Parts of Planer Machine and Their Types, Operation, Mechanism

Hello friends, today we will explore the planer machine, delving into its components, types, and more.

In addition to understanding the components of the planer machine, we will explore its operation, planer tools, work holding devices, and more.

The operation of the planer machine closely resembles that of the shaper machine, with the primary distinction being that the tool remains stationary while the table moves back and forth.

Planer machines are employed for heavy-duty tasks that involve substantial material removal.

Historically, planners and shapers were utilized for two main purposes: achieving perfectly flat surfaces and cutting slots (such as keyways).

Read also: Types of Cutting Tool Materials and Their Properties

As technology has progressed, milling machines have largely replaced planners and shapers for these tasks, utilizing milling cutters. Slotting machines are also employed for similar operations.

While planners and shapers are not as prevalent as they once were, they haven’t been entirely phased out in the realm of metalworking.

What is Planer Machine?

A planer machine is a metalworking tool designed for shaping and finishing large and heavy workpieces. It operates on a similar principle to a shaper machine, but with the main difference being that the tool in a planer machine remains stationary, while the worktable moves back and forth.

The key features of a planer machine include a rigid and heavy frame, a horizontal crossrail, a vertical column, and a worktable that moves longitudinally. The machine is capable of producing flat surfaces, slots, and keyways on large workpieces.

Read also: Manufacturing Process of Steel: 6 Methods of Making Steel

Planer machines were traditionally used for tasks like creating precise flat surfaces and cutting slots. However, advancements in technology have led to the increased use of milling machines for similar operations. While planers are not as common as they once were, they are still utilized in specific metalworking applications.

Parts of Planer Machine

The following are the main parts of the planer machine.

  •  Bed
  •  Table
  •  Housing or column 
  •  Overarm Support
  • Cross-Rail  
  •  Tool head 
  •  Feeding mechanism
  •  Table Drive Mechanism
Show in figure parts of planer machine which are described below in detail.
Parts of Planer Machine and Their Types


The bed of the planer machine is a sturdy, box-like casting designed to provide support for all the moving components within the column and the machine as a whole. Its dimensions are slightly larger than twice the length of the table. Precision guideways are meticulously crafted on the entire upper surface of the bed, serving as tracks along which the table smoothly glides.


The table in a planer machine is a crucial component made from high-quality cast iron. It serves the purpose of securing and reciprocating the workpiece along the guideways of the bed. ‘T’ slots are strategically incorporated across the entire length of the table to accommodate bolt gates, enabling the secure clamping of the work or other fixtures for machining operations.

Housing or column

The housing in a planer machine is a robust vertical structure resembling a box and is positioned on either side of the bed. Precision guideways are crafted on the front face of each housing, facilitating the vertical movement of the cross-rail.

Overarm Support

The cross-rail in a planer machine is a component that provides support for both side columns or housings.

Cross Rail

The cross rail in a planer machine is a box-like casting that connects two housings. It has the capability to move vertically and can be securely clamped in any desired position.

Tool head

The tool head of the planer is akin to the tool head of the shaper. It accommodates cutting tools configured for specific operations. There are two types of tool heads mounted on the planer machine.

  1. Vertical Tool Head
  2. Slide Tool Head

Vertical Tool Head

The vertical tool head is affixed to the cross rail, enabling lateral movement along the cross rail. It also has a slight vertical adjustment capability.

Slide Tool Head 

The slide tool head is mounted on the housing or column that moves up and down in a housing or column.
It can also move slightly left and right on the housing or column.

Feeding Mechanism  

Feed in the planer is given at the end of the forward stroke or at the beginning of the backward stroke.

The feed is given through the movement of the tool. 

There are two types of feeds.

  1. Down feed
  2. Cross-feed  

Both these feeds can be given by rotating the feed screws by hand or power.

Down Feed

Down feed is given when machining the vertical or angular surface, the down feed screw of the tool head is rotated and fed down.


Cross feeds are given when machining the horizontal surface of a work hold on a table.

Table Drive Mechanism 

For the table drive mechanism, a quick return mechanism is used.

The following methods are used to obtain motion in a backward stroke of the planer table and slow-motion in a forward stroke. 

Following are the various mechanisms used to run the table.

  1. Open and Cross Belt Drive 
  2. DC Reversible Motor 
  3. Hydraulic Drive 

Open and Cross Belt Drive

Small planners are driven by open and cross belts using fast and loose pulleys. 

But such planners can operate only at a one cutting speed and a one return speed.

DC Reversible Motor 

A DC reversible motor uses a motor that can change its speed according to the feed current. 

Power from the motor is transmitted to the table rack by a reduction gearing and a worm that mashes with the table rack. 

This method is used to obtain table speeds in the range.

Hydraulic Drive

Mechanisms for the hydraulic drive of the shaper can be used in planers with some modifications. 

These drives also include trip dogs along the table to adjust the stroke length and change the position of the table.  

These planers are not used for heavy duty work as the required hydraulic power is very high and the drive is not smooth.

After parts of planer machine now we will know types of planer machine in details.

Types of Planer Machine

There are the following types of planer machines.

  •  Double Housing Planner Machine
  •  Open Side Planer Machine
  •  Pit Planer Machine
  •  Edge or Plate Planer Machine
  •  Divided Table Planer Machine

Double Housing Planner Machine

This is the most commonly used planner. 

It has a long heavy base on its entire top surface, Precision guideways are made on which the table reciprocates.  

Two vertical housings are mounted near the center of the base.  

The tool head is mounted on the cross-rail.  

The tool is fed by hand or power in crosswise or vertical directions.

Open Side Planer Machine

This type of planner machine has only one housing on one side of the base and hangs from the housing like a cross-rail cantilever.
These types of planer machines allow large-sized jobs to be hold on the table and reciprocated under the cutting tool. 

Pit Planer Machine

These types of planer machines differ from the ordinary planer in that its table is fixed and the column reciprocates with the cross-rail on the mounted horizontal rails on both sides of the table. 

This type of planer is suitable for machining very large workpieces.  

Edge or Plate Planer Machine

These types of planer machines are completely different from ordinary planers.  

It is specially used to square or bevel the steel plate, plates which are used in pressure vessels and shipbuilding works.

Divided Table Planer Machine

It has two tables on the bed which can be reciprocated individually or simultaneously.  

This type of design saves more time wasted when setting tasks.

Work Holding Devices in Planer Machine

Standard clamping tools are used to hold most work or jobs on the planer’s table.  

Often the following work holding devices are used in planer machines.

  1. Heavy Duty Vices 
  2. ‘T’ bolts and Clamps
  3. Step Blocks 
  4. Angle Plates 
  5. Planner Jacks
  6. Planner Centers 
  7. ‘V‘ blocks

Operations of Planer Machine

Planer operations are similar to operations performed on a shaper.  
The only difference is that the planer is specially designed for machining large work, while the shaper can only machine small work.  

Usually, the following operations are done on the planer machine.

  1. The planing of horizontal surfaces 
  2. The planing of vertical surfaces 
  3. Machining of angles 
  4. The planing of curved surfaces
  5. The planing of slots and grooves

Planer Tools 

The cutting tools used on a planer machine are all single point cutting tools.

These are similar in shape and tool angles to the tools often used on lathe machines or shaper machines.

But these tools are made in heavier and larger cross sections because planer tools have to work on course feeds during the heavy cut, long cutting strokes.

Planner tools can be of the solid, forge type, or bit type.  

The bits are made from high-speed steel, stellite, or cementite carbide. 

Planer tools are of different sizes which are as follows.

  1. Round nose tool
  2. Square nose tool 
  3. Dovetail tool 
  4. ‘T’ slot tool 
  5. Finishing tool 
  6. Keyway cutting tool

Cutting Speed, Feed, and Depth of Cut in Planer Machine 

Cutting Speed​​

It is the rate at which the metal is cut during the forward cutting stroke. 

It is expressed in m/min.  


It is the distance in which the tool head moves during each cutting stroke and is expressed in mm per double stroke. 

Depth of Cut

It is the thickness of metal that is cut into one cut that is measured by the perpendicular distance between the machined and unmachined surface and expressed in mm.

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