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Report on MiniMax FS30 combo

Jfrostjr's picture

I receieved my MiniMax combo jointer/planer a couple of weeks ago but wanted to get some miles/feet on it before reporting. I like it - it is built 'hell fer stout' but is very easy to adjust and change between functions.

Speaking of the changeover, I timed the operation and surprised myself. Transition from Jointer to Planer - 1 minute 45 seconds! Planer back to Jointer - 1 minute 30 seconds! I was not rushing. The steps invoved: Removal of the "pork chop" guard; Removal of the Fence; Lift (pivot up) both tables; Switch chip hose from Jointer port to Planer port; Raise (crank) Planer table up to required height.

Photo # 2663 - Entire machine in Jointer mode.
Photo # 2660 - Jointer outfeed table in up position; note heavy casting.
Photo # 2661 - Jointer infeed table in up position; chip hose attached to Jointer port.
Photo #2662 - Planer feed roller (on left) and 3 knife rotor.
Photo # 2664 - Jointer depth-of-cut adjustment; turn the black knob; the scale is good.
Photo # 2665 - Mounting position for the slot mortiser;

I have not used the SM yet. To mount it (75# - ughh!) just slip it over the top two bolts till it rests on the bottom bolts then snug it in. The chuck mounts behind the cover at top. The construction and ease-of-motion is equivalent to the rest of the machine. Excellent.

I mounted the unit on an HTC 3000 mobile base - it rolls easily.

Not to like - The fence is a long, high, stout piece of aluminum; the mounting head is a solid piece of machined cast iron. Therefore it is awkward and unbalanced with nothing to grip on the fence because it is so wide (high). I am thinking of mounting a handle at the midpoint but will wait a while before I start to drill and tap.

I want to run some species in addition to cherry to check this out: it seemed that the surface finish after the planer was not as good as off the jointer. If this is true, a feather pass over the jointer after planing would solve the problem.

I certainly enjoy the 12" jointer and the long bed. The extra space provided by one machine rather than two is a welome bonus.

Frosty

bobabeui's picture

(post #85736, reply #1 of 17)

Hey Frosty,

Welcome to the MM owners club.

I own a MM FS 41 Elite J/P combo, so far not too much not like. You made a comment about the finish quality of stock run through the planer, what do you find objectionable?

Interestingly I find the finish quality that I get running stock through the planer is much better than when I run it manually through the jointer..

For what it's worth, I find the best Tersa knives to buy are the M42 knives, not the HSS knives. Hopefully you don't have the stupid Chrome knives in the machine, they are useless on hardwood.

Good luck


Edited 7/25/2007 3:40 pm ET by BOBABEUI

JackEaston's picture

(post #85736, reply #2 of 17)

Nice score, Frosty.  I sure love my old FS350.  You will get years of great use from that machine.

hotwheels's picture

(post #85736, reply #3 of 17)

Congratulations! Very nice looking machine.

I have seen some of the Hammer and Felder J&P combination machines, but not the MM. My wife has trouble lifting most of the jointer tables on the Felder and Hammer machines and is not willing to have us buy anything where she cannot lift the table by herself. She is no wuss, but for a shorter person who does not have a lot of arm strength, lifting the table is an issue for her.

Can you comment on how easy it is to lift the jointer tables into position to use the planer on the FS 350? If you asked your wife/daughter/attractive female neighbor / etc... could she do it without feeling like she needs help?

Thanks,
John

Jfrostjr's picture

(post #85736, reply #4 of 17)

John,

wife/daughter/attractive female neighbor / etc."

My wife is 5'7" and has been recently ill, so she is not a valid test person.
We don't have a daughter, only 4 sons - all husky rascals and out of state.
"Attractive female neighbor" - let's not go there!

As Sgt. Joe Friday said, "Facts, just the facts!". So I got out our scale. The outfeed table measured 42#, the infeed table entered the ring at 48# when I raised them, then lowered them on a stick propped on the scale.

Not too heavy, but more than a one handed job because they must pivot over center.

Good luck.

Frosty

hotwheels's picture

(post #85736, reply #5 of 17)

Thanks Frosty ... I think this is one of those things we will just have to try and see if the MM is easier than the Hammer/Felders! Good luck with the machine.
John

SARGEgrinder47's picture

(post #85736, reply #6 of 17)

Morning John...


I might add that the Rojek 12" table is heavy also. I suspect most of these machines with 12" tables are pretty heavy as that's a lot of cast iron even thought most combo's have shorter tables than say a 8" regular jointer. But there are some additions of weigh in the form of the lock down, etc.


Regards...


Sarge.. john thompson

Sarge..

Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia

SARGEgrinder47's picture

(post #85736, reply #7 of 17)

Morning Frosty...


Nice objective review of your newbie addition. That MM is a very nice machine as I have gone over their entire line and am partial to them over the competitors as the folks at MM add the defining touch that makes a big difference in the "big picture", IMO!


As Shakespeare quoted, "Roses have thorns and silver fountains mud". No machine at any price is quirk free as you know, but that MM is a candidate for grabbing "poll position" for sure from my observations so enjoy the fruits of your homework.


Regards...


Sarge.. john thompson

Sarge..

Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia

Jfrostjr's picture

(post #85736, reply #8 of 17)

John

I'm getting more miles on it everyday. Not many quirks so far - I just have to be careful to set the feed roller pressure so that it does not 'mark' the work piece. Very simple process, all done from top with an Allen key.

I contacted Sam Blasco at MM and mentioned my idea of a handle mid-way on the length of the fence. It is not a case of "too heavy", but rather there is no way to grab that long, smooth aluminum section. He liked the idea and says he plans to add one on several of his units.

Frosty

SARGEgrinder47's picture

(post #85736, reply #9 of 17)

Hey Frosty...


A handle on the middle of the fence to make it easier to grab and lift! Life is simple but sometimes seem complicated by rushing to the finish line. Your idea should be well received as it just makes sense and is a small detail that matters that just got over-looked in the grand scheme.


Funny... early jet fighter pilots used to complain that they had a problem with visual from their 4 and 8 o'clock all the way back to their 6 o'clock position. If a bogey got back there they could not maintain a visual to calculate the exact moves he was making so it made it a guessing game on what defensive action was best to shake him and go on offense.


Well.. until an Israeli jet jockey decided to mount a couple of U.S. auto exterior rear view mirrors on both sides of the fuselage. The rest is history and Israel became a nation. ha.. ha...


Excellent idea and kudo's for not waiting for the manufacturer to make the change. "Get er done" while I go paint the mailbox cause my wife doesn't overlook simple details it seems.... :>)


Regards...


Sarge.. john thompson


Edited 7/28/2007 10:03 am ET by SARGEgrinder47

Sarge..

Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia

Jfrostjr's picture

(post #85736, reply #11 of 17)

Sarge

You are "a man for all seasons". Did you post in the Finishing forum for ideas on mailbox protection?

Frosty

"I sometimes think we consider the good fortune of the early bird and overlook the bad fortune of the early worm." FDR - 1922

SARGEgrinder47's picture

(post #85736, reply #12 of 17)

Morning Frosty...


Sarge


You are "a man for all seasons". Did you post in the Finishing forum for ideas on mailbox protection?



Frosty


*************


Nah... but I could as the last time it got painted with 3 coats of "outdoor porch and floor paint" was 6 years ago. And if the kid up the street hadn't of run into it with his go-cart, it still wouldn't need paint! But.. the white mail box.. red belly support beam and Federal Blue post had started to fade from sun-light, so just as well. ha.. ha... ha..ha..ha..


So.. if ya show up at my place, just look for the Red-White-Blue mailbox with the fresh paint. We won't go into the description of the flag-pole out front as the mail-box should be a definite "beaming beacon" without further assistance. :>)


Regards...


Sarge.. john thompson


Edited 7/29/2007 11:33 am ET by SARGEgrinder47

Sarge..

Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia

Anonymous's picture

(post #85736, reply #10 of 17)

Looks like a real nice machine. I have an Inca 10 1/4" combo machine that has served me well for over 20 years, still works like a champ. I am finding myself leaning towards a larger machine, particularly table, bed, and fence length. The Inca is a great machine, however, the table lengths are now getting a bit small for the type of work I would like to do. The MinMax looks like it would fit the bill quite nicely. I was wondering, however, if any one has any experience with the new Grizzly 12" combo machine? The similarities, visually at least, are remarkable and the price is more in my ball park. Any info on this machine would be greatly appreciated.


Bob, Tupper Lake, NY

Redwoodie's picture

(post #85736, reply #13 of 17)

I appreciate your comments on the machine once you have used it.  I am thinking of a buying one of these.  I have a power concern, as I only have 30 amp service to my shop.  While that meets the machine specs, I have to run a dust collector on the same line. 


Do you have a dedicated circuit for the FS30, or are you running it on the same circuit?  If on the same circuit, how many amps is the circuit, and how many amps does  dust collector require?


Thanks.

Jfrostjr's picture

(post #85736, reply #14 of 17)

I had a dedicated 30 Amp, 220 volt circuit installed for the MM. Frankly, I don't think it is necessary - based on the sound as I use the machine. Of course, I am inclined to take light cuts for better surface quality as opposed to 'hogging' material.

My dust collector, an Oneida 2 hp Dust Gorilla (no relation to the glue!) is on a separate 220 volt circuit. It does draw a heavy load - AT STARTUP. It is rated for 11.5 amp and the directions say "do not start this unit more than 6 times in an hour." I have had frequent startups in a short period of time and when I 'feel' the motor it does not appear hot. So - who knows.

My uninformed, seat of the pants, top of the head opinion is that you could safely run my package (2 hp Dust Gorilla and the MM) on the same 30 amp circuit - if you start the DC 1st, then the MM.

P.S. As an added comment - I am very pleased with the purchase. I like it more every time I use it. I have not used the slot mortiser yet but will report when I have experience with that component. One change I have made is to buy a handle at the hardware store (large is better) to fasten to the edge of the fence. It helps to balance the unwieldy weight distribution. (Long light fence, short heavy head.)

Good luck.

Frosty

"I sometimes think we consider the good fortune of the early bird and overlook the bad fortune of the early worm." FDR - 1922

DonfromUtah's picture

(post #85736, reply #15 of 17)

Frosty,


Have you noticed any snipe from the planer?

Jfrostjr's picture

(post #85736, reply #16 of 17)

Very little. It seems to depend on the material thickness, length and whether I am careful when I feed it.

Frosty

"I sometimes think we consider the good fortune of the early bird and overlook the bad fortune of the early worm." FDR - 1922

DonfromUtah's picture

(post #85736, reply #17 of 17)

Good to know.  Thanks!