Which Lamello Zeta P2 Set is the best for me?
“I would like a Lamello Zeta P2 Jointing Machine, but which is the best package for me?” This is a question I hear almost daily, and most people assume the answer would simply be the most expensive option… surely it has to be the best?! As Lamello produce kits and accessories for specific applications, this may not always be the case.
In this article, I will provide as much information as possible, to help make the best decision on this significant tool investment.
When looking to buy any new tool, especially a high value one, it’s vital you choose the right option for your specific requirements. On top of that, peace of mind and comfort in knowing that you can call upon support or technical advice is essential, if you are to get the most from your investment. Selecting a reputable company, who will be there for support and after-sales service, is paramount when considering which Lamello partner to deal with. This is where Protrade’s relationship with Lamello excels. As the largest Lamello stockist in the UK, with intimate knowledge of the product range, Protrade and Lamello have a strong association – underpinned by shared values and culture.
What makes the Lamello Zeta P2 special?
As a brief introduction to the Lamello Zeta P2 jointing machine, this innovative power tool is the pinnacle of hand-held joining precision. Designed and produced at the Lamello headquarters and production facility in Bubendorf, Switzerland – each machine is hand-assembled and vigorously tested before leaving the factory, to ensure consistent precision and faultless quality control. The same machine can be used for the entire P-System range of fittings, as well as being able to create a traditional wooden biscuit joint.
What’s the difference between a TCT and Diamond PCD blade?
The standard Zeta P2 machine can be purchased with a TCT tungsten carbide tipped or PCD polycrystalline diamond blade, with only a marginal cost difference between the two types.
The contrast between the two blades, in terms of number of cuts, is dramatic… with the TCT offering up to 1000 cuts and the PCD diamond blade offering a staggering 10-times more with up to 10,000 cuts! You may think the diamond blade is clearly the better choice, and in most instances you’d be correct. However, the diamond blade is designed for use with abrasive particle type materials such as MDF medium density fibreboard and MFC melamine faced chipboard. If you regularly work with natural materials, such as oak faced boards or birch plywood – the TCT blade is a better option. The reason for this is down to the way the blades are designed to operate. The PCD diamond blade ‘grinds’ its way through the material, whereas the TCT tungsten carbide tipped blade has extremely sharp edges which ‘slice’ their way through. The TCT blade can even be used on really tough materials, such as solid surface worktops.
Using a diamond blade on natural materials will apply extra load on the machine, almost certainly affecting reliability of the tool. Life span of the blade will also be compromised, if applied to materials they are not necessarily designed to be used with. On top of this, a prematurely ‘worn’ blade can lead to the P-System channel being machined too small, resulting in the connectors not fitting correctly. So, blade selection is a crucial part of the decision making process and many Lamello Zeta owners will probably end up with both – especially if materials vary from job to job.
“The PCD Diamond Blade is designed for use with particle type materials, whereas the TCT blade is a better option for natural materials”.
Which Lamello Zeta P-System connectors do I use?
Now we have established the difference between the two blade choices, we can start to look at connectors, their uses and where you would use one size over another.
The P-System connectors enable you to transport a flat-packed project to site, and effortlessly assemble in various ways. The installation of P-System connectors relies upon an exact plunge depth, easily identified by the name of the fitting – P-10, P-14 or P-18. Matching the connector size with the depth setting dial on the Zeta machine guarantees a perfect joint every time.
Clamex, Tenso and Bisco offer both P-10 and P-14 sizing.
P-14 connectors have a plunge depth of 14mm, and are designed to be used with 18mm and above board materials. Due to the amount of material thickness left, once a mitre has been cut, P-14 is predominantly used for butt joints.
P-10 size fittings have a plunge depth of 10mm, and are designed for narrower board materials – as thin as 12mm – and suitable for butt and mitre joint connections. As they are much smaller in size, they require less material to receive them.
Divario is currently the only P-18 type connector, requiring a plunge depth of 18mm; suitable for shelves from 18mm or thicker.
What are the each of the connector’s purpose?
‘Detachable connector with very high 80kg clamping force.’
Clamex is a two-part fitting, which creates an incredibly strong joint that can be assembled and disassembled with the use of a small access hole and hex key or Lamello assembly tool. The access hole is created using a drill jig and drill bit, which is included in all versions of the Lamello Zeta machine. Various coloured cover caps can be used to hide the access hole, if required.
Clamex connectors are available in P-10, P-14 and P-Medius size. P-Medius is one part P-10 and the other P-14 – a perfect connector for back-to-back shelf scenarios, where the centre panel isn’t thick enough to use two P-14 sized connectors. Launched in 2020, there is now also the Clamex Flexus connector available, which has flexible pins instead of the standard fixed pins. This allows for the connector to be used in a retrofit situation at a later date, if required.
‘High 15kg force self-clamping invisible connector for use with glue’
Tenso is a two-part internal clamping aid connector, intended to be used in conjunction with wood adhesives, such as PVA. This connector is possibly the most popular P-System connector available. You can rapidly glue and assemble a carcass without having to wait for the adhesive to cure. The connector acts as an internal clamp, pulling the two materials together. The Tenso connector can be used with a preload clip, which pushes the ‘fingers’ open very slightly. This makes for a much easier ‘snapping together’ of the two materials – particularly useful with multiple connectors or mitre joints, as much less force and effort is required during the assembly process. P-10 Tenso connectors are supplied with preload clips as standard, to make the assembly of these smaller fittings easier. P-14 Tenso connectors are available with or without preload clips.
‘Aligning fitting for the P-System groove’
Bisco is a single part 7mm thick plastic alignment biscuit, which is perfect for a dry run assembly of your workpiece or as an intermediate fitting in a long run of connectors. This can reduce the amount of Tenso or Clamex connectors required, and in turn keep the overall project cost down. This connector is available in a P-10 and P-14 size.
‘Self-clamping invisible connector for sliding insertion’
Divario is a two-part connector, which creates a very strong and completely hidden sliding shelf connection. The fitting also pulls the carcass sides inwards, adding strength around the item. Divario is currently the only P-18 type connector, suitable for shelves from 18mm or thicker. This connector requires the use of a marking jig for the carcass panel, and an insertion tool for the second part, which fits into the shelf itself once the groove has been created with the Lamello Zeta.
Although the above connectors are all used for different scenarios and material thicknesses, they all work with the same machine and blade. You simply have to adjust a setting on the Zeta P2 machine to the correct size of connector you are using, and you’re good to go!
Making traditional biscuit joints with the Lamello Zeta P2
The Lamello Zeta P2 can also take the place of a traditional biscuit jointing machine, capable of making slots for wooden biscuit dowels. By simply swapping the blade to a 100 x 4mm biscuit blade and switching off the P-System mechanism, you can easily select the required size of biscuit you will be using – i.e. No. 0, 10 or 20.
Which Lamello Zeta P2 package is right for me?
At this point, you should have a good idea about which types of blade you might need and which connectors best suit your application. So, let’s take a look at which package will meet your needs.
Lamello Zeta P2 with TCT Blade
The Lamello Zeta P2 with a TCT Tungsten Carbide Tipped Blade – ideal for use with natural materials. This jointer set can be paired with boxes of applicable connectors. Connectors are stocked in packs of 80, 300 and 1000.
Lamello Zeta P2 with PCD Diamond Blade
The Lamello Zeta P2 with a PCD Polycrystalline Diamond Blade – ideal for use with particle type materials. This jointer set can also be paired with boxes of applicable connectors, stocked in various pack sizes.
“We also offer specialist packs in larger quantities, so if you are a volume user of a specific connector, please contact us for more information”.
Lamello Zeta P2 Basic Set
The Lamello Zeta ‘Basic’ Set includes the Zeta P2 machine with a PCD diamond blade plus an additional systainer box containing a selection of P-14 Bisco, Clamex, Clamex Medius and Tenso connectors.
Lamello Zeta P2 Pro Set
The Lamello Zeta ‘Pro’ Set includes the Zeta P2 machine with a PCD diamond blade and a 3-drawer sortainer housing a large selection of both P-10 and P-14 Bisco, Clamex and Tenso connectors, along with the P-18 Divario. This kit also includes the additional jigs and tooling needed for the Divario connector, plus a Lamello flexi assembly driver.
Lamello Zeta Pro+ Set
We also offer the Lamello Zeta ‘Pro+’ Set which includes everything in the Pro Set, but with the addition of a TCT blade so you can get the most from your new tool and always have the right blade for whatever material you are working with.
Protrade and Lamello… shared values and culture
Hopefully we’re now at a point where you can make an informed decision on which kit to go for. So… why should I deal with Protrade?
Protrade are a key distributor in the UK for Lamello, with a significant stockholding of machines, connectors and accessories. Our highly trained Lamello ‘champions’ can help guide you through the selection process with full support and the aftersales service includes 3 years warranty registration on your behalf. Free of charge training sessions, anywhere in the UK, are also available following the receipt of your machine – ensuring you get the most from your new tool.
Protrade also offer various purchasing options, including a range of payment plans to spread the cost, both online and in depots.
For more information about the Lamello range of products, please contact us below.
Alan Harrison – Digital Sales Manager