A look at all SCM Minimax and Formula Band Saw models to understand which one may be right for you.
If you’re looking for a quality band saw, it is likely that you will be considering one made by SCM. However, figuring out which one is right for you can be difficult. SCM has not made their model names and numbers easy to understand. That is where we jump in — in this article we will explain what different models exist and what their advantages and disadvantages are. We hope that by the end of it you’ll be another step closer to finding the right band saw for you.
We’ve divided this article into three parts, following to the three main groups of band saws made by SCM. In the image above you can see which machines fall into which category. Click on the table of contents below to jump directly to a specific category.
The first machine in SCM’s band saw series, the Minimax S 45n, is a one of a kind machine. It is the entry-level and most affordable band saw SCM makes. While all the other machines are based on the same basic design, and mostly differ from each other in size and power, the S 45n is quite a bit different.
The main difference with the more expensive machines is that the S 45n is relatively barebones. It lacks features that the other band saws do have, and it is made of cheaper and less sturdy materials. For example, the fence is made from steel or aluminium instead of cast iron.
Compared to the S 400P, which is the closest alternative, it is slightly larger in most ways, but in one crucial way it is actually smaller — the maximum height of cut is only 300 mm, compared to the S 400P’s 400 mm. The S 45n does have larger wheels and a larger table.
Tip: The S 45n can support the thinnest (6 mm) blades of all SCM band saws, so if you look to do mostly fine work, this could be the right machine for you.
Other features it lacks are a handwheel for controlling the blade tension and a telescopic blade guard. It also has a less sophisticated stop button and the wheels are driven by a different kind of pulley system.
Another key difference is that all the other SCM band saws have almost fully closed cast iron wheels. The S 45n does have cast iron wheels, but they have larger gaps, which makes them lighter. Heavier wheels are generally preferred because they help maintain momentum during cutting.
Furthermore, the rubber tires of the 45n are vulcanized, while those of the other machines can be removed easily, because they are attached by a tongue and groove mechanism.
The picture becomes clear: The Minimax S 45n lacks some more sophisticated features and quality materials that can be found in all other SCM band saws. It does make up for this with a lower price. So if you are looking for a decently sized, quality band saw, but do not necessarily need all those extra features, this may be the right machine for you.
The rest of SCM’s band saws models are a little easier to understand. They are all based on the same basic design and differ mostly in size and power. The number in their name stands for the size of their flywheels in millimeters. So the S 400P has a 400 mm wheel, the S 500P a 500 mm wheel, and so on.
Based on size and power, these machines can be divided into two groups: Machines for serious hobbyists and smaller professional workshops, and machines for industrial production. The 400 (US model MM16), 500 (US model MM20) and 600 (US model MM24) fall into the first category and the 700, 800, and 900 in the second.
As you can see from the images above, these machines look extremely similar. There are some important differences, however. The bigger the machine does not mean the bigger capacity. For example, the S 400P and S 500P have a higher height capacity than the S 600P, even though the 600 has a larger table, longer saw blade and more powerful motor.
The image above outlines the key features, which we will examine more closely now.
What makes the
cast iron wheels of these band saws special is that they are almost completely closed. This means there are only a few small gaps and spokes, making it extra heavy. The advantage of such a solid, massive wheel is that it maintains its momentum more easily, and is harder to stop. This helps in making consistent and high quality cuts, especially when you hit a hard knot.
Another feature that stands out is the cast iron fence. It is quite wide with two thick walls of cast iron, making it a clear improvement over a more standard aluminium fence of the S 45n, or competitors like the Hammer N4400.
One other benefit of these saws is the use of a clever system for the rubber tires. On many band saws these tires are glued one way or another to the wheel, meaning it takes a lot of effort to remove them once they wear out. On the S400 – S900P range, these tires are attached with a tongue and groove system so they can be replaced quite quickly.
Tip: These band saws can be accurately set level with the floor. To do this, there are four bolts on the bottom corners of the base which you can screw up or down to adjust the machine’s position. You can see how it is done in this video.
These machines have some impressive features that you cannot find on competitors like the Hammer N3800 and N4400. They do come at a cost though, because from the S 400P onwards, the SCM band saws are at a premium price level compared to Hammer machines.
If you are looking for a powerful band saw for your workshop, professional or hobbyist, these SCM Minimax machines could be a solid addition. They are solid, powerful machines with good build quality and premium features. If they fit your budget, they should be a serious contender.
The three largest models, the SCM Formula S 700P, S 800P, and S 900P are on yet another level. They are bigger and more powerful and are aimed at professional production shops. SCM also mentions that they are used in the advanced materials industry, and not just woodworking.
Once again, from the images you can see how similar these machines are except for size. On the right, you can see an alternative (and perhaps older) design of the S 700P in red.
Because they are so similar to the previous machines, we won’t repeat the key features again, but we will look at the size differences. The Formula S 900P is the largest machine with a cutting capacity of 570 mm and can support blades up to 50 mm wide. Combined with a 5500 Watt or more three-phase engine, this is a very powerful machine capable of cutting pretty much anything you throw at it.
The S 800P is only slightly less powerful, with a standard motor of 4000 Watt, height capacity of 520 mm and maximum blade width of 450 mm. The S 700P has a standard motor of 3000 Watt, a height capacity of 460 mm and can use blades up to 40 mm wide.
Tip: For a detailed side-by-side comparison of the specs of these machines, take a look at our comparison tool.
Which one of these machines is right for you will mostly depend on the size of material you plan to cut and your budget. Whichever machine fits your needs best, they are all solid, sturdy machines that will most likely be able to handle nearly everything you throw at them.
© Machine Atlas 2022