Author Topic: Guide rail advice  (Read 3645 times)

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Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 30
Guide rail advice
« on: June 04, 2021, 10:49 AM »
Hi Guys,

I just got a TS75 w/o a guide rail from Recon.  I currently have no other rails nor rail-compatible festool products (but plan to pick up an OF2200 in the near future).  My question is, given that I have a tiny shop, is there any problem with getting two of the 55" rails and connectors vs 1 55" and 1 106" inch?  I don't mind the extra time it takes to assemble the two segments but is it difficult to achieve perfect alignment between the segments?  My Kreg ACS rails have a similar looking connector system and I usually spend about 5 minutes futzing with the straight edge and rails trying to get it all lined up and it never leaves me feeling that it is "perfect".  I've read some other comments about the Festool brand connectors not being great and some other brands being superior.  Any thoughts on that topic would be appreciated as well.

Second question, for the 55" (1400) size which I know I will be getting either way, is there any reason to not get the LR version with the holes?  I'm honestly not aware of all the things this system can do and how much I would or wouldn't use those features, but given that it is the same price as the non-hole 1400 is this is a no-brainer decision or is there some reason you wouldn't want the LR version?

Thanks!
Jeff

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Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 525
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2021, 10:55 AM »
First off, if you do get a longer rail, get the 118" instead of 106", much better for 8' rips.  But if its your only rail, and you are thinking LR32 and/or router use on the rail, I would get 1, or 2, 55" holey rails.  Look into the TSO rail connector to put them together.

Offline Dr. P. Venkman

  • Posts: 99
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2021, 11:00 AM »
Two 1400's (55") would be just fine. Yes, if you use the length often, connecting them is an extra step, but it's not that big of a deal, and space considerations are important.  I have a longer rail, and I like that I do, but I certainly wouldn't be in trouble without it. Two 1400's connected together actually do a little better on an 8' sheet of plywood than a 2700 (106").

You could also consider a 1400 and a 1900 or a 1080 and a 1900.  You'll still have the length when connected, but the 1900 makes crosscutting full sheets of plywood easier than the 1400.  The 1400 can do it (I don't have a 1900), but you've got to pay attention to where your overhang is - with the 1900, you've got a lot more play.  And if you use 5'x5' sheets, the 1900 will be much better.  The shorter 1080 can come in super handy - I have an 800, and I use it a ton.

But that sort of intrudes on your next question:

There's no reason not to buy the holey rail instead of the regular rail.  My first rail purchase was a 1400 non-holey, and I had to go back and buy a holey rail later when I started using LR32.  If I had just started with the holey rail, I would have been better off.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 11:02 AM by Dr. P. Venkman »

Offline mino

  • Posts: 491
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2021, 11:08 AM »
Starting with rails here is my take:

2x  1400 LR32 /skip the non-holy at this stage/
1x  Makita rail connector set or the TSO self-aligning connector set
1x  TSO GRS 16 PE

Later on:
 a) get a 800 mm FS/2 short rail for smaller work
 b) or get a second connector set and cut up one of your 1400 rails into 1016 + 376 mm
      /that would give you a handy 1016 rail, a 1400, a 1776 option for full-sheet cross-cuts and still the 2800 mm for rips/

Note of "my 2 cents" advice: I would avoid Makita rails unless you are on a very tight budget. The splinter guard does not make as good a cut, the anti-slip pads are not as good and the rails are not as accurate as the Festool ones. Not worth it. I would rather have a cheaper Makita saw with Festool rails than Festool saw with Makita rails if budget was tight and was planning some fine/precise cabinetry work.
The Machine does not have a brain. Use Yours!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AGC 18@AGC 125 flange, BHC 18, C 12, CTM 36, DRC 18/4, PSC 420, RS 200, TSC 55
Protool: AGP 125, VCP 260
Narex: EDH 82, EFH 36@LR32, EVP 13 H-2CA, S 57 A
My Precious: 376, 376, 376 holy, 632, 1016 holy, 1400 holy, 2400, GECKO, GRS 16 PE, GRS 16 PE

Offline Dr. P. Venkman

  • Posts: 99
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2021, 11:16 AM »

Later on:
 a) get a 800 mm FS/2 short rail for smaller work
 b) or get a second connector set and cut up one of your 1400 rails into 1016 + 376 mm
      /that would give you a handy 1016 rail, a 1400, a 1776 option for full-sheet cross-cuts and still the 2800 mm for rips/

I've never cut one of my rails, but this is terrific advice.

There was an earlier discussion of cutting rails here (again, with @mino providing excellent advice).

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 186
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2021, 11:36 AM »
If you get two rails get them at the sem time. I added another rail and it is just different enough that I can feel the way the saw moves change when it gets to the join. I would also skip the Festool connectors. I have them they are ok and you can make them work but I bought the TSO connectors and they are sweeeeet! They align better as well. Joining two rails isn't too bad. I have had good success when I did it but I still prefer my 3000 over connecting two.
I want to populate SD with trees because I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline RobS888

  • Posts: 36
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2021, 12:14 PM »
I have the TSO connectors, but still struggle to get them aligned. I haven't connected them in a couple weeks, but next time I'll try Sedge's trick of using the tS55's alignment dials to get them in line.

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 1046
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2021, 12:25 PM »
Get the longest rail you will use as the joining of two rails is marginal at best. You'll need some shorter ones for smaller items.

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 186
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2021, 12:51 PM »
I think using the ts to align them workes better with the Festool connectors and now I wonder if maybe they would be better than the TSO connectors for the rails I have that aren't exactly the same, I have a couple that when together with the TSO connectors have a few tolerance differences so what starts out fine gets very tight when I cross onto the next rail. I think the way they index to the groove is less forgiving in alignment than the ones that do not index to the groove.
I want to populate SD with trees because I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 30
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2021, 01:12 PM »
Thanks for all the good advice.  I think I'm going to get a 1080 and 2 1400LR rails.  The festool connectors are $40 for the pair and the TSO are $49, assuming all new rails any reason to not get the TSO ones?

It's interesting how the rail pricing is inconsistent across the sizes.  Both the 800 and 1900 are more expensive per inch than the 1080 or 1400.




Offline mino

  • Posts: 491
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2021, 01:15 PM »
I think using the ts to align them workes better with the Festool connectors and now I wonder if maybe they would be better than the TSO connectors for the rails I have that aren't exactly the same, I have a couple that when together with the TSO connectors have a few tolerance differences so what starts out fine gets very tight when I cross onto the next rail. I think the way they index to the groove is less forgiving in alignment than the ones that do not index to the groove.
Yes, the best connectors for precision are the Makita ones - which are accidentally the cheapest too. They do not have the issue with denting the rails like the Festool ones have while allow to align the rails to the reference edge.

The TSO connectors are the easiest but not the most precise. They do not allow aligning against the reference edge but depend on the rails being exactly the same - or close-enough - instead.

Get the longest rail you will use as the joining of two rails is marginal at best. You'll need some shorter ones for smaller items.
Cannot agree with this. The two connectors setup with FS/2 is as accurate as single rail when aligned against the reference edge. I have both a long rail and several rails with connectors and the only advantage of the big rail is less hassle. Not accuracy. That is absolutely worth it for professional use, not so much for hobby use.

If I knew about the Makita connectors /the Festool ones mess up the rail/ AND how to correctly align rails to the reference edge, I would have never shelled out $350 for my 2700 (which I ended up cutting to a 2400 anyway) or $50 for a pair of Festool connectors to begin.


Thanks for all the good advice.  I think I'm going to get a 1080 and 2 1400LR rails.  The festool connectors are $40 for the pair and the TSO are $49, assuming all new rails any reason to not get the TSO ones?
Per above. Avoid Festool ones and put your choice between Makita /better potential accuracy/ and TSO /ease of use/.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 01:21 PM by mino »
The Machine does not have a brain. Use Yours!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AGC 18@AGC 125 flange, BHC 18, C 12, CTM 36, DRC 18/4, PSC 420, RS 200, TSC 55
Protool: AGP 125, VCP 260
Narex: EDH 82, EFH 36@LR32, EVP 13 H-2CA, S 57 A
My Precious: 376, 376, 376 holy, 632, 1016 holy, 1400 holy, 2400, GECKO, GRS 16 PE, GRS 16 PE

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 30
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2021, 01:26 PM »
Per above. Avoid Festool ones and put your choice between Makita /better potential accuracy/ and TSO /ease of use/.

Accuracy is definitely my top priority.  Are these the specific Makita ones you are talking about?

https://www.amazon.com/Makita-P-20177-Guide-Rail-Connector/dp/B007258JCC

This design looks exactly like the ones my Kreg ACS uses.  Two plates that spread apart as you tighten the hex screws.  Does anybody have a makita set around that they could measure the dimensions of?   If they are the same I can just use my current ones:

https://www.amazon.com/Adaptive-Cutting-System-Guide-Connectors/dp/B07NC4NCFS

I measured my Kreg ones and they are 12.1mm wide and 6.3mm thick (both pieces stacked, but not spread by the screws)
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 01:45 PM by OzarkNerd »

Offline mino

  • Posts: 491
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2021, 01:57 PM »
I believe it is the P-45777, the one you linked was the older part num.

Yes, two plates and screws which spread them so the screws do not come in contact with the rail and you can safely tighten them as much as the screws will bear.

Not familiar with the Kreg, but by size they should work. The only difference seems the Makita ones have the two plates loosely-coupled, so they do not separate and are easier to work with.
The Machine does not have a brain. Use Yours!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AGC 18@AGC 125 flange, BHC 18, C 12, CTM 36, DRC 18/4, PSC 420, RS 200, TSC 55
Protool: AGP 125, VCP 260
Narex: EDH 82, EFH 36@LR32, EVP 13 H-2CA, S 57 A
My Precious: 376, 376, 376 holy, 632, 1016 holy, 1400 holy, 2400, GECKO, GRS 16 PE, GRS 16 PE

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2619
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2021, 02:02 PM »
I currently have all the Festool rails, including the 118".  If I had only two it would be the 75" and 55" and TSC connector.

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 30
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2021, 02:43 PM »
Thinking about the combinations more, I'm starting to lean towards the 1080 + 1900 to start off.. seems like that allows me to crosscut or rip 4x8 sheets with a comfortable amount of overhang for either, plus the 1080 will be convenient for smaller misc cuts.  I was caught up on the LR point originally but maybe I don't need a 1400 at all to start.  If/when I get to a project that needs that, then grab the 1400LR then.  I'm struggling a bit to believe there will be lots of cuts that are too big for the 1080, but the 1900 will be unwieldy.  With the Kreg setup I have now, there are 2 62" tracks so the 124" combo is a real pain.  My shop is so small I literally have to angle the track floor to ceiling in order to rotate 180 degrees it or it hits both walls haha.

Offline Jim_in_PA

  • Posts: 199
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2021, 03:04 PM »
WHile I personally prefer having the single longer rail for long cuts, lots and lots of folks routinely join two or more shorter rails together. I have a "really short" one, a 55"-er and an 8 footer. I don't use the latter very often but it's nice to have. But if you have a small shop where storing the long rail will make for some challenges, working with multiple short rails makes perfect sense.
----
ETS 150/3, Rotex 150, OF1010, OF1400, Trion PS 300, TDK-12, CT-22, MFT 1080, TS55, Domino XL DF 700, 8' track, (2) 55" tracks

SCM MiniMax S315WS, FS350, MM16, Camaster Stinger II SR-44 CNC

Online squall_line

  • Posts: 420
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2021, 03:23 PM »
I'm struggling a bit to believe there will be lots of cuts that are too big for the 1080 

The 1080 is the stock rail on the MFT/3 table set, so this makes sense to me.

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 139
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2021, 03:30 PM »
I have the TSO connectors, but still struggle to get them aligned. I haven't connected them in a couple weeks, but next time I'll try Sedge's trick of using the tS55's alignment dials to get them in line.
Make sure that you leave a gap (about the width of a business card) in between the ends of the track when joining them with connectors. Festool guarantees the tracks are straight; they do not guarantee the ends are square. Many people push the ends of the track together, thinking this makes it a "tighter fit", but really, they're just forcing the rails out of alignment.
Thinking about the combinations more, I'm starting to lean towards the 1080 + 1900 to start off..
My recommendations would be the 800 + 1400 (LR-32 variant; I honestly have no idea why they even make the normal version since they sell them for the same price) if you're mostly doing short work, or the 1400 + 1900 if you're doing full sheets. You need about 2800mm worth of rail to fully cut a 4x8 sheet lengthwise without any compromises, so 1080 + 1900 is the shortest combination you can get to do that. But the 1080 rail doesn't come in an LR-32 variant, and those precision-drilled holes have a lot of uses. In my opinion, the extra 320mm of length doesn't make the 1400mm rail so much more unwieldy that it's worth giving those up.

Offline mino

  • Posts: 491
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2021, 03:40 PM »
Thinking about the combinations more, I'm starting to lean towards the 1080 + 1900 to start off.. seems like that allows me to crosscut or rip 4x8 sheets with a comfortable amount of overhang for either, plus the 1080 will be convenient for smaller misc cuts.  I was caught up on the LR point originally but maybe I don't need a 1400 at all to start.  If/when I get to a project that needs that, then grab the 1400LR then.  I'm struggling a bit to believe there will be lots of cuts that are too big for the 1080, but the 1900 will be unwieldy.  With the Kreg setup I have now, there are 2 62" tracks so the 124" combo is a real pain.  My shop is so small I literally have to angle the track floor to ceiling in order to rotate 180 degrees it or it hits both walls haha.
YMMV

I proposed two 55" LR32  and cutting one exactly because the 1900 is too long 99% of the time and the 1080 is too short for a lot of smaller rips still and neither are LR32.

I rarely do full-width cross-cuts. When I do make them, I take the 1400 and extend it a bit by the 376 or take my 1016 and join it with my 632.

The thing is, eventually you will want 2x55" LR32 for full-height cabinets so with 1080 and 1900 you then end up with twice the rails you actually need. Well, given your Kreg kit, kinda 3-times.

I started with 1400 from the TSC set and a "2600" (shortened 2700 so I can store i vertically in a flat), then realized I need to augment the 2700 a bit so made a short piece about 400 mm from the 1400 => 1016 and 376. Then I realized the 1400 is too short for full rips and that I really want the LR32 system. So added 1400 LR32. Then I realized one 1400 LR32 is a PITA when I needed to make 2600 mm cabinets. So I got another LR32 1400 which I cut in 1016 and 376. I then proceeded to cut the 1016 from the original FS/2 again to get 632 from it and 376. I use the 1016 the most, followed by 632, these two joined, then the 2400 + 632. Lastly I again shortened my 2600 to 2400 for ease of storage/handling as I anyway have to extend it most of the time.

In the end, this works well as I have below combinations on hand:
376 + 376 + 376 in SYS-MFT along with the GRSes, clamps and connectors, I use this when need to do something off-shop and do not want to carry the full rail bag.

632 for those ad-hoc short cuts and to augment my 1016 LR32 for full cross-cuts
1016 LR32 - most used, including the LR32 function as is just right for small cabinets
1400 LR32 - bigger cuts the 1016 cannot make
1016 + 632 or 1400 LR32 + 376 - full cross-cuts /rare/
2400 (cut the 2600 again to 2400) + 632 for rips
2400 + 1400 for long rips of raw wood

1400 + 1016 + 632 as my "mobile" set when I need to rip at the wood yard

Long story short, I made three mistakes:
 - getting the 2700 thinking I "needed" a long rail base on forum feedback from pros while I am a hobby user ...
 - NOT getting the LR32 at the start and going for the set version of my TSC
 - getting a set of the Festool connectors /never used, once they arrived realized how bad they are and ordered the Makita ones/

These mistakes mean I now have rails to spare, and get the nice 3x376 combo for mobile work. But really it was not worth the $500+ spent in addition as I rarely need to take out the 2400 and the "mobile" mini-rail set, while nice having it, is not worth it either.

Going at it again, I would definitely start with two 1400 LR32 to cover all bases and consider a shorter rail or cutting one etc. only when those two were "not cutting it" for me.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 03:44 PM by mino »
The Machine does not have a brain. Use Yours!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AGC 18@AGC 125 flange, BHC 18, C 12, CTM 36, DRC 18/4, PSC 420, RS 200, TSC 55
Protool: AGP 125, VCP 260
Narex: EDH 82, EFH 36@LR32, EVP 13 H-2CA, S 57 A
My Precious: 376, 376, 376 holy, 632, 1016 holy, 1400 holy, 2400, GECKO, GRS 16 PE, GRS 16 PE

Online Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3481
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2021, 03:57 PM »
I bought the Betterley rail connector and it works well. When I bought the Betterley, the TSO product wasn’t available.
Birdhunter

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 30
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2021, 04:05 PM »

YMMV

I proposed two 55" LR32  and cutting one exactly because the 1900 is too long 99% of the time and the 1080 is too short for a lot of smaller rips still and neither are LR32.

I rarely do full-width cross-cuts. When I do make them, I take the 1400 and extend it a bit by the 376 or take my 1016 and join it with my 632.

The thing is, eventually you will want 2x55" LR32 for full-height cabinets so with 1080 and 1900 you then end up with twice the rails you actually need. Well, given your Kreg kit, kinda 3-times.

I started with 1400 from the TSC set and a "2600" (shortened 2700 so I can store i vertically in a flat), then realized I need to augment the 2700 a bit so made a short piece about 400 mm from the 1400 => 1016 and 376. Then I realized the 1400 is too short for full rips and that I really want the LR32 system. So added 1400 LR32. Then I realized one 1400 LR32 is a PITA when I needed to make 2600 mm cabinets. So I got another LR32 1400 which I cut in 1016 and 376. I then proceeded to cut the 1016 from the original FS/2 again to get 632 from it and 376. I use the 1016 the most, followed by 632, these two joined, then the 2400 + 632. Lastly I again shortened my 2600 to 2400 for ease of storage/handling as I anyway have to extend it most of the time.

In the end, this works well as I have below combinations on hand:
376 + 376 + 376 in SYS-MFT along with the GRSes, clamps and connectors, I use this when need to do something off-shop and do not want to carry the full rail bag.

632 for those ad-hoc short cuts and to augment my 1016 LR32 for full cross-cuts
1016 LR32 - most used, including the LR32 function as is just right for small cabinets
1400 LR32 - bigger cuts the 1016 cannot make
1016 + 632 or 1400 LR32 + 376 - full cross-cuts /rare/
2400 (cut the 2600 again to 2400) + 632 for rips
2400 + 1400 for long rips of raw wood

1400 + 1016 + 632 as my "mobile" set when I need to rip at the wood yard

Long story short, I made three mistakes:
 - getting the 2700 thinking I "needed" a long rail base on forum feedback from pros while I am a hobby user ...
 - NOT getting the LR32 at the start and going for the set version of my TSC
 - getting a set of the Festool connectors /never used, once they arrived realized how bad they are and ordered the Makita ones/

These mistakes mean I now have rails to spare, and get the nice 3x376 combo for mobile work. But really it was not worth the $500+ spent in addition as I rarely need to take out the 2400 and the "mobile" mini-rail set, while nice having it, is not worth it either.

Going at it again, I would definitely start with two 1400 LR32 to cover all bases and consider a shorter rail or cutting one etc. only when those two were "not cutting it" for me.

Ok, thank you very much for taking the time to document your journey.  My kreg setup will be getting sold as I migrate to the festool pieces.  I have already had a few times that I needed to crosscut a 4' sheet with the kreg and it's 62" rail is fine for that, but since the 1400 will still do it with a bit of care in positioning I suppose that alone is not a good enough reason to get the 1900.

Thanks again!

Offline mrB

  • Posts: 885
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2021, 06:07 PM »
I made a thread somewhere here about the new Metabo rails. I much prefer them for straight alignment. They’re basically perfect. I never found joining two 1400 festool rails that accurate unless using a long straight edge and real, time consuming, care in the method.

The Metabo rails join perfectly every time with no effort or faff. I’m totally sold.
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 496
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2021, 06:29 PM »
There is one particularly good reason to have a one-piece rail, of whatever length you need, and that is the pistol grip style clamp. The rail connectors may hold them in alignment just fine, but I'm sure they are not intended to be pulled against.
It also depends, at least a little, on what you are doing with the rail. Sawing puts virtually no side load on the rail, even if you are in a bad position and are somewhat pushing against it. Routers however, are completely different. The rotation of the bit is constantly pulling on the rail, so it has to be well secured.
I got the 1400 with the TS55 and added a 1080 fairly quickly. Using these together, I routed a groove in my cutting station top to house a wide double T-track. Even though the groove didn't need to go the whole length of the table, the rail did, so it could be clamped in place. This combination was barely long enough to reach (and I probably didn't have it clamped as well as I should). I was not taking a big cut because I knew it was going to take several passes anyway since the groove needed to be so wide. 1/2" bit about 1/4" deep and somewhere past half way, it started to move. This made a crooked line, fortunately I could fix it because of the width. I re-grouped and re-gripped and it worked out, but it certainly steered my toward longer rails. I got a 1900 the next week and a 3000 soon after.
Since then, I have used all of the longer rails far more than I ever realized I would, but again, I am in a very large shop, doing this for a living, so probably not the typical user.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75

Offline GregorHochschild

  • Posts: 13
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2021, 07:55 PM »
Yes, the best connectors for precision are the Makita ones - which are accidentally the cheapest too. They do not have the issue with denting the rails like the Festool ones have while allow to align the rails to the reference edge.

The TSO connectors are the easiest but not the most precise. They do not allow aligning against the reference edge but depend on the rails being exactly the same - or close-enough - instead.

Is this the general opinion here? Makita is the most precise.

I only have the TSO connectors and can see what you mean. What they call “keystone” profile relies on the guide rail and tightening the screws might move the rail away from a reference edge.

What do others think with both connectors?

Online squall_line

  • Posts: 420
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2021, 09:38 PM »
I thought that the true reference on the guide rails is the raised rail itself?  It has been shown from measurements and observations that the ends of the extrusions are not always the same distance from the rail head from one rail to the next, but they're darned close.

And the rail profile itself may be slightly narrower from one rail to the next, which is why the saws have the cams on the base plate.

If you have pre-cut your splinter guard from one end to the other and have rails with the same profile width so that the cams don't need to change from one rail to the other, then the splinter guard cuts should line up with one another, regardless of whether or not the metal cross sections match up perfectly.

This is partly why Sedge shows using the saw base itself to line up two rails; that's the reference point from one rail to the next.  Using a straight edge on the metal side of the rail may not actually cause the raised rail and the splinterguard to match up between rails.

From what I've observed and read over the months, that is...

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 186
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2021, 10:07 PM »
As long as the two rails go together straight it is ok. I do not put two rails together for any precise joinery. If I need perfectly constant I use a rail longer than that which I am cutting. A connector that would be adjustable for slight variances would be great but I imagine expensive. I have also considered that since the TSO reference the way they do they could be used to great effect in some jig construction. People will say buy holey first but I bought a standard 1400 and had the 1080 from the MFT. I then added the 1400 holey but eventually added the 3000. I could have easily skipped one 1400. I did add an 800 last year and I have used it more than I thought I would.
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Offline Erich

  • Posts: 26
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2021, 10:47 PM »
We have used the Betterley Straight Line with the original Festool connectors for many years. We started out with a pair of the 1400(55") rails when we bought our original TS55. That was for storage as well as portability. The longest rail in our shop now is the 1900(75"). We also have three of the 1400(55")rails, a 1080(42") and an 800(32"). We can join rails in just a couple of minutes. The Betterley has never failed to align our rails. We have used this system with three rails for extra long cuts.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 11:18 PM by Erich »

Offline Coen

  • Posts: 990
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2021, 06:31 AM »
Only in the USA the holey rail sells for the same. In Europe the LR32 rail is about 25 bucks more..

Offline mino

  • Posts: 491
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2021, 07:21 AM »
I thought that the true reference on the guide rails is the raised rail itself?  It has been shown from measurements and observations that the ends of the extrusions are not always the same distance from the rail head from one rail to the next, but they're darned close.

And the rail profile itself may be slightly narrower from one rail to the next, which is why the saws have the cams on the base plate.
Correct.
The -only- part of the rail which is guaranteed/made-to be exact is the "inner" vertical surface on the inner rib. I.e the one the saw slides on. All the other surfaces or distances are straight/same more by accident than by design.

Quote
If you have pre-cut your splinter guard from one end to the other and have rails with the same profile width so that the cams don't need to change from one rail to the other, then the splinter guard cuts should line up with one another, regardless of whether or not the metal cross sections match up perfectly.

This is partly why Sedge shows using the saw base itself to line up two rails; that's the reference point from one rail to the next.  Using a straight edge on the metal side of the rail may not actually cause the raised rail and the splinterguard to match up between rails.
Here you are actually wrong in interpreting Sedge advice. What he is actually presenting is a trick to /ab/use the saw slides when you do not have a straight edge on hand as a "poor man's straight edge".

The best practice is to use a straight edge, ideally clamped against the reference surface, and then tighten the connectors. This makes sure the saw slides on a fully aligned surface and there is neither a "bump" nor an angle where the rails join. The cams side of the rib is not important - the rib may be a minutely different width which the plastic cams can handle.

The saw then determines the distance of the cut line. If both the rails had their splinter guard trimmer correctly, then they will also align. But they are not the reference surface.

...
I got the 1400 with the TS55 and added a 1080 fairly quickly. Using these together, I routed a groove in my cutting station ...
Did you have/use the Makita connectors at the time?
If not, the most likely reason is your connectors were not tight-enough. The problem with the Festool connectors is not only they dent the rails, but since they dent the rails, one cannot tighten them as much as is needed for truly secure joining.

The Makita-style design does not have this problem. It can be tightened as much as the screw - or the hex head in the screw to be precise - will handle. Which gives like 10x stronger connection than the Festool-style connectors can ever support.

Using those, I find the the lateral "bending" of the rail being a way bigger issue when going beyond 7' or so. And that is independent of the connected/not-connected context. To solve that, I have found that on long cuts, it is critical to "support" the rail laterally by taking advantage of the rail's anti-slip pads. This is done by pressing the rail against the material as much as possible either by hand or by the tool so it is not allowed to bend from lateral forces.

With a router that may not be possible though.
The Machine does not have a brain. Use Yours!
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AGC 18@AGC 125 flange, BHC 18, C 12, CTM 36, DRC 18/4, PSC 420, RS 200, TSC 55
Protool: AGP 125, VCP 260
Narex: EDH 82, EFH 36@LR32, EVP 13 H-2CA, S 57 A
My Precious: 376, 376, 376 holy, 632, 1016 holy, 1400 holy, 2400, GECKO, GRS 16 PE, GRS 16 PE

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2619
Re: Guide rail advice
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2021, 08:55 AM »
Before I bought my 188" rail I joined rails with Makita connectors and a 5' piece of 8020 extrusion that I made UHMW plastic guides to attach to the 75 and 55 rails.  I needed perfectly straight cuts as I fabricate plastic sheets, acrylic, polycarbonate and ABS that had to be exact.  I also did not use the anti splinter to place my cuts, I use my Paolini set 3mm from the edge of the rail.  All four of my saws are set to cut at this space.  Eventually I bought the 118 as I often needed the 75 to crosscut and taking apart and reassembling was a time consuming pain.