Rockford Shaper - How far apart do they come?
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  1. #1
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    Default Rockford Shaper - How far apart do they come?

    so, I have an opportunity to get a Rockford Openside Planer, free for the hauling. It's a 42x42 unit, sounds like a 14' model... The brochure on VintageMachinery.org says this machine tips the scales at 59,600 lbs and 168" wide. Thats some serious oversize load and overweight load fees.

    So my question is, how far apart do these come? I know I can take the arm off of the machine, and the table, and the hydraulic pumps and tank. Does the column on the back side come off?

    Just trying to decide if this is worth pursuing. It has had a bridgeport J head installed on it so it can basically be used as a big bed mill, which is kind of alluring to me.

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    We didn't get many " Rockford " planers over here but on all the other open side planers I worked on you could remove the upright or column from the base. They are usually bolted, dowelled and tenoned in place.

    Can I just say that Plano-mills are built to more stringent alignment specifications than planers are. There's more to it than just bolting a " Bridgeport " milling head to the planing head.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Along with what Tyrone said, you can also detach the table from the hydraulic cylinder and remove it from the bed. That would make a two truck loads to move. I've had a little experience with a 36 x 36 x12 foot Rockford openside planer many years ago. It weighed in at about 42,000 lbs. A 20 ton over head crane picked it up off the back end of low boy trailer and set it in place.

    Look up Steve Walkins here on PM. He broke down a much smaller Rockford planer and hauled it in two truck loads on a goose neck trailer. It wasn't no light weight either! Rockford built some nice planers back in their times. Ken

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    Glad to see Tyrone chip into this conversation. I have read some of your threads on planers elsewhere here on PM.

    I do believe if I take off the arm, column, bed and pumps that it should be an easy 2 semi loads. Honestly, if I can even get 20k lbs off of it, 40k is a pretty easy truckload.

    Next thing is I have no home for it in the shop right at the moment. I do have cold storage I can toss it in, so I'll probably end up coating the ways in waste oil along with the bed.. Remove the cylinder and keep it in the shop where it's warm. Same with the arm, column and pump assembly. I'm hoping to be in a bigger facility in a few years.

    One thing I was thinking was using this unit to deck engine blocks and heads. seems like if it can be used to cut lathe beds accuratly, it should be more than enough to do engine work where you literally have 1-2 thousands of wiggle room... Nobody scrapes a block or cylinder head flat.

    What do you think the table weighs? I know the guy that I'm possibly getting it from has a 5k forklift. It'd be ideal if I could use that to take off most of the pieces, then only have the crane come in for the second truck load.

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    What do you think the table weighs?
    A 168 X 42 X 8 solid cast iron weighs 14,400, so some less than that (I used .255 LBS per cubic inch)

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    As I said earlier I'm not familiar with " Rockford " planers although from what I do know they made a very nice machine.

    Regarding table weights, the ones I have dealt with were usually "" voided " quite substantially in the casting so they weren't one solid piece. Of course you also have the tee slots and the recesses at either end of the table. We didn't have the pusher holes in the table over here that you see on US planer tables.

    Having said that I remember weighing one table we were installing on the crane scales. This was when we were installing a machine that had a table that was pretty close to 18 ft long by 8ft wide by probably about 10" to 12" thick and I recall it weighed 8 tons ( 16,000 lbs ). It was a very well voided casting though.

    Regards Tyrone.
    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 10-27-2020 at 11:16 AM.

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    I think if you take the column off the bed you will be ok with two loads. Look for large pull dowels to align the column and bed. Remove them before removing the screws. I would try to leave the arm on the column. Expect a heavy counterweight in the column that needs to be secured.

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    Do you need it? with the floor space it takes up, and the small amount of work you need a big planner for, and the cost to move I don,t see how it would pay. I saved a 36 inch rockford because it was new and had a small foot print and I owned it so no moving cost...Phil

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    Here is how far apart I had to take mine....




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    thanks for the good replies.

    Do I need it? Not really at the moment.. I have 2 particular uses for it in mind...

    1: Long fully keyed shafts.
    2: Decking large engine blocks and cylinder heads
    3: Odd large-format mill jobs

    The fact it has that Bridgeport head on it makes it a little bit more interesting to me. I guess the previous owners used it to run a flycutter as they had a gig flycutting polypropylene sheets for 3M. I don't really do production work. I do repair type work and thought that it may be a useful addition to my shop.

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    As an update, it turns out that this unit IS a Planer-Mill originally. Turns out that the unit that the bridgeport J Head is attached to is actually a factory rockford Spindle assembly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deerefanatic View Post
    As an update, it turns out that this unit IS a Planer-Mill originally. Turns out that the unit that the bridgeport J Head is attached to is actually a factory rockford Spindle assembly.
    That's really good news, the alignments shouldn't need much work. Just an example of what I mean - if the column on a planer is leaning forward slightly it won't really effect the way the tool contacts the work piece. You'll still get a flat surface.
    However if the column of a Plano-mill is leaning forward the milling cutter won't contact the workpiece as it should. The leading edge will touch first and you'll have a slightly scalloped or dished surface.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    That makes a lot of sense. In that case, I probably shouldnt detach the column from the base.

    Heres an album with pics of the old girl. Rockford Planer - Google Photos

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    Quote Originally Posted by deerefanatic View Post
    That makes a lot of sense. In that case, I probably shouldnt detach the column from the base.

    Heres an album with pics of the old girl. Rockford Planer - Google Photos
    I wouldn't worry too much about removing the column. A column on a well made planing machine, which the " Rockford " is, will be well designed with a view to occasional removal. It'll be really well dowelled and tenoned in position. As long as you're careful and make sure that both the joint faces are clean enough to eat off it'll be fine. Make sure there aren't any burrs on the tenons and the dowels are straight etc. A good deburring and stoning with an emery stone is usually all that is required. It may need tweaking slightly on final assembly, that's all.

    I can't access the photo.

    Regards Tyrone.


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