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Author Topic: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails  (Read 5114 times)

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Offline CADru

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Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« on: April 27, 2017, 07:07 PM »
Is the standard FS 1400/2 guide rail milled from a different "mold" then the FS 1400/2-LR 32 rail? When I purchased my TS 55 back in January 2016 I opted to swap the standard rail for the LR 32 rail. A few months ago my saw goes in for repair. They ship me a new saw and a new FS 1400 guide rail to boot. (Festool's way of saying "sorry" for sending my repaired saw to the wrong location 3000 miles away) So anyway, I'm attempting to connect the 2 rails (1400 & 1400 LR 32) with my TS 55 tracking nicely on the LR 32 when she hits the new 1400 there is more play then I'd like. If I adjust my TS 55 to the standard 1400 she will not ride onto the LR 32 smoothly. So I'm assuming these different rail types are not designed to be connected?


Though I do have other rails purchased 1-2 months apart that track the same as the LR 32 rail. For some reason this "free" rail Festool sent requires me to re-adjust my saw for use and only can be used individually.


Has anyone ever experienced this issue?
I connect my rails using the Betterley straightline connector

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Offline Svar

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 07:12 PM »
They are supposed to be identical, but sometimes are not. You are not alone with this problem. Try to exchange one of the rails.

Offline TylerC

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 09:24 AM »
The LR 32 guide rail will connect with a standard guide rail. One of our trainers put together a short video that quickly walks through how to connect rails accurately:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BSleKgKDBn6

Sometimes the two rails won't have exactly the same thickness — either from wear or based on age of each rail. If this is the case for you, just make sure that the thinner rail is placed behind the thicker one so that it doesn't get caught as you make your cut.

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 11:49 AM »
@TylerC

After having read and re-read Tyler's response to the op, I am really put-off by his "dismissive" remarks.  I'm not trying to get on a tirade about what we expect for the price we pay - BUT.  One of Festool's marketing claims is the "System Approach/Concept."  Then yet another is to adjust your tools to their rails.  The op's situation, coupled with Tyler's remarks flies in the face of this.

Having spent the last 25 years as a consultant to the steel industry, I can assure you I am well familiar with manufacturing tolerances.  If Festool cannot hold their extruders or extruded product suppliers to tolerances that allow for their tools to be used as they advertise, they should 1) change their marketing to " ...sometimes a system", 2) tighten up in-house quality assurance/control, or 3) find a better supplier.

And then to have their forum representative to blow off the whole issue is quite unacceptable!
Dr.D

Offline TylerC

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 03:48 PM »
@TylerC

After having read and re-read Tyler's response to the op, I am really put-off by his "dismissive" remarks.

I certainly didn't intend to seem dismissive of the question, and I apologize if it came off that way. (In rereading the question and my response, I definitely focused more on the "will the LR 32 rail connect with the traditional rail?" part and not enough on the "why isn't it a smoother connect?" part.) I spent time this morning with one of our applications specialists on this topic this morning, and he talked me through some of this.

I will also reach out to our product team and trainers to see if they have anything additional that might help regarding guide rail connections.

Offline antss

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2017, 10:58 PM »
I cannot see the "trainers" having anything meaningful to offer.

Do they have any influence on the manufacturing process/operation or quality control or choice of suppliers or manuf. equipment ?  Or are they simply a public relations conduit trying their best to offer a workaround or damage control when a problem like this arises ?

Listen , I'm not picking on the trainers. I am being critical of management sending these guys out to put a bandaid on problem they had no hand in creating.

Your policy needs to be to exchange rails that don't mate up because YOU couldn't maintain a consistent manufacturing facility.  Or - are you now going to have the PR folks tell us they are now "wear items" ? ::)

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 11:48 PM »
I cannot see the "trainers" having anything meaningful to offer.

Do they have any influence on the manufacturing process/operation or quality control or choice of suppliers or manuf. equipment ? Or are they simply a public relations conduit trying their best to offer a workaround or damage control when a problem like this arises ?

Listen , I'm not picking on the trainers. I am being critical of management sending these guys out to put a bandaid on problem they had no hand in creating.

Your policy needs to be to exchange rails that don't mate up because YOU couldn't maintain a consistent manufacturing facility.  Or - are you now going to have the PR folks tell us they are now "wear items" ? ::)


I know you say you are not picking on the trainers. However the Festool trainers are a lot more than what your comments suggest. And the quotes you put on the word trainers make me think that you don't even think they are actually trainers. Perhaps they are not what you seem to think they are?

Seth

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 08:40 AM »
There is an internal informational pipeline at Festool and I can assure you that the trainers are involved and their input is valued.  They are not PR related but let's face facts - Festool is a tool manufacturer and seller.  They are also naturally involved with marketing.  No tool sales = no training necessary. Festool trainers regularly travel to Germany for training on new products and during their time there spend a great amount of time with the engineers and others in the development end.

I can state thru personal experience and interaction as a user here in the US that the Festool employed trainers are full of information and honestly I have never heard a negative thing about them.  They are known for spreading knowledge and giving genuine advice even if that results in a non-sale of a product.

Peter
Scraps to Smiles.  To be continued.....  Stay Tuned.

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 08:55 AM »
Let's not get sidetracked on the trainers.  The issue is the guide rails.  I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure there is no solution to two rails not mating up properly.  The problem is it will adversely affect the cut quality.  You don't buy rails at $100-$340 each, and saws for $660-$780 to have poor results.   
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 09:05 AM »
@Brice Burrell

Thank you Brice!  I was about to post the same thing about moving off the topic and unto the trainers.  Love the stuff that comes from the trainers, AND they are NOT the issue, especially the issue brought to attention by the op.

The issue is precisely what you said, what the op said and what I said.  Either Festool tools/accessories work together as a system or they do not!  This, and other issues of lack of/poor quality SHOULD NEVER be acceptable!  What else does Festool have to offer, other that the system approach and exceedingly high quality.

I fear we are at risk of having this fade away, without something positive on this issue from Festool. 
Dr.D

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2017, 10:26 AM »
No OT side track intended.  [off topic]


Seth

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2017, 10:43 AM »
Non taken on your part Seth. 

The trainers and their input are an invaluable resource to us on the FOG.  I look forward to whatever they might have to offer on this issue, especially in terms of dealing with what might be a quality/specification breakdown.

DrD
Dr.D

Offline Svar

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2017, 10:52 AM »
There is only one short term solution here. Festool should offer to swap the rails if they don't match. End of story. Long term solution is to improve tolerances on the product.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 11:02 AM by Svar »

Offline TylerC

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2017, 11:10 AM »
The reason I brought up the trainers is that they don't seem to believe that this affects the quality of the cut. As they guys who use these tools all day every day, they might have some guidance -- no pun intended -- on connecting rails in ways that don't affect the quality or ease of the cut.

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2017, 11:31 AM »
@TylerC

OK, getting them involved is good - to a point.  We cannot tolerate (by continuing to support in any manner) work-arounds necessitated by poor quality of product; if that is the case, change the marketing to "... a System Approach with Necessary Work-arounds."

As @Brice Burrell stated above, "... I'm pretty sure there is no solution to two rails not mating properly.  The problem is it will adversely affect cut quality.  You don't buy rails at $100-$349 each, and saws for $660 - $780 to have poor results."

Thus, I want to see, as one financially vested in a number of Festool products primarily buying into their marketing approach as their tolls working together as a "System", what they are going to do for the op, and as importantly, what they are going from this point forward about this problem - and make no mistake about it, this is a serious PROBLEM.
Dr.D

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2017, 01:35 PM »
Went to the shop and took some measurements; this was no where close to a gauge R&R for those of you familiar with such.  Rather I took careful single (non-replicated) measurements at each end of my rails and in the middle.  Results:

   Rail      Purchase Date    Purchase Location    End with Lettering    Middle    Opposite End  - all measurements in inches
FS800          08/20/2013          Chicago, IL             0.634                0.635      0.633
FS/1080       04/13/2014          Bob Marino             0.636                0.638      0.636
1400/LR32   03/06/2013          Lombard, IL            0.633                0.634      0.632
FS1400        04/12/2013          Bob Marino             0.636                0.635      0.635
FS1900        05/27/2014          Bob Marino             0.635                0.634      0.632

These rails have been interconnected at various times, and I haven't noticed a problem.  Also note these rails came from 3 different sources, and were acquired over 1+ year span.  Further notice the last one was acquired May, 2014, almost 3 years ago.

None of this is to denigrate the op's stated problem.  Believing the op - and there is absolutely no reason to not believe - it would appear there has been a change at Festool, a slippage in quality assurance (which could include a change in suppliers without appropriate PPAP or otherwise assurance they were both capable and in control to meet spec), a loosening of specifications, or some other not so good process deviation.  Since Festool is a European company, doing business across the EU, I would suspect, unless regulations have changed, Festool is ISO-9000 certified, and as such, this should not be happening

So, one should ask and have answered:  What changed?  Two years ago the various rails seemed to fit together to give a System approach, now, perhaps not some much.
Dr.D

Offline antss

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2017, 03:32 PM »
The reason I brought up the trainers is that they don't seem to believe that this affects the quality of the cut. As they guys who use these tools all day every day, they might have some guidance -- no pun intended -- on connecting rails in ways that don't affect the quality or ease of the cut.

Well, they use them day in and day out ; but to what end ? Are they actually making anything besides mock ups  ?  Something that's then sold on ?

Their job is to promote sunshine and roses so Festool can sell some more gear - right ?  Gonna be tough to keep their job if they're the least bit critical of their employer , especially in public. 

So, naturally it's in their best interest to find a workaround to all issues to keep the big machine running smoothly.

At a venerable law firm I worked at many moons ago we'd have called in the "fixer" to "handle" the client, or official , or opposing party so as to make that particular problem go away.   He wouldn't have been needed if we were able to SOLVE the problem on our own. It went away, but that's different than a solution in my book. 

Sounds to me like  the training staff has a somewhat similar function in their job description as well as being teachers.

Offline TylerC

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2017, 04:05 PM »
@antss Festool trainers were all professionals craftsmen before coming to Festool, and they continue to use the tools in various real-world situations. Their job is to teach users the most effective ways to use the tools. They answer questions and help people with frustrations they might experience.

A so-called "workaround" isn't about ignoring larger potential issues. It's about trying to help people today make the most of their tool as it exists now.

Again, my only point in bringing the trainers into this is that they might know of ways to improve the quality of the guide rail connections. In the exact same sentence that I mentioned the trainers, I said that I'd meet with the product team.

If the trainers have advice to offer on this, should I not share it?

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2017, 04:23 PM »
Of course the trainers' perspectives are vitally important!  My concern is this thread has become more focused upon the relevance of the trainers and less so on the op's issue.

DrD
Dr.D

Offline TylerC

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2017, 04:47 PM »
Of course the trainers' perspectives are vitally important!  My concern is this thread has become more focused upon the relevance of the trainers and less so on the op's issue.

DrD

I completely agree. I can't real add much to the original question until Monday -- and I'm at a family reunion this weekend -- so I'm bowing out for the moment.

Offline neilc

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2017, 04:50 PM »
Two thoughts:

1  - what is a reasonable 'tolerance' for rip cuts for woodworking with sheet goods?  In the case of DrD's measurements, .006 is about 2 sheets of paper thick.  For case goods made with plywood or MDF and then sanded, planed, joined and put into an installation, what should we expect in tolerance for our work?  I have and use a 6" digital caliper when running my planer and thicknessing.  Not so much for sheet goods, however.

I have done some projects like my chessboard in the projects area that I hand planed to .001 tolerance.  I've done metal lathe or milling machine work with a tolerance of .001 or higher on occasion.  But on most woodwork, I don't get that close.  And still strive for 'museum quality' in my work.  Frankly, the finger can feel more of a difference than the eye can see sometimes.

2 - what should we expect for guide rails in terms of tolerance since they are extrusions through a die that may vary over time / with wear, etc.  I wonder what Festool considers as agreeable tolerances?  I found a book on extrusions and tolerances - http://www.aec.org/?page=lib_designmanual - but wonder what Festool considers acceptable.

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2017, 09:18 PM »
extrusions will vary dimensionally. Having spent more than a few days and nights in extrusion plants (US and China) I can tell you it is a moving target - unlike CNC machining.
In addition to die wear you also have the effect of the drawbench tensioning (stretching) the raw extruded shape. Last, but not least, heat treating can put a spin on dimensions (flatness and straightness).

The solution: if something does not line up - get other extrusions until you have a fit - that's real life. The call for perfection in extrusion tolerances does not promise to be very productive.

We can't wait for FESTOOL to improve their tolerances, so we will change extrusions until we get a match.
Hans
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Offline Cheese

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2017, 11:03 PM »
Went to the shop and took some measurements; this was no where close to a gauge R&R for those of you familiar with such.  Rather I took careful single (non-replicated) measurements at each end of my rails and in the middle.  Results:

   Rail      Purchase Date    Purchase Location    End with Lettering    Middle    Opposite End  - all measurements in inches
FS800          08/20/2013          Chicago, IL             0.634                0.635      0.633
FS/1080       04/13/2014          Bob Marino             0.636                0.638      0.636
1400/LR32   03/06/2013          Lombard, IL            0.633                0.634      0.632
FS1400        04/12/2013          Bob Marino             0.636                0.635      0.635
FS1900        05/27/2014          Bob Marino             0.635                0.634      0.632


Those are really, really tight groupings. I'm actually very surprised they group that closely.
FS 800...range = +/-.001"
FS 1080...range = +/-.001"
1400/LR 32...+/-.001"
FS 1400...+/-.0005"
FS 1900...+/-.0015"

Considering that different extrusion dies have been used over the years, and they have probably been in various states of condition, that new extrusion dies have probably been introduced to manufacturing because of tolerance issues, and the rails have probably been manufactured in different manufacturing facilities, subject to slightly different aluminum chemistries, and also subject to slightly different QA techniques, and probably slightly different heat treating/tempering conditions, I find the above results pretty darn impressive. And as @DrD stated, he's had no issue with joining the above rails.

I'd be more interested in finding out what the dimensions of the 2 rails are in regards to the rails that @CADru originally tried to join together. That would provide more information that may resolve this issue

Offline Svar

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2017, 11:25 PM »
It would not be difficult to machine one side of the guide rib after extruding but before anodizing.

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2017, 11:52 PM »
@Cheese

Getting out on really thin ice, I did a quick analysis (tTest) and found absolutely no difference within a rail nor among all rails.  Now, this must not be considered as a statistical absolute, given the absurdly small sample size with no replications.  However, when considered with the anecdotal evidence of no difference in saw behavior on any of the rails, singly or connected, an inference can be made that the measurements are solid, and this collection of rails are all the same as regards this one dimensional characteristic.

So now, the question is, as you pointed out, what are the measurements for the op's rails.  If different, then something has changed.
Dr.D

Offline antss

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2017, 11:57 PM »
Sorry guys for giving you the wrong impression and sidetracking the discussion.

If you"ll re read my earlier post :  "Your policy needs to be to exchange rails that don't mate up because YOU couldn't maintain a consistent manufacturing facility"

My point is Festool needs to make good on (read: exchange) rails that don't match up.  Not to have a band aid suggested by the trainers, no matter how capable.

Seemingly , Brice, Svar, Hans and even DrD are in agreement with me on this point. 





Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2017, 12:01 AM »
@Hans Friedebach

Don't forget that radiator fins are largely extruded aluminum and there are very tight tolerances with those regarding pore/hole size, fin thickness, etc, and these tolerances must be held not only for the entire billet being extruded, but also among billets, over continuous production. 

While working with aluminum can be picky, it is routinely done to quite amazing tolerances and reproducibility - far beyond what would be needed to make guide rails work together for saw or router use.

DrD
Dr.D

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2017, 12:09 AM »
@antss

"... and even DrD..."  I didn't know our agreement on issue(s) was uncommon.  It's always good to have thorough discussion and evaluation of any issue/situation.  And, I do agree the op should get a replacement rail - he might want to provide Festool with the channel measurements of his rails, to ensure the replacement performs satisfactorily.

And, I do agree that if his measurements are significantly different from rail to rail, and from measurements submitted by other FOGgers (including mine) there must be root cause analysis, and permanent corrective action taken by Festool.

Are we still in agreement? [smile]
Dr.D

Offline DrD

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2017, 12:15 AM »
@CADru

Can/will you take the top channel width measurement at each end and in the center of your rails and post them?

Thanks,

DrD
Dr.D

Offline Cheese

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Re: Guide rail saw tracking when connecting rails
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2017, 01:00 AM »
However, when considered with the anecdotal evidence of no difference in saw behavior on any of the rails, singly or connected, an inference can be made that the measurements are solid, and this collection of rails are all the same as regards this one dimensional characteristic.

So now, the question is, as you pointed out, what are the measurements for the op's rails.  If different, then something has changed.

FWIW...I took a quick measurement of the 3 rails that I own, purchased over 4 years from various suppliers, and found them all to be within the .632 to .635 range. Again, another very tight grouping.

I'm trying to understand the tolerance variance that renders the rails as being unsuitable for joining.