Author Topic: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail  (Read 5787 times)

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Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 791
Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« on: September 05, 2015, 07:26 AM »
Did a little experiment today to see if it was possible to convert a standard rail to a holey rail and I am pleased to announce that it worked.

The things that you need are the LR32 router plate, a 6mm router cutter and any holey rail, you can then easily convert any length rail to a holey rail. The router cutter that I used was a single flute solid carbide one and it was not designed to drill down into aluminium. It worked but if you can get one that is designed to drill it will be easier.

I didn't take any photos while I was doing it so I will repeat the procedure, photograph it and add the photos later.

This procedure also assumes that the router plate is correctly set up with no excess play or slop and the guide pin is always correctly located in one of the holes. The location of the holes in the lengthwise direction is not critical as all future measurements and settings are from the holes.

You screw the two rails, with their two sacrificial strips towards each other, to a solid flat surface using washers and screws thru the large holes in each end. The holey rail sits over the other and is lifted about 3mm with a thin packing piece to level it (I used a bit of Masonite). Initial positions are fixed by estimating the location of the new holes using the notch in the router plate. Lowering the cutter to touch the rail, while spinning, will leave a shallow circle mark. This mark, if it is slightly off, will be the only way you will be able to tell which is the copy.

Then accurately measure (I used a vernier caliper) the distance from the ridge in the rail to each side of the slot in the holey rail and adjust the rails so that the new hole would land on one end of the required slot. Adjustment is achieved by loosening one of the screws holding the holey rail and gently tapping with a piece of wood, when the dimension is correct, tighten the screw and do the other end.

After repeating the measurements, and if necessary readjusting your settings, you are now ready to drill the holes. I used a spray lube on the cutter after each hole to stop the aluminium sticking and galling on the cutter.

You then move the holey rail 1 mm in whichever direction you need to elongate the holes, drill them again and you have a finished holey rail.

To extend the length of the new rail longer than the original one, move the holey rail along, drop the stationary cutter into one of the new holes, and start the procedure again.

I was actually surprised how quick and easy it was once I had the rails screwed in the right position. I will convert the rest of my rails this time photographing the process and post the pics.

For those of you that don't already have a holey rail a suggest you try to borrow one and produce as many as required.

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3351
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2015, 08:16 AM »
Any pictures  of setup?
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Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 791
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2015, 08:32 AM »
Any pictures  of setup?

Will try to do some tomorrow.

Offline Gwerner

  • Posts: 235
  • They call me George...
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2015, 03:09 PM »
Any issues with getting the LR 32 plate pin to drop into the new holes since the original holes aren't round? They're slightly oval.

Offline Bert Vanderveen

  • Posts: 379
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2015, 05:14 PM »
Yeah, I too was wondering about the holes being oval on the *real* holey rails… The LR32 system depends on that.
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

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Offline Wooden Skye

  • Posts: 1059
  • My little girl was called home 12-28-15
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2015, 05:51 PM »
Yeah, I too was wondering about the holes being oval on the *real* holey rails… The LR32 system depends on that.

He mentioned in his initial post the he moves the router 1 mm to elongate the hole.  I find this interesting, and would really like to see if it is as accurate as a true LR 32 rail.  Hopefully we all get pictures soon!   [thumbs up]
Bryan

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Offline Baremeg55

  • Posts: 613
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2015, 06:01 PM »
Not to detract from the OP's post, interesting that no one has ever posted (to my knowledge) doing such a conversion from a standard to a holey rail with a CNC.  I would think that would be a quite easy task to complete.

Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 791
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail - Pics added
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2015, 10:51 PM »
Did another rail and here are the pictures with some slight changes in the procedure.


228907-0
The two rails are mounted to a board with screws and washers.

228895-1
They are spaced 206mm ridge to ridge. Ignore the round circle mark as you can see its wrong.

228897-2
Touch the rail with the cutter to be able to check that it is in the correct location. (Second mark)

228899-3
Drill the first row lubricating the cutter with spray lube.

228901-4
Reset the spacing to 205mm to elongate the slots.

228903-5
New holey rail is ready  [big grin] [big grin]

228905-6
Shows the LR32 pin fit in the slot.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 11:22 PM by Bohdan »

Offline Pizza Steve

  • Posts: 139
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2015, 09:06 PM »
Awesome work/pictures!  I baby my rails, but this is almost motivating me to cut into them.   [scared]

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 663
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 10:03 PM »
What does the slight elongation of the holes accomplish? I see that the spacing is maintained but how does the elongated hole help with the indexing system.

I'm making a DeWalt holey rail to use with my routers and DeWalt track.

239484-0

« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 10:06 PM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1853
  • NORFOLK,VA
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2016, 10:11 PM »
What does the slight elongation of the holes accomplish? I see that the spacing is maintained but how does the elongated hole help with the indexing system.

I'm making a DeWalt holey rail to use with my routers and DeWalt track.

(Attachment Link)
To make sure that the pin will drop into the holes

I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline mazmes

  • Posts: 39
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2016, 10:24 PM »
What does the slight elongation of the holes accomplish? I see that the spacing is maintained but how does the elongated hole help with the indexing system.

I'm making a DeWalt holey rail to use with my routers and DeWalt track.

(Attachment Link)

Bob D, any additional information that you could share would be greatly appreciated. I have the DeWalt system and router accessories and was thinking about getting a Festool hole rail and adapting.

Offline Eden1415

  • Posts: 30
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2016, 12:12 PM »
I gotta borrow someones holey rail.   

Thanks for the inforation

Silly question,  why is Festool still making rails without holes? 

Offline Pizza Steve

  • Posts: 139
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2016, 12:29 PM »
More accessories = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

They're (mostly) offered in different lengths so you need them all!

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 663
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2016, 07:47 AM »
What does the slight elongation of the holes accomplish? I see that the spacing is maintained but how does the elongated hole help with the indexing system.

I'm making a DeWalt holey rail to use with my routers and DeWalt track.

(Attachment Link)

Bob D, any additional information that you could share would be greatly appreciated. I have the DeWalt system and router accessories and was thinking about getting a Festool hole rail and adapting.

I'm not finished yet but here is what I have done so far.

http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/using-a-dewalt-track-saw-clamp-with-the-mft3/msg446523/#msg446523

I need to make the indexing system that will fit on the router adapter. To tell the truth I don't know if its worth the trouble. I think buying a Festool holey rail and router adapter may be a better choice all around if you have the money. My reason for trying this was to see if I could make something that would work and keep cost down for a jig I will rarely use but is nice to have. Since putting the holes in the rail doesn't affect use with the track saw I figured it was worth a try. Been busy at work the past couple days and may not have time to work on this again for a month or more. But I'm always thinking about how I will proceed and scrounging bits and pieces to make the indexing system with. I think I have most of the raw material I will need. When I get a day in the shop to fiddle with it I will try some ideas and see what will work. I don't want to hijack this thread for my project so if anyone has questions PM me or maybe start a new thread.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 08:04 AM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 492
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2017, 10:09 AM »
A monumental effort indeed for what is a kluge of system that in itself is ripe for errors if you don't use it regularly. I jumped ship to Mafell to get away from LR32 and the machinations necessary to use it. The Mafell unit is trivial to setup and use. For those without a Domino, but in need of a joining tool, consider the DD40 which joins and with a spacing template does perfect shelf holes. Mafell is not busy making tons of accessories, multiple tools in the same category, and hawking coolers, green levels and boomboxes, so they can make some innovative tools.

Offline SS Teach

  • Posts: 263
Re: Converting any standard rail to a Holey rail
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2017, 11:28 AM »
The simplest solution would be to have all rails holey rails. It's been suggested many many times before.
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