Hinge Drilling and Pressing Machine Options

      A cabinetmaker gets advice on his choices when shopping for a second-hand Blum Minipress machine. August 27, 2013

I'll be buying a 2004 Blum Minipress M51 single phase 220 V. It looks to be in good condition. Is this worth it? I think it is but thought I'd post last minute before I buy. This one has no key like some do.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor S:
The machine you are looking at only drills and doesnít press in the hinges. It would be ok if you use clip top hinges. If you do face frame cabinets you may want to look into this.

From the original questioner:
I just saved a headache and Iím purchasing the Minipress M instead.

From contributor S:
The Blum machine is the manual press type not the air type to press in the hinges. What style cabinets do you build - frame or frameless?

From the original questioner:
I usually build frameless. However I do some face frame if the job requires it. I am a one man shop and don't really understand why I would need pneumatic hold-downs. Typically I will have 30 or so doors a month to drill as I do installations and finish carpentry too.

From contributor D:
Itís not pneumatic hold-downs. I do not think it even has hold-downs. It has a manual lever you must pull down to drill or to insert hinges - no air cylinder feed.

From Contributor O

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The Blum Mini Press has its issues but works very well. Just keep an eye on the speed in the drop for plunging and always keep your bits very sharp.

From contributor F:
For that money you should be able to get a mini press with all the features. Personally I wouldn't want to spend that much on a lesser machine. If you get the full press then yes it's worth the money.

From the original questioner:
So what's the difference with the air? I never did understand the hoopla with pneumatics. The bigger machines have a key and three other buttons. All I want it to do is drill three holes simultaneously.

From Contributor O

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There is an adjustment screw at the top of the plunge head. It determines the speed at which the head drops drills. Different woods need different speeds.

From contributor U:
Air vs. manual is kind of like having power steering vs non-power steering. Sure, you can get by without it but once you try it you'll want to have it. Drilling/inserting without it is a bit of a chore. With it it's a breeze.

From contributor C:
Most of us are talking about the pneumatics because we press a lot of hinges. The hold downs are essential for speed and good alignment. I know it seems steep but make payments if you have too. It is like everything else once you get one - how did I ever live without it?

From the original questioner:
I have three phase but it requires going into the electrical room three doors down, flip a switch and vrooom (loud), then I have to turn on my compressor which takes forever to cycle (also loud). I'm just wondering at 30 doors a month is it really worth connecting the air hose, flipping the 3 phase "lever" and returning to the machine? If itís a re-sale thing then ok.

From contributor C:
Buy a new single phase one - do you want to make money? He who is set up makes the jack. We run through 60 sheets of Corian a month and 500 hinges a month, but we are set up to do so. I bought my first Blum machine when I was pressing maybe 30 a month and then what do you know, people started bringing me doors that needed hinging.

From contributor C:
Get set up for capacity to pump out product. The time comes when you have to smash through the work and it will only happen with good gear set up to do the work.

From Contributor O

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Listen To Contributor C. I have two Blum Mini Presses and I work them all week. Sometimes you just have to get it done, and done right.

From the original questioner:
So I bought a full blown Minipress with the pneumatics and press-in capabilities. Sweet! Purchased it used for $800 and it came with about 50 hinges/plates/"hinge ram" items/nine new drill bits from 40mm-8mm and a cabinet with drawers, so yes I am happy. Anyhow, I saw it in operation before I bought it. When I got it back to shop and pressed the drill button (and held it) it worked fine - 20 minutes. Later I tried it again after reading the instruction book that came with it. The drill plunged way slower than it did initially. It was set to "drill" not "set up". The pneumatic clamps were engaged and all seemed fine. Why the slo-mo?

From contributor D:
Itís adjustable. Maybe the adjustment screw was loose? The Blum is a very cool machine to have.

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