Shaping is performed on a machine tool called a shaper. The components of the shaper include a ram, which moves relative to a column to provide
the cutting motion, and a worktable that holds the part and accomplishes the feed motion.
The motion of the ram consists of a forward stroke to achieve the cut, and a return stroke during which the tool is lifted slightly to clear the work and then reset for the next pass. On completion of each return stroke, the worktable is advanced laterally relative to the ram motion in order to feed the part. Feed is specified in mm/stroke (in/stroke).
The drive mechanism for the ram can be either hydraulic or mechanical. Hydraulic drive has greater flexibility in adjusting the stroke length and a more uniform speed during the forward stroke, but it ismore expensive than amechanical drive unit. Both mechanical and hydraulic drives are designed to achieve higher speeds on the return (noncutting) stroke than on the forward (cutting) stroke, thereby increasing the proportion of time spent cutting.