April 13, 2022

Automach Handcraft Reciprocating Power Carver Review

Overview

The Automach 1/4 HP Flexible Shaft Carver Kit comes with a more advanced tool in woodcarving technology. The Automach carver is rugged and reliable. It features an Aluminium die-cast body that is light and vibration-free. It has a reciprocating action of the cutter head that carves through the toughest woods with a simple hand direction. 

The use of pressure causes a deeper cut. For safety, free-floating action keeps blades motionless until pressed against the wood. It features laminated blades that move at 10,000 vibrations per minute, leaving a smooth-cut surface. 

Carving is enjoyable due to its versatility, portability, movement, accuracy, and speed. A powerful 40-watt ball-bearing motor delivers 10,000 vibrations per minute for 1 mm cutting strokes. The package includes 6inch grounded cord, rear on/off switch, hanger, five blades, two spanner wrenches, and complete instructions for use.

Automach-Handcraft-Reciprocating-Power-Carver

Features

Ease of use

Another benefit of the tool is the lack of stress on hands, wrists, and arms. It is not that the tool does not get heavy after an hour, but it is not like using a mallet and chisel, or even a hook knife. Learning to handle the tool remains helpful.

Reciprocating Action

The reciprocating action of the cutter head carves through the toughest woods with just simple hand direction. It is for direct attachment to power rotary tools without flex rotor shafts, that convert rotary motion to reciprocating motion for precision control of cutting, carving, sawing, chiseling, filing, sanding, and engraving on delicate workpieces.

The rotating piece attaches directly to the rotary power source and provides the cam action drive to the reciprocating piece. Bearing gives rotating support for the other end of the rotating piece, while a reciprocating piece mounts in the front enclosure.

Blades 

Free-floating action keeps the blades safely motionless until pressed against the wood. Laminated blades move at 10,000 vibrations per minute, leaving a smooth-cut surface. It makes heavy and delicate cuts and for extended periods with little maintenance.

Another benefit of the reciprocating action of the blade is the lack of dust. The blade slices and there is no dust. Particles like walnut dust are very toxic, and you are bound to be concerned that even using the AUTOMACH would offer a risk in cutting. After making a series of cuts in a piece, remove the dust mask, and run your finger along with the cuts. You are going to see nothing. When you smell the wood–only a very faint smell is present.

No vibration 

You can touch the blade as any non-vibrating blade. The feeling is the same as touching a soft finger, and the vibrations are invisible, rapid, and small. So the unit has a quiet but high-pitched hum when you are not pressing it into the wood. When pressing into the wood, it is only as loud as the harmonics of the wood. If you are carving on a guitar, it becomes loud. If you are digging into a clamped thick block, it is quiet.

Five Blade Profiles

These include 1/4″ Straight Chisel, 1/2″ #5 Gouge, 1/4″ #5 Gouge, 3/8″ 90deg V-tool, and 1/4″ #5 Bent Gouge. It accepts all the Flexcut replaceable blades, although an adapter is used on the larger style blades. The cutting action starts when the blade is pressed against something. The amount of pressure applied determines the cutting speed.

With sharp blades, the Automach cuts through basswood easily. Although the Automach can be used to carve fine detail, its length and size preclude the use. The palm tools are for details, while the Automach is for moving large amounts of wood.

Weight

The aluminum die-cast body is lightweight and vibration-free.

What’s included:

  • Automach Handcraft Reciprocating Power Carver
  • 6′ Grounded cord
  • The rear on/off switch
  • Hanger
  • (5) Blades
  • Spanner wrenches
  • Complete instructions for use

Technical Specification

  • Carver Body: 9″ Length x 1-3/4″ Diameter (228 mm x 44 mm)
  • Weight: 2 lb (990 grams)
  • Cutting Strokes: 1 mm
  • Motor: 40 Watt Ball Bearing motor
  • Impacts Per Minute: 10,000

Rotary Action vs Reciprocating Action

To convert the rotary action to reciprocating, there is a cam attached to the rotating axis. The reciprocatory drive shaft is spring-loaded to prevent constant contact and cutting action. When the spring is compressed, it allows the reciprocating drive to contact the rotating cam. The harder the spring is compressed, the longer the driver of the reciprocating shaft and the more aggressive the strokes. 

Automach has a constant rpm, so the number of cam lobes x the rpm determines the strokes per minute. While the strokes per minute would remain constant, a light touch will give light cutting; while a heavy hand will move some wood. 

The reciprocating action makes chips. Just press it against the wood, and it starts chipping away the waste wood. Wearing a dust mask is not necessary because there is no dust produced. Instead, wear eye protection, a carving glove on your opposite hand, and earplugs.

The difference between reciprocating and rotary is, that reciprocating makes chips, the rotary makes dust which you have to wear eye protection, a dust mask, and run a dust collector because it is harmful to your lungs.

Aesthetics

A larger base model with a lighter handheld with rotary cable is available. It comes with an assortment of very sharp chisels.

Because of the length of the tool, it has its limits if you are trying to carve. There will be a point where you will have to switch to another type of gouge. There is an exception of a few turns with a hook knife toward the end of bowl shaping. The AUTOMACH works very well if you have a spoon blank ready. The tool makes quick work of almost all of the shaping.

Uses

  • Carving 
  • Cutting

Durability

The only downside to this auto career is that it heats up until you cant hold the tool anymore. If you use it for about 20 minutes, then cool down for about the same time. That reset time beats any other method of efficiency and ease of use. Always be very careful and attentive using this tool.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Safe
  • No dust 
  • Comfortable 
  • Advanced
  • Reliable 
  • Smooth
  • Portable 
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Heating after some time 
  • The constant change of gouges

Verdict

An advanced Automach tool is a versatile tool that is reliable to use. It is sand safe to use, making it a comfortable tool. As much as it heats up with time, stops are necessary as you give the Automach tool some breaks. There is a need for constant change of gouges since they do not last. You may opt for a different brand if you are more concerned with durability. The downside of the reciprocating tool is the conversion of power from rotary to reciprocating. That is where most tools fail since the design is insufficient to handle the constant pounding.

David D. Hughes
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