Review – SIP 01552 planer thicknesser – first impressions

I recently bought the SIP 01552 planer-thicknesser from Homewood Woodworking Machinery in Worthing.

When I was researching it I found very few reviews of this machine, or even photos beyond the 2 standard manufacturer ones.

Since posting about buying it I’ve seen quite a few people landing here having searched for the model name, so I thought I’d post the photos I would like to have seen when researching and my thoughts so far in the hope that they’ll be useful to anyone else in a similar situation.

If you have any questions not answered by this review or would like to leave some feedback then please leave a reply/comment.

Assembly and instructions

Homewood kindly assembled it for me, so I can’t comment on ease of assembly.

The instructions are a bit vague and the language a little odd in places (“cannula” instead of “hose” for example) but they’re mostly understandable with a bit of thought.

General

The machine seems sturdy and well made and rests solidly on four large rubber feet. It is fairly noisy in operation, but not as loud as I was expecting.

The kill switch is large and hides the on switch

SIP 01552 kill switch

To start the machine in either mode you slide the kill switch up until it hinges out and exposes the on and off switches. Trying to click the kill switch back into place will press the stop button, so you have to leave it slightly ajar (I think this is how it’s meant to work)

SIP 01552 on and off switches

There is a reset switch, which I believe is for resetting the overload protection

SIP 01552 reset switch

There are two blades, fixed by allen bolts

SIP 01552 blade

The rear panel has a wire frame to wrap the power cord around, which is useful when moving or storing the machine

SIP 01552 power lead storage

Whilst the machine has in built chip extraction to a large fabric bag via a flexible 63mm hose.

I’ve not found it particularly effective, but since I intend to connect it to a vacuum/extractor I’m not particularly bothered about this.

Planer mode

SIP 01552 in planer mode

SIP 01552 – planer mode

The cast aluminium tables seem flat and fairly well made. There’s a fine semicircular ridge pattern on them which I assume is from some grinding/milling process during their manufacture (the circular pattern where the center of the circle would be on the left is the real pattern – everything else is moire from the digital camera).

SIP 01552 planer table close up with ridge pattern and moire

The fence is flat and can be slid parallel to the table, giving a variety of positioning options from mostly on the infeed side to central

SIP 01552 in planer mode with the fence mainly on the infeed side of the table

Fence biased to infeed side

SIP 01552 in planer mode with fence central

Fence central

The tilting mechanism allows the fence to be clamped firmly in place. Adjustable stops allow you to set 90 degree and 135 degree positions.

I find I have to push the center of the black lever on the right hand side over towards the left until it clicks before the fence will tilt freely. I think the bolt head is catching on the left of the mechanism or something.

SIP 01552 fence tilting mechanism

Fence tilting mechanism showing adjustable stops

The lever at the top clamps the fence on the side to side (infeed to central) travel

SIP 01552 fence tilting mechanism

Fence tilting mechanism showing angle markings

In my experience it can be a little fiddly to get the fence perpendicular to both the infeed and outfeed tables simultaneously, but perseverence and fiddling with both the sliding and tilting mechanisms will eventually result in squareness.

Update 07/04/2012: Since receiving a digital goniometer I’ve discovered that the tables are actually 0.2 degrees out, which explains why I can’t get the fence perpendicular to both!

As the adjustable stop is on the left and there is a certain amount of flex in the mechanism, on mine it is possible to get the fence square with the outfeed table and then (ab)use the adjustable stop to get it square with the infeed side as well.

The depth adjustment is via a knob on the end of the infeed table, which is a little stiff.

SIP 01552 planer depth adjustment knob

The instructions are a little vague on the subject, but screwing the knob anticlockwise lowers the infeed table and increases the depth of planer cut.

SIP 01552 - underside of infeed table

There is a depth gauge for the planer just next to the thicknesser depth adjustment crank handle.

SIP 01552 planer depth gauge

Although the planer can be set for a 2mm depth of cut, I’m not intending to use any more than 1mm.

The blade guard lifts up only an inch or two to accommodate timber passing underneath. A stop prevents it from lifting any further.

SIP 01552 blade guide lifted

For thicker timber the blade guard is slid outwards to allow it to pass between the fence and the end of the guard, while still covering the unused section of blade. There is a lever to lock the guard in place and prevent it sliding in/out during use.

As the fence can only be set to the right of the infeed table (facing the blades) it is likely that the blades will wear unevenly unless only 8″ stock is ever planed (This can of course be mitigated by placing the timber away from the fence side when thicknessing).

It would be great if the fence could be mounted over the table, but I appreciate that this would make the blade guard arrangement a lot more complex if this idea was to fly.

Conversion to thicknesser mode

Although the instructions recommend you remove the fence and planer blade guard when converting to thicknesser mode, I’ve found that you can drop the fence back to 135 degress and pull the planer blade guard sideways until it’s clear of the table, then lift its arm up a bit and the dust extraction hood will then fit onto the top of the planer table.

Fence tilted back and planer guard slid out

This saves time and coupled with the fact that you don’t need to move the planer tables, means the conversion process is pretty painless (the most time consuming part is re-setting the planer fence square when you convert back).

SIP 01552 dust collection hood/blade guard in thicknesser mode

Two captive keys are permanently attached to the dust collection hood/guard and locate into slots either side of the outfeed table.

SIP 01552 captive keys

They also activate an interlock switch which prevents the machine from running without the hood/guard in place.

SIP 01552 interlock switch

Thicknesser mode

SIP 01552 in thicknesser mode

SIP 01552 – thicknesser mode

Thicknessing depth is adjusted by cranking a handle on the top of the machine by the planer depth gauge (thicknessing depth is independent of planer settings).

SIP 01552 thicknesser depth adjustment crank handle

There is a depth gauge on the thicknessing infeed side of the machine.

SIP 01552 thicknesser depth gauge

Thickneser depth gauge

Thicknessing is a simple matter of feeding the timber in until it engages with the roller and then ensuring it doesn’t drop as it exits the machine.

The machine has anti-kickback fingers near the feed roller.

There are warning stickers stating the machine is not designed to thickness multiple pieces of timber simultaneously.

SIP 01552 thicknesser - anti-kickback fingers

Anti-kickback fingers and feed roller

I would have liked a larger table, or perhaps one of the pull out extensions that I’ve seen on other models, although many of those look like they’d cause more harm than good.

SIP 01552 thicknesser table (planer mode with dust collection blade guard in place)

Thicknesser table (planer mode with dust collection hood in place above)

It’s not too much of a hardship to arrange a folding roller stand and this is likely to mark the wood less.

Things I like:

  • 8″ thicknessing capacity (most other 8″ planer-thicknessers have only 5″ thicknessing capacity)
  • Easy to switch between modes without removing fence etc.
  • Built in dust extraction (great if it worked!)
  • Sliding fence (center to infeed bias)
  • Fairly accurate depth gauges
  • Solid and stable, thick rubber feet

Things I don’t like:

  • Fence a bit fiddly to get square
  • Pressed steel thicknessing bed (not cast iron)
  • Cast aluminium tables (I would prefer cast iron)
  • NVR/emergency stop switch a bit fiddly
  • Built in dust extraction ineffectual
  • A bit noisy (but not as bad as expected!)

Conclusion

So far I’m very happy with this machine and would recommend it.

It seems well built and has given good results with minimal effort.

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26 Responses to Review – SIP 01552 planer thicknesser – first impressions

  1. Paul says:

    I bought the SIP 01552 last week and I’ve found it to be an absolute nightmare so far. When I use the planer it leaves chatter marks on the wood (every piece of wood I’ve tried) and the thicknesser doesn’t work at all. If I raise the plate just a fraction too high it won’t let the wood pass through (it seems as though the kick-back fingers are getting in the way) and if I lower the plate just a fraction below that the wood passes through without any cutting at all – it comes out exactly the way it went in. I complained to SIP and they’ve arranged for a replacement to come tomorrow but so far I’m extremely unimpressed. It doesn’t plane evenly, even though the blade is at a uniform height above the outfeed table – I’ve checked and it’s adjusted correctly – I tend to get one side planed and the other only partially planed.
    My biggest worry is the overheating – after planing only two pieces of wood the motor smells as though it is burning and I’m concerned it’s going to explode or just break permanently. The housing for the motor gets very hot to the touch. Someone mentioned above that their machine cuts out when it overheats and they have to wait for half an hour for it to cool down. I intended this to be used as part of my new business but I can’t afford to wait every time it gets too hot. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of cooling system or fans to keep the motor cool. My only option is to cut at smaller depths (I’m already only at 1mm) but I’m planing recycled wood so this becomes extremely time consuming.

  2. manniccollector says:

    As above same problem handle vibrates and lowers the thicknesser So I have to keep one habd on wood going through and one on Handle, In addition I have same problem planer fine but using thicknesser at more than hallf a mm and it will strugle to cut and eventually cut out, I then have to wait 30mins for it to cool down before I can reset and use again, So anoying whan I have a few runs to do on it, The cuts are ok I have spend a bit of time sanding to get the finish I want but hey its cheap,
    Biggest bug bearer on this 01552 model is that it is always tripping out if I push it beyond 1/2 mm it just cannot cope
    hope this helps
    PS any help advice as to why it cutting out would be appreciated, I cannot take this one back I have had it too long but its still under a year, mainly used for planeing

  3. I bought a similar used planner-thicknesser from Eihnhell, unfortunately besides the problems that you have mention above the beds are ton coplanar, the in feed tilts to the back and it doe not have adjustment for the tilting of tha table as other more expensive planners.
    I am in a position that i am thinking to override the sliding metals that has for lifting and lowering the in feed an fabricating an adjustable ones.

    Here i have remove the one of the two sliding metal-crap thing from one side of the table.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzkYBpgRyF7EaVhWQVk1QWprZjQ/view?usp=sharing

  4. Harry WElls says:

    The operator’s manual says that the machine must be fixed to the floor (presumably it means to the base of the stand). I had to make a wooden stand as I couldn’t find a suitable commercial one. The problem is that the machine has no lugs on it to do this with. I did think of removing the rubber feet but the attachment nut and bolt is difficult to get at and I feel the rubber feet probably help to reduce vibration. I am going to use 100mm strips of mild steel and bend them into a half swastika shape. One end can be inserted in the hole just above the rubber feet fitting and the other bolted into the base.
    Does anybody have any other ideas?

  5. Darren says:

    Hi,

    I have recently purchased the SIP 01552 and found it to be very useful. However I ahve experianced similar problems to those listed.
    1) The dust extractor I found very effect when I mounter the bad in the rear on the device by the elastic handles which allow the path to opened up rather then it hanging of the bench. The only issue was it filled up very quickly and is a pain to empty and I am curremtly exploring other options.
    2) Thicknesser guage handle vibration and movement I have experienced this with both hard and soft wood. I hae not yet has the time to look at long term fix for this but in the short term I hold the handle as the wood is going through. This does the trick but not ideal so if there is s fix out there please let me know.
    3) Blades – I found mine have chipped in several places after only relitivly short amount of use and i have looked for an harder version but I cannot seem to find out what the current blades are made from (assume steel) and of there is another (tungton or such like) available on the market and again if anyone has found some I woudl be interested to know.

    Overall I have founf the device very good for the money and I am pleased with the results.

    Thanks

    Darren

  6. Keith Rooney Meath Ireland says:

    Outstanding feedback and very much appreciated I am considering the noise levels however (maybe induction) is it overly noisey or bareably noisey I’m pretty close to neighbours so don’t want to crank them up. But excellent review and once again thank you!

    • John says:

      Hi Keith,

      I think with any such machine the main (or at least loudest) source of noise will be the 2 (or 3 on the better machines) blades spinning round at high revs and whacking into the wood, so there may be limited benefit from Induction motors.

      The Hammer Silent Power spiral cutter block is apparently very quiet, but there are some concerns about the finish and I don’t have the money or the space for one of their machines, so it’s academic to me! 🙂

      I would say the planer or thicknesser running without load is bearable without ear protection and probably not much louder than my NVD 750 vacuum, but during cutting it can get quite a lot louder.

      The light pressed steel construction of the smaller machines may act as a sounding board, so I suspect there may be some vibration (and therefore noise) damping benefits from larger, heavier machines …

      I’ve used both the planer and thicknesser functions quite a lot since this review and I’m still very happy with it.

      You just have to make sure that when you adjust the planer infeed table you keep it level to the cutter block …

      John

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  16. smudge says:

    Hi ,I just bought the sip 8 by 8 a few days ago and have found it to be complete shite.the planer is okay but am having grief with the thicknesser ,it seams to vibrate so much it couses the crank Handel to unwind and drop the infead table when operating, even when I am taking tiny amounts off .I have been using 20 mm beach so the table is high up in the machine but surely this can’t be right! I have also found that it struggles to take off any more than half a mm at a time out of any hard wood I have tried . This is my first planer/thicnesser so I could well be missing something obvious or just expecting to much out of a cheap machine. Would realy appreciate any advice . Chears&all the best to ya.
    re

    • John says:

      Hi Smudge,

      What you describe certainly doesn’t sound right, but as the handle on mine isn’t particularly loose (in fact it has a slightly stiff, notchy feel to it!) and I’ve not done much thicknessing (in fact I must confess I’ve not done any since running a couple of lengths of 2″x2″ through as a test when I first got it) I don’t think I can offer much in the way of help, sorry.

      Looking at mine I wonder if there might be some scope for wrapping a rubber band around the shaft where it enters the top of the machine, so it has a little more friction and stays put?

      Other than that I can only suggest you contact SIP and/or the vendor.

      Sorry not to be more help

      John

      • smudge says:

        Hi john thanks a million for the reply. I am currently dealing with a sip agent at the moment and am waiting for a reply. The crank handel on my machine does seam to be very loose with little resistance. Just out of interest if you have any pieces of hard wood your not using, run them through and keep an eye on the handel to see if it moves as I would realy like to know if it’s just my machine or a fault common with this model. Thanks for your time, much appreciated.

      • John says:

        Hi Smudge,

        Good luck and I’d be interested to hear how it goes.

        John

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