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Thread: Advice on sagging Jointer table (MM FS41ES)

  1. #1

    Advice on sagging Jointer table (MM FS41ES)

    I have a sagging jointer in-feed table table that is producing concave joints (cup in the middle). This is a new MM FS41ES so this has been happening since production. Since I assumed it was factory adjusted, I thought it was my technic but its clear now its the in-feed table. Just incase anyone is wondering, it was not lifted by the tables.

    I tested with a woodpecker strait edge that has .001" deviation per foot. So I would expect the edge to be no more than .002" over the span on the in-feed. I measured .001" gap at the front of the in-feed, and .010" 24" out from the edge. The full length must be further out.

    My question is about what to do, I see no instructions in the manual about adjusting a sagging table. Maybe I'm missing it, but I looked twice. I read several old threads, and on other units with split tops, shimming the hinges seems to be the thing to do. I don't honestly feel I should have to do that on a brand new machine.

    Sadly, I should have checked this before I started final work before a glue-up.

    Any advice is appreciated.
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  2. #2
    It's not clear what you mean by "sagging" or exactly what your test procedure is. I am guessing that you are resting your straightedge on the outfeed table and measuring the gap between it and the infeed with a feeler gauge, and finding that the infeed is lower the farther away you get from the cutterhead.

    I'm not familiar with your specific machine so I will just speak in general terms.

    Start with checking/adjusting the outfeed table height. The most common cause of convex joints is the outfeed table being too high. It should be even with or just a hair lower than the knives. This is a very fine adjustment and a dial indicator is useful here.

    For checking the table flatness and alignment, the longer and more accurate your straightedge is, the more reliable the results. If you have a sliding table saw that will produce gap free joints (or a friend with one) you can make a sufficiently accurate wood or plywood straightedge, though it may not stay that way. A straightedge as long as one of your tables is minimal, one as long as the whole machine will be better. A short straightedge can give misleading indications regarding table alignment if the tables themselves have dips or humps.

    Check the tables for flatness, along the length, crossways and diagonally. If they are out of the mfr's stated tolerance you may be able to get a replacement. If they are twisted you may be able to correct that by shimming.

    Make sure that the outfeed table is parallel to the cutterhead. If not that may be adjusted most easily by shimming the cutterhead.

    If the tables are reasonably flat, and you have determined that they are not parallel, then you will probably have to shim under the table supports. Be prepared to spend a few hours to get the tables just so. Don't start messing with this until you have eliminated the other possibilities. You shouldn't have to do this on a new machine, but the experience seems to be common. Just take your time and use a reliable straightedge.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 01-16-2022 at 11:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Mine was definitely setup for a spring joint from the factory, but not to the same degree you are showing if you trust that extruded aluminum straight edge.

    Regardless, I would start with the basics and get the outfeed table setup first and then see how far off the infeed table is.

    One of the more annoying aspects of these machines is that one side needs to be shimmed and the other side has bolts. Itís nice if they got it close enough that you can simply adjust the bolts but occasionally Iíve had to shim these machines.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  4. #4
    Likely you have a sagging table BUT you are also trying to use a $66 dollar aluminum straight edge to adjust a ground precision machine tool. And the advertised .001 per foot deviation is no guarantee that it is. A few years back I purchased a ground steel iGaging 36" precision straight edge for a similar price. Also advertised as .001 per foot. That hunk of scrap metal was warped in 2 directions, it had to be .020 or more out over it's length.

    Needing a precision straight edge for a job recently I finally bit the bullet, Starrett 48" 380-48 precision straight edge. Accurate to .0002" per foot or .0008 over it's entire 48 inch length. It's also .218 inch thick and 2.4 inches wide and is quite heavy. Yes $300+ but now that's a straight edge. I have a new jointer in a crate out in the shop to setup, that's it's next job.

  5. #5
    Get a copy of John White's book "Care and Repair of Shop Machines." He shows how to adjust machines, and how to make a straight edge using only some MDF and drywall screws.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Coolidge View Post
    Likely you have a sagging table BUT you are also trying to use a $66 dollar aluminum straight edge to adjust a ground precision machine tool. And the advertised .001 per foot deviation is no guarantee that it is. A few years back I purchased a ground steel iGaging 36" precision straight edge for a similar price. Also advertised as .001 per foot. That hunk of scrap metal was warped in 2 directions, it had to be .020 or more out over it's length.

    Needing a precision straight edge for a job recently I finally bit the bullet, Starrett 48" 380-48 precision straight edge. Accurate to .0002" per foot or .0008 over it's entire 48 inch length. It's also .218 inch thick and 2.4 inches wide and is quite heavy. Yes $300+ but now that's a straight edge. I have a new jointer in a crate out in the shop to setup, that's it's next job.
    I'm aware there are better strait edges. THIS strait edge is perfectly flat on both the infeed and outfeed table so I think its safe to assume the strait edge is strait enough that its not the culprit of a .010 deviation.
    Last edited by derek labian; 01-16-2022 at 12:44 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    It's not clear what you mean by "sagging" or exactly what your test procedure is. I am guessing that you are resting your straightedge on the outfeed table and measuring the gap between it and the infeed with a feeler gauge, and finding that the infeed is lower the farther away you get from the cutterhead.

    I'm not familiar with your specific machine so I will just speak in general terms.

    Start with checking/adjusting the outfeed table height. The most common cause of convex joints is the outfeed table being too high. It should be even with or just a hair lower than the knives. This is a very fine adjustment and a dial indicator is useful here.

    For checking the table flatness and alignment, the longer and more accurate your straightedge is, the more reliable the results. If you have a sliding table saw that will produce gap free joints (or a friend with one) you can make a sufficiently accurate wood or plywood straightedge, though it may not stay that way. A straightedge as long as one of your tables is minimal, one as long as the whole machine will be better. A short straightedge can give misleading indications regarding table alignment if the tables themselves have dips or humps.

    Check the tables for flatness, along the length, crossways and diagonally. If they are out of the mfr's stated tolerance you may be able to get a replacement. If they are twisted you may be able to correct that by shimming.

    Make sure that the outfeed table is parallel to the cutterhead. If not that may be adjusted most easily by shimming the cutterhead.

    If the tables are reasonably flat, and you have determined that they are not parallel, then you will probably have to shim under the table supports. Be prepared to spend a few hours to get the tables just so. Don't start messing with this until you have eliminated the other possibilities. You shouldn't have to do this on a new machine, but the experience seems to be common. Just take your time and use a reliable straightedge.
    I thought I was being clear, but sometimes its hard to read what your writing and set aside your inherit understanding of the situation.

    Yes, I'm putting 1' of strait edge on the outfeed table, and cantilevering over the infeed. I tested in several positions and adjusted the infeed several times. What I posted is just the last test. In all cases there was a drop. The tables are flat. I do not have a longer strait edge on hand, but as its .010 off at 24" I don't see how that will make any difference.

    "The most common cause of convex joints is the outfeed table being too high. It should be even with or just a hair lower than the knives."

    The only thing the manual states about the infeed/outfeed is that the outfeed table is set by the factory precisely and should not be adjusted. It appears to be set at level not higher. At second measurement its probably somewhere perfectly above the outfeed, by maybe .001.
    Last edited by derek labian; 01-16-2022 at 12:51 PM. Reason: updated outfeed/cutter head measurement

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    Get a copy of John White's book "Care and Repair of Shop Machines." He shows how to adjust machines, and how to make a straight edge using only some MDF and drywall screws.
    My strait edge is fine, thats not the issue I'm trying to resolve with this thread. I'm looking for information SPECIFIC to the FS41ES and the sagging infeed adjustment.
    Last edited by derek labian; 01-16-2022 at 12:42 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Mine was definitely setup for a spring joint from the factory, but not to the same degree you are showing if you trust that extruded aluminum straight edge.

    Regardless, I would start with the basics and get the outfeed table setup first and then see how far off the infeed table is.

    One of the more annoying aspects of these machines is that one side needs to be shimmed and the other side has bolts. It’s nice if they got it close enough that you can simply adjust the bolts but occasionally I’ve had to shim these machines.
    Just to make sure I understand you accurately, your FS41ES was factory set to produce a concave cut?

    The manual says nothing about adjusting infeed table, but does say, in bold letters, the outfeed is factory set and should not be adjusted.

    How did you go about shimming these? Was there a documented procedure by MM/SCM?

  10. #10
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    I am OK with the straight edge when we're looking at a tenth of an inch deviation. With a machine at this price point comes superior customer service and my first call (not email) would be to MM customer service. If they conceded that the machine left the factory misaligned (not terribly uncommon for many makers) I would follow their table alignment procedure.

    I have had machines show up so well aligned I keep checking them during initial setup to see what I am missing. Those are the good times ;-) I expect to have to align any machine that has made the journey these multi-hundred-pound beasts have to make with the skillful, courteous and thoughtful delivery personnel available today. Give MiniMax a call and go from there.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by derek labian View Post
    I'm aware there are better strait edges. THIS strait edge is perfectly flat on both the infeed and outfeed table so I think its safe to assume the strait edge is strait enough that its not the culprit of a .010 deviation.
    Okay you are trying to hold 12 inches flat on the outfeed to check 24 inches on the infeed. How long are your jointer tables? Just saying. Hope you get this sorted, been there done that jointers are my most hated machine.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I am OK with the straight edge when we're looking at a tenth of an inch deviation. With a machine at this price point comes superior customer service and my first call (not email) would be to MM customer service. If they conceded that the machine left the factory misaligned (not terribly uncommon for many makers) I would follow their table alignment procedure.

    I have had machines show up so well aligned I keep checking them during initial setup to see what I am missing. Those are the good times ;-) I expect to have to align any machine that has made the journey these multi-hundred-pound beasts have to make with the skillful, courteous and thoughtful delivery personnel available today. Give MiniMax a call and go from there.
    "price point comes superior customer service"

    I wish that were the case but it appears not to be. I guess it depends on what your definition of superior is but I'm still waiting for information on a damaged bell housing and missing parts, and its been a month.

    "I would follow their table alignment procedure."

    So would I, If I could find any information on it. I was hoping someone, like Brian, would have specific experience or alignment procedure (for this model) they could share
    .

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Coolidge View Post
    Okay you are trying to hold 12 inches flat on the outfeed to check 24 inches on the infeed.
    Right. For reference, I was following the procedure indicated by Marc Spagnola's video. It seemed like a reasonable procedure and I think the test results are inline. I was actually already looking at the Starrett 72" strait edge (https://www.starrett.com/metrology/p...-detail/380-72) but that isn't going to help me today and I have a time sensitive project.

    https://thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/jointer-setup/

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Coolidge View Post
    How long are your jointer tables? Just saying. Hope you get this sorted, been there done that jointers are my most hated machine.
    42"

  14. #14
    Agree with Glenn. A quick call to minimax/SCM. They'll call back and spend as much time as necessary to help you set things straight.
    As for factory alignment, just set up a new MM sliding table saw last week. They said alignment of wagon toe registration pins was pre-set at factory. Not remotely close. Plus, sled was sitting at least .057" above iron table, when .007 is recommended. Even the switch plate had been installed with wires pinched between gasket and housing, creating a bulging control panel that initially was blamed on shipping. Finally, had 3 threaded inserts in various covers that did not crimp well, result being they spun along with the screw. Two of which had locked up screws that needed to be cut off before I could open things up to get the machine in service.
    Not knocking the manufacturer, just letting you know, during these times, it's all anyone can do to produce a product. All the niceties of pre-aligned machines and tight tolerances are currently out the window, so your experience is quite normal. I know you weren't complaining, just looking for help, but lurkers anticipating new machines should understand that they too, will need to play machinist a bit when the new toy arrives, regardless the premium paid.
    Last edited by Jeff Roltgen; 01-16-2022 at 1:07 PM.

  15. #15
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    Derek I would like to suggest donít not mess with the tables unless you get a longer straight edge 72 inches minimum.
    precision if you can afford it. My straight edge start a 12 inches up to 5 ft. All precision.
    I also have Veritas aluminum and steel they are ok but to get the last 3 or 4 thousands tuned on of long jointer tables precision steel.
    The wood peckers is good looking for dips and humps.
    I use suburban tools for my precision stuff. Starrett has gone over seas with some of their stuff I donít like it.
    Good Luck
    Aj

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