Production Gains from a Horizontal Boring Machine

Properly put to work, a boring machine make better use of your skilled labor, keep your shop cleaner, and help with build quality of your cabinetry. August 16, 2012

I am considering purchasing a horizontal/vertical drilling machine similar to the Maggi 23. I build melamine cabinets and I think I could save some time by drilling my parts and using conformat screws. I hope to stop using staples and save the time tacking things together.

I also plan on limiting the payroll that I am paying out on skilled labor for assembly. If the parts are drilled and labeled the guys will just have to slap them together. For those of you who have one of these machines, will I save any time in my assembly process by the time I get everything drilled? Am I going in the wrong direction here? In the future we would like to go to a CNC to do the vertical drilling. Any help would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor B:
You'd need to swap out bit sets between horizontal and vertical drilling operations, and probably change drilling depths besides. I'm using a similar machine and doweling my cases - faster and more accurate than my previous staple/screw/manual conformat procedure.

From contributor H:
I've had a Maggi 2332 for almost a year now, doing conformat and the occasional doweled end - great machine. Previously I did rabbet/dado, glue and staple. Itís slightly faster than dado/staple, but a much cleaner shop environment, and box quality is much better.

If youíre using unskilled help, the boring and box assembly is 90% foolproof.
Part alignment becomes a non-issue if youíre using panels and the conformat for what it was designed for- particle board core raw or veneered panels. If you or your customers are stuck on veneer core plywood and can't get past it you may want to pass on the conformats or dowels. A boring machine will magnify the inconsistencies in plywood thickness and core density, resulting in mismatched and misaligned joints. A particle board core box with go together faster, tighter, and smoother. I think it's a step in the right direction. When I finally acquire a CNC I will then use my Maggi for my horizontal boring.

From contributor B:
If you set up your machine so that all parts index from the outside of the cabinet, thickness inconsistencies in VC ply won't be a problem from assembly or alignment standpoints. Obviously you'll have to adjust the width of your deck pieces (assuming gables run through in a typical base cabinet) to compensate for the diminished thickness of the plywood.

From contributor H:
The biggest snag I encounter with veneer core products is the core voids or screw drift in the variable density of the core veneers, requiring adjustment (hammer) to flush the joints. I just did a small linen and vanity today, for an older couple dead set on plywood.

From the original questioner:
I suppose I should have said that I build 99% melamine or balance construction panels. I understand I will have to change bits but I intend on buying a machine with quick change chucks to speed this up. I also like the idea that I will be able to use this machine for knock down cabs with cam fasteners and I can use it to speed up melamine drawer boxes with dowel construction as well.

I have to convince my business partner that this is a good idea. Any advice on that? I intend on doing a time study per box, staples vs. conformat screws. Can anybody clue me in as to how much time they save once you figure in drilling vs. stapling?

From contributor H:
I went from dadoing on a HerSaf panel router to the Maggi 2332. Time wise I didn't see a huge gain, but the elimination of the huge mess, even with the dust collection shoe on the router, and eliminating wood fuzz at the dado made it worth it to switch. Similar as mentioned earlier, the quality of the finished project is much better.

The drill is also extremely versatile. I recently completed several louvered doors and drawer fronts for some bunkroom lockers with doweled slats and door frame parts at a significant savings. The capability to bore horizontally and vertically with precision and speed opens a lot of avenues.