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Thread: track saw vs circular saw with guide

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Reischl View Post
    I have no need of a track saw. I can understand that they are handy for guys who toss them in their trucks.

    What I cannot understand is how the people who make these things have the idea that about 20 bucks worth of aluminum extrusion, some bolts and a plate to mount the saw on should cost $500. It is no doubt a very profitable item.

    Should not be long before we see the prices fall through the floor as foreign competition figures out there is a huge opportunity.
    Clearly there is mark up on tracks and track saws (capitalism), but there is no need to exaggerate that mark up. Unless you are purchasing very large amounts even non specialized aluminum extrusion is pricey especially if you cannot source long pieces locally and have to pay for shipping an over size package. That alone is often over 20$. Then you have to take the time to design and build a sled. Then you need to have decent circular saw, a quality blade. A lot of people choose to ignore that festool includes a very nice blade with the saw, while many circular saws come with a blade you immediately throw away or save for when you need to cut up something with embedded nails. Then after all that tinkering you are left with a setup that still isnít as easy to use as even a mid level brand track saw.
    A track saw may be a unneeded luxury if you always work in your shop and have a nice table saw or slider. But if you work with sheet goods a lot, and/or frequently are doing work onsite in a situation where time saved = money there is no doubt that a track saw is solid investment. This doesnít even take into account all of the other benefits and possibilities that are opened up with a purpose built track system.

  2. #62
    I think tracks are expensive, because it's very hard to manufacture long piece of extruded aluminum that are extremely straight. - Hence the insane prices for really good, long straight edges.

  3. #63
    I agree. I just can't understand why a piece of aluminum and a few connectors cost so much. I'll also admit that if I was a pro, I'd buy a track saw today. They are just too efficient to not have one. As a hobby woodworker, I can't justify the cost. Well,.....not yet anyway.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Wawro View Post
    I agree. I just can't understand why a piece of aluminum and a few connectors cost so much. I'll also admit that if I was a pro, I'd buy a track saw today. They are just too efficient to not have one. As a hobby woodworker, I can't justify the cost. Well,.....not yet anyway.
    It's because it's not just a generic piece of aluminum. The raw material is only part of the price. All of the tracks have at least two anti slip strips on the bottom , plus a sacrificial splinter guard. Most have two anti friction strips on the topside. All of these pieces add raw material cost as well as labor or expensive manuf. lines to put them all on. Shipping also adds more than you think to the price. Ever shipped a 4' + long piece of anything lately ?

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sabo View Post
    It's because it's not just a generic piece of aluminum. The raw material is only part of the price. All of the tracks have at least two anti slip strips on the bottom , plus a sacrificial splinter guard. Most have two anti friction strips on the topside. All of these pieces add raw material cost as well as labor or expensive manuf. lines to put them all on. Shipping also adds more than you think to the price. Ever shipped a 4' + long piece of anything lately ?

    You've got it exactly right! The dimensional tolerances need to be pretty close, with no twist, warping, bending, etc. I've got both the 4 ft. and 8 ft. Makita tracks and they are pretty much right on. Definitely not just your average everyday aluminum extrusion.

    David

  6. #66
    I don't know if the tolerances are the main reason. If I believe anything, it's more like economy of scale. For instance I can buy a B&W laser printer for $59. Think about that. All those complex gears, lasers, feed rollers, housing, circuit boards, software, toner cartridge, power cord, shipping and profit.
    To give you a clean, crisp print out the tolerances on everything have to be tight. Somehow they can design, fabricate, program, build, and ship this marvel of complex engineering all for only $59. How? Because they are making a gazillion of them.

  7. #67
    Because you have to buy a toner cartridge that is $109.00 after the original runs out.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Graywacz View Post
    Because you have to buy a toner cartridge that is $109.00 after the original runs out.
    You must have an old HP DeskJet like I do. Last time I checked, it was going to be almost $130.00 to replace both cartridges.

    The aluminum extrusion is expensive. Too expensive in my mind, but it is what it is. I just think that for that cost, you should be able to butt one track up to another, tighten the clamping bars, and have a dead straight edge with the two connected tracks. Not the case though. I use a 6' Starrett machine rule to align mine.
    Anybody ever re-cut the butted ends of the tracks, so that they self align without the need for some type of alignment straight edge?
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #69
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    Even if you cut (machine) the ends of the tracks perfect, it would still be problematic to align them over that distance. For accurate results with 2 tracks joined together, I believe you are using the correct method.
    Some may not require the best precision, in which case just bolting them together may be ok. That is exactly why I purchased the long Makita track (it is long enough to cut a full 4 x 8 sheet diagonally).
    I think you "get what you pay for" with these - both saws and tracks. I'm sure I spent well north of $800 for my Makita cordless 36V saw with both the 4 ft. and 8 ft. tracks. Maybe it is "overkill", but I do enjoy using it. Pretty sure the Festools cost alot more. Maybe they are better.
    David

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sabo View Post
    It's because it's not just a generic piece of aluminum. The raw material is only part of the price. All of the tracks have at least two anti slip strips on the bottom , plus a sacrificial splinter guard. Most have two anti friction strips on the topside. All of these pieces add raw material cost as well as labor or expensive manuf. lines to put them all on. Shipping also adds more than you think to the price. Ever shipped a 4' + long piece of anything lately ?
    I assume the splinter guards are replaceable? If so how do they attach?

    Same question for the no slip strips. Do they just stick on?

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    Anybody ever re-cut the butted ends of the tracks, so that they self align without the need for some type of alignment straight edge?
    I have Grizzly tracks, they self align perfectly as the ends are factory milled to a perfect 90 degrees. No straightedge needed. Maybe I got lucky, but the industrial saws used to cut extrusions are orders of magnitude better than what we have in our shop. Although I will say I once saw a Copper and Brass Sales employee cutting heavy (maybe 4' x 8' x 1.5") aluminum plate with a Skil saw on the floor.
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 01-08-2020 at 12:01 PM.
    NOW you tell me...

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Crout View Post
    I assume the splinter guards are replaceable? If so how do they attach?

    Same question for the no slip strips. Do they just stick on?
    Yes, replacement guards, etc., are adhesive backed. When one replaces the splinter guard, the first thing you do is the same as with a new track...your very first cut is to establish the exact edge of the blade by running the saw down the track and trimming the new splinter guard. It's truly zero clearance on the guide side, supports the edge of the material and gives you the the exact cut line to line up on your (presumably accurate) measurements on the workpiece. The guards don't really need to be replaced unless they are inadvertently damaged or wear after a very long period of use or if one changes to a saw blade that has different measurements than the original one used with the track.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    I have Grizzly tracks, they self align perfectly as the ends are factory milled to a perfect 90 degrees. No straightedge needed. Maybe I got lucky, but the industrial saws used to cut extrusions are orders of magnitude better than what we have in our shop. Although I will say I once saw a Copper and Brass Sales employee cutting heavy (maybe 4' x 8' x 1.5") aluminum plate with a Skil saw on the floor.
    Ole
    The Festool Guide Rails I have, definitely do not align if simply butted up against each other.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Buchhauser View Post
    Even if you cut (machine) the ends of the tracks perfect, it would still be problematic to align them over that distance. For accurate results with 2 tracks joined together, I believe you are using the correct method.
    Some may not require the best precision, in which case just bolting them together may be ok. That is exactly why I purchased the long Makita track (it is long enough to cut a full 4 x 8 sheet diagonally).
    I think you "get what you pay for" with these - both saws and tracks. I'm sure I spent well north of $800 for my Makita cordless 36V saw with both the 4 ft. and 8 ft. tracks. Maybe it is "overkill", but I do enjoy using it. Pretty sure the Festools cost alot more. Maybe they are better.
    David
    I spent similar on my cordless DeWalt with two tracks. That price was worth it for the dust collection alone. I absolutely hate dealing with dust. Love my track saw and would recommend one to anyone that can afford it.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    Ole
    The Festool Guide Rails I have, definitely do not align if simply butted up against each other.
    There should be a 1mm gap between them. This accounts for any error in mfg, OR damage to the ends.

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