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Combination machine, expensive combination machine or separates....

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:53 pm
by Bloomoo
I’m at a crossroads. Over the last 10 years my woodwork has become a bit more than a hobby and continues to expand.

I now need a better thicknesser planer, a professional table saw and would really enjoy a good spindle moulder. I am limited by single phase power.

I could buy a nice startrite sd31 and maybe a minimax st-1 genius for 4-5k

But then I see the combination machines.... about the same price

And then I see the minimax cu300 for 7k and I start dreaming

Does anyone have advice of the best combination machines?

Are separates really better for a small workshop?

I have learnt many years ago to spend as much as I can on long term machines, but 7k is a push.... but I still have 30 years of life left in me!

Any advice at all would be most valued..... I just don’t know enough!

Re: Combination machine, expensive combination machine or separates....

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:08 pm
by thatsnotafestool
Welcome to the forum, Bloomoo.

Most of the guys here will tell you separates. It depends on how much space you have. Separates win hands down IMO if you have the space. I had a decent workshop with some lovely cast iron separates. Then I had to move and discovered where I moved to that the mains supply was 'challenged' and so most of my stuff had to be sold as it wouldn't run properly on 240v.

It was suggested to me that I could get a 3-phase combination machine and run it from an inverter which could be programmed to not put such a high start-up load on the mains supply. So I bought a Hammer C3-31 and an inverter. That's when I discovered that without a factory winch I had no chance of getting inside to do the mods needed to connect it to the inverter. So I had to go out and buy a rotary converter to drive the Hammer.

Now having used the Hammer in anger, it is a PITA. You really have to get your workflow sorted because changing modes - say from table saw to thicknesser - is a right ball-ache. And, of course, Sods' Law came into play because if I'd gone down the rotary converter route in the first place I could have bought some nice secondhand cast-iron 3-phase stuff and not had the workflow problem.

More than happy to talk more about the Hammer but my advice is separates (if you have the space)

Re: Combination machine, expensive combination machine or separates....

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:28 pm
by thatsnotafestool
Having gone back into the workshop after an enforced break, while I was busy on other projects, and using the combination machine in anger for the first time in months, I'd forgotten what a ballache it is to use and am now seriously thinking about ditching it and getting some nice old cast iron separates.

Re: Combination machine, expensive combination machine or separates....

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:28 pm
by Meccarroll
Bloo, I'd go separates any day of the week even if you have limited space because you can fit them on large braked castors and move them to one side to make space when you are not using them.

I have separates and do all of my work in a single garage and a large double car port (very nearly enclosed carport). My largest project so far has been 15 sliding sash Windows and two shop fronts with two of us working and using the machinery. You don't have to go large on everything just go as large as you need for the work you do. The spindle moulder I used for the 15 sliding sash windows and two shop fronts was a Kity 623 and it coped easily with all of the rebating and moulding. I still have it now and even though I now have a larger spindle moulder I still mainly rely on the Kity 623 because it's so easy to use.