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Thread: Which to choose, Minimax FS-30C Xylent Cutterhead or Hammer A3-31 Spiral Cutterhead

  1. #16
    I've had the SCM FS41 Elite in my shop for over a year now and am very happy with it. The Xylent cutterhead does a very nice job on figured cherry. My impression (based mostly on anecdotal comments) is that the Minimax is a step up from the Hammer: I think it would be more appropriate to compare the Minimax to the Felder line. I believe you will be getting a heavier duty machine with the SCM Minimax. I looked seriously at the equivalent Felder machine when I was making my decision: the games that Felder played with pricing pushed me over the edge toward the Minimax and I have no regrets.

  2. #17
    Iíll tread lightly here but have sold plenty of both. First, you canít go wrong either machine. OP, I would buy from whichever rep you feel most comfortable with since after-sale service will become a thing at some point.

    Regarding Hammer lead times, the A3ís are our most popular machine and there always has been a little lead time. The covid situation in Europe shut down production and logistics for ALL of us, which stretched lead times out further. That being said, I just got an email from Austria that they are putting together a dedicated container of A3ís for the US market that will hopefully bring delivery times down to a more normal level.

    As far as pricing, there shouldnít be any confusion or games about that. At least not here in the US. Anyone can create a free account and Hammer A3 pricing (including any promos) is right there on the e-shop site. Yes, Felder quote documents are rather ďbloatedĒ IMO but A3ís built for the US market are very straightforward and the pricing is readily available. The only thing that takes any work from the repís side is getting the freight cost, then whether or not you want any add-ons like the Alu handwheel/dial indicator or table extensions.

    Regarding Philís comments about build quality differences, I would respectfully point out that a FS41 Elite is a bigger machine than a Hammer, more in line with the Felder AD7-41. So, not really apples to apples in size or cost. This is a strong reason why I believe every customer should talk to actual rep from whatever company they are looking at before pulling out their wallet. Make sure you know what youíre really getting (or not getting) for your dollar before you pull the trigger.

    To the OP, best of luck in your search.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  3. #18
    I've had two Minimax JP combos with Tersa heads and have never felt that I needed a spiral insert head but wouldn't say no to one either. Minimax owns their own foundry and their castings are larger and heavier built than comparable Hammer or Felder units. The FS 30 had longer tables than the Hammer and I preferred that. I put this little unit through more than it's share of heavy work and it never disappointed. It was less money than the Hammer as well. They're all good machines it just depends on your criteri. Enjoy your new machine!

  4. #19
    Just to clarify: when I mentioned "the games that Felder played with pricing", I was NOT referring to Erik!

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Gaudio View Post
    Just to clarify: when I mentioned "the games that Felder played with pricing", I was NOT referring to Erik!
    Hahaha, Phil.... Thanks man!
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  6. Make sure you consider the scorpion line from CWI.

    i have it and found it to be a better value and feature set for the money.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    885
    I got my A3-31 in 2011. At that time I got it with a Byrd head. This was just before they came out with the newer model with the silent cutterhead and improved fence. The A3-31 has been great. It was perfect off the pallet and I've never made any adjustments. Survived going into storage for a year and a cross country move without issue. My only regret is not getting the bigger one because occasionally I'd like > 12in in planer mode.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ellsworth, Maine
    Posts
    1,648
    For whatever reason finding Rep's for either company is not easy here in Downeast Maine. In terms of service I have no way to determine who will be better which I agree is a huge selling point. I am not aware of how to find representatives for either company but would love to figure it out. As of right now the only actual people I've talked to is Elite Metal Tools and I was slightly bummed out by their service. They are very quick to get a quote out but I ended up calling and asking about mobile bases for the Minimax FS-30. They told me they don't sell any other parts other than the actual Minimax machines and that I'd need to contact Minimax for extras, which would have been fine if they would have pointed me to a contact of some sort. I asked for contact information for Minimax but they could not help with that request. This is what spurred me to look up Hammer and ask for a quote. If anyone has any direct representatives/sales people for either company I would be extremely grateful.

    All said and done my budget is $5K for a combo machine which I feel like should be adequate for a good quality machine for a hobbiest woodworker that primarily works with handtools.

    Thanks for all the responses and your experiences with your machines.

  9. #24
    My contact at SCM Minimax was Sam Blasco. He is very knowledgeable about the various machines and was good to deal with when I bought my machine. You might try contacting him. And for info on the Felder/Hammer line: well you've got the man right here in this post: Erik Loza.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shea View Post
    For whatever reason finding Rep's for either company is not easy here in Downeast Maine. In terms of service I have no way to determine who will be better which I agree is a huge selling point. I am not aware of how to find representatives for either company but would love to figure it out. As of right now the only actual people I've talked to is Elite Metal Tools and I was slightly bummed out by their service. They are very quick to get a quote out but I ended up calling and asking about mobile bases for the Minimax FS-30. They told me they don't sell any other parts other than the actual Minimax machines and that I'd need to contact Minimax for extras, which would have been fine if they would have pointed me to a contact of some sort. I asked for contact information for Minimax but they could not help with that request. This is what spurred me to look up Hammer and ask for a quote. If anyone has any direct representatives/sales people for either company I would be extremely grateful.

    All said and done my budget is $5K for a combo machine which I feel like should be adequate for a good quality machine for a hobbiest woodworker that primarily works with handtools.

    Thanks for all the responses and your experiences with your machines.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    821
    Bought a Hammer A3-31 about 2 years ago

    Contact was David Brooks 1-866-792-5288 ex 208, d.brooks@felder-group.com.

    Spoke to him many times to make sure I got what I wanted. No hard pressure sell on the main tool or any of the accessories.

    Also dealt with him when I bought a Hammer Shaper about a year ago.

    Happy with both machines.

    For mobile base, I use a Porta-Mate PM2500 on the A3-31 and a PM3550 on the Shaper.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,887
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shea View Post
    For whatever reason finding Rep's for either company is not easy here in Downeast Maine. I

    Call Sam...

    Sam Blasco
    Minimax Product Line Manager
    sam.blasco@scmgroup.com
    512-931-1962 (shop)
    512-796-3036 (mobile)
    866-216-2166 (main office/parts/tech services)
    www.minimax-usa.com

    You can also contact Erik privately to get pointers on the Hammer/Felder side.

    --

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

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Simon View Post
    I've had the A3-41 for a couple of years and am very happy with it. No issues and the digital gauge works perfectly. I would recommend ordering a short outfeed table to put on the outfeed side of the planer.
    I'm waiting for my A3-41 to arrive. It has been delayed by the plant shutdown for Covid. The plant shutdown is over, and my machine is supposed to have reached the US warehouse on or about May 25.

    Anyway, Felder has been very good keeping me informed, and I certainly cannot fault them for delays from the pandemic. They have been very good with answering questions, and making sure I had everything I needed after I ordered, and ensured delivery would be "residential delivery with lift gate service."

    The extension tables require a separate mounting rail for either the outfeed jointer table location, or the planer outfeed (one for each desired location). A rail is already there on the jointer infeed (it's the same rail that mounts the fence).

    They also offer a long extension table, but since it has an adjustable support leg, the longer extension would be less convenient than the short extension on the planer outfeed.

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
    Posts
    2,047
    Very satisfied owner of a Hammer A3-41 with the Silent Cutter head, the spiral unit. The finish is so smooth that I now want to sell my twin roller sanding machine. I got the sander to finish boards after machining them through my old straight knife machine, which left the familiar washboard surface. I would recommend the Hammer in a heartbeat.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    9,967
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Simon View Post
    I've had the A3-41 for a couple of years and am very happy with it. No issues and the digital gauge works perfectly. I would recommend ordering a short outfeed table to put on the outfeed side of the planer.
    yes an outfeed extension on the planer is useful due to the feed rate of 6m/minute, keeps short pieces from falling on the floor

    Regards, Rod.

  15. #30
    Iím in the same situation and been looking at both the last 4-5months. Although Iíd get a 16 inch model.

    Felder and MM seem to be neck and neck with pricing. The 12 inch Hammer model is usually on sale nearly every month on their E Shop site. The 12 can be had for ~4200 with xylent and the 16 is around ~5400. Plus around 500 for shipping. I do like the beds rising together on the hammer. If I could get by with a 12, Iíd probably buy 2 separate machines, so the combo only makes sense in a 16 for me.

    Iíve also looked at the Baleigh machine and it seems liked a decent buy at 3500 before they raised it to 4000. Someone also mentioned the Scorpion machine, and Iíve inquired twice about availability and no one bothered to return an email or even call when I left my phone number. Iíd like to get a little service when spending 5000 on a machine, so Iíll pass on the scorpion even through it may be decent for the price. The felder people have followed up with me several times.

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