15" Delta Planer Rebuild

I won this planer at auction this past December. It had been in a former high school shop and although it looked very good on the outside, the outfeed roll had some deep grooves worn into it, indicating possibly greater problems. I was told it was still running and the price turned out to be right so I made the trip to pick it up.

The planer installed and running at its former owners location.


All cleaned up after getting it home. For a heavier, larger machine than the common portables, it does not take up much more space with the tables folded down.



Lots of power for a machine this size.


The next indication of wear after the grooved outfeed roll was the elevation handle, lots of side to side play indicating wear in the screw shaft or bushing or both.


The dust exhaust hood, a spare set of knives and setting gauge.


The motor assembly and dust cover removed. The motor bearings were tight and smooth the triple belt pulleys and belts were a little rusty but otherwise in good shape with no wear.


The dirt and resin build up in these pictures is not necessarily an indication of wear but does point to a need for some maintenance.


The gear box and feed roll chain drives. Lots of dirt build-up but very little play, indicating little wear.


The head casting removed and examined, The rubber outfeed roll had deep grooves worn into it and both bushings were worn into ovals, the spiral infeed roll and anti kickback fingers were dirty and a little rusty but ok beyond the need for a good cleaning. 


One of the column elevation nuts was broken. 


The source of the side to side movement in the elevation adjustment hand wheel, a worn and grooved elevation screw shaft, the bushing also had some wear.


And here is an indication of what may have caused some of these problems, a good dent in the chip breaker, indicates wood with some metal may have been fed into the planer at some point.


All the parts assembled on the bench for cleaning and repair.


The cutter head was dirty and gummed up but otherwise in very good shape the knife adjustment jack screws are a nice alternative to springs found on jointers and smaller machines.


The cutter head drive side bearing was still tight but was running dry, decided to replace it with a nice NTN double seal snow machine bearing, rated for 10,000 rpm. Old bearing on the left.


Well now that I know where the problems are, I put in a parts order and started with the clean up and reassembly. Below the base assembly only required a little clean-up.


The two main castings.


The table casting after being worked with lots of WD-40, emery cloth and elbow grease, some deeper wear marks are still there but the table is now smooth as silk.


Cleaned up the bed rolls and eccentric adjusters.


Set the bed roll clearance to Delta specs. with a feeler gauge.


The bed casting and rolls all done.


Parts order arrived. Here is the old outfeed roll and bushings and the new roll and bushings.


The groove worn in the old elevation screw shaft.


The new elevation screw shaft was one of the more expensive parts, to avoid this problem in the future I did a little redesign. I bored out the bushing to accept a oil impregnated bronze bushing and then bored out the bronze bushing for a close fit on the adjustment screw shaft.


The new shaft and redesigned bushing.



Cleaned and installed the height adjustment column. 


Nice close fit on the redesign.


Next I installed the other three columns.


Next the planer head was installed and supported on four accurate shop made gauge blocks.


With the head supported on the gauge blocks the column locks were installed and the head locked in position.


The elevation screws were then turned by hand untill the elevation screw nuts were aligned with the head bolt holes. All the bolts were then installed and tightened down.


Next the planer was flipped on its side and the cleaned and lubricated height adjustment drive chain was installed and the tension adjusted. 


Installed the planer back on its stand and loosely installed the elevation wheel. 


I then run the planer head up and down through its range a couple of times and then locked it in place. Checked the height of the head to the bed at all four columns. Very close all within .001 of main column.


Next I installed the planer cutter head with the new bearing on the drive end and the gear box.


I drained the gear box of oil and and flushed it out well first with WD-40 and then fresh oil. Refilled with 80 weight extreme pressure gear oil. Checked gear backlash for wear, very little. 


Installed a new set of very sharp knives. I have yet to buy or build a blade sharpener for all my knives.


Adjustment was quick and easy with the jack screws. Planer cutter head with new knives.


I straightened and cleaned the chip breaker.


 And installed in planer head.


The chip breaker was then adjusted with reference to the cutter head, according to Delta specs. I keep referring to the Delta specs. They are available in the manual that comes with the planer or you can download a copy from the Delta parts store, on line.


The next two pictures are the infeed and outfeed rolls installed with the bushing assemblies. They are then adjusted for clearance as with the chip breaker, according to Delta specs.



Here the feed roll drive chains and sprockets are cleaned, lubricated and installed.


I then cleaned and installed the feed cover and dust deflector.


The composite dust deflector has adjusting slots that were a bit chewed up, because no washers had been used in their attachment. Added washers to stop the problem from getting worse.


Cleaning the dust cover required a soaking in WD-40 to soften up the hardened dirt and resin.


All cleaned up without to much damage to the paint.


The height adjustment hand wheel and dust cover installed.



Next I installed the motor and drive assembly. Adjusted the belt alignment and tension and we are ready for the electrics.


The school shop had removed their large paddle switches for their replacement planer, so it was fortunate that I had a similar paddle switch to Delta's original switch in stock. For a cord I used an extra heavy 12 gauge cord, 22' long so I could reach a 230 volt outlet from anywhere in the shop.


All wired up ready to run.


I cleaned painted and installed the dust collection exhaust hood.


Installed a 5" to 4" reducer and connected to dust collector hose.


And here are a couple of  "finished" pictures.



To test the planer I first took a 2 X 6, 3 feet long and took a pass on my jointer to flatten one side.


I then took 2 passes on the other side through the planer. I set the thickness for the second pass to 1".



The results .oo1" difference across the width of the board, quite acceptable.



The finish was silky smooth with no knife marks or snipe.


Hope someone finds this rebuild useful in their rebuild adventures.

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