Rail Saw

I’ve been flat out recently getting the next magazine articles together (so sorry for being so quiet here – the combination of everything has been overwhelming, so I had to let some areas slip right).

One of the projects has involved making quite a bit of use of a rail saw, and in this case it was the Festool Tracksaw system, including the MFT/3 (multifunction table) that was extensively used, and as much as some are going to hate hearing it, it is bloody awesome!

This was the first time I had a chance to start putting them through their paces, and I was doing jobs on it that I would have struggled to work out another way, at least finding another way that was as easy.  The more I use it, the more it becomes apparent that it is incredibly useful in the workshop.  It doesn’t remove the need for a good tablesaw, or a SCMS, and both the SawStop and the Kapex got a heavy workout as well, but it was a real pleasure to use the right tool for each job.

hb_mft3_495315_p_01aThe MFT/3 with the rail that flips out of the way was brilliant.  Being able to drop the rail down in a consistent location meant that at one point I needed to shave off about 1/2mm, and I was able to set up for that accurately, and quickly.

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If the MFT/3 was good, the TS55 running on the rail was even better.  Precision height adjustment, accurate tracking made very easy given the saw is captive on the track.

I’ll shoot some videos of these doing their thing soon – cool tools.  There are always many ways to skin a cat, some just make it so quick, easy and accurate.  When I used to look at a circular saw, I saw a rough machining tool, inaccurate, noisy and dangerous.  (My old man almost killed himself one year with a circular saw).

The Festool version is like comparing this:

Lada 2103 1300 1978 frontwith this:

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Both will get you from A to B.  Sort of.

Some people can’t see the point to anything more than the Lada.  Or justify the price difference (the cost of a good coffee, vs a small house!)  Although they both have 4 wheels and a motor, but that is about where the simularity ends, and the same applies to the difference between a basic Bunnings $50 circular saw, and a $1000 Festool.  The longevity of one tool over the other is just one small factor in the decision.

Suck it up

A new (and relatively cheap, at about $35) tool caught my attention at a recent Festool demonstration, which I mentioned briefly at the time.  It is the Festool Dust Removal Nozzle, and it just goes to show that sometimes the best ideas are so simple, you ask yourself “why didn’t I think of that”. It isn’t the first time that a vacuum based system or similar concept has been used, but it certainly is a good example of one!

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Drilling can be a messy business, especially when inside the house and the room where you need to do the work is perfectly clean otherwise, (well, again, relatively speaking!)  I’ve had this situation a number of times, and often in the kitchen when you want to install something above the kitchen bench.  You drill a hole, and the plasterboard produces that talc-fine dust that falls down from the hole you are drilling and lightly coats the bench surface.  You spend more time trying to wipe up that damned powder than the time it took to drill the hole!  That includes those plaster wall anchors that you either drill a hole for, or those that drill and self tap a hole.

I’ve seen many examples over the years of how people have tried to solve the problem simply and cheaply, even resorting to post-it notes

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The Festool solution is a dual chamber system, which allows the dust collector to adhere to the surface (rough or smooth), as well as collect dust that is produced.

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It isn’t a drill guide per-say (although I know Dennis is working on a mod for his one that does just that!), but it sucks onto the surface, and collects the dust right at the point that it is being produced, which is the best place to do so, especially rather than trying to wipe off the residue from the clean kitchen bench below!

As mentioned, overhead isn’t a problem, nor is rough surfaces, such as concrete, even when both ‘challenging’ scenarios occur simultaneously

19431So there you have it – a cool tool, Festool, and yet you don’t need to break the bank to have one!  And just think of all the times you’ve had to clean up after drilling into plasterboard.  Use post-it notes for writing reminders (or your next art work)

post-it-notesFor keeping drilling dust under control, there is a better solution!

More Festool Specials

The end-of-financial-year sale is on again for Festool products, over at Ideal Tools.

Once again, it is a matter of resisting (which is futile) the attraction of Festool (and some Protool) gear marked well down!

 

Vacs, drills, sanders, saws, accessories – worth a look at the specials page to be sure.  There is not as much there as the previous sale, but still, if you are in the market for anything that is there on special, obviously a good time to get it!

Of particular note, some of the Surfix Festool finishing oil is there, marked down from $50 to $15, which isn’t too shabby, and a good time to get it if you use that finishing system (good time for me to stock up as well).

 

How would you like to kickstart your Festool Collection?

Ideal Tools has a few ex-demo tools available, including the following collection, being sold as a package for $6600 (saving $2400)

(Of course, if you had $9000, you could either buy the same package new, or buy this one and my TS10L!!!!)

CMS Stand
TS-55-R Saw Module
TS-55-R Plunge-Saw
1400mm Guide Rail
OF Router Module

OF-2200 Router

OF-2200 Accessories Systainer
CMS BS 120 Belt sander Module

CMS-VB Extension Table

2 x CMS-VL Extension Table
CMS-ST Sliding Table

CMS-LA Rip Fence

Saw Garage and Y-Extraction-Hose

Check out the details of the package on offer here

There are other ex-demo tools also available, including some Centrotec bit sets – something I am somewhat interested in as well, particularly for my Ti15 (I’m finding using non Centrotec bits becoming very frustrating, as they don’t stay locked in the driver).

Episode 94 Dr Kapex

Episode 94 Dr Kapex

Testing the true depth of cut of the Festool Kapex.

Also see (briefly) the Kapex stand in action, and the Promac generator.

Ideal Tools Sale – Last Day!

Ideal Tools have a pretty awesome sale running, and it finishes TOMORROW!

And by awesome, I mean getting a SwordSaw for $999.  That may sound quite a bit still, but that is $751 off the full price.  If you want something to break down large logs, and can’t afford a mill, the SwordSaw still has a huge 330mm depth of cut.

zoom_06_isp330eb_765331_p_01a-600x600That is for the ISP300.  The SSP200 is also $999 if you prefer the shorter blade (still with a 200mm depth of cut).  As seen demonstrated by me on the Torque Workcentre (and as seen in the Stu’s Shed banner above – unfortunately it was only a demo model that was doing the rounds :( )  These can both fit on the Festool Guard rail.  The smaller comes with a systainer – don’t think there is one big enough for the 300!

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Next are the guide rails, either for your existing tools, or if you are planning on getting a Festool router or saw in the near(ish) future.  There is a 1400mm version, or the massive 3000mm version (obviously great for breaking down full 2400mm sheets)

Now one I have recently become quite acquainted with, the Kapex stand and extension arms.

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Didn’t know too much about this (bar a few photos), but since getting it, I have become very impressed.  Not only is it great to just have a decent stand for the saw (and significant workpiece support with telescoping arms), but it all folds down into a very portable package.

8384575086_2c787114db_zThat is a stock Festool photo, so I don’t know why he has the telescoping arms slung over his shoulder – it is actually designed to rest on the base of the stand (as you’ll be able to see in a Stu’s Shed video I am currently editing)

If you have a Kapex, and not the stand, well…….

There is a whole raft of Festool and Protool tools, and accessories on sale on the Ideal Tools site.  Be careful though – once you start looking, it gets increasingly tempting!  Especially those SwordSaws!  Have always wanted one, just because they are cool, irrespective of their awesome depth of cut!

Festool on the Doorstep

What better than coming home to find a brand new Festool tool sitting on the doorstep?

I ordered the Festool CXS cordless drill (plus) in a systainer. This version comes with the right angle adapter. The XS indicates its purpose: extra small. It weights 900g. It is designed to get into tight ares (such as when doing cabinetry), and although rated for 10.8V, its brushless motor offers more torque than a brushed motor of similar size.

If I need massive torque, I’ll use my old corded drill, but it can’t get into the tight spaces this one can, and drill around corners when it can’t.

It is also worth knowing Ideal Tools currently have these on special at $150 off.

It is the sort of styling I love in a tool- no fancy bits of inlay rubber without a purpose, no Battlestar Galactica Cylon look, just a tool designed for one purpose- to be an exceptional tool.

It also comes with 2 batteries, and a 20 minute charge time, so you should not run short when you need it. Recently upgraded to a 1.5Ah (from 1.3) Li-ion battery. It has the typical Festool driver chuck, and a standard Festool drill chuck for drill bits from 1mm to 8mm. This doesn’t mean you cannot use larger bits, but it just needs a set that has a smaller diameter shaft (or a hex shaft).

There has been quite a bit mentioned that you can only use Festool driver bits because of a different hex size, and although this is true for the FastFix chuck, if this is removed, there is a standard hex size behind. And in any case, the bit holder takes standard driver bits (with magnetic hold).

Let’s face it- you can either buy a brand that has taken the output of a Chinese factory and rebadged it/enshouded it with a pastic case of their design, or take a tool designed but then sent off to,the cheapest bidder to have it made, or buy quality from the ground up- design and manufacture, and German engineering is still revered.

I’ll report back once I’ve had a chance to really put it through its paces.

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