We bought our entry-level flat bed router a little over a year ago, it's been okay but it has a hard time keeping up with the workload. I have also learned my lesson about local service for the machine, I have spent countless hours acting as an unpaid technician for the manufacturer. Plus, we are getting to a point where extended downtime would cost us customers.
I had a couple reps from Thermwood come by to pitch the Model 43, I know their reputation for quality machines and service, but frankly I felt like a deer in the crosshairs.
We have a Felder edgebander that I've been very happy with, and their west coast HQ is 90 minutes away. I'm going in a few days to look at their H08. There is a SCM dealer nearby too but again their sales staff has come across more used-car than industrial machine.
Any feedback on the Felder machines? Or any other options we should look at, particularly those local to the SF Bay Area?
I've been using a couple of Thermwood routers at two different employers and can't say anything bad about their support service.
They have been able to talk me through just about all the repairs I've done over the years and the parts are overnightable from them.
The machines have been reliable and so has the company.
(I have no financial inyerest in Thermwood, just a satisfied customer.)
We are a custom shop, but to help with the cash flow, we started cutting melamine closet parts for local installers. High volume, low margin is definitely not our specialty but the steady stream of small checks has been even more valuable than the profit.
Our machine has one 5mm drill, and sheets with a lot of system holes can take 30 minutes to cut. Realistically we are lucky to get 10 sheets cut in a day.
I would like to run the feed rates higher than 400 IPM for better chip load and faster cycle times, but the edge finish and tolerances suffer too much.
Vacuum hold-down is good but not great, we have a 15 HP pump. The bigger issue is the MDF plenum board that seems to shrink and swell throughout the day, requiring .015 cuts into the spoilboard to avoid leftover skins. Which in turn requires regular surfacing.
I also am realistic about the expense and headache of replacing the machine, so if I can make this one pay off for another year I'm open to suggestions. "Bird in the hand" and all that.
I can tell you that you will absolutely not go wrong buying a Thermwood.I have had one 7 years with no major problems, and the smaller ones I have had are mostly self inflicted.I can tell you they have spent hours on the phone with me and never invoiced me for a penny..Try that with any other software or hardware company...I have a cs45 5x10 and it is a workhorse.
I have a Freedom Machine Tool 5 X 10 router with ATC with 10 positions. They are a subsidiary of DMS routers out of Colorado. I found them here on woodweb forums. Excellent machine with great customer service . The owner of the company even paid me a visit here on the east coast. I know and keep in touch with 4 owners in my area. They are all cabinetshops with the same machine. Being new to the cnc world, customer service and local owners were very important in my decision to go with them and have no regrets. For the machine I got with the Fagor controller, I think it was a great deal.
If it's making you some added cash and you can run it everyday it should pay for itself rather fast. I would weigh the income off of it of in house production vs. what you are sourcing for others.
Closet sides are tough with or without a drill. Period. We have 20 drills and although it's not 30 mins for a closet side it can be 2-30 mins for a sheet of drawer boxes with dowels. Try and program for system holes just in the necessary areas. Stop drilling excessively. No need for it.
I am running big iron with a 40 hp pump, and pretty expensive software. Felder is excellent machinery, so is Thermwood.
Make sure and be comfortable with what you buy. Yes, get a tool changer and drill bank.
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