A long time ago, in a workshop not so far away, I got to experience a Kapex first hand.
It was 2009, and I was in the Festool studio of Ideal Tools. Along with getting personally acquainted with a number of other Festool products (many of which have been working their way into my workshop), I got to make good use of the Kapex sliding compound miter saw.
The future may have been inevitable at that point, but there was no telling how long it would be before that too came into the Stu’s Shed stable.
Turns out, that day was yesterday, with a special Ideal Tools is running on the Kapex package (which includes the stand and the outriggers). I had only seen the stand in photos, and it is significantly more impressive first hand. Looks like a basic steel tube setup, but something so apparently simple works so well, quickly turning the Kapex into a highly portable machine.
I’ll go a lot more into the details in some future posts, but as a general rule, you know what I think of good engineering design, and this whole setup more than meets that requirement.
The outriggers have changed quite a bit since I saw them in 2009, and they have really matured. The Kapex itself seems pretty much unchanged – not much else they could do to make it better!
For those that are interested, some basic specs:
Power consumption: 1600 W
No-load speed: 1400-3400 min-1
Saw blade diameter: 260 mm
Cutting capacity at 90°: 305 x 88 mm
Cutting depth at 45°/90°: 215 x 88 mm
Cutting depth 50°/90° (left): 196 x 88 mm
Cutting depth 60°/90° (right): 152 x 88 mm
Cutting depth 45°/45° (left): 215 x 55 mm
Cutting depth 45°/45° (right): 215 x 35 mm
Special cutting depth 90°/90°: 60 x 120 mm
Special cut. depth 45°/90° (left): 40 x 120 mm
Capacity in special position 90°: 20 x 120 mm
Crown moulding diagonal cut at 90°/90°: 168 mm
Crown moulding mitre cut at 45°: 168 mm
Inclination angle: 47/47 °
Mitre angle: 50/60 °
Bench height (on MFT): 923 mm
Dimensions (W x D x H): 713 x 500 x 470 mm
Connection Ø d/e: 27/36 mm
Weight: 21,5 kg
Couple of things to pick up there – normal depth of cut is 88mm. But if you have a board no thicker than 20mm, you can achieve a 120mm depth of cut. Funny thing is, I didn’t even know (or rather remember) what the blade size was until just now. Turns out to be 10″ (or there-abouts) Bore is 30mm.
The whole unit rolls very easily from place to place, and takes up minimal room when folded away. I could have included the outrigger arms in the stand as well (held together with their custom strapping).
You could leave it like this, or maximise the amount of material support with the outriggers.
One way or another, this is now a substantial work station, and something I have long been missing in my workshop. I have had to compromise for ages, using the tablesaw (without a sliding table) to lengths of timber down – not the best practice at all. I did have a couple of SCMSs in the past, both GMC, but sold them at different times in expectation of getting the Kapex. It was only a few years wait!
With the Cleantex connected up, this saw now has 91% dust extraction. Not bad for a SCMS! In other workshops, I have seen all sorts of jury-rigged setups, boxes set up behind the SCMS to try to catch the waste. Among other things, Festool cannot be accused of ignoring the safety aspects of their tools, in the way the guarding works with (and not against) the operator, and a highly refined dust collection system. (And yes, I am still using the Oneida cyclone on top of my vac from Professional Woodworker Supplies). Been a LONG time since I have had to change the dust bag in the Cleantex. Never in fact!
Ready for the very first test cut. Dual laser on, hold down holding down. It is almost disappointing how quickly and easily the Kapex does its job. You don’t get enough time to really enjoy the quality before the job is done!
I would have been interested if the Flai U blade would have worked well in this, but that blade was wrecked a few months ago when it hit a hidden nail, chipping a number of teeth.
May become one of the only Flai blades in the world that will meet its final end by deliberately embedding it into a SawStop brake! Just as an aside, and not that I am going to try it, but I have wondered what would happen if the ultimate saw braking system met the ultimate cut-everything blade of the Flai Mustang! Sure it would come to a stop, but it may also be the only blade that could legitimately survive the collision to live another day!
Where it comes to the new workshop, I already have a pretty fair idea where this tool will be (semi) permanently set up – along the western wall, parallel to the tablesaw. It is going to be so good being able to dock timber to length easily again. Not that I know why I say again, I have never had a permanent SCMS or drop saw setup, so this will really be a new experience.