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Spiral cutter head for planer thicknesser

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Grantx

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I have the Axminster Craft AC250PT Planer Thicknesses and am thinking of getting a helix cutting head.

1. Where do I buy one? Google doesnt show any UK companies that sell them.

2. Anyone here have one? What's your opinion?
 

Bojam

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I’ve had two. First on the Axminster AT330ST lunchbox thicknesses. Now on a 12in combined PT. The one on the Axminster model was a spiral cutterblock, whereas the one I use now is a true helical design. Both give an excellent finish on dense tropical hardwoods. And in two years of use I never even needed to rotate the cutters once on the AT330ST!
 

Grantx

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Sounds great. Where did you buy them from?
I’ve had two. First on the Axminster AT330ST lunchbox thicknesses. Now on a 12in combined PT. The one on the Axminster model was a spiral cutterblock, whereas the one I use now is a true helical design. Both give an excellent finish on dense tropical hardwoods. And in two years of use I never even needed to rotate the cutters once on the AT330ST!
 

Bojam

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Both of them came with the spiral/helical block installed. Axminster have discontinued the AT330ST now but the cutterhead was the same design as in their trade range PTs (e.g. this).

My new machine is a Holzprofi DR310 PT. You can see how the blades are arranged in helices around the cutterblock. You can find plenty of discussion online about the pros/cons of spiral vs helical designs.

Are you thinking to sell the Axi Craft PT and by a new machine with a spiral/helical head pre-installed? Or are you wanting to upgrade the cutterhead in the existing machine? Aftermarket spiral/helical blocks are available but I don't know whether it's possible on all machines or how much it would cost.
 

MikeK

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I have the Axminster Craft AC250PT Planer Thicknesses and am thinking of getting a helix cutting head.

1. Where do I buy one? Google doesnt show any UK companies that sell them.

2. Anyone here have one? What's your opinion?
A couple of years ago I considered changing the three-knife cutter block on my P/T, which is similar to the AC250PT, to a Shelix helical cutter block. Unfortunately, the European models in that price range were not popular in the U.S. and Shelix did not know of any other model they could cross reference. However, if I sent them a detailed engineering drawing of my cutter block, they would look through their drawings to see if there was a match. They sent me a drawing template for a generic cutter block that I could modify by hand and enter the relevant information.

The drawing had to include the end to end details to two decimal places as well as the bearing race dimensions in the main casting. If they could not find an exact match, they would find one that was close that could be modified to match the dimensions of my machine. If a close match was not available, they would machine one. Regardless of which direction they were able to go with a match, the estimated cost of the replacement cutter block would be about $900 plus shipping.

The estimated shipping time for an exact match would be 10 to 12 weeks. If they had to modify or manufacture a cutter head, the shipping time would be 16 to 18 weeks. Since the cost of the cutter block was nearly the purchase price of the P/T at the time and I would have to disassemble my machine in order to reverse engineer the cutter block, I abandoned the idea.

You might not want to read this, but I recommend either learning to live with the machine you have or move on to a different machine that has what you want. Speaking from experience, if you try to polish a cowpat, the best you can expect from your efforts is a shiny cowpat.
 

Doug B

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I know nothing about the Axminster range of planers but it might be worth talking to them as to whether one of their helix blocks would fit your machine, presuming you haven’t done so already.
As for the blocks themselves I’m yet to meet anyone who has regretted upgrading to a machine with such a block, I’m on my second Hammer machine with a spiral block & wouldn’t go back to traditional blades.
 

julianf

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I have a smaller 106 Axminster and a wadkin bao/s in bits.

If you can get a drop in block for the Axminster without breaking the bank, I'd say go with that. But the options for the 106 were going to cost me way more than the machine itself, and, I figured if I was going to spend all that cash I'd rather do it on a machine that is a bit more special, hence the wadkin.

I'm busy abusing an largeish drum sander at present hence being slow on the wadkin rebuild.
 

scholar

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This discussion made me look up how long it has been since I changed the carbide knives on my planer/thicknesser - 4 years!!

They are Centrofix, so double-sided, and I have yet to turn them round. OK, I am a “hobbyist”, but these blades have seen a lot of use - they were a premium cost, but they have paid for themselves.

I know the advantages of helical cutter heads go beyond having carbide cutters, but this is worth including as an upgrade option. Certainly in my case, having a 3-knife centrofix block would not justify splashing out on a helical head (assuming one was available) - well, at least until I have worn out my stock of knives….

Cheers
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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Inspector

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Contact Sheartak. They have made something like 800 kinds of heads and can custom make anything they haven't made before. Heads in stock go out next day and custom take 6 to 7 weeks. Located in Canada but manufactured in China. They also have replacement knives for regular planer heads with straight blades. If I were to upgrade my Hitachi it would be with their heads.

Pete
 

Grantx

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I got in touch with Axminster and they do not supply a helix cutting head for my model. I have two options:
1. sell the machine and buy a bench mounted planer thicknesser which can accommodate the helical cutting head.
2. Keep the machine and continue to use blades.

Option 1 means I lose the jointing option in my shop.
Option 2 means I must live with tear out.

For now, I will keep the machine and look into the Centrofix blades.

Thanks for the input.
 

Spectric

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but I recommend either learning to live with the machine you have or move on to a different machine
Went down that route with my Record PT107 when I was trying to resolve knife issues, gave up looking for replacement cutter block due to cost and downtime needed to replace. Ended up with the Esta system at some expense but in hindsight I would never have brought it in the first place had I known that setting the knives was going to be a nightmare, much easier to just get a machine with easy change replacable blades in the first place.
 

MikeK

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...much easier to just get a machine with easy change replacable blades in the first place.
Tersa...I'm predicting there will be such a machine in my future. ;)
 

MikeK

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But a new machine I guess, you giving up on that Holtzman !
Yes, a Minimax FS30G with the three-blade Tersa head. I'll still finish the Holzmann thread, but it will either be given away, on the condition that it never be returned, or hauled away as metal scrap when the Minimax arrives. I'm comfortable with either outcome.
 

Spectric

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So not selling as a boat anchor then!

It will always do someone a favour, if for no other reason than to learn that some of these low end machines can be more trouble than they are worth and spending that bit more can pay dividends.

I suppose you can get the three phase job, don't houses in Germany all have three phase?
 

MikeK

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So not selling as a boat anchor then!

It will always do someone a favour, if for no other reason than to learn that some of these low end machines can be more trouble than they are worth and spending that bit more can pay dividends.

I suppose you can get the three phase job, don't houses in Germany all have three phase?
I'm in favor of expanding the knowledge base. :D

The FS30G I bought has the 400V 3-phase motor, and should arrive within two weeks. It's already in the transportation system between Italy and Germany.

All houses built here for at least the past 25 years have 3-phase electrical distribution. I rented a house near Augsburg that was built in the 20's, survived the 40's, and was renovated in the 70's. It had a simple 3-phase distribution panel with fuses.
 

Spectric

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You will have to do a comparative write up and detail where the engineering of the Minimax really shines in comparison to others and why it is the better design.

For me with space restrictions I cannot go down the route I would have taken had I still had my large workshop with three phase supply, with that I would have gone decent table saw and planer rather than the tracksaw and 107.
 

Trevsmith00

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I got in touch with Axminster and they do not supply a helix cutting head for my model. I have two options:
1. sell the machine and buy a bench mounted planer thicknesser which can accommodate the helical cutting head.
2. Keep the machine and continue to use blades.

Option 1 means I lose the jointing option in my shop.
Option 2 means I must live with tear out.

For now, I will keep the machine and look into the Centrofix blades.

Thanks for the input.
Hi
Axminster have the helical heads in the newer aw106pt2 models i restored a beat up aw106pt1 and wonder if the 106pt2 heads will fit but i dont live in uk so cant just pop in do you know if this is the case?
 

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