Author Topic: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment  (Read 7543 times)

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Offline LEP9463

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Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« on: October 06, 2014, 12:59 PM »
Hi I am new to this forum. I have recently invested in a new mft/3, ts 55 req and ct 26. I initially set up both the fence and guide rail using a pair of qwas dogs and  everything squared up. I then attempted to set up the guide rail using the factory stops or "feather keys" and in the factory position it isn't square with the fence. I then adjusted the fence to the guide rail (as per festool instructional vid) so they are square with each other, but they are not square with the holes in the table. This wasn't acceptable so I then loosened the fence again and squared it with the holes in the table using the qwas dogs as I had done initially. I then loosened the hinged end of the guide rail and moved it a few mm into square with the fence and all seems to be square. I will be removing the guide rail frequently so to make this repeatable It seems to me i should loosen the "feather key" on the hinged side and slide it against the guide rail and tighten it in its new position prior to removing the guide rail. Before I move the factory stop I figured I would ask for advice as I am not a pro millworker or a math genius. I am also curious about the size of Allen wrench required to loosen the feather key? thanks!

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Offline epicxt

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 01:03 PM »
First, welcome to the FOG! I'm sure you'll like it here. :)

With that out of the way, yes, go ahead and move the stop to the correct position so you can get repeatable results. I'm not in the same spot as my mft right now but I think it's a 5mm Allen you'll need.
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Offline RL

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 01:32 PM »
I think off the top of my head it may be the same key that comes with the TS 55.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 07:04 PM »
Whenever someone writes about squaring up an MFT and using the holes versus the profiles or even trying to use both at the same time my ears perk up.  Realistically you can't.  In the Festool approach the holes are there for clamping, period.  There is no guarantee that the pattern is parallel or perpendicular to the profiles - and Festool uses the profiles.  In the dog method the holes are King and the profiles are there to hold the mdc with the holes and also provide a mounting point for the flip down rail and the protractor head with its fence.  So you need to choose which one you want to go with and follow that to achieving squareness.

Don't be afraid to move the feather keys to where you want.  There isn't something magical or mystical to them.  Here is a video that I did at the request of a new member a while back.



Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 07:50 PM »
I set the keys to adjust the rail. Best way to square the table. You will want to loosen the guide rail slightly so it is relaxed when you're doing the final tightening.

« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 07:56 PM by tjbnwi »

Offline LEP9463

  • Posts: 3
Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 10:53 AM »
Thanks for all the tips! I had previously watched the video Peter is mentioning but at the time I had not made note of him adjusting the feather keys as I didn't have my table back then. I watched it again yesterday - thanks! BTW my feather keys required a T15 torx bit not an Allen wrench to adjust (my glasses helped determine this). Prior to setting up my mft3 and ts 55 I read the manual, watched a couple Festool videos on how to set up the guide rail and fence. I also watched several videos on how to set up the mft3 using qwas dogs and parf dogs. Yesterday I took everything off the table again and aligned the guide rail using 4 qwas dogs and my fence as a spacer. Then I positioned the fence perpendicular to the rail and as close as possible to the blade and aligned it using 4 qwas dogs and tightened everything down (just like in the videos). I left the 4 dogs in place behind the fence to minimize any rail deflection. Everything appeared square I tested it with several squares and I was sure it was correct. Then I did a series of 5 cut tests where I held the workpiece against the fence and even clamped it using 2 festool clamps. I don't have any calipers but when I measured my last cut off piece it was out by 1 mm or slightly less. Is this an acceptable tolerance or should I do some more micro adjusting?

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 11:08 AM »
How long was the 5 cut piece?

Only you can decide what tolerance you wish to work to. For me if the piece was 2' long and off 1 mm, that is 10 10ths of a millimeter to far off.


Offline LEP9463

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2014, 11:57 AM »
The final cut piece was was approx 2 ft. I am cutting 3/4" white formica faced Baltic birch plywood for cabinets doors and drawer faces with no trim or visible hardware. Just flat panels with 1/8" reveals which all need to line up. They need to be square. To be honest I was worried about chipping, not getting everything square. So far the stock blade is doing a great job in cutting the formica faced ply and I was going to buy the solid surface laminate blade but want to get my setup dialled first.

Offline Tad

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 08:40 PM »
I see a lot of conflicting info here about which wrench to use to loosen the key feather. 

I used a 3mm Allen wrench after calling Tech Support to make sure I used the right tool and didn't strip the little screw.  Fit perfect and I was able to adjust the part quickly.

Hope the above helps someone in the future.
TS 55 REQ, OF 1400, ETS 150/3, CT 26, MFT/3, CXS

Offline Anderson-Plywood

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Re: Mft 3 Setup and feather key adjustment
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 01:54 AM »
Welcome to the forum!
Thought it would be useful to mention you can use the Anderson MFT Square to square up your table!
Very sturdy, accurate and cost effective ($24.95) and currently has a promo on shipping!
Anderson Plywood's Layout Square for MFT Table is made from 3/4" Phenolic Plywood:

« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 02:02 AM by Anderson-Plywood »
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