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Top-O-Matic

Top-O-Matic.jpgThe original Top-O-Matic (TOM) is a Chinese made Supermatic clone. Its not as well made as the Supermatic and there is no noticeable difference in functionality between the two machines. The machines are, for the most part, identical. The only physical differences of interest are the TOM's increased clearances, paint on the bottom of the cutter housing, and a number of softer/brass parts.

The TOM's larger tobacco chamber clearances means there's more room for cutter bottom buildup. With gunk buildup on the bottom of the cutter the machine will not operate as smoothly. With enough buildup the machine will jamb. The TOM doesn't cut better or easier but can go longer between cutter cleaning because there's more room for buildup. I don't know what role the paint in the cutter chamber plays but it seems like it should act as a lubricant (while it lasts).

The TOM's brass components will wear faster and are more prone to failure. Only time will tell how much an impact this has on machine longevity. The original Supermatics also had brass components. Brass parts are cheaper to manufacture and its unlikely that cost savings were the reason for the switch to steel.

The only part of the TOM that's better than on the Supermaic is the tube gripper plate. The reverse stamping of the slotted piece and the prouder locating bump (red arrow) makes it easier to adjust the tube release timing. With the Supermatic its harder to make controlled adjustments because the locating bump doesn't work.

Most/all Premier Supermatic (PS) replacement parts will work on the TOM with little or no modification. The superior (thicker walls and proper/functional nut) PS crank bushing/nut (as a set) is a direct replacement as is the harder (smaller dent from 25 cycles with a spring loaded center punch) PS cam. The 'H' linkage/cutter set needs modification to work. The top holes of the PS 'H' linkage (with its harder post and stronger rivets) need to be a tad bigger (6mm). The PS aluminum cutter is a bit thinner (.005") and needs brass shim stock laminated to the bottom, the new PS plastic cutter is only a few thousandths smaller and works just fine. The PS spoon/mounting screw set fits and works fine.
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Comments [ new ]

Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by webslave on Saturday, 05-May-2012

Just got a TOM today as a gift/ was using the Gambler injector type like forever, and so far so good!
I have Gambler regular tobacco and Gambler regular & 100mm tubes and have rolled two packs with near no problem.
I'll have to get a pattern down I notice but no biggie there.

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by dburrygab on Friday, 06-Jul-2012

My top o matic was not working good ..not loading tobacco close to the filter. It's only a couple months old. Finally today I decided to turn it over and use some q tips loaded in witch hazel to clean every crook and cranny I could reach. It worked!! I'm sure alcohol would work fine also, both dry fast and won't cause rust.

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by Joe on Wednesday, 29-Feb-2012

Aloha... Ive been surfing around for a manual injector machine. Ive noticed that the TOM is made by 2 manufacturers: Lighter USA and TOP. is the TOP brand the republic made one? How about the stainless steel tom T2 compared to the regular tom? Also recently read that a newer version of the TOM & SUPERMATIC have been released. I smoke Djarum Special and American Spirit Menthol & Regular Lights. Both of which the tobacco is tightly packed in every stick. I was just been giving a gift of 2 pkgs of American Spirit loose tobacco and 1 box of Gambler filter tubes. Im looking for the best, most durable, long lasting, and value for an injector machine made that can tightly stuff my brands of smokes. But after reading alot of reviews of the original and newer released TOMs and Premiers. Now i cant decide which of the one to purchase. FYI, i live in Honolulu, HI where humidity could be an issue. So which machine / manufacturer do u recommend for my situation? Would greatly appreciate your recommendation / help asap before making an online purchase. Much Mahalos   

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by erick on Wednesday, 17-Aug-2011

i have had my TOM T2 for 3 months and in the last 2 weeks its started acting up really bad. its not packing the tubes to the filter <a large void> and its pulling tobacco back into the machine leaving another void at the end. i have been using the same brand tubes and tobacco since i got the machine and have cleaned the machine several times. being that i smoke a pack and a half a day these issues are killing me. no to mention i have been pulled over for smoking a pipe in while driving. if anyone has any advice i would love to hear it cause i am at the end of my rope with this machine.

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by Mary Dobias on Wednesday, 10-Aug-2011

I can not get my machine to work right and I would like to know if I could some how get my money back or part of it. It will not fill the tubes of 100's or kings's. I am very disappointed in it and would never buy another one, it is piece of junk.
Thank you

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extremely frustrated!!!
Posted by sandra colby on Monday, 11-Jul-2011

I bought a top o matic 2 a month and a half ago and as of today it is already breaking. as did the gambler machine that i had prior to the TOM2. the gambler lasted maybe 4 months. both machines stop filling the ciggarettes all the way. they dont fill to the filter. and when i try to pack them down the cigg bends at the filter! i never pack the tobacco in tight and now the crank is hard to pull??? but then ill get a few perfect ones??? it makes no sense!! ive taken very good care of this machine because i didnt want the same thing that happened to the gambler to happen to this 1 but sure enough it happened and it happened much quicker!!!! does anyone else have this problem??? still it is a big savings but $60 every other month on a new machine starts to add up. my mom has a premier and hers has the same problem. a friend from work had a TOM and a premier, both same problem, she now rolls manually!!!what is the best machine and how do you prevent this problem from happening. the ciggarettes eventually get so bad i have to re roll a whole bunch of them. its very time consuming and frustrating. im especially frustrated that i just bought this machine TOM2 on may 30 and here it is only july 11 and its already screwed up. i plan to go spend another 60 on another new machine tomorrow. i keep the machine clean, i spray it with wd 40 to keep it running smooth and nothing works.please help!!!!!!

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Re: extremely frustrated!!!
Posted by Dave on Sunday, 17-Jul-2011

Maintenance [link]

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Re: extremely frustrated!!!
Posted by Dan L on Sunday, 17-Jul-2011

I agree with Dave maintenance is very important with all these machines. I've been using the same supermatic for about 15 years. I've had to clean, tune and replace parts on a regular bases.
Also your problem and friends mite be humidity. this time of the year some people can't get their tobacco dry enough to stuff right.
Hope this helps.
good luck

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Re: PARTS????
Posted by valerie on Tuesday, 06-Mar-2012

I m looking for the parts for the handle...its stripped and comes loose...where do you get the parts? thanks valerie

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Re: extremely frustrated!!!
Posted by mgzinia on Friday, 22-Jul-2011

I have to wonder IF you might be using A:TOO MUCH TOBACCO, B: TOO DRY TOBACCO ,C: TOO WET TOBACCO, D:TOO FINE TOBACCO.
You see, too much will jam it. As will too dry, wet, or fine. Fine powdery shake will destroy a HANDHELD. And those things tend to be more forgiving than crank machines. My guess is that the dried out shake is being used in that crank machine. I dont blame you if this is the case..waste not want not..but use a 7 dollar handheld for those floor sweepings. for now, just clean those moving parts, and dont be fooled, it can look clean from one angle and still be clogged. I would use bacardi 151 and some q tips, and not wd40.

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fix
Posted by JA Leblo on Sunday, 25-Dec-2011

My first machine made 6000 ciggs before went bad , after doing a lot of changing of parts ,, FOUND OUT the tamper [admin: AKA cutter] had black coating on it from tobaco , Tamper was the problem all the while - Tamper ( part T2010 ) must have a mirror finish on it or tobaco will not slide , 16 buck + so order a couple to save on ship .
JIM
PS otherwise no complants .

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by brenda on Sunday, 19-Sep-2010

i didnt like it cause it kept getting jammed

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Re: Top-O-Matic & plastic cutter?
Posted by denali on Thursday, 01-Nov-2007

I would like to try adding the supermatic plastic cutter to my Top-O-Matic.   I looked at the Arbro website briefly, but am not sure which part is the right (plastic) one.   Can someone give me the part # please?    Do I need to order anything else?   I haven't modified or broken anything yet... So this is new territory.    I have the original Top, and am planning to try the new Top in the near future.   Thanks!

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Re: Top-O-Matic & plastic cutter?
Posted by mike c on Thursday, 01-Nov-2007

if you simply order the regulation cutter for the supermatic, part number# P-47, you'll get it!!!!
and while I am here I will ask why you prefer it on the TOP??
also while I am here, I wish to point out that the reason all of you need one is the smoothness of injection, NOT simply less cleaning
I am waiting for Dave to get the new model to decide if I want a new TOP for my collection
the old TOP is a POS structurally, which I learned from Dave, and is why I have as good a machine as I do....

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Top-O-Matic softbrass bearings
Posted by ChasM on Thursday, 31-May-2007

Top-O-Matic softbrass bearingsQuote:"The TOM's brass components will wear faster and are more prone to failure. Only time will tell how much an impact this has on machine longevity."After nearly a year my topomatic's cam follower developed a severe flat spot... remedied by gripping it with vise grips and just turning it a quarter turn.I have attached a picture of the brass follower - after being rotated.

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Re: Top-O-Matic softbrass bearings
Posted by Douglas on Sunday, 05-Jan-2014

The part that you turned is a post on the linkage assembly. The cam is the part with the big claw that grabs and moves it.

Same thing with mine. I'm going for the Vice-Grips now. I was thinking this and then came across your post. Thanks for confirming my thoughts.

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Re: Top-O-Matic softbrass bearings
Posted by Douglas on Sunday, 05-Jan-2014

Turned the post about 90 degrees and it's fixed! :D

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Top-O-Matic
Posted by John on Tuesday, 14-Nov-2006

I've been using the top-o-matic machine for 6 months. I had been stuffing with a Supermatic for 8 months prior. I've now put the Supermatic away for good. The Top machine works much better.

Advantages over the Supermatic.

1. MUCH easier cranking action. The supermatic was a real arm wrenching experience.
2. Fills the tube right up to the filter almost every time. Filter end voids are very rare. Tapping is unnecessary and no excess to snip off which makes for much faster cig production (4-5 minutes a pack).
3. No degradation in performance in 6 months. Works the same as it was when brand new.
4. Not one single jam since I've owned it. It looks like the TOP doesn't have the famous cutter buildup problem.
5. The rubber base grips the table surface better.
6. Overly moist tobacco doesn't seem to affect performance or quality of the finished cigarette. With the Supermatic the tobacco moisture has to be perfect to otherwise you would get nothing but jams and gaping filter end voids.

My only complaint: No convenient place to hold the machine when cranking. Same as with the Supermatic but the TOP is less confortable to hold because of the sharper edges.

The Top-o-matic beats the Supermatic hands down.

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by Dave L on Wednesday, 15-Nov-2006

Yes the TOM rubber base does grip better, its also harder to get on and off. Personally, I don't like either of them.

All your other points are related to gunk buildup. Anyone who has taken apart a TOM knows its not immune. The reason its not as much of an issue with the TOM is because the cutter/compressor fits looser. While the ideal is a well mated snug fit (e.g. Excel), its just not possible to get that kind of accuracy/consistency with sheet-metal (why there are 'good' and 'bad' Supermatics). It took trying a lot of things (cutting away part of the tobacco chamber, truing the chamber, brass shim-stock on the cutter, etc.) until I realized the key was adjustability (edit The plastic Supermatic cutter is a more accessible alternative, works great in the TOM).

A hopper tray is a convenient place to hold the machine and more.

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Re: Top-O-Matic - rubber base alternative
Posted by Warren on Sunday, 17-Dec-2006

I also took rubber base off because of strong rubbery smell which wouldn't go away. Instead of framing a rubber foot around the edge as shown on the photo, I use the unit in a plastic TV dinner tray (15"x10") and only cover the tray with double layer of paper towels. The ToM is nested in the upper right corner. All the tobacco dust & scraps from inside the unit and any excess from the chamber fall onto the towels which I shake out into the trash every few days (the towels themselves last for weeks). The towels keep the contact with the unit edges soft and dampen the cranking sound better than the original rubber base. The tray, when idle, holds also a can of tobacco & a box of tubes, making the whole kit easy to move around the house. The whole setup is virtually maintance free.

Possible improvements: A cloth towel might work even better. The scattered tobacco scraps might be reusable after re-moisturizing (they are easy enough to funnel from paper towels into anything).

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I hate it
Posted by Thomas J Eastman on Thursday, 02-Sep-2010

this roller cost me 36$ and it sucks it has jammed up all the time from the frist time I got and it will cost me 15$ to get it back to you I will never buy a thing from you again

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Top-O-Matic only good for Kings
Posted by Mark Harrison on Saturday, 23-Sep-2006

Kings stuff pretty good, but 100's have a problem of getting tobacco to the butt end. We have tried every trick listed on this site, but still no luck.

Quick and easy to use, just follow what others are saying on here and make sure your tobacco is not to moist as it will jam easy on you.

We have went through around 10 cartons with this now. Considering a carton of smokes here in WA is around $45 it paid for itself right away.

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My Review of the Top-O-Matic
Posted by Captain U-96 AKA Mike on Wednesday, 02-Aug-2006

Having used Supermatics for the last twelve years; my purchase of a Top-O-Matic took some forethought. But, I am glad I made the decision to try the TOM!
I have to admit the old style packaging would have been enough to sway my decision to buy the TOM if I had any doubts lingering about. The first thing I noticed about the packaging was that the box was factory sealed! Inside the box, the machine was packed quite well, and had a manual, schematic, warranty card. In my opinion, this is a well built machine. Looking at the mechanics I noticed that all the parts were made of metal; with hardened metal where the brass parts use to be. In fact, the only brass parts are the two linkage nuts on the outside of the machine!
After lubricating the moving parts, I re-installed the rubber base pad, and proceeded to make some smokes! I used Midnight Special tobacco, and EL Ray KS-FF Tubes with no problems. The Top-O-Matic made perfect sticks every time. I was expecting trouble though, because the humidity was high. I noticed that the cutter was starting to get build up on top after only one pack of sticks. I take enough tobacco for maby two smokes out of the pouch in this kind of weather at a time.
I have a method I use when filling a cranker; I place some tobacco on top the machine, and drag it into the tobacco chamber with my little fingers--then into the corners with the outsides of my little fingers--lastly filling in the middle. Using this method, I find it hard to overfill the machine. I imagine it looks funny seeing me appearing to be looking into a scope the way my hands are while loading the machine, but --it works for me!
I got called away from the machine for about a half hour, and when I returned I was about to clear the machine, but decided not to; to find out how it handled humidified tobacco! I finished loading the chamber with dry tobacco from the pouch, and sure enough--it jambed up! I broke out my black plastic model building tweezers, and unloaded the machine. As soon as I feel a jam beginning--I back off and unload the chamber. It's easier on the machine that way, and I don't mind the added time it takes me to finish tubing a pack. Generally, I only make one as needed when I'm at home opting for that fresh as possible smoke.
As far as tools go--I have the black plastic tweezers for jams, and a metal scribe for damaged tubes. The scribe looks like an aluminum pen with a magnet where the eraser would be and a pocket clip.
I use this to straighten out tubes that are damaged and won't go on the nozzle. The pointed end of the scribe fits perfectly inside a tube making it an easy task to straighten out the tube wall with my thumb on the outside of the tube and the scribe inside. This also works well with tubes that are too small in diameter from the factory. You simply insert the scribe; then use your thumb to put pressure on the tube while holding the scribe with your other 4 fingers using your thumb to push the tube down the outside of the scribe to stretch the undersized tube with your thumb pressure the same as when straightening bent ended tubes. Using your left hand to hold the filter end of the tube. Back to the Top-O-Matic!

The machine feels different somehow when stuffing tubes compared to a Supermatic. I seem to be able to feel the work better with the TOM. Also, the TOM feels like a solid, precision tool to use. I didn't get that out of the Supermatic 2 I was using. So, I give the Top-O-Matic my highest rating. I think Republic has finally got the bugs worked out of this design, but no manufacturer can build a machine that can survive use by those who refuse to read or heed simple directions!

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Re: Top-O-Matic
Posted by skiball on Thursday, 22-Jun-2006

what are the tweaks for tom

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Re: Top-O-Matic tweaks
Posted by Warren on Thursday, 22-Jun-2006

As described in earlier posts here below, here are few adaptations I did:

1. I removed the rubber pad due to a strong rubbery smell. It works better without it. I crank it inside a RV dinner tray and after a batch of cigarettes, I just shake the tray over a trash can. No more opening the machine and cleaning the insides as with SP.

2. I sanded off the nozzle. It had very sharp metal edges which wich would snag or rip through the paper. It was a bit too wide for the Excel filterless tubes (which tend to vary in diameter from box to box). The smoothed nozzle edges and a smaller diameter speed up the mounting of the floppy filterless tubes onto the nozzle.

3. I removed the big spring which pulls back the main handle after the tube release. After a few sticks of getting used to the new mechanical feedback (easier, resistence free pull), it worked much quicker without the spring.

4. Every few weeks I put some 'goo gone' as a lubricant on the tube release mechanism. That round metal piece rubs on another metal lever and the release action (near the end of the crank stroke) gets rough after a while. The bit of lubrication of the metal-to-metal contact point makes it good for another few weeks.

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See Also: Top-O-Matic Archive Aug - Dec '05

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