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Author Topic: My TS55 doesn't cut square!  (Read 9078 times)

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Offline Toller

  • Posts: 211
My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« on: March 20, 2008, 10:19 PM »
I bought a used TS55 a few months back, but didn't have an opportunity to use it seriously until today.

I have a 14" wide panel that I have to crosscut to size.  It is too wide for my miter saw and too long for my table saw.
I tried just laying the guide rail down on it, but it moved as I was cutting; it needed to be clamped.

There is no obvious way to clamp it without buying their $32 clamp, so I put another 14" panel down next to the panel to be cut and put the guide rail across both; got it square to the panel I need to cut, and clamped it to the second panel.  Made my cut and found the cut wasn't square; it was off by about 1/20" over 24", or about 0.15 degrees.  Not much, but enough to be obvious.

I assumed my set up was careless, so I tried to do better.  Exact same result. 
Did it again, this time checking to make sure the guide rail was still square to the board after making the cut; it was, but the cut was off by the same 0.15 degrees.

Did it twice more, each time with the exact same result.  Well, at least it is repeatable.
All I can figure is that the back of the guide rail isn't square to the track, but it isn't damaged and I assume their quality control is better than that.
I tried to measure the width of the guide rail, but between the plastic strip and the rounded extrusion I really couldn't measure it to that precision.

Any insight into what is going on?  I can probably compensate by having the guide rail off square by a hair, but that be the right solution.


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Offline Steve Jones

  • Posts: 405
  • Austin, TX US
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 10:48 PM »
My first guess would be that either the rail or the piece you were cutting is bowed slightly, stand the rail on edge on top of the panel to check if the panel is flat (edge of rail should contact panel over the whole length) then lift one edge of the rail and sight down it to check the rail for straight. (It's unlikely to be bowed sideways).

also check the foam strips, they may be due for replacing or cleaning, they do a great job of gripping plywood if in good condition - you didn't mention the material but anything with a very smooth surface does not work as well.

to give you an idea of how well the rails should work, I usually demonstrate "the system" by plonking down a rail on plywood and inviting the victim to see how tough it is to slide it sideways, it holds remarkably well, certainly well enough that I never bother clamping when cutting on my flat cutting table, sometimes on site on a temporary setup I have needed the clamps, but that's due to the sheet being curved and not fully supported.

Steve Jones

AdapTableTool, Inc.
adaptabletool@gmail.com

Offline SRSemenza

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 8414
  • Finger Lakes Region, NY State , USA
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2008, 12:09 AM »
Hi,

   If you think the back of the guide rail is possibly out of parallel to the rib that the saw rides on, try squaring to the rib or splinter guard as a test.   Also this is probably a dumb question but is your square , or squaring device  square?


Seth

Offline Per Swenson

  • Posts: 871
  • So far deep in rural nj, there are no Neighbors
    • Swenson&Swenson
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2008, 02:22 AM »
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


There outta be a law banning sesquipedalianism on

internet forums.

www.swensonz.com

Offline jo041326

  • Posts: 76
  • Czech republic
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2008, 04:30 AM »
Hi,
bought TS55 and 32$ for two clamps seems too much?
Josef

Offline Toller

  • Posts: 211
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2008, 10:15 AM »
My first guess would be that either the rail or the piece you were cutting is bowed slightly, stand the rail on edge on top of the panel to check if the panel is flat (edge of rail should contact panel over the whole length) then lift one edge of the rail and sight down it to check the rail for straight. (It's unlikely to be bowed sideways).

also check the foam strips, they may be due for replacing or cleaning, they do a great job of gripping plywood if in good condition - you didn't mention the material but anything with a very smooth surface does not work as well.

I measured the panel and it is slightly bowed out.  Measuring the squareness of the end, and measuring the squareness of the end puts the square at a different point on the bow, so they don't match.

Thanks, I don't think I would have picked that up on my own.

So, how does one clean the foam strips?

Offline Steve Jones

  • Posts: 405
  • Austin, TX US
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2008, 12:49 PM »

So, how does one clean the foam strips?

Depends whats stuck to them, if just dust vac off (with the nozzle tilted so you don't suck off the strip) or brush off using the wife's toothbrush (don't use your own, the taste next day is awefull, especially with exotic hardwood dust)
Steve Jones

AdapTableTool, Inc.
adaptabletool@gmail.com

Offline Toller

  • Posts: 211
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 01:55 PM »
Hi,
bought TS55 and 32$ for two clamps seems too much?
Josef

Well, I said it was a used TS55...
And yeah, $32 for a lousy clamp is too much.  Maybe for the quickclamp, but the local Woodcraft doesn't carry that one.

I found that a spring clamp on the far end is adequate.  When I get near the end I can take the spring clamp off and simply push down on the near end.  I did 8 like that and it held true.

Offline Steveo48

  • Posts: 305
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 07:36 PM »
Hi,
bought TS55 and 32$ for two clamps seems too much?
Josef

Well, I said it was a used TS55...
And yeah, $32 for a lousy clamp is too much.  Maybe for the quickclamp, but the local Woodcraft doesn't carry that one.

I found that a spring clamp on the far end is adequate.  When I get near the end I can take the spring clamp off and simply push down on the near end.  I did 8 like that and it held true.

Welcome to the world of Festools overpriced cheezey accessories!  ;D

I love the power tools, but sheeeez, the price for those clamps and other accessories.  I get a kick over all the chest pounding about all the expensive German Engineering going into these accessories, then we have thread after thread about having to fix this and how do you square that.

Steve
Official Blog Troll  8)

Offline SRSemenza

  • Global Moderator
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  • Posts: 8414
  • Finger Lakes Region, NY State , USA
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2008, 07:44 PM »
Hi,

    I don't know about the engineering in them but as far as price goes the clamps are relatively in line price wise with other quality clamps.   Clamps always seem expensive to me no matter the brand.
      In any case toller you may find that you don't even need that spring clamp  now that you've found the solution.     I have gotten so that I hardly ever clamp the rail anymore.     Glad you are getting square cuts now 8)



Seth

Offline Hoover

  • Posts: 127
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2008, 09:04 PM »
Hi,
bought TS55 and 32$ for two clamps seems too much?
Josef

Well, I said it was a used TS55...
And yeah, $32 for a lousy clamp is too much.  Maybe for the quickclamp, but the local Woodcraft doesn't carry that one.

I found that a spring clamp on the far end is adequate.  When I get near the end I can take the spring clamp off and simply push down on the near end.  I did 8 like that and it held true.

You can use those little one hand quick clamps and clamp them on the rail that has the open slot.  You do not need very much pressure to keep them from moving and in that location, it will not interfere with the saw.

If you do get the clamps, get the quick ones, they are twice the money but definitely worth it for the speed and the screws would be much more difficult to use under your work piece.  I agree that are overpriced vs some of the similar clamps you see out there but they work with the guide rails so they had me.  Anyone know other brands that fit in the slots?

Offline Steveo48

  • Posts: 305
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2008, 08:02 AM »
Hi,

    I don't know about the engineering in them but as far as price goes the clamps are relatively in line price wise with other quality clamps.   Clamps always seem expensive to me no matter the brand.   .....


Seth

Maybe you arn't looking for in the right places for lower priced clamps.  Bessy Mightymini is available at Lowes for $4.98, Bessy 6" bar clamp is under $10.00, various of hand spring clamps from 4 to 8 bucks.  Cast Iron jaws, acme screw thread, pads on the end.

Festool Clamps are $32.00 a pair.

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2008, 03:43 PM »
Maybe you arn't looking for in the right places for lower priced clamps.  Bessy Mightymini is available at Lowes for $4.98, Bessy 6" bar clamp is under $10.00, various of hand spring clamps from 4 to 8 bucks.  Cast Iron jaws, acme screw thread, pads on the end.

Festool Clamps are $32.00 a pair.

Steve,

Do any of those Bessey clamps fit into the channels of the Festool Guide Rails?  The channels of the side rails of the MFT?

Dave R,
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2560
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2008, 11:48 PM »
Do any of those Bessey clamps fit into the channels of the Festool Guide Rails?  The channels of the side rails of the MFT?

Nope, those little Besseys won't fit any of those places.

While many seem to prefer the quick clamp over the cheaper Festool clamp, I have no problem with the FSZ clamps.  I do wish the FSZ 120 were just a tad longer, but a few sets of the FSZ 120 and FSZ 300 clamps put a lot more clamps at your disposal than getting the quick clamps.  I like my quick clamps too, but at the additional price I would sooner see one start with the FSZ clamps.
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline Dovetail65

  • Posts: 4596
    • Rose Farm Floor Medallions and Inlays
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2008, 12:10 AM »
Do any of those Bessey clamps fit into the channels of the Festool Guide Rails?  The channels of the side rails of the MFT?

Nope, those little Besseys won't fit any of those places.

While many seem to prefer the quick clamp over the cheaper Festool clamp, I have no problem with the FSZ clamps.  I do wish the FSZ 120 were just a tad longer, but a few sets of the FSZ 120 and FSZ 300 clamps put a lot more clamps at your disposal than getting the quick clamps.  I like my quick clamps too, but at the additional price I would sooner see one start with the FSZ clamps.

I purchased these and am going to grind them to fit. 4 Bessy for 30.00! They were 34.00 then 32.00 now 30.00, an unbelievable deal even if you do not grind them to work in the rails.

nickao


clamps
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline John Langevin

  • Posts: 245
  • Springfield, MA
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2008, 11:23 AM »
Will the clamp heads fit through the holes in the MFT top?
Practicing Mediocrity Never Begets Perfection

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2560
Re: My TS55 doesn't cut square!
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2008, 04:45 PM »
Will the clamp heads fit through the holes in the MFT top?

If you mean those little Besseys, the answer is again NO.  Without grinding any material off these clamps, the head will fit into the holes of my new tables (slightly larger holes than my older table), but you could not hope to grind enough off the head to get these clamps to turn upright once inserted.  Furthermore, the length of the clamp is so short (with either size of the little Besseys) it prevents one from getting the clamp inserted -- the length issue can be illustrated with the shorter FSZ 120 clamps; if the handle is not backed off enough, it interferres with inserting the clamp into the hole -- back off enough and it goes easily.
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)