Author Topic: TS55 and MFT/3  (Read 2208 times)

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Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
TS55 and MFT/3
« on: March 24, 2020, 08:00 AM »
Hi.  I am a hobbyist.  I have a table saw and a sled for cross cutting, miter saw, router, and a bunch of other items.  What I do not have is a track saw.

I need to build several open shelve/cabinets with exterior dimensions of 51" high x 27" wide x 29 deep.  I need to make 7 of these and each one will have different types of shelving like cubbies.  This is a Project I am doing with my son for his Eagle Scout Project and the cabinets will go to the school to hold band instruments.

I have been debating on getting a Festool TS55 with an MFT/3.  However, I came across the Kreg Adaptive Cutting System and got it instead.  when cross cutting a 42" piece it is out of square by around 1/32".  Sometimes a little less.  This is squaring the work piece to the versa stops it comes with.

I am not happy with the accuracy and thinking of returning this and going for a Festool system instead.  I know Festool costs more, but assuming you get what you pay for.  However, I have several questions before deciding to make the change.

1. Will I be able to get more accurate cuts with the Festool and MFT/3?
2. What comes with the TS55.  I see on the Festool Site there is a "TS 55 REQ-F-Plus" (575387) and "TS 55 REQ-F-Plus-FS USA" (575388).  Is the only difference that the FS-USA comes with a 55" Rail?
3.  What comes with the MFT/3.  I see that item number 495315 looks to come with a 42" rail and some other items.  It looks like the max working piece width is 27".  Is 27" the max cross cutting width?  If I need to cross cut a piece that is 60" long x 30" wide and cross cut down to 51" x 30" wide, what setup would I need to make repeat cuts?

thanks,

Mike


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Offline KelleyCrafts

  • Posts: 46
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 10:08 AM »
1. You would get dead accurate cuts with the MFT/3 if you set it up for dead accurate cuts. Setting up your MFT is essentially dictating how good your cuts are going to be. I'm not familiar with the Kreg setup but if there are fine adjustments available then you could potentially get the right tools to set that up as well. Infinite amount of threads on here and YouTube on how to setup the MFT square and what you need. There are several ways to accomplish this.

2. I'm not sure the differences but the rails are spendy so the package deals usually save a bit when you go that route.

3. The MFT/3 will come with the rail, protractor, fence, and the flip for the rail. All good items to have. I prefer to use a different fence but the flip is good for my use. Again, there's a million ways to skin a cat here so you'll have to see how others use their MFT tables. Many are custom built but still gives you ideas. The capacity on the MFT is 27" so in order to get repeatable cuts on something bigger using the tracksaw only then you would need some parallel guides. Festool makes some, woodpeckers, senica, TSO....

Others will chime in but I would definitely suggest doing some research. YouTube university is always a winner when it comes to this type of stuff. Just search mft and you'll see several people with several ways of how they do things.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3930
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2020, 10:54 AM »
The bottom line is that you "can" get dead-on accurate cuts with the TS 55 and the MFT/3, but as noted, you have to set them up properly to be able to achieve that accuracy.  I won't suggest that doing so is a black art, but there are procedures promulgated by Festool that I find less than intuitive and accurate long-term.  Then again, there are non-Festool procedures that work wonderfully, and are both intuitive and accurate.  Since you mentioned cutting a piece 30" x 60", the MFT/3 as supplied won't cross-cut that.  That said, you CAN clamp the workpiece down to the MFT/3 and cross-cut it using the 55" guide rail (Guide Rail FS FS 1400/2).  Having said that, you might do well to instead consider the 55" LR 32 guide rail (Guide Rail FS FS 1400/2-LR 32) also known as the "Holy Rail".  It's the same price as the standard 55" rail, but adds in holes spaced at 32mm to guide the use of the Festool LR 32 system often used in cabinetmaking.  If you're thinking of ripping stock longer than 49", I'd suggest getting two "Holy Rails" and joining them using TSO Products' GRC-12 Self-Aligning Guide Rail Connectors.  They're more accurate and consistent than the Festool equivalent.
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Dove_Tail

  • Posts: 42
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2020, 11:16 AM »
Mike - I love my TS 55 and Festool rails and recommend them.  Sparktrician makes a very good point - When buying a 55" rail from Festool, it's preferable to buy the Holey Rail as it opens up future use for no extra money.

I'm not an MFT guy, so I can't speak to using it.  There are other ways to get repeatable cuts.  As Kelly mentioned, TSO, Seneca etc. make great parallel edge guides.  I have the TSO version and it's great.

For square cuts, I use the TSO products GRS-16.  I've been using just Festool rails and the GRS-16 (at $180) and have never needed or wanted the MFT.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3003
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2020, 11:32 AM »
You need a rail long enough to hang over both ends of your plywood by about 8". I use a Woodpeckers framing square to ensure my rail is exactly square, but lining it up with pencil marks works also. It is feasible to join two rails to create one long enough to work with your longer cuts. I use a Betterley accessory to join my rails. It works well.

I just built a reception desk for a Pilates studio that had legs 8' by 7' with a top level at 40" and a desk level. I cut all the big long pieces using a TS75 cut on hard foam squares I got from Home Depot.. Everything fit together perfectly with all cuts dead on and square.

The TS55 is a joy to use and has great dust collection.



You will need a dust extractor.
Birdhunter

Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2020, 11:43 AM »
Thanks all.  I have read a bit and watched many youtube videos as well.  At this point, I am sending back the Kreg and going to get the TS55.  Initially I will get the TS55 (and get a feel for it) and may followup with the MFT/3 (Need to research more).  I need to decide on the track.  They have the combo Item number 575388 (TS 55 REQ-F-Plus-FS USA) that comes with the 55" rail that saves a little opposed to buying the rails separately but it is not the one with the holes.  I do not plan on drilling any holes in these cabinets.  All the shelves will be fixed and I planned on pocket screws.  I used them on a couple other projects.

Does Festool sell direct?  The link just lists 3rd party sites.

Things are crazy here in NY.  Just need a project to to focus on something else.

Offline Dove_Tail

  • Posts: 42
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2020, 11:50 AM »
Mike - Congrats on your decision.  I think you'll like the TS 55 - It's a great saw.  I agree that you should look at getting a dust extractor as well.  They are pricey, but a real game changer - Just wait until you use a Festool sander with a dust extractor - Sanding becomes almost fun  [big grin]

Again, I would get the holey rail - If you end up using LR-32 some day you'll be glad.

You're also wise to do more research on the MFT.  I'm not knocking it at all - Many users love it.  Just make sure it's what you need to do the kind of work you do.

For long cuts, I use a long rail.  The route Birdhunter went is also great and the Betterly jig is superb for proper alignment when joining two short rails.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3003
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2020, 01:06 PM »
I have two MFTs joined together and I built an extension that holds a full sized vise. The extension has heavy steel legs that support the extension and provide much needed steadying for the MFTs. To me, the vise is an absolute necessity.

If I were to start over, I’d buy one MFT with the flip down rail and build a second “MFT” with a fixed base. I’d buy the top from Festool as the hole pattern is extremely useful.

If you buy the MFT, buy 4 bench dogs. They are very useful in squaring up the rail and situating the wood to be cut.

Please do buy the dust extractor. I prefer the Festool dust extractors as they are extremely quiet. There is a big difference in the noise level of the Festool extractors and the Home Depot units.
Birdhunter

Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2020, 01:12 PM »
I have a Delta 1.5 HP Dust Collector (got it around 15 years ago).  I have it up in my garage and ran a 4" hose around 25ft down to my basement and it seemed to work ok on the Kreg. I was planning on using that.  I was also looking at the Festool MIDI to keep in the basement and use with the track saw. 

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 2039
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2020, 01:14 PM »
1. Will I be able to get more accurate cuts with the Festool and MFT/3?
You can, but you can also do it with Kreg system. I don't see how one system would be less fiddly than another. If you search this forum for square cuts on MFT, user satisfaction will range from awful to best thing ever. It's really up to the user.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4728
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2020, 02:41 PM »
Hi.  I am a hobbyist.  I have a table saw and a sled for cross cutting, miter saw, router, and a bunch of other items.  What I do not have is a track saw.

I need to build several open shelve/cabinets with exterior dimensions of 51" high x 27" wide x 29 deep.  I need to make 7 of these and each one will have different types of shelving like cubbies.  This is a Project I am doing with my son for his Eagle Scout Project and the cabinets will go to the school to hold band instruments.

I have been debating on getting a Festool TS55 with an MFT/3.  However, I came across the Kreg Adaptive Cutting System and got it instead.  when cross cutting a 42" piece it is out of square by around 1/32".  Sometimes a little less.  This is squaring the work piece to the versa stops it comes with.

I am not happy with the accuracy and thinking of returning this and going for a Festool system instead.  I know Festool costs more, but assuming you get what you pay for.  However, I have several questions before deciding to make the change.

1. Will I be able to get more accurate cuts with the Festool and MFT/3?
2. What comes with the TS55.  I see on the Festool Site there is a "TS 55 REQ-F-Plus" (575387) and "TS 55 REQ-F-Plus-FS USA" (575388).  Is the only difference that the FS-USA comes with a 55" Rail?
3.  What comes with the MFT/3.  I see that item number 495315 looks to come with a 42" rail and some other items.  It looks like the max working piece width is 27".  Is 27" the max cross cutting width?  If I need to cross cut a piece that is 60" long x 30" wide and cross cut down to 51" x 30" wide, what setup would I need to make repeat cuts?

thanks,

Mike

Why are the cuts not square? Are the results repeatable? Unless you can determine the answers you’ll likely be frustrated by the MFT as well.

The Kreg table has the potential (I haven’t used one) to be more versatile and a better value than the MFT, but you have to set it up right. But maybe it has some deficiencies that won’t allow precision work?

It seems like some buyers of the MFT have a hard time getting consistent results with the stock equipment and depend on dogs instead. I suspect that some people don’t have the means to get the stock fence square or can’t keep it square.

Offline Pompeio

  • Posts: 70
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2020, 03:58 PM »
The first thing you may want to consider is whether the plywood/wood is square to begin with before you start cutting to your exact measurement.  If you are off at the beginning then you are off when at the end.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 170
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2020, 11:52 PM »

I have been debating on getting a Festool TS55 with an MFT/3.  However, I came across the Kreg Adaptive Cutting System and got it instead.  when cross cutting a 42" piece it is out of square by around 1/32".  Sometimes a little less.  This is squaring the work piece to the versa stops it comes with.

I am not happy with the accuracy and thinking of returning this and going for a Festool system instead.  I know Festool costs more, but assuming you get what you pay for.  However, I have several questions before deciding to make the change.

I was in your position about 5 months ago but I did not know about Festool at the time.  I bought the Kreg ACS system.  I could never get the track saw blade to be 0 degree bevel. I had to over adjust it to get it close.  They replaced the saw but new one had other issues.  I really wanted that system to work but I just couldn't get square cuts either.  And if you ever took the track off to do something else, it took a while to get it close to square again.  Its a nice work table, and good for rough break down of sheet goods but for $1000, I was not happy.  I got resolution from Kreg and bought the TS55, the 118" track and have never looked back.  I get better cuts with just the saw and the track than I did with the other.  I just take my time (really slow) and make good marks for the track.  I have purchased a couple of the TSO tools to help with cutting, and they do help but I could live just fine with the TS55 and the tracks by themselves.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 170
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2020, 11:59 PM »
I also looked at the MFT but for the cost and the fact that its kind of wobbly looking (IMO), I decided to wait.  If you have the patience, look at the Parf Guide System MKII for making your own tables.  I actually just finished a test tonight with a 7 x 7 hole setup.  Haven't done any 4/5 cut tests yet, hopefully tomorrow.  I have seen many YT videos with folks having the MFT.  These guys do this for a living and they do a great job.  I am not in a rush so I decided the 'DIY' option first.

Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2020, 01:42 PM »
All, thanks for the input.  Last night, with the Kreg ACS, I went through the calibration process again.  I then took a piece of 3/4" Baltic Birch that was 42" x 35" and tested it.  To make sure the sides were square, I cut three sides.  For each cut, I pushed the sides against the versa stops.  First I cut a strip off the 42" length.  I then put that edge against the versa stop and cut a piece off the 35" length to square it up.  I then flip and cut a piece of the other 35" length.  Both 35" cuts used the same 42" side against the stop.  I measured the 42" length (now shorter) on both ends and it was out 1/32".  Maybe that is good enough, but I figure I can get that just using the TS55 and track and an accessory to square the track to the plywood.

Any recommendations on an accessory that will provide square repeatable cuts on larger pieces?  I am looking for something I can use with the TS55 and 55" rail that will square the track and give me repeatable measurements.  I have a piece of plywood that is 30” wide x 60” long and I need to cut it down to around 50” long.  The 30" wide will be cut on a table saw.  It is too wide to easily cut down the 60" to 50" on the table saw.  What is a good guide or square that will square the track and even give me 50" pieces?  Note that even with the Kreg ACS, I still would have the problem of getting 50" lengths and was going to have to make something up to do that (I was looking at extending the table with the Kreg hoarse and clamp a board at the end to give 50").

thanks,

Mike




Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 170
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2020, 01:51 PM »
Mike, take a look at tsoproducts.com.  They have the GRS squares and their TPG* system.  I have both and just started using them.  I think they are great for lots of repeatable cuts.  Also look at YT for Eric from the 'The Poplar Shop' channel.  He has done a couple videos with these tools and you can see how easy they are to setup and use.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3003
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2020, 02:05 PM »
I have the Woodpeckers framing square and find it wonderful for squaring the rail among other uses. The Home Depot framing squares are seldom even close to being square. I don’t remember the Woodpeckers framing square’s dimension, but it’s probably close to 24” on the long leg and perhaps 16” on the short leg. It’s as dead square as I can measure.
Birdhunter

Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2020, 07:11 AM »
I ordered the TS 55 with 55" rail and should have it tomorrow.  I started watching some videos and flipped through the manual and supplemental manual from the Festool site.  Should the TS 55 come with the blade at 90 degrees out of the box or will it need to be calibrated?  I did not see anything in the manual to check it.  I did find a couple videos showing to take the side cover off and check the angle.  Some of these were older and I think the previous model (I ordered the TS 55 REQ-F-Plus 575387). 

thanks,

Mike


Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 170
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2020, 09:09 AM »
Mike, I did nothing to my TS55 when I got it, everything appeared perfectly set up.  That being said, keep this video book marked.  It should help you when needed.


Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2020, 08:42 PM »
Thanks for the video link. 

In the "Guided Circular Saw Supplemental User’s Manual," I read that the rail "must be at least 10" longer than the cut performed"  (page 11).  It also notes the rail "must extend at least 6 to 7 inches (depending on blade depth) ahead of the cut to allow the sawblade to be plunged without entering the workpiece" and at least 3" past the cut.

Festool site on the 55" rail notes the 55" rail can cut up to 49".

Will I have an issue with 48" plywood with the 55" rail when trying to cut down the 48" length or will the 55" rail work ok?  Or just that when starting the cut, the saw will be plunged into the piece opposed to being plunged down before starting to cut? 

Here is the link to the manual.  This is different that the on in the video.  The one in the video does not have the comment on the rail length (EQ vs REQ) but has information on squaring the tool where this other one does not.

https://service.festoolusa.com/media/pdf/Festool-TS55REQ-Supplemental-Manual.pdf


thanks,

Mike



Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4728
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2020, 09:28 PM »
It was many years ago when Festool decided to ship a 1400mm long guide rail with a “55” plunge saw.

At that time the base of the plunge saws was made of stamped steel and had a continuous groove to ride the rail. By keeping a little lateral pressure on the saw you could keep it straight on the rail even if only one of the guide jibs was one the rail. The ATF 55 was the last saw with the steel base.

The advent of the TS version of the saws introduced the aluminum base and a wider groove that only contacted the guide rail by the jibs. Both jibs must be on the guide rail in order for the saw to track. This requires a longer guide rail if you want to fully plunge before starting to cut and to completely exit the work before un-plunging.

The 1400mm rail is a little short imo. If you’re asking in advance of making a TS 55 saw purchase I’d try to find a dealer who will give you credit for the 1400mm rail so you can upgrade to the 1900mm (75”).

Offline Mike Goetzke

  • Posts: 526
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2020, 10:45 PM »
@rinconmike  For checking square look for the 5 cut method. You keep rotating your cut putting your last cut against the fence. If your setup is perfect your last cutoff would be the same thickness at both ends. If not it is the accumulated error of the length of the perimeter of the piece.

Lots of great info here. I’ve used a track saw for many years. About two years ago I switched to Makita/Festool track saws. Took me a while to unload my old system and see how others were using the tracks and saw. Like many others I purchased a TSO GRS-16PE because my old system had a rail square that I was used to using. TSO’s TPG (parallel guide) was not offered at the time. I work out of my garage so need a system I can break down and I wanted a large work table. I looked at many DIY MFT slab tables and drew up my own and had three 32” x 48” slabs CNC machined locally. I can use one, two, or all three of them to make a 4’ x8’ workspace. I bought several bench dogs to use the MFT 20mm hole pattern for my work. Guess what - after the TSO TPG came out I exclusively use the square and parallel guide for all my work. I do have the complete TPG set and 4 different lengths of Makita rails from 39” to 118”.

Mike

Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2020, 05:12 PM »
When trimming the splinter guard, should I drop the blade full depth or just a 1/4"?  Also, over a scrap piece?  I saw this video and it notes full depth and looks like no wood under the splinter guard (1:29 in video).


Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2020, 03:39 PM »
Trimming the Guide Rail Splinter Guard:

The supplemental manual page 8 notes to "Set the blade depth very shallow (6 to 7 mm) so that the blade teeth penetrate the strip by about half a tooth, as shown." and the strip hanging over the table (opposed to a sacrificial piece).

The manual page 20 notes "Push down the power tool slowly to the max. preset cutting depth and cut along the full length of the splinterguard without stopping."


I called Festool and they said drop the blade full depth and also overhanging it over the table or work piece is what to do.

Doe is make a difference full depth or shallow?

Online Vondawg

  • Posts: 345
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2020, 04:04 PM »


“I called Festool and they said drop the blade full depth and also overhanging it over the table or work piece is what to do.”

When replacing splinter gaurd I’ve done just this except I just slowly cut at where the saw is most often around 20mm

There are no mistakes....just new designs.

Offline rinconmike

  • Posts: 10
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2020, 04:50 PM »
Is there a recommended depth to set the blade lower than the piece being cut?  I am cutting on top of 2" rigid insulation.  Is 1/8" fine so I would set at 7/8" to cut 3/4" plywood?

thanks,

Mike

Offline lf

  • Posts: 2
Re: TS55 and MFT/3
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2020, 02:12 AM »
Trimming the Guide Rail Splinter Guard:
[...]
Doe is make a difference full depth or shallow?
If you do it shallow you won't reach until the end unless you attach another rail at both sides?