Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 51

Thread: Hammer A3-31 Owners, Please Help

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    117
    Quote Originally Posted by Earl Rumans View Post
    The small Baileigh does, that's the unit I have but the one I was talking about is a 16 inch machine and it is pretty amazing for the price. Like I said, I don't know if you have the space or 3 phase in your shop to use this machine but for about the same cost as the Hammer, it's a big upgrade. Look at the link I posted and it fully describes the machine.
    Earl, that is a very nice machine and I remember actually watching his videos on it way before I was in the purchasing process of a J/P. The machine has everything I'd want, including the digital up/down, non-removal of fence, spiral head, and 16" capacity would be fantastic. The problem is with the footprint and the 3 phase power. That thing is MASSIVE. Thanks though, it would have definitely been a contender otherwise.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,927
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Hills View Post
    I'd seen some discussion of the Aigner extensions on the festool owners group lists.
    I haven't seen a good online presence by Aigner itself, but had been referred to some resellers:
    http://www.simantechinc.com/aigner.htm
    http://www.martin-usa.com/
    http://www.rangate.com

    Rangate has one of the old Aigner catalogs:
    http://www.rangate.com/uploads/Aigne...talog_2011.pdf

    Matt
    I've seen the Aigner stuff...top shelf. Darn expensive, but wow...really nice. I'd love to have them for my band saw! That said, I've never felt the need for longer tables on my J/P. The only time I ever run truly long boards through it is for "skimming" rough lumber before putting it in storage. Actual milling doesn't happen until I select material for a project, chalk it out for components and then rough cut to length. The goal is always to work with the smallest pieces. It would be a rare day that something over 5' long was required for a project...while acknowledging there might be exceptions.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    'over here' - Ireland
    Posts
    2,532
    I'm another with Hammer separates (but not in the US - my impression is that the US operation perhaps puts time into pre-delivery machine set up that isn't always invested on this side of the Atlantic) and have posted before on my experience. I run an A3 41, K3 Perform slider and F3 spindle moulder.

    While unclear how representative it was I've mixed views. My prior machine was a Robland combo, and I don't know how the likes of e.g. Minimax or for that matter Felder machines compare. My impression is that it's a lot to do with your expectations - that there's plenty that work in a manner so that what is an issue for another they don't even notice. I'm definitely in the repeatability and precision camp, and take the view that straightness and squareness are critical to working accurately.

    I purposely refused to pay for additional set up of the machines following delivery - i wanted to learn the machine adjustments/know in detail what the situation was, had little confidence that a service guy on a tight schedule would be allowed to work to the precision i wanted, and anyway felt that paying again for what the factory should have done was inappropriate.

    My A3 41 had (among other less significant table flatness issues) a dip in the middle of the infeed table just before the cutters which played havoc with the set up - it didn't want to joint straight/always tended to cut convex. (could only be persuaded to joint straight by running an abnormal infeed table alignment, and then didn't perform consistently across the width of the table/on differing workpiece lengths) The fence is solid, but wasn't flat either. The 0.010in factory tolerance for table flatness isn't realistic (but the rationale for setting it so very wide seems pretty clear….) - even half of that in the wrong area can as I found cause big problems. My impression from user feedback is that regardless of the spec there may in reality have been a significant frequency of table flatness issues with these machines - that getting a 'good' one may matter if you are into precision. ('good' despite the spec probably means flat within a couple of thou all over both tables….)

    I got nowhere by polite means with the factory (was anyway out of the immediate warranty by the time it all came to light as aresult of illness), and after a year or more ended up biting the bullet by flattening and re-anodising the fence, reworking the fence mounting and hand scraping the tables accurately flat myself. Which while labour intensive transformed the performance - it immediately jointed straight with the tables set coplanar, and delivered instant and predictable responses to small changes in table alignment. The scraped finish delivered a silky smooth feed compared to the original quite roughly face milled (?) table surface too.

    I'm a huge fan of the Felder quick change knife system. Whether or not it's a 'drop in'/no adjustment option to change knives is another matter (it again depends on how finely you like to set these things up), but it's very nicely made and delivers a very precise and highly controllable system of adjustment of knife heights - which can be tuned at each adjuster/at multiple points across the width of the table. (a bit like insert cutters - many love them for their minimal sharpening requirement and avoidance of the need to set up knives, some find they leave faint scalloped marks. Depends on what you are looking for...)

    I'm not a fan of mobility kits, especially not for planer thicknessers and larger saws which by definition/layout do not have a highly twist resistant cabinet. My A3 410 is on adjustable feet, but i've found that moving it on what is actually a not far off level workshop floor causes the cabinet to flex and throws some of the finer (e.g. knife height) adjustments. I've marked floor locations for each foot so that if it's for any reason moved it can be returned precisely to where it was before.

    The current/new model planer thicknessers seem likely to be an improvement - they have a revised table hinge design which may address some inconvenient rather than show stopping table height/alignment ease of adjustment/predictability issues with the model I have have.

    The K3 was also a mess as delivered - with slider, table, blade tilt hinge and riving knife misalignments that were way out of whack - they left the machine unusable as received. These fortunately enough proved to be capable of being sorted out by adjustment - the machine had no significant manufacturing defects as such.

    The F3 in contrast was well built and aligned - it was perfectly usable as received, and while I did some fine tuning of the sliding table height and the like it was about preferences rather than problems. Night and day. The shape of the cabinet is such that it's much stiffer than the other two machines.

    Bottom line my view is that while quite a lot may hang on the care taken/who handled the final set up of your machine that at this level in the market you get what you pay for.

    These machines while not cheap are not remotely high end in professional woodworking machinery terms, and to a large extent come out of eastern factories. I can't speak for the US market, but my impression/experience is that warranty matters are handled exactly as you would expect in this situation - behind the talk there's a pretty hard ass application of criteria which mean that if the issue isn't black and white wrong you will probably be on your own. There's also by definition a fair amount of corner cutting done to hit the price point - and this definitely results in some less than ideal design details and quality issues.

    Against that all three machines have in my own case proven very capable once dialled in and set up, and more to the ppoint they seem to (with careful handling) hold their adjustments….
    Last edited by ian maybury; 11-30-2014 at 10:47 AM.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    117
    Thanks for your input Ian, that kind of feedback is definitely much appreciated on the overall quality and for setting expectations. I've now been told on multiple occasions these are hobbyist machines and not to expect the world. I'm having a bit of a hard time with that considering $5K is not chump change and, as a perfectionist, I fear that this may not satisfy me and do nothing but frustrate me in the long run. :\

  5. #35
    Matt, these reviews are the exact reason I decided not to get the Hammer machines. If I was going to spend that kind of money I wanted precision machines and Hammer couldn't tell me that is what I would get. I decided to either go cheaper and just be satisfied with the quality, or spend the extra and get MiniMax. I have never heard of any problems with any MM machines. I only do woodworking for a hobby and I am an old guy, with son's and daughters that don't have any interest in woodworking, so no one to pass my equipment down too. I decided to go cheap and just enjoy what I got. If you are a perfectionist person, as you say, then I think the Hammer quality will drive you crazy. Have you looked at MM and how much more it would cost you?
    Last edited by Earl Rumans; 11-29-2014 at 11:57 PM.
    Earl

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    'over here' - Ireland
    Posts
    2,532
    I'd not want to be negative about the whole thing Matt - there seem to be many thousands of happy Hammer owners out there. It's very possible too that Hammer have got e.g. whatever table flatness issue they had (and it's not clear whether this was of a significant extent or not) under control, and that the US operation is screening out most of whatever set up issues that get out of the factory. I know from business experience though that Hammer pretty much have to get it right first time, or forget about it - that it's not possible to routinely fly service guys all over the place to support machinery at the Hammer price point without getting paid as they go. I've in fact seen a business selling much higher value machinery consume most of its profts and almost go under from doing so.

    The issue with woodworking is that it's such a highly differentiated and developed market. There seems literally to be product at every conceivably possible price/spec point. This (setting aside the marketing hype that is more or less universal in the industry - everything no matter what is 'professional quality') is perhaps the realpolitik of it - there's no magic, and within reason/variability between specific examples of particular models you get what you pay for. Trouble is it's not always possible to accurately assess a machine without having lived with something similar for a while.

    It's hard to buck the market. The basic option if you want very high quality is to pay the extra money - go up market. For those of us less well financed i guess it comes down to taking our chances new at whatever level, or buying up market but used.

    One big advanatge of the last is that you (presuming the required hands on knowledge and tech skills) get to make an in depth inspection before you buy - with the option to walk away if e.g. tables are not accurately flat or whatever. This in a sense is one of the big disadvantages of buying new at a lower price point - even if there are good examples of the product out there you risk getting whatever example is lifted off the shelf and shipped to you...
    Last edited by ian maybury; 11-29-2014 at 6:50 PM.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    117
    I have been in talks with Erik, a MM rep that contributes here, through email for the past few days. The MM FS30 is definitely a player but truth be told, I can't get over not having the spiral cutterhead in it. I understand that the Tersa head is a very good head but part of the reason I'm even purchasing a J/P combo and upgrading from my current setup (a 6" Grizzly parallelogram jointer and the DW735 benchtop planer) is to get a spiral head on "both" machines along with the capacity increase for jointing. Erik has offered me a price that's actually in the end comparable with the A3-31 (though not with the accessories I had on my initial quote) and if it wasn't for not having the spiral head I would have already placed the order.

    Lastly, this whole process and my inability to make a proper decision is making me lean back to using my current setup until I move into a larger shop when we sell our house (in 7-8 years or so, timed with paying off our current home and my little girls needing a better school district which is why I'm so sure of the time frame in case anyone is wondering) at which point I'd get stationary machines for each. I can't believe I'm having this much trouble making a decision on this but i suppose when $5K is on the line for a hobbyist with a growing family it's not as easy as it is for a bachelor or an empty nester

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,927
    Matt, I can appreciate your desire for the spiral head...they are very nice. At the same time, I've been running the Tersa setup for quite few years now, and it's never let me down...much better than ordinary straight knives in that you can slightly adjust one or more laterally to eliminate the effect of a nick and the knives are also available in different metal formulas for those who want to optimize them to the task. They can be changed out in just a few minutes and are always at exactly the same height.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Helensburgh, Australia
    Posts
    2,263
    Matt, I went through the same decision procrastination as you for the same reasons and ended up buying the Hammer for the spiral head. If MM had the option of the spiral head I would have bought it.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  10. Quote Originally Posted by ian maybury View Post

    These machines while not cheap are not remotely high end in professional woodworking machinery terms, and to a large extent come out of eastern factories.
    No, Hammer does not even remotely come from an "Eastern" factory. It is 100% assembled in Austria. There are a few parts that could be sourced from another country but they are much the exception than the rule. I got this info directly from a conversation with the president of FelderUSA. Considering from what I stepped up from, my machines are a joy to work with and I have nothing but good things to say about their service. Rivals Festool IMO.

  11. #41
    Hi Matt,

    I want to add few comments because it seems I initiated your concern about the fence.
    Long story short, I'm perfectly fine with the Hammer fence. It serves its purposes well.
    As Rod said, you need to mount the guide rail correctly.
    As Taylor said, it has few more places to tweak than a center-mount. There is no learning curve with a center mount, while the side mount needs some time to poke around. Not a big deal. It's a small price you need to pay to get the space-saving and quick change-over.

    I am one of those guys who lurk around with a straight-edge and a feeler gauge. Cups, warping, flex, all bother me. And with my reading glasses and Festool Syslight, I can see leaking rights here and there. I believe any sub-$10,000 machines are the same. Hunting down the final 0.005 inch could cost fortune for manufactures, which would push the price. In reality, woods are not metals. They move as we cut. They compress as you push. I am obsessed with 90 degree and parallel, but I have to admit that the precision of Hammer is no where close to the precision-bottleneck of my entire woodworking process. Also, any jointers require some level of skill. Infeed/outfeed levels can control slight concave or convex over the length. If we want to flatten a board with convex, we can't just casually push the board.

    Another important factor is if the machine gives you quality time and joy. I guess majority of us enjoy A331. Fit and finish, sound, vibration, surface, and cut quality, I can't compare with my previous jointer and planer. This is something you can't read from spec sheets. You just have to use it for a while.

    Having said that, any companies sometimes have bad apples. It's inevitable and I feel sorry for those who happened to get one of these. I hope the customer supports address such issues well. My experience with Hammer/Felder has been exceptional, but opinions may vary. Usually happy majority is silent.
    Anyway, hope it helps.

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    117
    Susumi, thank you for your follow up. I understand everything you outlined and agree. Wood moves, bottom line. We sometimes get caught up in chasing perfection for no apparent reason

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    'over here' - Ireland
    Posts
    2,532
    Hi Howard. Not to get into a debate on this as international sourcing is a fact of life across the industry - and isn't remotely a negative in itself. The opposite in fact, in that most of us are happy to benefit where possible from cost and quality effective sourcing. I certainly am. Against that it's an issue that's almost impossible to bottom with any certainty - so much that's sold in Europe these days has a 'European' brand, but does not originate as the brand history might suggest.

    There's been extended discussions on this very topic on several different forums (including this one) over a number of years, with various Felder and Felder linked personnel quoted along the way. Nobody is arguing that the machines are not assembled in Austria, but most reports (as of a few years ago) have been equally clear that large and labour intensive components (e.g. castings) are frequently if not normally sourced from the East - with the proportion varying between models. Electrics, bearings and the like have been reported as being sourced in Europe, but even this can in the general sense be true without necessarily being a definitive statement of first origin.

    Chances are if its like most businesses that the situation isn't static either, but varies as different sourcing options develop.....
    Last edited by ian maybury; 12-01-2014 at 2:42 PM.

  14. "I've generally found that most issues with the fence were due to not installing the guide rail parallel to the table surface."

    For me, it rides the rail fine, it is when I try to use it too far to the right (standing at the infeed), as was mentioned by a previous poster I believe. It kind of 'falls off' the spot it was resting on the infeed as it is supported no longer by it, but only by the hinge cover. Seems strange. Perhaps I am doing something wrong here, or perhaps I have to accept I cannot use it that far back?

  15. #45
    Hi Tyler,

    I agree that you can't put the fence to far to the right.
    I think that is fine because what kind of operation requires the fence positioned to far to the right?
    The fence is used to put a square edge. I can't imagine anybody pushing a board with an eight-inch edge.
    For the face joint, we don't need the fence or, at least, we don't care about the squareness of the fence, do we?

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •