Axminster Thicknesser CT330 - advice


Hi, I'm considering buying a Axminster thicknesser CT330, has anyone bought one of these machines?
I would like the following question answered, please:
Are the infeed/ outfeed tables cast iron?
Is the surface finish smooth or shows chatter marks?
Is the motor brush or induction? If brush is it very noisy?
Is it accurate?
Is it easy to set-up, i.e.. blade replacement etc and maintain accuracy?
Are TCT blades available?
Would it stand prolonged use, say 1 to 2 hours, without frying?
What is your overall impression of the machine?
TIA
SeeAll
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SeeAll wrote:

Seeall,
not got one myself but you might find more uk slanted advice on the ukworkshop forums.
http://www.ukworkshop.co.uk
Tom
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On Sat, 20 Aug 2005 13:10:08 +0000 (UTC), "SeeAll"

I've had one for 3 years. I rate it very highly indeed.

Pressed steel. But they're substantial, hold their adjustment well and are well aligned on delivery. I've never seen snipe from it (barring gross user error).

Pretty good. It's better than my CT150 jointer.

Brush - I think they all are. All the induction machines I've seen have had motors in the cabinet and a belt drive.
It's noisy - but no worse than any other, or my chip collector.

Yes - The thickness scale is no better than it ought to be, but measuring boards with a vernier and winding on an appropriate amount with the handwheel brings you onto target accurately.
There's also a screwed stop which is useful for repeated boards.

Yes. Blades are reversible and are located on pins. No depth adjustment to set. OTOH, you can't sharpen them.

Not AFAIK.

I've put 6 hour days onto it with 12" wide oak for a week and not had any problems. It needs no more of a tea break than I do.
Somehow I have managed to melt and distort one of the plastic end covers. I don't know if this was sunshine, overheating or (as I suspect) a blowtorch accident. It doesn't affect the internal frame's accuracy though,
Good points:
It thickness planes very well and it doesn't cost much,
It handles a good width.
The head lock works extremely well at stopping snipe. I work without it, then start using it when I'm down to the last few cuts.
The feed handle can be swapped from side to side, as convenient, I also remove it for storage, making the machine a couple of inches lower overall.
Downsides (and these are very minor):
The cutter head is more powerful than the feed mechanism. It's easy to load on a bigger cut than it can feed, then the board stalls partway and burns or burnishes a crosswise stripe. This is avoidable by good technique and not using blunt blades.
You can't fold the outfeed table up for storage if the dust hood is still attached. Attaching the hood uses three little screws where the bottom one needs a stubby screwdriver and some fiddling. Banging a board against the hood can break it off the screws.
As always, you need a chip collector if you're not to get "recycled" chips getting pressed into the surface.
The "return" rollers on the top are a good idea, but mounted too low to be useful.
I've had the cam for the head lock work itself loose and fall off. Easily replaced (with some threadlock) if you don't lose it first.

I can't believe they still sell the CT344. The CT330 is far better (particularly the head lock stopping snipe dead).
I would certainly recommend it.
--
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