What's new
What's new

Age of Smith & Mills Shaper and some pictures

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
I was taking some pictures of this shaper the other day for a friend and decided to go ahead and post them here. As the title says, I’ve always been curious about the age of this shaper.

It has square ways which on the one hand would seem to date it, but it also has a more modern motor and jackshaft arrangement which I think are factory. Originally its insides were all open. It had an oil can that dripped oil onto moving parts. I got rid of this and enclosed the base, plugged many holes, and added a pressure lubricating system to all moving parts. And a one-shot lubricating system to the ram. I even made my own meter valves. I rebuilt the vice, remade some internal pins, bored and sleeved the sliding block, and a few other things. It weighs about 2,400 lbs.

If anyone has any information on this machine and its history, I’d be very interested.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0297.jpg
    IMG_0297.jpg
    93.8 KB · Views: 180
  • IMG_0296.jpg
    IMG_0296.jpg
    91.5 KB · Views: 172
  • IMG_0294.jpg
    IMG_0294.jpg
    93.4 KB · Views: 350
  • IMG_0295.jpg
    IMG_0295.jpg
    94.4 KB · Views: 166

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
A few more pictures...
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0298.jpg
    IMG_0298.jpg
    93.2 KB · Views: 94
  • IMG_0300.jpg
    IMG_0300.jpg
    93.2 KB · Views: 91
  • IMG_0301.jpg
    IMG_0301.jpg
    91.8 KB · Views: 86
  • IMG_0302.jpg
    IMG_0302.jpg
    86.2 KB · Views: 87

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
...and a few more.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0289.jpg
    IMG_0289.jpg
    90.4 KB · Views: 75
  • IMG_0292.jpg
    IMG_0292.jpg
    91.7 KB · Views: 75
  • IMG_0303.jpg
    IMG_0303.jpg
    95.4 KB · Views: 86
  • IMG_0304.jpg
    IMG_0304.jpg
    95.9 KB · Views: 80

johnoder

Diamond
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Location
Houston, TX USA
Yes, the serial number would have been helpful. It is 10912.

Do you know if Smith & Mills upgraded old flat belt shapers to electric motors as a factory option?

No, and it is fairly likely no one else does either. They "went away" about 50 years ago ((last entry in my 1975 serial book is 1970 for them)
 
Last edited:

atomarc

Diamond
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Location
Eureka, CA
Wow...there are absolutely no flies on that shaper, as a matter of fact, the machines and general shop appearance in the background look like you might have a second job performing open heart surgery in there...beautiful stuff and super clean. Here is a picture of mine..not nearly as snazzy as yours.

Stuart

shaper.jpg
 

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
Wow...there are absolutely no flies on that shaper, as a matter of fact, the machines and general shop appearance in the background look like you might have a second job performing open heart surgery in there...beautiful stuff and super clean. Here is a picture of mine..not nearly as snazzy as yours.

Stuart

View attachment 344605

Thanks for the picture. Yours looks pretty similar to mine. Is that a 14"? How was the oiling system on that machine set up?

Originally, I almost passed on this machine because it lacked an oiling system. And, I was really looking for a larger machine. It came out of a Missouri high school wood working shop. It had set in the back for more years than anyone could remember. After the school closed down the shop, the machine went to auction. The gentleman that bought it had a large machine shop and always wanted a shaper but never had one. I guess at some point the novelty wore off and the space became more valuable than the machine. That's when I picked it up. I corrected some of its shortcomings, and it is a pretty good machine. I sometimes wish I had gone with a bigger machine - at least until I have to move it around the shop. So maybe it worked out.
 

atomarc

Diamond
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Location
Eureka, CA
I found my in a field...free, come get it!. Oiling was via an oil can through little holes into rotating shafts,etc, while the back gear and associated stuff got an occasional squirt with a aerosol can of 'cut back' pinion grease.

The machine pictured was a 16" unit, and it probably had only hours on it. I loved it, but had to move on, so it was sold.

Stuart
 

Andy FitzGibbon

Diamond
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Location
Elkins WV

M.B. Naegle

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Location
Conroe, TX USA
Nice job on the central lube system! I also like the guard behind the ram. It's a good reminder for people who might get a little too close during operation.
 

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
Nice job on the central lube system! I also like the guard behind the ram. It's a good reminder for people who might get a little too close during operation.

The back cover is sealed between the machine casting and its face. It's made out of remnants of 4" schedule 40 pipe and some other assorted pieces. It collects the oil off of the ram ways.

The central lube system I thought was going to be simple. I bought a couple of electric pumps, (one to back-up the other), a manifold to branch the oil to several small valves, and tubing to go to all the small parts. Simple, right?

It turned out what works in July doesn't work so much in January. My shop is heated, but there is still a temperature difference between winter and summer. It required some re-thinking. I originally tried Shaeffer ISO 68 way oil because of how slippery it was, but it was too thick in the winter. A change to Mobil heavy medium ISO 68 oil worked. It circulates well and allows contaminants to settle to the bottom. Probably why so many machines use it.

On the one-shot system I plugged all six fittings with brass plugs. Then I made holes in the plugs of increasing size using numbered drill bits. Each were larger the further from the pump until the correct amount of oil was delivered all the way around the ram. Long story short, there is more to designing an oil system that actually works year round than I thought.
 

texasgeartrain

Titanium
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Location
Houston, TX
I was taking some pictures of this shaper the other day for a friend and decided to go ahead and post them here. As the title says, I’ve always been curious about the age of this shaper.

As with your other machines, really excellent work there. Its really beautiful.

With "Smith & Mills" cast into the ram I'm thinking 1930's or newer, though I don't know exactly when they started that. I really want to say 1940's or newer after looking at the 1950 catalog. 1920's and earlier "Smith & Mills" was cast into the base.

Looking at Smith & Mills history on VM, they were founded in 1888, and incorporated in 1907. I have one as well, but mine is closer to the turn of the century I believe. It's waiting in line for a rebuild :D. It was converted from the flat belt drive, to what must be an old car or truck manual transmission. Electric motor turns input of the trans, and the output of trans runs the shaper.

390.jpg 391.jpg 392.jpg 389.jpg

I have not searched very hard for info on them yet, but I did see an operation and parts manual here:
SMITH & MILLS 12" 16" 20" 25" 32" Metal Shapers Operator Owner Parts Manual 1291 | eBay

And Jim Christie introduced me to some very nice publication search tools here:
Machine Showcase, Machinery's Handbook, and Stories

And here:
Machine Showcase, Machinery's Handbook, and Stories

Atomarc mentioned tailstock4's shop. Have a look here to see more:
My 10EE and some shop pictures

I've been biting my tongue not to nag tailstock4 for threads on his Pratt & Whitney and his Pacemaker :D. Not his thread, but this post shows his Pacemaker:
Initial Assessment of my New/Old 1954 Pacemaker
 
Last edited:

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
As with your other machines, really excellent work there. Its really beautiful.

With "Smith & Mills" cast into the ram I'm thinking 1930's or newer, though I don't know exactly when they started that. I really want to say 1940's or newer after looking at the 1950 catalog. 1920's and earlier "Smith & Mills" was cast into the base.

Looking at Smith & Mills history on VM, they were founded in 1888, and incorporated in 1907. I have one as well, but mine is closer to the turn of the century I believe. It's waiting in line for a rebuild :D. It was converted from the flat belt drive, to what must be an old car or truck manual transmission. Electric motor turns input of the trans, and the output of trans runs the shaper.

View attachment 344678 View attachment 344679 View attachment 344680 View attachment 344683

I have not searched very hard for info on them yet, but I did see an operation and parts manual here:
SMITH & MILLS 12" 16" 20" 25" 32" Metal Shapers Operator Owner Parts Manual 1291 | eBay

And Jim Christie introduced me to some very nice publication search tools here:
Machine Showcase, Machinery's Handbook, and Stories

And here:
Machine Showcase, Machinery's Handbook, and Stories

Atomarc mentioned tailstock4's shop. Have a look here to see more:
My 10EE and some shop pictures

I've been biting my tongue not to nag tailstock4 for threads on his Pratt & Whitney and his Pacemaker :D. Not his thread, but this post shows his Pacemaker:
Initial Assessment of my New/Old 1954 Pacemaker

Thanks for all the links to the publications. I did not realize Smith & Mills only made shapers. No wonder their days were numbered.

As for the Pratt & Whitney and the Pacemaker, I’m considering posting about the Pratt & Whitney 12C restoration as I have over 100 pictures. I just haven’t decided on how and when.

Anyway, thank you and johnoder with the help on P&W’s change gears. I’m very happy about that one. Thanks again!
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
That’s a really nice job. As good as new. The place I’ve found on shapers that “ fire up “ apart from the ways are the slideways in the arm that is joined to the ram. That comes under quite a load with heavy cuts.
 

tailstock4

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Location
Oklahoma, USA
That’s a really nice job. As good as new. The place I’ve found on shapers that “ fire up “ apart from the ways are the slideways in the arm that is joined to the ram. That comes under quite a load with heavy cuts.

Yes, I replaced the upper pins on the drag link and ran oil lines to them. I re-sleeved the large pin in the slide block and made new oil grooves. I don't like the clanking noises from loose pins.

I have a couple of questions for you. Are old shapers such as this one difficult to find in England or are they still around? One of the things I would love to find here is a DSG lathe. Not too many to be found in my neck of the woods. Are they more common there?

Also, do you or anyone else know why the old shapers went away from the square ways? Was it just to eliminate one precision surface or were there other reasons?
 








 
Top