Community thoughts on the new t-track table?

(Daniel Loughmiller) #1

Anyone have strong opinions on it? I’m tempted to pick it up but losing 3/4" of z-depth might be rough, especially if I want to keep using a sacrificial wasteboard. I see they intend for the MDF strips to be replacable, even with shop-cut strips which is great and means we could level the MDF used for the track table, but only to the cutter extent.

Mulling it over.

(Phil Thien) #2

Looks pretty neat.

FWIW, I wanted my t-tracks running left to right, not front to back. That is because at maximum capacity, the router extends past the front of the front rail.

So if I was working on anything near the maximum workpiece size, t-tracks running front-to-back wouldn’t provide an easy way to clamp the front of the workpiece.

With my left to right clamps, I can clamp the left and right edges of a large workpiece about 3-4" back from the front edge. Not perfect, but not bad either.

My t-tracks sit on top of my spoil board and I don’t use filters. The t-tracks can be removed when I switch to other fixturing methods.

Here is my method:

I can add more pieces of t-track if I need more support in the middle.

NOT FOR EVERYONE, because I have easy bottom access to add/remove my t-track.

(Luke) #3

So I have an aluminium table and must say I would rather have gone down this route. Bear in mind the Ali table was not cheap. This allows you to have a spoil board, and whilst I rate my control of my S3, there have been occasions where the spindle has not done what I hoped, running the lovely finish on my table…

Having an almost disposable table is valuable in the sense its allot cheaper to repack than a 15mm sheet of aluminium…

(Daniel Loughmiller) #4

Yeah that’s one thing I do like. These should be user-replacable with some big box store MDF and a table saw. I know not everyone has that but I do so it’s a plus. My current supplemental spoilboard is all full of threaded inserts and leveled so I don’t think I’d replace it right away, but debating if I should take advantage of the discounted pricing so I have it on hand.

(Steve Mendlik) #5

I’m on the fence. Since I’m so new I haven’t even cut anything I like the fact that it’s basically plug and play. I’m just having a hard time with the price since I know what the material costs are.

My bigger question is if I was to buy one wouldn’t it make sense to drill the mounting holes all the way through the bed and use nuts/bolts as opposed to screwing into the bed? MDF doesn’t have the best thread holding strength.

(Daniel Loughmiller) #6

Yeah I had considered making my own also, but quicker startup time is valuable to me also.

(William Adams) #7

If you buy them in the shorter lengths which are needed, a lot of the price differential goes away — I economized when I did my T-track by buying longer lengths, then cutting them by hand (yeah, I’m cheap).

(Daniel Loughmiller) #8

That’s how I’d assumed I’d do it also :slight_smile: I’ve cut aluminum on my table saw, okay yes it was unintentionally but it worked :stuck_out_tongue:

(Dustin S Tilton) #9

That seems pricey for t-track and some hardware. Orange Aluminum sells t-track pretty cheap - 36" OA7150-36 $6.92

(Adam X) #10

I’d agree with @dtilton71, honestly. Pretty steep for a lot of ttrack and bolts.

(Steve Mendlik) #11

It is a steep price but since I would have to drive a 1/2 hour to use a friends table saw I decided it was worth the extra expense for the convenience factor, my time is worth money as well.

I do plan on bolting the parts on and not screwing them into the bed.

(Daniel Loughmiller) #12

Yeah my stock board already has inserts so with careful drilling I can anchor it a bit more firmly. It’ll still be into something threaded but larger threads = more gooder.

(mikep) #13

For $100, given that it includes the wasteboard sections, the t-track, the clamps, and it’s all ready to go, that seems like a reasonable price. You -could- do it for cheaper yourself, but you would have to be willing to mess around with it. My table is set up like this, my track runs left to right like others (if I did it again, I would probably also run a couple front to back) and for me, I haven’t had any issues with height.

I like working on these sorts of projects, but I likely would have purchased this kit with the machine if it had been available then. We’re all different though, depends on what exactly you want.

Thought I would mention that threaded inserts are a nice solution (I have both - a lower table that is with t-track, and an upper table that t-nut’s to that one with threaded inserts - having both for different jobs is really nice). However, threaded inserts are NOT as cheap as you would think, particularly when you do a field of them. 1 every inch in a 12" square is 144 - at about .30/insert is still $40+. If you do this, do yourself a favor and get the special tool for inserting them, it works a lot better than a screwdriver.

(Winston) #14

:joy::rofl: I’m surprised they let this get sold with 1/4-20 hardware instead of M6 :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

J/k. These look like an interesting options for those who are into that kind of thing…

Don’t worry about your lost 3/4" of Z height. You were basically going to give that up by adding any machine-leveled surface. Plus the 2016+ machines have an extra 3/4" built into the gantry vs the original S3’s anyway…

(William Adams) #15

Apparently some folks were polled, and 1/4"-20 hardware was preferred to metric (I was surprised as well) — naturally, one can just use M6 — I’m trying to shift over to that so that I don’t have to keep track of which bolt goes in which workholding box. Have 3:

  • universal parts
  • M6 (for use w/ the Nomad threaded table, and the Shapeoko when I put an SO3 together again)
  • 1/4"-20 (for use on the T-track on my XL 'cause it’s much cheaper to buy that here in the U.S.)

(crew) #16

Assuming it can be clamped down securely, would it make sense to use the t-track table as the bed itself, instead of putting it on top of the bed?

(William Adams) #17

Yes, that was a popular implementation for the Shapeoko 2 using

Unfortunately, the price is a bit prohibitive to kit out an SO3, let alone an XL or XXL. See for links to discussion and other alternatives.

(Dan) #18

Looks tidy and clean. What is the maximum clamping height distance with the kit provided tools looks to be around 2&1/4". Myself I love threaded inserts and clamps or double sided tape/CA glue but may in time end up going T-track in the future. I find Tape and glue method to provide the least disturbance to stock surface height, clamps can sometime pull down or bend the stock during the machining process.

What I love the most is that you guys at carbide3D keep adding these options for added features. Just alone in the past few months we have the touch probe and now the t-track system. Making it had to keep my money in the bank! :grin:

(Jim Amos) #19

Luke -

Beyond the inadvertent marring of your aluminum table, are there any other aspects of going down the aluminum table road that have caused any additional heartburn?

I am very keen on an aluminum XXL table, however there does not seem to be any momentum from the Shapeoko User Group. I am moving to a humid environment and anything wooden will be a moving target.

(Luke) #20

Nope, it’s pretty awesome. I got a sheet of aluminium cut to size and hand drilled it. I would say I wish I used the mill to drill the holes. I found 5cm apart adequate, if I were to do it again I’d do them 2.5cm.