What do you prefer for cutting plywood panels to size for face frame cabinets? We currently have a Powermatic and an SCMI Slide saw (older one) We're considering a vertical panel saw or a newer slide saw like an Altendorf. We cut through about 2 to 3 units of Ply per month. Any opinions would be great to hear, Thanks
Are 90% of these panels rectangular? Do you have another saw in the shop capable of handling miters or bevel cuts? If so, I'd really look hard at the vertical panel saws. I much prefer them over a slider for rectangular parts. Easier on the back, and more productive.
Go with the vertical! We have a Holzher 1265 and I wouldn't trade it for anything! Our main saw guy can cut a decent size job in about 3-4 hours, maybe 20-30 sheets of 3/4 prefinished plywood. Lots less floor space than a slider and lots easier on the back. We store our sheetgoods vertically on edge right next to the saw so you just pull a full sheet and start cutting.
I have a Striebig vertical (older model).
I park a unit of 3/4" at a right angle to the saw and just turn/slide the top sheet onto the rollers and flip it up. I can easily process 15-20 sheets and detail them on the ptp in a shift.
Much safer than TS or slider. Handles angles with templates fabbed from 8020 extrusions.
If you can plan your cutting to be mostly cross cuts, I echo the votes for a vertical. Before I made the decision, I struggled with the thought of loading sheets from horizontal storage to vertical positioning. To elaborate on Jim's point. I would slide the sheet off the pile, and use the rollers on my Striebig as a pivot point for the sheet, never having to handle all the weight. That was the best saw I ever used. The only downside was ripping 7 - 9' partitions.
Two things seem to point to a vertical, light wt. plywood and low volume. I'd go for the quality of a Striebig over the others I've had any personal dealing with. If, in the future, you start cutting much melamine or heavy material you can always get a vacuum lift that allows you to pivot the panel. The advantage of a slider is all the things it can do, miters, odd angles, jigs that can allow about any cut you can dream up, etc. But it can't match a vertical for simple rectangles.
We started with a nice slider, grew into a beam saw, now most of our cutting is done on two routers. If your volume moves up some the routers are the best solution. Jack of all and master of most.
If your planning on spending the money it would take to get a altendorf or a good vertical then I would say don't waste your money. Go with a router. It does all the cutting, drilling, dadoing etc. while your busy doing something else. You can band parts, assemble cabinets, mill lumber or # of other things while your parts are being cut out ready for assembly.
The key with a vertical is that the frame has not been twisted. Pretty straightforward machine. You can get an older Striebig for that kind of money, although I would go a bit more and try to get a Compact TRK. They hold their value pretty well.
I share Pdub's perspective. If volume grows, I would consider a router before a beam saw for all the flexibility, AFTER I had all my software and optimizing figured out. Then deal with vacuum, dust collection, power, programming, and all the other fun stuff that comes with a router. And then I would look at an offload station to double productivity.
My experience has been the opposite of everyone else. We have had a great slider for many years with a tiger rip fence. We needed a second saw and bought a used streibig. My guys hated it. It did not have any digital fences and they could not get used to the scales. We also need scoring and a good vertical that can score is not cheap. We use our forklift for cutting and actually find the forklift/slider combo easier and faster for one man. We have the room and sold the vertical and got a second new slider which is a Chinese knock off of an altendorf for less than 9k. Added a new tiger rip fence and we love it. They are lined up one behind the other and we sometimes use first to rip and second to cross cut.
Harold brings up a couple of points that can be addressed. A vertical can still score without a scoring blade. On a Striebig, the riving knife can be adjusted to act as a stop for the blade to make a scoring cut on the upstroke of the saw carriage. Because it is using the same blade, the scoring cut is then same width as the full cut, resulting in no offset.
Regarding the scales, there are two points. One is the vertical axis benefits greatly from a digital readout since the scale is read going down first and the going up for rip cuts. I had one and could not imagine not. Second, on the horizontal axis, for pieces longer than forty inches, I made up a chart to convert metric dimensions to be able to set the stop. I used metric for vertical parts based on 32 mm construction, and imperial for horizontal parts. I had a digital stop on the horizontal axis that went bad and realized it was not necessary to repair.
My issues with a slider is the ability for material to move when cutting, and having to reach out to remove each cut piece, along with the greater potential for kickback.
Points well taken Rich. I see that you do a lot if clisets. Our jobs are always different and we have to match veneers a lot and use slot of 81x110" textured melamine sheets. My stewing could not handle these sheets although there are taller verticals that can. Guess is a matter of what fits best for your shop. Do not have much computer experience and so never went the CNC route. Harold.
I remember a thread about those wide panels Harold, and you knew a lot of your material was too wide for the Striebig. I can definitely see ripping those on a slider. I would have thought the Striebig would have been better for cross cutting your ripped lengths.
I think the OP is doing mostly cabinet parts, and that the vertical is ideal for him if he can cross cut mostly first, then turn to crosscut his widths.
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