Combination Machine CU300 Smart - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Combination Machine CU300 Smart

MiniMax - Combination Machine CU300 Smart

MiniMax has updated this combination machine since our review. The new machine retains the same model number but features new specifications and a significantly higher price tag.

$N/A (As of 2/1/2003)

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Editor's Review:

by Asa Christiana

review date: February 1, 2003

NOTE: MiniMax has updated this combination machine since our review. The new machine retains the same model number but features new specifications and a significantly higher price tag.

This is the latest version of MiniMax’s combination machine. In many ways—fit and finish, ease of tune-up and adjustment, quietness, American-style jointer guard, Tersa cutterhead for easy planer-jointer blade changes, among others—this was the most refined design in its price range. Its lightweight (but strong) shaper fence assembly was easy to take on and off the machine. Like the Rojek, the MiniMax accepts a full dado head and offers a router option, but top speed on the latter is only 9,000 rpm—not enough for most bits. Other than routing, the MiniMax handled each of its tasks well.

However, like the others in its group, the MiniMax has a few manufacturing wrinkles to iron out. The jointer tables sagged 0.010 in. away from each other over the entire length—tolerable maybe, but too much for my liking. However, it would not be difficult to insert shims in the table supports to bring them level. In fact, I noticed that the factory already had inserted a few. Also, the extruded-aluminum jointer fence had a 0.008-in. bulge in it from top to bottom, enough to leave jointed edges just slightly off square.

This machine had almost as quick a planer-jointer conversion as the Knapp, due to a similar dust-collection design, but a few details slowed it down. Still, it was a quick changeover.
The MiniMax has the shortest outrigger travel, a drawback because it does not allow very wide cuts when the crosscut fence is in its normal, forward position.

Additional Notes: Quickest planer - jointer conversion in its group. As on the Knapp, the planner dust hood is smaller, mening the planer bed does not have to move as far during the changeover. However, the rip and jointer fences have to be moved or removed. Price with scoring blade and mortiser standard.

Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer MiniMax
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 866-975-9663

Change-over to different machines shortly becomes a non issue . Overlooked are the Tersa cutterhead planer andslot mortiser . Friends bring their wood to me for final planing because little or no sanding is requiredfor most woods . I bought some poplar at Woodcraft Supply which planes two sides . The planed wood had the typical white color of poplar . When it was planed on theTersa , the wood came out a beautiful light brown color witha sheen . Probably Tulip poplar but not yet identified. The mortiser is such a time saver , allowing you to incorporate the strength of mortises with little time or effort . The sliding table changes the way you work and think - safety , accuracy , precision and repeatability . You start inventing jigs that simplify your work . I bought the short slider(73") for my two car garage , but wish I had gone with the 8 footer . Delivery can be difficult-main shipper passes off to small local firm that doesn'thave the truck to safely deliver . State on the purchaseagreement with Minimax that tool is to be delivered to you on a flat bed tow truck(for garage) . The pallet can be safely placed inside the front of a typical garage by the truck . Otherwise have a large forklift available for unloading .

I consider this to be a superb machine and can't imagine putting up with a unisaur-type cabinet saw and the inadequate mitre guage/slot system. To be honest, for a large number of reviews, comments, explanations and tutorials you need to take a trip over to SawmillCreek ( or Family Woodworking ( and do a little searching.

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