Robland International - Combination Machine NX-31
This combination machine from Robland International, and distributed by Laguna tools, features a sliding tablesaw with a maximum 10-in. blade, planer, jointer, shaper, and horizontal boring machine.
The NX-31 is an updated version of the X-31, which was the first combination machine on the U.S. market. The NX-31 had a lower cost than the other combo machines in its price range, but it also was significantly lower in quality, accuracy and efficiency than the others.
The sliding table dipped as much as 1/16 in. at the front of its stroke, rising near the blade, and there was a noticeable bumping of the bearings as the table slid. The aluminum extrusion that makes up the sliding table had a 0.007.-in. dip along its center. Also, the crosscut extension table would not go on flat. The cast-iron center saw table also dipped 0.007 in. to 0.008 in. in some places. The saw’s arbor and trunnion assembly is lighter and less solid than most of the others, so it could be flexed by hand, which explains the amount of vibration and rougher quality of cut.
The jointer fence also was a problem: Its extrusion was cupped 1/32 in. at the ends but bulged 1/64 in. near the center, more than enough to affect squareness of cut.
There were a number of significant design problems on this machine. One example: On the crosscut fence, there is no stop at 90° (although one could be fabricated by the user). Also, the machine required much more assembly than any other machine I looked at, and wiring access was difficult. The machine is rated for a 12-in. blade, but the 12-in. diameter caused the splitter to sit so high that it couldn’t drop below the surface of the table (a clear saw-table surface is necessary when using the shaper). The machine accepts a dado head but doesn’t provide a throat plate to fit one, as the others do. Laguna doesn’t recommend the Robland’s router spindle, which mounts directly on the shaper spindle, limiting it to 6,000 rpm and keeping the collet 1/2 in. above the tabletop at its lowest point. Last, the height adjustment on the tablesaw was very stiff and difficult to move, especially at the bottom of its range.
Additional Notes: The sliding table is sloppy in its travel. After being adjusted level with the central saw table, the sliding table’s height changes at the blade and shaper spindle by as much as 1/16 in. as it is pushed forward and backward, which reduces the accuracy of saw and shaper cuts.