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Help, number of wings on spiral cutter head

447 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  therealSteveN

I'm about to upgrade my planer/thicknesser from straight blades to a spiral cutter.
My head is 310m wide, 70mm diameter.
I have the option to get:
1) 6 wings, 72 cutters
2) 4 wings, 48 cutters
I thought more wings/cutters would result in better result.

However, I get input that 70mm with 6 wings the insert will be very compact, and the cutting groove of the insert will be very narrow, and a suggestion about option 2)

Does anyone have some input or advice to give, or reference to where I may find some info?
What does your planer/thicknesser have?

The price difference is small, so I'm looking for what will give the best result.

I'm planing mainly hardwood, and my machine is a woodfast PT310X with a 3HP motor.
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Less is better.
Look at the euro insert heads they have one row that spirals around the head.
Less inserts means less to replace less to rotate. Less to clean if you run fat wood.
I had a 8 inch jointer with 6 rows of 9. It was terrible to face wood it took too much hand pressure.
I have a insert head in my planer.
Good Luck
One key consideration for selecting the number of rows of segmented cutters; is chip relief area cut behind the inserts. With a higher number of inserts, there is less room to machine a deep groove to clear wood chips. This groove depth determines the maximum cut depth a single pass.

Typically a segmented cutter head has a smaller chip relief size, than a straight blade cutter head. So adding a segmented cutter head automatically reduces the maximum cut depth.
A typical 15" planer with straight blades can hog 1/4" in a single pass. Some straight blade jointer heads can remove 3/8" in single pass. A segmented cutter max cut depth varies, but is much smaller range from ~5/32 to 3/16".

The selection question is simple IMHO:
Is more cuts per minute (and a finer cut) more important than cut depth per pass and feed rate? and
How much cut depth do you need?

On a combo machine, like your PT310X; suggest this trade off is slightly challenging. Removing 1/4" per pass when edge jointing is much more common than removing 1/4" with a thickness planer; unless machining rough slabs. What is your priority for the machine?

For my shop, I use a thickness planer to thin wood, not make finish ready surfaces. Spending more time making 6 passes for fine cut, when 1-2 required with straight blade would be frustrating.

Best Luck with decision.
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I've had a mix of different helical segmented solutions, both Byrd, and Griz, and so far all of mine have been at or near 48 cutters. All I can say is I don't know the answer to your question, but can easily say your cut will be quieter, better, and last longer between changes over straight knives. Even on Curly Maple, BE Maple and other figured woods I get consistent, glass like surfaces, that don't require a lot of additional work off the tool.

If it gets better than what I am getting by increasing the number of cutters I have to believe I would have been reading about it a lot, because these heads are the future.
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