Axminster Planer Thicknesser Issue

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bp122

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Hi all
I acquired a used Axminster planer thicknesser earlier this year. By the looks of it, it appears to be a copy of the Record PT260 with slightly flimsier plastic guards for belts and dust hood etc.
Anyway, as it happens with many, I hadn't run it until now. Just been buried at work etc.

I fired it up for the first time last night after setting it up to the best of my ability - fence perpendicular etc.
1652387395659.png

I noticed that despite the fence being perpendicular to the bed, when I plane a face and then reference that face on the fence and plane the edge, the edge isn't square to the face.
1652387468256.png


After a lot of sleuthing, I noticed at first glance, the fence appears to be perpendicular but closer inspection revealed a slight cup in it. In the image below, the green zones have the square making contact with the fence, but the red zone has a few ridges not making contact with the square. The imagined cup is exaggerated with the orange line.
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This is due to the bit behind it which enables one to change the angle of the fence (see second image above). Here also, the orange line shows the exaggerated cupping of the casting. Which may be deforming the fence in that direction.
So I presumed my workpiece which was only reaching half the height or less on the fence, when the planed face was pressed against the fence, it was producing an obtuse angle on the workpiece edge.
So tried the same test with a wider workpiece which when the planed face was pressed against the fence and the edge was planed, it was still out by the same amount.
Has anyone had this issue? If yes, how did you solve it?
I am considering getting a 20x80mm aluminium extrusion which remains straight and using that instead.
Also, the blade guard which is supposed to apply pressure on the workpiece against the fence doesn't lock, it just moves with the slightest of force. There isn't an adjustment on it to tighten it. Any suggestions on this, please? Same with the height control lever for this guard. There isn't a lock to hold its position. It just plunges down with the slightest of force.
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Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
BP
 

Bingy man

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My 1st thoughts are is the square you are using accurate to 90 deg ,, second the bracket holding your fence seams also to be not at 90 deg to the fence , I have no experience of your machine but if the bracket (s) are not square then as it’s used can you not pack it with shims or washers to bring it back to 90deg. Get your fence Square and at 90 deg to the bed and then you should get the results your looking for .
 

Doug71

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Is your square square inside and outside?

Are the blades parallel to the beds?

I'm not familiar with that planer but the blade guard generally isn't used to apply pressure to the work piece, it's kept a few mill clear and is only there to cover up the part of the blades you aren't using.
 

bp122

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Thanks for the response, Bingy Man.

The square is accurate and I have checked and got the same error on my engineer's square and my two starretts.

I also thought of packing the bracket with shims, but even if that isn't square at first, what I am checking is between the bed and the fence, which is the end result that really matters and that is actually square. So I wasn't really sure what's going on.
 

bp122

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Is your square square inside and outside?

Are the blades parallel to the beds?

I'm not familiar with that planer but the blade guard generally isn't used to apply pressure to the work piece, it's kept a few mill clear and is only there to cover up the part of the blades you aren't using.
Hey Doug.

You may have hit on two things I haven't verified. Until.bow I didn't realize I am referencing two different sides of the square. However, I remember checking all my squares a few months ago, both inside and outside and them being alright.

The blades being parallel to the bed, I haven't checked. I did a quick visual check on it between the outfeed bed and the blade and it looked fairly consistent (I'm quite good with visual misalignments). I didn't check the blade against the indeed side though. Maybe that's something I can check this weekend.

Cheers.
 

Fitzroy

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I have also found that the fence can be square at one point with the bed and not at another. I try to get it square just before the cutter block and then push the wood against the fence at the same point.

I’ve also found technique impacts squareness. The long face against the fence makes it easier, but when I’m squaring the edge I lift the piece off the tables and push it against the fence, I then allow it to drop onto the table before running it over the planer, keeping pressure against the fence.

Fitz.
 

bryan267

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I bought the bigger brother from axminster last year and your post has reminded me i need another go at it. I havent been able to get the beds coplaner and they have a cup in them too. The cast iron beds are bowed front to back against a straight edge, only by 1mm but still. and yeah i checked its straight. Now after all my adjustments i hadnt thought to check blades against beds. Good luck, keep posting your findings
 

Daniel.l

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The fence system for these p/ts isn't great anyway and aren't meant for very precise work. I do have the record version and the bracket system on mine fell to pieces so I made my own and to get it square it required a lot of shims and another long piece of timber nearly the length and height of the aluminium extrusion behind it. You can manage to get it fairly accurate that way and don't overtighten the bolts at the back. Also messing around with moving the fence forward and back knocks it out of square
 

Fidget

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This video is the one I followed (I think) to set up my tables to makes sure they are coplanar. Might be that your outfeed table is causing the problem

Interesting bit starts at 6.30ish
 

DBC

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This video is the one I followed (I think) to set up my tables to makes sure they are coplanar. Might be that your outfeed table is causing the problem

Interesting bit starts at 6.30ish
Yea. That’s the way I do it too. What I can never work out though is why sometimes when I change the blades I can swap all three and get it setup sweat in 15 minutes and other times it can take 3 times as long. Changing jointer blades definitely has an X factor.
 

Kicked Back

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I have a different version of an Axminster planer (what's called the Craft AC250PT after the rebrand...) and while my fence itself is actually flat, the mechanism allowing for squareness adjustment is a bit iffy. It seems pretty solid to the touch, but when planing heavier pieces of wood, you realise how much you can knock it out of square and have it spring back afterwards...

Keep that in mind if you solve the cupping issue.
 

Craig22

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I'm kind of lucky that when I bought my AC250 it was around 15 years ago (yes - the machine has been in production at least that long) it came with a cast iron fence, not the extruded aluminium fence that is fitted to the current unit.

But yes - the fence adjusting mechanism is far from prefect. As you tighten the handles it pulls the fence out of true. Great. You have to tighten them enough so that you can clout it true with a mallet, tighten some more, clout - until the darned thing is true with the handles tightened up fully. At least you only have to do it once, provided you don't reset it for planing funky angles and then need to reset it true.

But the problem with aluminium extrusion is that it produces a part that has significant inbuilt material stress - and it is 100% inevitable that it will have material distortion (as noted by the OP).

The only way around that is to rough machine the face flat (and machine any other critical features), then either heat or cryogenically stress relieve it, and then do a final skim. It is not a fast or cheap process. Hence warped fences.
 
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Fanous

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If I was in your spot, I would get a large sheet of thick floating glass, glued some sandpaper to it, and skimmed the surface of the fence, until it's flat. I have recently used this technique to flatten an outfeed bed of my Axminster joiner/thicknesser. It was 0.15mm cupped, and this worked a charm (with lot's of elbow grease, and time)

Floating glass is guaranteed flat, and I already have it, as I use the 'scary sharp' system for my chisels and planes. It's rougly 450x220x10mm and I used the coarse 100 micrometers lapping paper from 3M. So if you use a sharpie, and mark all the ribs, skim it, you will make it flat eventually. Aluminium will sand fast, so I would use high grit. Once you know this is flat, then it should be just a matter of setting it up. Until then, it is pointless to try and calibrate anything.
 

bp122

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Thanks to all the replies, guys.

I haven't had much time at home over the last few weeks, let alone the workshop.

I got the planer fence to work in the end by offsetting the error by deliberately tilting the fence adjuster to read off 90 to get square, and it worked to square off the workbench legs inhad laminated.

But today, when I started to plane a small piece of walnut for a chopping board, it made one pass, shut it down a I left the room. Came back and turned it back on, only to find the motor spin for less than a second and stop.

No clicking or any sound and now the machine won't turn on.

I checked the microswitch under the outfield table and it is making contact. All leads are plugged in fully. I watched a couple of videos on the metabo / record power p/t microswitch troubleshooting and found out the second microswitch which is under the indeed table on the inside doesn't exist in the axminster model. I don't know what is wrong.

This and discovering woodworm in the workshop today (another thread), quite a disappointing day today.
 

TRITON

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The fence is notoriously pathetic, but you can place a sub fence over the top and shim sections so its square front to back.
Another handy tip is when fitting a ply sub fence, if you take a bunch of panel pins and hammer them in about the middle in a tight group, sunk in below the surface, it provides a steel spot for the magnet on the bottom of a digital angle gauge to stick on to. This will make setting the angle of the fence a thousand times easier.

This video is the one I followed (I think) to set up my tables to makes sure they are coplanar. Might be that your outfeed table is causing the problem
Excellent vid.. Im about to do a first time blade replacement on the RPT260 and thats going to be very helpful.
Not sure if the RP blades are double sided though, im hoping they are or its a new set I'll be needing.

well actually replacement is the easy cop out method. I've a sharpenset whetstone grinder with a planer blade attachment, so i should be able to put my raggedy blades back in order. I guess with age comes laziness.
I was thinking though that instead of keeping each pass the same number, if it wouldn't be a better idea just to weight each blade after i get it back to sharp, and adjust with an extra pass here or there to ensure both blades weigh exactly the same and are therefore balanced.

I've got one of those digital scales that has increments of 0.1g i used for weighing out pigmented stains, so 0.1g is going to be pretty accurate for when it comes to ensuring balance.
 
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rogxwhit

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It was 0.15mm cupped
Which given the vagaries of hand-feeding wood over a planer and the ongoing 'live' nature of wood itself, I wouldn't think to be significant ...
I've got one of those digital scales that has increments of 0.1g i used for weighing out pigmented stains, so 0.1g is going to be pretty accurate for when it comes to ensuring balance.
Not something I've ever worried about. If you stand the knives on edge back to back on a flat surface and they look the same height, that would do me. Back in the days of the classic Whitehill blocks, Whitehill used to advise that there was enough mass in the spinning shaft & block to make small discrepancies in knife weight irrelevant - so for instance you could use one knife shaped for the mould with a rough & ready balancer set back from the cut.

It's about pragmatism - and only working to prevent a problem when there is an actual problem present.
 

TRITON

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It's about pragmatism - and only working to prevent a problem when there is an actual problem present.
It is an important factor to have a knife block balanced. All manufacturers recommend it. If you choose not to thats something you've decided and nothing to do with pragmatism.

Mine were
Thanks for the info
 

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