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Recommendations for construction (dowel) boring machine7/20
I'm currently making frameless plywood cabinets using screws on non-visible ends and pocket holes on others. In 2 months I will be adding melamine cabinets with dowel construction with the intention to switch completely to melamine within one year from now.
Currently it is one-man shop; me doing both the production and installation, but the plan for the near future is me doing only the production and either getting an employee for the installation (and some additional help) or outsourcing that part of the job to someone else.
At the moment I'm averaging 3-4 small to medium size kitchens a month, including laminated countertops, mostly for rental properties (so it's not exactly high end what is wanted here).
For the above mentioned kitchens (which are 90% of all I do) I use 3/4 plywood prelaminated in white on one or both sides and it is on average $500-$600 worth of it per kitchen.
So, for a start I'm looking to buy dowel boring machine, but I've never seen one in real life let alone operated it; Youtube is closest I've been to it.
Anyway, some of the machines I was able to find online are:
2. FELDER® FD21 professional Line Boring Machine (~ $6400)
3. Gannomat DB21 ($ ????)
I'm comfortable with the price of the first two. I was not able to find the price for the new Gannomat (without getting involved in communication with the seller) but seeing the prices of the used ones, I would guess the new one would probably cost double of what Maggi and Felder cost (?).
So, with the respect to everything mentioned above, I would appreciate if anyone with some experience would be kind to share some thoughts on these machines (or any others you think would serve the purpose).
The main questions are:
1) Are Maggi and Felder (or any other in that price range) good enough for what I currently do and for the volume I do?
2) Do they stay "in tune" over some reasonable time period and usage, or do they need frequent adjustments and attention?
3) Do they produce good and repeatable results? I would also switch from laminate to melamine in office/commercial cabinets jobs, and this is where I would need it to perform reasonably good.
4) Is Gannomat significantly better than Maggi or Felder with the respect to the higher price?
Just a few notes:
I would prefer new machine to the used one. For various reasons (some business related and other of personal nature) I really do not have any time to spend on looking around for used machines, taking care of shipment, diagnosing the potential problems, obtaining spare parts, repairs and so on...
I know I will need a case clamp, but I've already taken care of that.
Thank you very much on your input!
Maggi has made boring machinery since 1963 and private label for other companies around the world. Maggi USA is in NC and has great support. Best solution with the best price.
I have a Maggi 1332 construction drill that I bought new about 15 years ago. I think I paid $5500 for it. It's a 23 spindle machine that we've been using almost daily ever since. Cabinet boxes, drawer boxes, mitered frame doors, and many applications for the solid wood furniture we build. Easy to adjust for different material thickness and it does hold tolerances well.
I knew nothing about these machines when I bought mine, and it took a little time get it figured out. The manual was pretty much worthless for explaining how to set it all up, hopefully they have a better one now. If you get one and have questions, get back to me.
I would say any of the machines you mentioned will meet your needs for a long time. You have to make sure you buy a machine that the head rotates so you can do both horizontal and vertical drilling. The machines are really accurate and just like any piece of equipment you have to keep sharp tooling in it.
Thank you guys for your answers.
So, good to know that I don't need to worry that those machines in the $6-7K range will do the work.
As for SCM, I just got the info that Minimax AD21 sells for $7,295. Unfortunately "the next available machine is due in September with more coming in October".
Out of the three I would say the Gannomat. It is a higher price but doweling needs a lot of accuracy for a good product and they seem to last a long time. I know a couple of guys who still have Gannomat machines that are 25-30 years old and they swear by them and say the guys at Tritec are great for support. I don't think I've seen any Maggi's that old in production and I'm not sure about the Felder machine. Hope this helps.
I am not sure how much of a hurry you are in to get a machine, but I have seen a couple of used ones for sale in the last 6 months that looked to be in excellent condition in the pictures for about $2200-2500 US dollars. The ones I saw were the Minimax 21 bit ones.
You are trying to buy a new machine for 6K/7K, how do you think they got the price so low?
My problem with the used equipment is not the quality of it vs the quality of the new ones from the lower category - it’s the time.
I have brought a mattress into the shop so I could have a nap from 2 am to 5 am when I’m working that late, and there are 2-3 of such days in every week, and other days are min 12 hours a day, Sat and Sun included.
That being said, it’s not that I haven’t look for the used ones, just couldn’t find (with respect to my limited ability and experience in those matters) anything close enough my area (Orlando, FL).
I think you should shift your efforts into looking for more employees... That schedule will eventually kill you besides making you miserable.
Well, it is what it is now. I've always been hard worker, but I'm aware that I am at or near the theoretical limits of my physical and mental abilities with this schedule. In the meantime I've found one helper and he's been with me for a week now.
Adding an employee is not easy. Usually takes more of your time than you gain for a while. But if you are going to get any place other than dead, an employee should be your next move. Stop doing installs. They steal time from your production. You've got a shop to support. Keep it running smoothly. Be careful and train that new guy so errors aren't made. Training takes time. Make demo photos for setups, methods etc. Careful training pays! I'm not so sure going to doweling at your production level will help.
Gannomat makes good stuff and from my limited experience are good people to deal with. I had their 260 clamp but then went to their Concept Primus 90 for its increased depth and fast setups. One man can assemble and clamp 90 cases a day through it easily. That includes installing all the hardware. Plenty of time in the clamp. We have a Doucet drawer clamp for dowel or dovetail, works great. All of our machining and doweling is done CNC.