Combi or separate machines?



in my new home. I have looked in several magazines and on-line sites but I am just as confused as when I started. I have been looking at the Record Maxi260? @ just under 2k is this machine any good? I have about 3k to spend and would appreciate any help/suggestions/recommendations.
My thanks in advance
Brian
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What kind of work are you going to be doing? Clocks and boxes or wardrobes and entertainment centers?
Don't forget:
Hand held power tools or hand tools (planes, routers, drills, chisels, etc.) Clamps, clamps, clamps and more clamps Glue and misc. (veneer press or other specialized tools)
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Do you want to do woodworking or do you want to change tools to do different operations? Most combination machines I have seen were limited by their ability to do different tasks, and required a lot of time in changing from one to another. Limited space is their specialty. harrym

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HarryM wrote:

Perhaps we should be clear about the term combi. The Shop Smith and it's clones are one type - typcially one motor and you have to tear down and put away one function, find and install the parts for another function and maybe move a motor as well. Then there are the euro five function combination machines, table saw (usually with a sliding or linear bearing table), shaper, jointer, planer and mortiser - Robland, MiniMax, Hammer, Felder, Rojek. typically with 3 or more 3-5 hp motors and lots of cast iron - half ton or better machines. The euro units start around $6K Us and go up to close to $20K US for a loaded Felder.

I don't know about you, but I prepare stock one operation at a time, joining one face and one edge, planing to thickness then ripping to width. Shaping and mortising are occassional things and only done after stock prep anyway. The sequence in terms of changeover is - move the jointer/rip fence off the jointer tables to the adjacent saw table (20 seconds max)rocking the jointer tables on their hinges (30 seconds) to get to the planer below flip the jointer/planer dust hood over to planer mode (5 seconds) and cranking up the planer table to whatever thickness I need (15-20seconds) For most things it's less than two minutes.
If you want to use the shaper you do have to install it's metal shroud and fences but still less than three minutes - couple of bolts to screw in. The mortiser table may take 2 minutes to hang on or take off the unit but that's because I've got mine on a cart and I have to move the cart to and from the machine.
As for limited ability to do different tasks, the true 3 HP saw motor spins a 10" blade well and I've never bogged it down. The 3 HP shaper will eat wood also without bogging down though light cuts are preferred when spinning a 7 inch diameter, 1 1/4" bore shaper head, The 3 hp motor that drives the jointer/planer/mortiser has more than enough power to do most anything I need to do in pine, fir, oak or maple.

Well yes and no. The sliding table with a 52" cross cut fence will need a bit of space, though only temporarily. When the jointer tables are swung out of the way to use the planer they add maybe 18 inches to the width while the mortising table adds about 20 inces to the width.
BUT - you only need one 220V cord and outlet, a switch selects which of the three motors to give power. One less cord to trip on is always good.
charlie b
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My experience with with the Shop Smith. Have never seen the other machines. Shop Smith had a small table for the saw, and the drill press required changing time. Since I may go back and forth between the two operations twenty times in an hour, I would spend most of the time changing them. But I'm cutting and fitting small parts as I assemble toys, so I can't do all the sawing at one time and then move on to another function. It would be different if I were building large items from plans. I spend too much time now changing router bits. Wish I had at least three router tables so I could leave bits in them, but I don't have the room. harrym

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IMHO combination machines are good if you only have room for 1 or 2 machines. OTHERWISE get separate machines. It is a PIA to switch between modes on 1 machine for each function, especially after the new wears off and the wow factor is gone. My shop is approximately 18x22. A bit crowded but it has 2 work benches, drill press, planer, 50" cap TS, lathe. router table, band saw,chop saw station, jointer, compressor, 3 bicycles, washer and dryer, freezer, water heater, lawn mower and lawn equipment, and the wife's car.... PLUS all the small stuff... Believe it or not, the only tool that I actually have to move is the TS, and the wife's car. So you have the room for individual machines, if you use it wisely.

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Hi Thank you all for responding to my request for help. I now have a tendency to go for seperate machines the purpose of which will be to build general furniture, table,bookcase that sort of thing, also garden furniture and maybe various boxes, jewellery up to storage. That is my first thoughts and I will see were that takes me.
Any recommendations on individual machines? The main machines I think I will need are a table saw, planer/thicknesser, band saw, router & table(although I should be able to make my own router table?), disk sander and bench grinder. A lathe is probably down the road somewhat. Have I missed anything? Your comments on machines will be most welcome especially one's to avoid.
Again thanks for all your comments, they were most helpful.
Regards
Brian
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Brian asks:

Best slip a jointer in there. Let the lathe wait for a bit, until you're more familiar with what the other machines will do. You don't specify the type of disc sander: consider a random orbit sander. The bench grinder is not an essential: if you plan to use it to sharpen tools, switch to the Scary Sharp method at least for the time being. A plate of flat glass, or MDF if you work dry, and some super fine sandpaper is cheaper than a good grinder and much easier to use.
Charlie Self
"If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function it must have dissent." Henry Commager
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You might also want to consider a jointer. You can do your jointing by hand, but the jointer also gives you a good flat face to reference your other sides to. My order of doing things would be:
Tablesaw Jointer Planer/thicknesser Router Grinder Bandsaw Sander
If you'll be forgoing hand tools, you can move the grinder to the bottom of the list.
I take it you're in the UK? If you're looking for brand name reccomendations, you might want to try one of the UK DIY groups as they will be more informed.
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I find that my most used tools are [in order] the table saw/radial arm saw, the drill press, the stationary belt sander, the router table/shaper, the thickness planer, the jointer, and the band saw. Just as essential, since it is used with several of them, is the dust collector. Then less used are the compound miter saw, the oscillating spindle sander, the lathe, and the scroll saw. harrym

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