Author Topic: MFT/3 square or not square  (Read 4929 times)

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Offline mystudio

  • Posts: 16
MFT/3 square or not square
« on: February 04, 2017, 03:46 PM »
I've pratically seen every video of setting up the MFT/3 and read almost every post of it. What's interesting me, is that some people absolutely have no problem making it absolutely square and some do.

I found that on my table it's a challange to KEEP it square. Getting it square is easy, I'm using the techniques with the dogs. However, I found that there is a lot of play on the height adjusment of the parallel guide. So, when you make you're table absolutely square and after that you are goint to cut for example plywood of 0,7", you will adjust the height of your rail and thereby you probably also will change the square.

Am I just too critical on this? Or is this a very weak point on the MFT/3?
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Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1650
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2017, 05:44 PM »
I would suggest the following to make your life easier:

1. If you use the guide rail on the MFT with the MFT miter fence setup from Festool, do you own a product called "Slop Stop"? When Slop Stop is installed as directed, it prevents the channel in the bottom of the guide rail from any movement back and forth on the bracket on the MFT table. It really works and eliminates any "slop" from guide rail to tab.

2. Square the guide rail to the fence using a square with high legs. There are Festool videos on the internet that show this process and the kind of square that, at a minimum, makes this process useful. I use this method, having found that squaring with dogs is dependent on how tightly the dogs fit in the MFT holes and slightly more complicated.

I still find that the guide rail to fence squareness is off sometimes even though I square it as close to the height as I will be cutting, have the Slop Stop installed, and use what I consider a square which is a "perfect" 90 degrees. Other things affect the squareness, including the fact that occasionally I bump into the guide rail or against the miter head and the table gets shifted from its original spot. My procedure is to check the squareness each time I make final crosscuts on a project just to be sure it hasn't been bumped, etc. but then I have the time to do that and am not concerned about being the most efficient possible.
Randy

Offline bkharman

  • Posts: 1863
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2017, 07:26 PM »
Invest in rail dogs of some sort and be done. I haven't used the fence for almost 4 years. Dogs to stop the workpiece, dogs in the bottom of the rail and away she goes!

Cheers. Bryan.


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Online geoffshep

  • Posts: 129
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2017, 04:47 AM »
It is easy to put the guide rail off square when it is raised for thicker workpieces.  Make sure that the guide rail is flat on the thicker workpiece and the guide rail support bracket is held hard up against the guide rail, to keep it square to the rail, before locking the bracket in position.

Similar problems and comments in this tread: http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-how-to/square-up-the-factory-t-track-stops-on-my-mft3

Offline Birdhunter

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 05:13 AM »
I use a Woodpecker MFT square to check my track before cutting. I've never had to use the protractor head so use Qwas dogs to align the back side of the workpiece and to check the track. I do use a SlopStop. Never had an out of square cut.

Oh yes I did once, the bolts that hold the track to the pivot head at the back of the MFT worked loose. One had even backed out.
Birdhunter

Offline jobsworth

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 08:57 AM »
I use 2 of the fence protractors rather then that little black plastic thingy. My fence never comes out of square
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Online Edward A Reno III

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2017, 09:32 AM »
Yeah, the bracket design -- the fact that it can be skewed out of plane with the table when raised or lowered -- does introduce room for error, even after you've added the slop stop.  I like to square mine up while it's resting on some 3/4 plywood, so it's already at or near the height of the pieces I'll be cutting.  I've found that as long as I'm conscientious about how I raise and lower the brackets, and, when possible, that the rail is fully supported by scrap the same thickness as the workpiece, I'm able to keep the rail square when changing heights.   
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Offline mystudio

  • Posts: 16
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2017, 03:07 PM »
Exactly! That's what I do right now and that works. Thx it's not just mine. I don't have a slop stop, and, I don't need it. The space on this is (on my MFT/3) so less that's it's almost not moving on that part. And by almost I think less than 0,1 mm. That's nothing compared to the error you can introduce with lifting and lowering the parallelguide. In my opinion that's the weak part.

Yeah, the bracket design -- the fact that it can be skewed out of plane with the table when raised or lowered -- does introduce room for error, even after you've added the slop stop.  I like to square mine up while it's resting on some 3/4 plywood, so it's already at or near the height of the pieces I'll be cutting.  I've found that as long as I'm conscientious about how I raise and lower the brackets, and, when possible, that the rail is fully supported by scrap the same thickness as the workpiece, I'm able to keep the rail square when changing heights.
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Offline hayaku

  • Posts: 20
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2017, 11:46 AM »
i gave up on the festool fence and brackets.

now i use a combination of qwas/parf/rail dogs or i use the woodpeck rail square and my favorite is the tso rail square.  the tso does not need any calibration like the woodpecker one does.  the woodpecker one also requires me to check it before every cut.  i double/triple check with a woodpecker square.

go to is the qwas/parf/rail dogs in the mft top to act as a fence (side closest to me).  then the tso rail square guide on a 1080 rail on the same side as where the mft dogs are for the 90 cut starting my side (instead of far side).

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1650
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2017, 01:48 PM »
When I first got my TS55/MFT, I went online and tried a number of the methods used by FOG members and those I saw online. I also took a Festool Essentials class (learned a lot about the tools even though some things were just basic which I knew). I found out through all of this what works for me and that it appears to me there is no right answer because people use what works the best for them. For me, dogs were never a method I found worked into my routines and methods of work. I also found out in the Festool class just how easy it is to square up the MFT fence to the guide rail with a reliable square. So, that is how I have worked since then. Part of the benefit of the FOG is to see all the methods member use and that always helps me pick the one that works best in the end; but, of course, just for me. So, for all the information and methods of work, I have found on the FOG, thanks all of you. It's a constant reminder that, for many tasks in woodworking, there is no completely right answer.
Randy

Offline jobsworth

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2017, 03:39 AM »
I agree, I was pulling my hair out (what little I have left) trying to square up my MFT when I first got it. I was cursing festool cuz I couldnt get a straight cut for the life of me. I signed up for a festool class in LV with Steve Base. We emailed back and forth, I know he could sense my frustration .

Well after the first 15 minutes of the class I had my answer. I thought I was using a square square, but I soon realized that I wasn't, so I went the woodpeckers route buying the 1281 square, and no more issues. Since then I added a OTT 45 CM triangle which helps a lot better then the 1281 as its larger. I also got a Anderson Plywood MFT square. Its about the size of my WP OTT triangle and appears to be very very accurate much like the WP OTT.

After talking to Tom and Woodworking Wizard, I also now use the saw slop, which seems a bit over priced for what it, does help to take the slop out of the guide rail.

I also found that if I bumped the fence it came out of square rather easy. That little cheesy black do hickey which supposed to secure the rear of the MFT fence works but if ya bump the fence doesnt secure it very well.

Thats when again after talking to Tom and Work Wizard ( I went over to WW shop and saw it first hand) started using 2 of the MFT protractors to secure the fence. Once the fence is squared using the 2 protractors it is pretty much bomb proof. Plus unlike the black do hicky when ya tighten the protractors they dont pull it out of square.

This is what works for me, Your milage may vary

 
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Offline Birdhunter

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2017, 05:27 AM »
I'd love to see pictures of the 2 protractor setup.
Birdhunter

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4277
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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 04:26 PM »
Im tearing my shop down getting ready to move back to the states. It looks pretty messy in the photo as things are all getting sorted to be cleaned to be shipped.

So here is a photo of the 2 protractors set up.
You can see the 2 protractors attached to the fence.
 The guide rail is barely visable as its in the up position on the MFT.
 I have a couple of other protractors setting on the MFT. But it should give you a idea of what Im talking about.

Hope this helps
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 04:32 PM by jobsworth »
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Offline Welshdog

  • Posts: 19
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 03:01 AM »

So here is a photo of the 2 protractors set up.
You can see the 2 protractors attached to the fence.


Sorry to bump an older thread, but how does one buy just the protractor?  I can't find it for sale anywhere.  I know Festool does not call it a protractor, nor is it the Angle Unit.  I'm guessing you have to call Festool?
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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2017, 03:46 AM »
You have three options:

1.  Check the classifieds here.  They pop up pretty often.
2.  Call FESTOOL.  They do not sell it as a complete unit in the catalog.  It may be an ekat (spare parts) item but I can't check that right now from my iPad.
3.  You can use the Angle Stop accessory 488581 for the CMS.  Currently $186 US.  It is the same unit but with a longer "arm" that would allow the fence to be located further towards the operator.  It comes with a different style fence than the MFT version also.  You can see it in the catalog.

Peter
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Offline jdw101

  • Posts: 67
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2017, 12:33 PM »
i gave up on the festool fence and brackets.

now i use a combination of qwas/parf/rail dogs or i use the woodpeck rail square and my favorite is the tso rail square.  the tso does not need any calibration like the woodpecker one does.  the woodpecker one also requires me to check it before every cut.  i double/triple check with a woodpecker square.

go to is the qwas/parf/rail dogs in the mft top to act as a fence (side closest to me).  then the tso rail square guide on a 1080 rail on the same side as where the mft dogs are for the 90 cut starting my side (instead of far side).


You are depressing me about checking the woodpecker square before every cut, do you really need to do this?  Are you talking about: http://www.woodpeck.com/mftsquare.html

That square you are having to check for square between every single cut or the other one that they attach to the track?  I have the TSO on order myself and I also have the woodpecker MFT square.  If I have to actually check that square that often I am getting rid of it.  I never really thought to even check it after I squared it up once.  Worrisome.

Offline jobsworth

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Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2017, 03:36 PM »

So here is a photo of the 2 protractors set up.
You can see the 2 protractors attached to the fence.


Sorry to bump an older thread, but how does one buy just the protractor?  I can't find it for sale anywhere.  I know Festool does not call it a protractor, nor is it the Angle Unit.  I'm guessing you have to call Festool?

I dunno, the classifieds here or eBay maybe. I have 2 MFT 3s and a CMS each one came with a protractor.
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Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1650
Re: MFT/3 square or not square
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2017, 11:27 PM »
i gave up on the festool fence and brackets.

now i use a combination of qwas/parf/rail dogs or i use the woodpeck rail square and my favorite is the tso rail square.  the tso does not need any calibration like the woodpecker one does.  the woodpecker one also requires me to check it before every cut.  i double/triple check with a woodpecker square.

go to is the qwas/parf/rail dogs in the mft top to act as a fence (side closest to me).  then the tso rail square guide on a 1080 rail on the same side as where the mft dogs are for the 90 cut starting my side (instead of far side).


You are depressing me about checking the woodpecker square before every cut, do you really need to do this?  Are you talking about: http://www.woodpeck.com/mftsquare.html

That square you are having to check for square between every single cut or the other one that they attach to the track?  I have the TSO on order myself and I also have the woodpecker MFT square.  If I have to actually check that square that often I am getting rid of it.  I never really thought to even check it after I squared it up once.  Worrisome.

@jdw101 Not sure why the poster believes the Woodpecker square must be checked before each cut, if that is the actual meaning of his post. I don't ever check my Woodpecker squares. They were square when I bought and received them and, as far as I can tell, they are still perfectly square. Of all the tools I own to check squareness, my 1281 and MFT squares are the tools I don't worry about. The only times I would check them now is if I dropped them or a particular part didn't go together right after having squared up my MFT fence to guide rail with the square.

I do check the MFT fence/Guide Rail setup for square when I'm ready to do final cross cuts on the MFT, but never the squares themselves. If the Woodpecker square must be checked every time it's used, it's junk.
Randy