Shopping for a Power Feeder
Advice on choosing a power feeder for a shaper. March 26, 2010
I am looking for a power feeder to run raised panels on the shaper. It would be nice to run moldings as well. What should I look for in a basic feeder, and how much do these things cost? The shaper is a Delta, 3/4" spindle.
From contributor F:
My opinion is to always try used first which will save you a lot of money but narrow your options. I prefer the heavier and more powerful feeders usually right about 1 hp. Having a good selection of speeds never hurts either. I have a Delta four wheel with eight speeds forward and reverse, a Univer three wheel with variable speed, and an old Festo on the way, which I'm not sure how many speeds, but I think at least eight. The Delta is a solid workhorse that's great for running flat stock. The Univer is a bit easier to run stock against the fence because of the way the adjustments work and how the motor is positioned. Any well made feeder will do the job though. It's really minor differences that are nice to have more than anything.
As for cost, if you’re buying new I think the Delta would cost you somewhere in the $1k+ range, the Univer maybe $1500+, and Festo is no longer around but certainly over $1k if they were. I paid $400 for the two year old (at the time) Delta, the Univer came with a shaper I bought, and the Festo cost me $50 + buyer’s premium. That's why I say if you don't mind used you can go pretty far with little money.By the way, whichever feeder you get, new or used, plan on spending some additional cash replacing the stock rubber wheels if they haven't been replaced already.
From contributor B:
Not much to add, but I would ask how heavy is your shaper? I had a 3/4" spindle years ago, mounted a 3/4 hp PF and it was pretty tippy afterwards. A 140lb weight hanging 24" out from its support creates a large moment. The old shaper was on wheels, so this was a bit of a problem. I agree with contributor F, spend the money for a set of Western Roller wheels too.
From contributor F:
Contributor B raises a good point. If it's an HD Delta shaper you’re fine. That's what I originally had my four wheeler mounted to.
From the original questioner:
This sounds like great advice. Yes it is the old HD delta shaper. The table is cast iron 28" square. It is hard to move. Where is the best source for a used one?
From contributor A:
Virtually all of the imported power feeds (Powermatic, Delta, Bridgewood, Grizzly) are all made by Comatic. You can buy them under their own label from Sunhill Machinery. Spend a couple of extra bucks on the four wheel.
From contributor L:
I have six feeds. I prefer four wheel so I can have two wheels in control before and after the cutter. Do replace the light tan rubber feed wheels with urethane. Don't bolt a feed into a bolt-on extension table on a Delta. Each time you set it up go back and check each locking handle a second time. We’ve got one Comatic that has a different stand to allow taller items to pass under the arm, handy for wide parts on edge. Once you've used one you will wonder how you ever did without! It’s much safer, higher quality work. Western roller sells separate hubs and tires so you don't have to send the used set back in. They cost a bit more to start with but are a better deal long term. We've used Axium Ind. for a long time. We send our wheels in and they bond new tires to them. They can recover about any wheel