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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

Brice,

Excellent balanced review! You have the knack for clearly explaining complex processes and concepts. Like the rest of the reviews and tutorials on your website (Burrell Custom Carpentry), this one explains the parallel guides so that mere mortals (like moi) can understand them.

Thanks,

Dan.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RONWEN View Post
Brice, another question comes to mind: The guides are designed to straddle the workpiece & they appear to be fairly thick aluminum extrusions. Is it nesscesary for them to "hang in space" off of the cutting table or can they lay on the cutting table with the workpiece (let's assume 1/4" ply) between them? Would the parallel guides hold the saw guide rail up off of the ply (creating a gap between workpiece and guide rail) in that situation?

Thanks,
Ron
I took pictures so I could include this issue in the review but forgot to throw them in this version, they are included in the PDF version. Yeah, stock thinner the guides does leave a gap between the rail and the stock, this is a problem when cutting on a cutting table (as in the first picture). Like you said you can hang the guides in space when you can, this is pretty easy with larger pieces. Another way around this to place shims under the stock (see second picture).
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

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Originally Posted by wnagle View Post
Nice review Brice. Seems to me that it might be a little fussy to set the scales precisely and equal initially, but once set you would get perfect repeatable cuts, dadoes, sliding dovetails, etc.........
Fussy probably isn't a bad way to describe the process. The gap between the scale and stop makes this a good accessory instead of a great one. I like Eiji's idea of some kind of pointer, I'm going to look into it. Digital would be nice too.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

Brice
Thank you for the review of the system. It is hard to design a system for the field that gives Fast, Repeatable/precision cuts, with Tight tolerances(better than +- 1/64" accuracy).

Your review did us a good service by sating the curve of interactions between them " it's easy to +/- 0.5 mm accuracy with the guides."

easy=how fast (relatively speaking) verses .5mm accuracy and "locked in" precision. the time element slows as the accuracy element tightens.

thanks Craig
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 04:08 AM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

Thanks Brice for your review it is very informative and I especially appreciated your description of perfect. I always question what some articles mean when they state " Now you have a perfect square" or "After you have a perfect cut" I don't know what they mean because I've never had one of my own. I'd be very happy to hold +/-.5mm in my projects and it's not for a lack of trying.


Brice stated:
You can use the stop on the guide or just measure then slide the rail to you mark, then make your cut and you'll have a perfectly square (or very close to it) cut. You can use both guides (this might give you a little more accuracy), although I've gotten pretty good results with just one guide.

However I can't get these parallel bars because I've taken the vow of Festool abstinence

Mark
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

I found my first attempts yielded .1mm (.004") out-of-parallel, and I felt pretty satisfied with that. Maybe I got lucky because I also don't care for the gap between the pointer and the scale. I think it makes it imperative to set up a good sight line square to the scale and pointer or you can induce parallax error. Black marker in the pointer indent might help by increasing the contrast as well.

Beyond that, when absolute parallelism is needed, I think it would be wise to slide the guides together so that you can feel with your finger across the two stops to see if they are the same. I am assuming it is possible to get them tight to each other as it appears they project about the same distance as the brackets that attach the guides to the rail. I don't have them in front of me so I might be speaking out of school. If you can compare them for flush with your finger you should be able to set them within .001".
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

Great idea Greg, I've tested the concept but I haven't made a cut to see if it actually works or not.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

That looks like a very good solution to assure parallelism.
It appears while the guides are slid together the cutting dimension could be set using a seperate scale from the front of the rail to the stops.

That all may be working a little too hard to build accuracy into the guides which Festool should have provided for but it looks like it will give consistent satisfactory results.

I'll say again Brice, excellent job on the review.

Ron
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

Ron,

I think it is reasonable to be able to set a size within .25mm, or one quarter of an increment on the guide. Then, by aligning the second guide to the first guide, you should be parallel within a few thousands of an inch, or .1mm, at most. Even Eiji should be happy with that.

Unless you are using an Incra system, or equivalent, or a digital fence, you aren't going to do any better on a tablesaw without a trial cut, so the issue of how difficult or how fiddly it is becomes a matter of how fussy one is about his goals. And, how realistic one is about his needs.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Review of the Festool parallel guides.

That sounds about right. I think when we are buying "Festool quality" we should expect (with care) to be able to hold in the +/- .005" range.

I'm hooked on Festool & I really want to like the parallel guides but it just seems that Eiji's and Corwin's design solutions are inherently better than with the Festool "straddle" design where the guides need adjusted for each workpiece length you want to make a parallel cut on.
I'm also hooked on Incra products & it seems that combining a pair of Incra fences/shopstops with Eiji's guide rail connection method would make an excellent setup.
I guess my decision will be based on how bad I need a Festool fix when it's time to decide.

Thanks for your input

Ron
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