Acceptable tolerance for thicknesser - parallelism of cutter head to the bed

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Fanous

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Have you got it back and have you now resolved the issues and are happy with it? At some point I think @MikeK will be giving us some feedback on his new aquisition which will be interesting after his previous issues with one of the generic rebadged asian machines.

Still waiting to get it back. It's annoying, as I use it quite a bit, and my projects have been on hold for a number of weeks. Especially annoying considering I would be better of not sending it anywhere, and ask here what's the best way to adjust it. Hey ho... Can't do much but wait. Possibly chase them up.
 

Fanous

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Got it back today, not had a chance to unpack and toy with. One month turn-around, give or take.
 

Bod

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Just thought I would leave it here. The feedback from Axminster.



"Good morning Mr XXX,
As you know we have had your Axminster Trade AT260SPT/AT107PT Spiral Planer Thicknesser in our workshops for inspection at your request. We are pleased to let you know that your machine has been thoroughly tested and is operating exactly as it should. We have planed a test piece on your machine and then thicknessed the piece. The timber is well within acceptable tolerance at 0.2mm end to end. We will send the test piece back with your machine for reference. We will now arrange for your machine to be returned to you.

Many thanks

XXXXXX
Servicing Team Leader"
I'm no expert on these, but as I understand, the problem is not along the length, but across the width.
Did Axminster understand your problem fully?

Bod
 

Fanous

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I'm no expert on these, but as I understand, the problem is not along the length, but across the width.
Did Axminster understand your problem fully?

Bod

They did. I wrote them more then once. I called them more then once. The message I got back was clear - we tested it on a board of red wood. It's under 0.2mm and that makes it OK. The board arrived with the machine, and I meassured it. And sure enough, around 0.2mm across the width. The board was fairly wide, maybe around 200mm or so. Not quite the full capacity of 260mm the machine can do. But at least they didn't have some 100mm wide board and saying 0.2mm is fine on that!

I'll be trying to fine tune myself, as people suggested here.

At the moment, I made my peace with it, as I now know how to tackle the issue. It just means I lost a month, where I was without the machine. Not a huge deal for me as a hobby. But it's a trade rated machine, so if some actual business had the same problem as myself, the impact of loosing a month, and not having resolution, is much greater. Still don't fully understand why they did not attempt in house calibration. You would think they have the gear and know-how for it. Or maybe their shop is not what I think it should be. But hey ho... Not much I can do about it. They have been fairly good woth all the past issues I had. This is a first problem they didn't help with, really.
 

rafezetter

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There’s nothing wrong with the way your machine has been made, if it’s out of alignment it was set wrong at the factory. If it’s in tolerance and it works how it should, it’s just fine.

Million pound Swiss machinery is made with sheet steel bodywork, so is that from Lidl. If old machines are somehow so much better they’d have gone up in price, not down, unless they’re somehow magically exempt from the fundamental economic principles of everything else on the planet.

They have gone down for one simple reason - people generally have no clue as to the realities of the cheaper tat they are buying, and thus sellers of quality machines are forced to price according to the knowledge of the ignorant.

You ARE aware that sheet steel comes in a range of thicknesses and types of steel with more or less carbon in, aka higher or lower tensile strength? Your opening analogy is completely flawed on just about every level.

Manufacturers are absolutely NOT ignorant of the realities, however they also have to pander to the tightfisted wallets of the ignorant, AND the shareholders lack of desire to make a better quality product for the same money.
 

recipio

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I went through about six Chinese digital verniers until I realized that none of them were accurate. Best thing to do is to invest in a Mitutoyo from the start. Just sayin'.
 

Fergie 307

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It's that age old problem with everything from a Mars bar to a car. As their costs go up the manufacturers choice is either keep making it the same, and charge more, or keep the price the same but make it smaller, or of lower quality, and hope the customer either doesn't notice, or doesn't care enough to stop buying it. It doesn't help when people buy some shiny new, and apparently fully loaded, Chinese or similar machine at half the price of something decently made. If you are lucky it may indeed perform well in the short term, or if only very.lightly used. But where are you a few years down the line when the mediocre build quality starts to cause problems, and you may find it difficult or impossible to get spares. Personally I do wonder if they have the right approach. I am sure there must be many people like me who would happily pay a bit more for something in order to see the quality maintained. Presumably they must have looked at that and decided there aren't enough of us to make it viable, which is a sad reflection on the times we live in when all to often people's primary concern seems to be cost.
 

TheTiddles

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They have gone down for one simple reason - people generally have no clue as to the realities of the cheaper tat they are buying, and thus sellers of quality machines are forced to price according to the knowledge of the ignorant.

You ARE aware that sheet steel comes in a range of thicknesses and types of steel with more or less carbon in, aka higher or lower tensile strength? Your opening analogy is completely flawed on just about every level.

Manufacturers are absolutely NOT ignorant of the realities, however they also have to pander to the tightfisted wallets of the ignorant, AND the shareholders lack of desire to make a better quality product for the same money.
And that’s why Wadkin own the market and all other manufacturers have gone bust… or is it the opposite?

The desire to resort to name calling and denouncing everyone as ignorant is a sad state of affairs, so I’ll leave you to it.
 

Spectric

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You get what you pay for within reason, quality is influenced by what someone is willing to accept and hence why you have so many poor quality asian machines. Quality cost money, tighter tolerances and better materials will add cost and if you set your sights on a certain level of repetative precision then there is an associated cost you will pay. You may buy a cheaper machine but even if you can set it up to a high degree of accuracy the issue will be how long it can maintain it for. Tiddles has made a good point, we do look at cast iron as superior and sheet metal as a poor cousin but there is no reason why a sheet metal fabricated machine should be any worse, it all comes down to the design and what someone is willing to pay.

The desire to resort to name calling and denouncing everyone as ignorant is a sad state of affairs, so I’ll leave you to it.

I will add my voice to what Tiddles has said, there is no need for it and it achieves nothing except bad feelings so lets keep things nice otherwise please go and let off steam in the hidden asylum behind closed doors.
 

wallace

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Last time I looked at an old Wadkin price list for a machine someone was extolling the virtues of here, it was just over 50% of the annual average salary at the time, so an equivalent now would be £16k. If you are comparing anything less in price, it’s not a fair comparison and it really is that simple.

As for the fair comparison, I suppose we’d have to ask the people who buy £16k table saws now and which they buy, I’m not sure many buy Wadkin because they went out of business, which might raise the question as to why?

Wadkin went out of business because they became complacent and stopped promoting there machines properly. It didn't help that shareholders had cars provided for them and the directors had an aeroplane to allegedly get to important meetings quicker. Maggy thatcher didn't help either with not wanting dirty jobs. Then the company got bought out numerous times and so began the downfall.
I suppose it didn't help that because machines were made so well they didn't need replacing very often. My p/t is from 1924 and probably in better condition than a 5 year old machine that cost £15k.
 

RobinBHM

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Wadkin went out of business because they became complacent and stopped promoting there machines properly. It didn't help that shareholders had cars provided for them and the directors had an aeroplane to allegedly get to important meetings quicker. Maggy thatcher didn't help either with not wanting dirty jobs. Then the company got bought out numerous times and so began the downfall.
I suppose it didn't help that because machines were made so well they didn't need replacing very often. My p/t is from 1924 and probably in better condition than a 5 year old machine that cost £15k.

I used to have a Wadkin RZ 16" surface planer -I believe it came from a college anyway, I hardly did anything to it in the 20 years I owned it. The rise and fall of the infeed bed was as smooth as silk and the fence never ever went out of calibration -every time it was set back square it was spot on

but sadly Wadkin, like so many UK engineering never moved forward + they had poor marketing and didnt understand the changing marketplace.

SCM started in 1950s and are still going....
 

Spectric

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The biggest problem for most British firms was simply the management, a company could never move forward because the management did not know its rear end from it's elbow and everyone was pulling in different directions with what can only be called a class hierachy, the blue and white collars. Had the engineers of the time had say Japanese management we could still be world leaders.
 

TheTiddles

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The biggest problem for most British firms was simply the management, a company could never move forward because the management did not know its rear end from it's elbow and everyone was pulling in different directions with what can only be called a class hierachy, the blue and white collars. Had the engineers of the time had say Japanese management we could still be world leaders.
That’s an interesting theory, but Japan has suffered from one of the most protracted economic stagnations of any developed economy. They grew fantastically before that, like many do, thanks in part to the people who helped rebuild them for a global future from their shattered past. British manufacturers still compete well and lead in many areas, but not in the low value, low complexity, commodity type items like, taking a topical example, woodwork machinery. And why would we want to? Training our skill base in how something simple was made 100 years ago for a loss making company might not set them up for a future where things are different.
 

rafezetter

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And that’s why Wadkin own the market and all other manufacturers have gone bust… or is it the opposite?

The desire to resort to name calling and denouncing everyone as ignorant is a sad state of affairs, so I’ll leave you to it.

Please show me the name calling, moderators feel free to jump in.

I also never said he was ignorant - I asked if he was aware that sheet steel comes in a huge variety of thicknesses and tensile strengths, and implying that million pound swiss machinery uses THE SAME sheet steel as the items sold in Lidl, as per HIS example is both deliberately misleading and wholly wrong on just about every count.

He cannot say "I was just stating that sheet steel is used on million pound machines and cheap machines from Lidl" because the two have ZERO direct correlation other than the base material used is "steel", though the reality is it's not even THE SAME TYPE of steel at a fundamental atomic level.

His quote again with my bold:

There’s nothing wrong with the way your machine has been made, if it’s out of alignment it was set wrong at the factory. If it’s in tolerance and it works how it should, it’s just fine.

Million pound Swiss machinery is made with sheet steel bodywork, so is that from Lidl. If old machines are somehow so much better they’d have gone up in price, not down, unless they’re somehow magically exempt from the fundamental economic principles of everything else on the planet.

Calling someone wrong is NOT the same as "name calling", even though there seems to be a larger and larger portion of the seemingly more fragile population now claiming it is. (which is ironic considering the topic being discussed is one of tensile strength)**

Stating that a large portion, if not the majority, of buyers of cheap machines are ignorant of ALL of the realites and consequences of buying a cheap machine, and that they in turn are actually one of the driving forces behind why manufacturers produce ever cheaper machines to fit under their fiscal boundaries; thus manufacturers are forced to cut corners in quality to reduce costs, is also NOT namecalling and is ALSO a simple and long recognised FACT.

If TheTiddles doesn't like those factual realites because it shoots down his stated theories with both barrels, that's not my problem; making false accusations of namecalling on this forum in a bid to smear me as a "bad guy" in an attempt to undermine my replies however IS my problem because it has implications and consequences of it's own regarding my continued membership of this forum.

Here is my post in reply to TheTiddles above post, wherein he claims I'm "namecalling" - feel free to check this version with the uneditable original:

They have gone down for one simple reason - people generally have no clue as to the realities of the cheaper tat they are buying, and thus sellers of quality machines are forced to price according to the knowledge of the ignorant.

You ARE aware that sheet steel comes in a range of thicknesses and types of steel with more or less carbon in, aka higher or lower tensile strength? Your opening analogy is completely flawed on just about every level.

Manufacturers are absolutely NOT ignorant of the realities, however they also have to pander to the tightfisted wallets of the ignorant, AND the shareholders lack of desire to make a better quality product for the same money.

And lastly just for absolute clarity: Ignorant: - lacking knowledge or awareness in general.

Even if one takes the informal meaning of "stupid" instead, there is no part of my post that states I am accusing TheTiddles DIRECTLY or INDIRECTLY of being thus.


So I'm going to ask TheTiddles again to back up his statement that I did ANY specific namecalling to him personally, or directly accused him of being ignorant, otherwise if he can't, to retract his accusation.

** :) haha
 
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Fergie 307

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The biggest problem for most British firms was simply the management, a company could never move forward because the management did not know its rear end from it's elbow and everyone was pulling in different directions with what can only be called a class hierachy, the blue and white collars. Had the engineers of the time had say Japanese management we could still be world leaders.
I think it's a little more complicated than that. Seems to me if you look at our car and bike industries for example, the problem was a degree of complacency, leading to a lack of investment in improving the product. Falling sales eventually have them a wake up call, but by that time you are already in a vicious circle. Falling sales due to poor quality or old fashioned design rob you of the revenue to invest in improvements, so all you can manage is a bit of window dressing, which doesn't fool anyone for very long and so the downward spiral continues. So if you compare the bikes being sold by say Triumph and Honda back in the day, the Triumph was essentially a twenty plus year old design, not very powerful, not very reliable and still very expensive. Something like a Honda 750four was in another league entirely, faster, smoother and with lights and brakes that actually worked, and was boring reliable, and didn't need a tray leaving under it to recycle the oil! it was cheaper too. About the only advantage the British bikes had was they handled better. A good friend of mine had always been a British bike fan, and flagged off "Jap rubbish" at every opportunity, until he rode my Honda 400four. I even caught him later swearing at his Bonnie when it wouldn't start after the umpteenth kick, and lamenting that it didn't have electric start like the Honda, an extra cost option on British bikes at the time, if they offered it at all. So in summary we produced products like the Land Rover, which were world beaters when introduced, then sat on our laurels and did bigger all to develop them for the next 30 odd years, and wondered why we got overtaken.
 

Fergie 307

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Equally you can sympathise with companies like Myford. I believe they made the mistake of outsourcing the production of beds to the Chinese to save money. Next thing you know the Chinese are making pretty much exact copies of their machine and selling them for a third of the price. The quality was nothing like as good but try telling that to someone who cant see further than the fact that he can get what appears to be an identical machine for two grand, instead of the six you are asking.
 

Fanous

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Just found that Axmister left me a nice surprice in a form of two deep scratches in my thicknessing table. Thanks a lot you guys! 🤬
 

Fanous

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I'll spare you the enjoyment I've had with my P/T (not an Axminster model), but you might be able to adjust the angle of the thicknesser bed. I attached a screen shot from an Axminster AT260SPT calibration video by Andy, The Woodgrafter, showing what appears to be the four mounting bolts and four adjustment grub screws for the thicknesser pedestal. In the video, Andy does not adjust the angle of the table.

The thicknesser table on my P/T was off by quite a bit and I couldn't find a way of adjusting it. When I disassembled it, I noticed the threaded holes for the grub screws were empty. When I reassembled the table, I added the four grub screws and was able to change the alignment of the table to the cutter head. A dial gauge is necessary to do this as @Sideways shows unless you want to run a lot of lumber through and make minor adjustments after each pass.


View attachment 129589

So today was the day when I went calibrating, and with the above highlighted screws, it went pretty well, and my cheap dial indicator (mounted to a wooden block) was showing me zero misalignment by the time I was done with it. So I went from 0.4mm down to somewhere under 0.01mm. Tested on a wide slab of red wood, that axminster sent back with the machine (a proof that the machine is good enough with misalignment under 0.2mm), and it was beautifly flat. With my mechanical vernier calipers I could not see any variation in the thickness.

Now that this is behind me, it is mind blowing why would axminster A) say it's not adjustable, and B) would insist on this being good enough, rather then adjusting them screws, and send it back "fixed" and keep customer happy. Shame that.
 

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