Author Topic: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top  (Read 2869 times)

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Offline MaxFrenzy

  • Posts: 7
Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« on: April 03, 2017, 02:21 PM »
Hi guys,

I wanted to get your feedback here. I know that some people create there own MFT tops and others have had their local CNC shop cut the the multifunction slab posted by another user. I run a small cnc shop at home and am working on a top that can reduce the weight of a traditional MDF top by at least 50% while likely increasing the rigidity using some unique materials. The result is a sandwiched approach with either plywood or mdf as a varied thickness skin on the top and bottom. Some of the questions I have:

* Would this interest FOG?
* What thickness would be ideal? I know some people have had issues with 1" thick slabs and their clamps.
* What dimensions would you personally be interested in? (my max would be 4x8)
* I've considered trying to make it hinged so it could be folded in half kind of like a suit case to potentially address moving it on the job site and also to possibly make shipping it more feasible. Is this something that would be helpful? Example: an ~ 4ft x 2ft top could potentially fold in half to 2x2 with a handle to carry it away.
* A problem I've noticed is that some have issues with the top sliding around on their horses. Does a solution need to be looked at here?

The idea overall is to make a lightweight, rigid, flat, mft style top that can do the job and still maintain a level of affordability. I'd love to hear some thoughts, ideas, and questions.

Thanks
Matt
 


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Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 196
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 04:17 PM »
What about a two piece top with dogbone or butterfly keys to lock them together.

You could make it modular so you could expand it out to three, four, or even more.

Would only require two different pieces, the end pieces and the intermediate piece.

Two end pieces would make a complete top, but add one intermediate piece in the middle and you have a bigger work surface. Add a second or third intermediate piece and you can grow the work surface as big as you need it.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline schneems

  • Posts: 13
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 04:47 PM »
One idea i've seen plenty of people doing is using a blue foam as a sacrificial surface to cut into as it's cheaper than MDF. If we're brainstorming ideas of products I might want, it could be cool to purchase a 5 pack of foam board (or some other cheap-ish material)  that has MFT compatible holes drilled in it. The idea being it would be cheaper to replace just the foam top instead of the whole MDF piece. I'm not sure how you would secure it so it doesn't slide around, maybe on bench dog in two corners. A replacement MFT top is over $100. If you could sell a few foam pieces at roughly the same price I bet there would be a market for it.

Since the accuracy would still come from the MFT top under the foam, you don't need to be super precise with the foam holes, could maybe experiment with running a few sheets on your CNC at the same time to cut down runtime costs.

An idea anyway.

Offline Fabrik8

  • Posts: 4
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 10:36 PM »
If you do a sandwich core with a lightweight material, think very carefully about whether you need a core closeout to join the top and bottom skins together in shear.  If you don't, and the core material is soft, you can end up with a flexible bench top or a shear bond failure where the materials meet (or both).

Luckily, for something as simple as a bench top, a core closeout can be a strip of MDF around the edge (or whatever the top/bottom skins are made of) that is the same thickness as the core material, kind of like the rails and stiles of a door.  Small weight penalty, but massive increase in stiffness by just preventing the top and bottom skins from moving relative to each other in tension/compression while loaded in bending.

This may not be strictly necessary if the bench top is mounted in a table frame, but rather necessary if the bench top is laid on top of sawhorses like you had mentioned.

The core and the bottom skin could be made of lots of things, like a bottom skin made of thin aluminum sheet to gain some extra core thickness and save more weight.  Anything capable of being easily cut with a CNC router and with enough strength to be loaded in tension (as the bottom skin) could work...  I'm assuming the top skin will be out of 1/4 MDF or something as the normal sacrificial layer.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 10:34 AM by Fabrik8 »

Offline DiscoStu

  • Posts: 148
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 03:41 AM »
18mm thick is ideal
Whatever materials are used you need to be able to cut through them as you'll end up cutting a little too deep with the saw at some point.

Folding - yes yes yes as long as it can be unfolded and remain rigid and accurate.

Fixing to saw horses - also a big yes.

Sounds interesting


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Offline Welshdog

  • Posts: 17
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 02:38 AM »
I'd be interested in an MFT/3 replacement top that was made out of one of the phenolic/paper composites like Richlite.  I think it would be flatter and have a better likelihood of staying flat over time.  It would be heavy, but I don't travel with my MFT so that is a non-issue. 

My MFT top sagged and I had to reverse it.  I still don't think it's flat.
DF 500, RO125, MFT/3, ATF55e, CT36, Syslite

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 196
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2017, 04:51 AM »
Richlite - https://www.ecosupplycenter.com/brands/richlite/

Never worked with it but I see some possibilities after viewing the samples online.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Fabrik8

  • Posts: 4
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2017, 09:30 AM »
I'd be interested in an MFT/3 replacement top that was made out of one of the phenolic/paper composites like Richlite.  I think it would be flatter and have a better likelihood of staying flat over time.  It would be heavy, but I don't travel with my MFT so that is a non-issue. 

My MFT top sagged and I had to reverse it.  I still don't think it's flat.

Richlite is pretty expensive from what I remember, something like $40 PSF for 1" sheet or whatever I saw for sale a while back.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1627
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2017, 10:08 AM »
@MaxFrenzy I assume you want opinions of those who aren't interested also? If not, just ignore mine. I like the MFT top just the way it is. It works well and I have had the same one in since I bought it several years ago. I'm not a professional carpenter or furniture maker, so I don't use my MFT everyday, but it does get consistent use and has cuts. I find the Festool top is already sufficiently rigid, even with a deep cut in it. I also don't take the MFT out of the shop so it doesn't need to be mobile.
Randy

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 799
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2017, 01:35 PM »
Another sceptic here. Not sure about the weight benefit. Suppose you make 3/4" replacement plate with 1/4" skins, add to that webbing, solid blocks around 20mm holes and edging and you'll be lucky to save 15% in weight. And if you use MDF for skins there is loss in rigidity regardless what you use for webbing. You also can't cut into it because of thin skins.
The only situation it'll make sense is if you use some other material at increased cost, or make it 1.5 - 2" and forget about weight benefit over solid 3/4" sheet. The latter will gain in rigidity, though.

Offline Jak147

  • Posts: 113
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2017, 04:04 PM »
We build large one off houses, my mat gets set up at the begining of each 2nd fix and gets used by many different trades as somewhere to stand coffee cups. I would love to have a top that was imperious to water. I've lost count how many times I've sanded raised cup rings out of the surface. And don't even get me started about plumbers and damp towels 😢

Offline MaxFrenzy

  • Posts: 7
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2017, 04:15 PM »
One idea i've seen plenty of people doing is using a blue foam as a sacrificial surface to cut into as it's cheaper than MDF. If we're brainstorming ideas of products I might want, it could be cool to purchase a 5 pack of foam board (or some other cheap-ish material)  that has MFT compatible holes drilled in it. The idea being it would be cheaper to replace just the foam top instead of the whole MDF piece. I'm not sure how you would secure it so it doesn't slide around, maybe on bench dog in two corners. A replacement MFT top is over $100. If you could sell a few foam pieces at roughly the same price I bet there would be a market for it.

Since the accuracy would still come from the MFT top under the foam, you don't need to be super precise with the foam holes, could maybe experiment with running a few sheets on your CNC at the same time to cut down runtime costs.

An idea anyway.


This actually isn't too far off from the original idea, just slightly refined. The only way to know if this is really going to address some of the concerns raised is to get some samples from the company, cut it on the machine, see how it compares vs a standard MDF top. Basic tests would be weight and deflection comparisons.  The core will be a rigid product, but absolutely fine for your track saw or any other tool to cut into if you score past the mdf or plywood top, just as people do now with foam sacrificial layers.  On the whole, I'm hoping for a novel improvement, however, just in general, I'm happy to cut anything a FOG customer would like.  Having a folding or even lightweight option may only prove useful to those in mobile environments or possibly simply from a shipping standpoint. The goal is to make something accessible to those who aren't in my immediate area (Chicago) and not having shipping completely offset savings. It seems like on the whole, people like the ~3/4" tops as it allows you to use all your existing clamps. I'll start there and see how this material compares.

On another note, I do like the idea of MFT style panels that can be pieced together. That would allow for a modular style of building of various sizes and the potential to replace certain portions of the top vs the whole thing. Of course, those panels would need to be very consistent to ensure both a smooth and rigid top upon assembly. That might be easier said than done.

Lastly, to address the question of gathering input from those who wouldn't be interested in the product...of course I'm happy to hear all ideas and suggestions. The goal is to put my production machine to work and support those looking for something a little different or custom from what is currently available.

Thanks
Matt

Offline MaxFrenzy

  • Posts: 7
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2017, 04:22 PM »
We build large one off houses, my mat gets set up at the begining of each 2nd fix and gets used by many different trades as somewhere to stand coffee cups. I would love to have a top that was imperious to water. I've lost count how many times I've sanded raised cup rings out of the surface. And don't even get me started about plumbers and damp towels 😢

The idea of Richlite has been proposed. The initial advantage seems to be waterproofing, but I'd have to read a bit more to see what else it can provide vs mdf vs a cored product like I was looking into. Also would need to check how well it can be machined. 

Offline Fabrik8

  • Posts: 4
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2017, 04:31 PM »
We build large one off houses, my mat gets set up at the begining of each 2nd fix and gets used by many different trades as somewhere to stand coffee cups. I would love to have a top that was imperious to water. I've lost count how many times I've sanded raised cup rings out of the surface. And don't even get me started about plumbers and damp towels 😢

How about moisture resistant (green MR) MDF, with a sealer applied?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 04:41 PM by Fabrik8 »

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 196
Re: Checking interest for a new style of MFT/MFS top
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2017, 08:21 PM »
We build large one off houses, my mat gets set up at the begining of each 2nd fix and gets used by many different trades as somewhere to stand coffee cups. I would love to have a top that was imperious to water. I've lost count how many times I've sanded raised cup rings out of the surface. And don't even get me started about plumbers and damp towels 😢

How about moisture resistant (green MR) MDF, with a sealer applied?

Or MDO? Takes a finish well and weather proof since its made to be used for outdoor signs.
Smooth, stable, phenolic resin impregnated, and not much more in cost than good plywood,
probably less than FinPly or EuroPly.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?