MiniMax S500P US bandsaw review
Deon Hands, of DHD furniture in South Australia took delivery of his new MiniMax S500P US bandsaw in January 2014. In April 2014 we asked Deon to let us know how the machine was going. He came back with a detailed response – so detailed in fact that we thought it was worth sharing.
My new MiniMax S500P US bandsaw
I have owned the Minimax S500P US for a few months now. which has given me time to put it through a wide variety of tasks. Here are some of my observations; I hope they will be helpful.
Unpacking and installation
Once out of the crate the mobility wheels were easy to install. These came standard with the Minimax, other machines I looked at they were extra.
With the experience of my previous machines I thought I would need to fix it down to the floor, however it didn’t take long to realise it was not necessary. Its sheer mass makes it completely stable with no vibration or movement even under heavy load.
The machine comes without mains power connection. Mine is single phase so the cost of a 15 amp cable and plug is minimal and easy to install. It’s a big motor to power up so I have it on a dedicated circuit. With the stock I have been ripping down, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t 3 phase.
Once things were operational there was only a bit of tweaking to do. You could use the table block insert as if you were going to just rip big stuff down however I use it for precise work as well.
I lapped the top on a sheet of sandpaper and filed the edges for a neat fit, there are screws on each cornet to seat it perfectly. The last thing was fine tune the blade square to the table, there was nothing in it.
I use mainly ½” blades with different TPI so when changing between these there is almost no adjustment. However when changing to the 1” for ripping you do need to make all the adjustments including taking one of the three washers from behind the lower guide support bar where it bolts onto the cabinet. Without doing this there isn’t enough adjustment behind the deeper blade with that guide. In the perfect world you would have 2 bandsaws, in my world I just allow 15 minutes.
The blade tension gauge is not far off the mark. To set the blade I run the machine with most of the tension on then watch the blade as I tighten gently until it is steady.
Using the S500P US
The fence is a heavy beast that sits firmly on the beautifully machined table with just a gentle nip up. You could screw a taller fence to it if needed. Mine is an American version with imperial measurements on the fence guide bar, which is really only a guide but I easily replaced it with a metric one.
Adjustment of the upper guide support on it’s massive 30mm bar is easy and upon tightening absolutely solid as with any of the other adjustments.
The footbrake works well and I think necessary on a big saw.
The guide system and adjustable fixings on the end of the post, apart from being easy to use, just look good!
Dust extraction is ok with a sacrificial block of ply that you push into the blade while turning the wheel by hand, this seals off the lower compartment. I cut up a few the same sizes to go with the different size blades I have.
Tilting the table is effortless with its well balanced and incredibly solid under table pivot point fixings. I have the bottom guide as high as it can go normally, so it needs to be lowered when tilting past a certain point, and the plastic drop in has to be withdrawn.
For a small workshop a bandsaw is a must, it is a simple and versatile machine. I was able to purchase a more powerful machine with minimal increase in its footprint in my workshop.
I have had my time with old second-hand and cheap machines which in hindsight has been a complete false economy in time and money. Being one of the three most used machines in my shop it was a no brainer when it came to justifying the cost. In my experience spend the most you can afford on things you rely on and use regularly,
Quality = happiness.
I have two MiniMax products now. When I use them sometimes I shake my head at what I put up with in the past!
The S500P bandsaw is high quality, refined and well thought out machine. It is easy and safe to use, making it in my opinion perfect for any size workshop.
Deon Hands – DHD Furniture
If you’d like to know more about Deon and his company, here is a feature article on DHD furniture.
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