Author Topic: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?  (Read 2109 times)

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Offline Jmacpherson

  • Posts: 134
Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« on: July 12, 2017, 06:11 AM »
Strange question but hear me out.

I bought the mft3 because of its ability to fold up (strangely it is still deployed since setup) and that I can use it for multiple things.
Used it to clamp pieces this past weekend for sanding which worked perfectly and used it to clamp pieces on top and in the T-groove on the side for planing too.

Then we come to the rail. I had some squaring issues naturally but between all the posts here, online videos and using parf dogs I managed to square the rail. I checked it with 16mm melamine board and everything was good.

When I tried to work with thicker material 36-38mm that isn't as wide as board material, maybe only 113mm things started to wrong. As soon as I raised the rail and rail clamps it went all wobbly which I was expecting from all the posts. I used a second piece to support the rail and made my cuts.
The first 2 pieces were the right length, the 3rd one was off my 1mm. The problem with the structural timber I'm using is the thickness varies and I'm not sure if that "upset" the rail.

I decided to rather hang the pieces off the mft and use HKC/FSK combination instead of the TS55 and everything was 100% accurate.

I bought my HKC55 first and then the TS55 later because I needed narrow pieces on the waste side.

This brings me to my question(s) and conclusions...

Tracksaws are meant for breaking down sheet goods originally.
In theory does that mean the MFT3/TS55 combo is also meant for thinner boards and not thicker/narrower material like I was doing which is actually meant for a mitre saw?
The HKC55 is marketed as an handheld mitre saw and worked perfectly at the task.
I tried using the parf dogs stand alone with the rail but they weren't too happy with the narrower stock either.

Therefore was I using the setup for something I shouldn't have been and therefore am I to blame?

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Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 365
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 06:19 PM »
I personally don't see the merit of using the MFT3 with a TS in place of a miter box.  If the width of the piece is greater than a miter box can handle, then my next choice would be an HKC.  I think by raising the track above the protractor, one can expect discrepancies.  I think that cutting stock which is 25mm and less on the MFT3 is what it was designed for.

Does this answer your questions?
Dance with who brung ya...

Online Peter Halle

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Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 07:33 PM »
I think that you might be better served doing a couple of things.  Thickness of stock and varying thicknesses might come into play if it allows additional movement thru the cutting action.

Your rail needs to be firmly on the workpiece.  If the thickness varies then you need to loosen the front and rear brackets and press the rail firmly onto the workpiece.  On both ends.  I do it twice.  Takes longer to type than to do.

Once you take out that play you should be good with everything else you have been doing equal.

The height of the protractor head is irrelevant whereas it is just a reference surface.

Peter

Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 365
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 09:03 PM »

The height of the protractor head is irrelevant whereas it is just a reference surface.


I agree with what you wrote, I simply want to clarify my remarks regarding the above excerpt.

When the track is raised up above the protractor, isn't it more difficult to recheck square versus when the track is closer to the MFT?  Certainly if one has a thick piece of stock (say two pieces of 3/4" MDF glued up and cut perfectly square) then one would have a sure fire way of verifying square.  Or am I missing something?

Thanks,
Chris
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Offline geoffshep

  • Posts: 153
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2017, 05:31 AM »
Therefore was I using the setup for something I shouldn't have been and therefore am I to blame?

Maybe - I don't use the built-in rail system now unless I am doing a lot of cutting with the same thickness material.  It is less good with constantly varying thicknesses although the process described by Peter, to ensure the rail supports remain vertical and square to the rail, does work.  You can also use the fence in its tall format which helps squaring up when using thicker stock.

Since I don't use it a lot of the time, and it is not permanently attached to the MFT, I find it much easier to use parf dogs and rail for smaller jobs. However, for narrow stock you need some additional pieces of stock, of the same thickness, under the rail to provide sufficient support.

I can't help feeling, that for stock as narrow as you suggest, I would be using a mitre saw. But if you are getting good results with the HKC that is clearly a good option.

More here: http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-how-to/square-up-the-factory-t-track-stops-on-my-mft3/msg494124/#msg494124

Offline Scorpion

  • Posts: 514
Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 10:11 AM »
I think it might be easier to diagnose watching in person.  In my experience, if the work pieces are flat and the track is flat to the workpiece and the saw is flat to the rail, the cut will be square.  The TS55 blade shouldn't have deflection issues.  I suspect the error came somewhere between the saw staying firmly on the track, the trac sitting firmly on the material, or the track twisting because it wasn't supported correctly (as mentioned by others) with additional pieces of material.

Personally, I use the Kapex for such tasks.  MFT/55 is used once the Kapex  capacity can't handle the board.  The design of the Kapex does help keep things firmly squared up.


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Offline Jmacpherson

  • Posts: 134
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 05:04 PM »
I think that you might be better served doing a couple of things.  Thickness of stock and varying thicknesses might come into play if it allows additional movement thru the cutting action.

Your rail needs to be firmly on the workpiece.  If the thickness varies then you need to loosen the front and rear brackets and press the rail firmly onto the workpiece.  On both ends.  I do it twice.  Takes longer to type than to do.

Once you take out that play you should be good with everything else you have been doing equal.
Peter

Thanks for the suggestions. Will try this method.

Offline Jmacpherson

  • Posts: 134
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 05:08 PM »
I can't help feeling, that for stock as narrow as you suggest, I would be using a mitre saw. But if you are getting good results with the HKC that is clearly a good option.

I agree with you, unfortunately my Mitre saw isn't accurate or not accurate enough at times and needs replacing.
The HKC is my go to in terms of "accurate mitre saw" but has limitations once you want to cut something thicker than 51mm.

Offline Jmacpherson

  • Posts: 134
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2017, 05:15 PM »
I think it might be easier to diagnose watching in person.  In my experience, if the work pieces are flat and the track is flat to the workpiece and the saw is flat to the rail, the cut will be square.  The TS55 blade shouldn't have deflection issues.  I suspect the error came somewhere between the saw staying firmly on the track, the trac sitting firmly on the material, or the track twisting because it wasn't supported correctly (as mentioned by others) with additional pieces of material.

Personally, I use the Kapex for such tasks.  MFT/55 is used once the Kapex  capacity can't handle the board.  The design of the Kapex does help keep things firmly squared up.
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I definitely think it was something to do with how I was supporting the rail or wasn't supporting the rail enough or along those lines.
Reading through all the comments, I think I should rather be using the MFT/55 for much wider stock and HKC55 for the narrower pieces.
Then when I can I need to get an accurate mitre saw.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1733
Re: Am I Using MFT/TS55 For Their Intended Purpose?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2017, 03:20 PM »
I use my MFT/TS55 with the protractor head and fence for all my cross cutting up to the capacity of the TS55. Mostly I do 3/4" stock but have done 1 1/2" and even a slightly thicker with no problems; the result all perfectly square.

After using it for a short time found that buying the Slopstop for installation in the rail keeps my rail where I set it square to begin with regardless of the thickness of the wood.

Also, I spent quite a bit of money on a square which allows me to be completely sure the rail is square to the fence before I do final crosscuts.

It is important to support the rail with a scrap piece the same thickness as the piece you're cutting when the piece does not extend most of the length of the rail. Otherwise the rail will "wobble" because there is nothing supporting it.

The best miter cuts I have ever made were done with my MFT/TS55. I don't do a lot of these so it doesn't pay for me to own a miter saw, especially now that I can get accurate cuts from the MFT with the TS55. If I did do a significant number of miter cuts, I'd probably buy the Kapex because it's the only miter saw I know that has acceptable dust collection and is accurate. I owned a Hitachi (not anymore). As good as it was, the dust collection was terrible and it always required a lot of work to keep it squared up. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to use the TS55 on my MFT for a miter cut.
Randy