The Festool TS55 track saw is one of the tools I can’t live without. It really shines when it comes to cutting up sheet material such as plywood and MDF and the dust collection is the best I ever experienced on a circular saw. I always use the Festool 36mm hose instead of the 27mm with the TS55 because I have found that it results in slightly better dust collection.
Still I think the dust collection can be better. Because I always use a sheet of polystyrene foam on my work table to protect the top when cutting, I experience small statically charged foam particles that sticks to everything after cutting in the foam. My guess is that these particles, and saw dust, escapes in the gap between the blade cover and the work piece. Because the guide rails adds another 5mm to this gap, I think something should be done. What I want is a cover for this gap.
But wait you say, that can’t be hard? What about just attaching a piece of cardboard to the side of the blade cover and the gap is gone? I tried that. That really improves the dust collection. All the small annoying pieces of foam disappears.! Unfortunately the cardboard solution isn’t good enough…
Because of the added 5mm from the rails, the cardboard protrudes below the saw bottom and every time I remove the saw from the rails and put it on my work table the cardboard is hit and bended. So, the requirement is that the cover should be easily adjusted in height.
After some thinking I got the idea to use a piece of plastic magnetic sheet instead of cardboard. Unfortunately the blade cover is made from aluminum or whatever, it is non-magnetic. The solution was to add two pieces of 0.6mm sheet steel to the cover. I attached the pieces using double sided tape. The left piece actually blocks the hole for access to the screw securing the rip knife but I don’t care. I don’t plan to remove or replace that knife.
The result is really good. The piece of magnetic sheet is strong enough to stick to the blade cover and it can easily be adjusted. Even better, if I don’t raise the magnetic piece before putting the saw on a table, the piece just slides up.
Now only one final thing regarding the dust collection remains; When cutting with the blade not fully buried into the material, a lot of dust is thrown forwards by the blade resulting an unhealthy dust cloud. It should be possible to fix this by adding something that stops the dust stream in front of the blade. I may come up with a good idea in the future :)
© Per-Henrik Lundblom 2010