Shopping for a Planer Moulder

      A woodworker gets advice on equipment for producing S4S stock in the shop. April 18, 2015

Question (WOODWEB Member)


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I run a lot of S4S with jointer and planer only. I am considering buying a used Weinig Quattromat 23P. I would not process any profiles. Can someone tell me if this machine is any good?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From Contributor U
Member

It's good.


From the original questioner

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I found a few other posts that recommend this machine. I'll be looking at used ones since they are not in production anymore.


From contributor S:
I bought one used six years ago and itís a great machine. I can't imagine being in business without it.


From Contributor O:
I will agree - definitely one of the most useful machines any medium size shop can have - a real moneymaker. The setup is quick and easy enough to do just one board if you like, or a truckload. We had the dial in dimensions, with quick-set knives. A servo controlled push button machine is even quicker. The machine is extremely well thought out, and we had no problems with ours other than the flexible dust pipe wearing out from chip impact.

From the original questioner

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My ideal machine would have at least 6" of working height. I've been told that this can be achieved by simply installing longer vertical heads. Is this true?


From Contributor O:
That I do not know. A call to Weinig should answer your question. I suspect there may be some work required on feedworks and holdowns also needed. It will help your discussion if you have a serial number for Weinig, as they keep records on all their machines.

From Contributor U
Member

Taller side heads aren't going to do it. You need a different machine if you want to S4S timbers.

From the original questioner

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I called Weinig and they told me as much. The larger machines though are more easily modified with higher vertical spindles.


From contributor R:
One thing to keep in mind with the Quatromat the feed beam and the cutter heads move in unison, they are not independent like other smaller Weinig moulders. They are a four spindle machine bottom, right, left, top.


From Contributor O:
A couple of things: I am sure the Quattro can be modified to work, but Weinig will probably disown you. Obviously, safety is paramount and the quality, reliability has to be there. In a search for S4S machines some years ago, we found two machines - Kupfermuhle and Pinhiero. We needed to produce over 1200 l/f of top quality 3/4 x 11-1/4 every day, and there were no molders at the time to do that. We ended up with the Pinhiero, a 24" top and bottom planer, with two side heads sort of glommed on. It could also be set up to run log cabin logs, and had a 12" height capacity. The thing was a true monster, and we could get product out of it, but it was a struggle - sort of the opposite of a Weinig. The image I have is the rough mill foreman using a fork lift to push - force feed rough materials into the machine, and almost pushing the machine over, breaking anchor bolts, etc. Not a light touch. One never knew what was going to come out the other end.


From contributor R:
A hint from someone who has a little bit of experience with these, buy nothing less than a Profimat.

From Contributor U
Member

To contributor R: I'm not sure what you are saying above. Do the side heads really move with the feed beam on the Quattromat? When I was looking at moulders/S4S machines, I thought that it was set up like a very compact 4-head where the top head moved with the feed beam and the other heads were mounted in the base.


From contributor R:
I just assumed that people would think of the top head when talking about the feed beam. I should have been clearer in my statement.

From the original questioner

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Just curious why you would recommend a Profimat if only to do S4S.


From contributor T:
As an owner of both SCMI and Weinig moulders I would not be afraid to look for a good used Superset. The newer ones actually have a fairly small footprint for a five head and are in my opinion quicker to set up and easier to adjust. Dollar for dollar I have put way more money into my Weinig than either of my SCMI machines, the crown jewel being an early 90's (green) five head that is just a joy to operate.


From contributor R:
I have installed many of these machines and I have always came back and installed an upgraded Profimat or bigger in a relative short period of time. This machine is a light duty machine, it can do S4S and some profiles also. I don't care for the idea that you cannot lube the table and remove the lube from the last bottom head, you cannot place backouts or relief cuts in the back side and in general you would use a spiral insert on first bottom, in reality you would have to sand everything. With an independent feed system you can lower the feed system in hit and miss areas of lumber while the cutter head remains in place, you do not have this option on a Quatromat which might be an issue. This is just my opinion, the other folks above love their Weinig Quatromat it's an ok machine but it has its limits, ask why the person is selling it? German built machinery is hard to beat - they have a great reputation for building quality equipment. They build machinery for every size wallet people own. In my opinion, buy a Profimat or larger, you wonít regret it!
From Contributor U
Member

Good analysis Contributor R. I started out looking for a Sintex or Quattromat and ended up with a five head, which has been excellent.

From the original questioner

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Thanks for the responses. I spoke with a service guy at Weinig and he thought one would prefer a five head machine because of the possibility of skips on crooked lumber. Understand that I have never operated a molder so I can't really say how straightening is done. I know how it is done on a jointer and I understand that a machine with pressure adjustments can create a straighter surface than one that simply flattens the piece before it gets to the heads. Is this the one problem with the Quattromat?


From Contributor O:
The Quattromat is a lighter duty machine, not something you would run eight hours a day, every day. It, and the other Weinig machines have jointer type infeed tables that are fairly easy to adjust, with a first feed wheel that can be raised so the material hits the first head (bottom) just like a joiner, cuts a flat surface, then is power feed through the machine. The Quattro also has the side fence that also operates similarly. We produced passage door stiles with the machine, and it was perfect for that. I went from a 5 head Profimat to a Quattro in a completely different shop situation, and never missed the lack of lube. One shop ran 8k l/f a day, all profiles, and the other ran the Quattro about eight-ten hours per week, almost no profiles.

From Contributor U
Member

The fifth head does a nice job of skimming the bottom of the board clean - whether that is removing bed lube, touching up and misses from the first head, or both. Typically you only get one pass with a moulder, so unlike with a jointer there isn't much that you can do to finesse a crooked board. The last bottom head is a decent compromise - you set the infeed table to remove up to the max that will still allow the top head to give a clean full width surface cut. This will inevitably allow some portions of some boards to be missed by the first head. By skimming with the last head, you can get a decent bottom surface despite this.

From the original questioner

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Thanks for the education. What do you mean by lube?

From Contributor U
Member

Many/most moulders have a system that pumps a small amount of lubricant onto the table just after the first bottom head to help the wood slide easily through the machine. The downside is that it can soak into the wood slightly, so the last head is set to skim it off.



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