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Hammer A3-31 vs Minimax FS30 vs Robland NXSD 310

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pcg

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Does anyone have any opinions/experience with the above P/Ts? We're looking to kit out a new workshop for cabinetmaking, but only have experience of the machines used in a college workshop.

Prices are similar for the Minimax and Hammer, whilst the Robland is slightly cheaper. All three come with tersa cutter blocks (or their own versions thereof), though the Hammer does have an optional spiral cutter block (any thoughts on these?). The Hammer also has tables that lift together, rather than the 'winged' design - does this give a significant speed advantage when changing modes?

Any thoughts/comments/ideas are welcome!

edit: as this is the my first post in these forums, if it's in the wrong please feel free to move it mods!
 

shed9

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I have the 2008 A3-31 and it is superb, the build quality is spot on. Easy to setup between functions and the blade change is the easiest I have seen yet on a P/T - no faffing about with jigs and as they are self setting.

Over time I suspect I may sell it on and upgrade to the newer model as the wings on mine lift at a slight angle whereas the newer version fold out flat (less space issues against a wall). Also the spiral cutter appeals due to the ability to replace individual cutters, end result and sound db.

The big advantage to the clip on extensions of the hammer is they can be used on other hammer kit, i.e. you can use the same table extensions on their bandsaws.

In regards to would I replace it with the same thing if it was lost? YES.

I have no experience of the Minimax or Robland but I'm sure someone will be along shortly.
 

Peter Sefton

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I have had a Hammer A341 for 8/9 years and have been very happy with it, I reviewed its replacement a couple of years ago for F&C http://www.peterseftonfurnitureschool.c ... review.pdf
I have not used the Robland but understand them to be well made, I do like some of the Minimax kit but when I was looking was put off by having to remove the fence as part of change over from under/over, this may have been improved since I was looking.
Peter
 

The Wood Butcher

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Hi PCG

I've a spiral cutter block on an A3-26, and it's a fantastic bit of kit. Really quiet, easy to extract. In fact I did a short video for the guys at UKWoodwork which is on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IIn0JHRJ90

I chose it over the Minimax, although it had good points as well, mainly it was simpler and solidly built. Wouldn't go for the Robland, they don't have a great reputation.
 

custard

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I use a Felder P/T, so same single lift table design as the Hammer. It's a pleasure to use, zero snipe, dial in the degree of "hollow planing" you want when edge jointing, thicknessing accurate to 0.1mm from edge to edge.

I have the Felder four knife block and even though I've no complaints I'd probably get the three knife Tersa if I was changing, I can't see any practical advantage to four knives versus the three knife Tersa set up I've more commonly used in commercial workshops. The spiral block is just too new to get any consistent feedback, apart from the massive noise reduction that everyone agrees on. I've spoken to some people who have seen side by side demonstrations with fresh knife set ups and can't spot any quality differences, and other people who say there is reduced tear out in difficult timbers. There's a forum member who has has a spiral block conversion on a Felder so maybe he'll give his views.

Three other quick points. The Felder/Hammer system has really excellent extension tables which can be a big advantage for a P/T, I can get table lengths well in excess of 2 metres that are dead flat and make handling big timbers a breeze even working on your own. Less good however is the Felder/ Hammer fences, they're standard ali extrusions and simply don't inspire the confidence of big cast iron fences. Finally, if you get the Hammer you should look seriously at the "comfort" guard, it makes a big difference to the practical use of the machine.
 

custard

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Couple of other thing I've just thought of. Check the minimum length for thicknessing, it 's surprising how often you need to thickness a piece that's just a few mm too short to bridge the rollers! And talking of rollers, you can get rubber rollers on Hammer/Felder which allow you shave 0.1mm off the thickness without getting roller marks. There are plenty of machines out there with toothed rollers where you need to remove 1.0mm of stock or more to avoid teeth marks, that can be hugely inconvenient in practise.
 

pcg

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Many thanks for all the help and advice guys, we've gone for the Hammer in the end (should be here in 6 weeks or so). They knocked over £300 off the asking price, bringing it closer in cost to the others - if you're buying one I advise you ask if there are any discounts available! Incidentally, the minimum thicknessing length is 300mm, and min you can take off (with serrated rollers) is 0.5mm - though the roller pressure can be adjusted which I imagine could reduce this further.
 

yetloh

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Just too late, but this may be useful for other readers of this thread. You should have considered the Swedish Moretens H410. It saves a mountain of time over the years because there is no process of any kind for switching between planing and thicknessing. Quite apart from this saving, you don't lose your thickness setting if you decide to do some planing. Extraction is excellent. I have had mine for about 10 years and am very pleased with it.

Jim
 

custard

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pcg":3lw6nt1c said:
Many thanks for all the help and advice guys, we've gone for the Hammer in the end (should be here in 6 weeks or so). They knocked over £300 off the asking price, bringing it closer in cost to the others - if you're buying one I advise you ask if there are any discounts available! Incidentally, the minimum thicknessing length is 300mm, and min you can take off (with serrated rollers) is 0.5mm - though the roller pressure can be adjusted which I imagine could reduce this further.
Good luck and let us know how you get on!

By the way, I'd discuss roller pressure with the commissioning Hammer engineer before having a fiddle yourself. You can get snipe problems on long/heavy boards if the roller pressure's too light and there may be a safety/kickback issue as well.
 

Woodster

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I am thinking about getting the moretens as yetloh has said, it saves time....however, I need it primarily for hardwoods, fine furniture- not joinery. Is the serrated ooutfeed roller a problem? What is the finish like? This one has 4 knives. Has yours yetloh? Better finish? Any marks from metal roller? Feed speed too fast? Is it meant for fine furniture? Thanks woodster
 

Woodster

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yetloh":15y7be3b said:
Just too late, but this may be useful for other readers of this thread. You should have considered the Swedish Moretens H410. It saves a mountain of time over the years because there is no process of any kind for switching between planing and thicknessing. Quite apart from this saving, you don't lose your thickness setting if you decide to do some planing. Extraction is excellent. I have had mine for about 10 years and am very pleased with it.

Jim
Does the. Moretens work well for fine furniture/ hardwoods? What kind of extraction do you have? Is the metal serrated outfeed roller a problem? I guess i am concerned about the finish. The one i am looking at has 4 knives, so should be good? incidentally, do older planer thicknessers wadkins etc have metal or rubber outfeed rollers? thanks
Woodster
 

yetloh

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My thing is fine furniture and I have never found the Moretens outfeed roller to be a problem at all. When connected to a decent extractor the extraction is very close to 100%. When I first had the Moretens I had it connected to a basic Camvac which was really not up to the job, but then I doubt that it would have been effective with any planer thicknesser. Three friends have bought the Moretens after seeing mine in action and all are very satisfied with them. In the time that I have owned it, the only problem has been that it has thrown the knife block drive belt off a couple of times, but that is easily remedied and it hasn't done it since I fitted a new belt which has a slightly different profile from the original.

Jim
 

Woodster

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Thanks Jim,
I have used both separate and combined machines, and as you know changing from thicknesser to planer can waste time, so the Moretens is appealing. Is there a lock in thicknessing mode, to lock the height setting, after you have rotated the depth dial? Can it cope with removing say just 1/3 mm, in thicknessing mode? What would be the minimum thickness it can cope with 6? 7 mm. I assume you use a sled to thickness to 4 mm?
Thanks
Woodster
 

yetloh

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There isn't a lock so you can change the setting by mistake but I have never had the thicknessing setting change without intervention by me. You could accidentally knock the lever on the adjusting wheel, but this is unlikely because you would normally remove it (it just lifts off) when planing because it is liable to get in the way if you don't. It will take off small amounts at a time - I'm sure I have taken cuts of around 1/3mm successfully although, as with any thicknesser, very small cuts do demand sharp knives. 6 or 7 mm sounds about right for minimum thickness - I use a piece of waxed MDF with a batten at one end to hook over the thicknessing table for thinner pieces.

By the way, I got my machine from Moretens UK - in reality, a small firm called Homewood in Worthing just along the south coast from where I live. Nothing against them but the Logosol machine looks identical apart from the badging and they are based in Scotland which is probably a lot closer to you.

Jim
 
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