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: