MINIMAX JOINTER/PLANER FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t I give up some advantages by going with a combined jointer/planer over separate machines?

It depends on your situation and space. For a one or two-man shop in a small space the combo is the only way to go, in our opinion, which is informed with almost seven decades of manufacturing this type of machinery, we truly believe there is not really a close or fair comparison. The standard for most small shops SCM Group has been in over the years is a 6” jointer (maybe 8” if they can fit it) and a 12” lunchbox planer (or maybe a 15” stand alone). And those usually need to be on wheels and/or stored when not in use.  How many times do you get boards wider than 6-8”?  Pretty often.  Wider than 12”? Not so much, at least not with common stock. With a 12” or 16” jointer/planer combo there would be far fewer workarounds needed, greater capacity in most cases, more horsepower, better quality, and it will take up HALF the space. All for less money (if comparing equal sizes), or just a bit more money if comparing to the “standard” we discussed above.

 

Why do European jointer/planer combos generally have shorter jointer beds than stand-alone jointers of the same width?

These combination machines are designed as space-savers as a primary point, so a longer bed makes less sense. When considering that most small shops focus on furniture components, there really isn’t much call to straighten and edge or flatten a face more than 72” or shorter.  Unless the application is making molding there is little need for longer boards, and there is no point in jointing an edge or face with molding. Just thickness it and shape the profile. It just doesn’t need that precision, and it is incredibly wasteful, often resulting in 3-4’ of unusable stock from a 10’ board. For those times when the application requires work with 8’ or greater lengths (for instance a dining table top), then you can get extension systems from several aftermarket vendors, or make your own. These combination machines tend to focus on width more than length, and over the decades our customers have let us know that for them, SCM Group Minimax solutions are much more practical, useful, and beautiful with the greater design possibilities that wider stock offers.

 

Isn’t the changeover a real hassle?

No. It’s simply one minute per change. The average furniture projects require maybe one hour of total milling time between the jointer and planer functions. It’s shown that an operator will make 1-3 changeovers (at most), during that hour. Now we recommend you compare that to separate machines, with lesser capacities, and both machines on wheels and/or stored away. To go from jointer to planer requires you to move one machine out of the way and move the other one in. Switch over the dust collection hose, electrical connection. Now you are talking 3-5 minute per changeover, and more hassle. Over the years, we have experienced both worlds, and the evidence has proven… it is not even close – the combination machine is by far a faster changeover.

 

Do you have to adjust your jointer every time you go from planer back to jointer?

Not with Minimax! Everything is registered and machined to precision. Once set you can reliably return to the same exact setting time and time again, with no need to re-adjust anything.

 

What is the right cutter head for me, the Xylent helical head or the straight knife Tersa System?

It is kind of a “Great taste!... less filling!” debate.  Both Tersa and Xylent are great systems. If you are more of an artisan shop Tersa probably has the edge and if you are more of a production shop the advantage probably falls to Xylent. Contrary to popular beliefs and internet buzz and chatter, tests show time and again that the best finish is still achieved with a freshly sharpened straight knife, like Tersa. However, you can go longer times between knife changes with the carbide knives found on the segmented, helical heads. Both systems are intelligent and elegant solutions that require no knife setting. You can change knives with Tersa in under 2 minutes, and depending on the size of the planer and your head’s diameter it could take 7-10 minutes to turn all the knives on a Xylent head.  Both systems are quieter than a standard head. The Tersa upgrade, because its knives are only 2mm proud of the cutter head body, however if a quiet system is very important to you then the Xylent head makes the least sound while reducing shaving size for easier dust collection.

 

Why are there grooves in the cast iron work tables instead of them being ground smooth?

The milling process on the table that SCM forges in its own foundries in Rimini, Italy does have an advantage over smooth surfaces and is more costly to manufacture. It is also more efficient for you…the operator! This can be extremely advantageous on a jointer or planer table. As a board’s face gets flatter it gains more surface area resistance and creates more vacuum between the face and the table. Thus, it gets harder to push. The grooves make it harder for the vacuum effect to interfere. It’s subtle, but you will notice a difference.

 

What advantages do the Minimax Jointer/Planers provide over the competition?

There are several. In terms of use, the SCM Group Minimax jointer/planers have by far the best, quickest changeover times in the market. This is mainly due to the fact that with Minimax, the planer table does not have to be all the way down when using the jointer. That can add up to 25 fewer turns of the position wheel, each way, every time you switch between jointer and planer. With other manufacturers the dust port ends up on opposite sides of the machine…but not with Minimax! Our dust port ends up in the exact same position utilizing each function so you don’t need to have a longer hose, and have to move it or reposition your dust collection.  In general, you will also find heavier components on the Minimax machines, thicker castings, better milling, etc. Due to tighter tolerances in our manufacturing processes, your Minimax machine will hold its settings over a longer period of time. You will find that the Minimax fence is longer, taller and more rigid. Thus, it can be locked at two points for zero flex vs. the cantilevered design of others. You will find that you have more and varied cutter head options that we bring into the United States from our manufacturing locations in San Marino, Italy. We are proud that the basic Minimax design goes back 40 years or more with machines from all eras still going strong in shops around the world. All while innovating new designs and winning awards along the way.