Author Topic: Homemade Parallel Guides  (Read 32588 times)

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Offline MavDog

  • Posts: 115
Homemade Parallel Guides
« on: August 29, 2011, 05:10 PM »
Here is a simple system I came up with for duplicating the function of the parallel guides.  Everything is off the shelf parts that you can buy and only one small modification is needed.  One feature I like about this is that each guide rail sits on top of the piece of wood so nothing is hanging down on the sides like the Festool set.  I used it this weekend and it worked out great.  I know it is not as nice as the real thing but it worked great for making a bunch of accurate repetitive cuts.

41363-0

« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 05:12 PM by MavDog »

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Offline Alan m

  • Posts: 3322
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 06:10 PM »
nice idea. how does the cost compare to the festool ones.
any way to cut the smaller pieces
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Offline John Stevens

  • Posts: 816
  • Ardmore, PA
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 09:38 PM »
I know it is not as nice as the real thing but...

Don't sell yourself short.  You've eliminated two problems with Festool's model.  One is the "hanging down," and the other is having to position the guides on the outside of the work piece.  Now if you could just figure out how to get a hairline cursor on that, you'd eliminate what I regard as the third problem.  (I'm wondering if Kreg's router-fence stop will work with those Rockler tracks.  If they're re-badged by Incra for Rockler, I can already tell you they won't, DAMHIKT.)

Nice job, thanks for sharing!

Regards,

John
What this world needs is a good retreat.
--Captain Beefheart

Offline mwildt

  • Posts: 425
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 10:32 PM »
Looks like they do come with a hair line cursor:

snip snip from Rocker web site item #32893
Need a measuring reference on your T-Track device? These 36" tape measure inserts fit any universal T-Track to give you accurate measurements to 1/16" along your fence for on the fly adjustments and more. Inserts are plastic extrusions with a steel rule. Works well with the Double T-Track Fence Cap (39944) and Multi Track (35605 and 34262). Each tape comes with an acrylic hairline indicator with adhesive backing that can be attached to Rockler Flip Stops (26991 and 31214) or other homemade stops.

Great idea. Looks like the parts used was:

#32893
#31214
#39944
#33338

Michael

Offline tallgrass

  • Posts: 920
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 03:29 AM »
are these parts unique to rockler?

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2644
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 04:14 AM »
I know it is not as nice as the real thing but...

Don't sell yourself short.  You've eliminated two problems with Festool's model.  One is the "hanging down," and the other is having to position the guides on the outside of the work piece.  ...

Nice job, thanks for sharing!

Regards,
John

I have to agree with John.  Great job!

Offline Ivan T

  • Posts: 90
  • Tool Rich, Project Poor
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 09:18 AM »
Great Job MavDog.
I just priced out the parts from Rockler and the total is $114.44 with free shipping.
What is the slight modification you refer to in your post?

Ivan

Offline MavDog

  • Posts: 115
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 10:45 AM »
Yes that is all the correct parts from Rockler.  I think I paid around $80 for everything.  I bought the pieces when they were having discounts.  I can  cut down to about a 8 inch piece which is fine for any repetitive cuts I need to make.  I haven't had to make any repetitive cuts smaller than that.  The hairline indicator is very nice and easy to see.  One more nice thing is that the measurements are not in metric.   [tongue] 

The modification is that you need to make is to take one of the flip stops apart and move it to the other side.  When you do this the bolt is too short so you just need to get a longer bolt from HD and you are in business.

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 12:49 PM »
Is the connection between the track and the guide rail secure?  It looks like it's just connected with the 1 bolt, so I figure there might be a little slop there?  Also, do you find that you have to move the guides around much or do you pretty much leave them in the spot shown (basically width of a sheet of plywood)?  Am thinking some thumb screws would make it simpler if you had to move it around often.

I have been wanting to make something like this for awhile now, so thank you for sharing this.  I think this would save a ton of time breaking down sheet goods.  I find I am spending a lot of time measuring, making 2 marks, and then making sure my measurements are 100% before making each cut.  The splinter guard wears down a bit over time, so it can sometimes affect the measurements a tad.

I just wish we had a Rockler here in Canada.  I don't think Lee Valley is going to carry all the parts needed.  May have to just bite the bullet and pay the extra for shipping :P

Offline MavDog

  • Posts: 115
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 01:30 PM »
The T-track portion fits tight against the rail.  I just put a square on it before I tighten it down.  Thumbscrews would be good but the ones I tried were too big and hit either the angle bracket or the saw.  I set the sides once and didn't have to move them around.

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 01:51 PM »
I didn't notice at first, but it looks like that double track has a piece that sticks down below?  So I guess that would always have to be at the ends of the material you are cutting.  Would be nice if it was just flat so you could position them anywhere on the workpiece.

This is kind of what I had in mind for the thumb screw.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/hardware/page.aspx?p=61652&cat=3,43576,61994,61652
C. 1" Clamping Knob, Female
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 04:42 PM by mikeneron »

Offline EvilNuff

  • Posts: 39
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 09:40 AM »
It looks like you're using multi-track brackets for the join to the guide rail? 
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=22163

Offline MavDog

  • Posts: 115
Re: Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2011, 10:46 AM »
Yes that is correct.

Offline tbear

  • Posts: 18
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 01:01 AM »
Alan M,
I just received my order for the parts from Rockler. Parts plus shipping and PA tax was $119.99.

Offline woodwreck

  • Posts: 178
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2011, 05:12 AM »
I didn't notice at first, but it looks like that double track has a piece that sticks down below?  So I guess that would always have to be at the ends of the material you are cutting.  Would be nice if it was just flat so you could position them anywhere on the workpiece.

I agree, MavDog, the double track is ~2" high intended for the front of a sacrificial face board on a miter gauge. Thus the saw track has to be ~1" above the surface of the work piece (not workable) or the sides have to protrude downward at the ends as mentioned. Please help me understand.

Thx.

P.S. I STAND CORRECTED.  Mikeneron, you are correct, but the protrusion is 5/8", not more as I suggested. It is perfect in solving the rear edge falling problem mentioned. 10-31
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 04:51 PM by woodwreck »
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Offline pugilato

  • Posts: 579
  • Pugilato is not really my name... Andy
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2011, 07:51 AM »
I have been using the poor man's version of the parallel guides for a while, and they work pretty good.  Bought an aluminum ruler, 36" long, and cut off the equivalent of the width of the rail (including splinter guard on the cutting edge) from the front end of the ruler with a miter saw.  Using one of those gizmos that are used on squares to mark stair treads (its early and my brain is not fully functional), I push the guide rail to the correct distance from the edge along the guide.  After double checking with a tape measure, I am confident this works well enough.

I first saw this on a web page dedicated to festools, which is no longer available (woodshopdemos.com has been taken over by someone else).  An older gentleman who I think passed recently (John Lucas) came up with the idea, so I claim no credit.

Offline woodwreck

  • Posts: 178
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2011, 04:47 PM »
The modification is that you need to make is to take one of the flip stops apart and move it to the other side.  When you do this the bolt is too short so you just need to get a longer bolt from HD and you are in business.

I rushed down to Rockler and bought the list but respectfully offer a suggestion. Instead of fiddling with the flip stop "modification" when reversing the two, simply displace/ slide the tape in the track to even them out.
Start slow, wind down gracefully

Offline crpaulk

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Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2011, 04:53 PM »
Very Nice. You will keep Festool on their toes.

Ron

Offline honeydokreg

  • Posts: 1674
    • honeydokreg@aol.com     email address
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2011, 06:10 PM »
Cool idea. What and where did you get the little bolts to attach to the rail the metric hex ones. We're they from hd. Or what

Thanks for sharing. ! 

That is my only gripe with the Parnell guides. Well 2. They hang down and metric scale
pay attention to the details.... they make the difference... festool does
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Offline Sometimewoodworker

  • Posts: 752
    • Jerome's  Other work
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2011, 05:41 AM »
Cool idea. What and where did you get the little bolts to attach to the rail the metric hex ones. We're they from hd. Or what

Thanks for sharing. ! 

That is my only gripe with the Parnell guides. Well 2. They hang down and metric scale

this will solve your problem





Ful detail http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-how-to/key-additions-to-the-festool-fs-pa-and-fs-pa-vl/
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nui-jerome/

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2011, 09:56 AM »
Jerome,

It must be a PIA to get into your house now or is that your car keys, in which case it must be a PIA to unlock and start the thing.  [big grin]

Offline Sometimewoodworker

  • Posts: 752
    • Jerome's  Other work
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2011, 11:45 AM »
Jerome,

It must be a PIA to get into your house now or is that your car keys, in which case it must be a PIA to unlock and start the thing.  [big grin]

Well I can be sure not to loose my spare keys now  ;D
I fact 3 are keys to roadside emergency telephone boxes. I'm not sure if the phones are still there but there used to be a lot around the UK set up and maintained by the RAC then later by the AA
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nui-jerome/

Offline woodwreck

  • Posts: 178
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2011, 06:37 PM »
Cool idea. What and where did you get the little bolts to attach to the rail the metric hex ones. We're they from hd. Or what

Thanks for sharing. ! 

Honeyd... I think your question might have been overlooked - the bolts shown in the pic are "socket head screws" available as metric or english thread, stainless, black, or zinc, at better Ace and other hardware stores carrying large bolt & nut selections. HD usually won't carry too many of these. FYI
Start slow, wind down gracefully

Offline honeydokreg

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Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2011, 08:56 PM »
Wood wreck thanks for keeping an eye out for me as it was overlooked and I was just getting ready to jump up and down like a crazy man.  [doh]. Thanks I will go and get some of them !!!! 
pay attention to the details.... they make the difference... festool does
www.builtinking.com
youtube channel:  builtinsbykreg

Offline woodwreck

  • Posts: 178
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2011, 06:27 AM »
Here is a simple system I came up with for duplicating the function of the parallel guides.  Everything is off the shelf parts that you can buy and only one small modification is needed.  One feature I like about this is that each guide rail sits on top of the piece of wood so nothing is hanging down on the sides like the Festool set.  I used it this weekend and it worked out great.  I know it is not as nice as the real thing but it worked great for making a bunch of accurate repetitive cuts.

(Attachment Link)



Many thanks for sharing the elusive alternative to the cost of the FT product. Also, many thanks to MIKENERON for the similar solution which credits your work.

Having gained from both, please allow me to offer a couple of observations:
1. The Rockler brackets at some $30 a pair IIRC provide only one screw in the channel (and two on the guide rail). A simple Stanley or Ace 4" flat 'T' bracket provides 2 x 2 screw holes for the necessary 90-degree rigidity, and at a cost of $5 a pair.
2. The Rockler flip stops at $30 a pair are first class, but if desired can very easily be replaced by a sliding block with the cost of two thumb screws apiece as shown in his.
3. For those who might prefer a hex driver to thumb screws, 1/4-20 x 3/8" socket or button head screws provide a great alternative to the T-bolts also eliminating the need for a spacer and are available from fine hardware stores or readily from the good folks at 80/20 extrusions (specify 1" extrusion).

Your mutually generous sharing results in a first class product solving the edge support issue for careful  moderate use, for roughly $70 - $115.

On the other hand, in the interest of balance and fairness, the $260 Festool product is made of torsion bar aluminum construction, attached to the guide rail underneath in two channels, providing the pre-requisite industrial grade strength use for a commercial application. You get what you pay for.

Thank you both for sharing your ingenuity.    [thumbs up]


« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 06:32 AM by woodwreck »
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Offline MavDog

  • Posts: 115
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2011, 12:22 PM »
Glad people have found this alternative useful.  It has been working out great for me and allowed me to spend the money on a CXS and RO90 instead of the parallel guides. ;D  They are still on my list for a future purchase though.

Offline Noah Nordrum

  • Posts: 58
Re: Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2011, 06:40 PM »
Was making some SysPorts today and came up with another alternative for parallel guides.

43911-0

Now I realize most people probably don't have the LR-32 kit, but I was able to get consistent cuts up to ~400mm using the guide in the middle and you can push it further by going to the guide with the t-track.

MFT/3, CT26, TS55, OF1400, CXS, RO 90, RO 150, LR-32, Domino