Author Topic: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?  (Read 4350 times)

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Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 357
What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« on: July 22, 2018, 05:08 PM »
I needed to re-square my MFT after flipping the table top. I decided to make a few MFT squares and see how well they would work.  I purchased a quarter sheet of 18mm MDF from my local home center for $15.  Then I used my trusty Parf dogs in the standard MFT holes to cut one straight edge and then a 90 degree corner.  A quick rearrangement of the dogs gave me the 45 degree orientation and voila, I had an MFT square of unknown squareness.

To check squareness I quickly made a second one and set the two side by side on the MFT table and checked every possible combination of 90 degree pairs looking for a gap somewhere with a bright light and a feeler gauge.  To my surprise, I couldn't get a 0.0015" feeler gauge in between them anywhere, and in any combination.

This is too simple to have actually worked.  What am I missing?  I realize that they're just MDF, but if I damage an edge, I can recut it square in about 2 minutes.  I can still cut two more out of that quarter sheet. Or I could laminate 2 pieces and make a tall one.




Any errors in squareness would appear magnified by 2x. Can't see any!


« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 08:52 PM by Dick Mahany »

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 185
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2018, 05:12 PM »
I did the exact same thing, but using a tso guide rail square to make mine

Offline mattdh

  • Posts: 148
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2018, 05:22 PM »
dick- i figured out whats wrong with your $4 square. you still need to flush $96 down the toilet.   ;D

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 928
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2018, 05:30 PM »
dick- i figured out whats wrong with your $4 square. you still need to flush $96 down the toilet.   ;D
This nails it.

 ;D

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2496
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2018, 05:52 PM »
Paint it red and put a price on it!

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3612
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 05:53 PM »
My objection to 18mm, 19mm or 3/4" squares is that when the user has to square the rail to the fence for material with greater thickness than the square being used, one has to lower the rail, square up, then raise the rail, possibly inducing a minute error in squareness.  I prefer using the admittedly over-expensive Woodpeckers MFT square which is 1-1/8" high.  I've never yet needed to cut material over that height.  This gives me that ability to square the rail at the exact height I'll be cutting. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 357
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2018, 06:17 PM »
My objection to 18mm, 19mm or 3/4" squares is that when the user has to square the rail to the fence for material with greater thickness than the square being used, one has to lower the rail, square up, then raise the rail, possibly inducing a minute error in squareness.  I prefer using the admittedly over-expensive Woodpeckers MFT square which is 1-1/8" high.  I've never yet needed to cut material over that height.  This gives me that ability to square the rail at the exact height I'll be cutting.

I share that concern.  I adopted the 8020 guide rail height track idea from @Sean KS and @Hal M here on the FOG, and I believe that has eliminated the squareness error due to rail height change.  Just to try it out, I think I will laminate two pieces of MDF for a total height of ~36mm on the square.  I'll have to light-weight it considerably, but I have the technology  [smile].

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2496
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2018, 08:18 PM »
If you are worried about height, glue two together.  The squareness is still there and height is an easy challenge to solve.  You could even glue them up and then cut them to triangles...


Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 357
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2018, 09:05 PM »
I did the exact same thing, but using a tso guide rail square to make mine

Great alternative.  I like seeing new ways to solve problems and improve accuracy.  The rail square has the advantage of being able to use it on so many cuts whereas the MFT square that I made is pretty much a one trick pony.

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1418
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2018, 04:09 AM »
Nothing wrong with it. I think woodworkers, particularly hobbyists, fetishize expensive squares.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 08:06 AM by Svar »

Offline Master Carpenter

  • Posts: 90
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2018, 07:17 AM »
Nice work !!! A $4 solution is un-Foglike but that square looks perfect.

I've always just used the framing square I own anyway, I've never seen the point of a special MFT square. I might make one like yours out of a scrap piece of MDF and see if it fits my workflow.
Ts 55, Ts 75, of 1010, lr 32, mft, mfs 700, RO 150 x2 + paper asort, RO 90 + paper asort, pro 5, df 500 + dom asort, hl 850 e, ti 15, t18, cxs, centrotec set, ct48, ct sys, vac sys, 32;55x2;118 tracks, a stack of sys and an og festool first aid kit. Kapex, planex, carvex, conturo.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2018, 07:24 AM »
Try this one...



Peter

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 185
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2018, 08:24 AM »
I did the exact same thing, but using a tso guide rail square to make mine

Great alternative.  I like seeing new ways to solve problems and improve accuracy.  The rail square has the advantage of being able to use it on so many cuts whereas the MFT square that I made is pretty much a one trick pony.

I think you maybe misunderstood. I made a 18mm MDF square, using the TSO to cut it. I cut a perfect square 4 or 5 times, then split in in half diagonally to create two MFT squares. Then I drilled it out and used two bolts and wing nuts to hang it off the aluminum profile of one of my MFT's.

Offline clark_fork

  • Posts: 269
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2018, 10:17 AM »
We can comment all day about squares but the problem is more fundamental and that is the MFT/3 drop down rail wanders. We all consciously or unconsciously adopt... " square twice and cut once." and go on the search for a squaring solution. ($$$) Simple question... Is the installation of the modified TSO GRS-16 solving rail wander? Since, with my Parf Guide System, I have other custom MFT's and the dog clips, I find myself using my MFT/3 less often because of the unreliablity of the drop down rail. I have installed that small plastic add-on to the rail that centers the front pin and that helps but I still have rail wander. What are other solutions to the fundamental problem other than this constant search for the right square?
Clark Fork

"A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."  Stephen Wright

"straight, smooth and square" Mr. Russell, first day high school shop class-1954

" What's the good of it?" My Sainted Grandmother

"You can't be too rich, too thin or have too many clamps." After my introduction to pocket joinery and now the MFT work process

"Don't make something unless it is both made necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful,
don't hesitate to make it beautiful." -- Shaker dictum

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4819
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2018, 10:40 AM »
We can comment all day about squares but the problem is more fundamental and that is the MFT/3 drop down rail wanders.

I find myself using my MFT/3 less often because of the unreliablity of the drop down rail.

That's the reason I never bought into the idea of using an MFT as an accurate cutting station. I'd use it as a clamping, work holding, assembly station instead.

For short pieces I use a Kapex, for long pieces I use a TS, TSC or a HKC on a rail.  [smile]

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1418
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2018, 12:32 PM »
We can comment all day about squares but the problem is more fundamental and that is the MFT/3 drop down rail wanders. What are other solutions to the fundamental problem other than this constant search for the right square?
This:
http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/new-and-improved-guide-rail-support-unit-rsu2/msg534256/#msg534256

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3468
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2018, 01:34 PM »
We can comment all day about squares but the problem is more fundamental and that is the MFT/3 drop down rail wanders. We all consciously or unconsciously adopt... " square twice and cut once." and go on the search for a squaring solution. ($$$) Simple question... Is the installation of the modified TSO GRS-16 solving rail wander? Since, with my Parf Guide System, I have other custom MFT's and the dog clips, I find myself using my MFT/3 less often because of the unreliablity of the drop down rail. I have installed that small plastic add-on to the rail that centers the front pin and that helps but I still have rail wander. What are other solutions to the fundamental problem other than this constant search for the right square?

It should since it go wherever the rail goes.

If your concern is the slack fit of the pin in the rail slot (front rail support) then maybe the rail isn’t set up right. The rail should be sprung to the left so it fits snugly against the left side of the pin. (It can’t fit tight against both sides of the pin at the same time or it will be too tight and/or wear out the rail slot)

When I bought my first MFT 15 years ago I was surprised that the rail was installed crookedly on the hinged riser. Before proceeding further I loosened the bolts and made it parallel to the hardware. Then I slid the front riser into place against the stop in the t-slot and lowered to rail only to find it could not meet the pin.

Probably spent at least 2 hours understanding and undoing my mistakes.

Now that I understand the subtlety brilliant way Festool (rather an unknown mechanical engineer) managed 20 years ago to maximize the utility of some very simple hardware I am able to get very accurate results using the MFT for cutting.

It is a pain to have to re-square every time the height of the work changes significantly but that doen’t happen all that often. And my very old homemade square (similar to the square above) makes it pretty quick. I still check the actual cut. Even when the setup seems perfect some unknown factor can make the result a little off (depends on how picky you are) and a little shimming of the fence makes it right.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 510
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2018, 09:17 PM »
I would add a few recess magnets to hold both squares together for thicker boards. Or... I'll take Square #2  [tongue]
Mario
Start my Festool adventure buying the DF 500 & CT-26
Following by the TS-55 with FS-1400 LR32 & ETC EC 125
Pulled the trigger on the OF 1400 and the LR32 system
Need a longer rail FS-1900 & RO 90
and finally the KS-120

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 357
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2018, 09:48 PM »
I would add a few recess magnets to hold both squares together for thicker boards. Or... I'll take Square #2  [tongue]
@Mario Turcot, GREAT idea!  Magnets would allow the squares to be easily separated or combined when the extra thickness is needed.  I just realized that I have a long lost assortment of rare earth magnets from Lee Valley that I can finally put to use. (Just hope I get the polarizations correct when I epoxy them into the squares  [embarassed])  Thanks for the idea!
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 09:58 PM by Dick Mahany »

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4819
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2018, 10:03 PM »
We can comment all day about squares but the problem is more fundamental and that is the MFT/3 drop down rail wanders.
I find myself using my MFT/3 less often because of the unreliablity of the drop down rail. I have installed that small plastic add-on to the rail that centers the front pin and that helps but I still have rail wander.

It is a pain to have to re-square every time the height of the work changes significantly but that doen’t happen all that often.
Even when the setup seems perfect some unknown factor can make the result a little off (depends on how picky you are) and a little shimming of the fence makes it right.

So for the sake of discussion, if you owned any brand chop/mitre/slider saw and every time you changed the material thickness, you’d also have to check the squareness of the chop/mitre/slider saw would that be an aggravation or just business as usual?

Seems to me that there are a lot easier ways to cut varying thicknesses of materials accurately than on a MFT.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3468
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2018, 12:05 AM »
@ Cheese, you’re right, stock thickness isn’t an issue as long as it’s within the maximum capacity of a miter saw. If dust collection isn’t an issue that’s an efficient way to work. But even a Kapex makes more dust than is allowable in some circumstances. And, if the work is more than 12” deep it’s back to the MFT.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3468
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2018, 12:08 AM »
Let us know how the magnet alignment goes. It may be trickier than you expect.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 510
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2018, 12:46 AM »
Let us know how the magnet alignment goes. It may be trickier than you expect.

Sandwich the two squares together, perfectly aligned. Make a tiny hole through, then use a brad point bit to make the recess. By the way you don't need two magnets. One magnet on one side and a flat washer on the other will do (no polarity mistake). Using two rare earth magnets make it stronger but probably not required. If your flat washer end up being recessed (3/16) and the magnet protrude just to kiss it, alignment should be easy.

P.S. Make sure to carve your name on both squares. You never know when a WW walk into your shop with evil intentions  [scared]
Mario
Start my Festool adventure buying the DF 500 & CT-26
Following by the TS-55 with FS-1400 LR32 & ETC EC 125
Pulled the trigger on the OF 1400 and the LR32 system
Need a longer rail FS-1900 & RO 90
and finally the KS-120

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3468
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2018, 10:08 AM »
Laminating low squares, first I’d make the lamination permanent. There is no problem having a square that is thicker than you need whereas a too thin square is useless (without accurate riser blocks like the 1-2-3s).

If I did want to take a thick square apart I’d just join the pieces with 3 dowels and a couple screws.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4819
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2018, 11:49 AM »
Let us know how the magnet alignment goes. It may be trickier than you expect.

Hey Mario, I think Michael is referring to perfectly aligning the 2 squares consistently without a positive stop will be difficult to do. Just throw in a couple of dowels/dowel pins along with the magnets and you're golden. [big grin]

I should add...if this was my project, I'd first fasten the 2 square blanks together with dowels and fasteners and then cut the blanks to the proper size and form. That eliminates any positional/location issues for aligning the squares. The fastener holes could then be turned into counterbores to house the magnets if that's the road you want to take.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:14 PM by Cheese »

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 510
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2018, 12:31 PM »
Aaaaaah gotcha  [big grin] dowels is a nifty idea and non expensive  [wink] Approved!
Mario
Start my Festool adventure buying the DF 500 & CT-26
Following by the TS-55 with FS-1400 LR32 & ETC EC 125
Pulled the trigger on the OF 1400 and the LR32 system
Need a longer rail FS-1900 & RO 90
and finally the KS-120

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 357
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2018, 01:23 PM »
I like the dowel idea, but I think I may use dominos since I can get a perfectly square through plunge cut  [smile]
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 01:26 PM by Dick Mahany »

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3612
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2018, 02:46 PM »
Let us know how the magnet alignment goes. It may be trickier than you expect.

Hey Mario, I think Michael is referring to perfectly aligning the 2 squares consistently without a positive stop will be difficult to do. Just throw in a couple of dowels/dowel pins along with the magnets and you're golden. [big grin]

I should add...if this was my project, I'd first fasten the 2 square blanks together with dowels and fasteners and then cut the blanks to the proper size and form. That eliminates any positional/location issues for aligning the squares. The fastener holes could then be turned into counterbores to house the magnets if that's the road you want to take.

If I were going to make my own, I'd glue two blanks of 18mm or 19mm Baltic birch plywood together before cutting out the square, just so both blank pieces would always be in register.  No fooling around with dowels, dominoes and/or magnets.  No muss, no fuss.  Or as they say, "Guaranteed not to rust, bust, or fly apart at the seams."   [smile]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 510
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2018, 02:48 PM »
No muss, no fuss.  Or as they say, "Guaranteed not to rust, bust, or fly apart at the seams."   [smile]

What about fire?   [tongue]
Mario
Start my Festool adventure buying the DF 500 & CT-26
Following by the TS-55 with FS-1400 LR32 & ETC EC 125
Pulled the trigger on the OF 1400 and the LR32 system
Need a longer rail FS-1900 & RO 90
and finally the KS-120

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3612
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2018, 02:52 PM »
No muss, no fuss.  Or as they say, "Guaranteed not to rust, bust, or fly apart at the seams."   [smile]

What about fire?   [tongue]

Bring some marshmallows and hot dogs!!!   [scared] 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 510
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2018, 02:52 PM »
ahahahhaha you killed meh
Mario
Start my Festool adventure buying the DF 500 & CT-26
Following by the TS-55 with FS-1400 LR32 & ETC EC 125
Pulled the trigger on the OF 1400 and the LR32 system
Need a longer rail FS-1900 & RO 90
and finally the KS-120

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline jroth33139

  • Posts: 16
Re: What Is Wrong with my $4 MFT Square ?
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2018, 07:35 AM »
We can comment all day about squares but the problem is more fundamental and that is the MFT/3 drop down rail wanders. We all consciously or unconsciously adopt... " square twice and cut once." and go on the search for a squaring solution. ($$$) Simple question... Is the installation of the modified TSO GRS-16 solving rail wander? Since, with my Parf Guide System, I have other custom MFT's and the dog clips, I find myself using my MFT/3 less often because of the unreliablity of the drop down rail. I have installed that small plastic add-on to the rail that centers the front pin and that helps but I still have rail wander. What are other solutions to the fundamental problem other than this constant search for the right square?

+1 on the TSO rail clips and dogs. I use the medium sized dogs for 3/4. Foolproof and never not square. It has changed my method of work.