For several years whilst living in California I had a Robland X-31 combination woodworking machine. This is one of the more basic European woodworking machines; I’d compare it to a basic Ford or Chevrolet car in that it is competent at the job, simply engineered, reasonably priced and without much pretence of being anything else. You got a large steel box (again, just like American cars) with a large chunk of cast iron on top. The unit provides a table saw with a sliding table, a 12” jointer and planer, a shaper and a mortiser, all solid, basic and quite functional.
The table for the jointer has to be lifted up on pivots in order to use the planer, as with pretty much all combo machines.The X-31 has the problem that the pivots are on the outer edge of the chassis and the tilted tables get in the way quite badly. They’re also heavy and poorly balanced. Despite that the jointer and planer do work very well when setup properly. The blades are held in with typical gibs and clamping screws, so be prepared to make a hobby of adjusting them.
The saw works well for through cuts and has a proper riving knife (why anyone would use a saw without one I simply cannot understand) that work in conjunction with the sliding table to make for a much safer machine than the traditional table saw. Since you typically stand to the side of the machine to push the table, there isn’t really any way for a kickback that manages to get past the riving knife to hit you. It can still happen though, so don’t be too complacent when making cuts where you do stand inline with the blade. The big, really big, downside to the saw is the height adjustment. It’s simply catastrophically silly, being a sort of clamping see-saw arrangement where you twist a knob to loosen the lever, move the blade up or down and twist to re-clamp The practical problem is that you inevitably disturb the height as you twist. This got so annoying that eventually the assembled wisdom of the folk on the old X31 mailing list came up with a design for an improved lever that incorporated a quick release screw shaft. It looked somewhat like this -
I made a number of batches of them and sold them all over the world to frustrated owners. After I sold my X-31 I uploaded all the plans and instructions to the Yahoo based group so if you need one, feel free to make one. Charlie Belden has a useful page about his X-31 and the height adjuster