This project started two years ago, when I sold my 6” Jet jointer to pay some bills, with the intention of replacing it with an 8” Grizzly. Due to other projects, two years went by without setting foot in my shop, so I never got around to replacing the old Jet.
Ever since I saw Matthias Wandel’s homemade jointer project, I would periodically think about building one. While it was very intriguing, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a jointer.
About 6 months ago, on another woodworking forum, someone was selling a 13” Shelix cutterhead for a Delta 22-580 planer. For $200, I couldn’t pass it up, so the jointer project was on.
I purchased the plans from Matthias (along with bandsaw plans for a future project), with the intention of using them for reference, as I design something that will be more useful to me.
There were several changes that I wanted to make:
Longer infeed and outfeed tables.
Induction motor, for more power and less noise.
Built in dust collection.
I also want to make it bit more solid, and come up with a stronger method of mounting the cutterhead.
I also decided to start learning a new CAD program, AutoDesk’s Fusion 360. Due to the learning curve, design is taken a little longer than expected.
Here are some of the details.
The infeed and outfeed tables will be 36” long. It thought about longer tables, but just don’t have the room. Tables will be 3 layers of 1/2” baltic birch, laminated in my vacuum press, with top and bottom skins of 12 gauge steel. Matthias uses “floating” plates on his table, to accommodate wood movement. My belief is that if I bond and screw identical plates to the top and bottom, the tables should remain flat, and movement won’t be an issue. The ply and steel will be bonded with epoxy, and all exposed plywood edges will be sealed with 2 coats of epoxy prior to painting.
The front and back main beams will be cut from 1-3/4” LVL’s, CNC cut for straightness. These will cost about the same as good plywood, and will be strong and rigid.
I’m using the same methods Matthias used to mount the tables, but am adding additional mounting points to help keep the tables flat. The parallelogram system will use large 1/2” steel rods. I though about using bronze bushings, but was concerned about the fit, unless I spent a lot of money for precision ground shafts. What I’ll do is CNC the holes for the bars slightly undersized, for a very snug press fit.
Motor is 2HP, 220V 3450 RPM. In the planer, the cutterhead spins at about 10,000 rpm. I was having trouble finding a suitable pulley for the motor. Looking at videos of this machine on Youtube, I found out that power steering and alternator pulleys were cheap, and would fit.
These are 6 groove pulleys, but are a larger size than the stock 6 groove pulley. Both pulleys and the belt were just over $30. Not too bad. I need to add some keyways to the pulleys, which I’ll do with a small file.
The pulleys should give me about a 2.5:1 ratio, which should give a cutterhead speed of around 8600rpm.
The scariest thing about this jointer, is mounting the cutterhead. I just don’t like the idea of a few small blocks of plywood holding it in place. I wanted something that was strong, and also a method of mounting it solidly to the frame of the machine. I purchased a pair of 1”x3” aluminum blocks on Ebay, and will use my CNC router to cut the bearing pockets. Each block will bolt to a 1/2”x1-1/2” steel mounting block. Each steel block will be permanently bonded and screwed to the LVL with six long 1/4” screws.
I have the cutterhead motor, and the majority of the hardware right now. I’m hoping to start construction after the holidays.
It looks like the total cost of this will be around $700-$800.
Here’s a rough breakdown:
Shelix cuterhead – $200
2HP motor – $200 (Ebay – A 1-1/2HP motor was only $10 cheaper, so I just went with the 2HP)
Pulleys and Belts – $30 (Ebay & Amazon)
Aluminum blocks – $17 (Ebay)
Misc hardware – $100 (McMaster Carr)
Steel for tables – $75 + shipping (Online Metals)
LVL’s and baltic birch – $120 (Menards)
Here are a few CAD images, and a pic of the cutterhead.
Still need to add the motor, and dust collection chutes.