Author Topic: If starting from scratch, what MFT type solution would you go for today?  (Read 2020 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 31
Hi Everyone,

I'm looking for input on what the top picks would be in terms of flexibility and compactness if you were putting together a shopping list.  Some options would be:

1) MFT/3
2) DIY table built with t-slot framing, MFT style top, and some 3rd party guide system like TSO or Woodpeckers offer
3) Some other setup I've never heard of?

I currently have folding sawhorses and MDF squares but I'm looking for something more stable and functional (allowing for precision cutting that is).

Some details on my situation:

1) Very space limited (100 sq ft shop)
2) Have a Shaper Origin so could cut a pretty precise top without much trouble
3) I'm 6'4" so I prefer a higher workspace than a lower one.  My workbench is 51" to the worktop.  This is a couple inches higher than "perfect" so that I could roll the table saw and planer underneath it.  But I'm way more comfortable at 51" than 31" (e.g. the MFT KAPEX table)
4) Want to be able to break down a full 4x8 sheet on this solution, but would prefer it to be modular so I don't have to have it all set up at once.  For example, 2 smaller (4x4 ish) tables that can but used independently or together.

Thanks for reading!
Jeff

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.



Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 31
https://www.festoolownersgroup.com/other-tool-reviews/track-tubes-mft-top/

Thanks, this is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping somebody would throw out in additional the things I listed.  Still reading, but this looks super cool!

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 1126
1) MFT/3

Some details on my situation:

1) Very space limited (100 sq ft shop)
1) and 1) go together well. Then add on an extension table or a second MFT/3. Festool tables break down quickly and get put out of the way. Best way to go when space constrained.



Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 197
I would ask a few questions first. Will you ever be portable or will you always be shop-bound? What other tools are already in your shop or do you plan on adding? What projects do you do? I have an MFT 3, I do not find it perfect. A bit cumbersome to break down and haul although it stays in one piece mostly. I also have a Bora centipede I made a combination MFT top for half standard half isometric. And if I had it to do again I would not be adding all these holes. I find all of them are unneeded. A line of either side and end and maybe a column in the middle, that's it. I tend to cut in the same three or four spots so all the holes are redundant for me. I wasted my time drilling them all and some of them were not perfect enough to suit me when I was done.  I would have some I could count on for cuts and some random ones for clamping. The Bora is way more portable and versatile to me and light. The MFT3 is a bit more sturdy but for a dedicated shop, it isn't nearly as stable as a built-in workbench.

I would suggest quantifying what you want and need then go from there. If you can't or are unsure do not 800$ into an MFT3. Buy a couple of small Bora 2'x4' units and make them work until you know for sure what you want. I got my 2'x4' Bora on sale for 50$ I wish I would have bought two of them.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 06:33 AM by Bertotti »
I want to populate SD with trees because I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 31
I would ask a few questions first. Will you ever be portable or will you always be shop-bound? What other tools are already in your shop or do you plan on adding? What projects do you do? I have an MFT 3, I do not find it perfect. A bit cumbersome to break down and haul although it stays in one piece mostly. I also have a Bora centipede I made a combination MFT top for half standard half isometric. And if I had it to do again I would not be adding all these holes. I find all of them are unneeded. A line of either side and end and maybe a column in the middle, that's it. I tend to cut in the same three or four spots so all the holes are redundant for me. I wasted my time drilling them all and some of them were not perfect enough to suit me when I was done.  I would have some I could count on for cuts and some random ones for clamping. The Boira is way more portable and versatile to me and light. The MFT3 is a bit more sturdy but for a dedicated shop, it isn't nearly as stable as a built-in workbench.

I would suggest quantifying what you want and need then go from there. If you can't or are unsure do not 800$ into an MFT3. Buy a couple of small Bora 2'x4' units and make them work until you know for sure what you want. I got my 2'x4' Bora on sale for 50$ I wish I would have bought two of them.

Thank you for that as well!  I had not seen the centipede either, looks like it could be an interesting option.  Wish it was a bit taller, but can't have everything.

To answer a your other questions:   I plan to do all work in the shop.  So "portable" just means able to fold up and stow while I need to pull something else out.  Don't need it to go in a vehicle and up flights of steps and things like that.  I have a jobsite table saw (on dewalt folding stand), 13" planer (on dewalt roller stand), 14" bandsaw (on mobile base), 12" compound miter saw (on top of roll around toolbox), floor drill press (in a corner), mini lathe and oscillating spindle sander (on a cabinet with retractable casters).  Router table is embedded into my fixed workbench top.  Basically every operation I need to make involves rearranging the shop first.  I'm used to it at this point, but the sheet goods are still murder since I'm on my knees on the floor using a track saw.  I'd like to have something that allows me to do really accurate sheet breakdown (especially since my table saw is tiny and not ideal for this task even if my back were way better than it is) and then also doubles as an assembly surface or outfeed table.

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 197
I work in tight areas as well but I'm short! In situation and needs, I would be tempted, and am currently considering this for myself, incorporating the table saw and track saw and assembly station into one central workbench. Keep the planer underneath along with the spindle sander or even incorporate the sander into the table as well. There are some very cool and workable combo benches made by guys and gals on youtube doing this. I've been searching the net looking for ideas and variations for a while and some of the people here have done some similar things. Here is one small one, not what I would do but it gives a bit of an idea of the direction I have been leaning. I have a 500lb planer now so I am looking to create a bench that will work at one end of it and leave me with a glue-up bench and sanding bench as well. Just some thoughts. and the Bora also has some 6-inch risers that can be added. I built my top with 2x4 but there is no reason you couldn't use 2x10 or 2x12 or wider MDF/ply. I like mine because I matched it to the end of an MFT because I do move mine around from different locations. Currently set up in my own living room while I tear out my kitchen.
https://mirandamade.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/table-saw-router-table-plans.jpg

Mine is a cluttered mess as my wife loads it up with stuff she doesn't know what to do with and I have tools and wood on it as well. I clean it off every weekend so I can use it and when I get back to it the next weekend it looks like this again. But she doesn't mind as long as I have to sort the junk out. Needless to say, I now have a skip outside to throw this stuff into. I digress both are nice and portable but if I stayed in one place in a shop I would make something more permanent maybe on wheels. Maybe not.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 09:59 PM by Bertotti »
I want to populate SD with trees because I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline Dane

  • Posts: 411
If I was always going to be shop bound, I'd go with a set of torsion box beams drilled with dog holes.  Los of plans out there, but here are a few:

https://www.jlconline.com/how-to/interiors/a-finish-carpenters-set-of-box-beams_o




Offline mattgam

  • Posts: 19
Its a little buried in the TrackTube's link above so I'll just add that pairing theDashBoard Right Angle Guide with The TrackTubes and whatever MFT Surface  you use makes a huge difference in cut quality.  I'm also a fan of using the TSO Parallel Guide System with this combo to get accurate highly repeatable cuts. 

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 197
I will add this if I was starting over knowing what I know I doubt I would spend the money on the MFT3, a nice table that is extremely overpriced. I wonder how I talked myself into it initially. I would have been better off buying longer tracks to start with.
I want to populate SD with trees because I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Online DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1078
I went on a used MFT/3 buying spree when I moved into my house 3 years ago. I had 3 of them all lined up. Then I stored one and brought it out when needed. Now I'm down to one, sold the other two off. The TrackTubes station is where I do my crosscutting. The other table is just a place to set things while I'm working on a project. I hang onto it because of the profiles and the height matching my other Festool items (Kapex, UG Wings, CMS table).
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 86
I will add this if I was starting over knowing what I know I doubt I would spend the money on the MFT3, a nice table that is extremely overpriced. I wonder how I talked myself into it initially. I would have been better off buying longer tracks to start with.

I felt the same way, but then I counted up how many billable hours I would spend building one.....  It's still not an excellent deal, but it got me from opening the box to cutting square boards in under 30 minutes.  So that's worth something.  Would be a different story if I didn't work 50 hours a week at my real job.

I will probably build a DIY bench eventually.  But who knows when?

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 31
Thanks everyone, lots of great input here.   I ended up grabbing an 8x4 Bora Centipede for now since Amazon has them on sale for $145.  Whatever combination of tracks and guides I end up with, I want them to be table agnostic to not lock me into a system or location going forward.  In other words, I don't want it to register square or parallel off the table, but rather from the rails/guides.  So for now, this will allow me to throw a sheet of foam on top the centipede and just start cutting.  I debated getting two 4x4 setups instead of one 8x4, but that would have been more money and since this thing isn't really the ideal height for an outfeed or work table anyway, I figured a dedicated sheet breakdown solution is the best move for me at this time.  Without this thread I probably would have wrestled with this for at least another month haha, so thanks again.

Online DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1078
Thanks everyone, lots of great input here.   I ended up grabbing an 8x4 Bora Centipede for now since Amazon has them on sale for $145.  Whatever combination of tracks and guides I end up with, I want them to be table agnostic to not lock me into a system or location going forward.  In other words, I don't want it to register square or parallel off the table, but rather from the rails/guides.  So for now, this will allow me to throw a sheet of foam on top the centipede and just start cutting.  I debated getting two 4x4 setups instead of one 8x4, but that would have been more money and since this thing isn't really the ideal height for an outfeed or work table anyway, I figured a dedicated sheet breakdown solution is the best move for me at this time.  Without this thread I probably would have wrestled with this for at least another month haha, so thanks again.

If you own a domino you can cut your 8x4 sheet in half and mortise it back together for easier storage.

TrackTubes has a solution to mount their tubes onto the Bora Centipede  [wink]

https://www.instagram.com/p/CN-W_woD1aE/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I personally use a combination of products for breaking down sheet goods:

Instagram @matts.garage

Offline OzarkNerd

  • Posts: 31
If you own a domino you can cut your 8x4 sheet in half and mortise it back together for easier storage.

I do have a domino but I was going to attempt just using foam directly on the centipede with no wood underlayment.  I've seen guys on youtube doing this and claiming it worked fine.  I would just score the 1" foam and use a duct tape hinge so it folds to 4'x4'x2"

Thanks for the pointer on the track tubes/centipede interface.  Apparently everybody but me knew about the centipede haha

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 197
My Bora in 2'x4' but wrestled with buying the small one but at 49 on sale, I went for it. I wish I had two and although two 4x4 were on my shortlist I now only want one more 2x4. Then I will add torsion boxes as well. I really like my Bora and made the mft style top using the Parf mk2 system. I also think I prefer rail alignment and will probably use 8020 for my next permanent bench.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 10:20 AM by Bertotti »
I want to populate SD with trees because I miss the forests of the river bottoms.