Author Topic: getting more precise with tracksaw  (Read 1822 times)

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Offline mrFinpgh

  • Posts: 170
getting more precise with tracksaw
« on: March 12, 2017, 12:01 AM »
I'm preparing to do a kitchen worth of cabinets and will be cutting out a lot of same sized parts with my TS55.

To avoid too much thinking at once, I'm making some templates of the cabinet parts now so I can set up my parallel guides based on an existing component rather than reading the scales on the t-track (I have the precisiondogs guide system. The t-track scale always seems slightly off from my measuring tape).

Since I'm referencing these components to set up for cuts, I'm trying to make sure the two sides are as close to parallel as possible.  I reset the splinter guard on the rail before I started cutting these pieces out, just to make sure that isn't contributing to any error.

What I'm finding, though, is that I am not getting dead-on parallel cuts. Instead, there is a small amount of deviation happening.  For example, today I laid out a part at 590mm.   By the time I was done, I had one edge measuring at just touching the line of 590mm on the tape, and the other line just past the line on the tape.  I'd say around 1/8 - 1/4 of a mm.  Not a huge difference, but ideally it would be dead-on.  Since the template is MDF, it's a little harder to plane it into compliance.

What do folks do to help ensure the most precise layout and cut possible?   Any good tricks for achieving 'dead-on' accuracy?   

And, how much is that kind of deviation (theoretically spread over 96") going to cause me grief/regret when it comes time to install?

Thanks,
Adam



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Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2247
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 12:34 AM »
I'm preparing to do a kitchen worth of cabinets and will be cutting out a lot of same sized parts with my TS55.

To avoid too much thinking at once, I'm making some templates of the cabinet parts now so I can set up my parallel guides based on an existing component rather than reading the scales on the t-track (I have the precisiondogs guide system. The t-track scale always seems slightly off from my measuring tape).

Since I'm referencing these components to set up for cuts, I'm trying to make sure the two sides are as close to parallel as possible.  I reset the splinter guard on the rail before I started cutting these pieces out, just to make sure that isn't contributing to any error.

What I'm finding, though, is that I am not getting dead-on parallel cuts. Instead, there is a small amount of deviation happening.  For example, today I laid out a part at 590mm.   By the time I was done, I had one edge measuring at just touching the line of 590mm on the tape, and the other line just past the line on the tape.  I'd say around 1/8 - 1/4 of a mm.  Not a huge difference, but ideally it would be dead-on.  Since the template is MDF, it's a little harder to plane it into compliance.

What do folks do to help ensure the most precise layout and cut possible?   Any good tricks for achieving 'dead-on' accuracy?   

And, how much is that kind of deviation (theoretically spread over 96") going to cause me grief/regret when it comes time to install?

Thanks,
Adam

The PGs work, but I do not use the scales at all. What I do is use a Incra ruler and strike a line the width I need. I align my guide rail to that cut and then set the PGs to the guide-rail, on that line. Every cut is then perfect. If I just need a few cuts, I just use the lines with the Incra. I get perfect results every time. I tried using the scales, but honestly they are are to read and get pin-point accuracy - at least that is what I found. I also use a rule-stop and reference the edge of the guide rail for perfect cuts.

Offline mrFinpgh

  • Posts: 170
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 10:27 AM »

The PGs work, but I do not use the scales at all. What I do is use a Incra ruler and strike a line the width I need. I align my guide rail to that cut and then set the PGs to the guide-rail, on that line. Every cut is then perfect. If I just need a few cuts, I just use the lines with the Incra. I get perfect results every time. I tried using the scales, but honestly they are are to read and get pin-point accuracy - at least that is what I found. I also use a rule-stop and reference the edge of the guide rail for perfect cuts.

Thanks, Scot.  I agree, it's hard to read the scale.  I know that they designed them to make it easier, but it still always feels a little hazy, especially when compared to a literal point of reference.

Maybe I just need to get more comfortable with the TS55 as far as aligning the guide rail to my mark.   I'm more focused on hand tools, so I don't use my festool gear as frequently.  With hand tools, I'll typically use a knife to make a mark if I need accuracy.  On sheet goods, a knife line can be hard to see from 3 feet away.  But, a pencil mark tends to be thicker and introduces a little bit of 'fuzz' into the process.

Thanks,
Adam

Offline DrD

  • Posts: 362
  • I might not be fast BUT I sure am slow
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2017, 11:24 AM »
Good Morning @mrFinpgh I do understand your issue. 
Prior to the Parallel Guides, Jerry Work, in one of his great contributions, measured the length to be cut at 2 different places, drew a line, then inserted 2 safety razor blades.  He then moved his guide rail up to the blades, frmoved the blades and cut.  A method I have used many times, but it is somewhat tedious.
There are numerous posts on the FOG addressing this issue, and can be variously found with keys words like "calibrating", "parallel guides", "setting parallel guides."
Attached are 2 pics showing how I ultimately solved this issue to my satisfaction.  I cyanoacrylate  glued straight pins - after removing the heads - onto the indicators.  Given all the other issues with wood and wood products - swelling, internal movement, etc - I have found the PGs with the pins work quite well for me.
Hope this helps,

DrD
Dr.D

Offline mrFinpgh

  • Posts: 170
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 11:43 AM »
That is interesting.   

I don't use the Festool PGs, but the precision dogs version.  The festool ones look like they have the values engraved directly on the the guide rail.

With the PD PGs, it starts off with a dependency on getting your scales calibrated to the zeroed out stops.   while there is a bevel to help align the 0 to the edge of the stop, it's still a bit of eyeballing over distance, and depending on what angle you view it from, it's not hard to introduce some variation into the way you calibrate it.   

Your solution would reduce that variation by creating an almost direct indicator to the scale.  I can see some value in that, if I want to use the scale to set up my cuts, and if i want to set both precision guides to be more close to 'perfectly equal'.   I'm not sure how CA glue would stick to anodized aluminum, but this does spark a few ideas.

Thanks,
Adam

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4238
  • Burger Babe Says: I Even Buy Green Bananas
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 08:11 AM »
Make sure you trim off the factory edge of the ply prior to ripping
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