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Thread: Draft of note to be sent to Festool re Systainers -part 1

  1. #1
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    Draft of note to be sent to Festool re Systainers -part 1

    I plan to send the following note to Christian Oltzscher, the president of Festool USA on Tuesday morning. Please send me any comments, corrections, suggestions, and additions before then.

    It turns out that the note is too big to enter in one segment into this forum -so I have divided it into three parts.


    Part 1:

    Christian, I am sending you some suggestions about Festool Systainers on behalf of many of the members of the Saw Mill Creek Woodworking forum (www.sawmillcreek.org).

    First of all, let me introduce myself. I am a recently retired computer programmer and am currently building a woodworking shop in my back yard. Early this year, I first heard about Festool on the Saw Mill Creek forum and I have already purchased three of your tools as well as two extra systainers. I really like your tools -they have already saved me time and resulted in better quality on several projects; most notably in the construction of my workshop. Over time, I plan to purchase several more. I am a big fan of your systainers. I currently have five and I believe that, once I obtain a few more, they will solve the tool and parts organization and transportation problems that have plagued me forever. I have built systainer inserts for a non-Festool drill and for screws, nails, etc. I have even built my own box out of (mostly) scrap wood that holds guide rails and related parts (a couple of photos are attached) and painted the box in the Festool colours.

    But nothing is perfect. In a recent thread on the subject of what people do with the cases that tools come in, systainers received both praise and adverse criticism from several members. I started another thread specifically about systainers in order to gather more comments. The net of all this is that we have two suggestions for Festool:

    (1) The quality of the plastic inserts provided to hold tools such as saws and routers is inferior to the quality of the systainer itself and to the tools.
    This is particularly surprising in light of the way Festool promotes the durability of its systainers for professionals on the job site. 18 people commented on this.

    _ I, for one, would pay more money (on top of the very high price I am already paying) for better quality inserts.

    (2) In USA/Canada, just as it does in some other regions, Festool should provide the option for purchasing tools without a systainer. 5 people either suggested this directly or said that they do not use the systainers.

    Below is a list of Forum members with their comments re systainers. The list is in alphabetic order of member surname.

  2. #2
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    Draft of note to be sent to Festool re Systainers -part 2

    Part 2:


    Christian Aufreiter:
    As you know I'm a Festool fan and really like the Systainers. I've been fascinated by those "boxes" even when I didn't own Festool's. In Europe more and more companies offer their tools in Systainers - at least additionally, for example, Mafell, Protool, Lamello, Metabo, Makita, Scheer, ... I think that customers can benefit from this development.
    As for the inserts, I have to agree. I haven't had a single issue with them (I'm only a hobby woodworker and don't use my tools daily) but the quality of those inserts could definitely be improved. It might be helpful if the empty room between the insert and the bottom of the Systainer were stuffed with styropor or something like this. The Sys Port's look VERY nice but I would certainly not spend such an enormous amount of money for a simple cabinet. Get yourself a bunch of full extension slides, a sheet of plywood and you can build your own Sys Port. I love the Festool line but I really can't justify these costs.

    Dave Avery:
    Systainers generally.... I love them, but I can't explain why. The fact that they stack together in neat, but highly impractical at the same time. I curse every time I need the systainer that's on the bottom and all the ones above are locked together.
    As far as inserts...... I have 3 systainers, Rotex, sandpaper, and vac accessories. I hate to Rotex insert for all the reasons already mentioned. I really like the sandpaper insert - a case where flimsy (read flexible) is a good thing and life won't be significantly impacted in a negative way. The vac systainer has no insert.

    Jim Becker:
    Like some others, I toss cases... EXCEPT for the Systainers that come with
    Festool and the metal box that my Sawsall lives in. It's not that I don't like
    the boxes, but for the most part, they take up a lot more space and don't "live
    together" very well, being different sizes and configurations. Systainers fix
    that...not that I'd trot out and buy "empty" ones for tools.
    I only have one Festool (so far!), the Triton PS300 EQ jigsaw and have not had an issue with the container. While the insides are not overly robust, they could be sturdier to be better in line with the quality of the tools. For an occasional user like me, it's really not a problem, but I can see where someone who works with the tools a lot could possibly trash the internals quite easily. Some kind of foam with a separate small internal container for accessories would be nice!

    Jamie Buxton:
    I'd avoid doing anything that drives Festool prices even higher. Me, I'd prefer them to lose the fancy boxes, and drop their prices accordingly.

    Scott Coffelt:
    It would be nice to see options available for cases. Problem is, what they charge to buy a case separately (not just Festool) is in no relation to what they may drop the price of the tool. I personally like getting the cases with my tools. You then have
    the old problem with stoking the wrong item case or no case, and the suppliers
    for sure are not going to carry double inventory, its hard enough to move units
    let alone try to guess how many folks want cases and don't. Now, a place that
    does primarily phone and internet and no real retail, should be able to handle
    that option. You'd find out the real cost of case this way.... problem for the
    marketing guys though. They offer 4 packages that include rails and rail adapters. In this case, the 2nd most expensive kit is the one offered in the US.
    For a router, I don't think I would use the systainer. But, I would want the
    rail adapter, so the price would probably be a wash to get it.
    I'm guessing the longer Festool is in the US, the more of these kind of things
    will make it here. Gotta start with a limited SKU, then move up; standard
    business practice.

    Gene Collison:
    Frank, I would be inclined to agree with you that the inserts in the systainers seem flimsy. None of mine have cracked so far but the potential is there for sure. It would be nice to see an improvement in this area, a bit more rigidity, foam or something more substantial.

    Jim DeLaney:
    I don't have any comments to make, because I threw the systainer away. I never keep any of the plastic boxes that the tools come in. They take up too much storage space, and unless individually labeled, are a pain to sort through. If I'd kept them, I'd probably have about six or eight gray Porter-Cable boxes, and about that many more black DeWalt cases, in addition to the Festool...

    Dave Hammelef:
    On the systainer, every time I pop out my Circ saw, or put it back in I expect that flimsy liner to break. It's great that it snap fits to hold the saw but it sure seems flimsy. On the sandpaper holder it would be nice if the paper came with stickers to place next to the space in the systainer that's holding it so you can see what grit is where in a quick glance. Still have not used the router so I can't say much about that systainer.
    I love the stackability, and connections. More than once I have lifted my circ saw, and vac by the saw's systainer handle, seems fine so far.

    Manny Hernandez:
    I'm extremely disappointed in the new Sys-port 1000 design. I have two of the older ones that have a latch for each drawer. I was very disappointed when I received another sometime late last year. No more latches for each drawer and
    it looks like it was cost reduced all the way around. Without the latches, I
    have to make sure I lock the cabinet with the key so the drawers don't come
    out when I move the unit. It still has the safety feature where if you pull out
    one drawer the others will lock. However, if you don't lock it with key, then
    move it and two or more drawers fall open at the same time, they will come all
    the way out and you must push them all back in unison. If you don't then the
    first one closed goes back to it's home position but the remaining ones get
    left out and you can't push them back in unless you pull all out again and try
    again. They all have to go in at the same time. What a PIAN!!
    Shoulda bought an extra one on my first order a couple years
    ago. Now I'm willing to pay a premium to get an new old stock. I'm very close
    to chucking this one in the trash bin.

    Frank Pellow’s response: Sorry to hear about the flaws in the Sys-port Manny.
    One of those was high on the list of things that I wanted to acquire for my new
    workshop. Now, I will have to reconsider.


    Peter Kuhlman:
    I discard all of the cases my tools come in. The Festool Systainers I have
    stacked in my attic but the blow molded cases that so many portable tools are
    sold with just get junked.

    Kurt Loup:
    I have the jigsaw and the small sander. Since I am not a commercial user, the inserts have held up for me during occasional use. I agree that the inserts are the weak link as far as the systainers go and are my only complaint. Going on memory, the clear plastic covered section in the jigsaw case is too small to store my blades and the section to store sandpaper in the sander case won't hold the paper securely. As a result, I just throw my blades and sandpaper in the case. I really like the compatible sizes though. I'd like to have other like sized cases for my non Festool tools like my PC belt sander and my Rigid/Metabo 6" sander. If anyone is planning to trash their systainers, send them my way. I'll take them off your hands.

    Greg Mann:
    Frank, you and Jason are correct about the Systainer inserts. I believe I will
    wind up making replacement inserts for my AT55 and my planer. The Rotex insert,
    while made of the same thin material, seems a little more acceptable but not
    much. Just enough I probably won't replace it. I could overlook it more easily
    but Festool touts the Systainer as a significant advantage to their line. After using them for some time I guess I would buy them even if they came without the best boxes in the industry, liners notwithstanding.
    Boy, us Festool owners are a sophisticated bunch. But that's okay, most of the
    other guys think we're nuts anyway. For the most part, it seems from this
    thread and the one that spawned it, that systainers are generally appreciated
    and used more than almost all other tool cases (+1), are higher quality and
    reflect the system philosophy that Festool promotes (+2), and have flimsy
    liners (-1).

    My guess is that this issue of liner quality may be something already under
    consideration at Festool. They seem to be very interested and committed to
    continuous improvement of their products. Since the systainers are an integral
    part of their corporate product line and not something they 'job out' to the
    lowest bidder, I believe our observations will be given due consideration. If
    you check out the parent company website www.tooltechnicsystems.com , and can
    get past the language limitations, under the Tanos wing you will find many
    scenarios using the systainer concept, from picnic baskets to emergency medical
    kits and beyond. This platform is clearly a money maker in its own right. I
    would suspect that here in the US they are part of the tool purchase because
    Festool thinks that is the most effective way to market their product here.
    MAYBE they should be an option, apparently with better liners, and those of us
    who want the systainers and would use them would be willing to pay for them and
    those who don't want them would benefit from a slightly lower price. I doubt
    Festool wants to foist them on us if we don't want them since the added cost
    might be enough to keep a percentage of folks from buying the tools in the
    first place.

  3. #3
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    Draft of note to be sent to Festool re Systainers -part 3

    Part 3:

    Bob Marino:
    "My own opinion on the inserts is that I wish they were made of a more rubbery type material and/or as Christian A mentioned (good idea) filled with foam. However, none of mine have ripped and they do what they are intended to do - hold the tools securely and precisely, but room for improvement certainly exists here

    Halsey McMombs:
    I would tend to agree with Jim Becker as I only have the 125 and use in hobby woodworking

    John Miliunas:
    Systainers for all my Festool and, when not in use (seldom!), they're in the
    systainers. The only other one I'm religious on, is indeed the Sawzall, as it
    also has room for extra blades. The blow-molded cases, IMHO, are pretty useless
    and eventually end up in the landfill.
    Frank, I concur with your general observations. I too, do NOT have a problem
    with finding room for the cords on any of my Festool equipment, but the inserts
    do appear to be on the "delicate" side. For me, I'm both, very careful with
    them and don't have a need to lug the equipment from job site to job site. That
    said, others find the Festools GREAT for job site work and this would
    undoubtedly become an issue for them.

    Chris Padila:
    All my Festool stuff stays in the systainers. I like cases...they work well for
    me and it makes storage and safe-keeping of the tool easier.
    I'll chime in that I also agree the Festool liners are on the cheap, flimsy
    side and won't last. That said, I'm pretty careful with it. The one holding my
    CDD-12 drill is doing fine and the 150/5 is holding up well but if I used them
    daily for my job, I can't see how they would last very long.

    Dennis Peacock:
    I personally like the Systainers. I use them and like the way they store and interlock for easy portability. I like them. What I don't like about them? The flimsy inserts that come in such a nice case. As much as these tools cost? I'm was surprised to see that the inserts in which to house and protect these expensive tools has a lot to be desired. IMHO, if Festool put in a nice insert in these babies? They would be killer boxes to store their super nice line of tools.

    Frank Pellow:
    In particular, I use the Festool systainers and have even purchased 2 extra
    systainers and fitted them out for non-Festool tools. I agree that the inserts for the Festool systainers are not of the same quality as the rest of their products. So far, mine are lasting OK, but I admit that I am being particularly careful with them.

    John Renzetti:
    Right now I have 4 Festool products. All of them stay in their respective containers. Can't say I have an issue with the inserts. I guess if I really tried I could say that the cord doesn't re wrap and sit well, but that is the same with other cases of different brands I have. No real complaints about the inserts or the systainers themselves. They stack nicely out of the way. As an aside, in Europe on construction sites you see a lot of Festool and Metabo brand tools. I wonder if Festool has received any feedback on the inserts from the guys who use this stuff on a daily basis.

    Lloyd Robins:
    As I have stated before, I really, really like my Festools (there are not enough of them in the shop up to now.) I do use the sustainers for protection of the tool, but I do agree that the liners do not seem to be up to the quality of the sustainer

    Jason Roehl:
    I like having "cased" tools for the various reasons already given--protected
    from dust and debris, easy transport to jobsite, etc. As for the Festool
    Systainers, I think they are a great idea, but poor execution. The case itself
    is fine, but I think the molded plastic insert is flimsy and I can't see it
    lasting very long, plus the way that insert rides in the case leaves little
    room for the cord--which to make fit you have to coil up fairly tight.

    Jay StPeter:
    I agree that the systainer liners are flimsy.
    After some digging on the Festool site, I see that tools are available without
    systainers in some other countries. I would gladly pay a little less and forego
    the systainer totally. Although I like the one for my circular saw, I can't
    imagine drills or sanders would ever find their way back into the systainer in
    my shop. I might prove myself wrong here, but I doubt it.
    In Australia, the prices listed for the OF1010 router in box 566,50
    in systainer 595,00. Not super significant. But, then again, if you won't use it why
    pay the extra 30,00. Hey, it's probably a few vegimite sandwiches.

    Jim Taylor:
    I have about 4 systainers locked together. I really like the common
    footprint/locking mechanism. However, one more voice to the song... the inserts
    are no good. There are one or two of them that I have to sit and think about
    how I just removed the tool in order to figure out how it sits back in.
    I remember my surprise on my first Festool purchase, everything was great, but
    what is this silly little plastic insert...

    Jason Thaxton:
    I have the Festool Planer, Jigsaw and plunge saw. I love the tools and the
    cases are nice for onsite work but I have to agree the inserts are not the
    best. I really dislike the jigsaw insert. Every time I take the saw out of the
    case the flimsy insert feels like it is going to snap most of the time it comes
    out with the saw spilling all my blades on the floor. I also have all the
    optional hubs and blades for the planer and they come in styrofoam containers
    it would be nice if the insert had some type of storage or a better case (not
    styrofoam) for the extra hubs and blades on the planer. This is really a small
    complaint because the tools are awesome but I'm sure Festool would like and
    appreciate any feedback we could give them to make their tools better.

    Chris Padilla’s response: On that note, Jason, for the two attachments for the
    drills (or at least for my CDD-12), there are spots for the eccentric and the
    right-angle chucks and there is room for some loose drill and screwdriver
    bits.


    Mark Valsi:
    I have stored the Festool boxes under the house, hate to throw them out ,but
    they take up too much space in the shop !


    Christian, there were other comments and suggestions for Festool that are not directly on the topic of systainers and you can see these by looking at the thread entitled "" on Saw Mill Creek.


    Cheers
    Frank Pellow

  4. #4
    Hi Frank,

    once again I'd like to mention that I appreciate your commitment in this case. I talked to Festool employees at woodworking shows and basically have the impression that Festool is interested in customers' comments which might mean improvements to their product line. And although I consider Festool to be one of the best power tool brands I can think of there's certainly room for improvement in some cases.
    I can understand that some people prefer buying their tools without cases but personally, I think that Systainers are a simple and genius invention at the same which makes organizing a shop and especially transporting tools (an important issue for jobsite work) way easier.

    I regularly read and post messages in German woodworking forums and have never heard of any complaints about the inserts. This does, of course, not mean, that there isn't a single problem with those inserts. Most posters who complained about the inserts in this forum are hobby woodworkers (including me). And although the inserts could be better Festool Germany should be aware if there was a problem with the inserts because there are way more pros who use Festool's on a regular basis.

    I think that the fact that those inserts look flimsy might be a more serious problem than the quality itself. I don't have a single problem with my inserts.

    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)

  5. #5
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    Sounds good, Frank! It'll be interesting to see the response.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  6. #6

    Sounds bad Frank

    Hi Frank.
    I don"t think any CO will have a problem with suggestions.
    But I don"t think any CO will like to have suggestions that way either.
    If Bob have refused to leasent, then I can see your need to talk to someone else at Festool.( even to me.)
    Regards
    YCF Dino
    Last edited by Dino Makropoulos; 06-27-2004 at 3:10 PM.

  7. #7
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    Christian, it is possible that you are right when you say: "I think that the fact that those inserts look flimsy might be a more serious problem than the quality itself. ".

    I will add that observation as well as: "I regularly read and post messages in German woodworking forums and have never heard of any complaints about the inserts. This does, of course, not mean, that there isn't a single problem with those inserts. Most posters who complained about the inserts in this forum are hobby woodworkers (including me). And although the inserts could be better Festool Germany should be aware if there was a problem with the inserts because there are way more pros who use Festool's on a regular basis." to your commnets in the note.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino Makropoulos
    Hi Frank.
    I don"t think any CO will have a problem with suggestions.
    But I don"t think any CO will like to have suggestions that way either.
    If Bob have refused to leasent, then I can see your need to talk to someone else at Festool.( even to me.)
    Regards
    YCF Dino
    Dino, first of all, Bob Marino has not refused anything. He has encouraged us to make these comments know to Christian and has even contributed a comment. You must keep in mid that Bob does not work for Festool directly.

    You say that the note is not good, but you don't say why. I am going to guess that you mean there is too much detail. It is always hard to know how much detail to include so, what I will do, is send two notes. The first will consist of the material up to the detailed commnets and the second (which will be referenced in the first) will consist of the detailed commnets.

  9. #9

    Nothing to say.

    Hi Frank.
    I was only jocking.
    Regards

  10. #10
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    The comments have been sent.

    Since the draft has been finalized, I will ask Aaron to close this thread.

    If anyone would like a copy of the actual mail I sent to Christian, please send me a note with your email address, and I will forward copies to you.

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