Author Topic: Long guide rails. Worth it?  (Read 10658 times)

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Offline Ross 71

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Long guide rails. Worth it?
« on: February 16, 2017, 06:27 AM »
I seem to be doing more sheet material work now. I have a 1400 rail that came with my plunge saw and the 1080 rail from the MFT. I have another 1400 rail because I got to a site 70 miles away to put up a barn only to find that my guide rail was AWOL. It was faster and easier to throw £50 at another rail and have it delivered to site.

So, with some faffing and checking and faffing by joining the two 1400 tracks together I can cut 8' . Then I want a 1400 rail and I've got to take them apart, then 10 minutes later I'm joining them again. Faff-check-faff-etc

Do I just buy another 1400 rail? Or do I take the hit and spend £200 on a 3 meter rail?

Do you guys reckon it is worth the money?
Do you use a long rail as much as you thought you would, or does it rarely get used.
Any Brits know where you can get these long rails for less than £200
 
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Offline DrD

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 07:30 AM »
Good Morning.  You will get lots of opinions on this one.  First, I do not have a long - FS3000 or FS 2700 rail, and have never used one.  There have been posters on Fog that swear by them, and others say you must been extremely particular in the manner in which you push your saw down the long rail to achieve a uniform cut.

Here's where the math takes over for me - and is in fact what I use for sheet goods; in the USA a Betterley SLC23 Straight-Line Connector for Guide Rails, which eliminates much of the faffing-checking-faffing by aligning and holding the 2 guide rails while joining with the rail connectors, costs about $100(US), and another FS1400 rail costs about $133(US), totaling ~$233(US) compared to $355(US) for the FS3000, saving ~$122(US).  You already have rail connectors, so you've got money in your pocket and enough rails to rip and cross-cut you sheet goods, and with the Betterley for alignment, you don't faff so much.  I don't even store mine connected, it takes so little time to rejoin and verify lineraity.

Best wishes
KS12 EB Kapex with Delta Folding Table & FastCap Best Fence; TS75 EQ with Parallel Guide Rail Set (FS-PA 495717 & FS-PA-VL 495718) and FS 800/2, 1080/2, 1400/2 LR32, 1400/2, 1900/2 Guide Rails, and Betterly SLC23 Straight Line Connector; DF500 Q with Assortment Systainer; OF1010 EQ with Fine Adjuster for Guide Stop, WA-OF Angle Arm, UP-OF Edging Plate and SF-OF Chip Deflector (486242); OF1400 EQ with OF1400 Dust Hood x 2, OF 1400  Edge Guide x 2, OF 1400  Guide Stop; LR32 Set; PSB399 EQ; EHL65 E; RAS115.04 E; RS2 E; ETS150/3 EQ; RO150 FEQ; Hand Sanding Block Set; CT26 with assortment of AS and Non-AS Hoses; MFT/3 Table x2; SysLite; Assortment of Quick & Screw Clamps, Consumables, Dogs.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 08:07 AM »
Personally I don't think that there is one perfect answer for all as a group.  A 2700 rail was the first thing I bought after getting my saw 10 years ago.  The second was the accessorie kit that had the connectors.  Although I have 3 1400 rails to go along with my 2700 I rarely join.  I think it is more efficient using the long rail when required especially if you are trying to maximize the yield on sheet goods and you have a value on your time.

That being said, if I were to do it over again AND I could transport the 3000 rail properly then I would go for the 3000.  The extra length just makes it easier to make sure that you have enough lead in to your long cuts so that the blade is fully plunged without the fuss of the shorter 2700.

Just my 2 cents.

Peter

Offline bobfog

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 08:15 AM »
This is where the Bosch and Mafell rails excel. The system they use to join the rails is extremely quick and virtually impossible to misalign. Two of their 1600 rails joined are just as good as single length 3+ meter rails and massively easier to transport.

Offline Jaybolishes

  • Posts: 366
Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 08:20 AM »
With a long rail you can be dead certain the rail is perfectly straight. It's very easy to join rails and have them not straight.  I transport the rail in the box it came in because it sticks so far away from the tailgate of my truck.  I like having one rail of every size. Really makes things go fast when you don't have to join rails I think. 

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 08:55 AM »
Yes.

Tom

Offline leakyroof

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 09:04 AM »
Yes, worth it. No alignment worries, just transporting and protecting that long rail once you get one..... [wink]
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Offline antss

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 09:27 AM »
For me, no. It's not worth the expense or transport headache.

But I value portability very highly.   I also don't understand all the fuss about joining rails together or need for jigs ect....  Takes me about two minutes the first time onsite if I need a long rail.   Then less than a minute if I remove one for a 1400mm / 48" crosscut.

 I've had zero issues with rail alignment and that includes my time with the single connected rails at the turn of the century.  I'm also cutting cabinetry panels which require a lot more precision than framing panels.

In the end I think it depends on the tasks you're trying to accomplish and your personal feelings on size vs. cost vs. portability vs. convenience. 

Offline promark747

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 10:14 AM »
With a long rail you can be dead certain the rail is perfectly straight.

You can be dead certain... IF the long rail is perfectly straight to begin with.  I don't have any data, but I've read that due to manufacturing tolerances it may be more likely that two shorter rails are straighter along their length than a long rail (imagine two 1400mm rails each being 5 thousands off from end to end, but a 3000m rail being 12 thou off).  And the differences of the shorter rails could possibly be offset/eliminated depending on how you were to connect them.

That's mainly theoretical, though, and I would say it really comes down to convenience and cost for most people.

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 10:44 AM »
This is one of those things that is quite situational.

     I have long rails (and short) for use in the shop. And short for site work. But I do very little cutting with a track saw on site. So even though I could transport a long rail it is not worth it for the amount I would use it on site. For site work the compactness has a higher value for me at this time. But in the shop where I use them all the time ..........  all that faffing about was pure nuisance. And it would be on site as well if I used the rails more on site.

    Things to consider..........

       Transport
       Getting the long rail into  and out of work space.
       Convenience
       Have three short rails for transport.... leave one pair set assembled to avoid assembly / disassembly.
       Storage space.

  No one size fits all on this  question.

Seth
       

Offline waho6o9

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 11:17 AM »
Yes

Offline Jon160290

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 12:01 PM »
Definatly worth it for me, stays in the shop all the time and use to rip sheet goods when access to the table saw is blocked or someone else is using it. I also have 2 1400 i use on site i can join if required but nowhere near as easy as a long rail.

Offline Dan-

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 12:10 PM »
YES YES YES
I tried the connector route. Tried the Makita connector (better than the Festool version) and the Festool connector. The rails always end up crooked. I've got the holy 55, the 75 and the FS3000.

Side note: the 55 holy does not work so well for LR32 on bookshelves. Moving the rail around means you more than double the time it takes to drill holes. It's also difficult to make sure the unclamped end does not move on slipper surfaces like melamine-coated birch ply. I'm strongly considering the long holy rail. It's not so much an addiction as a realization that the inconveniences can just go away for a little less beer.

Offline rst

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 12:42 PM »
I too tired of connecting two rails together even after switching to Makita connectors.  I never had a problem aligning the rails as I used an 6' piece of 8020 extrusion.  For me it was a time issue.  I have all the various sizes of rails excepting the long holey rail (first set of bookcases will resolve that shortage).  Dan, as far as clamping to smooth surfaces or situations where only one end can be clamped or even neither end...that's where the Geckos excell.  I have two sets and have used them for counter cutouts and to attach to plastics.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 07:09 PM by rst »

Offline Corwin

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2017, 01:22 PM »
I find the 3000 rail much nicer to work with than joining shorter rails. But then, I only work in my shop, so I am not transporting that long rail. If I were to have to transport, I would leave the 3000 at home and take two 1400 rail to join together, and a 1900 rail for crosscutting. So, my suggestion is to get a 1900mm rail -- you'll find it more useful to have this other length than having yet a third 1400mm rail.
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline mrB

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2017, 03:42 PM »
If I had more stability in my workshop rental (bloody london) I'd buy a long rail in a second.

I stopped 'properly' joining rails together as too often I had inaccuracies. Now I simply leave one of the two rail connectors (the central one) sticking out of one of the rails at all times.
I join the rails with this one connector and don't screw it tight in the added rail. Then I use 3 pencils marks along the cut instead of 2 (one at either end) to line up the rails.

I find this method allows enough flex to move the rails into position but still keeps them dead in line where they meet. And sliding the rails together or apart happens in a second!

Hope that made sense.
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline leakyroof

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2017, 08:04 PM »
If I had more stability in my workshop rental (bloody london) I'd buy a long rail in a second.

I stopped 'properly' joining rails together as too often I had inaccuracies. Now I simply leave one of the two rail connectors (the central one) sticking out of one of the rails at all times.
I join the rails with this one connector and don't screw it tight in the added rail. Then I use 3 pencils marks along the cut instead of 2 (one at either end) to line up the rails.

I find this method allows enough flex to move the rails into position but still keeps them dead in line where they meet. And sliding the rails together or apart happens in a second!

Hope that made sense.
. I think I got it... maybe a picture would clinch it... [wink]
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Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2017, 08:19 PM »
This is where the Bosch and Mafell rails excel. The system they use to join the rails is extremely quick and virtually impossible to misalign. Two of their 1600 rails joined are just as good as single length 3+ meter rails and massively easier to transport.

I seem to recall that the TS55 and TS75 won't run on the Bosch or Mafell tracks, Is that correct?

Seth

Offline McNally Family

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2017, 08:47 PM »
This is where the Bosch and Mafell rails excel. The system they use to join the rails is extremely quick and virtually impossible to misalign. Two of their 1600 rails joined are just as good as single length 3+ meter rails and massively easier to transport.

I seem to recall that the TS55 and TS75 won't run on the Bosch or Mafell tracks, Is that correct?

Seth


That is correct.  It is really more of an argument to purchase the Mafell Track Saw to begin with, and avoid the problems with the Festool rails (it should be noted that the Mafell Track Saw will work on both Mafell and Festool rails, but the same can't be said for the Festool saw).

As for connecting the Mafell rails, their connector looks like a miniature Betterley and works as both the connector and alignment tool.   As an added benefit, when not in use, it locks onto the rail for storage.

This subject is really only an issue before you make a saw purchase decision.  Once the saw is purchased, the rail question (both alignment and connection), has been made for you.

In my case, I have nothing against the Festool Track Saw, but since I chose the Mafell jigsaw, and wanted to be able to use their guide rails for perfectly straight cuts, I am now commited to the Mafell Track Saw when that purchase comes.
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Offline Laminator

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2017, 10:33 PM »
Like Peter, 2700 was the first thing I purchased after getting the atf55 around ten years ago.  The 2700 rides in my van in a special rack that it easily slides into.  Got a 3000 that stays in the shop. I have the festool connectors, the makita connectors, and the betterly alignment tool.  Joining two rails to leave joined for the day  is ok but joining for a rip and separating for a crosscut and repeating this procedure over and over is not for me.  The 75" rail is very useful and I will be purchasing another one as I discovered recently that mine has a slight bow in it.

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2017, 11:07 PM »
I have a bunch of rails, including the Festool 3000.  Festool rails are a bit delicate and need to be packaged carefully for transport.   That goes double for the 3000.    So, for onsite work I would not use the 3000.

However, I have lots of experience joining rails before buying the 3000.   In my experience, joining rails and keeping them aligned is a pain in the posterior.  For the shop (my work environment), the 3000 works great.   No worries about alignment and keeping it that way.   Fast and easy.   

Regards,

Dan.

Offline pettyconstruction

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2017, 11:15 PM »
I have 2 -55" and 2-75" rails and connect them as needed. But I will get a 118" rail eventually, I use my saw to cut deck boards in place , and the time savings would be worth it for me.
I have to join rails anyway, but less rails would be nice. So
Yes
Charlie


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Offline ach_78

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2017, 08:09 AM »
I think the joining system of Festool rails -those two metal tabs- is extremely poor and badly engineered. Actually it's like no engineering whatsoever went into this.

You can align properly two rails but :
- you need two joining pieces which are ridiculously priced for what they are (and you need to buy two pieces)
- you need to pay attention to rail parallelism
- you also need to pay attention to the rails parallax

Aligning two rails perfectly is possible but time consuming and a work of precision.
The set screws WILL mark the aluminium rails, possibly deform them if tighten too hard.
And, you can easily bump  the rails out of alignment while handling them.

Bottom line : if you are just trying to break down sheet goods you can join rails.
But if what you need is a reliable straight cut without second thought you will definetely be better of with a single long rail.

Offline Paul G

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2017, 09:02 AM »
I agree with those who say it is hard to keep the rails aligned once you get them there, the connectors suck.

Got a 3000 and have been fine since, and a few times have connected a short rail to the 3000 for long lumber or 10' sheet goods. Now that I think about it Festool is incentivized to keep their connectors pieces of junk in order to sell long rails. Well played Festool, you got me.
+1

Offline Paul G

  • Posts: 1916
Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2017, 09:05 AM »
If I had more stability in my workshop rental (bloody london) I'd buy a long rail in a second.

I stopped 'properly' joining rails together as too often I had inaccuracies. Now I simply leave one of the two rail connectors (the central one) sticking out of one of the rails at all times.
I join the rails with this one connector and don't screw it tight in the added rail. Then I use 3 pencils marks along the cut instead of 2 (one at either end) to line up the rails.

I find this method allows enough flex to move the rails into position but still keeps them dead in line where they meet. And sliding the rails together or apart happens in a second!

Hope that made sense.

That works except for when trying to use the tracksaw to make the first true edge to start.
+1

Offline Svar

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2017, 01:38 PM »
I think the joining system of Festool rails -those two metal tabs- is extremely poor and badly engineered. Actually it's like no engineering whatsoever went into this.
Festool rails were designed some 50 years ago. Joining them was most definitely an afterthought.
However, I'm sure they could have came up with a new rail with Mafell-like connection AND backward compatibility. The current one has enough width and thickness to accommodate an extra channel for Mafell/Bosch-style self aligning connector.

Offline Turnamere

  • Posts: 8
Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2017, 01:52 PM »
I bought my FS2700 from Bunny's Bolts shortly after Ibought my TS 55 a good few years back, they have it  for £135 (£162 with VAT) at the moment.  Working with sheet goods I would estimate that my 1400 and 2700get similar amounts of use, my 800 is by far the least used.
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Offline ear3

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2017, 03:54 PM »
Yes.  And definitely worth it to go 3000 over 2700.
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Offline jobsworth

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2017, 05:06 PM »
Yes and no, for me I had no problem with 2 1400 rails. I got good straight cuts with out buying all the fancy after market gizmos. I either used a straight edge/ level or just ran my saw up to where the 2 rails joined tighten the jibs on the saw down to aligned the rails and tighten the connectors.

But with that being said, Im pretty much shop bound.  I got tired of connecting the rails disconnecting the rail connecting the rail etc etc....

So I went out and got a 3000 rail. Made my life easier. But if I had to transport rails for onsite, Id use the 2 1400 and build me a wood working wizard rail box to store and transport them. You candy a search ad find it

Offline Dan-

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Re: Long guide rails. Worth it?
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2017, 10:21 PM »
Dan, as far as clamping to smooth surfaces or situations where only one end can be clamped or even neither end...that's where the Geckos excell.  I have two sets and have used them for counter cutouts and to attach to plastics.
Ordered ! This forum....