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Discussion Starter #1
I've had the Dewalt track saw on my wish list for a while. Several times I've looked to buy one but nobody local stocks them. So each time I've faced the choice of waiting 1-2 weeks or making due with a circular saw and home made track that sort of works. Since I've always had a deadline, I've chosen to make do.
Yesterday and today I'm struggling with the 18v circular saw. I'm also struggling with the decision to order the track saw now so I'll have it next time I need it.

I can get it on Amazon in about a week for about $600 or in 2 days for $660. This is for the saw and two tracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
One trick I've been using is rough cutting with the 18v then running a router against a straight edge to get a clean edge.
 

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Just before you buy the DeWalt, my neighbour (who is a site carpenter) got one and found it much less good than my Makita; maybe he was just unlucky. He went for the DeWalt because you can trim doors in situ with it but for all other plunge/rail cuts the Makita much superior.
 

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I have the Makita and am very happy with it. I looked at different brands when I got ready to buy and went for the Makita based on the reviews and the price. The saw, container and 55" track are $406 on Amazon. and a second 55" track is $70. If you buy the second rail for long rips, you will need the connectors at $27. Obviously, Festool is the name brand, but the Makita has a couple of extra features - a slightly deeper cut (the blade is 5mm larger than the Festool) and the saw has a retainer in the base which engages with the track and prevents the saw from tipping while making a bevel cut. I've also read that the Makita anti-chip strip is preferred to the Festool as it is more durable (and cheaper doesn't hurt). So far, I'm happy with my choice.
 

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One trick I've been using is rough cutting with the 18v then running a router against a straight edge to get a clean edge.

use the saw against the straight edge and save a ton of money...
start with a better edge clamp... wide body is more gooder...
PRO-Grip Straight Edge Clamps
add a guide plate(s) for way more versatility..
PRO-Grip Clamp Accessories - scroll way down...
all this beats single use...
take the 4/500 bucks in savings and get you more ''stuff''....
 

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Save you $$$. Make one. Embed T track in ply. Attach the T track insert to the sole plate. Make all the lengths you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll revisit dewalt vs makita, I don't remember why I choose dewalt when I did the research last year. Makita may be available locally, I spoke with a supplier last week who was sold out but expected more this week.

I want a track saw vs saving money because I've used all the other techniques mentioned and found them lacking. This may have more to do with my circular saws than the technique. My 18v is so beat up that it only gets close to cutting straight. I really dislike my makita 120v. It spits sawdust in my face and is not really designed for fine cuts.
I the plunge feature of a track saw will be helpful and safer than plunge cutting with the circular saw.
Dust collection will be very nice.
As well as the track alignment features.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Save you $$$. Make one. Embed T track in ply. Attach the T track insert to the sole plate. Make all the lengths you need.
This is tempting. My fear is that I've already tried making similar things and have been disappointed with the results. I would need to start with a new saw, my 18v is beyond a tune-up being enough to cut straight. For reasons mentioned above I'm NOT happy with my Makita.

So if I need to buy a new saw and t-track and then spend the time to build the jigs... tempting.
 

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Everybody needs a Festool Trak Saw or the equivalent, RIGHT?

Not everyone has $400-500 burning a hole in their pockets. Convenient, yes, necessary NO! If you are a commercial shop, then it might be worth it. It will save you time and money. But, come on guys, how many of us don't have the time, or the tools/materials to set up a guide to break down sheet goods?

Stick and Gene are spot on. I can do anything a Trak saw will do with a dedicated straight edge and a circular saw. I have mechanical straight edges, and home made straight edges. I suspect that they are just as easy and quick to set up and use as a dedicated Trak type set-up.

Lately, I have been experimenting with the Matchfit clamps from Microjig. I have built a dedicated straight edge out of a piece of 1X and 1/4" hardboard. The clamps lock it into place and are never in the way of my saw. I have one for cross-cutting sheet goods and a longer one for ripping sheet goods. I have probably less than $15 in materials, $40 into two clamps (that are used for several other specific operations) and a few minutes of labor. No extra expenses for; track sections, connectors, replacement rubber strips, or any of the other EXPENSIVE accessories and replacement parts.

MATCHFIT? - MICROJIG - Work Smarter

Sorry, I just can't see spending the money for one of these systems guide trak systems. Then again, I guess that I'm just not one of the "Cool Kids" and have to own a bunch of tools like those overpriced green ones.
 

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I'll revisit dewalt vs makita, I don't remember why I choose dewalt when I did the research last year. Makita may be available locally, I spoke with a supplier last week who was sold out but expected more this week.

I want a track saw vs saving money because I've used all the other techniques mentioned and found them lacking. This may have more to do with my circular saws than the technique. My 18v is so beat up that it only gets close to cutting straight. I really dislike my makita 120v. It spits sawdust in my face and is not really designed for fine cuts.
I the plunge feature of a track saw will be helpful and safer than plunge cutting with the circular saw.
Dust collection will be very nice.
As well as the track alignment features.

I made one of the home made zero clearance style guides to primarily break down full sheets to a point where they are easier to handle. I like the fact that I can mark out what I want and line the guide up without having to measure an offset. I was still getting terrible results.

I finally decided to check the saw one day, after wrongfully thinking for a considerable time that it should have been made straight. Using a calliper as a depth gauge I measured from the blade to the edge of the sole plate and found that the back end was 1/16" farther from the edge than the front toeing the blade outward into the cut. It was no wonder I found it hard to use and that it was making ragged cuts.

The back of the sole plate was riveted to the saw but the front was attached with a roll pin so I knocked it out and filed the side of the attachment point down with a file. When I drove the roll pin back in I put a flat washer on the side I was pushing away from to take up the slack. The saw is now perfectly aligned and with a good 40 tooth blade makes beautiful cuts.
 

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I'll revisit dewalt vs makita, I don't remember why I choose dewalt when I did the research last year. Makita may be available locally, I spoke with a supplier last week who was sold out but expected more this week.

I want a track saw vs saving money because I've used all the other techniques mentioned and found them lacking. This may have more to do with my circular saws than the technique. My 18v is so beat up that it only gets close to cutting straight. I really dislike my makita 120v. It spits sawdust in my face and is not really designed for fine cuts.
I the plunge feature of a track saw will be helpful and safer than plunge cutting with the circular saw.
Dust collection will be very nice.
As well as the track alignment features.
I have tried battery powered saws for breakdown and like you I find them very lacking. They are prone to low torque, too slow a speed, ragged cuts and dying at the most inconvenient time. I have an older Porter Cable 347 120v that I use for sheet break-down. It SHOOTS the waste out an exhaust in the shroud. It came with a tube ~3/4" that I can insert and swivel to direct the exhaust in any direction, or connect a DC hose (I use the Rockler small tool kit) to collect the dust.

Again, probably not as cool as the Green tool and its DC hose, but it works.

As far as alignment goes...don't get caught up in the hype! Even the Festool tracks have provisions to clamp the traks into place. No matter what you see and believe no trak will stay in place 100%. You might get away with just setting the trak into place and cutting, but if it moves one time you may have lost the material. I ALWAYS clamp guides into place.
 

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. This may have more to do with my circular saws than the technique.
you answered yourself...
I use a Milwaukee saw... no issues...
get you a Bosch instead,,,
the guide plate is the secret...

but you have made up yor mind you want a track saw... get what want...
 

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I use a Milwaukee with adjustable handle and, of course, sharp blades appropriate for the material.

For straightedge i use whatever is long enough and straight enough...hell, even a chalk line and hand-eye coordination works...

Save your money...get a good corded circ saw, good blades and a nice long level...multitask is "good eats"
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I use a Milwaukee with adjustable handle and, of course, sharp blades appropriate for the material.

For straightedge i use whatever is long enough and straight enough...hell, even a chalk line and hand-eye coordination works...

Save your money...get a good corded circ saw, good blades and a nice long level...multitask is "good eats"
I like uncle Brown too, but sometimes you need the right tool for the job. Does your Milwaukee collect dust?
 

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I like uncle Brown too, but sometimes you need the right tool for the job. Does your Milwaukee collect dust?
Nick and I have the same saws...
w/ DC hookup - yes...
 
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