Review of Festool Clamping Elements TS Product No. 488030
Here is what you get when you buy the Clamping Elements 2 pack. Two clamps, two bench dogs and four large knobs. The official description is not very much for this product.
?For safe and exact fixing of work piece (sawing, sanding, routing, drilling etc.)?
I bought these clamps at the same time I purchased the MFT/3. It look like the clamping element were an integral part of the MTF/3. After all you had all these holes in the table and the only thing that used the holes were these Clamping Elements and the Festool screw/quick clamps.
First though I had about these clamps, besides the high dollar price, is that the heck are the knobs for. True that are used from the underside of the MFT to secure the different parts of the Clamping Element to the table. But do I real need them? PlusiIt is not that easy to reach under the MFT/3 table and screw these knobs in to the bench dogs and clamps. The answer is the knobs are not used very often. In fact I have not used the knobs to date. There might be some time in the future that I will need them so I?m not going to dispose of them yet. They are just not very useful at this time. May be that can be used with some other Festool?
The clamps are a different story. Need a one handed clamp?
With the Clamping elements you can push the clamp into the work piece and tighten the clamp lever, all with one hand. This can be very hand when you are holding the work piece with one hand you can use your free hand to operate the clamp.
Another nice feature of the clamping elements is both the bench dogs and the clamps are just a tad bit shorter than the thickness of most material. That allows you to sand right up to and over the edge of the work piece.
There is a lot of versatility when it come to clamping stuff. Since you have multiple points of contact you can pretty much clamp anything. Clamping circles, triangles and other odd shapes is simple and secure. You can mix and match the clamps with the bench dogs to hold what you need . I wish the bench dog were available separately, as there are a lot of times I wish I had more. But the dogs are only available in the Clamping Element set.
The construction of the Clamping Elements is not overly impressive. The majority of the parts are plastic with the long shaft being made out of metal. The clamping lever is also made out of plastic. The mechanism that performs the actual clamping, against the metal rod, is a metal wedge. The mechanism is made up of a cam, that is part of the long lever and a metal wedge that get pressed against the long metal bar holding the clamp in place. There is a spring that helps release the wedge when the cam is backed off. Sometimes the wedge gets stuck on the long bar and will not release. If the wedge sticks, you need to give the whole sliding mechanism a jolt, then the wedge will release.
The back side of the clamp is open and the clamping mechanism is exposed. So dust, dirt and saw dust can get in and clog up the spring and the rest of the mechanism . Being this opening is on the bottom allows it most the junk to fall out.
Overall the Clamping Elements are a very handy tool to have. Wish I had more than one set. But for now I will need to make do with one set.