This video demonstrates step by step how to upgrade your Makita 2012NB thickness planer to use the helical / spiral cutter head with the carbide indexable inserts. It also compares the performance of both straight knives cutter head against the helical / spiral cutter head.
The comparison of the:- noise in decibels [dB] was measured by the phone app- alternating current in Amperes was measured by the clamp meter (you need to separate the power cord, and clamp the meter around a single wire only). the clamp meter with True RMS is available here: https://amzn.to/39cUcNh
The helical / spiral cutter head was sourced from tigertoolspro.com (please email me for the latest price: info @ tigertoolspro . com) should the product have not yet been listed on the website.The helical / spiral cutter head is built with the top high quality and extreme sharp and durable carbide blades, arranged in 4 spiral paths of 12 blades per path, totalling 48 indexable blades. The helical carbide inserts are made in Germany. One edge should last 3 or more years, so 4 edges (after 3 times rotating the indexable carbide insert knives) should last 10 or more years without the need to buy new ones. Should an accident happen, and one of the 10 mm x 10 mm blades hit the nail for instance, all you need to do is to rotate a single square, and you are good to go again. In the case of the straight cutter head knife hitting the nail, in the middle of your project, the blade will be no longer usable, and you have to buy a replacement, which may take a lot of time.The bearings were taken off from the old straight knives cutter head, and were reused with the new replacement helical / spiral cutter head.
The test was performed on Eusideroxylon zwageri = "iron" wood = belian (3020 lbs hardness) while cutting 1.5 mm per pass (half knob turn)
The alternating current [A] and noise level [dB] reading:
1. straight knives cutter head
1.1. idle: 3 A / 77 dB
1.2. under load 7.5 A / 85 dB
2. helical / spiral cutter head
2.1. idle 3.9 A / 75 dB
2.2. under load 6.9 A / 77 dB
The helical / spiral head was noticeably a lot less noisy. It also felt like it was cutting the "iron" wood with ease, without "screaming" or struggle. It really felt as if the motor was under less load while using the helical head, despite the amperage being almost identical on both cutter heads..The tests turned out very satisfactory not only because of the above readings, but most of all because of the lustre smooth surface finish, which was of such a high quality, that no sanding is necessary. The wood is ready for the finishing coat right out of the helical / spiral cutter head processing.
The final conclusion is obvious.
Once you feel and see the quality of the processed wood surface, you will never return to the straight knives cutter head.
Additional factor that encouraged me to upgrade my Makita 2012NB thickness planer, to the helical / spiral cutter head, was the fact my 12 inch industrial jointer also uses the same quality helical / spiral cutter head, and I wanted to be able to have both sides of the processed material, to obtain the identical / matching quality on each side.
What is the difference between spiral and helical cutter head?
The individual blades forming the path on the spiral cutter head are parallel to the axis, which should really be called segmented straight blade, is still much better than full length straight knife.
The helical cutter head not only consists of 4 or more spiral paths containing 12 or so carbide indexable knives (4 blades each, which can be rotated 90 degrees every few years as they get dull or if you accidentally damaged them by hitting the nail),
but the blades are skewed at an angle of about 14 degrees to the axis, which additionally improves the performance, as every time the blade contacts the wood, it slashes it at an angle instead the head banging style.
So the conclusion is: helical outperforms spiral, and spiral outperforms straight knife.