Moulder Cutter Head Radial Spindle Calibration

by Russ Rego

Today we will describe how to calibrate radial adjustments, and counters on your industrial style moulder machine. Your specific moulder may not be the same as illustrated here, but you will get the general idea.

Here are a few things we will need to accomplish this task.

  • Straight knife cutter head.
  • 8” straight edge.
  • 60mm spacer, or whatever large size spacer is available.
  • .020" Shim, for the top cutter head only.

Please follow all lock and tag out procedures your company has set in place for your machinery.

Take a tool radius measurement of the cutter head you will use for calibrating, write that measurement on both sides of the cutter head with a marker, this is so you can view that dimension while calibrating any spindle position.

Important Note: All radial calibration final movements will be toward the lumber, except for the top horizontal spindles, they will be calibrated going away from the lumber, this practice will compensate for any lash in the threaded shafts.

Let’s start with the right spindle

  • Place the straight knife cutter head on the right spindle shaft.
  • Place straight edge on bedplate and up against the fixed inside adjustable fence.
  • Move radial adjustment of cutter head knives toward straight edge till it barely touches the straight edge.
  • Put the same radial number measurement of on the cutter head into your radial counter on your machine, stopping on the number going the same direction as you calibrated. This method takes any sloppiness out of the counter as well, now your calibrated, great job!
Right Moulder Cutter Head Now we move to the left spindle or outside head of the machine.
  • Place the 60mm spacer up against the fixed fence side of the machine.
  • Place the straight knife cutter head on left spindle.
  • Move the radial adjustment on the machine until you barely touch the spacer, and stop.
  • Here are a couple of types of counters out there on your machinery, one is a single counter, the other style is a double counter, otherwise known as a digit set counter. (Two counters in one with a lever to switch from one to the other) We will first start with the calibration of the single type counter, take the measurement of your cutter head and add 2.362”, this is the same measurement in inches of the 60mm spacer you used to calibrate. Place the totaled numbers into your radial counter on your left spindle. Make sure you stop in the same direction as you moved your radial adjustment, this will remove any slop in the counter. In the future when you set up your machine on the left spindle, you will add the radial number of your cutter head, and the finish width you want, and set the machine to the added numbers.

If you have a digit set counter on your machine flip the lever up and put the radial number from the cutter head in the upper set of numbers, again stopping in the same direction of the spindle as to remove the “lash “from the counter. Next flip the lever down and put the value of you 60mm spacer in that set of numbers (in this case the number again will be 2.362”).

Congratulations, you have just successfully calibrated your left radial spindle. In the future when you set the left spindle the radial number off the cutter head goes in the top of the counter and the finish width of your product goes in the bottom of the counter.

Left Moulder Cutter Head

Let's continue with radial calibration for the top and bottom moulder spindles.

  • Set the height of the feed beam and spindle shaft to around 2.500”.
  • Slide a straight knife cutter head on the top spindle.
  • Place the 60mm/2.362” on the bed plate under the cutter head, on top of a 0.020" shim, this will compensate for the shim located under the last bottom bedplate, which will make the bed plates an even plane, or take the shim out and calibrate without the shim, you can adjust that in the next steps.
  • Manually move the cutter head with the knives so it won’t come into play with the spacer that’s on the bed plate when you manually move the spindle downward.
  • Now, manually move the spindle upwards until the knives in the cutter head just slip by the spacer, when turning the cutter head backwards.
  • Take note of the number on the counter, move upward an extra .020” to compensate for the shim under the last bottom bed plate, if you calibrated without the shim under the 60mm spacer.
  • Now set the counter based on which type of counter you have. (Look at the above paragraph of calibration of left spindle). Make sure your setting the counter the same direction as your last movement going in the up position. But this time you’re adding the radial measurements from your cutter head with the thickness of your products instead of the width, as we did earlier.

Congratulation’s your top spindle is now calibrated.

Top Moulder Cutter Head

Finally, the calibration of the last bottom moulder spindle.

  • Slide the straight knife cutter head on the last bottom spindle shaft.
  • Place your 8” straight edge on the last bed plate right after the last bottom spindle.
  • Lower, and then raise your last bottom spindle up till the straight knife in your cutter head just barely touches the straight edge. Remember your last movement should be going toward the lumber.
  • Now set your counter in the same direction as your last movement on the spindle. The number in the counter should be the same number of your tool radius on the cutter head, just like the right moulder spindle.

Congratulation’s your last bottom spindle is now calibrated.

Bottom Moulder Cutter Head

We hope your calibration experience was a memorable one, and, we helped save you some time in future moulder setup procedures. Now that you have more confidence in radial calibration, try axially calibrating your moulder spindles by using this step by step article to help you.

If you need any further help please feel free to contact us we would be glad to assist you in accomplishing this task.