I have a powermatic PM15 5HP (Planer / Molder) and I'm trying to set the
height of the infeed and outfeed rollers in relation to the cutting blades.
I've been having so much trouble that I finalled bought a bed feed roll
gauge / deflection gauge to measure the distance and set the rollers.
According to the manual the in-feed roller needs to be 1/16 lower then the
blade and the out-feed roller 1/32. When I checked the current setup they
were way to low and so I assume the lumber was butting up against the roller
instead of feeding under it. Anyway after reseting the rollers to the
"proper" heights the unit will not plane 1/8 of a pine board while pulling
the lumber through, I cranked the rollers down a little more and it's still
not grabbing. Am I doing something wrong or is the manuals guidlines way
Owning and having used only older "heavy metal" planers, can only
describe basics of their operation and adjustment. Hopefully that
will help for your situation as well.
Sounds like reasonable settings for infeed and outfeed rollers, so
problem would seem to be elsewhere. There are the basic adjustments
of in/outfeed rollers, bed rollers (if extant) and chipbreaker.
If have bed rollers, make sure they're just proud of the bed and
free. Also be sure the bed itself is in good shape.
I'm suspecting if you have sharpened or readjusted the knives the real
problem is that the chipbreaker or pressure bar is too low and the
workpiece is binding there. It should be just a fraction above the
I waxed my feed tables which made a world of difference. Wood that
would not get pulled in before the wax worked as expected. No other
ideas as I have a Makita combo which is a toy compared to yours. I did
see a post recently for rebuilding my Makita's rollers. You send off
your dried out worn polyurathane rollers, they strip them and pour new
poly on them. They then turn the rollers to the proper shape.
Is there any chance you machine may have dirty feed rollers? We used
to slather up some kerosene to clean up dirty tables and rollers at
one wood shop I worked at. Oops, maybe that was for a table saw with
an electric feed that we ripped yellow pine on. Lots of pitch gummed
Your service manual does mention too low can cause problems to the
I have a cheapie Delta planer that I've been rather happy with. A few
months after I started using it, I noticed it wasn't feeding boards the way
it used to.
I tried waxing the tables and cleaned the rollers and all other parts as
good as I could. It helped a little, but it still wasn't feeding boards
Now I'll be honest, I haven't read the manual. :) I don't know if it's even
possible to adjust the roller heights on my machine.
After fighting with this problem for a while, I changed the planer knives
and suddenly the planer started feeding boards again. I guess the dull
knives just provided too much resistance for the rollers to overcome. Not
only that, I was amazed at how much quieter the planer ran with sharp
knives. They actually CUT the wood instead of beating it to death... :)
I've spent more time than anyone should looking at this machine and am just
stumped. I'm ready to call in a pro to have a look at it. The rollers do a
have a small amount of pitch on them but nothing significant, the chip
breaker is adjusted well out of the way, and the bed of the machine is
actually a custom molding bed made out of melamine and waxed several times.
On the feed rollers I can adjust the height as well as the spring tension
but after playing with both setting for house I'm not much further ahead. I
just started using the machine this week "new from box" so I can't see
anything being warn out yet...
Does it work ok w/ the factory bed? That would be step one.
Mentioned it wouldn't handle an 1/8" cut -- does it handle a thinner
If it's a brand new machine, is there any possibility there's some
overlooked packing or somesuch still in the feed path?
Also, as dumb as it sounds, not knowing the newer PM machines, any
chance the knives are backwards or not above the head diameter? And,
of course, as someone else mentioned, the knives need to be at least
sharp enough to not be an obstruction. If it's new, that _shouldn't_
be a problem.
If a new machine and none of the suggestions help, if from local
distributor, I'd call them, otherwise try PM. _Used_ to be their
service/support was topnotch -- I've no idea how it is since the Jet
takeover; my last new equipment was so long ago I drove down to
McMinville and picked it up and was taken to lunch by one of the shop/
foundry foremen after the "cook's tour"... :)
I yanked the "home made" bed off and tried the factory metal bed but it
didn't make a difference. A thin cut works a little better but not really.
I've even taken a piece that was just planed and fired it back in the
machine and it still ahs problems. I've also checked the belt tension and
anything else the manual suggested. I'll try running it on the factory bed
again tonight and see if that helps but don't have much hope.
P.S. I have a call into Powermatics and will try them again on my lunch
I think I have read that dull blades can goof up the feed. I just got
up from the basement. I resawed some 3/4" oak into about 1/4". I fed
it through my Makita planer which I waxed Sunday. My planer has
rollers opposite the feed rollers. The wood gets squezed between the
rollers while the actual planing is done on the flat plate that I just
waxed. In any event the bottom idler rollers are supposed to be about
.003" above the bottom table. Pretty smooth job for this experiment. I
have not paid attention to other planers as the Makita is the only
planer I have touched since about 1990 except for a little toy Delta
planer that works pretty well with sharp blades. That Delta certain
will not feed with dull blades or misadjusted blades.
I called Tech Support yesterday and after reading from the manual we
determined that I have done everything that the manual suggests. He is
suppose to call me back today with the factory settings so that I can try
and set the feed roll height and spring tension to the factory settings.
Unfortunately the bed of this planer does not have rollers.
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