Author Topic: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions  (Read 7554 times)

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Offline JimB1

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MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« on: February 28, 2015, 10:42 PM »
So I finally pulled the trigger on the MFT/3 and TS-55 REQ combo. The MFT/3 came Thursday but I didn't get to open it up until today so here we go…

Packing:
It's a big box and pretty heavy so if you need to bring it up or down stairs be prepared for that. It's a bit awkward one person but workable if you need to do it. The table itself is completely assembled, you just need to pull it from the box and open the legs and tighten down the hand screws. One of the legs has a leveling foot that you can use to stop any rocking if the table is on an uneven surface.

Stability:
Pretty good, it's not rock stable but decent. Might get the stabilizer bars to see if they firm it up any more but it's not bad as it is. I think I can stand by my assertion from checking them out in dealer demos and such that it's not stable enough to hand plane on but I probably would hand saw dovetails on it without any issue.

Assembly:
The rest of the kit goes together pretty easily. Festool documentation as usual is pretty sparse. Youtube has lots of videos on setup though so no problem. Got everything together and squared up the gauge pretty simply following this video:


I may still do a little adjusting but it seems like the protractor, after a slight bit of adjustment, is quite well squared and testing cuts and flipping them around shows that the cut is even top to bottom so I think we are pretty good to go.

Accessories:
Stop flag is nice, but for pieces narrower then the track width there's not really any way to measure for repeat cuts other then marking the piece and lining it up to the track. Track risers work well but when the piece you are cutting is small, you have to make sure to not put any weight on the track so it doesn't bow before you lock the risers. Hose deflector doesn't work too well but I think that is because of the angle of the plug it cord on the TS-55 REQ. It sort of sticks out sideways so the power cord wants to hang to the left of the rail where the hose wants to be on the right of the rail. Might need to velcro them together at a few points so they stay over the deflector. The fence clamp works well and really tightens up the fence. My only beef is that the locking bar is a pain because it is too far forward when it is open so I can't slide the fence with it attached, I need to move the fence clamp into place and lock it down then move the fence to the fence clamp. I may need to see if I can unscrew the locking bar and move it a little so it's not in the way.

Usage:
Spent the afternoon playing around cutting up 1/4" ply to make up inserts for a systainer to hold my abrasive collection which is growing extensively ;) I ordered a Systainer IV that will probably get here next week sometime but I am using the TS-55 systainer to get the measurements right for the inserts. My table saw is in a small one car garage with out a lot of room around it so when I need to use it, it requires me clear some room and to pull it away from the wall. I suspect that I will be using the table saw a lot less now. Additionally using the MFT with the OF1010 is probably going to cut down on my router table use too which has similar issues with space in the garage. I do need to get the clamping elements for sanding though, I can tell that already. For sander use I don't find it to be much different then using my regular bench but it does have a nice setup for clamping so I think as an assembly table it is going to work nicely as well.

Bottom line:
I like the table a lot. Overall I am very happy with the purchase. The only downside is that it opens up a whole new set of expensive Festool accessories that I need to get :(

I was on the fence for a year on it, it is a lot of money for what seems like something that could be duplicated, maybe improved on for less money on my own but the fact is, out of the box it is very useful and the accessories will all work without any hassle. As has been mentioned on other threads, the MFT/3, or something like it, is really a core piece of the Festool system. You really get a better idea of how much can be done with the tracks and how much thought goes into the other tools when you start plugging them together in the table. While I understand completely that the table is expensive, and as a hobbiest/DIY guy it was tough to justify that outlay of cash. It really does make so many operations so much easier and smoother though that I think in a very short time I am going to wonder why I waited so long on it.

And that is my Day One thoughts and impressions of the MFT/3.
-Jim
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 10:45 PM by JimB1 »
TS55 REQ, MFT/3, OF 1010, RO 150, ETS 150/3, RTS-400, rectangle sanding block, Pocket StickFix Sanding Block and a CT Midi...

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Offline Thistleman

  • Posts: 87
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2015, 06:22 AM »
JimB1

My initial experiences with MFT were disappointing, stability was not what I had expected. However adding the support braces makes a big difference and you learn to adapt to the slight movement.

I would not be without mine now and recently purchased a second one
Festool, Mafell and Felder

Offline smartcarpie

  • Posts: 62
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2015, 06:28 AM »
JimB1-

Glad you like your table. They're amazingly useful. F you need to carry it my favorite way is to get it on edge, hoist it up and slide my arm thru the lower horizontal members. Get them tight to your shoulder and then you can grab the forward locking knob with the same arm.

Stable, comfortable, and you have a free hand for something else like opening a door.

Offline grbmds

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2015, 07:00 AM »
As another already said the stabilizers will stop quite a bit of movement. I don't find that movement is really even noticeable once they are on, but I don't use mine to plane or do any hand sawing; only with the TS55, routers, clamps for gluing and the Domino.

If you are going to move it out from the wall and then back again after use, you may want to consider building a base of some sort that has wheels or retractable castors; possible with drawers and pull out shelves for storage. That is my intent when I get free time in the near future. It seems to me to assist with moving the table around, stability of the table, and, with storage underneath, frees up space now used for other things (like other Festools with Systainers).

It is a very useful table for sawing, routing, Dominoing, sanding, and assembly.
Randy

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2015, 09:57 AM »
The thing about the MFT is that once you start using it you find lots of new uses and advantages.   Its the only tool I use every time I'm in the shop.

I do a lot of curved work and the matrix of holes and the clamps making a uniquely flexible system that can securely clamp just about anything in any orientation.

I buy veneer that comes in 12 foot long sheets.  I set up two MFTs with a plywood spacer between them, use the long rail or join some short rails, and cut the veneer perfectly with the TS55.  In the old days I had to unroll a yard or so of veneer, hand cut the pieces large, try like heck to get the pieces straight and square, then run the pieces on a shooting board to make joinable edges.  The mfts save me hours on this process, paid for themselves very quickly.

You are right, its not a good platform for hand planing.  Won't replace a traditional bench.

Offline ScotF

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2015, 02:18 PM »
I use my MFT 3 more than any other Festool too. It is used on every project.

Offline JimB1

  • Posts: 163
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2015, 07:00 AM »
So just some additional thoughts after the first week of using it.

For smaller parts that are under the rail, I found that marking them and then lining the marking up to the kerf cut in the MFT table and dropping the rail on them works well to get the cut dead on most of the time. It's easier to see and position the piece then if you put the rail down and try to push the piece to the rail guide.

Positioning the depth stop on the ts55 to the bottom of the kerf cut on the table means you won't chew any deeper into the table top and you don't really need to measure for the depth stop. Put a piece the right thickness under the rail, lock the rail then remove the piece if it's in the way, lock the rail back down, put the ts55 on the track an drop the blade to the kerf cut and move the depth set arm up to stop the cutting depth. When you put the piece back under the rail, you will get a perfect cut through the piece to the bottom of the existing kerf cut on the table top. No measuring and no fuss.

It's actually easier and safer to cut one off small pieces with the MFT then it is with the tablesaw. No jigs or improvised slides or clamping methods needed and clear view of the work and blade at all times.

Really happy with the table, it just works as advertised and simplifies so many operations that it really is a game changing tool for me. I find myself rethinking the strategy on a lot of things on the project list just because of the new capabilities it is bringing to my shop.

A quick note on stability, I think it is fine as it is really. For use with the track and power tools or sanding, the folks that said you just get used to it seem to be right. Rolls Royce has this thing about putting out power numbers of their car engines, they just say "it has more then enough power to do the job" and leave it at that. The MFT is the same, it has more then enough stability to do the job. Old school hand tool woodworking goes on my regular bench. Right tool for the job...

Just wanted to post an update after using it a bit. Still really enjoying the table and finding new and cool things to do with it.
-Jim
TS55 REQ, MFT/3, OF 1010, RO 150, ETS 150/3, RTS-400, rectangle sanding block, Pocket StickFix Sanding Block and a CT Midi...

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2015, 07:20 AM »
Jim, and any one else who might have missed a little tip or trick in all the stuff posted here, if you are cutting 3/4 inch thick material using the TS-55 on the track, if you use the fast fix lever to lower the blade to the first position on the new version of the saw (the only position on the older model) then slide your depth stop on the saw to that location you will get the correct consistent depth of cut for that material. 

Peter

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2015, 08:39 AM »
Jim,  whereas you are enjoying your new MFT and have chosen the route that includes cutting into the table (some won't), here is a screen shot showing two things:

1.  Screwing down a block will give you a nice place to hook a tape or line up a cut.  It also helps a little bit with dust extraction at the end of the cut.

2.  This is what happens if you slide your rear fence to far under the rail.  Don't do it!  It won't hurt your blade but it will make you perturbed or worse. Yes, that is my fence before I trimmed it all the way off.


Offline JimB1

  • Posts: 163
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 05:35 PM »
Thanks for the ideas and heads up Peter... I saw a few videos where people were putting the rear fence under the rail but that was my concern, that I would screw up and hit the fence. :)
-Jim
TS55 REQ, MFT/3, OF 1010, RO 150, ETS 150/3, RTS-400, rectangle sanding block, Pocket StickFix Sanding Block and a CT Midi...

Offline waho6o9

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2015, 12:54 AM »
Congrats on your purchase!

I lagged the MFT to the wall and it's rock solid.


Offline JimB1

  • Posts: 163
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2015, 09:24 PM »
hmmm, that's not a bad idea Waho6o9. A couple of thread inserts and a couple of knobs and you might have a quick release to keep it mobile when needed… my basement shop is only 8' x 8' so in the summer I do a lot in my garage or driveway so portable is a big part of the equation for me. In the basement it pretty much has a home location but I might still need to move it a few feet either way to make clearance for work…
Something to think about…
Thanks
-Jim
TS55 REQ, MFT/3, OF 1010, RO 150, ETS 150/3, RTS-400, rectangle sanding block, Pocket StickFix Sanding Block and a CT Midi...

Offline TequilaTony

  • Posts: 13
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 04:49 PM »
I jumped into the Festool world this weekend after much research. My first purchase was a TS55, MFT/3, LR32 Rail, a couple rail connectors, and 2 quick clamps.  I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the system so far.

One thing I noticed was that the preset stops on my MFT/3 were not set correctly at the factory. Perhaps someone had a rough evening and wasn't paying attention. My forward stop was out by at least 1/4 inch if not more. I purchased some quas dogs and referenced the drop fence with calipers to correctly get the drop track to be perfectly perpendicular to the table's holes.

My next purchase will be the CT with a Domino 500. I'm using a shopvac with DustDeputy until then.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 05:10 PM »
Tony,

Welcome to the FOG!  Let us know if we can be of assistance.

Peter

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1789
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2015, 06:04 PM »
I jumped into the Festool world this weekend after much research. My first purchase was a TS55, MFT/3, LR32 Rail, a couple rail connectors, and 2 quick clamps.  I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the system so far.

One thing I noticed was that the preset stops on my MFT/3 were not set correctly at the factory. Perhaps someone had a rough evening and wasn't paying attention. My forward stop was out by at least 1/4 inch if not more. I purchased some quas dogs and referenced the drop fence with calipers to correctly get the drop track to be perfectly perpendicular to the table's holes.

My next purchase will be the CT with a Domino 500. I'm using a shopvac with DustDeputy until then.

There are many videos on YouTube which show methods of squaring the fence to the guide rail or, if you prefer, since you already have ordered some dogs, you don't need to use the fence. There are many videos which also show how to both square up the guide rail and and fence using dogs and how to just dump the fence and only use dogs. Peter Halle has a good one on squaring the fence to the guide rail.

The stops can be set in any matching position that you feel will work for you.
Randy

Offline JimB1

  • Posts: 163
Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2015, 08:20 AM »
Ok, a few weeks in on the MFT/3 and I have gotten to use it on a couple of projects now. In general I really like it but there are a couple of caveats to that.
1. The protractor doesn't really tighten down enough. It wobbles a bit so you can push it out of square with the piece you are working on. Even with the stop on the other end. I have started clamping the end closest to the track so that it can't move. I need to get some dogs and drop them into the holes behind the rail so it can't push out.
2. The front track holder is sloppy. There is a lot of play so that also contributes to throwing it out of square. I have seen a little part around that looks like a plastic rectangle that is supposed to take some of the slop out. Might need to look into that.
3. I need to build a jig or something to help line up my OF1010 on the track. I really like using the router on the table but it's a pain trying to center the piece to the bit.

Still really liking it, if I can just get the squareness issues straightened out I will be good to go. I can work around the issues but it's a little frustrating to be so close to what I think it should be and just not quite getting there.

-Jim

TS55 REQ, MFT/3, OF 1010, RO 150, ETS 150/3, RTS-400, rectangle sanding block, Pocket StickFix Sanding Block and a CT Midi...

Offline moody

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Re: MFT/3 Day One Thoughts and impressions
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2015, 09:08 AM »
If you haven't seen Paul Marcel's MFT review I would highly recommend it!





« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 09:14 AM by moody »