Tuning Up an Older Edgebander

A cabinetmaker gets help with an adhesion problem with an old-model Adwood edgebander. September 27, 2009

New to me (but 1985 old), my Cehisa ep-2s edgebander isn't gluing the leading 1/4". My edgebander experience is zero with hot glue, so I'm not sure what the problem could be. So far (without any changing results), I've increased the glue spread and adjusted the fences in and out (custom fences from the previous owner). I'm getting good glue spread and everything is sticking very well except for this one area. I'm also running the power feeder so that feed speed shouldn't be an issue.

Any suggestions? I thought I would check with those more experienced as I await my returned phone call from Adwood.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor P:
I don't know how your custom fences are configured, but typically they should be in line and straight, with the entire spring-loaded gluepot assembly deflecting a little (I seem to remember 1/8"- 1/4", but it's been a while since I've had an EP-2S) when the work piece hits the roller. Great little machine!

From contributor U:
The EP-2 is a very basic machine with no frills. The pressure roller on the old Cehisa EP-2 units were not powered. The problem you are having is caused by the panel slipping when it meets up with the tape. You can adjust the machine and get a better result by doing the following.

1) Do not over tension the pressure roller. The pressure roller is spring loaded. If the spring load is too much then there will be slippage when the panel passes. A minimum pressure is all that is required.

2) The edgebanding tape must be free to move. The machine came with a tape pull back device that allowed no resistance from the tape roll for the 1st 1" or so. If it is no longer there, make sure the tape is moving freely the first inch before the weight of the tape roller comes into play.

3) Reduce the glue temperature (for PVC and wood veneer tape). Hotmelt glue sets very quickly once it leaves its heat source (roller). There are many different glues available for different speeds of applications. This machine uses a standard hot melt. Make sure you have the correct glue in the pot so when the panel reaches the tape the glue is ready to bond. This machine will work best by heating the glue at the lower setting (180-185 degrees C) rather at 200 or 210 C. Check with Adwood if there is any question as to the correct glue.

When banding with HPL or a wood strip you need to increase the temperature back to 200 or 210C. I'm sure Adwood will be very helpful when you speak with them, and they do not charge for over the phone technical support.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the suggestions. I've been monkeying around with it all day and still have nothing new to report. I'll double check the tape hold back mechanism, but the tape appears to be moving freely and I haven't had any slippage problems. I'll take this piece off and see if anything changes.

I'd adjusted the fences back so that the edge hits the glue roller and pushes it back about 1/4" to 3/8" and moves the pressure roller back about 1/8" to 1/4". The power feeder does a really good job of keeping everything tight. I'm getting near perfect results for 95% of the edge.

I think I'll see about moving the glue roller assembly back (via the set screw that hits the glue pot) so that the edge just touches this instead of pushing it back so far. There is glue on the leading 1/4" where the tape won't bond but I'm starting to think that the corner of the edge is hitting (and pushing) the glue roller with such force and speed that the glue ends up missing this section. Hard to explain this without pictures. I've increased the amount of glue dispensed by the roller without any improvements.

Regarding glue temp and type, I'm using the glue that the previous owner included and setting it at 200c (where he had marked to set it). I scraped the glue pot clean before I started using it. I feel (again, this is my first experience) the glue is drying as quickly as it should. I've semi ruled this out as the rest of the edge is bonding nicely.

From contributor R:
I don't have the same machine, but when I run into this problem, 99% of the time it is because I'm running it at too hot of temp. Turn it town and try it.

From contributor P:
Gluing temperature depends on the glue you're using as well. Check the specs on the bag for recommended temperature. I wonder if the gluepot is deflecting too much and moving the panel away from the pressure roller. Is the power feeder aligned with the fence?

From the original questioner:
No luck this morning. I've set the temp to the lowest setting and am getting the same results. I attached a picture of my problem. It seems like I'm not getting the right amount of glue on the leading edge. The picture is too bright against the tape but the edge tells the tale.

Adwood said that the spring that pulls the glue roller hard against the panel needs to be replaced. He said that I can adjust the roller back so the edge just comes into contact with it and this will fix the problem while I get a new spring. I tried this and didn't see any improvements. I turned everything off and will go spring shopping later today.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From contributor T:
When I used an EP-2S I had the same problem. It has been a couple of years since I used it, so bear with me as I ramble.

The path the edgebanding took from the roll to the was too complicated. This meant there was too much inertia plus drag for the glue on the board to overcome as it first contacted the edgebanding, so the edgebanding would pull the glue back from the leading edge as the board moved, but the edgebanding hadn't yet.

I ran the edgebanding more directly into the final section (the aluminum angle and the adjustable height hold-downs). The two height hold downs for the edgebanding must be set carefully. If they are actually contacting the edgebanding they will cause drag, and if they are too far from the edgebanding, it will wander up on the edge of the board.

Also, the roll of edgebanding with the large center hole sits on a very small center pivot. When the board first hits the edgebanding, it tends to drag the whole roll forward instead of the roll spinning. I cut some bushings with a small hole in the middle to fit over the pivot, and the outside a closer match to the inside of the edgebanding roll.

Finally, and I think this was the eureka moment, I got in the habit of spinning the roll of edgebanding a quarter turn or so in the direction it was going to be pulled by the glued board before feeding each board. This put plenty of slack in the edgebanding so the leading edge of the glued board could pull it with as close to zero friction holding the edgebanding back as possible.

I also got a meat thermometer to check the actual glue temperature as opposed to the temperature scale on the thermostat. Setting the glue temperature within the actual temperature tolerance needed helped. A mark was made on the temperature scale of the thermostat with permanent marker so the knob could be reset to that correct point in the future.

I agree it is a great little machine, if a touch temperamental... even more than most edgebanders, but once you become aware that it is the boss, you should get many years of work out of it.

The glue pot needs to be cleaned pretty often. It seems to get a layer of hardened glue on the bottom that will insulate the new glue from the heating element.

I would still be using my EP-2S except that the motor finally let go, and a replacement is almost the same cost as the entire unit cost new.

From contributor P:
Doesn't it seem like somebody with a Grainger catalog and some mechanical know-how ought to be able to devise a swap for that motor? The replacement cost for the OEM motor is insane...
From the original questioner:
Well, team, it looks like I'm finally on the right path. I've adjusted the guides and am slacking the roll before running panels and I'm down to the leading 1/8" not sticking. I couldn't find the same size spring so I guess I'll order one. Hopefully, that will take care of the rest.

In the meantime, do I need to worry about that 1/8" peeling up over time? I'm running 1mm PVC on melamine for a mail center/cubby holes. All of the melamine will be used as shelves.

From contributor T:
Contributor P, you are right, it ought to be possible to replace the motor with an American one, but the frame size on the motor is not! I ended up buying a used Brandt for 3X the cost of the EP-2S motor.

From contributor P:
Who cares about frame size? All I'd be looking for is similar RPM, and, ideally, a shaft that would work with the stock sprocket (probably going to end up modifying one or the other...) After that, it's just a matter of cowboying some kind of bracket together and wiring the thing. Given my past experience, it'd probably eat up as much time and money as just buying the motor from Adwood. But think of the pride factor!

From contributor B:
A 1985 model EP2s that is in original condition probably has a solid steel pressure roller which is plated. This roller is not powered to move at the same or greater speed than the speed of the panel. This causes the tape to slip on the hot glue on first contact. Once the glue has slipped it will not bond.

This problem was corrected on later models by using a hollow aluminum roller, air line, fittings and copper tubing to create a directional air supply inside the roller to make it rotate. When the copper tube is properly positioned inside the roller it will cause the roller to spin. Speed is controlled by a simple air flow control. Current models use the same system.

The simple way to adapt this older machine is to glue an old plastic motor fan or impeller to the top of the pressure roller and rig some 1/16 ID copper tube, fittings and flow control and direct the air to the impeller to make it rotate counterclockwise.
You will never be able to stop the 1/8" slip until the roller is moving. Some people just give the roller a spin before they push the panel through.

After you get the roll spinning one way or the other, continue to turn the edgebanding roll 1/4 turn after each pass if you use the automatic tape return. I prefer to run the tape straight through and then pull it back to the center of the pressure roll after it is cut. This allows zero resistance and the tape will bond correctly on the leading edge.