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Thread: Decent small combo machine vs. separate machines for small shop

  1. #1

    Decent small combo machine vs. separate machines for small shop

    I'm finally building out my shop, which due to some unavoidable constraints means it'll be around 300 square feet instead of 450. Right now I have a 52" Sawstop, a Dewalt 735 planer, a small 6" Grizzly floor jointer, and a benchtop router table (plus lathe, bandsaw, etc but that's not what I'm asking about).

    Fitting all of these tools into a 300 square foot shop is going to be tight. I've been looking around and I see something like the Minimax C 26G (https://shopscm.us/collections/featu...ax-c-26g-tersa) which would combine four of my machines into one and *looks* like it'd save me a lot of space.

    I've never used a slider before but it looks like something I'd enjoy using. Has anyone made the jump to one of those units for a small shop, and if so, did you regret it? I know I can stash things underneath the saw, put the router table into the table saw, etc, which is what I'd do, but the idea of a combo machine looks pretty nice. I'd love to hear thoughts on it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,462
    Hi Bert, I own a Hammer A3-31 jointer/planer and a Hammer B3 saw/shaper.

    I also have a small shop.

    My issue with the 4 or 5 function machines is that they work best in a square shaped shop, whereas dual function machines like mine fit better in rectangular shops.

    You will really appreciate the space savings, and larger jointer on a J/P, and will really like having a sliding table shaper and saw.........Regards, Rod.

  3. #3
    I actually sold the first C26 Genius in the US (a lifetime ago) and did the photography for Minimax USA website at the time. Neat little machine but must be the right customer. Due to size, you will not be able to dimension any sheet good whatsoever. Also, and I'm not sure if this has changed since I left SCM Group, but at the time, the Genius was only available with a 1-1/4" shaper spindle. Nothing wrong with that but we always felt that 3/4" would have been a more appropriate fit for that platform of machine. There are several of "sub-compact" combos floating around the market: The Genius, some Roblands, the Kity from France (no longer made?), and I guess we could configure a Hammer C3 to be of similar size, though I have never personally received any interest. The most important thing is to understand the cutting capacities. I seem to recall that my guy's hobby was making flag boxes and picture frames, so it was the right fit for his needs. OP, perhaps not you but I did tell a few customers that they would be unhappy with a sub-compact combo since they wanted it to replace a full-sized cabinet saw and of course, it can't do that. Again, maybe you are aware of all this. Best of luck in your research.

    Erik
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  4. #4
    You know I actually hadn't realized quite HOW small the C26 is... I don't think it'd meet my needs as I'd like to do a few small cabinets here and there. I'd probably need to go to the next size up. I suppose seeing these in person should be pretty high on my to-do list.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cashiers NC
    Posts
    521
    I think you can do OK with what you have. I would change that 52” table to 36 and make any more changes after you have used the shop awhile. Seperate machines make it nice if you need to trim or plane just one board in the middle of a build. A lot of guys use combos but I don’t have the patience.
    Charlie Jones

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2,169
    Id certainly recommend the Genius 26c from SCM, love mine fits great in my tiny 180 square foot shop space at my house in the Catskills. I think the only thing if I had a do-over would be to get the 30c model with the longer 48" wagon. No regrets otherwise.


  7. #7
    Peter, it looks like you have some plywood over there- how do you feel about working with sheet stuff with your saw? I don't have a need to break down full panels (I can rough them in with a circular saw) but I'd need to be able to dimension some stuff.

  8. #8
    biggest thing in a small shop is your machine layout and type of work you will do. My first shop was likely not more than 300 feet and had 11 machines including two cabinet saws. Best thing is to make some machines outfeeds for the other machines.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2,169
    Bert - due to the size of my shop space, breaking down plywood sheets would be difficult with any sliding saw so I tend to size everything as accurately as possible with the track saw outside and bring it all in to be fine tuned on the C26. If you plan on working with sheet materials, you’ll want to make sure you get the version support arm as on the C30 - https://www.scmgroup.com/en_US/scmwo...imax-c-30g.661

    Might be a bit awkward with the smaller mitre fence setup.

    Regarding Erik’s comment about 1.25" spindle on the shaper - lists of different profile knives are available for cutterheads by CMT and others: https://www.cmtorangetools.com/na-en...thout-limiters

    Pretty inexpensive once you get the head itself. Tools Today also sells brazed carbide cutters for 1.25" for not terribly expensive. Certainly less than Freud anyway.

  10. #10
    My previous shop was a little under 300 sq ft, and I had a Unisaw, 15" planer, 6" jointer, 48"belt sander, 14" bandsaw, 10" SCMS, router table, drill press, Scandinavian bench, sharpening bench and 3' x 7' assembly table in it. Layout and mobile bases are the key.

    I personally don't have the patience to switch between operating modes on a combo machine. It doesn't matter how quick and easy they are, it still annoys me. I don't even like having to move a benchtop machine onto the bench top

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    504
    I have a small size area and changed from separates to a C26 combo. I wish it had a longer slider , but my shop would not accommodate it. It has plenty of power for cutting thick 8/4 wood. Love the Tersa knives. Wish I did not have to change from jointer to planer and vice versa but knew what I was getting into. The excellent accuracy of cuts is repeatable. Take off the crosscut fence, return it to the saw, the accuracy is still there. Would I buy it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.

    I had considered the Hammer combo as well. It has a fine reputation as well as the SCM products. I do not remember exactly why the C26 was chosen, it might have been an inch or two narrower to get through the door to the basement? It was a tight fit with the C26.

    I do not cut a lot of plywood, except for drawer bottoms mostly. I use a track saw to breakdown a full size sheet, then cut final dimensions on the C26.

  12. #12
    A C26 with a sliding table long enough to crosscut a 4' sheet and still have room for the fence and a hold-down clamp would be GOLDEN.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    4,214
    A couple shops ago I was in a smaller 2 car garage, 22x22. I was a serious hobbyist that took on some carpentry stuff for hire that used the shop a little. I also have a substantial hand tool fetish. In that little shop I had a 52" tablesaw, a 36" bandsaw, a shaper, a jointer, 14" bandsaw, a SCMS station, a big cyclone system, etc, and a full 1/4 of the space devoted to the hand tools and bench. It was crowded, but usable especially when the driveway could also be used. In the middle of that I decided that I really wanted a slider. Ended up buying a Felder CF741, that's the saw/shaper, jointer planer combo. It's a 9' slider, and the J/P is 16". Also have the mortiser and a pile of shaper tooling and power feeder. I still have that machine in a 13,000 sqft shop, and it still works extremely well.

    I went full combo because the tiny space required it if I wanted the functionality I thought. Maybe correct, maybe not, but it has proven to be a very usable machine, even in the tiny shop. I set it diagonally in the space and was able to get full stroke on the saw and (4x8 sheet cut either way, anywhere on the sheet, ability to crosscut boards up to 12' in the space), plus the J/P had more room than I really needed. All the other tools minus the jointer, shaper and table saw stayed. My point is, you can probably figure out how to shoehorn in a superb machine into that space you have.

    Don't get me wrong, I prefer working in my big shop now, but lots of good times in that little garage.

  14. #14
    Please for give me for jumping in here but Erick just wanted to compliment you I have never meet you but only know you from this forum. I remember back when you worked for MiniMax and there were times you talked someone out of buying something because you thought it was not right for meeting there needs and in doing so possibly give up a sale. And I thought right there that man would not sell something just to make a sale but cared about the customer and that is very rewarding. We need more people like you. Every time I see your name I would think about wanting to compliment you. Keep up the good work and forum forgive me for jumping in like this, Bob

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Jones View Post
    I think you can do OK with what you have. I would change that 52” table to 36 and make any more changes after you have used the shop awhile. Seperate machines make it nice if you need to trim or plane just one board in the middle of a build. A lot of guys use combos but I don’t have the patience.
    I've had a 52" table saw and a Felder BF631 in the past. I have a SawStop 36" now, a track saw and a Hammer A3-41 coming next month.

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