Author Topic: Making a MFT on my current bench  (Read 10283 times)

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Offline Dan Clermont

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Making a MFT on my current bench
« on: February 26, 2007, 02:07 PM »
I would really like to someday buy a proper MFT but until my shop expands that ain't gonna happen.

Years ago I built a traditional workbench with vises, dogholes and a nice flat top. This is my main bench and I use it often and even though I'd like to cut it down in size that won't be easy so it dominates my shop.

I'd like to purchase item # 447337 (MFT 800 hardware kit with 32" guide rail 491499, swivel unit, end stop, and angle stop) and either use traditional T-Track found locally of purchase Item # 488555 (Table profile, build your own bigger MFT, length 79", Qty. 2, MFT-TP 2000)

Here is a link to the MFT accessories I am referring to

http://www.festoolusa.com/ProductDetails.aspx?id=9&prodid=492651&tab=access

I am not being cheap or trying to bypass spending the full deniro on the Festool system but think adding a MFT 800 might be difficult and make the shop too small

TIA
Dan Clermont
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Offline Dan Lyke

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 02:37 PM »
I just checked, the various sliding components on my MFT won't fit in the 1/2" thick piece of T-track that came with my Rocker "router table kit" (3/16" space from the lip to the base), but if you've got deeper T-track with 3/8" between the lip and the base the hinge and rest for the rail, and the end holder for the angle fence, should fit just fine.

You might have to do some longer bolts for the hand screws which hold the protractor through the holes in the MDF, depending on how thick your table top is. Which makes me think that the fence with the hinge and rest is probably worth buying as a kit, but be open to other possibilities for the fence and angle adjustment.
Accomplished computer geek, novice woodworker, road cyclist, in Sonoma county, northern California.

Offline Dave Rudy

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 02:49 PM »
Dan,

I am currently building a large MFT (between 2-3x the size of the 1080).  I started with a 1080, then bought the two long rails and connectors.  I will make my own top using a template that I am in process of preparing.  I plan to post photos when the project gets far enough along.

IMHO, all you need to make a custom table is four rails and 90 degree corner connectors.  The rail hardware is also essential assuming that you want to be able to use the guide rail system to make square crosscuts.  The fence hardware would be a great addition, or you could design your own fence system so long as you can adjust it and keep it at an accurate 90 degrees to the rail.  

Believe it or not, one of the most challenging parts of the operation is boring the holes in the table top.  I have decided to use a Festool 20mm router bit in the OF1400, although you could use a 20mm forstner bit (CMT, for example, makes one) if you design a system to hold it perpendicular to the surface with repeatable accuracy (there are a lot of holes!!!!).  Or you could just save some time and buy as many as you need pre-machined from Festool.

I have decided to accept the challenge and try to bore my own.  If I really screw it up, I can buy the Festool tops later.


So far, I have taken the 1080 top, attached it with tape to a 2x 4' 1/8" sheet of mdf, traced the holes, laid out center on each hole.  Next, I plan to drill a 1" hole at each center (spaced 96mm apart).  60-something holes later, the template will be completed.  With a 20mm bit inserted through a PC-standard 1" OD (7/8 ID) the OF 1400 will go to town and drill the holes spaced correctly and uniformly and exactly 20mm.  Making the template is the hard part.  I have decided to use Rockler's jig-it for 35mm hinge hardware.  They make a 1" long shank bit that works (along with several other bit sizes) in place of the 35mm bit. In effect, it produces a portable drill drill press which gets the shank perpendicular to the surface plane of the material and should give repeatable square holes.  I'm stalled at the moment waiting for the 1" drill bit to come into the store.

I'll let you know how that works out and post some pics when appropriate.

I'm interested in following your progress as well.

Dave

Offline Brian 57

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 03:43 PM »
I bought my MFT, (1080 as it happens), at the 2005 Axminster Tool Show in Devon, UK, in November 2005.
The Festool demonstrator explained that one of the options was not to deploy the fold-down legs, but to keep the legs "folded" and use it as a "benchtop" bench, if you follow.
To be clear, I have never used it in that mode, but I have just gone to my 'shop and there are indeed rubber pads/feet on those metal corner brackets which normally act as braces for the fold-down legs. These brackets would be the legs of the "folded" MFT.
The thought is that if your existing bench is not broad enough to support the MFT, you could clamp a piece of e.g. ply of appropriate size to your existing bench and place the "benchtop" or "folded"  MFT on the ply.
You could also clamp the MFT to the ply, if necessary.
Note too, a number of members of this 'site have constructed various trolley which could allow an "folded" MFT to be transported around a shop, when there was a requirement to store it out of the way.
Hope this helps.
Regards

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 05:47 PM »
If I was planning building a large MFT (I'm not due to space constraints) I'd first buy the complete MFT 800 and the long MFT rails. The MFT 800 complete costs $320. The hardware kit for for the 1080 costs $150 and if I'm making a larger version of the MFT the 42" guide rail isn't long enough anyway so the main parts I'm interested in are the guide rail support/hinge brackets. The "unused" MFT 800 basic table that is leftover ends up costing only $220.

So, I've got the long rails to build a table within and I've got a nice portable MFT to learn the fine points on and use. When I finish the big table I can transfer the hardware to the new table and still have a portable workstation than can quickly be restored to full MFT features.

Another option to drilling a whole lot of holes over a large area is to just drill the holes when and where you need them (although there are benefits to having an accurately constructed grid for an assembly surface). One could scribe the grid in the beginning and add the holes as needed.  Also, unless the Festool clamping elements will be used the only 20mm holes needed are for the fence pivot. The other holes could be 3/4" to better fit the variety of non-Festool clamps and dogs available in NA.

Offline Greg B

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Boring your own holes in a big MFT
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2007, 10:14 AM »
I built the FrankenMFT by purchasing a 1080 then adding the long rails and four corner pieces. Once I'd cut the top to fit, I clamped the 1080 top across the width, and plunge cut the holes (carefully starting in the middle of each holes) using a 1/2" top-bearing bit and used the 1080 holes as a guide. Once I cut four corner holes, I just put the clamping elements and Veritas Wonder dogs (nice and long) through those four holes to ensure that the top didn't wander and cut the rest of the holes. I then moved the 1080 top to the right, overlapping one set of holes, clamped and cut, etc. It worked fine. Afterwards I ordered new corner pieces and rails to build another 1080, the cost was not excessive. I built a small framework that the corner braces under the table rest on and bolted through the side holes on the corner pieces so the whole top stays put. It feels quite locked down.

After getting the big boy all locked down, I added a small block (1-1/2" x 4") between the swivel angle unit and the rail and through-bolted it, then put the 55" rail on so I can crosscut a full 48". It is too sloppy for lots of height changes, but works well for me because I leave it at the 3/4" height.

GB

Offline Dan Clermont

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2007, 01:46 PM »
Thanks for all of the responses.

I am curious to know why everyone seems the think the holes need to be drilled in a perfect grid? I would think with clamps and a holes set every for "or so" inches you could clamp pretty much everything.

I was planning on using my extra 55" rail only because I have it and don't see myself using it much.

Brian's idea of purchasing the MFT and then sitting it on top of the bench with the legs folded may be a good idea but still may pose a storage issue.

Michael's idea is also worth considering and I may know someone who is planning on getting a saw and may want that table.

Keep the ideas coming. I am learning lots and plan on reading some of the online manuals to make sure I understand the full functionality of a real MFT vs what I may add onto my bench

Cheers
Dan C
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Offline Dan Lyke

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 02:41 PM »
I am curious to know why everyone seems the think the holes need to be drilled in a perfect grid?

I use the holes for alignment, and will probably go even more that direction. The first thing I did was take a good high quality rule and use that to draw alignment marks for my fence at a very accurate 45 and 90 degrees, using the hole position as my initial guide.

Obviously you could do alignment lines without having the holes drilled in a regular grid, but it's great to be able to drop the Festool stoppers or some dowels with square blocks on 'em into the holes and know that I've got a 90 degree reference.
Accomplished computer geek, novice woodworker, road cyclist, in Sonoma county, northern California.

Offline Brian 57

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 03:50 PM »
I feel just as  Dan Lyke does on symmetry . It's a bit like the Miranda, you may come to rely on it later.
Regards

Offline Dan Clermont

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 04:02 PM »


I use the holes for alignment, and will probably go even more that direction. The first thing I did was take a good high quality rule and use that to draw alignment marks for my fence at a very accurate 45 and 90 degrees, using the hole position as my initial guide.

Obviously you could do alignment lines without having the holes drilled in a regular grid, but it's great to be able to drop the Festool stoppers or some dowels with square blocks on 'em into the holes and know that I've got a 90 degree reference.


Understandable and that makes allot of sense. Thanks for sharing.

Dan C
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Offline Ned

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 08:43 PM »
Don't forget Festool's hole drilling kit for use with the rail with holes.  That will take care of accurate 96mm spacing on one axis.

At one time Festool sold a 30mm hinge drilling bit in North America, but I don't think they offer it now.  It worked perfectly to make a template that could then be used with the 30mm copying ring and 20mm hinge drilling bit.

Ned

Offline Dave Rudy

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 12:08 AM »
Ned,

I read your earlier posts on the old forum on this subject.  With the OF1400 comes an adapter to "PC" style guide bushes.  So all of the imperial sizes including 1" are available.  I decided to use the 1" OD ring with the Festool 20mm bit.  Using the orginal 1080 top allows accurate spacing of holes and the old MFT top can also be used to position the 1" drill bit to make the template.  When the template has been made once, I expect that repeated producton of MFT tops will be a relative snap. 

One question on the hole drilling system -- doesnt each row have to be separately aligned with care to keep the entire grid equidistant?  That is, where the hole drilling system will guarantee accurate spacing along a row, dont you have to precisely reset the guide rail each time to guarantee accurate spacing between rows?  If so, it seems to me that a template would be easier and more accurate.

Dave

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2007, 09:01 AM »
Ned,
...I decided to use the 1" OD ring with the Festool 20mm bit.  Using the original 1080 top allows accurate spacing of holes and the old MFT top can also be used to position the 1" drill bit to make the template....
Dave

How will you use a 1" drill bit with 20mm holes? If you have a long point 20mm bit you could use it (through the existing holes) to scribe the location of the centers of the holes then remove the old panel and drill all those holes with the 1" bit. It would be helpful to have a pair of stepped 1"x20mm dowels for alignment of the new template when transferring the holes to a new larger MFT panel.

Offline john stevens

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2007, 11:38 AM »
Dan, how about this idea:  if you've got a workbench with a vise and dog holes, then the only extra thing the MFT does for you is give you a fast, accurate way to make crosscuts and angled cuts with your saw.  If that's all you need, then you could just buy the parts that hold the guide rail onto the MFT and bolt those parts to the side of your workbench.  Then just throw a sheet of masonite or MDF over the surface of your bench before you cut so that you won't cut into it.  Mount a fence with stops (from Kraig or Incra) on the sheet.  (Mount it so it can be pivoted and then locked in place so you can dial in perpendicular or angled cuts accurately.)  Store the sheet and fence on your wall.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

John
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Offline greg mann

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2007, 01:01 PM »
Festool has a 20mm hinge locating bit. I you mount an existing MFT top over another sheet of MDF (with a sacrificial spacer under the MDF to prevent tearout) you can use the Festool top as a bushing plate. Simply plunge the bit into the hole with the router off. Fire up and plunge drill the hole. Retract and move to the next hole plunge into the hole, again with the router off and the bit totally stopped, fire up and plunge again. No guide bushings and no intermediate templates. Rockler also sells a 20mm carbide Forstner with a 3/8 shank. The shank is long but can be shortened. This bit will run well in a router at a slower RPM and pilots well in a Festool 20mm hole. The only drawback is the 3/8 shank. Bosch, for one has a 3/8 collet so you could do all of the above with a 20mm Rockler Forstner and a 3/8 collet in, dare I say it, a Bosch plunger.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Greg B

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2007, 03:16 PM »
Greg,

As I indicated earlier, this is what I did for mine, but I left the router on and made sure that it was right over the hole. The 1/2" top guide bearing was small enough that it made it easy to line up via eye without worrying about nicking an edge on the way down. I plunged slowly and didn't worry too much about tearout and didn't get much. It went fairly quickly and gave a perfect top.

GB

Offline Dave Rudy

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2007, 03:56 PM »
Greg (Mann),  What a concept!!  I knew there was something I really liked about this group!! I'm traveling through Sat, but first thing Mon AM I'll try it that way -- makes good sense and should save a couple of hours of manufacturing the template


Greg B,

Did you try it with the Festool 20mm bit or only with the 1/2" bearing?  Seems to me the plunge would be cleaner and less risk of damaging an edge to use the 20mm bit and plunge to exact circumference.


Thanks

Dave
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 03:58 PM by Dave Rudy »

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2007, 04:30 PM »
...you could do all of the above with a 20mm Rockler Forstner and a 3/8 collet in, dare I say it, a Bosch plunger.

Do they have a carbide version? I wonder if you could bore that many holes in MDF with the same HS steel bit? Are those Forstner bits even HS?

Offline Greg B

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2007, 05:42 PM »
Dave,

At first I looked high and low for that 20mm bit, but couldn't find it. With the 1/2" bit, I don't have to turn the router off, I eyeball it and plunge through the template and use the top bearing to be guided by the Festool top to make sure the hole is the right size. It takes me about 4 seconds/hole, going slowly.

GB

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2007, 06:00 PM »
Dave,

At first I looked high and low for that 20mm bit, but couldn't find it. With the 1/2" bit, I don't have to turn the router off, I eyeball it and plunge through the template and use the top bearing to be guided by the Festool top to make sure the hole is the right size. It takes me about 4 seconds/hole, going slowly.

GB

Greg, I was getting confused as to why and how you would try to make a 20 mm hole with a 1/2" bit 'till I remembered you are using a top bearing pattern bit. Makes perfect sense now, as it did when you first mentioned the idea.

Offline Ned

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2007, 10:58 PM »
With the OF1400 comes an adapter to "PC" style guide bushes.  So all of the imperial sizes including 1" are available.  I decided to use the 1" OD ring with the Festool 20mm bit.

I think that combination wasn't available to me when I set up to drill the grid--1400 didn't exist.  I have an adapter (from Leigh, I think) to use PC guides with my 1010.  OK, I won't whine about the 30mm bushing's availability anymore.

I suspect that dust collection from the 20mm hinge bit would be better with the 30mm ring than with a 1" (25.4mm) ring, but I have no proof.

Quote
One question on the hole drilling system -- doesn't each row have to be separately aligned with care to keep the entire grid equidistant?  That is, where the hole drilling system will guarantee accurate spacing along a row, don't you have to precisely reset the guide rail each time to guarantee accurate spacing between rows?  If so, it seems to me that a template would be easier and more accurate.

Yep Dave, everything you're saying is correct.  I used the guide rail with holes to (carefully) make the template.

On the old group I showed some aluminum locating bushings I made to accurately position the rail for the next row.  I should move that info over here.  Gimme a day or two.

Offline Dave Rudy

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2007, 09:47 AM »


On the old group I showed some aluminum locating bushings I made to accurately position the rail for the next row.  I should move that info over here.  Gimme a day or two.


Thanks Ned.  I will look forward to it.  Not only would that be a pleasant solution (one among many) but it would provide the excuse to get the LRS 32!!

Dave

Offline greg mann

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Re: Making a MFT on my current bench
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2007, 01:33 PM »
...you could do all of the above with a 20mm Rockler Forstner and a 3/8 collet in, dare I say it, a Bosch plunger.

Do they have a carbide version? I wonder if you could bore that many holes in MDF with the same HS steel bit? Are those Forstner bits even HS?

Michael,

Rockler makes a carbide 20mm Forstner. Check that, Rocklers sells one, I don't know who makes it. Of course the Festool hinge bit is carbide. My original 'homemade MFT' was done with a Forstner carbide @ 3/4" on a measured 4 inch grid using a plunge router and trying to hit the crosshairs of the marked grid. I used a straightedge to keep one axis of movement straight. It worked pretty well but having a pre-esisting bushing plate like the MFT is much better. I like Greg B's method as well but I am not sure I would not let my mind stray just enough to bugger up the template. I suppose the same thing could be said about using my method and not waiting long enough for the router to stop before you try to reposition. OT: Those things really annoy me when I know the Euro 1400 has rapid stopping features that had to be stripped off for UL approval. If UL is primarily a safety assurrance organization they ought to be doing a lot of soul searching over that one. I wonder if they could be sued for recommending removal of a safety feature if someone gets hurt? Not that I would. I feel we do have personal responsibility when we pick up a tool and I suppose mixing fast stop and non-fast stop tools in your woodworking environment is problematic too. Is is me or have I been ranting alot the last few days. Got to get it out of my system.  ::)   
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan