Metalworking Machines - Shapers

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What should you do before using a shaper?

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Shapers can be dangerous if not used properly.

  • Read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Make sure you understand instructions and are properly trained before operating a shaper.

Refer to OSH Answers Metalworking Machines - General for general safety tips.

A shaper is used to finish metals with a cutting tool that moves back and forth (the table is stationary). The cutting tool cuts in one direction only. It is similar to a planer where the work table moves back and forth while the cutting tool is held stationary.

What are some safe work practices to know when using a shaper?

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  • Wear C.SA-certified safety glasses with side shields, or a face shield.
  • Wear appropriate CSA-certified footwear.
  • Make sure that the shaper has a working emergency start/stop button (e-stop) within easy reach.
  • Secure the work with shaper vises, parallels, hold downs or clamps and bolts.
Secure work

  • Ensure the work is mounted squarely.
  • Mount squarely

    • Make sure that the vice, tool, and ram are securely fastened.
    • Remove any burrs, rough edges or cuttings that may obstruct how the work piece fits into the vice.
    • Check that the tool and tool head clear the work piece, and the column on the return stroke.
    • Make sure that the table cross-feed, tool-head feed, and attachments are working properly.
    • Set the cutting tool properly to avoid vibration or chatter.
    • Stand to the side (parallel) of the cutting stroke and not in front of it.
    • Prevent cuttings from flying. Use a metal shield or wire screen at all times.
    • Use a brush or rake to remove cuttings after any moving parts have stopped moving.
    • Keep the floor around the shaper free of oil and grease.
    • Keep the working surface clean of scraps, tools, and material.
    • Keep belts, pulleys, cutters and other parts in good repair. Replace when worn or dull.
    • Keep machine guards in good repair and in use every time.

    What should be avoided?

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    • Do not remove cuttings or reach across the table while the ram is moving.
    • Do not adjust the machine while it is operating.
    • Do not use bolts or nuts with stripped threads to hold down work clamps.
    • Do not leave a shaper running unattended.
    • Do not use bare hands or compressed air to remove cuttings.
    • Do not wear loose clothing, gloves, neckties, rings, bracelets or other jewellery that can become entangled in moving parts. Confine long hair.

    • Fact sheet last revised: 2019-01-28