Retrofitting a Hammer spiral cutter head

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CDFR

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Sorry if this have been answered before. I have a very good deal on a used (2018 but like new) Hammer A3 31, and am wondering about the feasibility and cost of changing it to a spiral cutter head. The cost of the head is about 650 Euros. Do I need a Hammer technician, and if so, how many hours will it take for the change over. Thanks for any advice and tips.
 

Orraloon

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I have just fitted a spiral head to a Dewalt 735 thicknesser a few months back. I think you will find how to videos for just about any machine refit. Search out some videos then after watching them figure out if you feel like giving it a try. You could also ask Hammer a few questions. A technician familiar with the job would do it pretty quick where us back yard shed warriors take a few times longer. No Idea what a technician will charge for the job.
Be sure the spiral head is listed as fitting your machine and its also best if it comes with bearings.
Regards
John
 

Spectric

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Do you really need one, I think they are somewhat over rated and that just having a machine with easy to change blades gives you all you need. There have been some comments on here that helical heads are better than spiral but if I was looking for a new machine then I think a Tersa 4 blade would score highly. @MikeK has recently brought a new machine and that is Tersa, he made add something to these comments.
 

Jones

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Why not ask Hammer ? I was told a new machine must be ordered with the head you want as they can't be swapped.
 

MikeK

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I think @Jones is correct about changing the cutter head on the Hammer. I know this is true for the SCM/Minimax machines, as they are definitely not DIY projects like the DeWalt DW735. I confirmed this today with my friendly SCM-Felder-Martin-Altendorf certified technician.

As @Spectric wrote, I recently purchased the SCM FS 30G P/T. I had my choice of standard two-blade knife, three-blade Tersa, or the "Xylent" spiral cutter head that uses the four-sided indexed carbide cutters. Additionally, I could choose between 230V single-phase or 400V three-phase options. I had to make my choice when I ordered the machine because changing the cutter head after delivery required sending the machine back to the factory. I chose the Tersa and 400V three-phase option.

The price for the standard and Tersa cutter head option was the same, but the Xylent cutter head option was an additional €750. The estimated delivery time for the standard two-blade and Xylent cutter head machine was six months, while the Tersa version was in stock. My distributor in Mannheim sells primarily to large businesses and all of the planers, thicknessers, and combination machines have the Tersa cutter heads.

Changing the Tersa knives is a lot faster and easier than the standard knives or the Xylent cutters. I can remove and replace the three Tersa blades in less than 90 seconds. I timed my first attempt at one minute and 25 seconds. When time is money, a business does not want to pay an apprentice to remove, rotate, and torque a set of carbide cutters when the Tersa knives can be exchanged in minutes. This might not be a factor for the hobbyist, but the preference for Tersa option for the professional shops appears to influence the manufacturing production priorities for SCM. For manufacturers like Hammer, which are build to order, the lead time might be the same regardless of cutter option.

I appreciate each Xylent cutter has four cutting surfaces while the Tersa knife has only two, but I can buy a lot of replacement Tersa knife sets for the initial cost of the Xylent option. I have no idea what the cost of a set of 48 cutters (15x15x2.5mm) are for the Xylent option, but a replacement set of three M+ HSS knives for my machine is about €54 and a set of three chrome knives is about €34. Given the cost and ease of changing the knives, I will use a set of chrome knives for bulk removal and M+ knives for the finish work.

I don't anticipate using any exotic or difficult wood with interlocking grain that would benefit from the Xylent cutters, so the Tersa cutter will meet all of my requirements. Noise isn't a factor for me since my shop is fully enclosed in a below-grade basement and my wife can't hear any of the machines from the ground floor.
 

Inspector

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Sheartak have a couple heads for the machine Search - Hammer A3 31 I'm not sure what the difference, if any, there would be between the two but they have different product numbers. They are a 70 insert head, rather than the 48 that Mike mentioned, probably the reason for the higher cost ($1290Cad/930Euro). I can't speak to which kind of head you should pick or what it would take to do the changeover. Just presenting you with another confusing option. 😊

Pete
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
Just for this small job just had the 260mm wide HSS blades proff sharpen'd........
u can / could shave with them.....
Must have done about 150ft of 6" wide Euro Oak.....
quite a bit of tearout on one piece.....the grain didn't look that bad.......
Can't justify a replacement spiral head cutter block at the mo but much more of this it will look like I have too....
PS. 1...only a light cut was taken and luckily the tearout I could hide at the back.....
Question.....would the Tersa bladed cutter head do a better job for the same price as the spiral...????
a very expensive test to find out.....and have no interest in swopping blades for the final surfacing....
PS 2 ... I seem to remember that the 4 sided cutters were about £4 a piece.....?
Might even pay to just sell my planer thicknesser ? and invest in a new machine with a spiral already fitted.....ouch....
 

Oaktree11

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Just my own thoughts on this. I have had several machines with blades but now I have a helical cutter I would not willingly go back. I accept that blade changing and setting is now much easier but it’s not just that. The whole operation of the machine is smoother and quieter and the quality of the finish is amazing. The carbide cutters last for a long time, can be turned and even dressed for a second 4 lives (though not as long)
Each to their own, and I am sure that others will disagree!
Oh, and I just bought new carbide cutters direct from the manufacturer for a fraction of the UK retail price.
John
 

Farm Labourer

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I'm with Jones - when I ordered mine last year, Russell at Felder (Milton Keynes) was adamant that it was a factory install and could not be done retrospectively. Absolutely love the finish I get from mine with the spiral block (Silent Power).
 

Ollie78

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You can get a lot of knives for €650.
I say this as an owner of a spiral head Hammer myself, which is fantastic. Just not sure it would be worth the effort to retro fit.

Just looked at @Inspector link, those heads are quite different in design to the silent power felder ones.

@Oaktree11 which manufacturer is that ?
I need a set soon ish.

Ollie
 
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