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Minimax MM16 band saw fence issue

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Forum topic by Crickett posted 02-22-2017 07:09 PM 1054 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Crickett

137 posts in 1314 days


02-22-2017 07:09 PM

I purchased a Minimax band saw several months ago going in to the winter season so I haven’t been able to use it much until lately. I built a taller resaw fence for it and during installation I noticed that the stock fence was about 0.005” out of square. I know that’s a small number but when adding a much larger resaw fence the variance gets amplified. Here’s my issue: a saw of that caliber comes with a fence system that was no adjustment bolts or leveling feet to square it to the table!! We’re talking about a $3k bandsaw and I now have to loosen the bracket and install a 0.005” machine shim to square the fence. Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret the purchase one tiny bit. I think it’s one of the best band saws on the market but how could the folks in Italy overlook such a key adjustment? To make matters worse, I’ve been waiting 2 days for a reply from tech support. Anyone else out there own a Minimax and experienced this problem? I’ve attached pictures to show what I’m talking about.


16 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

1687 posts in 1056 days


#1 posted 02-22-2017 09:08 PM

The bolt you see in the center of this picture allows you to adjust for “drift”.

To adjust for the fence being square to the table surface, there are two contact tabs on the base of the fence that you file/sand to square it up.
The head with the fence lock and sight glass only sets the drift, it has nothing to do with the tilt.

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Loren

9606 posts in 3482 days


#2 posted 02-22-2017 09:13 PM

I have a Hitachi resaw. I just use an auxiliary
fence and shim it to parallel with paper.

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Fred Hargis

4756 posts in 2327 days


#3 posted 02-22-2017 09:43 PM

I had to go look, on mine (a 12 year old one) the piece that clamps it to the guide rail does not square the fence to the table, in fact it doesn’t touch th guide rail other than when it’s clamped in place. The fence itself, being a little over an inch thick, appears to have been machined to sit flat on the table and be square (mine is, perfectly). It’s what spintergroup described, the contact pads need to be adjusted (sanding, filing), there is a set on each end of the fence. With an amount that close, go carefully…and your right, it should have been perfect out of the box.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Tennessee

2587 posts in 2348 days


#4 posted 02-22-2017 09:57 PM

Are you guys getting resaw and other cuts from your bandsaw blades that provide a surface finish that is better than .005”?
I’d love to know how to do that.
My cut finish coming off both my bandsaws is probably .010 to .020 at best, mainly due to blade teeth, feed rate, sharpness of the blade, hardness of the wood, etc.

With that being said, I guess I would love to understand how .005” is an issue on a fence on a bandsaw.
Not being crass or sarcastic, actually wondering how five thousandths of an inch creates a problem.
I normally cut a bit thicker, maybe 20-35 thousandths at best, and plane it to the desired thickness.

Actually, most of my thickness measurements when setting up a fence, I’ve gone to MM, since 1/2MM is easy to read on a Starrett machinists rule , and that provides me with accuracy to about 1/52nd of an inch, based on an approximation of 26MM per inch.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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Crickett

137 posts in 1314 days


#5 posted 02-22-2017 11:25 PM

I do not see on the fence on the bottom where I have “tabs” that can be sanded or filed. I’m thinking the best solution is to losen on of the bolts on the guide rail underneath the table, insert a 0.005” machine shim which would introduce a very tiny slope to the rail and thus square my fence to the table. I’m baffled how a stellar machine could have such a completely useless user manual. Splintergroup & Fred, I have spoken with technical support ad nauseum about this and I would conclude that no part of the machine should need to be filed. In fact that would remove the factory paint job protecting the cast iron. To answer the question about why 5 thou is a big deal – picture this when adding a much taller resaw fence you’re multiplying the error of 0.005” by the additional height of the resew fence. It is a big deal.

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Fred Hargis

4756 posts in 2327 days


#6 posted 02-23-2017 12:17 PM

I can see the pads in your photo. Look at the bottom of your fence, there are only 4 points that touch the table. Those are the pads. The “pads” are just spots on the fence body, not a piece of plastic of such.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View coxhaus's profile

coxhaus

64 posts in 728 days


#7 posted 02-23-2017 01:32 PM

I use a Kreg bandsaw fence on my Minimax S45. It has adjustemnts. I use the Kreg bandsaw fence with a 24 inch fence since my table top is bigger than 18 inches.

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splintergroup

1687 posts in 1056 days


#8 posted 02-23-2017 03:03 PM

Cricket, when I bought my MM16 back in ‘03, there was really no manual, just a bunch of users on Yahoo groups.

They pooled their resources and created their own manual. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can find it here

No mention of the adjustment you are after, but the tabs should be there. As Fred points out, they are part of the casting.

Even with my fence square and a square resaw fence added, I’ll still hold an 8” machinists square to the fence while I lock it down (habit).

Paul, 0.005” can be annoying, especially if you are working with expensive materials. The quality of the cut does depend a lot on the blade so you are correct, a lousy blade will swamp out any error caused by a canted fence.

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splintergroup

1687 posts in 1056 days


#9 posted 02-23-2017 03:05 PM

If you look at the fence from the front, you will notice that it has only two contact points with the table. Those are the “pads”.

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Crickett

137 posts in 1314 days


#10 posted 02-23-2017 08:24 PM

Well Splintergroup when I’m wrong I’m wrong. Maybe I was just looking in the wrong place. Since the fence references off of the table and not off of the fence system, any changes made to the fence are useless if trying to square the fence. I located the two tabs in the front and rear. Turns out the front left tab was the culprit and had a very tiny lip along its length causing the problem. I have to admit I was gun-shy taking a file to the fence but it worked out just fine (plus it’s on the under side so it’s invisible). I called Tech support back today (since they were as stumped as I) and made everyone aware of the problem in case future customers have the same problem. I guess since the fence references off of the table, they assume the table and fence come out of the machine shop 100% dead flat so no adjustments would be necessary. Most manuals have a section for problems and solutions – something SCM Group should strongly consider and write a better manual. Call me crazy but it’s an odd set up…or maybe “proprietary” is a nicer way of putting it. It was ready to drill and tap the clamping head and use nylon set screw runners to square the darn thing (like a Powermatic has). Thanks for the help brother!

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splintergroup

1687 posts in 1056 days


#11 posted 02-23-2017 09:39 PM

Glad to hear it Crickett!

When I bought my MM, Laguna was the “competition”, but MM had vastly superior CS and a saw with better workmanship (some parts not so much). There was no manual (these saws were new to the US market) so the MM user group wrote one up.

Over the years Laguna has expanded their product line while MM has only done basic upgrades. I am lusting over the Laguna ceramic guides 8^).

I’ve yet to buy a tool that is 100%. No matter the initial cost, it seems their is always an aspect that could be better, but try going back to using a cheaper saw and enjoy what the extra cash has provided.

You should spend some time dialing it all in. I outlined this with the Powermatic rebuild in a blog post.
Basically you back off all the guides, then tension up a blade. Make the guide column absolutely parallel to the blade over it’s travel up/down. Once that is done, set the table square to the blade and check that the miter slot is perpendicular to the plane of the blade loop.

This saw is highly adjustable, but unless you are methodical, things can get crazy!

View NCB's profile

NCB

2 posts in 222 days


#12 posted 05-03-2017 08:19 PM

Two problems I’ve encountered so far with my new MM16 saw.

1. I found that the throat insert will not stay level with the table. I can get the four corners level using the set screws, but the areas in between drop down. It seems the hard plastic used is just not strong enough to hold in position? Normally I make custom inserts for all my bandsaws, but after paying $3K+ I would have expected better…I contacted tech support, apparently its just a poorly engineered part that is what it is. Disappointing.

2. After tuning up the machine, I was resawing the first test board yesterday and noticed the fence loosening up. Its the stock fence from the factory. As I was hand tightening the bolt on top of the fence, the tapped threads pulled out of the bottom part with average effort on my part. I certainly didn’t over-tighten. Waiting for a response, hopefully new parts will be sent my way soon.

I’ve been searching for a forum with MM16 users and just found this thread. Anybody else have these issues?

Thanks

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splintergroup

1687 posts in 1056 days


#13 posted 05-03-2017 09:59 PM

The insert is rather pathetic…..

One thing I have learned with “higher end” machinery is the extra expense typically goes into making the machine bigger/more capable instead of “perfecting” what has come before.
MM should fix that fence!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4756 posts in 2327 days


#14 posted 05-04-2017 11:30 AM

There is a Minimax discussion group on Yahoo. It’s hosted by their (apparently) top guy in the US (Eric Lotz?) I’ll try linking it, but I think you have to be signed in on Yahoo. It’s called the Minimax Owners group.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Crickett

137 posts in 1314 days


#15 posted 05-04-2017 12:43 PM

NCB – there’s no question (in my mind) that the MM16 is hands down the best band saw you can possibly buy in that size/class, but it’s not without its shortcomings. The throat insert is only good for one thing and that’s to use double sided tape and a pattern bit to make a new one. I made one out of scrap hickory and used the holes in the stock insert as a drill guide on the new one…problem solved.

As for the fence, I think they were on the right track with wanting a simple and easy to remove fence for when you need to use the entire table surface. But I think with the robustness of the entire machine, the fence was an after thought. On mine I had to file the “tabs” to get it back to square. No issues with the threads but I agree if I can find a suitable aftermarket fence I think my stock fence is going in the garbage (I mean it doesn’t even span the depth of the table top, and it’s nowhere near high enough for resawing (like a quality fence does from Powermatic or Laguna).

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