CNC? Can someone point me in the right direction? Application is radius crown and casings.
From contributor C:
You are looking for a moulder aggregate. I know Techniks has one. I have their catalog. Give Courmatt a call about it, they're great. I'm sure others have them too - Benz, etc.
From contributor R:
We have a Benz horizontal aggregate and love it. It just works beautifully. We also have a vertical spindle that uses our regular shaper heads. Combined, it opens up a whole new way of doing radiused/elliptical molding. The horizontal especially saves tons of man hours.
From contributor M:
Ditto what contributor R said. Techniks also carries a moulder head similar to the one Benz has. In the vertical spindle, we ended up buying an extra knife holder since we use it so much.
Click here for higher quality, full size image
From contributor I:
A couple of things to be careful of, though. If you are using the aggregate, you would probably require a C axis. Check to be sure your machine has enough Z axis clearance and check the maximum weight allowance for the tool changer (generally 5 kg). You would probably need to either manually load or remove tools from each side to accommodate the large aggregate. Strongly consider an oil bath type aggregate as well.
From contributor J:
Benz makes a fantastic drill bank. Our customers love it. Some have gone back to some of their older Accu-Routers and retrofitted it. It is the most popular addition we have seen in years.
From the original questioner:
Is this an operation that happens at the CNC controller or are you guys using a design program and then running from there? We use a Thermwood 3axis with Mastercam and e-cabs. The CNC operator seems to have plenty of control options right at the machine. Right now it is the CNC that cuts the radius blanks for our shaper jigs when we do radius crown. The operation is pretty straight forward with the profile modeler on the Thermwood, but pretty slow.
From contributor E:
You can machine the radius moulding on a 3-axis CNC with standard router tooling (flat finishers, ball end, maybe a v-groove tool). The easiest way I've found is to use the profile function in AlphaCAM Advanced Router.
From contributor F:
I usually cut crown moulding using Alpha Cam. Although the programs can be long and slow, you can feed the tool pretty fast since you are only removing small amounts of wood with the ball end mills. You might want to make sure he/she is feeding the tool a fast rate and not the default feed for cutting flutes and other normal type operations. 500-800ipm is easily done.
From contributor W:
One item to keep in mind when using shaper heads is the acceleration needs to be programmed since the tool is relatively heavy in order to prevent any possible damage to the motor spindle.
From contributor G:
If you don't want to use an aggregate, a shaper tool will work. Instead of using a collet system, use a toolholder with an arbor. These are standard with us [Courmatt]. Depending on the equipment you have, there will be weight restrictions. With standard equipment a max of up to 8 pounds, including toolholder. With crown moulding, we suggest using non-ferrous bodies, which will reduce weight by 70^.