Author Topic: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides  (Read 31911 times)

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Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« on: October 01, 2011, 11:16 PM »
I have seen a couple of these threads since joining the forum, but Mavdog's really pushed me to make my own. (http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/homemade-parallel-guides).

Unfortunately, he got all his stuff from Rocker and since I am in Canada the shipping would have been as much as the parts.  I also didn't like that the Rockler tracks had to be positioned right at the edges of the piece you are cutting.  So I tried searching around and found that Incra has a product called T-Track plus so I decided to give it a try.  Everything else is pretty standard stuff you can find at Lee Valley or Home Depot.  I wanted a hairline indicator to be able to accurately see the tape measure.  I just made the plastic out of an old CD case and cut it up to fit.  Then put some painter's tape over it and scored it with a knife and then took a marker to the line.  Once I took the tape off, it was a nice hairline.  The only problem was the hairline was hard to get square to the sliding block so if I can find something a little better, I will probably swap it out but this works pretty good for now.  The tape has 1/16" increments on one side and 1/32" increments on the other, so you definitely need a hairline indicator to read it.

The things I like the most about this jig:
1) Tracks can be moved across the entire length of the guide rail.
2) Cutting distances ranges from 10" up to 39.5". Extra length could be had by buying a bigger T-Track plus.
3) Festool quick clamps (491594) fit in the T-Track plus so they can be used to hold down the material you are cutting.  Most often with my cutting table, I am only ever able to use one clamp at the edge...this eliminates that problem.
4) No more fussing around with lining up the guide rail to my pencil marks.  The clear strip gets chewed up over time and becomes less reliable.  I would spend as much time double checking my measurements as I did cutting, so this should really reduce the amount of time it will take me to cut out a bunch of parts for my next project.

For more info on all the parts used and some more pictures: http://mcameron.dyndns.org/album/gallery.asp?alno=49
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 11:21 PM by mikeneron »

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Offline Dovetail65

  • Posts: 4619
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Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2011, 11:30 PM »
Looks really nice. I have about 20 of those tracks laying around, this is one thing I could do with them.
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline JD2720

  • Posts: 1129
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 11:38 PM »
Great job Mike!!!

Excellent design.

I somehow missed the other thread, but I do like your design better.

Just a thought. If you need to make wider cuts, could 2 of the Incra tracks be joined together with Festool rail connectors?
 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 11:49 PM by Chris Rosenberger »

Offline Julian Tracy

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Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 02:27 AM »
Nice idea.

If you were to route a matching groove in the bottom of your stop block where it meets the rail's t-slot, you'd be able to have only one knob and still have a secure, slip-free connection, but only have one knob to loosen to slide instead of two.  It'd also make it more accurate as it'd eliminate any side to side play.

I have the parallel guides and have yet to use them, but these alternatives make me want to make my own and sell the Festool ones.  Who wants to start thinking mm's anyways?

Julian

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2011, 03:50 PM »

Just a thought. If you need to make wider cuts, could 2 of the Incra tracks be joined together with Festool rail connectors?
 

I don't see why that wouldn't work...you would just need some extra Incra lexan rulers though.

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2644
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2011, 07:01 PM »

Just a thought. If you need to make wider cuts, could 2 of the Incra tracks be joined together with Festool rail connectors?
 

I don't see why that wouldn't work...you would just need some extra Incra lexan rulers though.

Unfortunately the Festool Guide Rail Connectors will not fit into the Incra Tracks.  But, how often do you need to setup for a parallel cut wider than the 39.5" that this arrangement allows?  

Great job, Mike!

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2011, 08:08 PM »
You are right, the guide rail connectors don't fit the Incra track.  I figured since the quick clamps fit that the connectors would as well.  Probably not too often I would need that wide of a cut anyways, but I'm sure there is something out there you could use to connect the tracks if you had to.

Offline John Stevens

  • Posts: 816
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Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 10:27 PM »
I wanted a hairline indicator to be able to accurately see the tape measure.  I just made the plastic out of an old CD case and cut it up to fit.  Then put some painter's tape over it and scored it with a knife and then took a marker to the line.  Once I took the tape off, it was a nice hairline.  The only problem was the hairline was hard to get square to the sliding block so if I can find something a little better, I will probably swap it out but this works pretty good for now.  The tape has 1/16" increments on one side and 1/32" increments on the other, so you definitely need a hairline indicator to read it.

Nice job, Mike, thanks for sharing your work here.  I agree about needing a hairline cursor.  Incra's stops extend over the measuring tapes, but even so, I find it time-consuming to align them without a hairline cursor.  US Plastics sells half-rod clear acrylic stock, in case you're interested.

By the way, I really like how you used an ordinary "T" bracket to mount the t-track plus to the Festool rail.

Regards,

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

Offline HappyCamper

  • Posts: 30
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2011, 05:50 PM »
Thanks for posting all the links and the photos.  Great work!

Offline HappyCamper

  • Posts: 30
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 01:42 PM »
Was just about to order some of these parts on line, but a couple of questions.  As to the Lee Valley T nuts, they seem to only come in 1 or two inch lengths.  Did you cut them?  As to the round knobs, which one (which letter) did you order.  Thanks. 

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 01:55 PM »
The T-bolts I used were all 1"...I would have rather used 3/4", but that's all I could find. 

The 1" round knobs were part of a jig set that Lee Valley used to carry.  I would have used them on the entire jig, but I only had 8.  I think these ones would work: http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware/page.aspx?p=61652&cat=3,43576,61994,61652.  Just make sure that the bolt can go all the way through and out the top.  You could also use thumb screws as well, but they are a bit pricey.

If you check out my album in the link below, there is a questions section where I linked to most of the parts I used.
http://mcameron.dyndns.org/album/gallery.asp?alno=49

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2011, 12:28 AM »
If you were to route a matching groove in the bottom of your stop block where it meets the rail's t-slot, you'd be able to have only one knob and still have a secure, slip-free connection, but only have one knob to loosen to slide instead of two.  It'd also make it more accurate as it'd eliminate any side to side play.

Just wanted to update this thread.  As per Julian's advice, I made the stop blocks shorter with a groove on the bottom, thus now only having 1 knob.  I also used a store-bought hairline indicator.

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2011, 02:17 AM »
Another update.  I wasn't happy with the T-connectors as they were a bit sloppy.  Thanks to Claimdude (Jack) for posting his variation of my variation  [smile].  

I just used a piece of 3/4" plywood and cut out a 7/16" rabbet for it to fit over the Festool rail.  I also cut a 1/2" groove for the Incra track to sit in.  A Festool guide connector (cut in 2 pieces) was then used to connect the plywood to the Festool rail.  Now the connection is really solid and the Incra track is at 90 degrees to the Festool rail.

For cutting pieces that are smaller than 10", you can just create a template that is exactly 10" wide. You can make it whatever length you want, but unless you are cutting very long pieces, then something around 2 feet should be OK. You will need a separate template for each thickness of material you will be working with (ie. 1/2", 3/4", etc).  All you need to do is butt your template up with the smaller piece that you are cutting. Just make sure there is no space between them and your template is touching the stop blocks on the parallel rails. Then set your parallel rails to 10+whatever width you want your final piece to be. So if you wanted to make a 3" cut, set your parallel rails to 13" and make the cut.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 02:26 AM by mikeneron »

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides (now with Instamorph)
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2012, 12:49 AM »
Thanks to Peter Halle for introducing Instamorph.
Check This Out!-instamorph
A quick cheap way to set a rail square to your work

I have once again updated my homemade parallel guides using Instamorph.  This got rid of the need for all the various hardware to attach the parallel guides to the guide rails.  It took me a few tries to get it the way I wanted it, but with Instamorph you have unlimited tries to get it right.

For more info on all the parts used and some more pictures: http://mcameron.dyndns.org/album/gallery.asp?alno=52
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 12:56 AM by mikeneron »

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2012, 03:43 AM »
I was wondering when someone was going to try it for this.  How does it work for you?  By the looks of it you were able to achieve a much smoother and polished appearance than I.  Oh well, I never was good with Playdough in school either.  [eek]

It was nice that Incra supplied an indexing hole for you.  I take it that the attachment to the rail is very snug now.  I found that Instamorph does shrink while cooling  [doh] so do not remove the mating part while it cools or it may not fit.  Hope that you didn't have to go thru that.

Please keep us updated.  Another poster wrote at one time about Morph failing in time.

Peter

Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2012, 01:27 PM »
I just kept reheating the Instamorph until I found the right size and shape to work with, so I did each one in one shot and not layering it on which may be why it looks smoother.  I found the fit to be a bit too snug actually, so after it had all cooled I reheated just the part that slides in the guide rail a little bit and then worked that back and forth a bunch of times so it slides better but still has a fairly snug fit.  Without that small indexing hole in the Incra slides, the Instamorph would have just slid right off as it doesn't stick to metal.

I guess I will see how it holds up over time.  I'm pretty impressed how tough Instamorph is so am doubtful that it would fail for this application.  It can easily support the rail when I pick the whole thing up by grabbing onto the Incra rails.  IF it were to fail down the road, then I could just easily reheat it and remold it pretty quick.

Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2012, 08:33 PM »
Mike

I really like the parallel guides you did and hopefully don't mind people borrowing your idea.  I do have a question for you, the T Track plus has a measuring tape on it, but in your 3 questions, you mention 2 Lexan scales?  Did you replace what came with the t track?

Thanks
Bryan
Bryan

TS 55, (2) 1400 Guide Rails, 1900 Guide Rail, MFT/3, Domino DF 500, 2 domino systainers, ETS 150/3, RO 90, CT 26, (2) OF1400, RO 150. RTS 400, LR 32 set, PS300 jigsaw, 3 abrasive systainers, (2) sys toolbox, (2) sys mini, clamps and other accesories

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2644
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2012, 08:47 PM »
Mike

I really like the parallel guides you did and hopefully don't mind people borrowing your idea.  I do have a question for you, the T Track plus has a measuring tape on it, but in your 3 questions, you mention 2 Lexan scales?  Did you replace what came with the t track?

Thanks
Bryan

The scales (or measuring tape) on the Incra tracks are Lexan scales.



Offline mikeneron

  • Posts: 217
Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2012, 12:23 AM »
Mike

I really like the parallel guides you did and hopefully don't mind people borrowing your idea.  I do have a question for you, the T Track plus has a measuring tape on it, but in your 3 questions, you mention 2 Lexan scales?  Did you replace what came with the t track?

Thanks
Bryan

Don't mind at all, that's the reason why I posted it.  I can't take full credit for the idea though as I got it from a couple of other threads on here.

Yes, the T Track plus does come with scales, but keep in mind that because the guide rails take up the first 8 inches or so you will be cutting that part of the tape measures off.  So I was left with a space on the far end of the track with no measurements.  So I ordered the 32" to 48" and then cut off part of that as I bought the 36" version of the T Track, thus it goes to about 41" in total.  If you decide to go with a longer or shorter T Track plus, you may have to get a different one.  Make sure to get the 48"-32" (#7) http://www.incrementaltools.com/PARTS_INCRA_Imperial_Scales_p/pc-scales.htm.  I bought the wrong one the first time.  I taped each section of the lexan scales together where they overlap with scotch tape and also put hot glue on either end to keep them stuck to the T Track plus.  They can be moved and once you have it calibrated you don't want them moving.

I attached a picture as well for clarification.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 01:14 AM by mikeneron »

Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: Yet Another Homemade Parallel Guides
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2012, 10:44 AM »
Mike,

Thank you.  Now it makes sense.
Bryan

TS 55, (2) 1400 Guide Rails, 1900 Guide Rail, MFT/3, Domino DF 500, 2 domino systainers, ETS 150/3, RO 90, CT 26, (2) OF1400, RO 150. RTS 400, LR 32 set, PS300 jigsaw, 3 abrasive systainers, (2) sys toolbox, (2) sys mini, clamps and other accesories