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MiniMax C30 or Robland x31

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Forum topic by Treverk posted 06-29-2011 03:52 AM 9176 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Treverk

23 posts in 2940 days


06-29-2011 03:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: robland minimax x31 x-31 c30 c-30 combination table saw jointer planer shaper mortiser horizontal

I’m hoping someone(s) of you have used both or know enough about combo machines to direct me. Here’s a bit about my situation;

1) Not much money. 3-4K tops
2) Don’t usually use sheet goods except for drawer bottoms
3) Small shop space
4) Love loose tenon joinery
5) Need every tool a 5 in 1 offers
6) Liked (not loved) my unisaw, but hated using a 6” jointer and crappy ryobi planer for dimensioning

I think that’s it, but if there’s more information that would be helpful, let me know. I have never used a combo machine before so any advise would help.

-- Matt


8 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

8295 posts in 3107 days


#1 posted 06-29-2011 04:30 AM

I owned a Robland XSD310 for awhile. The mortiser was pretty cool,
but the jointer required fiddling after switching back from planer mode
and the planer lacked finesse and wasn’t capable of producing stock
of consistent thickness within 1/64th. Lunchbox planers produce
a nicer surface but still have problems with thickness consistency.

Still, for 3 machines in 1 it was a useful tool to have on hand and
a real timesaver when surface-jointing wider boards. The tables were
not flat but I learned to work around its flaws.

These days I use a vintage Belsaw planer and it’s no less of a brute than
the Robland, but consistency from part to part is much better.

A sliding table is really great to have on your table-saw and the Robland
is a better solution for a small shop than any add-on units I’ve seen. Of
course the true Format-style sliders trump the older x31s.

I’ve been told the shaper on the X31 is not that great, but it at least
is not underpowered and the slider simplifies some setups, perhaps
nullified by the switching over from table saw to shaper and back again.

View KnotWright's profile

KnotWright

252 posts in 2948 days


#2 posted 06-29-2011 04:45 AM

Personally I would NEVER buy another X31, I traded my new X31 in on a MiniMax CU300smart it was like night and day.

I downsized a year ago and miss the machine, here’s a video I made prior to selling it.

CU300smart

-- James

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Treverk

23 posts in 2940 days


#3 posted 06-29-2011 05:20 AM

Thanks for the comments!

@Loren, the planer not getting accuracy would pose a problem. Do you mean that according to the gauge it’s not accurate? or that across the surface it is not accurate?

@KnotWright – is the CU300smart the newer version of the C30? I’m guessing that it isn’t, because I am told the C30 only has a 8” capacity on the TS blade. To bad you had to get rid of your machine, that sure is pretty!

-- Matt

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emart

422 posts in 2087 days


#4 posted 06-29-2011 05:37 AM

im not a fan of combination machines myself and i have a TINY shop (10×10.) personally i prefer to just piece together a shop from individual machines instead (its cheaper too if you buy used) i just find it easier to have the seperate machinery since i can move them around in my shop as needed instead of one giant unit.

just my 2 cents on the matter

also i only paid $1500 for every big ticket machine in my shop just as an example

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them https://www.custommade.com/by/emeraldcrafts/

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Loren

8295 posts in 3107 days


#5 posted 06-29-2011 05:44 AM

The planer moves on a single post. Across the face of the
board deviations can be a problem with it, but end to end too.
for rough-sizing it is very powerful but the feed rate is too fast
for finish planing. The type of work you do, wood species, and
your approach to sanding are factors to consider.

I don’t know how exacting your work standards are. Accuracy
is relative. Lunchbox planers are not accurate enough for millwork,
in my opinion, but 9 out of 10 guys on here will rave about the
clean surfaces their Dewalts turn out with nary a mention of
thicknessing consistency – a factor that is not so relevant to the
hobby guy but costs you real money if you’re a pro.

All sorts of compromises are okay if you’re not making a career
of woodworking. For that matter – all combination machines
make compromises – your skill and discernment as a craftsman
will determine the excellence of your output more than your
selection of machinery will, but when you are in a rush to crank
out a kitchen-full of face frames, a planer that makes the boards
all the same to within under 1/64th is a boon. Your methods
of joinery matter too. I became so annoyed with pocket holes
and loose tenon joinery I am now mostly using dowels because
the alignment is much more positive and consistent, resulting
in less sanding of misaligned frame parts.

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Treverk

23 posts in 2940 days


#6 posted 06-29-2011 04:04 PM

Thanks Loren, you have stated it well. I would like to get as much accuracy as I can for my budget. Do you think the MiniMax would be more accurate? I can’t find any information online about them, but I know they have a better name. Even wild speculation would be helpful at this point. Also, did you find the 20” rip capacity very limiting? Or does the sliding table take care of it? Again, thanks for taking the time to reply.

@emart – I do understand where you are coming from, but I think these machines will have a better quality than what I could find to fill the shop with my budget. A 12” jointer alone would be a big investment. Not to mention a sliding table saw. I had to sell all my large tools to move across the country and would need everything. Router table, jointer, planer, miter saw, etc. Those things add up pretty quickly when you want to get decent quality/capacity. A nice used TS + 8” jointer puts me at about what I would pay for the MiniMax.

-- Matt

View Loren's profile

Loren

8295 posts in 3107 days


#7 posted 06-29-2011 05:09 PM

Everybody wants as much accuracy as he can get on
his budget. If that’s really true, don’t buy sought-after
machines like Euro combos, buy beat-up old American
iron.

I don’t think the MiniMax is likely to be more accurate than
a four-post planer. As a jointer it is probably great. The
Tersa blades are a little pricey but the inconvenience of
setting knives is eliminated entirely.

Whatever you get, if you buy robust machines like the
Euro combos, you’ll get a lot of machine for the money and
you’ll be well-served if you are serious about woodworking.

I have a format slider right now and I like (not love) it… and
it’s a good one. While it is a great time saver for me, I’m less
thrilled with the quality of the build than I thought I would be.

A nice shaper though? Ah – heaven.

View emart's profile

emart

422 posts in 2087 days


#8 posted 06-29-2011 05:54 PM

im with loren on this just start looking through craigslist. i have found very nice machines there for no more than $400 a piece. honestly i prefer the old machines myself since i can buy a lot more for my money for example if i bought a RAS brand new it would cost $700 and not be as accurate as my old one (i looked at the ones at sears and they were terrible). as a comparison i spent $100 on my RAS and another 100 modifying it.

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them https://www.custommade.com/by/emeraldcrafts/

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