Douglas & Hercus Shaper - Australia
Manufactured by P.K. Douglas Pty Ltd. in Enfield (a suburb of Sydney), New South Wales, Australia, the Douglas "11-inch" shaper would have been made from the early 1950s onwards. Of apparently indigenous design, the machine had a 360-degree swivelling box table with a length, width and height of 10", 7" and 8" respectively and travels of 11 inches horizontally and 10 inches vertically with power-feed rates varying 0.005" to 0.03" per cut. The table box, with three T-slots on top and two on each of the front and one side face, was supported on a flat surface joining two slotted uprights that bolted to the front edge of the cast-iron chip tray arranged so that, even when the unit was tilted with a corner facing down, full support was achieved for the entire length of travel.
A 3/4 h.p. motor bolted to the back of the machine drove forwards through a two-stage belt drive with a final 3-step V-pulley (and optional clutch) to give ram strokes of 42, 62 and 88 per minute. Both the crank and large bull gear were supported in ball races and the arm could be adjusted to vary the stroke which was, as usual, arranged to be faster on the return than when cutting. The tool head, which could be swivelled 60 degrees either side of central, had a travel of 3 inches and the clapper box accepted cutting tools up to 5/8" square.
A 5-inch capacity, robustly constructed swivelling-base machine vice was fitted as standard - as was the electric motor, switchgear and table-support bracket.
Production rights were eventually acquired, in 1984, by F.W.Hercus who offered it as their Model 270. Although, on the Hercus, the main mechanical specification remained unchanged, the drive was altered to an enclosed single belt and 3-speed gearbox. This version of the Douglas could also be "inched" over using a jog button, or cranked over by hand, a safety switch preventing power being applied when the crank handle was engaged.
Interestingly, what appears to be an earlier Douglas shaper has been found, one with a 12-inch stroke and with "Douglas" cast into the ram. Fastened to the machine is a plate proclaiming P.T. Douglas, Ashfield - the latter being a suburb some 15 miles from Enfield. While the later Douglas had anti-friction bearings on its heavily loaded shafts, on this earlier models all ran in plain bearings.
Should any reader be able to supply detailed photographs of a Douglas (or have information about the Company or copies of sales literature) - the writer would be interested to hear from you..