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Author Topic: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match  (Read 3055 times)

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Offline Gman70

  • Posts: 4
Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« on: March 22, 2017, 06:06 PM »
I wish my first post was under different circumstances, but I'm a new Festool owner and hoping to avoid becoming an ex-Festool owner!  I just received my new TS 55 REQ, and an additional 55" rail and connectors, so I can use two rails for longer cuts.  This is not a "straight and parallel" issue that has been discussed in depth on this forum.  My problem is that the part of the rail that guides the saw (the sticky up bit!) is slightly different thickness from rail to rail.  It's not a big difference (measured at .6300" vs .6355"), but it's enough that if I set up the cams on the saw to remove play on one rail, I still have play on the other.  If I really tighten them down to make the narrower one more acceptable, I have to push really hard to overcome the friction on the first rail, then the feel changes completely and suddenly at the transition as I ride onto the narrower one - a far from ideal situation. 

When I called Tech Services, rather than offering to replace a rail, or anything helpful at all, they just told me that no two rails are identical and if I want to do long cuts I should buy the longer rail.  Makes me question why they would charge $36 for two connectors  [unsure].  I get that it's an extruded aluminum piece, but it doesn't seem like it should be beyond Festool's capability to get two the same.  I am a contractor, but this tool is for my hobby use (i.e. it doesn't make me any money), and dropping another $300 for a longer rail just doesn't make a lot of sense, especially since I just had a very similar problem with a DeWalt, and I decided to return it and spend more money for the Festool, believing it would be better quality.  Maybe I'm not supposed to own a track saw! [crying] 

Any others had the same experience, and if so, were you able to get any resolution?  And just out of curiosity, if anyone can put a caliper on your sticky up bit, what are you seeing?

Thanks for any advice.  I've been snooping in on this site for a while now and I know there's a lot of valuable knowledge out there!


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Offline Doug S

  • Posts: 370
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 07:50 PM »
I have a 1.4m and 3m rail and they are both different, I need to adjust saw when I swap between rails, luckily don't think I will ever need to join them.

Some people keep returning rails until they get 2 the same.

The normal advice is to keep the blade side of the rails in line when you join them, set the saw to the widest rail and push the saw towards the rail slightly as you cut so it is just running off the straight side.

It has been discussed before a few times so is a known problem.

Oh and welcome to FOG!


Offline JimD

  • Posts: 321
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 08:38 PM »
I have a DeWalt with all three rails they offer and have never noticed this.  I adjusted the saw once for whichever rail I used first and have never readjusted it.  Maybe I got lucky.  I bought the little rail about a year ago, about 5 years after getting the saw and the first two rails. 

I don't know if I am looking close enough to notice 5 thousandths, however.  But if the saw bound up I would notice that.  And the cuts are straight with no sign of sloppiness. 

I would be very disappointed too if I paid the price premium for a Festool and had this issue.  I would have returned my DeWalt if I saw something like this.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3000
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 09:49 PM »
It's not a big difference (measured at .6300" vs .6355"), but it's enough that if I set up the cams on the saw to remove play on one rail, I still have play on the other. 

If I remember correctly, the Aluminum Extruders Council has published a manual/white paper and they set tolerances of +/- .010" or 015" for most of the aluminum profile dimensions. That would be well within your range of .005". I'm not saying I support them...I'm just trying to point out what the manufacturing reality is.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 12:05 PM by Cheese »

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 910
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 10:55 PM »
Return one rail if it's within 30 day return period, otherwise sell it. Then go shopping for one with digital caliper in hand.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3000
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 11:56 PM »
Return one rail if it's within 30 day return period, otherwise sell it. Then go shopping for one with digital caliper in hand.

That's probably the best advice. Normal manufacturing tolerances can always be problematical.

Offline Gman70

  • Posts: 4
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2017, 12:41 PM »
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.  The vendor (Coastal Tool in CT) has been great to work with, and has offered to send me another rail, with a delayed return on one of the original two.  Hopefully it will match up closer to one of them!

JimD, I had the long and short rail on the Dewalt, and I would never have been joining them. I liked the saw, and I could have lived with the difference had the adjustment on the cams been tool free like the Festool, but I just didn't like the idea of having to pull out a screwdriver and add an extra step each time I switched from one track to the other.  For some reason, those few seconds seemed important to me at the time, but I could have made that adjustment a few hundred times in the time I've spent trying to resolve the Festool issue - ha ha!

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3624
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 02:06 AM »
The A-whole advise is to get the Bosch rails and return the TS55 and the dodgy rails.
But it is Sunday...


Probably returning the rail makes sense, and many use long rails.

If it was not new, I would suggest a file or sander and make the thicker one like the other.
But I would send them back, or go to somewhere where you can try the rails.

There was also fellow getting a tapered cut at 45 degrees. A rail whose thickness varies would do that with a blade at 45 degrees.
However I have no idea how an extrusion can vary.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 254
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2017, 07:58 AM »
A backwards approach (in case you're within the 30 days):
get a long rail, use one of the existing ones to make shorter ones out of it, then return the existing ones.

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 336
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 07:55 PM »
I have a DeWalt with all three rails they offer and have never noticed this.  I adjusted the saw once for whichever rail I used first and have never readjusted it.  Maybe I got lucky.  I bought the little rail about a year ago, about 5 years after getting the saw and the first two rails. 

I don't know if I am looking close enough to notice 5 thousandths, however.  But if the saw bound up I would notice that.  And the cuts are straight with no sign of sloppiness. 

I would be very disappointed too if I paid the price premium for a Festool and had this issue.  I would have returned my DeWalt if I saw something like this.

I have never had this problem with my DeWalt and the two
rails I have for it. On day one I match marked my rails so
that I can always assemble them the same way. But there
is not difference in height or width of either track.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Gman70

  • Posts: 4
Re: Guide Rails' Thicknesses Don't Match
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2017, 08:20 PM »
Just to close the loop on this - I did get a replacement rail, and Rob at Coastal Tool was happy to wait until I received it before returning one of the others.  It measured almost exactly the same as one of the two I had, so I was able to keep it and return the "odd" one.  Great personal service from Coastal -  they went out of their way to solve my problem when Festool wouldn't.  Thanks again for the suggestions!