Author Topic: Mafell DDF40  (Read 1646 times)

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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3356
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Mafell DDF40
« on: November 22, 2020, 12:25 PM »
I’m building the second of 2 coffee tables. They are two level tables and are 35” by 35” and 18” tall.

I built the first using Dominos. I found that using the left then right paddles on my machine, the mortises don’t line up with the machine set on narrow only. With narrow and wide, I didn’t have enough joint strength

I am using my Mafell dowel machine on the second table. Using the left then right pins, the dowel holes line up perfectly.
Birdhunter

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Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2400
Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2020, 01:05 PM »
I agree for the price of the machine, a new owner of a DF500 should not be required to do any calibration before it can produce accurate results with the paddles. After all, we're talking about German technology. But Festool QA is not something I have full confidence in after seeing all kinds of small but annoying issues on different tools that people have reported about their new purchases here and elsewhere.

I wonder if the pin-type DF500 performs better in this respect.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 02:31 PM by ChuckM »

Online afish

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2020, 01:59 PM »
The DDF40 is the superior machine in my opinion. If I could "only" have one I would choose the mafell.

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2020, 02:38 PM »
Based the videos I've come across on the DDF40 (i.e. zero experience with it), I don't like its need to use an accessory (some kind of a notched bar) to do shelves. It's a lot simpler with the domino joiner.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 1266
Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2020, 02:52 PM »
Based the videos I've come across on the DDF40 (i.e. zero experience with it), I don't like its need to use an accessory (some kind of a notched bar) to do shelves. It's a lot simpler with the domino joiner.

I've used my limited amount, but yeah, every time trying to figure out all the bits takes time. The accessories aren't exactly solid either.  I do wish there was a more robust mechanism for adjusting the offset from edge. The machine is nice and well build though, but every time you pull it out, it's a re-learning time.  It's a nice machine, but flaw in some areas.  Dust port removal is hard, complicated setup.  But so far, the fitment of joints has been perfect. Also wish plunging wasn't so hard.

Still, I expect to buy a domino someday too.  I think the 2 machine compliment each other more than they overlap. No different than Biscuit joiners still have a place.

Offline Svar

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2020, 03:25 PM »
Based the videos I've come across on the DDF40 (i.e. zero experience with it), I don't like its need to use an accessory (some kind of a notched bar) to do shelves. It's a lot simpler with the domino joiner.
I don't understand. DDF40 has all the same features as Domino (fence, pins, cross stops, alignment marks and window), and in addition there is a notched alignment bar. How is it a lot simpler with Domino?

Offline Birdhunter

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  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2020, 03:43 PM »
I have to watch the Mafell videos before trying the attachments after some time goes by.

In building the table frame, I needed to attach thin stretchers to the low end if the legs to support the lower level surface. I studied the Mafell videos on how to drill two closely spaced holes in the stretchers. But, I couldn’t figure how to drill exactly spaced holes in the legs. So, I used the Domino 500.

It’s good to have options.

I have a wonderful Woodpecker dowel drilling jig, but it takes time to set it up. For just 4 pieces, not worth it.
Birdhunter

Online afish

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2020, 03:44 PM »
I agree, I haven't used the notched bar but it looks like a great way to get accurate and repeatable layout without a bunch of pencil lines and marking.  I would probably make a quick jig to butt the bar up to for the proper set back to avoid the setting marking and moving process they do now to locate it.  Its funny I have been looking at it for a couple days trying to decide if I should order one or not.  I don't think there is anymore of a learning curve each time its used. It seems pretty intuitive to me. The biggest negative is the DDF40 requires extra precision which I actually prefer which is probably the biggest reason for the layout bar.  This way it helps guarantee the dowel holes will line up correctly   

Offline Lincoln

  • Posts: 105
Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 03:46 PM »
The template bar is also used for shelf pin/hardware holes.

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2020, 04:00 PM »

I don't understand. DDF40 has all the same features as Domino (fence, pins, cross stops, alignment marks and window), and in addition there is a notched alignment bar. How is it a lot simpler with Domino?
Here's an example: A divider for, say, a compartment or drawer. There're three joints to do as shown in the image (blue lines). To do all of them, I only needed a DF500, the components of the compartment, and a pair of clamps or holdfasts. No measurements of any kind or pencil marks are needed:

1) Clamp the divider in position on one of the compartment boards (front, back or bottom) -- please refer to the manual for the set-up details
2) Mill the two outside mortises using the paddles on the divider and then on the compartment board (the order is not important)
3) If a middle one is needed, mill it on the divider and then stand the machine to mill the mating one on the compartment board using the wide or widest setting -- which means no pencil line is needed.

Repeat the above steps for the other two joints.

Can a DDF40 complete the same joinery task quicker or with no other aids? I don't think so -- based on my understanding (not experience) of how it works.

Food for thought: Is it simpler or quicker to mark placement lines (assuming they're needed if one doesn't have the cross stop) or to measure (with a tape), position the alignment bar and clamp it down? Not to mention that you must ensure that you use the correct set of notches to mill the holes.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 04:11 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Svar

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 05:59 PM »
... mill the mating one on the compartment board using the wide or widest setting -- which means no pencil line is needed.
Yes, with wide setting Domino is more forgiving. However, you can do all those step with DDF40, except the middle holes have to be placed precisely. It can be done with a pencil mark, which takes a second.

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2020, 06:21 PM »
... mill the mating one on the compartment board using the wide or widest setting -- which means no pencil line is needed.
Yes, with wide setting Domino is more forgiving. However, you can do all those step with DDF40, except the middle holes have to be placed precisely. It can be done with a pencil mark, which takes a second.

That single divider (with only one mortise in the middle) is just an illustration, but if you have a wide panel (a divider or shelf) and several pairs of holes in the middle to do, you need the alignment bar, not pencil marks. No?

The DF milling steps are the same regardless of the panel's width and no. of mortises to be cut.

The narrow - wide-widest feature in the DF is what makes the machine versatile for other tasks such as making slots for cabinetmaker's buttons or slots for louver shutters.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 08:16 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Birdhunter

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2020, 06:52 PM »
I own the 50p, 700, and DDF40. Each has a sweet spot application. My only disappointment with the 500 is that the mortise on my unit is not perfectly aligned between left and right paddles. The DDF40’s holes are perfectly centered.

I wonder if the original version of the 500 with pins was better?
Birdhunter

Offline DeformedTree

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2020, 08:57 PM »
if by notched bar, people mean the Side Fence (SA 320) that is all I have used for far.  It makes the tool awkward, and can be a bit of pain to flip from side to side. Also the adjuster deflects.

It's not so bad if your far away from the edge, but the problem is when your close to the machine. The worse is when your setup is where the pins on the machine overlap your edge some.  I haven't figured out a good way to adjust things/set things up when you are close to the machine.  The SA 320 is a bit of a PITA, the plastic things they give you might be great if they are the value you need.  I wish the machine had a way to retract the spring loaded pins when they are of no use to you and instead of a separate adjuster for side to size that is robust more like the other adjustments, then when you get farther out, use the SA 320

I've never used a Domino, I assume it all comes with a similar amount of setup, but you can have some side to side slop.

In the end, it's never going to be as simple as a biscuit where you just have to get your size right and height, but that's sort of the point.

I'm sure those who use their DD regularly are used to it and know whats going on. But I suspect most of use have to relearn it each time, try to remember what all the parts do. That said, when you get to put things together and it all just fits together so nice, the machine and effort is worth it.

Offline Mini Me

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2020, 09:10 PM »
I own the 50p, 700, and DDF40. Each has a sweet spot application. My only disappointment with the 500 is that the mortise on my unit is not perfectly aligned between left and right paddles. The DDF40’s holes are perfectly centered.

I wonder if the original version of the 500 with pins was better?

Isn't that problem fixed as shown on Half Inch Shy's video where he shows the calibration of the clear plastic gauge with the cursor line in it? I centred that gauge using feeler gauges as it seemed to be the obvious way to do it.

Offline Birdhunter

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  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2020, 06:57 AM »
I did that procedure when I got the 500 and the 700. The center of the mortise lines up with the cursor on both machines.

The problem with my 500 is that the center of the mortise is not equal distance from both the left and right paddles. Somehow, I need to adjust the paddles so as to get them equal distance from the center of the mortise (cursor).
Birdhunter

Offline Frank-Jan

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2020, 02:54 PM »
... Somehow, I need to adjust the paddles so as to get them equal distance from the center of the mortise (cursor).

The calibration process is described on page 21 of the supplemental user's manual written by Rick Christofferson Download link

I have the older version of the domino, with the pin-style fence, and the calibration seems easier to me. (in case the the difference is different from what the offsett paddle fixes, but I guess you can also trim one of the paddles with a file or some sandpaper)

Online afish

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2020, 03:27 PM »
if by notched bar, people mean the Side Fence (SA 320) that is all I have used for far.  It makes the tool awkward, and can be a bit of pain to flip from side to side. Also the adjuster deflects.

It's not so bad if your far away from the edge, but the problem is when your close to the machine. The worse is when your setup is where the pins on the machine overlap your edge some.  I haven't figured out a good way to adjust things/set things up when you are close to the machine.  The SA 320 is a bit of a PITA, the plastic things they give you might be great if they are the value you need.  I wish the machine had a way to retract the spring loaded pins when they are of no use to you and instead of a separate adjuster for side to size that is robust more like the other adjustments, then when you get farther out, use the SA 320

I've never used a Domino, I assume it all comes with a similar amount of setup, but you can have some side to side slop.

In the end, it's never going to be as simple as a biscuit where you just have to get your size right and height, but that's sort of the point.

I'm sure those who use their DD regularly are used to it and know whats going on. But I suspect most of use have to relearn it each time, try to remember what all the parts do. That said, when you get to put things together and it all just fits together so nice, the machine and effort is worth it.

Sorry, I was talking about this notched bar I guess mafell calls it a drilling template.  I know most are using it to drill shelf pin holes probably.  Im looking at more as a way to drill the dowel holes for joining cabinets without having to lay anything out.  Seems like it would give you the most accurate way of precisely locating and matching hole pattern repeatedly.  Instead of that slightly cheesy SA320 I also wasnt a fan of it and noticed it had some deflection issues that I could see causing issues. Which is why  I was thinking of ordering the drilling temp.   

Online afish

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2020, 07:46 PM »
[quote author=The problem with my 500 is that the center of the mortise is not equal distance from both the left and right paddles. Somehow, I need to adjust the paddles so as to get them equal distance from the center of the mortise (cursor).
[/quote]

As far as that goes as someone mentioned the manual explains how to adjust for that. I tried every possible combination of paddles to get it to cut exactly the same using the left and right paddles.  No luck, what I found out was the factory setting as shipped was the closest fit after all that. So, the best method is to get it as close as you can using whatever combination paddles you have. Then determine which paddle needs to be smaller. Remove said paddle and I used some 320 sandpaper and a scrap of mdf. set the 320 face up on the MDF make sure the sandpaper is right to the edge of the mdf and take the paddle (pin down) and run it along the the sandpaper making sure to keep it flat to the paper and ride the pin along the edge of the MDF.  Measure if you can with some feeler gauges how much you need to remove and measure the paddle with some calipers before sanding and take a measurement every couple swipes. Kepp the block and sandpaper stationary and slide the paddle across the paper. Its better to sneak up on it and make a few test cuts until its perfect. This might involve installing and removing the paddle a few times but its worth it. Dont worry if you sand to far you will just have to pull out the other one and sand it, but try to avoid that if possible.  The paddles sand very easy.  My paddles are perfect now.  If I close my eyes I cannot feel the joint its that good.  Kind of how I would expect a 1000 dollar tool to be, but whatever.   

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Mafell DDF40
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2020, 03:51 PM »
The sanding method suggested by Frank-Jan and afish does sound clever, if the spare latch stops included can't fix the misalignment issue.

My DF came spot-on in that respect (but the fence lever needed a reset for proper tightening).

After 7 years, the latch stops (paddles) have stayed as precise as on day 1, as verified with a feeler gauge (the gap, if any, was smaller than 0.001")-- see images for test cuts made this afternoon. Also shown is the use of the cross stops for doing edge joints without making placement lines.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 05:31 PM by ChuckM »