Author Topic: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner  (Read 2043 times)

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Offline RG1597

  • Posts: 3
Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« on: January 01, 2021, 08:08 AM »
Happy new year and hello from something of an imposter - I don't own any Festool kit, heck, I'm not even a craftperson / maker / tradesman, but I am a hobbyist designer. I'm currently planning out a cabinet in Fusion 360 that will be largely fabricated by a flatbed CNC router, but there are butt joints where I wish to employ the strength and minimal appearance of the Domino loose tenon joints. Mortices in board faces will be cut by the CNC, but mortices cut on the panel ends will have to be done with a Domino cutter as the flatbed router can't machine these faces.

I'm trying to make this 'hand' machining element (everything off the CNC) as simplistic as possible and one of the big attractions of domino joints is the ability to standardise the inset from panel ends with the use of the fins/pins. Here is my first question - is the dimension from the pin to the cutter centreline 37mm? This is what I have read, but it would be good to have it confirmed.

Secondly, can someone help me understand how the height of the mortice is set? As I understand it, if cutting in to the end of a board, the workpiece is layed down flat and the domino either rested on the same surface - with the cutter ending up 10mm to centre up the thickness of the workpiece;

or it's suspended in air with the fence flat on the upper face of the workpiece and the thickness of the material (either 18 or 19mm in my case) set on the fence material thickness setting.

In this latter case does the cutter end up exactly half way up the material thickness? (9/9.5mm for a 18/19mm setting)

I assume the latter is the most accurate as you're not replying on the flatness of the worksurface but rather using the Domino fence as the datum, although perhaps requires a little more user skill?

If all this info is freely available somewhere please feel free to point it out to me. I had a look in the manual, but could see any mention of these figures. Thanks in advance for any help.

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Offline Roseland

  • Posts: 687
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2021, 08:25 AM »
Firstly welcome to the forum, and a Happy New Year.

I would not cut the board face mortices on the CNC but do them with the Domino too; that way the fence height you set will be exactly the same cutting both types of mortice.

I would not get concerned about the distance from the centreline to the paddle, or the height of the cutter from the base.  And I wouldn't rely on the board resting flat on a work surface.

You don't say what the thickness of the board is, what size Dominoes you intend using (typically one third of the board thickness), both of which would be good to know.

If you say where you are, you may well get a forum member show you what you need to do...

Andrew
TS55, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, CT26, RS100, ETS125, CXS, MFS400, DF-500, Zobos.

Offline Birdhunter

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Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2021, 10:18 AM »
There are some excellent YouTube videos on the use of the Domino machine. Both Halfinchshy and New Brit Workshop do a good intro.

I suggest watching those videos a couple of times and experimenting with scrap wood. The Domino is an excellent machine, but there is a learning curve.

I use the fence to set the distance (depth) from the top of the wood. I never reference off a flat surface although some people do. There are preset depths that make it easy to return to a previous depth.

I never rely on the flappers (fins). I use a scale to mark where the mortise is too be drilled on both pieces. A sharp pencil suffices. I always cut the mortise on one side with the narrow setting and the matching mortise on the other side with the medium setting. This gives me some wiggle room for alignment.
Birdhunter

Offline RG1597

  • Posts: 3
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2021, 11:33 AM »
Thanks for the replies, the reason for cutting the board face on the CNC is that this design is primarily tailored towards a flexible form of batch production, as I am a skill-less pleb when it comes to woodworking. Ideal there would be no 'manual' processes other than assembly, but in this case to get a strong enough joint the domino seems necessary. I'm planning it to use in conjunction with the Hafele Rafix connectors and no glue, and have explored other options for discrete knock-down fixings, but nothing else I've found seems to give the same combination of strength and assembly options.

I appreciate what you're saying about using the domino to cut the face of the board too, and it did cross my mind, but it would be more labour intensive and require extra jigs, which goes against the grain of what I'm trying to achieve - a semi customisable batch production design. If I understand correctly too, in order to cut in to the face I couldn't use the fence, but would have to use the square edge of the domino against a jig - which would put the cut always 10mm centre away from the edge of the jig?

Anyway, the board is going to be either 18mm ply or 19mm Valchromat, probably a combination of both. I planned to use the 5x30mm domino, I think this was because I'd read that the 6mm cutters can be a little bit unreliable / wear faster, although this is going back a bit now. Ideally the mortice would be right in the centre of the board as it would eliminate the need to have to orient the board the a particular way up; if I use the fence can I set the thickness to 19mm and this is what would happen?

« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 12:06 PM by RG1597 »

Offline afish

  • Posts: 364
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2021, 12:34 PM »
So, yes the cutter is 10mm to center from bottom of the tool. However there are many ways to reference the mortice height. "Seneca" makes a domiplate that is milled to adjust that 10mm height for common thickness of material.  The problem is the variances in different types of different manufactures.  Many may call their product 18mm or 19mm but it is often a mm or 2 off.  SO the domiplate may or maynot land you "exactly" in the middle.  You may have to shim it to get it perfect.  Or the other popular method is the using the fence and the preset height adjuster but it is also limited which is usually OK since most register off the same face so the minor offset doesn't really matter.  The height adjuster works in this scenario and also allows switching between different thickness of stock quick and easy it also means that your domino is rarely if ever centered.  If you want to center your domino the best way I have found is using the depth rod on a 6" caliper.  Take your "exact" material thickness and divide it in half then add in the 10mm for the bottom to center of cutter dimension add those two together to set your dial caliper depth rod and then use the caliper to set the fence.  I have some more detailed posts on here if you search.  As far as the paddles go yes 37mm is supposed to be correct but from what I can tell this seems to vary from machine to machine since the paddles are not typically perfect out of the box.  In my case I could not get any combo (festool gives you a couple different paddles to fine tune this) paddles so I had to resort to sanding one down to get it exact.  When I say exact I'm referring to being able to cut one mortise with the left paddle then flip the domino around 180° and cut another mortise with the right paddle and have the ends match up perfectly. I cannot say this is exactly 37mm since I haven't measured it since it doesn't matter for most or myself.  I doubt its "exactly" 37mm and will probably vary several thousands from machine to machine so you would probably need to buy one and make some test cuts and verify the accuracy of your particular unit.  I dont know exactly what you are designing or building but I would recommend you also look at the MAfell DDF40 based on your needs I think it may be a better option for you.  Hafele makes the Ixconnect KD fitting that will work with the DDF40.  The DDF40 also has a positioning guide that would allow repeatable and more precise positioning along the length of the material, opposed to referencing off of other holes.

Offline RG1597

  • Posts: 3
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2021, 02:03 PM »
Thanks for that, all really great info, and I'll definitely be looking further into the DDF40.

I'm aware of the tolerance (or lack of it) in Ply and I'll have to allow for that in my design. That's one appealing thing about using Valchromat as the tolerances are so much higher, but I won't want to use it all over for cost and aesthetic reasons. Sound like I'll need to have the a level of tolerance designed in to my mortices or elongate the slots slightly in a way I believe the DF500 can do. Whatever I end up doing it sounds like I'll have to do quite a few tests to make sure the cutter is correctly calibrated in both directions.

Thanks again.


Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3353
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2021, 03:57 PM »
I own the DDF40 and it is a very precise machine and comes with excellent positioning accessories. However, YouTube videos are sparse. I also own both Domino machines. Each has a sweet spot in applications.

In reading the OP’s description of the work, I’d plan to use the Domino 500 simply because it’s fast and allows for variations in material and technique.
Birdhunter

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 205
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2021, 06:26 PM »
It sounds to me as if you are looking to make this as "automatic" as possible with unskilled workers?
If that is the case, it seems like the df500 is the way to go. It can be set to a specific width/depth of cut and be nearly foolproof. I would work from the paddles in the edges and use the optional cross-stops for the ones between and reference from the base of the machine. Then do all of the "adjusting" on the CNC side of things. You could move the slots on the face of the panel to compensate, since the "theoretical" 10mm will never change, whether it's actually dead on 10mm or not. Consistency on the df500 side of the equation makes that far more realistic.











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Offline Svar

  • Posts: 2334
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2021, 06:49 PM »
Does you CNC allow mounting the panels vertically? It would be multi step operation (cut shape, reposition, cut edge mortices), but eliminate the need for manual work with Domino.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 2041
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2021, 09:52 AM »
Maybe I misunderstood what you are doing and possible didn't see another suggest this . .  . If you are trying to create knock-down type of piece, the Domino Connector hardware is a good choice. It would allow you to easily cut the Domino joints and use hardware to securely assemble the piece, but have the option of taking it apart again easily. Just a suggestion (assuming that is what you are trying to do.)
Randy

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3353
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Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2021, 10:31 AM »
Agree on the quality of the Festool connectors. I've used the 700 size connector on a king sized bed frame. Several years later and two kids later (not mine), the bed is still rock solid. I've used the 500 sized connectors on some large knock down office furniture. Again, very solid joint.

On the negative side, the connectors are expensive and they require a lot of precision with the Domino. Reading the instructions carefully (2 or 3 times) and using a lot of blue tape for identifying where to cut helps.
Birdhunter

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 33
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2021, 11:37 AM »
Referencing the base of the Domino is one of those things that riles some people up.  But anyone who's actually done it can tell you that it works fine, and it will eliminate adjustment errors. 

I would work from the paddles in the edges ------. Then do all of the "adjusting" on the CNC side of things.

I agree with this guy.  Keep your Domino cuts as dumb as possible, and test for offsets in your CNC code to make it all pop together just right.  If the Domino's "loose" setting is looser than you want, but the "tight" setting is too tight, you can split the difference on the CNC side, and leave the Domino on the tight setting.

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 205
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2021, 01:10 PM »
Referencing the base of the Domino is one of those things that riles some people up.  But anyone who's actually done it can tell you that it works fine, and it will eliminate adjustment errors. 

I have heard this before, but I just don't get it? It puts the cut at 10mm from the base and does not very. People seem to love the Domiplate, but it references from the same place with a metal plate and a machined-in off-set? Why the hate?
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Offline Svar

  • Posts: 2334
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2021, 01:35 PM »
Referencing the base of the Domino is one of those things that riles some people up.  But anyone who's actually done it can tell you that it works fine, and it will eliminate adjustment errors. 
I have heard this before, but I just don't get it? It puts the cut at 10mm from the base and does not very. People seem to love the Domiplate, but it references from the same place with a metal plate and a machined-in off-set? Why the hate?
Because your work piece has to also lie flat on your work (reference) surface with no gap in between, which usually means extra clamping. Also requires flat clean work surface.
When referencing from fence you "clamp" and plunge simultaneously.
Using Domiplate is functionally the same as referencing from the fence. In fact it is a fence, just upside down.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 08:26 PM by Svar »

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2395
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2021, 04:13 PM »
Apart from Svar's points, there're applications that you can only do efficiently with the fence and not the base as the reference such as: stacked dominoes, thicker materials, and on-site situations where the luxury of a flat work surface is simply not available.

Using the base may work under the right conditions, of course. Granted, it may even be the way to go for certain custom or narrow applications (for example, for certain thickness of material). On the other hand, when the machine is used as it's designed, no extra conditions are imposed on the user. It's not about being right or wrong, but about being able to benefit from the full functionality of the machine (offset mortises are another example) without having to worry about tolerances more than necessary.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 05:53 PM by ChuckM »

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 33
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2021, 06:14 PM »
You guys did see that this is a cabinet, right?  Made from sheet goods.  In a facility that also has a flatbed CNC machine.  Do you really think that finding a flat surface is going to be a deal breaker?

Also, if you're worried about your workbench being too dirty to put stuff on, why are you not also worried about your workPIECE being clean enough for the fence to lay on top of?


Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 205
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2021, 08:11 PM »
You guys did see that this is a cabinet, right?  Made from sheet goods.  In a facility that also has a flatbed CNC machine.  Do you really think that finding a flat surface is going to be a deal breaker?

Also, if you're worried about your workbench being too dirty to put stuff on, why are you not also worried about your workPIECE being clean enough for the fence to lay on top of?
My point exactly. I'm not saying that the fence is bad, I use mine frequently, but the reference from the bottom of the machine is absolute. This is definitely not an every cut thing, but with 3/4" sheetgoods, why not?
I do it with shelves and carcass parts all the time. I have a set-up using the dog holes for the faces and do the ends of the other parts flat on the benchtop.
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Offline Svar

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Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2021, 08:18 PM »
You guys did see that this is a cabinet, right?  Made from sheet goods.  In a facility that also has a flatbed CNC machine.  Do you really think that finding a flat surface is going to be a deal breaker?
Also, if you're worried about your workbench being too dirty to put stuff on, why are you not also worried about your workPIECE being clean enough for the fence to lay on top of?
I have a bench made from 90 mm aluminum extrusions, flatter than most. Just placed couple random panels on it. One, 400 mm wide Baltic birch, had 0.5 mm bow in it. Another, 700 mm wide MDF, had 0.4 mm bow. And that's good quality stuff. Big Box grade plywood? Forget it. Sure, light clamping will take care of this, but it's an extra operation. Now, do it 200 times in a row checking which way the panel is warped and whether to clamp middle or corners.
Spotting and taking care of pieces of dust under domino fence is surely easier than under a large panel.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 08:23 PM by Svar »

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 205
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2021, 08:29 PM »
While laying flat on a work surface, the domino is a one-handed tool. Hold the bow down with the other hand and keep on trucking.  It doesn't have to be flat against the table everywhere at once, only right where the cut is being made. You're making this harder than it needs to be.
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Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2395
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2021, 09:04 PM »
The last time I handled sheet goods (3/4") for a project in multiple units (some six years ago), I used this fellow's approach: registering the base not against a bench surface but against the work (edge) and a filler board, in the same principle of registering the base against the side piece when cutting mortises for case or book shelves:

I (should) still have the spacer somewhere in the shop. If I worked with enough sheet goods, I'd probably get a Dominoplate.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 09:09 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 205
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2021, 08:31 AM »
ChuckM, that is essentially what my set up is doing. It just happens to be on a taller bookshelf were the bench dogs/fence eliminate the fiddling. A series of spacers work with the dog holes to make all of the parts identical/repeatable, but the reference point is the base of the machine. It uses the paddles on the sides and a center mark on the fence. On the particular job, there were 6 of these units, all machined at once so the they are completely interchangeable. No sorting or marking of the parts.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1400
MFK700
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2395
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2021, 09:53 AM »
ChuckM, that is essentially what my set up is doing. It just happens to be on a taller bookshelf were the bench dogs/fence eliminate the fiddling. A series of spacers work with the dog holes to make all of the parts identical/repeatable, but the reference point is the base of the machine. It uses the paddles on the sides and a center mark on the fence. On the particular job, there were 6 of these units, all machined at once so the they are completely interchangeable. No sorting or marking of the parts.

Other than when using the spacer jig (once) where the base is registered basically against the work itself, I use the fence (I deal with mostly hardwood; plywood for jigs or shop fixtures only). I can foresee that the base must be used for registration if the machine is mounted to some platform as a jig for horizontal mortising of parts (miters , e.g.).

Whenever possible, I use the paddles too. My paddles came dead-on with the machine (as shown in another post), but it wasn't the case for some others. I was told that the pins (old version) were easier to calibrate than the paddles.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 11:39 AM by ChuckM »

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 2041
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2021, 11:54 AM »
It has always seemed to me that, whether you use the base or the fence as the reference isn't important as long as you know and understand the differences and the requirements of each. I have found that, for me it's always easiest and makes the most sense to use the fence. That's the way the Domino is designed and it takes less thought about where the slot will end up. That's just me though  . . .
Randy

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2395
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2021, 12:51 PM »
It has always seemed to me that, whether you use the base or the fence as the reference isn't important as long as you know and understand the differences and the requirements of each. Snip.

That's true. People can use the machine however it suits them as long as it works. One-handed, upside down (you can find such a jig on the Internet), vertically (someone sells a cradle for that), titled, etc. Some people like to cut mortises dead centered in the stock thickness although the machine doesn't require so, and there's nothing wrong about that either (it does involve using a caliper).

In some cases, however, you do have to use the machine as designed in order to do the job properly: Image -- repetitive offset mortises using the fence for registration (impracticable to do so with the base used as the registration tool). This box consisted of 3 different groups of mortises (6 each in 2 of the groups (sides -- offset) and 12 in 1 group (top/front & back)).

I like to explore the machine's full functionality and stretch it. I'm sure some owners have no need or desire to use all the functions it offers.



« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 02:47 PM by ChuckM »

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 2041
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2021, 02:17 PM »
The Domino (whether it's the 500 or 700XL) is a stand-alone tool. Without any third-party or homemade jigs, it works as well as I need it to. The only time it fails me is when I make a mistake. There are some jigs which make use in mass production easier and more efficient, as when doing the same operation repetitively; hundreds of times. However, for me, the machine operates as well without third party or homemade jigs as it does with them. I have bought a couple and find that, almost always, I don't really need them.
Randy

Offline Birdhunter

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  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2021, 03:18 PM »
This thread has mutated faster than COVID.
Birdhunter

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2395
Re: Noob question on DF500 from a non-owner
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2021, 03:45 PM »
It's in the nature of social forum DNA. [tongue]