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Old 09-12-2016, 09:45 PM
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Default Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

Although I'm just next door in Illinois, I didn't begin to have the time to go to their event this year...
I'll get to see and try out the new tools at my local dealer, so that's covered, but meeting some people in person after talking to them on-line only for a number of years would have been great at Connect.
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Some t-shirts, a hat, some free pencils,....... way, way, too many tools,...... 1 TOOLIE, (thanks RWeber!)but mostly, a satisfied customer
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Old 09-13-2016, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

I know that Rob made it - he posted some stuff on Facebook. I'd love to hear some stories!
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I don't have as many Festools as Fred. Or Marcou's, or Brese's, or Lie-Nielsen's, or Lee Valley's, or Blue Spruce's, or Harold and Saxon's, or...
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Old 09-18-2016, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

I drove down from Chicago on Friday and spent the day on Saturday before driving back.

I'd guess there were maybe 800 people there. Had a great time. Met lots of FOG people and a few Festool folks that I had never met. Good to see Shane again and to finally meet guys like Brice, Bob Marino, Peter and Seth from the FOG. Tom Silva was a hit talking about this many years on TOH and Ask TOH. Such a great guy and stuck around all day for photos and signed autographs.

Festool had reconditioned tools on sale all day and the line was continuous. I think they had just about every tool available. I ended up buying a ETS EC 150/3 sander that looks like it's brand new. There were a LOT of tools being loaded up or shipped by the end of the day. They ran out of router tables and Midi vacs by the end of the day but most all the others were available. I got the impression they would do a reconditioned tool sale nationwide pretty soon.

Christian was there from Germany. He started Festool USA around 2001 in California and now runs sales for Festool globally. Christian shared some great stories on the early days of starting Festool US and I'm sure he was quite proud to see the growth of the company and customer base.

A funny story Christian shared was first entering the US in 2001 and going through customs only to be asked by an agent the nature of his visit. He shared he was here to start up a new tool brand - Festool and the agent said - good luck but do we need another tool brand with Dewalt, Bosch and others. He was coming back through this trip (15 years later) and again talked to a customs agent. This guy said - oh yeah I'm a woodworker and I can't wait till I can get my Festool gear. Fun story! And amazing progress.

Demos were running throughout the day on the new saws and the drywall gun. They also had lots of demos on all the other tools going on. And they had the roadshow truck and demos out in the parking lot. Originally they were going to do the entire event outside, but it rained most of the day and they cleared out a lot of space in the warehouse for the activities. Served lunch with great German fare and even had a German band there.

Beyond Festool tools, the Shaper Origin (www.shapertools.com) was there. It's a handheld router with CNC capabilities. Very impressive. Put a camera on a router with a smartphone size screen and touch controls and you can cut to within 1/1000 of an inch using your hands. No need for dedicating a lot of space for a table-based CNC. A couple of engineers from MIT have been working on the idea for four years. CEO was formerly with Google on the Glass team. While only 9 employees now, they have four prototype units at the show and were available for anyone to try. WiFi connected router that's handheld, stores in a Systainer and provides real-time feedback and ability to 'trace' an image on the screen. $1500 pre-order price. Software updatable. And they expect to have shared plans and ideas that you can download at launch, or draw your own and import to the tool from the desktop of your computer.

I ended up placing an early order for one I was so impressed with it.

As for the facility in Lebanon, Festool just about doubled the size of the space and did tours all day. I had been there years ago and it's amazing to see the size of the facility now - Systainers stacked what looked to be maybe 40' plus high in a massive warehouse. New training rooms, I think there are about 80 employees there now. I think their warehouse is maybe the size of a football field! That's a lot of tools.

I was glad I made the trip down and it reinforced the caliber of people you see on the forums.

Last edited by neilc; 09-18-2016 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

Great review Neil! Much better than anything I read at FOG. Wish I could have gone but it was too far away.

From other descriptions it seems one of the big draws was also the bane of the experience. Most guys spent most of the time standing in line to buy refurb tools so they missed a lot of the other events speakers etc.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

Thanks Michael - a few more details...

When the weather forecast suggested rain early in the week, they made the decision to move into the warehouse. The speaker area was down at one end and was smaller than ideal for the number of people. It was standing room only and the demo areas were still going strong as well as the tool sale and the tour. They did not have a projector 'screen' to show Tom's slides, but projected on a concrete wall which reduced the clarity.

As for tool demos there were a lot to see. Rough construction with the new saws, jigsaws, TS saws on the rail, full suite of drills, domino construction techniques, conturo and edge banding tips, finishing with the buffing pads and polish grits, drywalling with the new screw gun and planex, trim carpentry, routing, and the router table. And the Shaper demo which had a couple of stations. Plus a tour. Plus the tool sale. Plus many many side conversations.

If you preregistered you got the badges in the mail or you could stand in line for a badge. The company they hired to help with logistics did a great job with signage and on-site logistics given the weather change.

I saw most all the demos, heard the speakers and still managed to stand in line twice for tools, the first to buy and the second just visiting with people as it moved forward.

I got there at 9 and left at 3:30.

The custom built roadshow truck was there. The driver was from North Carolina. Left home in April and has not been home since. If you get a chance to see the roadshow, it's pretty cool to see how it's outfitted.

Swag bag included a Sys Mini, notepads, pencils, pens, plastic cup, coozie can cooler, Festool collapsible grocery-style bag, stickers, and a catalog.

Lunch was German fare. Michael Bush - product marketing guy at Festool who ran the entire event with his team has been with Festool for 10+ years had a couple of stories about his interviewing with Christian and even showed up wearing Lederhosen.

And there was lots of coolaid to drink!
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

Thank You NeilC.... Very informative review and you filled in the blanks totally about Connect.
I finally saw the video on the Shaper while at Wood World on Monday- very interesting even for a guy like me that doesn't use routers much....
Chip added on the Roadshow Truck/Vehicle, but took no pictures of it.... He was actually embarrassed about that...
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Some t-shirts, a hat, some free pencils,....... way, way, too many tools,...... 1 TOOLIE, (thanks RWeber!)but mostly, a satisfied customer
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

I flew up there from Atlanta in my Diamond DA40. While there I purchased a Shaper Origin, which arrived several months later. I am still trying to find the time to truly learn how to use it and incorporate it into my woodworking.

Sandy
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Did anyone make it to Festool Connect?

Nice report, interesting to hear about, just to far from the west coast.


Mark
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