Author Topic: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table  (Read 28705 times)

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Offline TSO Products

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As a new TS55 owner I need to adapt or replace an existing shop based 4x8ft assembly table to do double duty as a track saw cutting table for plywood sheets. The table is in a larger but extremely congested shop.

What is the most practical way to create a semi permanent table surface setup for ripping and crosscutting?
Which FESTOOL (MFT) parts should I buy for this purpose?

Unanswered questions in my mind:
MDF surface with MFT hole pattern and bench dogs?  QWAS?
How to protect - or not protect the MDF - so others can use the table for mostly smaller assembly projects
Using 2" EPS styrofoam sheets on the table top as a spoil board creates a handling/storage problem when the EPS sheet is not needed.
How to preserve conventional wood working clamping edge space

Besides the cutting capability on the table surface I plan to build several wood drawer cases to be housed underneath along one long side while parking my Systainers below the table on the opposite side.

I know your feedback will help me get a headstart toward an optimal solution.

I have spent hours reading FOG posts before writing this post. Amazing information resource.
thanks for helping [smile]
Hans
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Offline SMJoinery

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 02:25 PM »
Hi Hans

I had a similar experience with my original shop set up.
I moved over to two MFT3 tables and haven't looked back.
They are normally set up short ends together for a long narrow table.
I originally tried the insulation sheet to rip large sheets on but as you said the storage of that was problematic.
I now use 6 pieces of 45x45 (1200mm long) timber which have a hole drilled in the centre.
When I have large sheets to rip I place the timbers across the tables, pass a clamp up from the bottom and through the hole to keep them in place. I can then cut sheets all day without any unsupported edges and no cuts in the tables. They only take minutes to set in place and are cheap to replace.
Hope that's all clear.
This would work on any bench but I find the MFT3's so adaptable for my works if I had to I would replace them without hesitation. There ability for Cross cutting after the rips is super easy and repeatable.
Good luck.
Scott

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2015, 02:35 PM »
Scott
thanks for your response. If I had the space I would have bought an MFT. I am stuck with the requirement for the 4x8 ft assembly table, although I can modify with additional functionality.
A picture of your set-up would be welcome to better understand.
My need to have a one-piece surface assembly table set up all the time (when I'm not cutting) narrows the design options for me. I look forward to additional responses.
Hans
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Offline Holmz

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2015, 03:56 PM »
Castors.

Offline Corwin

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2015, 04:09 PM »
You don't really need a special table to use your tracksaw. This is how I start breaking down sheet material:

On Edit: Turn Closed Caption ON

« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 04:31 AM by Corwin »

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2015, 04:40 PM »
Regarding your comment about using 2" foam and then storing it, you won't need that thick a foam if you have a solid surface below.  Use 3/4" and slice it into three pieces.  Much easier to store, saves some $$.

Peter

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2015, 05:23 PM »
I also use a torsion box.

Tom

Offline Kevin C.

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2015, 06:30 PM »

I built this table. Dados and screwed it together because I don't need it to come apart currently. Screwed the assembly down to a shop cart and it works beautifully. 1 sheet of 3/4 plywood and a few hours time. Hope this helps.

Offline overanalyze

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2015, 07:55 PM »
Here is what I use. When not needed I can store all the pieces away.

I had a 4x4 mft top made for it because the way I designed it I can also use it as a 4x4 table.

 

Offline Bohdan

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2015, 08:07 PM »
I took a sheet of 8'x4'x1" ply that I cut into 8'x2's and then used the MFT and LR32 to route 20mm holes over the whole surface.

These are placed on a pair of saw stands to make an 8'x4' assembly table, or when covered by 4'x2'x1" foam, a flexible saw bench.

I used 2' wide pieces because they are easy to handle and store and as the saw stands are 5' long can be expanded to an 8'x5' bench. (Or 6' with a small over hang.)

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2015, 11:50 PM »
to all Respondents:
thank you so much for the breadth of ideas. I just got back before the holiday so I will post another reply,point by point comments and more questions by Thanksgiving day
good night for now
Hans aka Klemm
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Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2015, 12:13 PM »
Happy THANKSGIVING to All !
my comments on all your feedback as follows:

Styrofoam tips by PETER HALLE and BOHDAN only 1" thick and cut into 4ftx 2ft pieces for handling and storage are a super suggestion - will do that.

Caster suggestion by HOLMZ is way to go for flexible shop arrangement. Have done this in my earlier shop but downsized I no longer have a need or space to move the 4x8 table.

Torsion Box and collapsible table not needed for now because table will remain fixed installed and flatness accuracy not an issue because I expect plywood cases with DOMINO joinery to be self aligning / squaring.

Parallel Guides by CORWIN: clever fixture design. Looks like INCRA Jig parts used - correct? - what software was used to create this nifty animation?

I'll post pictures of the final set-up in a few months. For now I will get styrofoam and get some experience with the TS-55-REQ system and learn what needs further improvement as I go.

thanks again
Hans





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Offline Holmz

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2015, 04:58 PM »
I am not as fancy.
I have an old folding table like the ladies at the local church would serve cups of tea from.
But without a table cloth to spruce it up.

I unfold the legs and hope t doesn't shift around too much.
this works for me, but if I was in the snow or wind, I would not want to be in the driveway or patio with a fold out table.

Offline Corwin

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2015, 05:00 PM »
Happy THANKSGIVING to All !
my comments on all your feedback as follows:

Styrofoam tips by PETER HALLE and BOHDAN only 1" thick and cut into 4ftx 2ft pieces for handling and storage are a super suggestion - will do that.

Caster suggestion by HOLMZ is way to go for flexible shop arrangement. Have done this in my earlier shop but downsized I no longer have a need or space to move the 4x8 table.

Torsion Box and collapsible table not needed for now because table will remain fixed installed and flatness accuracy not an issue because I expect plywood cases with DOMINO joinery to be self aligning / squaring.

Parallel Guides by CORWIN: clever fixture design. Looks like INCRA Jig parts used - correct? - what software was used to create this nifty animation?

I'll post pictures of the final set-up in a few months. For now I will get styrofoam and get some experience with the TS-55-REQ system and learn what needs further improvement as I go.

thanks again
Hans

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!  [big grin]

Yes, I used Incra Incremental Track. But, that's what I had on hand back then and there are other possibilities that are smaller and lighter that you could use instead. Yet, those Incra tracks work just fine in this application.

I've just been playing with SketchUp 2015 since mid-August. Didn't know you could make animations with it. Kind of fun, but a huge consumption of 'spare time' if there is such a thing...

I only posted this on your thread to illustrate how you could work with your Festool Guide Rails without going the ever-popular dog-hole route that so many seem stuck on around here. Those dogs really are only useful on a table that has a grid of holes, and if you aren't going to purchase MFT table, then I see no need to make your own table to match. I mean, why go through the expense of a CNCed top just to obtain square when you could just as easily purchase a good quality square instead? Anyway, the point being that how you work with your Guide Rails may dictate how you construct your table, or not, and maybe what methods you will use ought to be taken into account in your table needs.

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2015, 07:59 PM »
INCRA parts for home made parallel guide was a creative approach. I'll have to look into INCRA further for special fixture building projects.
SketchUp ability to do animations was news to me. Because of the woodworker oriented set-up in this CAD application I am attracted to using it rather than my full blown SolidWorks. But even though it is intuitive in mmany ways I quickly discovered the learning curve is not a short one. Your reaction serves as a further caution against an unplanned diversion of time into SketchUp when I really want to get going with several woodworking projects including the construction of a full set of wood biplane wings.

I am trying to figure out if there is a relatively simple way to arrive a functionality like the flip-up track hinge on the MFT to get "squar" for crosscuts. I.m thinking I would not need 100 plus dog holes. Just six shoul suffice to get square. I'm anxious to try my hand and find out what I still need and need to learn or know. Your critical comments regarding the  need for MFT hole pattern was helpful. I am thinking a Woodpecker square - is there any other Square more appropriate?

thanks again
Hans
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Offline ifit

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2015, 02:11 PM »
Why do people make open frame cutting tables? It seems limiting when it comes to small pieces, I cannot see what the issue is in just having a sheet of ply or mdf for a cutting surface

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2015, 09:06 PM »
as the newbie track saw fella on this forum I see the open collapsible "table" as a way of remining mobiloe on a job site. As the only cutting table in a smaller shop I can't see anything that does not have a surface - with or without benchdog hole pattern.

Let's hear from the open table users what they can tell us
Hans
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Offline thedude306

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2015, 09:56 PM »
I think it's purely that you have less to cut through with an open table.  I have Overanalyze's table in my shop and I wouldn't be without the thing.  It's all about versatility.  I can set it up to cut sheet goods with no top.  I can throw my 4x4 MFT style top on it and use the smaller size for assembly and cutting.  I can put a piece of plywood on top and have an assembly table.   I can add my legs to it and have it as an out feed table for my anything in the shop that needs it. 

It's just a really versatile piece for a guy that has limited space and doesn't want a permanent cutting table set up all the time.  The fact that it goes flat to hang on the wall is just a super duper bonus.

I also have a MFT style bench, with torsion box, on castors, with storage and I really like that too although I don't cut on it with out sacrificial cleats.





IMG_3093 by Brad Taylor, on Flickr

IMG_3079 by Brad Taylor, on Flickr
Brad T.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2015, 10:50 PM »
Why do people make open frame cutting tables? It seems limiting when it comes to small pieces, I cannot see what the issue is in just having a sheet of ply or mdf for a cutting surface

I cut on foam. By doing this you save the table and support small pieces.

Tom


Offline Corwin

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2015, 02:16 AM »
INCRA parts for home made parallel guide was a creative approach. I'll have to look into INCRA further for special fixture building projects.
SketchUp ability to do animations was news to me. Because of the woodworker oriented set-up in this CAD application I am attracted to using it rather than my full blown SolidWorks. But even though it is intuitive in mmany ways I quickly discovered the learning curve is not a short one. Your reaction serves as a further caution against an unplanned diversion of time into SketchUp when I really want to get going with several woodworking projects including the construction of a full set of wood biplane wings.

I am trying to figure out if there is a relatively simple way to arrive a functionality like the flip-up track hinge on the MFT to get "squar" for crosscuts. I.m thinking I would not need 100 plus dog holes. Just six shoul suffice to get square. I'm anxious to try my hand and find out what I still need and need to learn or know. Your critical comments regarding the  need for MFT hole pattern was helpful. I am thinking a Woodpecker square - is there any other Square more appropriate?

thanks again
Hans

Reading your reply, I feel I need to say that I didn't mean that SketchUp has a lengthy learning curve, but rather the process of creating an animation is what was taxing on my time. Sorry I wasn't more clear. Actually, I found SketchUp very quick to learn. And there are a ton of videos to answer most any question you have along the way. But, it is sometimes faster and easier to delete and redraw mistakes rather than correct them -- yet, the act of correcting things might just teach you more...   [big grin]

Offline Corwin

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2015, 02:28 AM »
as the newbie track saw fella on this forum I see the open collapsible "table" as a way of remining mobiloe on a job site. As the only cutting table in a smaller shop I can't see anything that does not have a surface - with or without benchdog hole pattern.

Let's hear from the open table users what they can tell us
Hans

In addition to being lighter, and therefor easier to transport, there is also a kind of 'need' for these open platforms IF you use the Festool Parallel Guide Extensions -- or, so I understand. See, these Extensions have a lower member that hangs down [almost] requiring cutouts in your cutting table.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 02:30 AM by Corwin »

Offline ifit

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2015, 08:52 AM »
Each to their own, and i'm not knocking it I just never really understood it
I personally just use folding horses and throw a sheet of what ever im using ontop as a surface
The parallel guides need space under the sheet if you use the narrow extensions but in that situation I just make sure my work suface is no longer that the sheets im cutting which is usually 8' anyway

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2015, 09:00 PM »
thanks for the enlightening comments about "open" and fold-away tables. The series of pictures help a lot!
Really broadens my understanding as it relates to the different approach with portable FESTOOL equipment vs the traditional stationary power tools or even contractor saws.

And thanks to Corwin for the encouragement regarding SketchUp. I'll go search for more help on youtube in addtion to the study book sold by Taunton Publ.
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Offline crazydave789

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2015, 08:04 PM »
depending on the weight I've seen and plan on using twin slot shelving metalwork to add space to my benches and act as shelves for saws and maybe a detachable router table, cheap and should be strong enough for my needs. another thing I thought of was basically two benches back to back with a slot in the middle to take your two piece cutting boards which can lay on top then stow away again until needed.  if your assembly table is permanent then another idea is to flip the sacrificial board over to present a good side for assembly.

my garage build is to have two mobile benches that I can fix together in good weather to work outside with or slot away under bench tops the rest of the time.

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2015, 11:48 PM »
I'm following your last suggestion by adding sacrificial surface to the table int he form of 2ft x4 ft sections of 1" Styrofoam suggested earlier in this email string. Then I'll see how it goes with a minimum of additional effort to start with. With some experience I can the see which of the many helpful suggestion hee can be used for the next steps.

thank you much
Hans
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Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2015, 05:10 PM »
update: I have used Styrofoam insulation panel quartered for easy handling and storage. Works great with the TS55 over an existing large assembly table variously used by everyone in the shop.
Now I'm working on a quick-and portable setup for square crosscutting.

stay tuned and thanks for the Styrofoam suggestion
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Offline JimD

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2016, 07:54 PM »
Here's a couple pictures of my Ron Paulk inspired work surface and cross cutting jig.  It is 3 feet by 7 feet.  That fits my space better and I like a little overhang when cutting sheet goods for clamping.  The whole thing is made of 23/32 pine plywood from Home Depot that cost $30/sheet.  It's pretty nice for pine plywood, comes from Chile.  The top was bored using a Freud 20mm jig, a Woodrazer base form my PC690 and pegboard from HD.  It rolls on 6 totally locking casters I got off eBay.  I put the large electrical conduit tubes in it that Paulk has in his total workstation and workbench so I can hang my extra table saw off it if I want to.  I really like the 9 inch space below the top for tools you need close at hand and would clutter the work surface.  The bottom plywood shelf flexes as I expected it to but I had some tall tools I wanted to be able to put on it that wouldn't fit with supports under it.  It doesn't sag enough to affect function.  I put 3/4 plywood scraps on top when cutting on it.  Due to it's size and the extra space for tools, I think it is much more functional than a MFT.  I made it slightly lower than my table saw so it is an outfeed table too.  I will probably get a roll of 36 inch wide butcher paper to protect the surface when using it as an assembly table. 

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2016, 10:51 PM »
your post comes at a perfect time: just got back from the shop after using the table saw to  square up plywood panels for a pair of tool drawer boxes. Having tried to get satisfactory square and accurate parts with the TS-55 without the benefit of an MFT set of features I am convinced that I need to go that route.
As soon as other projects on my list allow, I plan to replace an existing very old 4x8 assembly table with a completely new table incorporating some of your suggestions along with other pointers.

I like the idea of less than 4 ft width for clamping overhang. I would like to be able to use conventional clamps along the table edge with a 3+inch overhang  unobstructed below. That means the sidepanels you used with the oval openings would need to be set back some.
Are the fence like pieces along both table edges removable?

I'll save your pictures for reference when I get going in earnest - meanwhile thanks for the input.
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Offline JimD

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Re: Design ideas needed for shop based 4x8 ft cutting / assembly table
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2016, 08:40 PM »
I'm not sure what you mean by "fence like pieces" but the second picture shows the crosscut jig which is removable, it just clamps to the workbench at each end.  The first picture is just the workbench and the only loose pieces are the tools sitting on and under it.

I don't think you really need an overhang for the top, however.  The vertical ribs are only about 1.25 inches wide where they are cut out so that plus the top means you have to clamp 2 inches plus what you are securing.  But in most instances, I do not clamp this way.  One of the big advantages of all the holes in the top is you can insert a clamp in them and clamp there.  I use a couple grizzly track clamps because I got them for $25 (for two) at Christmas time.  I also have a couple HF quick clamps that I modified and use (take the fixed jaw off, heat the bar to cherry red about 2-3 inches back from the tip and then twist it and turn it 90 degrees (to make a new fixed jaw).  Cost for those is really, maybe $5 each.  You can use Festool clamps but they are $30 or more each.  DeWalt track clamps won't work but Makita probably will.  Anyway, I mostly clamp to the workbench surface using the holes, not out along the edge.  But if I want to clamp along the edge I can.

The crosscut jig is an important extra.  It has a movable stop for repeat cuts and will reliably cut 3 feet pieces square.  Only takes a couple minutes to put on and off the bench.  The combination of the bench and crosscut jig really increase the usefulness of the track saw.  Much the same functionality of a MFT but much larger and cheaper.