4-Head or 5-Head Moulder?
From contributor D:
I agree with contributor J about the five head moulder. One thing to remember (I learned this the hard way) is that a moulder without a straight line rip saw is like a car with no wheels. Looks and sounds nice, but doesn't go very fast.
From Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor:
As a general rule, a fifth head has its benefits. One thing that must be considered is your available power source. If you have the available power and the additional funds, a 5 or even 6 head machine may be a better choice. For example, a good used 5 or 6 head moulder can be purchased from auction or many dealers for under $15,000.
The other thing to consider is the tooling. With certain machines you may be limited to tooling sources. The most common tools used for most moulders will be corrugated knives or insert tools. Some smaller machines require the use of knife stock that is only available with a limited range of quality. Also consider your potential growth. A 5 head machine may allow you to grow in areas yet untapped.
From contributor C:
I would think for the quantities you are moving, a moulder is a good, simple, profitable machine for you. A five head is really preferred - 4's are great to S4S, but profiling is less than ideal.
However, one of the contributors raised a good point - without a straight-line or gang rip, the moulder is not terribly efficient. Your supplier may be able to supply you pre-ripped blanks, or another supplier may have them. For the quantity you need, someone should be happy to get you what you need, at least for the short term.
And tooling can add up quickly. The nice thing about your product is it is small, so you can run insert heads and knives, which are more initially, but cheaper in the long run, and can reduce setup time dramatically.
And one other thing to consider that I'm fighting almost constantly: dust collection. Even small moulders can bury you in dust pretty quickly, so be sure to plan for adequate waste handling.
From contributor V:
I can't give any input on a 5 or 6 head moulder because I have never used one. I do have a PH260 that I use on hardwoods and I am very satisfied. It is simple to set up and operate. You can get any knife profile you want custom ground.
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