Author Topic: getting more precise with tracksaw  (Read 3877 times)

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Offline mrFinpgh

  • Posts: 191
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: 2277
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: 191
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: 395
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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: 191
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: 4309
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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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Offline mwahaha

  • Posts: 110
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 06:34 AM »
Cut a 100mm wide piece of scrap to the measurement you want with a miter saw and use it as a reference stick to set both guides. You could even get fancy and put a stop on one end to butt into the zero clearance strip on the rail.
Makin' chips since ages ago

Offline Untidy Shop

  • Posts: 2503
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 07:17 AM »
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 -

So when were you trying to compete with aeronautical engineering or a NASA contractor. It's a kitchen cabinet and you are already exceeding the manufacturing tolerances of IKEA et all.

However if you want to persist, or are practicing for more higher end work then try -

Make sure you trim off the factory edge of the ply prior to ripping

 @jobsworth has given you a really good tip here. Always re cut the manuafactured edge and work from there, then perhaps
using @mwahaha 's measuring stick idea  or -

« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 07:34 AM by Untidy Shop »
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Online neilc

  • Posts: 2081
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 09:39 AM »
I use an adjustable story stick under each guide.  Woodpecker offers them or you can make one with a sliding or clamped block. 


Even a piece of 1x2 with a parallel woodworker clamp works.  Use that on each guide and you should get consistent accuracy on both ends.  Completely eliminates calibration or parallax error from reading to a line or indicator.



« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 09:48 AM by neilc »

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 99
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2017, 01:53 PM »
You are concerned about 0.005" to 0.010" errors in width over the length of a plywood part for a kitchen cabinet?  Those tolerances do come into play in woodworking when, for instance, fitting a tenon to a mortise (but don't give the parts too much time after machining to move around), but I'd focus my energies elsewhere for cutting out cabinet sides.

Offline mwahaha

  • Posts: 110
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2017, 06:20 AM »
You are concerned about 0.005" to 0.010" errors in width over the length of a plywood part for a kitchen cabinet?  Those tolerances do come into play in woodworking when, for instance, fitting a tenon to a mortise (but don't give the parts too much time after machining to move around), but I'd focus my energies elsewhere for cutting out cabinet sides.

I think because the part he is talking about here is a template, he wants it dead on which I understand. If the template starts out .5mm off, then when cutting you add another .5mm, and while assembling you add yet another .5mm as well as get some parts orientated differently then you have cabinets that are 1.5mm out of line all different ways. This can cause headaches when installing the cabinets (they usually seem to coincide with a lump in a wall or something), and when setting up euro drawers and doors (some brands do not have much adjustment).
Makin' chips since ages ago

Offline mrFinpgh

  • Posts: 191
Re: getting more precise with tracksaw
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2017, 10:06 PM »
You are concerned about 0.005" to 0.010" errors in width over the length of a plywood part for a kitchen cabinet?  Those tolerances do come into play in woodworking when, for instance, fitting a tenon to a mortise (but don't give the parts too much time after machining to move around), but I'd focus my energies elsewhere for cutting out cabinet sides.

I've been trying to get more precise and work to higher tolerances with my hand tool work, and it seems reasonable that I should strive to be as accurate as I can with my Festool work as well.

I know that perhaps the margin isn't tremendous.  Particularly if I'm ripping an 8' sheet at that length (after removing the factory edge, of course).   But I do find it interesting to strive for that level of accuracy.  I think it also helps me develop better habits in terms of what I accept as 'good' in my work.

That said, your point is well taken and obviously I need to consider the nature of the material I'm working with.

Thanks,
Adam