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MiniMax Woodworking Equipment
Sold by MiniMax-USA, a subsidiary of SCM Group

My primary woodworking equipment is from MiniMax, made in Italy. Information about current and past machines (now on the used market) is sometimes hard to find, so I have tried to pull together information about the different machines. Much of this information has been collected over the years from other MiniMax users.

The normal worldwide MiniMax sales model is to sell through dealers. For many years, the North American dealers didn't stock machines, repair parts, or support experts, so MiniMax sales were low. Then in 2002 MiniMax-USA started selling and supporting customers directly from an office in Austin, Texas. Dealers who couldn't provide support were gradually eliminated. In 2008 the Austin warehouse, parts, and support were consolidated with the SCMi facility in Atlanta, advertising was eliminated, and the sales force reduced. MiniMax seems to be gradually returning to the dealer model used in the rest of the world. Nobody knows whether the current drought in sales was caused by the recession, or whether the new sales approach and management led to the drought in sales. If you are interested in MiniMax equipment, call your current salesman or MiniMax dealer. If you don't already have a salesman or dealer, call Atlanta, 866-975-9663, and one will be assigned.

With dealers back in the picture, perhaps making "package" deals, MiniMax no longer publishes the current prices. The MiniMax-USA web site now covers USA, Canada, and Mexico, even though the machines are often configured differently and must meet different electrical and safety codes in each country - another excuse for no longer publishing prices. The lack of prices makes it hard to know whether a particular machine is even worth considering, or the potential value of a used version of a machine. Therefore with your help, telling me the prices you know, I will try to publish a best guess of the USA price. Prices do changing frequently, and with many different dealers setting the actual price, all this can hope to do is let you know what ballpark the equipment is in. Beware: the prices listed here are the latest list prices I have heard from readers, which may not be current - by the time it is published, there may not be any machines available at that price.

Are discounts available? Prices are not normally negotiated (like buying a car). MiniMax and dealers sometimes offer bargains on demonstrator machines. There are sometimes allowances of up to a few hundred dollars if you will wait "until it comes off the boat," then take immediate delivery without your machine going into inventory. There are usually "sales" with as much as a 10% discount to coincide with IWF or AWFS trade shows in late summer, and again at the end of the year to help the salesmen (and their managers) make their sales quotas.

Why is the foundry so important?

Many bullets are made of lead, since it is heavy. But really big bullets are made from depleted uranium, many times as heavy as lead, but still perhaps slightly radioactive. Much of today's iron comes from scrap metal, often from war zones, including equipment destroyed by those big shells. The SCM foundry is state of the art, but unlike many foundries, also checks that incoming scrap doesn't incorporate any scraps of radioactive materials.

For a few years MiniMax equipment was sold under different product lines or brands.

  • The MiniMax name was used on the lower range of equipment, such as the Smart series, the SC3W and SC4W saws, T40 and T50 shapers, etc. They are manufactured in a MiniMax factory in San Marino (a city-state that is technically not part of Italy, 5 miles from SCM in Villa Verucchio, Italy), with castings from the high tech SCM foundry.
  • The Tecnomax name was used from about 2005 to 2010 to set the high-end MiniMax equipment apart, such as the S315WS and S350WS saws, the Elite Series of combos, etc. (At the same time, MiniMax was selling SCM equipment under the Formula label, so this could have been called the mid-range.) This name is being discontinued - these machines are and always were from the MiniMax factory, with SCM castings and perhaps some SCM technology for electronic height and tilt controls.
  • The Formula name was on the SCM machines, relabeled and sold by MiniMax as the very high end of the MiniMax line. The Formula brand is being eliminated, but the machines will still be available in the SCM Nova line. The same machines have also evolved into other product names and colors as they are also sold by other companies that have been bought by SCM. They have always been manufactured in the SCM factory in Villa Verucchio (a small province in Italy, near San Marino).

Bandsaws

A fairly complete list of current and past bandsaws and their specifications are available on the bandsaw page. The bandsaw power switch is a challenge that has earned it's own web page.

Combination Machines

All of these machines have five functions

  • Saw with scoring blade
  • Jointer
  • Planer
  • Shaper (some with tilting spindle)
  • Mortiser (sometimes optional)
All have a sliding table and outrigger for the saw, and with some effort, the slider is also usable for the shaper.

A list and description of the various machines and specifications is available on the combo machine page.

Jointer Planers

A list of the various jointer planers, as well as a discussion of Tersa cutters and Mortisers, are available on the Jointer-Planer page.

There is a tutorial (with pictures) on how to use the MiniMax Mortiser that is often part of a combo machine or a jointer planer.

Sliding Table saws

A list of the Sliding Table Saws and Saw-Shaper combination machines is available on the saw page.

Shapers

I keep planning to create a page on various MiniMax shapers, but it seems unlikely. I have a tilting shaper with sliding table in my combo machine, and a separate Powermatic shaper that I am very pleased with, so am unlikely to explore separate MiniMax shapers for my use. If someone would like to create a summary of the models, etc., I would be glad to incorporate the info here.

Other

I don't know if I will ever get to the lesser used machines, such as line boring machines, construction boring, edge banders, and so forth. Of course if someone contributes the text....

Installation and Training

There are links to some training materials, and notes on installation of MiniMax machines in the web page on training

Mobility Kit

The $175 mobility kit for the bandsaws are widely sold and frequently cursed (see the page on bandsaws). Combo machines and others have mobility kits or some users find generic mobility kits better.

One solution is to get a pallet jack - it has many uses but also requires storage space. Many machines don't have quite enough clearance, but the trick used at trade shows is to put each foot on an piece of 3/4 inch plywood, which raises the machine enough that the pallet jack works fine. There are even fancy pallet jacks that allow you to move the machine in any direction (all wheels swivel) without pulling and pushing into place.

Many MiniMax machines (all the MM bandsaws) have a 12 mm (M12 x 1.75 mm) leveling screw in each corner. One solution is to replace that leveling screw with a caster (available with a 12 mm mounting post - it screws right in). The prime choice is the Zambus brand caster, but you could spend $100 for a set of four. They are highly regarded, and some users say they are worth the price, while other users say the far cheaper version from Great Lakes works just as well. Similar casters work well with other (non-bandsaw) MM machines but you may have to move to a far heavier rated caster, and may have a mounting hole for bolt and nut, rather than a reinforced, threaded 12 mm hole.

The Zambus AC300S casters have a M12 x 1.75 shaft and are rated at 375 pounds each (with uneven floors and uneven load, some casters will need to support more than ¼ of the total machine weight), but this is a popular choice. Some folks recommend going to the Zambus AC600S with double the rating. Some users are happy with a substantially cheaper version of the caster from Great Lakes Casters. Most bandsaw users are happy with the stability when casters are mounted in the holes designed for leveling feet, but a few want a moble base with a larger footprint, and build a wood or metal platform on casters. Most are happy with the additional several inches of working height. Not all the MM equipment have threaded leveling screws ready to receive casters, but I believe all machines at least have a suitable hole where the caster could be bolted in each foot.

Manuals

Many of the MiniMax user and parts manuals are available on-line. The web site is Parts Pronto (which worried me at first, but it turns out to be the parts distribution portion of SCM North America). You do not have to log in, just select the MiniMax line and you will see the list of manuals available (PDF files you download).

Links to training documents and videos

Searching for training items hasn't been productive (did you know there is a MiniMax airplane and a chain of MiniMax convenience stores?), but people occasionally see a useful YouTube video or a relevant book. As I hear of them, I will add links to them on a training page. That page also includes suggestions for installing and connecting your new machine.


I need your help. I am a happy MiniMax user, but not a MiniMax employee, and have not used all the different equipment. I do not have special access to official information. If you have additions or corrections to this information on MiniMax products, especially prices, please share it. Please email your MiniMax info to me.

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