Shaper Machine-Introduction, Working Principle Mechanism, Types, Operation and Specification, PDF

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Shaper Machine:


The Shaper is a reciprocating type of machine tool basically used to produce Horizontal, Vertical or Inclined flat surfaces by means of straight line reciprocating single point cutting tools similar to those which is used in lathe operation.

The flat surface produced may be horizontal, vertical or inclined at an angle.

I have covered Shaper Machine parts in the previous articles.


Shaper Machine

The shaper machine in the tool head

It holds the Single point cutting tool in ram and workpiece is fixed over the table.

The ram holding the tool reciprocates over the workpiece and metal is cut during the forward stroke called as cutting stroke and

No metal is cut during its return stroke is called an Idle stroke.

The feed is given at the end of the cutting stroke.


The cutting stroke is carried out at slow speed and the idle stroke is carried at high speed with the help of quick return mechanism.

Working Principle:

It works on the principle of Quick return Motion Mechanism.

quick return motion mechanism

What happens in quick return motion mechanism is,

In the forward stroke, the Slider moves fast and removing the material from the workpiece.


In the return stroke, the Slider moves faster than the forward stroke that means Quick return,

it takes less time to return, called a return stroke.

Types of Shaper Machine:

1. Based on the type of driving mechanism types of shaper machines.

  • Crank type (Example: Quick return Motion Mechanism)
  • Geared type
  • Hydraulic type

Hydraulic Drive:

Hydraulic drive

A constant speed motor drives a hydraulic pump which delivers oil at a constant pressure to the line.

A regulating valve admits oil under pressure to each end on the piston alternately,

At the same time allowing oil from the opposite end of the piston to return to the reservoir.

The piston is pushed by the oil and being connected to ram by piston rod, pushes the ram carrying the tool.

The admission of oil to each end of the piston, alternately, is accomplished with the help of trip dogs and pilot valves.

As the ram moves and complete its stroke (Forward and Return) a trip dog will trip the pilot valve which operates the regulating valve.

The regulating valve will admit the oil to the other side of the piston and the motion of the ram will get reversed.

It is clear that the length of the ram stroke will depend upon the position of trip dogs.

The length of the ram stroke can be changed by unclamping and moving the trip dogs to the desired position.

2. Based on ram travel types of shaper machines.

  • Horizontal Shaper
  • Vertical Shaper

3. Based on the table design types of shaper machines.

  • Standard or Plain Shaper:

In this machine, the table has only two motion: crosswise in the horizontal plane and vertical movement (up and down).

The table is not provided with a swiveling motion.

  • Universal shaper:

This machine is similar to plain shaper except that the table can be tilted at a various angle, making it possible to inclined flat surfaces.

The table can be swiveled about 360 degrees about a central axis parallel to the cutting stroke direction and also perpendicular to it, that is, around two horizontal axes.

The table also has a movement in the horizontal plane and vertical direction (up and down ) as in plain shaper.

4. Based on cutting stroke types of shaper machines.

  • Push type
  • Draw type

Shaper Machine Operation:

There are 4 types of operation performed in this machine which is 

Horizontal cutting:

Horizontal surfaces are machined by moving the work mounted on the machine table at a cross direction with respect to the ram movement.

The clapper box can be set vertical or slightly inclined towards the uncut surface.

This arrangement enables the tool to lift automatically during the return stroke. The tool will not drag on the machined surface. 

Vertical cutting:

A vertical cut is made while machining the end of a workpiece, squaring up a block or machining a shoulder.

The feed is given to the tool by rotating the down feed screw of the vertical slide.

The table is not moved vertically for this purpose.

The apron is swiveled away from the vertical surface being machined as shown in the diagram.

Inclined cutting:

An angular cut is done at any angle other than a right angle to the horizontal or to the vertical plane.

The work is set on the table and the vertical slide of the tooth head is swiveled to the required angle either towards the left or towards right from the vertical position.

Irregular cutting:

A round nose tool is used for this operation.

For a shallow cut the apron may be set vertical but if the curve is quite sharp, the apron in swiveled towards the right or left away from the surface to be cut.

Specification of Shaper Machine:

The specification of shaper machine depends upon the following:

The maximum length of stroke ram.

Types of the drive ( Crank, Gear and Hydraulic type)

Power input

Floor space required.

Weight of the machine.


Cutting to return stroke ratio.

Angular movement of the table.


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