Author Topic: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...  (Read 3396 times)

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Offline joesan

  • Posts: 27
DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« on: April 21, 2022, 05:07 AM »

I'm making 12 wardrobes and 18 kitchen cabinets. My melamine MFC wood is CNC cut so will be millimetre accurate. What would make life easier for the build: the Festool DF500 or the Mafell DDF40?

The domino seems to be the preferred tool by most but I just want a quick way to get the cabinets connected quickly and in square so it seems like the doweller would be quickest. Quickly drill each side, clamping doesn't seem to be a requirement, drop in some glue and press together, perhaps with a screw or two to hold them together while the glue dries?

I like the look of the domino (plus it blue and green!) but it seems like there would be more work, put the boards down, clamp them, then drill, then there seems to be some slack to move the panels back and forth a bit to get the edges square. The Mafell automatically aligns them by virtue of there being zero play in the dowels.

Opinions on what's quickest/best for an amateur building?


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Offline Thistleman

  • Posts: 97
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2022, 05:41 AM »
Buying a tool to use on a one off project is always going to be a difficult decision, especially ones as expensive as either the DDF40 and DF500.

Both tools operate via a plunge action and require similar work holding to ensure accuracy and repeatability. I would argue that clamping of the workpiece is not essential and the necessary stability can be achieved by butting material against bench dogs or by utilising an anti slip mat.

With regards to movement or play in the joints you are correct that dowels do not allow for any movement. Dominos will only allow for lateral movement if you use anything other than the narrowest width setting of the mortice. Both machines will cut mortises/drill holes in perfect alignment so that edge/face alignment should not be an issue. Dowels leave no leeway for operator error, if you do not get the drill hole pairs perfectly aligned on the two boards you will not get the joint together. Dominos overcome this possibility if you cut one pair of mortises on the narrow/tight setting and the rest on the medium setting.

The DF500 IMHO is a more versatile machine, however the DDF40 has one trick that even the domino can’t manage; if you purchase the dedicated DDF guide bar you can then utilise it to drill 5mm holes on 32mm centres, an essential prerequisite if you want to make use of euro spec LR32 hardware

Both machines are well built, relatively simple to use for their basic functions and will make building you cabinets a simpler process with an improved outcome.

Personally I would err towards the DF500 but it is a close run thing. One alternative you have not mentioned is to purchase both😁
Festool, Mafell and Felder

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1361
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2022, 06:49 AM »
I've come to appreciate that the Domino isn't ideal in cabinet construction. I feel it adds unnecessary steps. I use it because I have it. The Duo Doweler is probably better suited but as mentioned has no room for error. I'm human and make mistakes so I always want some wiggle room to line things up.

The true king of joinery tools for sheet goods I think goes to the Zeta P2 but it's very expensive.

I guess I'd go Domino in your shoes since I find I use it on every project no matter what I'm building.

Regardless of tool I just screw the boxes together no glue with some clamping squares to line everything up. Then they get screwed to each other box and to the wall. Very sturdy.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2022, 06:51 AM by DynaGlide »
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3754
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2022, 12:59 PM »
I’m fortunate to have both Domino machines and the DDF40. All are great machines. For me, the DDF40 is a lot slower than the Domino and it’s darn hard to push in all the way whereas the Dominos are very easy to push in. If I need high precision, I use the DDF40. It is a beautiful machine!
Birdhunter

Offline Lincoln

  • Posts: 217
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2022, 05:20 PM »
I have the perfect combination, for me - the DDF40 and the 700 Domino. I use the DDF40 for cabinet work, the Domino for everything else. Being able to drill hardware holes, as well as shelf holes, with the doweller is a bonus. The accessories are fantastic and come in the kit, the build quality is superb.
For general timber work, I prefer the loose tenon approach.
If you do go for the DDF, get a pair of 8.2mm drill bits, if you are using MDF based material.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2022, 08:40 PM »
I also would go with the DDF40 if I could only pick one for cabinet work.  I like the Domino for making exposed domino drawers but when BB skyrocketed in price and was super hard to get I switched to metal drawer boxes which I like better since there is no finishing.  spraying drawers sucks. consumables are also a consideration with the Domino if you are making a lot of boxes.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5448
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2022, 09:27 PM »
I also would go with the DDF40 if I could only pick one for cabinet work.  I like the Domino for making exposed domino drawers but when BB skyrocketed in price and was super hard to get I switched to metal drawer boxes which I like better since there is no finishing.  spraying drawers sucks. consumables are also a consideration with the Domino if you are making a lot of boxes.

Do you mind sharing what you use and where you get them?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2022, 09:40 PM »
I have used a few different ones but usually Matrix from Hafele.  They have gone up considerably over the last year too but still better than buying BB and the labor to cut assemble and finish wood drawers for Kitchen.  If I was building a dresser or furniture then would probably use wood.  They dont have PTO option which kind of sucks but none do that I know of other than Blum.  If you dont have a ton of drawers then it might be worth splurging on Legrabox.  I did a few kitchens that had all drawers for the lowers and when you have 3 or 4 drawers per box Legrabox gets very very expensive fast.  Im starting to think about a new Kitchen for myself and will probably go with the more traditional 1 drawer and doors below with pull outs behind the doors with cheaper slides on the pullouts and splurge on the legrabox with PTO on the top drawer.  I wont ever build a lowers without either drawers or pullouts though. 

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5448
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2022, 09:53 PM »
Thanks! However, I was hoping you had found a cheaper option that would be good for utility drawers. I agree that wood is good for furniture.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2022, 10:05 PM »
The Hafele ones arnt bad last I looked about 30 something each. which is almost double a year ago.  but BB isnt cheap either. plus the time to buy basic undermount slides, cut, assemble and finish its still well worth it to me.

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 245
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2022, 12:33 AM »
Just did my own kitchen with Metabox- not nearly as swanky as Legra, but super fast and they work great.  I got the add-on soft closers too, which look dumb but actually work really well. 

I did all the system holes with LR32.  Can't do that with a Domino, but you CAN with the DDF40. 

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2022, 07:42 AM »
Pre cnc I had the LR32 and liked it.  I have other posts on how to maximize efficacy with it and mostly do away with those darn set back bars that I hated.  even though I have a DDF40 I have never used it to drill shelf pin holes so I cant say which is better.  "IF" you have a good sized mft style bench I would go with the LR32 (with a non festool router if your thrifty) once setup on a MFT style bench you can fly with it.  Plus it does the hinge cups too.  and the rail can pull double duty for cutting. If you are smart you opt to get the LR rail with the saw.  I didnt realize this was an option at the time but I guess some places let you pick a LR rail instead of the regular.  If you already have the rail and adapt a router you already have you can get into the LR32 for under $300 which is a steal. The "Mafell" templete is close to 800 bucks.  FS tools does make a more reasonable priced one.

As far as the drawers go here is a video of the Matrix A drawers.  They are the best option I have found for the money and availability. They also come in white which for the states is less common.  For some reason most slim line metal boxes only come in the Anthracite (dark grey) while they look nice it does make for more work since you will need to lay up your own material for the bottom and back since off the shelf cabinet liner or melamine does not match.  With the white drawers I just use off the shelf white cabinet liner and done.  The video says they are available with PTO but Im 99.5% sure its either soft close OR PTO. Blum is the only one I know of that has both soft close and PTO in one but last checked its about 4-5x the price and not available in white which equals more work. I will also say that the 89mm matrix drawer had a slightly more off white color than the deeper drawers.  Not sure if thats been corrected yet and the folks I built them for didnt notice but I did.  I mentioned it to the Hafele rep and he was going to mention it to the supplier.   

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 575
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2022, 08:42 AM »
The correct answer is NEITHER   [big grin]

The best and fastest way is is to have your CNC mill holes for dowels ( or any other system you choose like cabinotch , ect….)

The reason the df500 seems to be preferred is because this is a U.S. festool forum and the domino has cult status around here.  And it’ll do the job. The Mafell is not widely know, promoted or even available in the U.S. so that by itself keeps it from ever gaining widespread adoption. 

But neither is the most efficient tool if you have access to a cnc.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2022, 08:47 AM »
The other thing is a set of cheap under mount slides (ill use the KV since its the cheapest I could find) alone is going to be $26.50 for the just the slides and front locks.  The matrix A drawers come complete with the slim metal draw sides, full ext. soft close slides and all brackets/front locks needed for just around $10-15'ish more. I never broke down the numbers fully but Im not sure anyone can beat that cost with wood where its at using full ext. soft close undermounts. I should have ordered a few pallets of each when they were half price. even the Metabox is around $20 per drawer now.  I think they were around $7 pre covid  [mad] either way even if the Matrix A have almost doubled  [mad] they are still the best bang for the buck IMOif you dont want or need both soft close and PTO in one. 

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2022, 09:17 AM »
The correct answer is NEITHER   [big grin]

The best and fastest way is is to have your CNC mill holes for dowels ( or any other system you choose like cabinotch , ect….)

The reason the df500 seems to be preferred is because this is a U.S. festool forum and the domino has cult status around here.  And it’ll do the job. The Mafell is not widely know, promoted or even available in the U.S. so that by itself keeps it from ever gaining widespread adoption. 

But neither is the most efficient tool if you have access to a cnc.

Depends on the CNC too.  Most hobby guys arnt going to have anything more than a basic 3 axis machine.  This allows you to drill all holes on the faces which is great but without a separate horizontal wood boring machine which takes up a lot of space or ag head for the cnc which introduces other issues you can only drill 50% of the dowel holes.  you still need to drill for the dowels in the edges.  This is where the DDF40 comes in for me at least.  I dont know of a better way to quickly and accurately drill for horizontal dowels than the ddf40.  unless you have a large shop or invest in a much more expensive CNC which will move you out of the hobby category. Its hard to spend 60-70k for a cnc unless its working.

I made a vacuum jig that locates the DDF40 for the horizontal dowels. It quickly attaches to the top&bottom panels and locates the ddf40 to match the cnc holes. For melamine and cabinet liner material A little glue and a confirmat or coarse screw to hold it together while the glue dries is all thats needed. If its plywood then a few staples. I havent messed around with stop dado construction for cab's yet but it will happen sooner or later.   

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5448
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2022, 11:20 AM »
@afish did you post another vacuum jig? I would like to see it.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2022, 12:51 PM »
I made one but did not post it.  I will make another post in the other tools forum about it.

Offline usernumber1

  • Posts: 210
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2022, 01:09 PM »
not knock down obviously, but what about stapling it.
the crews here crank out thousands of euro style cabinets for highrises. melamine and particle board and they hold up fine. they have rebates to align. the only visible staples are underneath and you have to really look

saw a youtube of a cabinet shop, they showed one of their faster younger dudes assemble a cabinet in under a minute. they have it all dialed down though


Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2022, 01:49 PM »
Im a big fan of staples in ply but not so much in melamine or cabinet liner.  Since plywood has gotten so expensive I have been using more melamine. Not happy or proud of it but it fills a void, cuts clean on the cnc and gives a nice white finish on surfaces that dont see a lot of abuse. Im a big fan of drawers and pullouts so the inside of the cabinet gets very little use or even seen.  I prefer the cabinet liner for more durable surfaces, drawer bottoms and sink base I wont use melamine since first leak under the sink will ruin the bottom if not caught right way.  The cabinet liner offers a lot better water and wear resistant however if you shoot a staple through it, it will most likely fracture the laminate.  Otherwise staple gun works great.  Cabinet strength is most vulnerable during transport once they get screwed to a wall and together the strength multiplies exponentially. so, im not worried about the melamine in most cases. The video you saw was most likely what they call stop dado construction, popular with the high production cnc shops.  Its a good system I just havent gotten around to messing with it yet. There is software that simplifies all the layouts but I am not a production shop everything I build is custom. No 3 inch increments for me.  This maximizes storage space and less/smaller fillers.  So I still draw most of my stuff in cad first.  The software isnt cheap either and I couldnt justify the cost.  I could sit down and lay it out, I just havent yet.  Also with that system you are locked in on finish/good side.  If you go to assemble and theres a scuff of scratch you cant simply flip the panel over like you can with centered dowels.  Its not a big negative but something to be aware of. It has my interest and its only a matter of time till I get around with building a test cabinet with stop dados. 

Offline Peter Kelly

  • Posts: 94
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2022, 03:57 PM »

I'm making 12 wardrobes and 18 kitchen cabinets. My melamine MFC wood is CNC cut so will be millimetre accurate. What would make life easier for the build: the Festool DF500 or the Mafell DDF40?

The domino seems to be the preferred tool by most but I just want a quick way to get the cabinets connected quickly and in square so it seems like the doweller would be quickest. Quickly drill each side, clamping doesn't seem to be a requirement, drop in some glue and press together, perhaps with a screw or two to hold them together while the glue dries?

I like the look of the domino (plus it blue and green!) but it seems like there would be more work, put the boards down, clamp them, then drill, then there seems to be some slack to move the panels back and forth a bit to get the edges square. The Mafell automatically aligns them by virtue of there being zero play in the dowels.

Opinions on what's quickest/best for an amateur building?
Wouldn’t it be easier to have the locations for dowels or Confirmats drilled while the parts are being machined?

Offline Dongar

  • Posts: 100
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2022, 05:40 PM »
For the amount of cabinets you are building I would not recommend either. I would just screw or dowel them with a cheep dowel jig. Neither makes sense for one build. If you are planning more work in the future I would recommend the domino unless you are going to be exclusively doing cabinets.   

Offline mino

  • Posts: 929
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2022, 08:13 PM »
I would second Dongar.

if you have just one big job, a good strategy is to prepare everything and then -lend- a DF500 for a weekend.

Over here they lend DF500 for 20€/day which is peanuts when one gets a good use out of it.

I would pass on the DDF40. It is more finicky in its operation (no "loose dowel" option like on the Domino) and thus more geared to the proffesional who would care for the Domino/dowel price savings in the long run.

For dowels, where applicable, the LR32 system can do most what DDF40 can do just a bit slower. And it needs only the plate as both a router and the rails one would have anyway.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2022, 08:20 PM by mino »
When The Machine has no brains, use Yours.

Offline joesan

  • Posts: 27
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2022, 02:53 PM »

Thanks folks, for the truly useful and informative answers. It's great to have the benefit of your experience. It looks a little like – as with so many things in life – it all boils down to personal preference!

To clarify one point: the panels will be CNC-cut by a vendor. I don't personally have a CNC rig and – although I love and trust my TS55 and think it cuts with more than enough accuracy – the idea of manhandling so many large sheets and cutting over a 120 different panels seems a little daunting.

However, to get the holes for dowels etc CNCd also the vendor wants to charge me over £600, making it more viable for me to buy a tool to do it myself. I will make further cabinets etc further down the line so the hand tools will get further use.

I guess I'm now a little more disposed to buy the domino as I worry that the DDF40 has no wiggle room at all. Although I do wonder if the domino aligns things enough that the panels are held in place and square enough for me to finish with a confirmat or spax screw?

Offline Peter Kelly

  • Posts: 94
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2022, 03:13 PM »
You're in Germany so assuming the parts are going to be cut with a beam saw then theoretically transferred to a point to point machine for dowel & Confirmat drilling, they'd also be able to line bore and groove for backs in one go as well. An extra 20,- per box doesn't seem that unreasonable to me.

Is your vendor edge banding the panels?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2022, 03:29 PM »
Either will work so I wouldnt fret to much, As far as the ddf40 not having any slop setting that is true but its pretty easy to just shift it over a mm or so and re plunge. Not sure if you saw my other post but I actually made a vacuum jig that does exactly that.  I was having an issue with matching edge bored dowels to my CNC face bored holes.  I would sometimes be about .008" from the face being perfectly flush.  Its only an issue with holes for some reason.  Also the ddf40 had about .004" difference from the left to right side of the fence.  Plus who knows edge band and edge band glue consistency etc. Either way I wanted a little wiggle room.  So I made a jig that had an extra .020" built in which I centered so there is .010" for and aft.  This ended up working perfect so far and provides just enough wiggle room to fine tune the during assembly phase.  Its still snug enough that glue fills any voids. The ddf40 is more flexible (larger range of sizes and depths) and uses cheaper dowels. 

This is also my biggest request with the Domino (just incase Festool or another tool maker is listening for when the PAT. runs out)  I wish it had a variable slop dial and not just 3 settings.  The middle setting is more than enough slop and most times I would prefer less.  If it had a variable slop dial it would be really cool so a user could dial in just as much slop as he or she wanted.  Also a better fence and geared adjustment for fine tuning the height.       

Offline dalep

  • Posts: 154
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2022, 03:31 PM »
Can I throw a curve ball...

For cabinets, the Lamello Zeta P2 is fantastic, using the Tenso fittings, no clamps , just glue and clip together.

Regards

Dale

:edited as I said Clamex and I meant Tenso...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2022, 03:54 PM by dalep »

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1215
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2022, 03:41 PM »
The P2 is amazing piece of engineering but the cost of consumables kills it for me.  At around $3 per connector it would add to much to the cost of each cabinet for everyday use.  I could see it for specialty type stuff for large items that couldnt or would be difficult to fit into an elevator etc. and be easier to transport flat packed.  However the cost of the unit makes it hard to justify the machine for just occasional use too.   

Offline dalep

  • Posts: 154
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2022, 04:02 PM »
The P2 is amazing piece of engineering but the cost of consumables kills it for me.  At around $3 per connector it would add to much to the cost of each cabinet for everyday use.  I could see it for specialty type stuff for large items that couldnt or would be difficult to fit into an elevator etc. and be easier to transport flat packed.  However the cost of the unit makes it hard to justify the machine for just occasional use too.

Agreed the machine is expensive!!

I mis typed, I meant the Tenso connectors, these are about .80 each in the UK

If being used for knock down, then the Clamex connectors are 1.11 each , these work out at half the cost of the DF500 knock down connectors.

I love both the Lamello and the Domino, both are fantastic tools

Dale


Offline Packard

  • Posts: 1315
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2022, 04:23 PM »
The reason major cabinet manufacturers use dowels.

This machine drills, glues and inserts the dowels fully automatically.



Offline dalep

  • Posts: 154
Re: DF500 vs DDF40 for 30 Eurostyle cabinets...
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2022, 04:26 PM »
Another consideration, if cost is an issue get a Kreg pocket hole machine, with careful planning you can put the screws where they wont be seen.