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Thread: My Timings for Cutting/Routing Sheet Goods with a Guided Tool System

  1. #1
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    My Timings for Cutting/Routing Sheet Goods with a Guided Tool System

    There have been a few discussions about the merits of cutting sheet goods with a Guided Circular Saw System (GCSS) vs a table saw equipped with a sliding table. I thought that speed and the results would be similar but had no figures to back me up.

    Last November in the thread http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=25535, Charlie Plesums stated that he cut 21 pieces in 20 minutes from two sheets of 4' x 8' plywood on his MiniMax combo machine. Furthermore, his cuts were dead on accurate. Thatís an average time of 57 seconds per piece.

    Today, I had to make 36 pieces from four sheets 18 milimetre Baltic birch (5' by 5' size), so I decided to time the process.

    Here is a breakdown of the steps and the time taken for each (rounded up to the nearest 5 seconds):

    1) Retrieve and set up the saw horses and cutting panel: 4:30

    2) Retrieve and joint up two Festool guide rail so that I could do cuts longer than 140 centimetres: 0:50

    3) Bring each of 4 plywood sheets into the shop and position them on the cutting panel: 0:40 per sheet.

    4) Rip the sheets into 5 (or 6) 30 centimetre wide strips. In order to eliminate the factory edges this required either 6 or 7 cuts per sheet: 3:15 for three sheets and 3:35 for one sheet.

    5) Tear down the saw horses and cutting panel and put them away, then set up the Festool Multi-function table: 3:20

    6) Using the Festool Multi function table, cross-cut the results of step 4 into two pieces (3 cuts) for each of 4 sections and into three pieces (4 cuts) for each of 16 sections: 1:05 for 4 sections and 1:25 for 16 sections.

    Total time taken: 49 minutes

    This works out to an average of 82 seconds per piece, so I lose to Charlie. By the way, the pieces that I cut were "perfect", just like the ones Charlie cut.

    If you don't count the time it took to set up and tear down my equipment, I averaged 67 seconds per piece -but this is still not as good as the 57 seconds achieved by Charlie.

    Here are photos of some tasks:

    1 The set up of the cutting panel upon the saw horses

    Cutting table all set up -small.JPG

    4) Ripping a section

    Cutting a section -small.JPG

    6) Cross cutting a piece on the Festool MFT

    Using MFT for ripping pieces -small.JPG

    -) 36 "perfect" pieces of plywood

    36 cut pieces of plywood -small.JPG


    Routing: In post #11 in this thread, I added timings for the task of routing rabbets and dados.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 02-25-2006 at 2:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Frank,

    I find that information very interesting. How did the size of the final pieces cut by you and Charlie compare? I wonder how that would compare with some of the other saw systems - both guided systems and table saws with slider attachments.

    Burt

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burt Waddell
    ...
    How did the size of the final pieces cut by you and Charlie compare?
    ...
    Burt
    Charlie didn't say but, assuming that he had little waste, then his pieces averaged about 3 square feet each. Mine averaged 2.7 square feet each. So, we are close.

  4. #4
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    Frank,

    Could you please post your cut list. Dino will be at Hartville tool tomorrow and would like a challenge. If he can't cut that time by 50%, he will walk home.

    Burt

  5. #5
    Very impressive performance, Frank.

    I certainly wouldn't include setup time in your "race." My machine was all set up (I had been using it for other similar cuts), with the scoring blade up, and everything ready. I wasn't racing for performance - just cutting a bunch of shelves and similar pieces, when I was building the "library" you can see on my web site. I just happened to notice the time when I started, and was pleasantly surprised at the time when I was done (especially surprised since since the machine was new, and I was new to this type of equipment).

    Someone else challenged the time...said he could go faster with the Festool system. I expect that he was faster for the first few cuts, but he said I was faster for the larger number of cuts.

    Bottom line, both are great woodworking tools. If this is a race, I am glad to call it a tie. I am happy with my decision and equipment, and am glad that you are happy with yours.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Charlie.

    From a practical point of view, I think that set-up should count because your saw is always available, whereas my saw horses are usually knocked down, my cutting platform is on the deck outside the shop under a tarp, and my guide rails are kept apart in a box. So it really does take me extra time over you every time that I want to cut sheet goods.

    I also was not racing. I kept good track of the time, but I worked at my regualr pace.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 02-24-2006 at 11:10 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burt Waddell
    Frank,

    Could you please post your cut list. Dino will be at Hartville tool tomorrow and would like a challenge. If he can't cut that time by 50%, he will walk home.

    Burt
    Cut from four sheets of 18 milimetre Baltic birch. Each sheet measuring 5 feet sqaure.

    Sheets 1 and 2:

    qty: 5 width 30 cm length: 76 cm

    qty: 5 width 30 cm length: 74 cm

    Sheet 3:

    qty: 2 width 30 cm length: 76 cm

    qty: 8 width 30 cm length: 74 cm

    Sheet 4:

    qty: 4 width 30 cm length: 115 cm

    qty: 2 width 30 cm length: 74 cm

  8. #8
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    Frank,

    Very interesting comparison. I too think that set up time should count since it is something that you will always do.

    Honestly, based on your results, I think that if you are doing a lot of production work, than the slider would be well worth the purchase, but if you only do small projects, then the guided circ saw, is the way to go.

    Then again, if you are doing a lot of production I would say that the best way to go would be with a CNC machine. But I dont know anything about production anyway so who am I to say.

    Either way, it is nice to see a comparison like this.

    Thanks Frank.

  9. #9
    Frank--good job--interesting--we need more info like this

    My experience w/ the EZ system is very positive--made a few cabinets recently w/ the EZ system and it was quick, precise--and only used the TS for some dadoes.

    In fact, since I am space limited, the TS may go the way of my RAS and have a custom cover made and go OUTSIDE. Probably not, because I use the TS for a bunch of stuff that is not panel-making.

    Thanks for you analytical approach--

    Best

    BILL

  10. #10
    Thanks Frank. Did I understand your process correctly--you don't do any of the crosscuts on the saw horse table (just finished building mine and I love them). I have just started using that same setup for sheet goods, and the size of my shop and availability of extra supports dictates that I have to at least do one or two "rough" crosscuts on the sawhorses in my garage. Crosscutting an 8 ft piece is to unwieldy inside.

  11. #11
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    Router Timings

    This morning, I cut several rabbets and dados into many of the Baltic birch pieces that I cut yesterday. I use my Guided Tool System (GTS) to guide my router as well as my circular saw.

    Since I recorded some timings for the sawing GTS task, I thought that I would also record some for the routing task.

    Here is a picture of the router cutting a dado.

    Routing a Dado -small.JPG

    The timings are as follows:

    1) Set up the router with a 18mm straight bit and perform 3 test cuts: 3:15

    2) Measure then pencil in alignment marks on the Multifunction Table: 2:20

    3) Cut rabbets only in both ends of 4 pieces: 1:40 average per piece

    4) Cut 2 rabbets and 1 dado into 8 pieces: 2:15 average per piece

    5) Cut 2 rabbets and 2 dados into 4 pieces: 2:35 average per piece

    The total time was 40 minutes and 35 seconds to cut 48 rabbets/dados. This works out to an average of 51 seconds per rabbet/dado.

    Note that, as with the sawing task, I worked at my normal pace and did not rush anything.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 02-25-2006 at 11:22 AM.

  12. #12
    Hi Frank,

    thanks for this interesting post.
    Wouldn't it have been even easier to rout the dados before cutting the Birch ply into pieces?

    Regards,

    Christian
    "On Wednesday, when the sky is blue,
    And I have nothing else to do,
    I sometimes wonder if it's true
    That who is what and what is who."


    (A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh)

  13. #13
    Frank,
    Interesting post, once again. I notice you use that clamp to apply pressure keeping the piece against the fence, and I see from your initial post that you also do that for regular cross cuts. Have you found that it is more accurate than applying pressure by hand (for crosscuts at least, where you have a hand free)?

    Although off the topic of the thread, I notice an interesting difference between the ATF55 and my TS55. Your plug points straight back, the newer one angles out to the left, when looking at the saw from behind. I find that unless I'm careful, the plug ends up riding along that leftmost channel on gthe rail and is prone to being cut by the sharp ends of the rail.
    -Rob

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Blaustein
    Thanks Frank. Did I understand your process correctly--you don't do any of the crosscuts on the saw horse table (just finished building mine and I love them). I have just started using that same setup for sheet goods, and the size of my shop and availability of extra supports dictates that I have to at least do one or two "rough" crosscuts on the sawhorses in my garage. Crosscutting an 8 ft piece is to unwieldy inside.
    Rob, you understood correctly. In this project, none of the cross cuts were done on the saw horse table.

    Sometimes I do make crosscuts on the saw horse table, but I prefer using the MFT (with the clamps). The way that my table is set up, the widest crosscut (or dado) that I can cut on it is 48 centimetres.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Aufreiter
    Hi Frank,

    thanks for this interesting post.
    Wouldn't it have been even easier to rout the dados before cutting the Birch ply into pieces?

    Regards,

    Christian
    Perhaps it would have been. But, I prefer to cut dados on the Multifuntion Table tahn just on the unsupported guide rail. I have cut wide dados a couple of times with a clamped guide rail and it worked OK but I felt akward doing so. I expect that , if I cut such dados a number of times, I would get used to it. But, it is easy and accurate to cut them on the mFT, so that waht I do. Another consideration is that it is easier for me to get repeatability on the MFT.

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