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I am considering investing in 5 head moulder.
I'm only going to offer one piece of advice that often gets over looked.
You can't underestimate the necessity of dust collection and dealing with moulder shavings. A moulder running for any amount of time will through off so much in shavings you'll need to have a plan on dealing with them.
Ok, a second piece of advice, if money isn't an object, get a Weinig, you'll never regret it.
Things you will need , top of list
Would be a very interesting thread to keep open to the knowledge base.
To me a lot would depend on whether your talking small runs or are you going to be producing stock/standard profiles. And are you going to have to prepare your own blanks or are you going to pay your supplier to feed you blanks.
The space/power/dc demands for the molder alone are only a small percentage of your investment if your doing the whole lot.
30 years ago i started matching mouldings for clients with a 1/2 shank router in a table , then a 1/2 shaft shaper, then a 3/4 shaft shaper with a power feed.
in bigger shops i have run the mill shop with a crew andmore then 20 machines including a mikron 652 and a leadermac 6 x 9,6 head.
Agreed on already posted suggestions:
* Get a Weinig. Period.
* Don't skimp on dust collection. If they say you need 4500CFM make sure you have 4500CFM. And don't cobble a manifold (you don't need to buy theirs - Air Handling makes really good ones a lot cheaper).
* Make sure you have room. Not just the machine and in/out, but staging material in and out as well. Plus material for the next week's jobs and the stuff that customer A said he NEEDED on Thursday but now can't take it for a month.
I disagree with not getting a grinder. We do outsource templates and knives, but do all maintenance ourselves (except 13" stuff because we only have a 9" grinder). Too many times you will hit a staple that got missed, or even some mineral or a gnarly knot that will give you a nick. If you want to put out quality you will need to address it immediately, not just before the next run.
That said, we do also use carbide insert for our everyday and high use items. But if you are doing a lot of custom stuff it's expensive.
If you want to put out the best quality product, plan on pre-planing your material. Yes, modern moulders have a "jointing" first bottom, and it's an improvement, but nowhere near as good as a proper jointing planer (finger feed a la Straight-O-Plane).
Check the electrical requirements (moulder and new dust collector if necessary), and your service entrance.
I too say go with the Weinig. I also agree that when we leased ours, I found that dust collection and chip disposal became a whole new problem. Plus my power supply did not prove to be adequate, in that our old building at that time did not have 3 phase. I found it to be more than a little frustrating in that immediately, I found that our sawing operation for rough cuts going into the moulder, could not come close to matching what that moulder could run. Eventually that become a good problem to solve, but something easy to overlook.
yes weinig makes a good machine, but, wadkin, scmi,leadermac to name a few are running all over the country and their owners are happy with them. there are also 2x6 4 and 5 head machines that in no way compare to the above but are running flooring louvers and s4s all day long profitably. again i believe you have to look at your market .
Dust collection, dust collection, and did I mention dust collection. Of course in addition a good straightline rip saw and a decent planer. Other than that it's easy!
I have two SCMI and Weinig moulder. To be honest the SCMI machines have been way more reliable and much easier to operate.
I'm with doug. Don't get hung up on the big W, there are other brands that are just as good.
When I bought a 5 head Weinig for a shop I was running, I tracked nearly every foot of material thru that machine. We ran moldings for inventory, in Poplar, Pine and R Oak, and did customs runs fro 10' to 10,000'. I tracked al the materials and all the labor including stock prep, waste, knife grinding, etc for millions of l/f.
The upshot was that in 1988 dollars, as every foot came out of the machine, you could plunk a dime in a hat as pure, clear profit from the thing. On a 12,000 l/f day, that is $1,200.00 net profit, over and above the overhead and built-in 12% profit. $280,000 per year to buy other machines, upgrade facilities and a bonus for myself and others.
Forget the 5 year payback. If you can sell what comes out (a big "if"), you will pay for it in 6 months.
I've had a Weinig 5 head for quite a few years. Good machine, good support. It takes more space than what most would think. We don't make anything to stock, strictly custom orders. Like others have said, you need plenty of dust collection. W/O it you will get damaged moldings from recirculating chips. You need a way to quickly pull the trailer or truck from under the cyclone and get another in its place. If I were to buy another molder it would have two top heads, 6 head machine. I bought the optional higher HP motors, very glad I did.