BIG bed planer

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SteveM
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BIG bed planer

Post by SteveM » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:55 pm

This was at an auction last week for a machine shop where the owner retired and they had this bed planer.

The bed is 44" wide and 12 FEET long!
img.axd2.jpg
They also had something called a "planer mill".

It was like a Bridgeport head on steroids mounted to a planer.
img.axd.jpg
Steve

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Gary Armitstead
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by Gary Armitstead » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:50 pm

Steve,
When I first started in the trade (tool and die), I ran one of these planers (just like the one in the first photo you posted). It looks like that particular machine is missing the bed and ways on the other side of the main column. These things were huge and took up a lot of floor space in a machine shop. The bull gear down in the planer bed drive the table back and forth. The one I ran was a Cincinnati and it was old when I ran in 1965. It came from a Navy destroyer in WWII and it was used to work on the barrels of the big guns. I can't imagine what it must have been like to use one of these while deep in the hull and the ship is rolling. One hell of a machinist mate! These were driven by 660 volt DC motors and each planer had its own DC generator located right next to it. The motor was about three feet in diameter and about 4 feet long. The generator was larger than the drive motor. We had four heads on our planer....two along the beam and one on each vertical column AND you could actually be cutting steel on all four at the same time!

Thanks for posting this. It brings back a lot of great memories :) .
Gary Armitstead
Burbank, CA
Member LALS since 1980
Member Goleta Valley Railroad Club 1980-1993

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tornitore45
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by tornitore45 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:08 pm

You could not resist and bought it, did you. Honey look the deal I got today. :D :D :D
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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SteveM
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by SteveM » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:19 pm

tornitore45 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:08 pm
You could not resist and bought it, did you. Honey look the deal I got today. :D :D :D
I'm in the market for a planer, but more like a South Bend.

They said that they they made beds for machine tools on it.

Steve

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liveaboard
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by liveaboard » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:36 pm

I told my wife I bought a new bed.
She said she likes the old bed.
Ok, I said, I'll just put it in the workshop...

pete
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by pete » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:46 pm

12' long would be considered a small one in some industry's. Huge to try and shoe horn that into a home shop though. Afaik there were at least 3 types. The dual vertical column machines like the first picture, an open bed classed machine that had the single column like in the second picture for doing larger work than the bed width. And both of them used a single point tool or could have multiple slides for doing work like Gary mentioned. After they added rotary heads to the same general design they were designated as planer mills. There still made today with cnc controls or maybe even manual only, but I've not seen any new ones as manual only so far. I think I recall seeing one mentioned on the PM forums that had a bed over 100' long.

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mcostello
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by mcostello » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:15 pm

100' long? Do They use a calendar to set stroke time?

pete
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Re: BIG bed planer

Post by pete » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:57 pm

LOL, you might be pretty close, set the cut and go for a long lunch at least. From the details I've run across over the years even getting the proper foundation in place for them is a massive and very expensive task. At those lengths the curvature of the earth makes standard machinist levels slightly inaccurate over the long distances.Level at one point is not the exact same level 100' away. In the old days they apparently shot the machines in using high end surveyor's transits, then optical collimators, and today I'd guess they'd use a proper machine alignment laser system. I'm not sure how many of the real big planer mills are in North America. A few country's in western Europe, Russia, and the far east are now supposed to have the biggest ones in use today. I'm pretty sure the big planers were once a lot more common in the past than now. Welding and today's modular assembly design makes them less required. But medium sized planer mills are used for machining really big ships engine blocks. There about the only machine tool that can do the work.

Really OT to the original post and oddly there's no planers shown in this book https://library.si.edu/digital-library/ ... ofme00mest But for range of operations and size I don't know of any company that did bigger work than the Mesta Machine Company. Some of there large presses are still in use today even though the Mesta company has been gone for a very long time. I saw a picture in an old Model Engineer magazine years ago and going by the car style it must have been taken in the late 1920's - early 1930's of a real big vertical boring mill. There were two model T sized cars parked on either side of it's rotary table with lots of room between them. At that date carbide tooling might have been just barely possible, but most likely they were still using either high carbon or HSS. This video was probably shot sometime in the 1970's but still very impressive for what it could do then. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j87WW-jGmrU Even the U.S. government invested heavily into there Heavy Press Program due to it's strategic importance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ50nZU3oG8 One rumor I've heard is China is building or has built at least one press that's supposed to be at least 3 times larger and more powerful than anything made yet. My best guess is there going to or have had to build a whole new classification of machine tools just to build that press.

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