2 part question about Challenge 20 Cutter and MicroCut Jr


Well-known member
Ok guys and gals, we have an old challenge 305 that we do not use anymore. It has a microcut jr installed on it. Came with it when we purchased it. We do have a Challenge 20 cutter that we use often and wanted to put the microcut on it. I contacted microcut and they said it was compatible and to jsut take pictures of where everything is located before moving over. Has anyone installed a microcut jr themselves? If so was it very labor intensive and or requiring much modification? It'd be nice to turn the like 20" workhorse into an automated cutter.

Secondly, has anyone here changed motors on their cutters? The Challenge 20 has a 3/4hp 1725 rpm motor on it. I feel like its just showing its age and not quite producing the power it once did. I can get a same spec motor for next to nothing and change it out easily enough. But would it hurt anything to bump up to a 1hp motor or a 3450 rpm motor? I didnt know if the 3450 motor would actually speed up the machine or not and if the hydraulic pump could handle it if it did.


Active member
We just had a used microcut installed on our challenge 305 last month. It was installed by the guy we bought it from, it did take a bit of modification. The biggest thing seemed to be where to attach the motor to let it turn that rod/screw that moves the back guage. A belt had to go from the motor to that. What he ended up doing was welding a part he machined himself to the end of it where the encoder was before and mounted the motor to the end of the cutting table above it. He also mentioned he hadn't run into that before so it maybe was a bigger problem for ours than other cutters.

Other than that he had to attach a sensor next to the cutting blade so it could see when it made a cut, and another at the end of the cutting table that I think is for calibrating the measurement of the back guage. There was also the display and that drive box that everything connects to, I'm not sure what it's called exactly. Those 4 things he just drilled into the cutter and attached with bolts.


Well-known member
I have installed about 6 microcuts on various 30.5 challenge cutters. Most times it was stright and easy. A few times I had to get creative with correct timing belts and pulleys. Install was usually 6 to 8 hours. I learned early to supply Microcut with as much info and pictures or videos.
Your model 20 is an entry level cutter, I would not modify the original motor and pump due to safety concerns for the operator. A burst hose or a blown hydrullic cylender is how accidents happen. I doubt Challenge even supports the machine depending on your serial number.Just my thoughts.
We have a Challenge 305 that is now not cutting exactly, especially at the 8.5" mark. It's the most common cut in our shop. We thought it might be the encoder or a bad board. It jumps back and forth before settling on the programmed setting each time. Anyone have a thought as to what could cause this?

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