Shaper

A shaper is a type of machine tool that uses linear relative motion between the workpiece and a single-point cutting tool to machine a linear toolpath. Its cut is analogous to that of a lathe, except that it is (archetypally) linear instead of helical.

Shaper tool slide, clapper box and cutting tool
Shaper with boring bar setup to allow cutting of internal features, such as keyways, or even shapes that might otherwise be cut with wire EDM.

A wood shaper is a functionally different woodworking tool, typically with a powered rotating cutting head and manually fed workpiece, usually known simply as a shaper in North America and spindle moulder in the UK.

A metalworking shaper is somewhat analogous to a metalworking planer, with the cutter riding a ram that moves relative to a stationary workpiece, rather than the workpiece moving beneath the cutter. The ram is typically actuated by a mechanical crank inside the column, though hydraulically actuated shapers are increasingly used. Adding axes of motion to a shaper can yield helical tool paths, as also done in helical planing.


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