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Hoffman Joiner X-25 Height Adjustment Woes

Larry Peterson

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A while back I bought a used Hoffman X-25 Joiner on eBay and am finally getting around to using it. It sat around for a while because of its Euro compression fittings and some other issues.

But it's setup now and ready for frames; with one exception. The height adjustment doesn't work.

It's supposed to route to the requested height and stop. It doesn't. What it does is route to the max possible, which is the height of the moulding. It does this irregardless of the height I set with the adjustment rod.

The manual doesn't say much except to raise the rod to the desired height. Nothing more.

After carefully looking at the machine and the adjustment rod I don't see how it is supposed to work. There is no pneumatic or mechanical interface to the rod. There doesn't seem to be anything to limit how high it will travel. It just seems to sit there doing nothing. Does anyone have any insight on how this supposed to work?




This picture is for an X-20 but the X-25 has a similar height adjustment rod.

 

Larry Peterson

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OK so I figured it out, but not by reading the manual. As far as I'm concerned the manual is wrong. Maybe new Hoffmaner's are given so instructions and shown how to do this but I found nothing in the manuals or any of the videos that spoke to this.

Consider the image below from the manual. This is the only place in the manual where the height adjustment is mentioned. There are two locking levers; top and bottom. Per the instructions that you see you loosen the top locking lever and move the adjustment rod to the desired height and tighten the top locking lever. Locking the top lever is implied as the the height adjustment rod won't stay in place if it isn't.

I fool-lowed (pun intended) these instructions and it doesn't work, just routes to the top of the moulding sometimes braking the skin on the top. That's what I get for reading the instructions.

So how did I fix it. I also locked the lower locking lever. Read the instructions below. Nowhere does it state to do this. How the heck are we supposed to know this? :fire::faintthud::fire:



hoffmannRear.jpg
 

auntiesarahjayne

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I bought the same model used and had the same issue. I called Hoffman who was very easy to work with and we figured it out immediately.
When in doubt give them a call. Very nice and easy to work with.
 

Larry Peterson

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Glad to hear I am not alone. I figured I would try here at theG first and then call them if we didn't figure it out. Plus I didn't know if they provided support for used machines
 

Jim Miller

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Yeah, I initially had a bit of difficulty figuring out how to set the height adjustment on my Hoffmann, as well. It seemed like a confusing design, but it's German engineering, right? Anyway, once you figure it out, it's easy to use.
:rolleyes:

Glad to hear I am not alone. I figured I would try here at theG first and then call them if we didn't figure it out. Plus I didn't know if they provided support for used machines
In my experience, the Hoffmann people are very helpful. I'm sure they would be pleased to help you resolve your issues, not only because that's how they roll, but also because a big share of their revenue comes from the "consumables", wedges and replacement routing tools.
 
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Larry Peterson

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Overall the design seems fine but there a several of things that don't scream "German Engineering".

1. The hex head screw that holders the router in place and that you have to loosen to change the router bit is hidden under the router and you have to loosen it with a hex wrench by feel. You can't really see it. It needs to be in a better place. And its not like you can lift up this heavy piece of equipment to loosen it.

2. Trying to center a very narrow moulding is a pain as there is no visual indication of center. One of the mouldings that I will be using this for has a stem just under 3/8" so accurately centering it is critical. Looking down from above is hard as there's stuff in the way.

3. When changing a bit, getting the chip breaker in/out is a pain as it's larger than the space needed to remove it. You sorta have to pry it out and edge the new one in.

4. When cutting in a new chip breaker two people are needed to safely do this. Since I'm a one man band, I going to have to find a safe way to do it by myself.

5. The compression fitting was a non US fitting so I had to replace it which was a pain. Also the bracket holding it was Euro sized and too small for a US fitting so I had to drill it out. Drilling out a hole from say, 1/2" to 9/16" is a pain, especially in hard steel.

6. The height gauge is in MM but all the wedges I bought are in inches so I have convert to MM. Google tells me that 3/4" is 19mm and that is the size I will be using the most so that will be tattooed on the side of the machine.

Not sure why they have a mix of metric and inches in the machine and wedges. I don't mind working with metric. On their site I see that the W1 3/4" wedges are also listed as 18mm when Google tells me that 3/4" is 19mm. I'm not in the shop to measure but the wedges are either 3/4" or 18mm, not both.

Other than that everything is fine. Once I get past the learning bumps, I hope this will be productive. I will never look at German Engineering the same way though.
 

Larry Peterson

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BTW, it's still worlds above what this would have been if it came from China. Maybe I'm nit-picking too much. I remember years ago assembling a bandsaw that came from China. Never again. The worst piece of carp ever and the instructions were soooooooo bad as to be useless.
 

Larry Peterson

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Not sure why they have a mix of metric and inches in the machine and wedges. I don't mind working with metric. On their site I see that the W1 3/4" wedges are also listed as 18mm when Google tells me that 3/4" is 19mm. I'm not in the shop to measure but the wedges are either 3/4" or 18mm, not both.
I measured to so-called 3/4" wedges this morning. They are actually 18mm so they can't be 3/4". They are actually closer to 11/16".
 

wpfay

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I don't know if there is one to fit that machine, but there is a guide that bolts to the bed that indicates the center of the router path. Give Marcus or Gary a call at Hoffmann. They are very amicable guys and can answer your questions.

They do play a little loose with the inch to mm translation, but I generally cut the keyway a bit deeper than the length of the key anyway in case some glue got in there. I did not know they were not including the metric size on the boxes now. All the boxes of keys I have are in both.

I think there are degrees of engineering tailored to fit budgets. If you want the high end engineering, you would need to lay out the high end Euros. I have an MU-2 and thankfully I only have to replace the bit every few years.
 

Larry Peterson

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I think there are degrees of engineering tailored to fit budgets. If you want the high end engineering, you would need to lay out the high end Euros. I have an MU-2 and thankfully I only have to replace the bit every few years.
The X-25 I have is an expensive machine. New it probably cost $2500-3000. The X-20, which is manual is $2060 and the manual MU3 is $2890. I don't know the differences between the X-25 and the MU2 as they are both discontinued. Mine is fully pneumatic; don't know if the MU2 is also.
 
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wpfay

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Expensive is subjective and relative. We buy at a comfort level, and everything above that is too "expensive".
I had the X20 manual model (about $1200) to start with, and upgraded to the MU-2 (about $2800).
The difference that I can see between the MU-2 and 3 models is the shape of the bed. The pneumatic add on when I bought my MU-2, making it a PU-2 would have been a bit north of $1000.
The basic X-25 manual model when I first bought in was in the $1700 range, so by extension the pneumatic one would have been in the range you mentioned. Still, the X series machines were considered by the manufacturer to be for the hobbyist market. That said, I used my X-20 for about 7 years before upgrading and was very happy with it. I needed greater depth of cut and the MU-2 added an extra inch to the size profiles I could route. My financial situation had changed as did my reliance on the Hoffmann technology. The MU-2 was no longer too expensive, and I had realized its value.
These are all bench top machines and though well engineered are slow compared to the floor models with bar code digitized settings and fully pneumatic operation. I think David Waldmann may have one of the PU-3 models with all the bells and whistles. I have seen pictures of his set up with one machine (PU-2) dedicated to W-0 keys, and the other (PU-2) to W-1 keys.
Whatever you paid for it used will not be so important once you get through the learning curve and start using it, especially on taller stem mouldings. We use only W-1 keys and just did a multiple frame job using Studio 26501 profile with excellent results. The body on this profile is right at 3/8".
IMG_0231.jpg
 

David Waldmann

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2. Trying to center a very narrow moulding is a pain as there is no visual indication of center. One of the mouldings that I will be using this for has a stem just under 3/8" so accurately centering it is critical. Looking down from above is hard as there's stuff in the way.
As Wally mentioned, there is an optional "Center Line Locator" available. Not sure that it will fit that machine - https://hoffmann-usa.com/picture-fr...discontinued-mu-2-models/center-line-locator/

But, what I would recommend is what we do (of course!). And that is to make spacer blocks to set the fence plate. This allows for very precise setup every single time which also means you can go back and route one leg of a frame even if you've since set up for something different. Here is our setup:
2020-09-25 09.15.07b.jpg 2020-09-25 09.15.29b.jpg
Note: for the Height measurement we added a tab on the adjustment bar.


4. When cutting in a new chip breaker two people are needed to safely do this. Since I'm a one man band, I going to have to find a safe way to do it by myself.
Not sure why?

6. The height gauge is in MM but all the wedges I bought are in inches so I have convert to MM. Google tells me that 3/4" is 19mm and that is the size I will be using the most so that will be tattooed on the side of the machine.
They do include inch dimensions, but the part numbers indicate the metric size, and as you can see above, that's the terminology we use.
 

David Waldmann

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Expensive is subjective and relative.
Yes!

I think David Waldmann may have one of the PU-3 models with all the bells and whistles. I have seen pictures of his set up with one machine (PU-2) dedicated to W-0 keys, and the other (PU-2) to W-1 keys.
Yes we do have an MU3-P with the digital scales, but we never use them since we have the spacer blocks. We only got it that way because Hoffmann asked us to display it at the upcoming Framecon show.

We actually have two MU3-Ps now and one MU2-P. We have the -3s set up with a W0 and W1, and the -2 with W2. We only use the W2 for basswood strainer and stretcher, so the bit lasts nearly forever. The bit adjustment is soooo much nicer on the -3s, so that's why we have them set up that way.
 

Dirk

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Larry-
Since the height scale on the machine and the keys are in mm, it's easier to work in mm. Do you have metric calipers? You can use some scrap moulding to play around with locating the dovetail groove in various moulding widths. Once you're satisfied, you can create a lookup table to associate a given moulding width with a distance from the fence to the movable straightedge. You'll probably want columns in the table for W-0, W-1, and W-2 keys. Lee Valley sells Veritas setup blocks. You have to look hard to find the metric set, but it's in a dropdown. Once you've built the table, you can measure the moulding and set the straightedge. Same idea as David's blocks, just using different tools.
 
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