The Versidex MEGA-ncw is a power tool accessory fixture. That means it requires something else in order to be useful. In this case, that something else is a hand held, stand alone slip-tenon mortiser, which could be either a biscuit joiner or a mortising machine.
The MEGA is designed primarily for faster, easier, less stressful joinery. To achieve that, we've designed the MEGA to be an integrated, dedicated, self-contained, mobile joinery workstation. By using a powerful, integrated triangle of indexing pairs, The Versidex Integrated Systems Triangle, the Versidex MEGA helps you significantly speed up your production of cabinet and woodworking joinery. To support your enhanced milling experience, the MEGA-ncw can team up with the Versidex Transport System Components, which include upright panel storage carts and a template storage cart. The flexibility and performance of the MEGA can also be enhanced by our line of helpful accessories. Look under Products for Accessories on the Menu bar.
Spend some time here at our site, watch the video(s), explore the FAQ, and read our wordy, sometimes long-winded descriptions as we try to explain this amazing indexing fixture.
Later, if you're so inclined, send us your thoughts about whether this device could be useful in your shop or factory, or not. You can be a naysayer if you don't want one, since we're sure that somewhere in your comments we will find a kernel of insight that will help us improve the Versidex Indexing and Transport Systems, the MEGA-ncw itself, its accessories, or just this website in general. Email us using the Contact Us button in the Menu bar.
Does the Versidex come with a biscuit joiner or mortising machine?
Not as part of the 31" Versidex MEGA-ncw by itself. You can buy a Lamello joiner from us. We are now a full-line Lamello products dealer. If you already have a joiner or mortising machine, it will likely work with the MEGA, but you will have to make capacity concessions to do that, due to interference between the dust port/hose, and the right-hand stationary fence and/or the left-hand spring closer on the Crosspanel. More on this below.
We offer the Versidex MEGA Deluxe and Premier packages, which do come with joiners. Look under Products in the Menu bar.
Using another brand of joiner means that templates inscribed for your machine will sometimes not be optimal in capacity, depending on how you choose to deal with the dust port and/or spring closer obstruction. The MEGA is optimized for all three of the Lamello joiners, but ONLY when they are fitted with the 1" dust port. When fitted with their other dust ports, they suffer the same loss of capacity for certain operations.
You won't be losing capacity in terms of how big a panel will fit, that doesn't change. The loss of capacity relates to how close to the REAR edge your 1st mortise can be. Even this can be overcome by ALWAYS using fence spacers, but then your maximum panel size WILL be reduced. Dealing with this issue may favor one solution over the other, depending on your cabinet design and your joiner.
You will also have to work out a dust collection hose system that functions well. You absolutely must use a powered vacuum system. We use and recommend the Lamello 1" dust hose and its matching 1" dust port. Very flexible and lightweight, we Velcro™ it to the joiner's power cord and use a 1.5" swiveling D-ring under the platform, which it will pass through, to control it. Other hoses might not fit through this D-ring, which is the largest diameter one we can find, but you might be able to rig up a suitable alternative.
We are certain only of the Lamello joiners, only when used with a 1" dust port and their 1" dust collection hose, and only when coupled with a vacuum system producing 175cfm or more, and 60" of static pressure or more, as being capable of adequate dust and debris control. You will see the phrase, “Dust is the Enemy” throughout this website. We can't say that warning enough, and you can't hear it too much. Trying to control dust with lesser performance than that listed above is a losing battle, and your results may, on random occasions, be poor. You will likely want to blame the MEGA, but it will be poor dust & debris control that are at fault.
You're rather on your own with another joiner brand, until we can gather enough feedback about successful adaptations of those other brands from customers who chose to go that route. Lamello was the only company that provided a testing unit to us, and from those tests in the MEGA environment, we were so pleased that we asked to become a Lamello dealer. That said, you are welcome to choose and/or use whatever brand joiner you prefer. The Versidex MEGA-ncw is not involved in the actual milling process, it justs provides an amazing indexing interface.
Does the Versidex come with an air compressor and vacuum system?
Not as part of the 31' Versidex MEGA-ncw by itself. We do offer the Versidex MEGA-ncw Deluxe and Premier Packages, with differing combinations of joiner, air compressor, and vacuum system. Look under Products on the Menu bar.
You can also tie directly into your shop or factory dust collection and/or compressed air system(s). Remember that the stronger your vacuum system’s static pressure is at the mouth of your joiner, the less dust and debris will be left behind to cause referencing problems. Minimum performance is 175cfm and 60" of static pressure. Remember, “Dust is the Enemy”. We offer our recommended canister vacuum that will fit on the lower shelf of the MEGA, alongside our recommended air compressor, the Rolair JC-10, which operates the pneumatic system and blow gun with plenty of reserve. Look under Products.
Also keep in mind that the OPTIMAL configuration of the MEGA is to be self-contained, with on-board compressed air and vacuum. This permits mobility and relocation in just a few minutes. We encourage you to try for a self-contained set-up.
Which joiner machines are compatible with the Versidex MEGA?
We can only guess. So we have. Lamello USA was very helpful in responding to our inquiry for a test unit, so we use their Classic X joiner in our presentation video. Their Top 21 and the Zeta P2 machines also function well in the MEGA, because they share the same footprint and external fittings with the Classic X. The issue with the other brands, and also with any of the three Lamello joiners, if fitted with any dust port OTHER than the one for their 1” dust collection hose, will be interference by the dust port and hose with the right-hand stationary fence. Additionally, but less commonly, interference by the dust port and hose with the left-hand spring closer on the crosspanel might be an issue.
The work-arounds for various joiners will be posted under Updates on the Menu bar as we learn about them. We have not been able to vet the other brands, and we regret that. See the second FAQ question above for some more information.
In the pictures, the joiner looks like it’s strapped permanently into the Versidex. Is it?
No, the power cord is strapped to the 1” Lamello vacuum hose with Velcro™ self-grip tape, but the joiner and hose duo is easily removable together if you need to use the joiner elsewhere now and then. It takes about 1 minute to remove and 2 minutes to replace. In practice, you would leave the hose and power cord strapped together, but detach the other end of the hose from the vacuum, unplug the joiner, and pull both the hose and the cord out until the cone-shaped hose end hits the D-ring.
Then back the hose off a bit and grasp the cone in one hand and the hose in the other and pull/work the cone's ribbed base out of the hose. It's a rib-locking fit, so the first time you do it, you'll be figuring it out. Pull the hose from the D-ring, and then press/work the hose and cone back together. Then pull the power cord out through the D-ring and go do whatever it is that needs doing with your joiner. Take the vacuum along, too. You will need it! Reverse these steps when you're ready to reinstall your joiner. You might as well clean out the vacuum's collection canister while you're at it.
What materials can I mill?
Any material that your joiner can mill. The MEGA is not involved in the actual milling process, just with the referencing and indexing of your mortise cuts. We try to stress that your joiner and the MEGA are separate things. They work together, but they are ALWAYS independent of each other.
What size biscuits, Lamello P-series for the Zeta P2, or Festool Dominos can I use?
Any connector your machine can mill for. Again, the MEGA is not involved in the actual milling process.
“MEGA-ncw” was the shop prototype designation used for tracking costs during its development. It is the next generation of Versidex, replacing the KIT-ndw (nicelydonewoods), a 26” capacity unit that was undersized from the get-go, unable to handle 30” HIGH cabinet panels, not capable of joinery for attaching face frames, and several other limitations, some functional and some cosmetic. So MEGA means bigger, broader, bolder, and much, much better than ever before.
The shop designation indicates that it is a revised concept with new components, so we corrupted the old suffix, like we usually do, to get –ncw (nicelycraftedwoods), and since MEGA is seen everywhere in the marketplace, when we’re being formal, or need to be distinctive, we like the unique sound and look of calling it the MEGA-ncw. You can just call it the Versidex MEGA. We do, most of the time.
Why is the capacity a funny number like 31”?
Because most kitchen base cabinets without an integral toe kick are 30.5” HIGH. And office desk furniture can run 30” DEEP. So the 31” capacity allows for front edge cuts for attaching face frames, milling joints for false fronts in kitchen sink cabinets, and for joining desk-depth carcass panels.
What if I make cabinets that DO have an integral toekick and therefore are 34.5” high?
Not a problem at all, but you will need an accessory, the RISER PLATFORM, accessory #P4RP4LV. See #9 under Products in the Menu bar. The unit is an adjustable height platform, where the riser box sits within the stationary fences and is held in place using spacer blocks and Flip-Stops. The box has a top which fits between the MEGA's sides. This top has two locator pins onto which RISER TEMPLATES are positioned. These mini-templates are laid out to match the Platform Templates and Vertical Templates in each case.
In use, the cabinet SIDES are set into the MEGA in the usual way, but the milling is referenced from the top surface of the RISER TEMPLATES. There are 4 adjustable feet, so the referencing surface can be precisely leveled with your notch for the toekick (because that cut out may vary just slightly from run to run).
The indexing array is transferred during lay-out from the vertical template you’re using for that cabinet. You can make multiple Riser Platform templates that just drop onto the pins located on the top of the Riser Platform. This helpful device is locked into place with 2 Flip-Stops moved to the INFEED area. The height is adjusted using a long screwdriver and a pair of reference gauge blocks. Instructions on its set-up and use are included.
There are other ways to do this type of mortising, but they violate the Versidex rules, and our goal is to lessen confusion and mistakes, not feed into them.
Why is there only one size Versidex?
The 31” MEGA-ncw addresses 95% of typical cabinet joinery requirements. We HAVE made what we call the SUPER-ccw(customcraftedwoods), a 40” capacity unit, but it is configured very differently and is not practical to put into production at this time. We built it to manufacture the MEGA, JUST so we can say that the Versidex MEGA is actually MILLED on a Versidex. It looks very different from the MEGA-ncw.
We will also make a custom MINI-bcw(beautifullycraftedwoods), which has only a 15” capacity useful for certain companies making narrow width frames, shadow boxes, cases, etc., where they want a much smaller fixture footprint. The MINI is bench top mounted and costs nearly the same as the much bigger MEGA due to its very limited production.
What is indexing, and what is referencing?
Indexing is a variable measurement whereas referencing is a fixed one. When we say indexing in the Versidex environment, we’re referring to things like the variable locations the joiner might assume, depending on the array inscribed on a given template set. Or we're occasionally referring to how a panel might need to be moved away from a fence to improve how the panel and the template array work together.
When we say referencing, we’re referring to constant distances between two things, such as the joiner soleplate and the cutting blade’s bottom edge; or are referring to the planar surfaces of the joiner or of the template sets’ surfaces, which meet the joiner’s soleplate. Those relationships don’t change.
We struggle a bit with whether to call the stationary fences referencing fences or indexing fences. Although the conversation gets animated at times, we have pretty much decided that they are referencing fences, as their edge's relationship to panels, fence spacers, and such doesn't change.
Why is dust such a big deal with the MEGA?
This is where referencing comes into play. If dust or debris gets between the joiner’s soleplate and a template’s surface, the mortise will be disoriented: either tilted, or too high, or both, and the joint will not be flush as was intended. The referencing has been changed by dust or debris, and that is not a good thing. The same is true if dust or debris gets between a panel and a template surface, where again the mortise will be disoriented and the cut usually ends up being too low. Always remember that “Dust is the Enemy”. Use the blowgun often, keep your vacuum system operating at peak static pressure, and use proper milling technique, which is described in the User's Manual under Instructions on the Menu bar above.
What are template sets?
Just the heart and soul of a Versidex! There is a Vertical template and a Platform template in each set. They are blank canvasses, and their inscribed lines indicate your desired indexing array, or eventual spacing, of your slip-tenons. They can be laid out to meet the joinery requirements of whatever you dream up. They can be laid out symmetrically or asymmetrically. Most of the time it will be asymmetrically, but either type requires that the red lines and the black lines are mirrored or bookmatched.
The Vertical template and the Platform template must have matching layouts. In joints using a mid-panel face cut, one half of the joint is made using the Vertical template, and the other half is made using the Platform template. In all joint cases, one half of the joint uses the RED lines, and the other half uses the BLACK lines. ALWAYS.
Why are the templates in “sets”?
While a simple four-sided, four-joint cabinet can be made using just the Platform template, when there is a fixed shelf or vertical divider added in, which requires mid-panel face cuts, you’ll need the Vertical template. Since each joint has a left indexed side and right indexed side, and for a fixed shelf, each joint has a Vertical template indexed half, and a Platform template indexed half, the two templates must be laid out EXACTLY bookmatched, or mirrored, so they’re a template “set”.
What’s the best material to use for templates?
For the large platform templates:
We ship the MEGA with one Platform template of .25” white melamine-on-MDF, and one made of plain MDF. The white melamine-on-MDF looks best for selling, and for you to show it off, but it’s NOT the BEST material for the Platform templates. Lowly, plain old .25” MDF is the best material, and even lowlier .25” particleboard performs better than the melamine. Shocking, but true. Here’s why:
The melamine does not absorb the ink used to inscribe the array lines. It will wear off. Waxing the template at the infeed end (NEVER under the pressure bar), helps you guide your joiner along the array lines more easily, but will remove the ink if used on melamine. On MDF or particleboard, the ink soaks in a bit, won’t wear off and can be waxed, because it’s IN the board. Make your extra templates from either of those and, although not pretty, you’ll be glad you did. We slightly favor the MDF for its finer, smoother edge. Do NOT use .25" plywood. It may not lay completely flat and the ink will bleed. It is also a bit too thin, and it's too expensive.
For the curvaceous vertical templates:
We ship the MEGA with three curvaceous Vertical templates made of white melamine-on-MDF. The Vertical templates are not subject to the wear and friction that the Platform templates are, so they needn't be waxed and the lines will stay good for a long time. We're glad of that, because the white mela looks really nice, especially surrounding the Crosspanel decal. You can buy another 3-pack of the curvaceous Vertical templates as an Accessory under Products on the Menu bar.
Why don’t you ship the large templates as an accessory if we want extras?
They are too expensive to ship given their w x l dimensions. And they are so easily made in any shop, and made from such inexpensive materials, that doing that is by far the more cost effective alternative.
If you want the curvaceous Vertical templates, however, they are small enough to ship and we do sell them as an accessory in packs of three, uninked. They are reversible so you can lay out 6 arrays per pack of three. And they are the white melamine-on-MDF, so they look really nice, especially around the "Dust is the Enemy" decal.You can make your own very simple RECTANGULAR Vertical templates very inexpensively, and they will perform just fine, they’re just not as nice to look at, and would really lower the "cool" factor of your MEGA, if that matters to you.
We make only the white melamine-on-MDF curvaceous Vertical templates, because the wearing of the lines and the friction issues are not in play with these templates, as they are on the Platform templates. You should NOT wax them, which will remove the inked lines.
What's the difference between the Versidex Indexing System Components and the Versidex Transfer System Components?
Yes, well, it has become a little more complicated lately.
THE TRANSFER SYSTEM groups together the MEGA itself, 2-4 rolling panel carts, and a template-set storage cart. For you to reach maximum production efficiency, you need at least two, and preferably four elevated-floor, upright-storage panel carts. You also need a template set “library” cart. When these carts are used with the MEGA, your work becomes very measured and efficient, rhythmic and relaxing. The components are positioned around the infeed area of the MEGA and really help you stay organized. Buying the MEGA is one thing, but to fully bring out its best qualities of efficiency and ease of use, you need to complement it and support it with the carts.
We do not sell the carts themselves at Versidex. And no one else sells anything like them either, or really even close to them. We may take up making them in the future. For now, we are selling well-drawn plans so you can shop-build your own carts. You can buy your sheetstock locally. We sell the wheels for both cart types. You can read more about these plans at Accessories under Products on the Menu bar.
The plans include a bill of materials, so you can price out your materials locally. We don't give an estimate of either those materials, or the time it will take to make your carts, because there are too many variables. Again, we encourage anyone buying plans and wheels to let us know how building these carts went: how long do you think it took you, how many carts of what type did you build, what did materials cost for those carts, and what material did you choose to use?
THE INDEXING SYSTEM components are the group of pairs that are part of the MEGA itself. They form the Versidex Indexing System Triangle which is its own FAQ, just three questions below this one. Click there for a fuller explanation.
What accessories can I get here?
Accessories are a subcategory under Products on the Menu bar. We have items to help you with your template array layouts, extra components, cart plans, the small, curvaceous, vertical template 3-pack, and the almost too-cool-for-words "Versidex Panel Dimension vs Biscuit Array Spacing---Template Selection Chart”.
Can I mortise my bevel joints using template indexing?
Yes. However, the procedures are very different from those used for butt joints. Index-milling beveled joints violates the usual Versidex Rules, but here we simply must do so. The referencing rules are different, and additional reference-altering components are needed. It’s not rocket science, though, and bevel joints are no more difficult than the butt joints. But they are approached differently, and you might need to innovate on your own. You could send in your specific joint design and try to stump us. If you do, you'll be the FIRST, but if you don't stump us, you'll at least get your question answered. Win-win.
“Equally beveled” joint edges are the easiest, anywhere from 15-45°, depending on your joiner. However, a “butt edge to a bevel edge” joint requires an additional “shim” component whose thickness is dependent on the two pieces being joined and your joiner model. The User’s Manual under Instructions on the Menu bar shows you how to calculate and make your required “shim”.
What is the Versidex Indexing System triangle?
This is a diagram showing how the three Versidex Indexing System pairs: the dual stationary fences, the bi-color template indexing, and the Vertical and Platform templates, are pairs unto themselves, but are also always working with the other two pairs to form the Versidex Indexing System triangle.
How does the Versidex ship to me?
Your new MEGA will come via common carrier (a big truck) on a pallet, measuring 40x48”. We will ask you several questions regarding your delivery site when you order. Like, do you have a loading dock or a forklift? Do you have a pallet jack? Is the delivery site along a narrow street? The shippers want to know these and other things, so that they can deliver your MEGA in an appropriate truck, equipped to provide the necessary services during delivery. These things affect the freight quote.
We will give you the three least expensive quotes with the companies' names. You have to pick one. They will pick up the pallet and sign the Bill of Lading, essentailly receiving the pallet into their "custody". Once the pallet leaves our loading dock, any shipping issues that arise like damage, theft, or delivery problems are between you and that company. You will have to straighten things out with them first, and then, if it's necessary, we can get involved. You should read more about our shipping policies under Privacy & Policies which is on the BOTTOM Menu bar.
Do I have to assemble anything?
Yes, you do. The assembly is easy, but it is rather extensive. See both sets of Assembly Instructions under Instructions on the Menu bar. One set is for the Rolling Stand, the other for setting up the MEGA itself. You will only need small hand tools. Each section lists what tools you will need in RED and also tells you which parts to find on the pallet and have ready in GREEN. There are many, many steps, but each one by itself is pretty easy.
Are there instructions on how to do that?
Yes. They are very detailed and well broken down, so it’s one simple step at a time, but there are many, many steps. Take a look at Assembly Instructions for both the Rolling Stand and the MEGA's set-up under Instructions on the Menu bar. You'll get a better idea of what you're going to be doing.
How long does it take to assemble and set up the MEGA-ncw?
We don’t know for sure. Our times are very skewed, because we're pretty quick at it. First-time-through-it customers make up most of our customer base. We like that. But it’s hard to meaningfully crunch the data we collect from willing respondents, because some people are more attuned to the required steps than are others. That said, we’ll throw this out there for now: more than 4 hours and less than 6. Let us know how long it takes you, and we can improve our estimate.
Can I do the assembly and set up myself, or do I need a helper?
You’ll need an occasional helper for 2-3 heavy and awkward lifts. The MEGA weighs about 130lbs. and it is big. You should also have a helper for certain procedures on the Rolling Stand. Other than those lifts, it’s pretty much a one-person job.
What does the inflexion and convexity adjusting spindle do?
The spindle takes out inflexion (cupping, or sagging) as well as convexity (hump, or crowning) in the platform. By using a straight edge (or just a well cut 30” wide panel ACROSS the platform and up on edge) you can adjust how well the platform meets the bottom edge of the panel or straightedge. Since that edge (for vertically positioned panels) is the referencing surface, it must sit down tightly against the template at every point from the left fence to the right fence. Complete instructions for its use are given in the Owner’s Manual under Instructions on the Menu bar.
Is there anything the Versidex MEGA can’t do?
We have yet to be stumped on a question as to how to do any rectilinear procedure within the 31”w x 1.5”h capacity of the fixture. We see the Versidex as an expanding universe with unclear outer limits. The template arrays are the great variable and therefore the great unknown.
We would love to be stumped. That would let us make our message more concise and clearly state the Versidex’s limits. We are relying on our customers to experiment with their Versidexes as part of their pathway to whatever creative and amazing products or procedures they dream up. Join the quest! Stump us!
Got a question for us? Email it to us & we’ll post it here if we think it’ll be helpful.