Help with a big tool decision

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Forum topic by Dj1225 posted 02-07-2014 03:36 PM 3838 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 2822 days

02-07-2014 03:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: combo tool jointerplaner sliding table saw european combo question

Hello everyone. Looking for some advice.

I want to upgrade to a sliding table saw, and like the idea of a better shaper. Also want a better jointer.
I have 3 options I am looking at:

1. Robland X31 2007 model with a ton of shaper blades, power feeder and upgraded fence, cost a bit to get here but will still have less than 5K in it. I expect the shaper blades are wroth a grand.

2. 2013 Minimax Lab 300, like new $7500.00

3. Two new machines from Hammer A3-31 12 j/p combo and Saw K3 48×48 $8000
This would not include shaper

I had budgeted 7500 or so, so all are in the target. My gut says the minimax, but I have to drive 6 hours to get it, as it is not ship-able. I think the robland would be fine as well and is certainly the best value. I have never actually seen it, but I think all combo machines work “about” the same. Move this, swing that ect.

I currently have a Rikon joiner/planer that I do not really care for, a jet 3hp cabinet saw, and a jet shaper.
Expect I can get around 2K for these on the used market, maybe a little less.

Any thoughts as I want to pull the trigger this weekend.

As always thanks

-- Dave

8 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3258 posts in 2859 days

#1 posted 02-08-2014 01:46 AM

Dj, since you haven’t gotten any intelligent responses in 10 hours, I will jump in. :D I can’t speak to the specifics of the machines, but suggest you buy the one you want, i.e. the Minimax. The Hammer doesn’t meet your requirements and is above your budget. You didn’t mention the condition of the Robland, but it is 7 years old so that is a consideration. Finally, if anything goes wrong with the Robland or the Hammer, you will always kick yourself that you should have gone with the one you wanted. HTH

-- Art

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3411 days

#2 posted 02-08-2014 02:59 AM

Dj, how did you determine that a slider would be an upgrade?

I can understand you wanting a combo machine but I would not recomend any combo for the sake of gaining a slider.

If you do tons of casework I could get on board with you otherwise, at your request for helping decide I vote no!


View bigblockyeti's profile


6180 posts in 2323 days

#3 posted 02-08-2014 04:27 AM

The JET tablesaw you currently have should serve you for many years to come. I wouldn’t discard it yet. As for driving 6 hours to pick up any machine, I would want to make sure it was going to make me money in one form or another. If you’ve established a budget, especially if you’re doing this for profit, it’s in your best interest to stick to it! Any used shaper you buy, whatever make, make sure it fits with your long term plans, you don’t need to be buying several thousand dollars worth of cutters every few years to fit whatever machine you happen to have in your shop. Buy what will last, not sure if the Roland fits that bill or not. IMO opinion staying away from brand new machines (if you’re doing this as a hobbyist) would be your best bet, a little cash on the used market goes a lot farther vs. new machines!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View waho6o9's profile


8811 posts in 3179 days

#4 posted 02-08-2014 05:13 AM

Get the Minimax, or wait.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4250 days

#5 posted 02-08-2014 05:45 AM

Combos primarily save space.

If that’s what you need to do, then do that.

Separates are way easier to upgrade incrementally.

Other than saving space at the expense of changeover
hassles, I don’t see any benefit to other than acquiring
a slot mortiser and a small format slider.

Higher end combos can be difficult to resell.

View Dj1225's profile


75 posts in 2822 days

#6 posted 02-16-2014 11:56 AM

Well I decided to throw all my tools on Craigslist and sold everything easily. I bought all 3 items used, so I believe the 4 year loss was about $400 total.. I decided to buy the used Minimax Lab 300 after a better negotiated price. Still a 6 hour drive to get it, but feel it is an excellent value. But just as I thought everything was finalized i had a call from a minimax dealer, saying they were running the cu300 on special, for under 10k. Normal list price 14k

I am not a professional woodworker but the products I build seem to be becoming popular and I am seeing more time in the shop, but whatever machine will most likly see 5 to 8 hours a week use.

I do primarily hardwood furniture, with some sheet goods.

The cost difference between the lab 300’used 9 months and a new cu300 is apx 3200.00. Which is a chunk of change. But amortized over the many years and I can justify it, if there is validity in the difference.

I know bigger is always better, and if tons of case goods were in my future I think the cu 300 would make sense, but I can buy a lot of cutters and wood for 3000.00 bucks.

Just not easy to understand the difference in the machines on paper, so I am hoping to hear from owners of either machine.

As of today, the lab is the way I am going, but always open to the forum.


-- Dave

View retfr8flyr's profile


386 posts in 2271 days

#7 posted 02-16-2014 01:23 PM

For that little difference in price I would have to go with the CU300. It’s a good upgrade over the lab and you would be getting a new machine with full warranty. As you say, over the life of the machine the cost is negligible and if you should decide to start a business you would have the better machine.

-- Earl

View Mikem22's profile


5 posts in 956 days

#8 posted 06-06-2017 10:16 PM

I know this is an old post but I am going through some of the same decisions myself. What did you end up doing? I’m looking at a cu300 myself. Mike

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