Author Topic: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail  (Read 1848 times)

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Offline simonh

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NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« on: January 21, 2020, 07:35 AM »
I’m a hobbyist / maker. During making many fitted units using sheet goods I wanted a better way to secure the Festool guide rail to sheet goods including melamine, plywood, MDF and even sheets of acrylic. Some of these surfaces are slick and the guide rail can tend to slip, not good when you are cutting frameless cupboard doors perfectly square from sheets of MFMDF costing upwards of £150/$200. I wanted a quick easy way to clamp the guide rail while I made the cut without using traditional clamps that require access to the underside of the sheet and can often cause the rail to slip when you apply pressure.  I designed some vacuum clamping pods that connect to a vacuum pump (not a dust extractor / vacuum cleaner) and then just simply drop into the rail and use a ¼ turn of a valve to apply and release the pressure quickly. 

I’ve now used these for over a year on various project and they’ve gone through a few design iterations. After showing some woodworking friends they liked the idea encouraged me to make a few.

I’ve just made my first production run and have a limited number of sets available. During design and development, I took the decision that they should be built from high-quality components, so all the pneumatics connectors are Festo and they are engineered from POM engineering plastic which is durable but also forgiving enough not to damage the delicate surfaces.

I’ve attached a few pictures at the bottom of the post showing them in use. And I’ve also put a couple of YouTube videos online:




They are listed for sale on e-bay UK (with ebay international shipping enabled):

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/114077757491

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/114077879077 incl KD4-CK-6 connector suitable for VAC-SYS

Any questions just drop me a PM.

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Guide Rail Vacuum Clamp System (VCS-R) for Festool® guide rail tracks

What is it?

A high-quality accessory designed to firmly clamp your Festool guide rail to MDF*, Plywood, Laminate, Acrylic with the use of a vacuum pump. CNC machined from POM engineering plastic with push fit Festo pneumatic connectors.

Benefits

•   Improve safety. No more trying to hold down the rail while pushing the saw along!
•    Compatible with Festool® and similar guide rails
•   Quick ‘no tool required’ attachment and removal.
•   Speed up your workflow and save time.  No more fiddling with clamps.
•   Works without access to the underside of the material, ideal for breaking down sheets flat on the bench / floor.
•   Optional secure mounting for use even on vertical surfaces.
•   Unlike clamps it doesn’t shift the rail position when clamping force is applied.
•   Works with the TSO Guide Rail Square and Parallel Guide System. No rail slippage even on long cuts.

How do I use it?
Align the rail to your cut mark. Place a couple of VCS-R modules in the groove of the rail. Turn the valve a quarter turn. Make the cut. Afterwards, turn the valve quarter turn to release the vacuum pressure. Perfect cuts every time!

What else do I need?
You need a vacuum clamping pump such as the Festool VAC-SYS or another system such as VacuPress. We can supply a Festo KD4 connection at extra cost to connect to the Festool VAC-SYS pump. For other systems you will need an adaptor from 8mm O.D tubing to your system. You also need a Festool or similar guide rail.

*Due to the porous nature of MDF vacuum pressure may be reduced but in testing there was still enough suction down to 9mm MDF to hold a guide rail secure enough to make a cut.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 11:21 AM by simonh »
-Simon

Online DynaGlide

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2020, 09:21 AM »
@simonh That's really cool what you've come up with. I envision a setup with a splitter to hold down cabinet sides to a vac sys head while simultaneously clamping the LR-32 rail to the top for line boring. Would this be possible? @ $265 USD to get it delivered it's too rich for me currently but I do hope you continue to put these kits together in the future.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline simonh

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2020, 09:40 AM »
Thanks for your support. Great idea! I'll look into what fittings are available for splitting the line to support both usages simultaneously.

I went through the eBay global shipping programme to take care of all the international stuff at this moment. Hopefully, in future there may be a free trade agreement between UK / US / Canada would be beneficial not only for you guys to get Festool stuff from the UK but also for my addiction to Incra and Jessem tools!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 06:02 PM by simonh »
-Simon

Online DynaGlide

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2020, 09:50 AM »
Thanks for your support. Great idea! I'll look into what fittings are available for splitting the line to support both usages simultaneously.

I went through the eBay global shipping programme to take care of all the international stuff at this moment. Hopefully, in future there may be an opportunity to have a reseller state-side eliminate the need for such a service and international postage costs. That, and a free trade agreement between UK / US / Canada would be beneficial not only for you guys to get Festool stuff from the UK but also for my addiction to Incra and Jessem tools!

In looking at pictures of the LR-32 setup since I haven't used mine in a while it looks like your pods would clear the LR-32 base plate. And the router plunges on the cutting side of the rail so no issues there. Festool supplies the necessary splitter components integral with the second head accessory for their pump with a built in shut off valve. I envision having your heads permanently connected to the pump via this splitter and when you need to do LR-32 stuff you just turn the valve down at the pump and off you go. Using quick clamps or screw clamps with the rail is a little cumbersome when line boring and I think your pods would be just the ticket.

If you need to send me some for ahem evaluation. .purposes.

Matt
Instagram @matts.garage

Online Cheese

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2020, 10:27 AM »
That's an interesting approach.  [smile]  Good choice on using Delrin type material.

Have you used these in a vertical application?

Did you ever compare the VCS-R to the Festool Gecko option?

Offline TinyShop

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2020, 10:54 AM »
@Simon H - Thanks for posting - you've given me some great ideas! [hint - a set of slightly rectangular shop-made Vac-Clamp-inspired (and Peter Halle- inspired) HDPE clamping "holdowns" - powered by my air compressor (not a vac pump) modified with a kerf to accept the raised profile of the guide rail).]
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 10:57 AM by TinyShop »
ETS 150/5 EQ (DE) [po], TS 75 EQ (DE) [po], OF 1400 EQ-F (DE) [n], CXS (DE) [n], CMS-GE [DE] [po], CMS TS 75 (DE) [n], LA-CS 50/CMS (DE) [po], VB-CMS (DE) [n], MFT/3 (CZ) [n], DF 700 EQ w/Seneca Small Mortise Kit (DE) [po], FEIN Multimaster 350 QSL (DE) [n], Bosch 1274DVS w/dust collection, sanding frame,  stand & fence (CH) [n], BOSCH 1590EVS w/dust collection (CH) [n], CS Unitec CS 1445 HEPA extractor <re-branded Starmix ISP 1435 H> (DE) [n], CT SYS (DE) [po], Milwaukee 0302-20 (US) [n], Two (2) Porter Cable 862 (TW) [n], Porter Cable 447 (US) [n], Zyliss Vise (CH) [nos], Hitachi C 8FB (JP) [h], Walko 4 MKII (NL) [nos], Festool MFS 400 w/add-on 700 profiles & router slide (DE) [n], Festool RAS 115 (DE) [n]

[po] pre-owned   [n] new   [nos] new old stock   [h] heirloom   (XX) country of origin

Offline ChuckM

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2020, 11:38 AM »
I'm looking into this Australian product:

https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/hand-tools/clamps/59743-vacuum-clamp-systems

I've got a compressor, and if after clarifying with the vendor that all I need is the compressor, I'll try a double-sided system. If any one of you has used that system, single sided or double, please share your thoughts.

Edit: Just realized this is the same system as TinyShop's quoted vac-clamp.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 12:02 PM by ChuckM »

Offline simonh

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 09:58 AM »
Thanks to everyone who's purchased them or given feedback.

I don't see why they shouldn't work with a LR32 rail. None of the vacuum pod protrudes beyond the T channel and the height is only 16mm so barely above the rail. I've used them with a router on the rail to clean-up the edge of some melamine that was used for doors where I wanted both faces perfectly chip free.

There are a couple of M6 bolts and nuts to fix the pods to the rail either for permanent use rather than dropping them in/out and also suitable if you need to affix to a vertical surface. The only use I have tried with them in that position was on the bottom of a door after fitting some new flooring. They worked fine although I felt less comfortable man-handling a saw in the vertical position even though I've watched professional chippies do that procedure numerous times! I'm not sure what you have in mind as I've seen some people designing vertical panel saw type systems but you'd have to try it and see if that was your thought as I have no experience of that.

The key advantage over the Gecko would be a wider range of materials that can be used with an active vacuum system. Just like with the Vac-Sys work holding clamping theres no problem with things like plywood, most solid wood, melamine, acrylic etc.  When used with MDF there is a loss of suction due to the porous nature of the material, but because it is only holding a rail to the surface I've found that the suction is adequate even on 9mm plywood to make a good accurate cut.

I've no experience of using an air-compressor system for vacuum clamping. I remember seeing Peter Halle video at the start of my journey, and the original prototype that I still keep isn't too dissimilar to what you are describing :)

*edited as noted below*
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 03:31 AM by simonh »
-Simon

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 10:42 AM »
@simonh  I think you need to edit the first sentence of your post above. Omit the second word?

PS. Your very rational and 100% correct IME review of the TSO parallel guide system gives me more confidence that your clamps are well though out and ready for work.

Online Mike Goetzke

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2020, 10:52 AM »
@simonh  I think you need to edit the first sentence of your post above. Omit the second word?

PS. Your very rational and 100% correct IME review of the TSO parallel guide system gives me more confidence that your clamps are well though out and ready for work.

Or replace it with "to"?  [big grin]

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2020, 12:11 PM »
@simonh

You “don’t see why they should work”?

So, they won’t work with the LR32 sled?

Offline simonh

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Re: NEW: VCS-R vacuum clamping system for Festool guide rail
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2020, 03:35 AM »
Thanks for pointing out the errors in my post. I must find out how to get Grammerly working in my browser to at least catch my basic grammatical errors!

It should have read that "I don't see why they shouldn't work" with the LR32.
-Simon