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The metal shaper is a derivative of the planer, which is ultimately a machine meant to replace a human with a chisel forming metal. I use an Atlas shaper. I don’t use it all that often but for jobs such as removing mill scale from a large piece of Hot Rolled steel, the shaper will do it without ruining a good end mill and it produces a great surface finish.

The Shaper is a tool with a “ram” that moves back and forth in the y-axis (depending on your point of reference) and holds a single point cutting tool akin to a lathe toolbit or chisel. The table is adjustable in the x and z axis and usually has a power feed provision, so that for each stroke of the ram across the work the table then moves incrementally over so that a surface can be flattened. The shaper is one of the few tools that allows internal keyways and other features to be machined, including polygonal holes, given the proper setup.

The machine is slow and mesmerizing and there’s a great metal shaper FAQ , many YouTube videos such as this one, as well as the Dave Gingery Book on making your own shaper [What’s This?].

Atlas Metal Shaper [Antique Atlas Metalworking]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


One Response to The Atlas Metal Shaper

  1. KaiserM715 says:

    One of the very first machines I ran myself was a shaper in the Texas Tech machine shop. Not sure of the make, but it was WWII era.

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