Author Topic: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question  (Read 19628 times)

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Offline Nanod

  • Posts: 20
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« on: April 29, 2016, 07:37 PM »
A question to the FOG especially those who have the Sys-Vac but also for those who don't?

I've wanted the Sys-Vac for years now and also thought most of the fog members did to, as it always seemed to be a topic of conversation you know the if I could have one Festool that's NAINA it would be the Sys-Vac!! But now that it's here it doesn't seem to be the case there really hasn't been much talk about it maybe it's the price but I don't know. With the reluctance of fog members buying it. I've got to thinking maybe I should put my money towards other Festools I need.

I've had it in my cart ready to buy for awhile now but haven't pulled the trigger cause I've been waiting on more feedback from the fog. Usually when a new Festool like this comes out within a few weeks theirs plenty of videos and reviews on it and that hasn't been the case this time with the exception of erock. I would like to give him a big shout out love the videos you make and can't thank you enough for taking the time to do them!!!

So my question to you guys is this something I could get a lot of use out of or is it something that's just really cool that's going to sit on a shelf in my shop?
Here's a short list of some of the work I do. I make my living mostly building custom cabinets, built in shelving, custom closets and whatever else my clients ask for.

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys give me it's greatly appreciated!!


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Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 07:50 PM »
The vac-sys has been available in my market for a long time. I like the idea of it, but I've been looking at other free standing alternatives in multi head formats on reconfigurable frames - that I believe would be more flexible for me (but these would be shop bound, more expensive and nowhere near as portable as vac-sys).

I think if you were to pickup something like the Conturo, the vac-sys becomes a high productivity aid ... I'd probably have no hesitation if I started to edge a lot of panels or had a similar workflow need.

I do feel the vac-sys on top of the mft/3 could make a few tasks a height issue for some ( not for @erock )


Offline Peter Halle

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VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 08:05 PM »
A question to the FOG especially those who have the Sys-Vac but also for those who don't?

I've wanted the Sys-Vac for years now and also thought most of the fog members did to, as it always seemed to be a topic of conversation you know the if I could have one Festool that's NAINA it would be the Sys-Vac!! But now that it's here it doesn't seem to be the case there really hasn't been much talk about it maybe it's the price but I don't know. With the reluctance of fog members buying it. I've got to thinking maybe I should put my money towards other Festools I need.

I've had it in my cart ready to buy for awhile now but haven't pulled the trigger cause I've been waiting on more feedback from the fog. Usually when a new Festool like this comes out within a few weeks theirs plenty of videos and reviews on it and that hasn't been the case this time with the exception of erock. I would like to give him a big shout out love the videos you make and can't thank you enough for taking the time to do them!!!

So my question to you guys is this something I could get a lot of use out of or is it something that's just really cool that's going to sit on a shelf in my shop?
Here's a short list of some of the work I do. I make my living mostly building custom cabinets, built in shelving, custom closets and whatever else my clients ask for.

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys give me it's greatly appreciated!!

I saw it back in 2009 and have been an advocate of vacuum clamping for years.

My questions to you (so that you can get a real answer by the wonderful people here):

1.  What are your current clamping needs;
2.  What are your current clamping challenges; and
3.  While thinking about it what do you think that it could bring to YOUR situation that is different from where you are at right now?

Answers will get you some responses to digest I suppose.

Peter

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6110
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 10:01 PM »
I think there are more Foggers that own this system than what appears on the surface.
I think the full Monty system is expensive and there are lots of people trying to power this from an alternative vacuum source that they already own. Some have used refrigeration vacuum pumps, some have used vacuum bag pumps, some have used Venturi pumps powered by an air compressor. I just got mine up and running using a vacuum pump from a Milwaukee core drill. That saved me $800.

Now that being said...the Vac Sys is a great tool and I endorse it 100%. The vacuum heads and bases are actually a bargain (seriously) once you look at them closely. The QD fitting for $50+...not so much.








 
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 10:04 PM by Cheese »

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5969
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2016, 10:12 PM »
I have the "full monty".

Worth every dollar I paid for it. Use it just about every time I'm in the shop.

Dominoed, edge banded, sanded, sawn, pattern routed, routed, and more with the system.

Happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

I have not shot a video of the Vac-Sys because it's so natural to use.

Tom

Offline Steve-Rice

  • Posts: 291
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 10:34 PM »
Personally, I find this system WAY over priced.

I have a professional vacuum pump from vacupresss.com and the Podz vacuum clamps from veneersupplies.com. It's an excellent professional quality system which can hold just about anything and it cost me just about $900.  You can still get that same setup today for under $1,000. Add a vacuum bag and you have a superlative clamping and veneering system, something you can not do with the vac-sys.

https://www.vacupress.com/product/standard-professional-vacupress-pump/
http://www.veneersupplies.com/products/Podz-Vacuum-Clamping-Jigs.html
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 10:38 PM by Steve-Rice »

Offline tjbnwi

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  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2016, 10:39 PM »
The Vac Sys works with vacuum bags.

The Vac Sys base and head does more than the pods will.

Tom

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2676
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2016, 11:24 PM »
I have the basic single version Vac Sys with the pump and the head assortment.  Very happy with it.  I'm a hobby user doing furniture and cabinetry.  For your work making cabinets, shelving, etc, it might be a good addition to your shop if you are doing edge banding, sanding, drilling, routing etc.  You might take a few pieces that you work with to your dealer and try them on a unit set up in their showroom. 

I can hold an entire door or drawer with the head for sanding, staining, painting, etc.  That makes it so much easier and faster for finish work.

I like the ability to quickly rotate work, tilt work for sanding or edge work, etc.  I also find the Vac Sys holds work better than clamps on a MFT table.  I always had to unclamp and reclamp work to get a full surface sanded, have issues with vibration loosening clamps, etc.  Those are not an issue with the Vac Sys.

One other area of use is for domino use.  You always have to have the domino fence sitting flat on the surface for consistent domino cutting and alignment.  That is much easier with the Vac Sys holding the work than hanging the edge off of the table and using clamps to secure it.


Offline limestonemike

  • Posts: 124
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2016, 11:55 PM »
The Vac Sys works with vacuum bags.

The Vac Sys base and head does more than the pods will.
 Tom

Hey Tom. I am running the vacupress system for veneering, sometimes 8' panels, and sometimes with curved forms. It works very well but it is quite noisy when it cycles. Do you think the festool solution can offer the same performance?

Can you give me some feedback on noise from the unit. It is quiet or is sound reduction needed? My current shop is part of our home.

Thanks, Mike

>

Offline erock

  • Posts: 1254
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2016, 08:56 AM »
@Nanod

I've used the VAC-SYS with just about every Festool I own.  I haven't used the TS55 with it yet....but I don't see myself using the two together.

I could give you a generic answer and just say......You have 30 days, buy it and try it.   Return if you don't like it.
But, to give you a more detailed response....
Domino-ing is a breeze.  Say you want to plunge both ends of a board.  Simply plunge the first side, loosen a knob and rotate the board and tightened the knob and plunge the second side.    I don't bother setting down and turning off the Domino, one hand holding the Domino while my other hand loosens, rotates and tightens everything. 

Sanding is great because nothing is in the way of sanding the whole surface.  A simple step on the pedal and you can quickly flip the board and continue sanding the other side.  Again, most times I don't even bother turning off and setting the sanders down.
I've sanded big long glue ups with the RS2, a heavy sander.  While sanding the ends, away from the center of the vac pad, I was a little leery that the board may pop loose.....NOPE !   The weight of the sander and the amount of force I was applying did nothing to cause the board from popping off.  The holding power of the VAC-SYS is freakin' fantastic.

Using the LR32 system IS A FREAKIN' DREAM with the VAC-SYS.  Smack it up, flip it and rub it down with the LR32 and VAC-SYS.  [big grin]
I used to use two Kreg bench clamps to hold the panel to the MFT.  You have to clamp the rail down to the panel with the LR32.  So you need to have the panel overhang the MFT so you can clamp it rail down.  Most of the time, if not always, I would set the panel up on a corner of the MFT.   I used 4 clamps on one panel.   Sometimes the Kreg clamps would be in the way for the rail on narrow panels.  But with the VAC-SYS, I eliminated the need for the two Kreg clamps.  The panel is higher off the MFT so clamping the rail down is a little easier.  Again, a simple step on the pedal to release the clamping pressure and you can swap out to the next panel. 

Edge banding.  Dude.  Forget about it !    Slap a board on the pad.  Tilt the pad 90*.  Iron on the edge banding on one side, trim it up, rotate the board 90* iron on the next edge......repeat.    Even if you use a router to trim your banding.    Apply the banding to all 4 sides with the VAC-SYS.  Then you can take the MFK700 and trim the banding. 

One thing I will say is that I mostly use the VAC-SYS in a MFT 1080 which is lower than the MFT/3.   I prefer using the MFT 1080 with the VAC-SYS but I use the MFT 1080 as an assembly table.  So at some point in the future I may make a dedicated table for the VAC-SYS.   I'm about 6' tall  215 pounds and can bench press over 400 pounds......no reason for me to bring that up, but just in case somebody  wants to test a O.G  .....LOL !   [tongue]   
Silliness aside.....3/4" material on the VAC-SYS on the MFT/3, the top of the board is 45-1/4" from the ground.   And 3/4" material on the VAC-SYS on the MFT 1080, the top of the board is 42" from the ground.    Also !   I have a piece of 1/2" pre finished plywood under the VAC-SYS.  To you could eliminate a 1/2" from the measurements if you bought the metal bracket for the VAC-SYS to connect to the MFT/3.  The 1/2" ply is clamped to the MFT so I can use the suction on the base of the VAC-SYS to hold the unit to the MFT.

Hope this helps......You know, you could always buy it and try it for 30 days...... [tongue]
Or if you're near Cleveland Ohio, you're more then welcome to stop by my shop and try it out.   [wink]

Eric

 

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5969
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2016, 10:27 AM »
The Vac Sys works with vacuum bags.

The Vac Sys base and head does more than the pods will.
 Tom

Hey Tom. I am running the vacupress system for veneering, sometimes 8' panels, and sometimes with curved forms. It works very well but it is quite noisy when it cycles. Do you think the festool solution can offer the same performance?

Can you give me some feedback on noise from the unit. It is quiet or is sound reduction needed? My current shop is part of our home.

Thanks, Mike

>

I shot this with an iPhone 12" from the pump. Playing it back on my Mac, setting the volume at 50% gives me an accurate sound level (to my ear). It is no louder than a normal conversation. I wish my Monument PanAline pump was this quite. 



I believe the pump draws down to 28" Hg (I'll check the gauge later to be sure). I doubt what you are using can draw any lower. It is a continuous duty rated pump, until you shut it off it runs.

Tom

Offline tjbnwi

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VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2016, 10:53 AM »
@Nanod

Edge banding.  Dude.  Forget about it !    Slap a board on the pad.  Tilt the pad 90*.  Iron on the edge banding on one side, trim it up, rotate the board 90* iron on the next edge......repeat.    Even if you use a router to trim your banding.    Apply the banding to all 4 sides with the VAC-SYS.  Then you can take the MFK700 and trim the banding. 


Eric

I totally disagree on this (except the MFK 700 part, so I guess I partially disagree [wink])

Leave the pod in the horizontal position and use the Conturo to apply the edge banding. [laughing] [laughing]

Tom
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 02:29 PM by tjbnwi »

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5969
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2016, 10:56 AM »
To be clear, this thread is about the VAC-SYS---not the SYS-VAC?

Tom


Offline Peter Halle

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Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2016, 11:14 AM »
To be clear, this thread is about the VAC-SYS---not the SYS-VAC?

Tom

Tom,

Thanks for the non intended nudge  [big grin].  The thread title has been changed.

Peter

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5969
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2016, 11:16 AM »
To be clear, this thread is about the VAC-SYS---not the SYS-VAC?

Tom

Tom,

Thanks for the non intended nudge  [big grin].  The thread title has been changed.

Peter

More interesting the other way.

Tom

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1896
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2016, 01:48 PM »
I have owned it almost since the day it was first sold in the US last month and love it.

I have used it mostly for sanding. It makes sanding flat surfaces like drawer parts and other flat parts for furniture extremely easy. Just clamp it down, sand, flip it over, and re-clamp.

I've also used it for Dominoing. Can't be beat for that. I've always struggled a little with clamping the piece onto the MFT and making sure it hangs over the edge far enough to the Domino sits flat on the wood. No need to worry with the VacSys. Just push it down it's ready. If cutting Domino slots on more than one edge, just rotate it or unclamp and flip it around.

I've even used it mounted on my regular workbench for some light chiseling to adjust the fit of dovetails. The wood can be rotated at almost any angle and gives 360 degree access vertical or at any angle in between vertical and horizontal; so unlimited. For chiseling, I would say it needs a more stable base than the MFT and there may be a limit to how much force you can apply but I haven't reached it yet.

The MFT is too high for comfortable sanding and for the Domino, but it still works; just a little high for me. My workbench is about the same height. I am working on a some alternative surface for the VacSys that would be a more permanent, lower height.

Although I haven't done it, the VacSys will work for template routing. The template would be underneath and requires a 1/4" hole to be drilled in the template center with some high density adhesive backed weather strip installed on top of the template. When the piece to be routed is placed on top of the template, both pieces are sucked tightly down to the VacSys head (because of the hole in the center of the template).

One thing I'd be hesitant about is using the VacSys with some types of MDF, especially the lower density type (guess it wouldn't be MDF then). I was in a recent Festool class where we were using low density (LDF?) and the VacSys was not as effective  because the LDF was too porous. With solid wood and plywood, though, the clamping is solid and effective.

In summary, I love it and it works well for me. It's one of those tools I never questioned for my use when it came out in the US even though I don't make furniture or woodwork for a living. It just solves a lot of problems for me with sanding, using the Domino, routing, some light hand planing on edges, light chiseling, and some general uses.

If you mostly do very large work, though, it might not be as essential even though it clamps larger pieces very solidly. I would assume, though, that you would be able to tell immediately and during the 30-day period if it would be something that you would use enough to justify the investment. It's a great tool, though.
Randy

Offline erock

  • Posts: 1254
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2016, 01:57 PM »
@Nanod

Edge banding.  Dude.  Forget about it !    Slap a board on the pad.  Tilt the pad 90*.  Iron on the edge banding on one side, trim it up, rotate the board 90* iron on the next edge......repeat.    Even if you use a router to trim your banding.    Apply the banding to all 4 sides with the VAC-SYS.  Then you can take the MFK700 and trim the banding. 


Eric

I totally disagree on this (except the MFK 700 part, so I guess I partially disagree [wink])

Leave the pod in the horizontal poison and use the Conturo to apply the edge banding. [laughing] [laughing]

Tom


 OKAY Tom,  I'll give you that one.    [big grin]    [cool]

Offline tjbnwi

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  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2016, 02:34 PM »
To solve the problem of porous material, a layer of masking tape that is larger than the pod on the material.

Masking tape also works as a seal between the template and the material being routed.

Tom

Offline Nat X

  • Posts: 231
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2016, 07:39 PM »
I bought everything except the MFT mounting brackets and have not regretted it for a single second. It's not great for hand planing, but for just about everything else, it continues to surprise me every time I flip it on. Been clamping 30-40 pound butcher blocks in it to domino, sand, route finger holds and round over edges and it sails through it all without a hiccup. While there are other ways to clamp the same thing effectively, not ever having to move around or think about what you're doing saves a lot of time.

I'd tried the goofy little pod things around a year ago and found them comparatively pathetic in real world usage. They couldn't even hold two freshly peeled sheets of acrylic together with those adhesive neoprene washers, and the fact that you're paying hundreds of dollars for some (clumsily) hand-tapped blocks of HDPE and a handful of brass fittings you could get at Lowe's sent me right back to the ATG gun. This is absolutely nothing like those toys.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6110
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2016, 11:49 AM »
I decided I wanted to be able to use the VAC-SYS on my work bench without having to use clamps to hold down either the VAC-SYS or plywood under the VAC-SYS.

Originally, I was looking for some 3/16" alum plate but stumbled upon some 16 GA, 304 SST that was discounted, laser cut drop material. I laid out a couple of holes for mounting aluminum dogs and then machined the dogs and cut them to 1 1/2" in length because the maple top is 1 3/4" thick. Very happy with the results.

242780-0

242782-1

242784-2

Right side of bench
242786-3

Left side of bench
242788-4

Middle of bench
242790-5
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 11:58 AM by Cheese »

Offline tjbnwi

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  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2016, 11:53 AM »
I'm surprised there are not threaded inserts in the base holes that line up to the MFT pattern. Knobs from the clamping elements with longer bolts would make MFT hunting a breeze.

Tom

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2676
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2016, 01:54 PM »
That's a great idea.  And the finish on that material is amazing!  Heck, it's a mirror and a VacSys holder!

I cover my MFT with a 1/4" piece of hard masonite when I'm using it for things other than sawing or clamping.  The masonite has a couple of coats of poly on it.  I sand it down from time to time and recoat and it's worked really well for me.  I have two holes drilled in the back corners for the battery lights from Lee Valley that fit a 20mm dog hole.  I can also use two dogs.

That lets me place the VacSys anywhere on the table with great holding power.

But your idea is also a fast and simple idea when dealing with a table where you want the full 20mm holes exposed.

Thanks for sharing -

neil

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2191
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2016, 05:32 PM »
When I'm using the Vac on my table, I have a piece of  acrylic that has holes for threaded dogs that come up under the table, then I use the vacs  vac base to clamp on the acrylic.  I really wanted to have the head at table height so I made uprights using 8020 15 series extrusions that attach to the MFT rails and out-riggers to place the vac height even with the table.  I also bought push/pull air fittings so that I can detach my hoses from the unit.  This makes tear down and storage so much simpler.  I don't understand why Festool did not do this.  Actually the hose that actually goes to the head is push/pull, so they did go half way.   [blink]

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2016, 08:47 PM »
I'm guessing we're going to see some VAC-SYS to MFT/3 connection innovation over the coming months ... I bet our friends at Seneca are busy at work [big grin]


Offline GarryMartin

  • Posts: 1797
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2016, 03:43 AM »
There's an adaptation for working with the MFT/3 in the Conturo on page 72 of "The perfect edge; user manual for the CONTURO system" linked below;



http://www.festool.com.au/WebRoot/Store/Shops/tooltechnic/MediaGallery/Brochures/edge-bander/manual/FESTOOL_EN_CONTURO.pdf

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2016, 04:00 AM »
There's an adaptation for working with the MFT/3 in the Conturo on page 72 of "The perfect edge; user manual for the CONTURO system" linked below;

(Attachment Link)

http://www.festool.com.au/WebRoot/Store/Shops/tooltechnic/MediaGallery/Brochures/edge-bander/manual/FESTOOL_EN_CONTURO.pdf

You are on fire today !! [wink] Nice thing about that approach is the height.

Offline erock

  • Posts: 1254
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2016, 07:15 AM »
@GarryMartin

Thank you for that post !     I  will be making that setup today!

Eric

Offline erock

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Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2016, 09:37 PM »
This is great !

Wicked easy to make.  Took me maybe 15 minutes.   I like the lowered height of the vac sys now.  Makes it almost flush with the top of the MFT/3. I can hook it up to the MFT 1080 with the same setup if I want.





Eric

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1896
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2016, 02:03 PM »
@erock I actually made it yesterday also. It was easy, but maybe took me a bit longer than 15 minutes. I used some extra t-bolts and knobs from a Gripper kit instead of the Festool keys and knobs because I didn't have those just sitting around. I was a little concerned that the t-bolts seemed to be a bit narrower than the slot on the MFT (still held well though) and was a little concerned that maybe the keys would give better, long-term support. What did you use? The Festool classroom in Indianapolis currently has the VacSys mounted this way and it does work well and is a much better height. Another nice thing about it is that it is easily removed and clamped to a more solid workbench to provide more stability for light chiseling or small planing jobs (which I've used it for).
Randy

Offline erock

  • Posts: 1254
Re: VAC-SYS (vacuum clamping system) question
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2016, 05:28 PM »
@erock I actually made it yesterday also. It was easy, but maybe took me a bit longer than 15 minutes. I used some extra t-bolts and knobs from a Gripper kit instead of the Festool keys and knobs because I didn't have those just sitting around. I was a little concerned that the t-bolts seemed to be a bit narrower than the slot on the MFT (still held well though) and was a little concerned that maybe the keys would give better, long-term support. What did you use? The Festool classroom in Indianapolis currently has the VacSys mounted this way and it does work well and is a much better height. Another nice thing about it is that it is easily removed and clamped to a more solid workbench to provide more stability for light chiseling or small planing jobs (which I've used it for).


@grbmds    I used two 5/16" T-bolts and knobs to hold the board onto the MFT.   I have two 12mm (1/2") pieces of pre finished plywood stapled together.  Since the Festool plans called for a 23mm thick board.   I'm not familiar with the size of the Gripper T-bolts, but the 5/16" T-bolts are solid and I have no worries about using them.    I was a little leery about the 5mm bolts.  But it's solid.  [cool]

Eric