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Author Topic: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance  (Read 4937 times)

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Offline metalspinner

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Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« on: September 06, 2011, 09:37:25 PM »
I didn't think to take pics at the time. ::)

I have a Grizzley 20" spiral head and changed the cutter inserts for the first time this weekend. 

The job went pretty smooth.  After removing the dust hood and head cover, the cutter head was easily accessable.  The first thing to do was a good cleaning to remove pitch and build up.  I felt like a dental hygenist picking around all those inserts.  But I wised up pretty quick and sprayed the whole cutterhead with a pitch solvent and scrubbed with a brass brush.  Then shot it with the air compressor to clean away the gunk.

At first I wondered how I would keep track of which way to turn them and which ones had already been turned.  But the insert has a little engraving on one corner so that helped.  And I made the decision to turn it clockwise a quarter turn. However, the insert screws were torked on there pretty tight. There was one or two on each row that would not give in to my attempts at loosening them and the screw head stripped out. ::)  Once I popped each screw loose on an entire row with the hand tool, I went back with a cordless drill and backed out the screw just enough to raise the insert to turn it, then screwed it back down. This idea came only after I dropped the first couple of screws down into the planer bed. ::)  After they were all turned and tightened I followed with the hand tool to tighten as best as I could.

All in all it was easy.  Next time I will have a couple of back up torx wrenches.  The one I had only lasted through the first 75 screws. It was an el cheapo Chinese make from the auto store. Not counting the time it took me to go to the store for another wrench, I spent 70 minutes doing the whole job.  I guess a call to Grizzley for a few replacement screws would be a good idea too.
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline WDH

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 10:08:09 PM »
Have you given it a test drive, yet?  I need to turn my inserts soon, so I want to learn from your experience.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline ellmoe

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 07:14:51 AM »
 I have found that using "anti-seeze" on the screws/bolts in those applications pay a significant dividend in saved time and frustrations in the future. In particular, changing the knives on my shavings machine went from a nightmare to a mildly discomforting dream. ;D

Mark
Thirty plus years in the sawmill/millwork business. A sore back and arthritic fingers to prove it!

Offline Norm

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 07:28:25 AM »
I went through a half dozen torx heads the first time I did mine. Let me know if you find a good quality one that holds up.

Offline metalspinner

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 08:07:16 AM »
Norm,

The screws were so tight that having the wrench angle off just a little bit from perfectly seated resulted in a stripped screw head.  But you already know that. :D

The wrench set I had were all connected together and swiveled out from the handle.  This gave me a good hand hold on the wrench to really put some torque on the screw and control the wrench. I think an individual loose wrench would be impossible.  Now that I'm thinking about it, a torx bit in a ratchet might give pretty good control and be cost effective, too.

WDH,
Yes, I ran a big pile of cypress through it over the weekend. I forgot how quiet this machine can be. ;D  Part of the job of changing the inserts around was cleaning the bed rollers of pitch and build up.  I didn't have any infeed hangups this weekend either. ;)


Quote
I have found that using "anti-seeze" on the screws/bolts in those applications pay a significant dividend in saved time and frustrations in the future
ellmoe,
Where were you with that suggestion before I unscrewed  a hundered of those blasted screws?!? :D   We'll see if I can remember that for next time.
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline WDH

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 08:25:02 AM »
Chris, the book says to take the insert out and thoroughly clean out the slot that the insert fits into.  Sound like you did not completely remove the insert, so that is why I asked.  So, clean the head thoroughly before removing torx bolts.  Spray on anti-seeze.  Loosen bolt and turn 90 degrees to new face.  Re-tighten bolt. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline metalspinner

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2011, 08:34:14 AM »
Book? There's a book???
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Larry

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2011, 09:18:41 AM »
Do you guys have an estimate of how many board feet before turning the inserts?  Is there any clues as to when to turn?

Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline metalspinner

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2011, 09:46:34 AM »
Larry,

I have a home hobby shop so I do not keep notes on how many BF run through the planer.  But, I've had it for several years and have run at least 3,000 -4,000 of rough sawn material through it. Linear feet might be a better measure of cutter life if that's possible. Several passes are needed from the rough board.

The cut quality was still very good with little or no grain tearout.  Even when running wood against the grain or curly figure, the cut quality was still good.  The noise is the first thing that tipped me off.  While planing with sharp cutters, there is barly any cutter head noise.  Just the hum of the motor.  But lately I had noticed the need to wear hearing protection. 

The dust extraction was another thing.  My dust collector is undersized for this planer's capacity and I noticed the chips were beginning to clog the dust shoot.  With the dull cutter, the chips seem to  bond together looking like a birdnest.  The sharp cutter has uniform loose chips.  This is just an observation from emptying the dust collector and something else might be contributing to this situation.
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2011, 11:25:06 AM »
I have a 26" head and it takes 3 to 4 hours to rotate knives.  I take a 1/4" wrench and tape it to the torx .  I take a hammer and tap the top of the torx as I apply rotational torque with the wrench.  One torx will last a long time using this method. Once loose, I take a drill with the torx and spin all the screws out in 3 rows.  Keep doing 3 rows until all screws are out. I place a sheet of cardboard under the head to catch any screws and knives that fall.
I clean all pockets to make sure there is no buildup.  I then take each knive and scrape any build up underneath each edge.  It is important to make sure there is no material in the pocket or under the knife. 
When everything is clean, I replace the knives using the little mark on the knife as a guide as to which way it should be.  Then put the screws in using a drill with a torgue setting that will only let you tighten so much.
Then plane some lumber making sure there are no "wild" teeth.  If all is well, then the off bearer must check the lumber for several 1000' to make sure no knives came loose.
We run 50,000 to 100,000 feet before rotating knives. Depends on how much dirt was on the boards.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline shinnlinger

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2011, 04:14:53 PM »
Funny I noticed a few knicks in mine and went to do a rotation today but changed my mind.  The machine is cutting pretty smooth otherwise  so I just changed the rows the knicked cutters were in but did not rotate them.  Due to the helical shape only 3 of the 5 in the row were knicked and I liken this move to being similar to sliding a conventional planer knive over a whistle after being knicked.

Good tips cedar!  Metalspinniner, what anti pitch solvent are you using?  We use white pine almost exclusively in my shop and it has built up pretty good as you can imagine .

Dave
Shinnlinger
Woodshop teacher, pasture raised chicken farmer
34 horse kubota L-2850, Turner Band Mill, '84 F-600,
living in self-built/milled timberframe home

Offline WDH

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2011, 08:38:16 PM »
I have probably run 5000 feet through my 15".  It is still planing good, just not as slick as new.  I hate to turn the inserts until they are ready because they are expensive to replace.  Still, a whole lot better than knives by a long, long, shot.  I will never get close to 50,000 feet though because the 3 HP motor is the bottleneck if the inserts get a little dull.

In building furniture, I like the planed surface of the wood baby-bottom smooth.  That cuts down on the interminable hours of sanding, sanding, and more sanding.  That was hard to do with a "knife planer" but it is achievable easily with a spiral head with carbide inserts.

The "book" I was referring too was the owner's manual, but maybe I read that somewhere else, like on a Forum  :).
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2011, 09:55:34 PM »
Having 15 horses turning the belts puts a lot of power to the knives.  We can easily put a 1000' per hour through the machine and take 1/8" off at a time.  When we were hogging cull boards for shavings we were takint 1/4 to 5/16" off at a time.  It would test the suck system.  With the new shaving machine dedicated to shaving cull boards, the planer is back to just surfacing lumber.  The shaving machine will shave about 15,000 feet into shavings before rotating knives.  It will eat 4 to 5 board feet per minute.  It has 50 horses on it.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 09:57:27 PM »
i got the torx in my rachet, never broke one or stripped any screw heads, i jus tloosen enough to turn lift up on the insert and blast aliile air to clean the seat and retighten. when you think your inserts are getting dull, run another 10-15thousand more bf then change ;D
the experts think i do things wrong
 over 18 million b.f. processed and 7341 happy customers i disagree

Offline LeeB

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2011, 03:15:54 AM »
I have to wonder how much pitch build up actually mimics dulling?  :P Has anyone tried just cleaning the cutters before changing them?
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, JD 3032 tractor, JD 5410 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline Larry

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2011, 07:55:39 AM »
I bought the 15" planer with the Byrd head a little over six years ago.  I got frustrated with the 3 horsepower motor most quick.  It now has a US made 5 horsepower.  When I made that change I also put on new pulleys/belts.  Of course I than had to fabricate a new belt guard.  Although its a great machine now, it would have been a whole lot easier (and cheaper) if I had made the right choice up front. 

With the improvements, its set at high speed at all times and has no problem making 1/8" deep cuts (maximum depth).  I keep wondering when I need to turn the inserts which prompted my question.  No idea how many feet have been through it, but a couple of months ago I ran 2,000 foot of erc with no problem.

Think Ill go by red oaks recommendation and try for another 10-15 thousand bf.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline WDH

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2011, 08:04:10 PM »
The 3 horsepower motor is ok if are planing a couple of hundred feet or less at a time, or if you are planing for an individual furniture project.  Taking 1/16th off at a pass requires 4 or 5 passes to get a 3/4" finished board.  It is the number of passes that takes all the time.  Production planing is not an option. 

Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline logboy

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 02:55:56 AM »
I have the same Grizzly 20" spiral. Last time I rotated/changed the blades it was with my Milwaukee drill. Way faster than by hand. Unfortunately 18v has a  bit too much power and a snapped a couple. After that I did the final tightening by hand.
I like Lucas Mills and big wood.  www.logboy.com

Offline shelbycharger400

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Re: Spiral Head Planer Maintenance
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2011, 08:41:59 PM »
i changed out a 3 blade on a grizzly 20 in last summer.. not a fan of that design

not shure where you people are buying inserts for the spiral heads, but i hope you know that inserts are universal, and their is a huge assortment of them.  their is some nice ones of the triangle and square, the ones you really want are the chip breaker,( or micro toothed), or coated ones.   the chip breakers cut a smaller chunk out, and even with metal, if you go hoggin', its a little more forgiving on the surface finish


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