Ryobi AP-12 Planer Problem

We are in the process of finishing our new home and my old faithful AP-12 shot craps this afternoon. I was planing some thin stock when I heard a loud "clunk" and it quit feeding. The blades are turning. I found a snap ring on the base plate, and I searched out all snap rings in the owners manual and started thinking feed roller chain drive system. I Pulled the end panel on the crank side and found the main drive sprocket (the one outside the motor /gearbox housing) in pieces. I also noticed a couple of gouges in the base beneath the double sprockets on the drive end of the feed rollers). I removed the broken sprocket, leaving the chain free but the rollers still seem very hard to turn by hand. Is this normal? Also, should I expect gearbox damage? This has been a good old machine that has had thousands of feet of hardwood run through it, and parts are fairly cheap, but I need planing capability now. Any suggestions are certainly appreciated.
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I would think the jammed roller or gearbox is what caused the sprocket to fail.
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Started exploratory surgery this morning but it might end up being an autopsy. In addition to the broken sprocket; the end of the gearbox shaft was badly worn and scored indicating the sprocket key had failed some time earlier. The one roller that seemed to be dragging was gummed up but cleaned up easily and turns smoothly. More seriously though, the gearbox flange that contains mounting holes was cracked about 2/3 along its length. As I removed the motor/box assembly it broke. Not sure this is economically feasible to fix since it is about 14 years old and the only affordable blades are Deltas. Ryobi quit making them years ago and the aftermarkets are in the $60 to $70 dollar range.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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..
I have seen the Dewalts in the store and thought they looked great. Do you own one? My concern is the user reviews because about 1/3 of the 145 users review rate it at two stars or below. Many of the complaints sound pretty serious. When we started finishing the house I knew the old Ryobi might not hold up to that much use. I have used it fairly heavily since bought in about '95. I always saw my next planer as being one of the heavier Jet or Grizzly 15" machines. HOWEVER; given the economics of building a no-mortgage house and watching 401 rollovers turn in to 201's, a big machine is out of the question.
Are you or anyone else personally familiar with the Rigid TP 1300LS? I have to admit Rigid was not on top of my list but reviews of owner opinions on 2-3 sources look pretty good.
RonB
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If I was going to spring for another portable planer, the Dewalt would probably be my choice, mainly because of all the good reviews it's received. However, I wasn't aware that it had racked up any significant percentage of bad reviews; perhaps time has soured people's opinions.

I just took delivery of this bad boy: http://www.grizzly.com/products/15-Planer/G0453

I hear ya; however, Grizzly has free shipping on this machine right now; perhaps saving $144 in freight charges would make the leap a little easier?

I am not; sorry.
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I think a lot of the poor reviews for the Dewalt 735 came in the first year or two when there was a problem with a specific part failing. It was redone (as far as I know) and the problem no longer exists. FWIW - I've had one for about 2 years now and am very happy with it. Only downside is the blades tend to nick and dull easily. Has been reliable and I've run several thousandsof board feet passes through it in the past year alone (bought a lot of rough cut walnut to joint and plane).
Gary in KC
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Turned out better than expected..........so far.
Ordered a new sprocket for $1.98 + $8 shipping and handling. I had to pretty much tear the machine apart to repair the gearbox (JB Weld is wonderful) and get the chains and sprockets off. Cleaned everything up and reassembled yesterday eventing and it seems to be running quite well. With the cleanup and lube the elevation crank works better than I can remember it ever working. I had to do a fair amount of fiddling to get the cutting head parallel with the table but final cuts were about .002 across the bed measured on the bed and on a piece of milled walnut (accident, not skill). Main worry now is the badly scored gearbox shaft that held the fractured sprocket. I cannot figure out how it got that badly damaged with a keyed sprocket in place; and the shaft turns much too slowly to have it happen in the moment of failure. At least there was enough of the groove left to allow installation of the snap-ring. If I had to replace the gear shaft, I would have probably scrapped the machine.
Lesson: Pay attention to the minimum thickness requirement on a planer's specifications. At one time the machine would not allow me to drop the cutter to the 3/16" minimum. Wear must have loosened things up because there were very visible gouges in the table below the sprockets. I was planing some thin stock for trim and should have been using my sled. Apparently the sprockets dug in, stopped the chain and the drive sprocket failed. As usual---stupid me.
Fingers crossed
RonB
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Glad to hear that the repair went well ("fingers crossed" :). I'm doubtful about the long-term effectiveness of JB Weld when subjected to the stress and vibration of planing.
I recently experienced a similar AP12 breakdown and thought it might be helpful to the AP12 community to describe it here. My failure, like Ron B's, was related to a jam-up of the feed roller drive train. In my case, the jam-up was clearly caused by planer chips packing into the drive chain recess in the side of the planer frame casting. There apparently was a build-up of chips between the drive chains and the outfeed roller drive sprockets which caused the chains to ride up on the sprockets and jam against the side of the drive chain recess. The drive chains were so tightly stretched around the sprockets by this build-up of chips that I had to snip the chains with a small bolt cutter in order to disassemble the chain drive. Of course the jam-up resulted in several sorts of mahem in the feed roller drive mechanism. In my case, there was no damage to the drive sprockets. The gearbox casting broke in the way Ron describes. Also, when I got inside the gearbox I discovered that all the teeth had been sheared off of the small pinion gear which sits in the middle of the gear drive train.
While an argument could be made that the best course of action would have been to throw the planer in the dump and buy a new one, I decided to see if I could fix it. I was able to buy all the repair parts I needed from ToolPartsDirect.com, (a really good source for repair parts for all sorts of tools and machinery) for about $100. This included a new gearbox housing, bearings, bushings, gears, chains, shafts and keys. I did not cut corners here as the disassembly/reassembly process is time-consuming and I wanted to end up with a reliable piece of equipment.
I am presently waiting for the replacement parts to arrive. In the meantime, while the machine is disassembled, I have decided to cut inspection ports in the steel sides which support and guide the cutterhead so that I will be able to monitor chip buildup and easily blow chips out of the feed roller drive system before they cause problems. I cut these ports or windows by drilling holes at the four corners of each port and then saber sawing between them. They measure about 5 x 4 inches and are covered by pieces of clear lexan attached with small machine screws in each corner.
I see that Ryobi has replaced the AP12 with a redesigned 13" planer which may avoid the problem of chip build-up in the inaccessible feed roller drive system.
Pico C. Cle Elum, WA
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On Monday, September 24, 2012 4:37:15 PM UTC-5, Pico wrote:
When I first read of the problem, I thought maybe some metal (nail, screw?) may have gotten caught in the works, but chip buildup sounds very reasonable. When I first bought my Delta 15", I used it a few times before hooking up the dust collector. Chips would quickly build up around the outfeed roller and cause problems, especially with some resinous pine I was planing.
*Just a shot-in-the-dark at what may contribute to the chip buildup problem: There was no mention of a dust/chip collector in use, either in the original post or in/with your similar issue, but I assume both of you have a DC in place. Maybe check or increase the DC draw capacity to help remove more chips from inside the machine during use... or some similar tweaking of the DC for improved removal?
Sonny
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