Upgrading from a 3/4" to a 1-1/4" Shaper Spindle

A shop owner is considering whether he can put a larger spindle on his 3-HP shaper and run larger cutters. But in the opinion of colleagues, he needs a heavier-duty machine. December 15, 2005

I run a Delta heavy duty shaper 220v, 1 phase, 3hp. I picked the machine up used a few years back with a 1/2 and 3/4" spindle. I really only use the 3/4" spindle. The problem is this. My business has been drifting away from cabinet work and I have been making more entry and passage doors, requiring heavier cutters. I believe I would also cut down on some tearout by reducing the approach angle with a larger cutter head. Is it possible, and if so how costly, to upgrade my machine to a 1-1/4" spindle? I already know my 3/4" cutters will have to end up on E-Bay.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
I understand the pain of not always having enough money. I think you should save up and buy a larger machine. Since the machine you have came with a 3/4" max spindle size, all the rest of its parts are engineered for 3/4" duty, not 1.25" duty.

You can always bush a 1 1/4 bore to a 3/4 and build up the tooling side first. Then after you have made a ton of money, buy a Martin shaper. If you are running passage door stock on a 3 hp constantly, you will probably burn up the bearings at about the same time that you will have enough cutters to justify the jump. Most 1 1/4 shapers come with a 3/4 spindle also, so I wouldn't throw away the cutters. Get something that tilts if possible, as this does come in handy.

A cartridge with 1-1/4" spindle is available for that shaper. I'd say it was a few hundred dollars based on my previous experience as an independent tech for Delta and other machine makers.

For what you will get on the used market, keep your 3 hp and cutters. You will still have plenty of uses for then. Buy a reasonably priced 1 1/4 shaper and cutters and have the flexibility of using both of them. Buy a power feeder, also.

Save your current shaper and tooling for small work. Buy a big one for the serious stuff.