Badly engineered

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Review by Dustin posted 01-28-2010 05:47 PM 6270 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Badly engineered Badly engineered No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have used this shaper for a little less than a year at work. The fence came in and it wasn’t straight, but when I noticed how the fence assembly was engineered I realized that was pretty much impossible. If you somehow have a different experience let me know.
So we’ve had this shaper for a little less than a year and we hardly use it because it’s a pain to set up (fence not being straight). Anyway so all out of nowhere the shaper starts to vibrate like crazy when we used it and then the motor started shooting sparks everywhere.
Found out the motor rotor had been bent and was rubbing against the outside coils. Pretty messy.

Anyway, delta wouldn’t cover it so we had to buy a new motor.

Other than these problems I didn’t like how the reverse direction switch is inside the cabinet below. So it has an off/on switch on the outside and then you can open the hatch on the cabinet to choose the direction on a little switch on the motor.

In my personal shop I’ve stayed away from Delta. It seems that someone else always makes a better product for less money now. I heard they used to be good, what happened?

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393 posts in 4338 days

21 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8598 posts in 4536 days

#1 posted 01-28-2010 06:19 PM

the economy happened…

thanks for the review (and the other ones as well).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4465 days

#2 posted 01-28-2010 06:20 PM

I’ve had that problem with other delta products.


View pauldeo's profile


18 posts in 4214 days

#3 posted 01-28-2010 07:46 PM

I do everything I can to stay away from Delta. I agree with you that there are many other brands with better quality for far less money. Sorry for your troubles…....can we say Grizzly?

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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5202 days

#4 posted 01-28-2010 08:07 PM

So who owns Delta?

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298 posts in 4876 days

#5 posted 01-28-2010 08:21 PM

Regarding the :

FENCE : Agreed .. .. no reason for that

REVERSING SWITCH : No big deal, but that IS the way they’ve done it for ever .. I have one from the mid 40’s and it’s the same way .. this should not be a surprise, and if it is a deal killer, you probably should have passed and bought something else.

MOTOR : If it worked for a year, and the “fault” is a bent rotor, it sounds kinda like something that happened after you put it in service .. not exactly what you want to hear, I know, but rotors are pretty substantial and don’t normally bend or warp themselves. I suspect that someone had an accident with this machine while it was not in use.

I must admit, I have no “modern” Delta products, and I tend to look elsewhere when I am contemplating a purchase .. they just don’t seem to offer value for the money spent as well as their competitors. It is sad to see this once mighty giant dwindling like it is, but, that’s our American way .. survival of the fittest.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

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Chris Wright

541 posts in 4369 days

#6 posted 01-28-2010 10:57 PM

We have an older Delta Shaper here, it doesn’t get used that often (maybe once ever 3 or 4 months). It took me a little while to find the reverseing switch (I agree that they could have designed that better) but it runs fine and smooth. I’ve been a pretty loyal Delta user most of my life, I’m sorry that you’ve had such a bad experence with them.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4350 days

#7 posted 01-29-2010 12:10 AM

Its not just the economy. Delta started a major downswing in quality when their manufacturing went overseas and they started “value engineering” in the 70’s. I wont buy any Delta tool that is 1970 or newer. I do own some older Delta equipment and it is a dream to use. The new stuff is just…..well…...junk. The only exception may be the new unisaw, but that is yet to be seen, its still new.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View Dustin's profile


393 posts in 4338 days

#8 posted 01-29-2010 02:43 AM

To clear something up, this is not my shaper. I belong to the Air National Guard here in Idaho and we have it in our structural shop. No one knows much about woodworking in my shop and they didn’t even know how to use this shaper until I showed them how. Anyway, total hours spent running this machine total to less than 10 hours so it’s not suspicious that it’s suddenly having trouble. I’m sure it started out with the trouble.

As far as power I can’t tell much difference with my Shop Fox 2hp shapers however having the extra weight on this delta is nice but the fence alone makes me never want to use this Delta.

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4576 days

#9 posted 01-30-2010 05:58 AM

What was / is their reason for not honoring their 5 year warranty on all of their X5 models ?
I’m stuck with a POS Delta X5 drum sander…NEVER AGAIN will I buy another new Delta product !
On the other hand , I own a Rockwell-Delta 6” jointer from the early 60’s that is still going strong today : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Dustin's profile


393 posts in 4338 days

#10 posted 01-30-2010 06:05 AM

It’s not my shaper, I just work on it a lot so I don’t exactly know about the warranty. It’s a military base so I’m not sure they would be smart enough to use a warranty. They just buy a new one instead because it’s easier and it’s not their money…

I don’t know what’s going on with Delta, but I do know they used to make good stuff. I think because Delta keeps being bought out by new people their tools are not being re-engineered or improved much. I don’t know, and who owns them now? I heard Stanley just bought them out or something? I don’t know…

After doing a lot of research on Delta and customer reviews I know better than to buy one.

View Delta356's profile


463 posts in 3742 days

#11 posted 05-30-2011 02:41 AM

(Dennis mitchell) I but Delta Machinery. Have had no problems with there machinery. I feel they have innovation, craftsmanship and quality built into them…. The Shaper most have been a bad apple. Sorry to here you deal with this (Dustin).. Also great looking shop.

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR


View Dustin's profile


393 posts in 4338 days

#12 posted 05-31-2011 07:53 PM

This was not just a bad apple, unfortunately. Most of this was just bad engineering. Which really, isn’t hard to see when you look at the fence set up. However, when you get under the hood of the shaper there were other problems with this shaper in particular that could have been just a fluke. Tell ya what though, if you can get a better shaper for much less money would you? Or do you buy a delta because it says delta? I recommend the Shop Fox shapers highly because of their fence set up. It’s so much more solid and reliable. I’ll tell you what though, my biggest problem with many shapers these days are that they have aluminum or cast iron fences. It’s so much nicer when they are wood. I don’t worry about a loose fence accidentally hitting my cutter because I forgot to lock it down. If I want I can slide it right up to the spindle to make a zero clearance fence and just replace it later if I want. It’s just nice.
The aluminum fence on this Delta in particular is ‘ribbed’ and can cause problem if the surface of the material against the fence is small, or has an uneven surface that fall in between the ribs. I use shapers almost constantly in my cabinet business and at my guard unit and I will tell you that for ALMOST all the Delta equipment that I have used that I’d rather use something else. Grizzly is coming on pretty strong these days and you get quite a bit of tool for your money. Shop Fox is a little nicer than Grizzly and Jet equipment. And since Shop Fox and Powermatic are just about the same, Powermatic being still just a little nicer, I think you just get the most bang for your buck these days with Shop Fox. Grizzly has the all around best service hands down though, Shop Fox you have to go through a local dealer for find the same part from Grizzly.

View F Ben Kautz's profile

F Ben Kautz

33 posts in 3499 days

#13 posted 03-05-2013 09:58 PM

I had a Grizzly shaper I bought used, but in good shape. I was glad to get rid of it and enjoy my Delta 3 hp shaper.
The Delta is a more professional quality machine.

-- Woodsurgin

View Dustin's profile


393 posts in 4338 days

#14 posted 03-06-2013 01:59 AM

Grizzly’s G1026 has the small production shop in mind, with an accurate, reliable fence, an easy multi-directional switch, and lower price tag. The problems are that it really needs a serpentine belt and better dust collection.

The Shop Fox is pretty much the same as the Grizzly but needs a better way to keep the fence parallel with the miter slot. When it comes to cost for performance this is the best deal on a shaper that I’ve seen.

The Delta Xseries 3hp is a heavier machine that both of the prior machines, but with a terribly engineered fence and overall badly thought out format. Especially with the directional switch inside the cabinet. Also keep in mind that the Delta’s are far more expensive than the Grizzly’s and the Shop Fox. Every time I have to work with ours I want to toss it in the trash.

I have used these machines for nearly four years now and I can see why it’s so easy to buy a used Delta. If you have a scenario where your Delta is working out well for you then I think you are in luck! And will be able to find more great deals on used Delta shapers easily.

My favorite shaper is of course my KF700SP, which blows the socks off of any machine I’ve read mentioned on this site so far. I have five shapers now, each with it’s own purpose.

View F Ben Kautz's profile

F Ben Kautz

33 posts in 3499 days

#15 posted 04-01-2013 09:19 PM

I have a Delta 3 hp shaper. I moved up from a Grizzly which was full of vibrations and felt really cheap. I have noticed some idiosyncrasies with the Delta as with all models.
The pulleys have to be in line to avoid vibrations, and you need to make sure the set screws are tight enough.
I don’t care for the lever which locks the motor in place to keep belt tension
The fences are fine, except no way to attach auxilliary fences ( no grooves like my Bench dog router table).
I have mounted my sliding table on the front of the machine so I don’t lose one of the extensions. I have a longer reference surface with running boards lengthwise. The switch is where I can get to it also.
I am looking for a power feeder. Rockler has just lowered the price of the 1 hp feeder. I did notice it only has 3 wheels rather than four. It seems the older models had 4 wheels.
I know Delta has had their problems, but in my opinion, I would take them over Grizzly.

-- Woodsurgin

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