Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Perfecto Hand Shaper, A Little Walkthrough

Just added this video explaining a bit about the Perfecto Hand Shaper and how it works and what I am planning to do to restore it after a couple of people asked for a video on twitter. I've decided to start using youtube for uploads moving away from Vimeo so as such feel free to like and hit that subscribe button!

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Vintage Tool Project, Perfecto Metal Shaper (pt1)

So I've been teasing all day on twitter (Follow me here!) that I had scored a vintage tool that I had wanted for a while. And here it is! It's a hand powered Perfecto Metal Shaper. I'm really pleased to have found it at a reasonable price and it couldn't have been more local as it turned up in my village. I had wanted a shaper for a long time and kept looking at the small Adept ones which sometimes crop up on Ebay and sell for quite a lot of money. This Perfecto one is even better for 2 reasons, one is it has an automatic feed which many of the Adept ones don't have, so that with every stroke of the tool this one will feed the work piece to the left or right meaning you can concentrate on cranking the handle and not having to reset the work every stroke and..It's a Perfecto!  The reason I am excited it's a Perfecto is because the larger of my two main lathes is a Perfecto (the larger heavier 4" swing one they did)  and mine came from the AVRO factory. I don't know the heritage of this shaper or where it has spent it's life but I am pleased to have one of the few other types of machines Perfecto used to manufacture. Shapers are less common in the workshop these days but historically before Milling machines became more accessible they where a go to tool, they still can be incredibly useful for certain types of job. If you are interested in reading how these machines cut and shape metal Wikipedia is a good place to start and there are lots of YouTube videos of shapers, powered or hand cranked showing how they work. 

So it's a bit of a project/restoration, It all functions pretty well but would certainly benefit from a strip and a clean up, it has one part missing which is the rear travel limit block which also moves the ratchet on the automatic feed mechanism, but it is a pretty simple part to fabricate and I have the other one to use as a pattern. I'm sure I'll find a few more issues but don't think it's hiding any big problems.

I am aware that these shapers were made from the 1950's through to the 1980's and I am guessing that this is a later one as something about the way the graduated dials are printed rather than engraved hints at this. I will scour around for a method of dating the machine based on the various serial numbers all of which are present on the machine. 

So as time allows I will crack on with a restoration of this machine and hope to put it to good use. Stay tuned for updates. 

Monday, 3 June 2019

Review of Machine-DRO Height Gauge

When I knew I was going to have to write an article on marking out metalwork for Hackspace magazine I decided it was a good time to update my very old second hand vernier height gauge. My old gauge could be made to do accurate work but was very fiddly and it hard to photograph the worn markings on the sliding vernier section! So I bought a digital height gauge from a company I found online called Machine DRO which is part of a wider group of companies called the Allendale Group. I went for the 300mm variant which is currently £73 including VAT but I notice there is a more affordable smaller one as well which was tempting, however I imagine at some point I will need the capacity the 300mm one affords.

It arrived quickly and very well packed with a good polystyrene fitted cover that meant it couldn't move at all in transit. I fitted the supplied battery and away we go. It has a precision ground base as expected and so it glides well across a surface plate or table (or polished granite in my case). The display is quick to refresh and responsive. The scribing tip is good quality and makes clear fine marks well into sharpie coated material. The ability to zero the gauge on say a centre line of an item and then create parallel lines above and below the line of known accurate location is superb and the fine feed screw adjust makes it trivial to set the height gauge accurately.

It also comes with an alternate tip which is a universal accessory attachment, it has an 8mm hole and a clamping bolt which can be used to attach items primarily useful to attach a dial gauge or dial test indicator to for consistency or comparative measurements. I'm really pleased with it and would definitely recommend Machine DRO, as an aside I do like it when companies have both Paypal and card payments and also are on twitter! Follow them here @machinedro