Difference Between Shaper and Planer Machines [PDF]

In this article, we shall learn the difference between Shaper and Planer Machine. We have also provided a PDF download link for the same.

Shaper Machine diagram
Planer machine Diagram
Photo By Wikipedia

What are planer machines

Planer machines are heavy-duty metalworking tools used to produce large, flat surfaces on a workpiece. They consist of a table that moves back and forth on a set of rails, while a cutting tool attached to a vertical arm moves up and down to remove material from the workpiece. Planer machines are capable of removing large amounts of material quickly and accurately, making them ideal for tasks such as shaping and flattening metal plates, castings, and forgings.

Planer Machine
Photo By GrabCAD

They can also accommodate multiple cutting tools, which allows for the simultaneous machining of several surfaces. Planer machines come in various sizes and can handle workpieces of different shapes and sizes, making them versatile tools in the metalworking industry.

What are Shaper machines?

Shaper machines are metalworking tools that produce flat and straight surfaces on a workpiece. They consist of a table, which supports the workpiece, and a cutting tool that moves back and forth across the workpiece, removing material as it goes. Shaper machines commonly produce keyways, slots, and other features on a workpiece.

Shaper Machine
Photo By CadNav

They are designed to work with a single-point cutting tool, which can be easily replaced, allowing for versatility in the machining process. Shaper machines are generally smaller and more compact than planer machines, making them ideal for smaller workpieces or for use in smaller workspaces.

Difference Between Shaper and Planer Machines

ParameterShaper MachinePlaner Machine
SizeLighter, smaller, and cheaper.Heavier, larger, and costlier.
OperationRam holds tool, workpiece on table with feed.Workpiece on reciprocating table, tool on frame.
ApplicationIntended for small jobs.Intended for large jobs.
AccuracyLow machining accuracy.High machining accuracy.
ConstructionSimple construction.Robust construction.
CapabilityDeep cuts, heavy feeds impossible.Deep cuts, heavy feeds possible.
Power ConsumptionLow power consumption.High power consumption.
Workpiece SizeSuitable for small-medium work, one/few at a time.Not suitable for small-medium work, one/few at a time.
ToolingTypically uses one tool.Allows multiple tooling for multiple surfaces.
SpeedVarying speeds during strokes.Uniform speeds during strokes.
Skill & TimeLimited cutting and return speeds are available.More skill and time for work setting.
Tool WeightUses lighter, smaller tools.Uses lighter, smaller tools.
Speed RangeMore skill and time for the work setting.Wide range of cutting and return speeds available.
Floor SpaceLess skill and time for the work setting.Requires larger floor space.


In conclusion, shaper and planer machines are essential tools in the metalworking industry, but they differ in their applications and operations. Shaper machines are primarily used to create flat surfaces with a single-point cutting tool, while planer machines are used for larger surfaces and can accommodate multiple cutting tools. Understanding the differences between these two machines can help metalworkers select the right tool for the job and achieve the desired results efficiently and effectively.

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