SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW
#21
  Re: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (EDITED: Just added t...)
That's a good looking machine. I'll be looking forward to your review. 

Congrats
Reply
#22
  Re: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (EDITED: Just added t...)
I made a simple modification to the planer table lift mechanism. Due to the fine pitch of the screw used to raise/lower the table, many turns of the crank are necessary to go from the down (jointer) position to the usual planer position near the top of travel. I noticed the crank handle had a recess in the front (behind the black plastic cover plate) that a 3/8" drive 1/2" 12 point socket (old Craftsman) fit in nearly perfectly.  Some minor shimming to center it and some epoxy, and I have a motorized planer table drive. Check it out:











Reply
#23
  Re: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (EDITED: Just added t...)
[url=

IMG_1363-1 by Stewart Griffin, on Flickr]Test[/url]
Reply
#24
  Re: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (EDITED: Just added t...)
SCM Minimax FS41 Elite: The Review

I always enjoy reading other peoples reviews of machinery, particularly the types of machinery
that are less common and perhaps have not been reviewed by the WW magazines.  Here is my attempt at an unbiased review.

The FS41 Elite is a combined jointer/planer (or as they refer to it, planer/thicknesser) with a 410mm jointing and planing capability.  That works out to a little over 16”.  Total jointer table length is 2000 mm, which is a little over 78”, or about the same length as the Delta DJ20 that this unit replaced.  It has the rear mounted jointer fence, similar to the DJ20, although except for the mounting assembly, it is extruded aluminum.  The planer has two feed speeds. It comes with  the mobility kit as standard.  The only options I chose were the Euro-guard, which is a bridge type jointer guard, and a segmented cutter head, which they call the Xylent head.  This is a 240 volt single phase unit, rated at 21 amps.  

Comments I made in my earlier post cover the delivery and unpacking phase of the process.  Once I had it in my shop, I was determined to demonstrate to myself that the machine was set up properly and performed correctly.  I am no stranger to using dial indicators, dial calipers, precision straight edges, feeler gauges, etc. to tune various WW machines, although I enjoy strictly amateur status as both a machinist and woodworker.  Having been through the commissioning process for a number of machines over the years, I wondered if the high cost of this unit might buy me a more “plug and play” experience with this machine (less futzing around with all those metrology gizmos).  To that end, once the machine was connected to my dust collector and to power, I took an 8 foot Doug fir 2 x 6 that I happen to have in the shop and face jointed it.  I have a Stabila level that is around 7 feet long and I used that to judge how straight my newly jointed 2 x 6 was: no discernible  gaps between the jointed face and the level across the length of the level.  The quality of the cut was all that I had hoped for, which is at least as good as the Byrd head that I had on the aforementioned DJ20.  I got the same cut quality whether I jointed with or against the grain.  I was impressed with the machines performance with this task.  I should mention that the machine is quiet: it may be quieter that the old DJ20, which was rated at far less horsepower. And the machine runs smooth: did not do the nickel test, but it runs like you would expect a machine in this price range would.  Due to the size and overall build quality of the machine, although I don’t foresee ever needing this capability, I am sure it could handle jointing railroad ties all day long.  I did take out the dial indicator and measure the alignment of the in-feed table to the cutter head.  Its out by a small amount: somewhere in the neighborhood of .001 to .002 across the width.  

The jointer fence was set up properly from the factory, and the fence with the traditional center cast iron mount was rock solid. It seems to be holding the 90 degree setting no matter how many times I’ve moved the fence forward and aft.  I put a straight edge on the fence, and it looked good.  It does not appear to have any twist: my Starrett 12” square showed the fence 90 degrees to the tables across the entire length of the fence.  

Next it was time to give the planer a try.  This is where the changeover comes into play, and where many people have had endless discussions about the pros and cons of combination machines.  First let me say that I suspected I would not be a fan of the way the changeover breaks up the work sequence.  I suspected I would also not be a fan of cranking the planer table up and down during each changeover.  Now that I have had some experience with both, I can honestly say that I am indeed not a fan of either.  But I have chosen to deal with these matters of inconvenience in a somewhat unorthodox way. As far as cranking the table up and down: I've already posted the modification I made to the table drive that allows you to use your cordless drill driver to raise/lower the table in very short order.  The nice thing about this is that my modification came out so well, IMHO it looks like it came from the factory this way!  As far as the changeover itself, I have decided that for day to day planing of smaller parts of pedestrian wood species with well behaved grain, I will keep my trusty DeWalt 13” planer and use that in conjunction with the FS41 Elite.  My DeWalt still runs like a champ after 15 years of yeomans service and although some might consider this an extravagance, I figure I’d get next to nothing for if if I sold it, and it takes up so little room that it really is the solution (for me) to the much debated combination machine changeover.  When I need the 16” capacity of the FS41 elite, or when I am dealing with difficult grain or species: I always have the Minimax planer to rely on..

Once changed over, I was ready to give the planer a whirl.  I depressed the power switch and: NOTHING.  I reviewed the instructions to make sure that everything was as it should be for planing: everything looked good.  Tried to get it to go a few more times: NOTHING.  Huh, not exactly plug and play.  At this point let me say that I was perplexed and getting an uneasy feeling about my machine choice.  However, ever the eternal optimist, I used this event as an excuse to start peering into the guts of the machine.  I also posted a question on the Yahoo Minimax forum and received a response that solved the problem.  A limit switch that is used as an interlock to inhibit planer use if the safety/dust shroud is not in position was hung up: perhaps by some errant cosmoline that made its way too far into the inner depths of the machine.  Once I located the switch paddle and exercised it a few times, the problem went away.  On top of that, I now was more familiar with the innards of the beast.  Now it was time to check planer performance.  The segmented head in the planer was a revelation.  Once again, with or against the grain, the wood plained beautifully.  I measured the planed wood to determine if the planer table was set up parallel to the planer head, and it turned out that the planer was taking a bigger bite from one side of the board as compared to the other side: off by about .005.  I called SCM tech support and the tech explained the very simple and straightforward method of aligning the table column.  I was able to get the table in alignment within .001 across the width of the table.  

Next I tried the planer in high speed mode.  Uh, something did not sound right.  I verified that the machine was set up properly and tried various  sequences of placing the machine in and out of gear, but the unusual noise persisted.  Once again, peering into the guts of the machine, I determined that it needed more grease on the planer chain drive. As it turned out, the solution was a lot more grease.

By now I had a pretty good grasp on how the machine worked and had the machine running very nicely.  I ended up posting a couple of questions on line and I had traded emails with SCM which they promptly responded to. I was surprised to learn that there is no procedure available to purchasers that goes through the process of calibrating the planer or jointer.  Issues are handled as necessary by the techs at SCM.  The fellow that sold me the machine was very knowledgeable and helpful. After around two weeks of futzing around with the  machine, I am very happy with its performance, and feel that I have a machine that could easily be passed down at least a few generations.  Was it plug and play: unfortunately not. But I don’t regret having to deal with the issues I have described: I now have a good grasp on how the machine works and I have a machine that I believe I can rely on.  In the end, that is probably all you can hope for.
Reply
#25
  Re: RE: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer: The Review by Philip1231 (SCM Minimax FS41 Eli...)
Thanks for the review.  Like you, I am a fan of reviews, even if I am not likely to buy the machine in question.  BTW , I have a Jet JJP-12  which is the Jet 12 inch combo, and like you I am not a fan of the changeover. Like you, I modified it so I can use a cordless drive to raise and lower the tables.  It does require a little mental discipline to remember to joint every piece first, then do the changeover, but since the changeover takes less than a minute, it is not too bad to switch back and forth.  What really helps for me is the Wixey digital height gauge, so that if I joint 4 pieces, then plane them, then have a problem that requires me to make a replacement, I know from the Wixey what the final thickness needs to be.
Reply
#26
  Re: RE: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer: The Review by Philip1231 (SCM Minimax FS41 Eli...)
Glad to hear the machine was mostly up to snuff and SCM was helpful and timely in getting it dialed in.  Your experience with SCM is far better than some others have recently reported.  I hope that continuous should you need any help down the road.

You will get used to moving from one function to the other.  It's no big deal, at least not on my older FS-35.  Less than 1 minute.  

John
Reply
#27
  Re: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (EDITED: Just added t...)
Barry: yes, digital readout is next I think: looking into a product called pro scale.

John: Yes, I think I got lucky with the whole transaction: hope others get their outstanding issues resolved.
Reply
#28
  Re: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (EDITED: Just added t...)
Hello,
Hoping I can revive this thread because I am also interested in the FS41 Elite J/P.  Like the OP I have a Delta DJ-20, vintage 1987, from their "industrial line", and a few years ago I replaced the head with the Byrd Helical...huge improvement and I have no complaints about the machine; except that I'd like it to be wider.  I also own a Grizzly 15 inch planer with helical head, which performs well, albeit after lots and lots of time adjusting the rollers to get rid of snipe...I wouldn't mind selling the Grizzly.   So, my question has to do with cranking the table up/down for changeover on the FS 41 Elite (not the motorized table model, but the one with the hand crank)...I love the clever idea of using a hand drill as described by others, but does that still leave the handle such that you can make small adjustments by hand?
Thanks,
Izzy
Reply
#29
  Re: RE: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Israel (Hello, Hoping I can...)
Izzy:

Absolutely, once I get close to where I want to be concerning the table height, I simply remove the drill and use the hand wheel to dial in the target height precisely using the mechanical height readout. I leave a post-it note and a pencil on the machine: I make notes about the height so I can come back later and replicate the machine setup.

Phil


(11-13-2019, 12:07 AM)Israel Wrote: Hello,
Hoping I can revive this thread because I am also interested in the FS41 Elite J/P.  Like the OP I have a Delta DJ-20, vintage 1987, from their "industrial line", and a few years ago I replaced the head with the Byrd Helical...huge improvement and I have no complaints about the machine; except that I'd like it to be wider.  I also own a Grizzly 15 inch planer with helical head, which performs well, albeit after lots and lots of time adjusting the rollers to get rid of snipe...I wouldn't mind selling the Grizzly.   So, my question has to do with cranking the table up/down for changeover on the FS 41 Elite (not the motorized table model, but the one with the hand crank)...I love the clever idea of using a hand drill as described by others, but does that still leave the handle such that you can make small adjustments by hand?
Thanks,
Izzy
Reply
#30
  Re: RE: SCM Minimax FS41 Elite Jointer/Planer:THE REVIEW by Philip1231 (Izzy: Absolutely,...)
(11-13-2019, 04:52 PM)Philip1231 Wrote: Izzy:

Absolutely, once I get close to where I want to be concerning the table height, I simply remove the drill and use the hand wheel to dial in the target height precisely using the mechanical height readout.  I leave a post-it note and a pencil on the machine: I make notes about the height so I can come back later and replicate the machine setup.  

Phil

You might want to put an absolute DRO on it.  I put one on my FS-35 and wonder why I waited so long.  It's especially helpful in going from the down position when jointing to a starting position for planning; much easier than looking at the ruler scale.  

John
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.