Combined surface and thickness planers are woodworking machines that perform the function of two different planing machines in one housing. This bulky item of equipment is also referred to as a surface thickness planer, and it incorporates the mechanisms of both a surface planer and a thicknesser. Smaller workshops prefer working with combined surface and thickness planers for two reasons: they cut capital expenditure and running costs, and they save space.
Combination planers are differentiated from normal planers by their flexible work table. The table can be moved into almost any position, which makes it suitable for a wide range of woodworking processes. With the addition of the right tools, the inclines, grooves, bevels and thickness of a workpiece can be processed with great precision.
A combination planer performs the important functions of a standard thicknesser. This part of the machine is used to trim wooden boards when a consistent thickness its required along the full length of a wooden workpiece. The thicknesser element of a combination planer consists of a cutter unit fitted with a selection of knives, a set of rollers used to feed the workpiece through the machine and an adjustable table. There are three main types of cutter used: spiral cutter, four-bladed cutters and rotating cutters.
The surface planer element of a combined planer machine includes a motor with a rotating cutter that turns at high speed. Standalone surface planers tend to be large and heavy, and they need to be placed on a flat and stable surface for effective use. However, a combination planer thicknesser includes an adjustable table to ensure stability is maintained throughout the planing process.
Combined surface and thickness planers use a feeding mechanism to grip the workpiece and pull it inside the machine. Knives in the cutter head remove material from the wooden workpiece, and out-feed rollers pull it out through the other end. The cutter head can be configured in different ways, depending on the shape and size of the workpieces being planed. There may be a combination of rotating, multi-blade and spiral cutters in the same machine, which speeds up processing and cuts lead times.
A combination planer thicknesser saves money and space, which makes it ideal for small businesses and woodworking hobbyists. This relatively large item of machinery is used extensively in furniture production, and for making beams and panels for the construction industry. The latest machines are relatively simple and safe to use, but a working knowledge of woodworking processes and an awareness of health and safety issues are essential.
Processing solid wood with planers and cutters can create a great deal of waste material. The chippings and dust created can affect the workings of other machines in a workshop. In addition, an excess of wood dust in the air can cause respiratory problems. This is why extraction systems are often required in an area that includes a surface thickness planer.
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