Metal Shapers

Along the way, I developed an interest in metal shapers, and bought a small Atlas 7. I enjoyed watching the Atlas run so much that nine days later, I bought a 20 inch G&E.

Gould & Eberhardt 20" Industrial

I use the G&E for large roughing jobs that require removing lots of metal rapidly. Shapers use single point cutting tools that cost far less than and are easier to sharpen than milling cutters, so I don't mind using them on rusted or sand cast surfaces that abrade the tooling. With a 7.5 HP motor, the ram can take huge cuts. At slow speeds, the ram generates tremendous forces. I've shattered one-inch tool bits, broken castings, and have nearly sent the 300 pound vise flying. Huge tan chips come off smoking and quickly turn blue. The G&E deserves a lot of respect, since it would crush bones and sever limbs if I ever made a mistake with it.

The vise is holding a mounting plate that I made to let me clamp small jobs as if they were on the table, without having to remove the heavy vise. Each hole is tapped for 1/2-13 UNC. There are clamps at the shaper end to keep the plate from being ejected from the vise (these are loose in the photo). Set screws along the edge allow me to create a precisely level surface for mounting the work piece.


What I like

  • This machine can produce exceptionally smooth surfaces - much smoother than what I can obtain with any of my milling machines.
  • I normally use 1" single point cutting tools and as long as I use conservative speeds, they seem to last forever.
  • This machine can take huge cuts.

What I dislike

  • It takes a fair amount of time to adjust the table height and then align the table with the ram. If I skip the alignment, parts get a slight taper.


  • The left front felt wiper holder is cracked. I tied replacing the felt, but ended up using a rubber wiper instead. At some point, I plan to make a new felt cover, since the rubber wiper drips more oil than I like to see.
  • After a year's use, I had to adjust the clutch.

Other comments

  • I wish I had a universal table on my shaper, but I suppose I do not really need it.
  • I also wish that I had an automatic down feed, but again, I really do not need it.

Godzilla is King of the Monsters.

Atlas 7

I found this shaper, complete with stand, on eBay in May 2005, and I drove to Erie to pick it up in person. My Atlas is one of the original Model 7s, not the later 7B that had a support foot for the table. The hand cranks are not original. When I acquired it, the shaper had an Atlas milling machine vise, not a shaper vise. I bought some castings to make a shaper vise, but never finished the project as other events intervened. In 2007, Tore Bertilsson emailed to me from Örebro, Sweden. He had an extra Atlas shaper vise and was looming for an Atlas milling vise, and was wondering if we could trade. Not only was this a good deal, but I had a business trip scheduled to Västerås, an hour from him. We made arrangements, and despite some confusion, were able to meet in my hotel and make the trade. When I got home, I found the vise in pieces. For reasons beyond my understanding, airport security felt that they needed to disassemble the entire thing.

I use the Atlas for small, coarse jobs because the setup and cleanup time is sometimes faster than for my mill.

What I like

  • I have been able to obtain mirror finishes on steel
  • 1/4" single point cutting tools are inexpensive.

What I dislike

  • The Model 7 does not have a table support, and the table flexes when cutting, giving the parts a slight taper.. The Model 7B addressed this.
  • When operating at high stroke rates, the stand flexes so that the entire machine moves back and forth.


  • The belt guard bracket was not original, but I was later able to find an original and replace it.

Other comments

  • The yellow cranks are not original equipment.

Minilla (sometimes spelled Minya) is the Son of Godzilla.