Shapers and Planers

Shapers and planers are both machine tools used for machining flat and contoured surfaces on workpieces. These machines are less common in modern manufacturing due to their slower cutting speeds compared to other machining methods.


A shaper is a machine tool designed for precision machining of flat or contoured surfaces on workpieces. It operates through the use of a single-point cutting tool that moves in a linear reciprocating motion. The workpiece is secured on a table that can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically, allowing for accurate positioning relative to the cutting tool. As the cutting tool, mounted on a reciprocating ram, moves forward, it engages the workpiece, gradually removing material with each pass. Shapers are particularly suited for producing intricate parts, including keyways, grooves, and both internal and external contours. However, their application in modern manufacturing has diminished due to their relatively slower cutting speeds compared to more advanced machining methods.


A planer is a robust machine tool designed for machining large and flat surfaces on workpieces with precision. It operates using a single-point cutting tool that moves in a linear reciprocating motion, similar to a shaper. The workpiece is securely clamped to a substantial table, while the cutting tool is mounted on a horizontal cross-rail, allowing it to move horizontally. The vertical movement of the table is adjustable, providing precise control over the depth of the cut. Planers are ideally suited for machining substantial workpieces that require high precision and flatness, such as machine beds, large gears, and industrial components. Although once widely used, planers have become less common in modern manufacturing, as advanced CNC milling machines and grinding equipment have largely replaced them for many applications.