thing I want you to do is look closely at the Festool MFT table top.
Forget the aluminum rails on the side, just focus on the MDF top.
Notice how square the corners are? Notice all them holes? Did you
notice they are laid out in a grid?
replacement top for MFT-1080 is currently over $100. You are not buying
just a piece of MDF. Rather you are buying a piece of MDF with
precisely drilled holes and square corners. So why aren't we using the
holes to our advantage? That is what we are going to learn now.
run a straight edge beside the holes, you will notice the holes line
up. You can try it with a row of vertical or horizontal holes. Try them
all. If you lay a square beside a row of vertical holes and move the
square to line up with a row of horizontal holes, you will notice the
rows are perpendicular or square to each other. And, if you measure the
distance between horizontal holes and then vertical holes, the spacing
between holes are the same (96 mm center to center). This means a
diagonal set of holes must be at 45 degrees. Also notice the holes are
parallel to all sides of the MDF top and not necessarily the aluminum
rails around the table. The MDF fits loosely in the aluminum rails so
there is no guarantee there (but you could remove the 4 screws holding
the MDF top and try to align 1 or 2 sides to the rails). You should
also check all 4 corners of the MDF top and verify they are square. I
think you will find all 4 corners are as accurate as expensive
precision squares can measure.
also say the rows and columns are at right angles to each other. Once
we have a right angle, we can make a right angle triangle and the laws
of trigonometry can come into play. We can keep the “side” of the
triangle constant by using the 96 mm hole spacing as our side. We can
use the trig function of "tangent" to figure out the length of the
side for any angle we want. This angle would be the angle of our fence,
with the fence also being the hypotenuse of the triangle.
put this information into practical use. Please read the Qwas Dog
Manual and the Rail Dog Manual web pages to learn about using the least
amount of tools and still achieving great cuts. Once you start using
this new method, you won't need to grab a square to make your cuts or
to check your work. You will know it has to be correct. It can be
combined with what you do now, or you can use just portions of what I
explain. The options are all yours. Use what you are comfortable with.
But I'm certain once you try it, you will be using it regularly.
Your Own Top: Do you want your own top with accurate hole layout but
don’t want to spend thousands for a CNC machine? It’s possible to build
your own bench top with a precise grid of holes by using simple
pegboard and a plunge router. You can get some details by reading this talkFestool thread.
Or perhaps you
want something simpler. How about using pegboard as the top and use
your own 1/4" diameter dogs. Check out this talkFestool thread
on making such a top.