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Thread: Build your own planer
01-23-2007, 08:27 PM #1
A number of us on this forum have small hand-operated benchtop planers. Almost irresistible if you see one for sale, and chances are that all the original scraping marks are still visible on the ways! They certainly make you think. I usually think ‘Shouldn’t I be doing something other than standing here slowly whittling thous away when I could be milling?’
It did come into its own recently when I had to skim the joint faces of the big ends of a Tangye steam engine. I’d tried milling, but the bronze material kept trying to draw the cutter into itself.
You may have read and enjoyed Tony Griffiths description of small Tom Senior hand planers, which were available as kits in the 1930s:-
Yesterday I came across a reprint of part of an article in Model Engineer, July 1899, about building your own hand planing machine. Illustrations show that it is very similar to the ones on Tony’s website, except for the lack of an automatic feed. The author/designer stated that ‘I do not propose to describe how to make the patterns, as the castings may be obtained very cheaply; but if anyone desires to make the machine throughout, I shall be happy to afford him all the information that lies in my power. It will be necessary for those who have no planing machine to get them ready planed, or have them planed up by some friend, unless he cares to undertake to get them up by hand and ‘hard graft’. The castings may be got up this way as only a small amount is allowed for planing, only just sufficient to clean them up.’ And why not?
The vertical guides for the cross slide had V-shaped slots, as presumably did the ones in Tony’s pictures. A tricky challenge for the plucky builder with only chisels, files, and scrapers.
Perhaps the idea doesn’t appeal at the moment, but bear it in mind. When the world runs out of electricity, you’ll be wishing you’d invested in hand-powered planers and treadle-operated lathes, instead of those fancy motorised tape measures and adjustable wrenches. I’m sure Rick Rowlands will still be able to supply the castings, having had the foresight to establish his own independent generating plant.
Incidentally, the article was reproduced in a Model Engineer centennial edition in 1999. This also included a small item about the ‘Ideal’ planing machine made by Macmillan & Co of Alloa, Scotland. This was about the size of the larger Senior machine, but it was powered, and an interesting feature was the drive to the table. This was operated by a connecting rod and crank arrangement, the radius of the crank being adjustable. The crankshaft was driven by a worm and wheel, the axis of the wheel and crankshaft being vertical.
01-26-2007, 07:49 PM #2art_deco_machine Guest
I have been considering what to do when the power grid fails. So far, I haven't made any practical moves. The thread on a home shop steam engine got my attention. I could probably fire it up with wood. Water power was the first way to run machine tools. I downloaded a book from google on water power, and that is as far as I have gotten there. I do have a stream here.
I have an anvil and hammers that don't need electricity and I am about a fourth way done on a hand cranked Roots blower affair for a forge. So I could do blacksmithing.
01-27-2007, 08:36 AM #3
I did have the pleasure of rescuing a small,belt driven Henry Milnes planer made in Bradford, West Yorkshire.Shortage of storage space caused the metamorphosis of this lovely machine (swap) for an equally nice Stuart petrol engine,made no doubt by a keen model engineer.Perhaps the Milnes planer owner might post a snap of this m/c for our forum ?
Do any photos recording the Tangye big end being machined exist (or the engine itself ?)
01-27-2007, 11:56 AM #4
01-27-2007, 12:36 PM #5
I might have the best of best worlds, with my Britannia shaper.
Flat belt for normal use ,and human powered for when the children are in need of some exercise .
mind you i still have a lot of work before its running .
01-27-2007, 12:52 PM #6
Do you know what the mandrel-like thing lying on the floor is?
01-27-2007, 03:13 PM #7
It's a circular motion mandrel for shaping part circular forms. The work is held by the bore between the two cones.
01-27-2007, 06:34 PM #8
Ted in Norfolk has it!
look at Tonys lathes .co.uk site
All the Britannia shapers had this option, I have the worm and gear for this but not the cones ot bracket to attach to the side of the box table.I guess i could make it all up out of steel.Be nice to cast the bracketin iron.
it is driven by the rod above the ways
I have the vice as well, but it is cracked .I think i see a cupola in my future!!!
Ted do you have any Britannia machines shaper planers ect. or know of any ?
01-27-2007, 07:03 PM #9
Ah, I see. A versatile machine.
I have a small Britannia lathe:-
I kept falling over it in an antique shop, dusty and looking like an unmarked wood lathe (no compound, just a hand tool rest), which was of no interest. Eventually I took pity and had a good look round it, and found it was a Britannia - the nameplate was at the back on the 'wrong' side, because someone had put the tailstock on the headstock end and vice versa - it's a symmetrical bed.
I took the photo to show that it only has one proper bearing. The outer end is supported by a pintle, which as can be seen is worn, but the recess in the spindle is OK. Note the hole drilled at the end of the screw thread on the spindle, to make screwcutting easier!
01-27-2007, 08:39 PM #10
Asquith, that's a lovely planer. Perhaps one of us could come out with a small run of castings someday...
01-27-2007, 09:21 PM #11
I have a little Tom Senior hand planer I am fond of. They never seem to turn up here in the States so I had Steve U look for one in the UK. He ran several ads and finally heard from a guy in Scotland. The price was right and he had it shipped to the UK. It came in a small box that you could hardly move. Probably weighed close to two hundred pounds. This created a problem getting it shipped to the States. I begged and pleaded with Steve to break it down into lighter packages to make shipping easier. He refused as I found out later because he said if he had seen it I would never have received it. That has been quite a while ago and poor Steve is still looking for another !!Fun little machines --- Rick
01-28-2007, 08:12 AM #12
Millwright, I haven't a picture as yet of HM planer you refer to, give it time! However there is a pic of my HM side drive (missing drive components)planer in my Esnips folder (http://esnips.com/web/Tedspics). Also on the Hind shaper can be seen two holes in the front of the bed; the lower hole will accommodate a mandrel whose centre is further from the tool point. Where a shaper has a circular motion mandrel, it is essentially a dividing head contained within the bed. Outer end of mandrel steadied by bracket bolted to side of box table.
01-28-2007, 08:13 AM #13
01-28-2007, 11:50 AM #14
Ted , looking at the Hind shaper i am amzed at the similarity in the machines of the various makers at time.
the Hind from what I can gather is pretty much the same as what is in Britannias catalogue , even to the ram being driven from the side , I dont have a scan handy but the machine can be seen here
01-28-2007, 01:20 PM #15
TedinNorfolkIt's a circular motion mandrel for shaping part circular forms. The work is held by the bore between the two cones.
Back in the late 1980's I had to rebuild the transmission on a Union horizontal boring mill that was made in East Germany. Someone had crashed the old mill before I started there and it had sat collecting dust for some time. I was elected to tear it apart and see if we could fix it. Upon tear down I was amazed to find it contained shafts with keys that were machined from the shaft itself - no seperate keys. The crash had twisted the shafts and the integral keys to where it was impossible to remove the gears from the shafts - the keys prevented it. Ended up torching the shafts apart to save the good gears.
I made replacement shafts with traditonal keyways and keystock, I had no way of duplicating the original, nor the desire to attempt to.
The accuracy of those shafts amazed me and I figured they might have been shaped but the fit was so good and the finish on the shafts so nice I couldn't see a shaper acheiving that. The slip fit on the good shafts that I saved was for sliding the gears during speed changes and the fit was probably .0005" - .001" as I remember and those shafts had to be at least 12" long.
Anybody here ever made shafts like this and could you explain how it was done?
01-28-2007, 04:32 PM #16art_deco_machine Guest
I have a Roots blower here that I took apart, and I could see that the two lobed impellers were made on a shaper. They must have turned them and moved the table up and down at the right time to get the contour.
01-29-2007, 07:33 AM #17
Thistle, Hind probably poached the design from one of the other makers of the time; by 1875 I suppose it was old hat! There is a very similar machine in 1851 Great Exhibition catalogue. I have a very natty Britannia slotting machine, shown in Ian Bradleys "Tools For The Job" & quoted as being 1880. It has a flywheel on the back with curly-wurly spokes & is probably in your catalogue. The plate on the side says Britannia Co Toolmakers Colchester. Machinehead, many years ago I used an old "Union,Chemnitz" hori. Borer, had been a very nice in its time & alas is probably no longer with us. They obviously didnt want to take any chances with keys working loose. Im very new to computers so while I can type out words, photos are still a bit difficult.
01-31-2007, 07:56 PM #18
Thanks for the post. Just one more tool for me to be on the lookout to find (and dream about finding.)
01-31-2007, 09:20 PM #19
I'm pretty much a "late-20th century technology" kinda guy, but *that* really tickles me! What a cool little planer. I had assumed all planers were behemoth. I could really put the #1 size to good use!!!
02-02-2007, 11:40 AM #20
Many thanks for posting. The Tangye steam engine looks a very compact design - I would imagine it runs pretty quickly ?
I rescued a similar style engine made by George Waller of Stroud some years ago. Sadly all the bearings were missing and when a gentleman offered me a lovely large 100 year old DC dynamo in exchange for it I did'nt need much pursuading.
Ted - I'll consider my hand slapped by asking for a snap of the Milnes planer. :rolleyes:
Can truth be stranger than fiction ?
the very day this posting appeared I was privileged to see a joiners workshop which was closing some twenty odd miles away. The proprietor , now in his 80's had finally decided to retire and as he was a one man band the factory inspector had left him alone which is just as well, considering the state of the place.A medium sized gas engine was still belted up to the over and under shafting and the sawmilling and woodworking m/cs dated back to the 1880's. Turning a corner I saw a Henry Milnes planing machine identical to the one I owned years ago. Could it get any better ? oh yes.
Sitting on the bench behind the Milnes under an old rag was the smallest planer I have ever seen. I blinked and it was still there ........
*The Alligator* made by Hesketh Walker of Liverpool. Table working area 15 x 5 inches.
Negotiations were swiftly concluded to rescue these two fine machines and as a bonus, a lovely treadle driven Milnes lathe which the old gent's father had bought new.The engine and other nice machines have now found new homes.
They do say it's better to be born lucky than rich
Now all I need is a digital camera and the knowledge how to post snaps !