Table saw alternatives in the future

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  • Table saw alternatives in the future

    Some of the Saw Stop threads have got me to thinking. Not just the recent ones here, but many that I have seen over the last several years. What is the future of the venerable table saw?

    We have already progressed quite a way from the old saw mill type saws without guarding at all. Men would get cut in half on those things and after, it was business as usual. When table saws first came out, they were nothing more than a circular blade with a motor in a box. They then had blade guards of a sort affixed. One of those early guard designs from these first saws was still in production recently on some saws. We are talking 50 to 75 years without an update to a design that never really worked that well. What have we done in aviation in that time? Some worked okay, but were a bear to remove for some type cuts. Some businesses only made those type cuts, so guards were never in place. The result was people still get hurt.

    Even with today's newer technology and better guarding on saws that are equipped with riving knives, people can still get hurt and do. Even with Saw Stop technology, the possibility for injury still exists.
    I've said before and I'll say it now, the only way to avoid injury on a table saw is to avoid the on switch. You could still get hurt moving one around though.

    So, saws and other power tools will never be without risk. Today's are becoming much better than what was offered in the past. What do you think saws of the future might be like? SS tech aside.

    There is more than one way to stop a blade. It can be done with a caliper setup like the brakes on a car. Not talking the legalities of licensing SS stuff here. Just what they might be and look like and how they might be better.

    This is what I see or is at least an alternative to a tablesaw.

    Planner technology is getting good with power feeders. These could be used for rip cuts up to and even wider than 2 foot in a relatively small machine. Especially if you design something like the open ended sanders. They have a brake guard at the entrance to the machine already on the larger ones.
    Yep, you could even run dado's in it. This already exists in one form or another as a gang rip saw or molding machine. If this design was renewed and made strong and light, then there is the elimination of kickbacks. The machine would be it's own guard. Only talking two or three pressure rollers on top with a panel.


    For crosscutting, the radial arm saw has been the ticket of the past and still in use by many today.
    Light weight and more portable chop saw type machines round out that arena today. Both styles leave the blade very exposed, just like an unguarded table saw. The same type machine could be made for this as for ripping. Just oriented differently.
    A few design issues to work out surely, but what I am getting at in this is that blade stopping tech may not be the be all end all saw safety device. Design of said saws may be where the answer lies. These type machines would not necessarily take them out of the hobby arena either. Especially if they were on a smaller scale. Today's light weight high strength materials will make these type machine a very doable thing in the future. Maybe not.

    These would be more costly and more complicated from the start, but certainly safer. This is why we run with exposed blades now. It is the simplest form for cutting material.

    We can discuss panel saws too. They are however, already in pretty wide use in cabinets shops. They do their job well and safely.

    Any thoughts or ideas?
    Last edited by Stytooner; 03-20-2010, 05:12 AM.
    Lee

  • #2
    I have been thinking about some sort of power feeder for the last few days too. I've been surprised that it wasn't mentioned in the many threads and blogs I've read on the Ryobi suit.

    More manufacturers might develop more robust sliding tables for miters and crosscuts, possibly power driven.

    When blade stopping tech gets developed and implemented I'm sure there will be other sensors for blade height, guards in place, etc. An override switch would have to be hit before the saw could be operated if certain things weren't engaged properly. I think we'll see things like that before power feeders and sliding tables on lower end equipment. I bet the switch will have a large, embossed, warning and disclaimer label too.
    Erik

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    • #3
      I think that, no matter how many safeguards are built in to any process, there will always be those idiots who are determined to find ways to misuse or circumvent them and somehow maim themselves. Man's propensity to be distracted, lazy, careless, show off, or just plain be dumb is extraordinary. Darwin knew what he was talking about...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Uncle Cracker View Post
        I think that, no matter how many safeguards are built in to any process, there will always be those idiots who are determined to find ways to misuse or circumvent them and somehow maim themselves. Man's propensity to be distracted, lazy, careless, show off, or just plain be dumb is extraordinary. Darwin knew what he was talking about...

        That's it in a nutshell. It's the operator. Some of the safety devices can be a hazard. If I had to do it over again I would likely go to a large panel saw.
        .

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        • #5
          Computerized laser cutting. You would clamp the board down and cut it without any need to be near it or have hands on it.
          You would bring it home on back of your hover truck too.
          Sometimes the old man passed out and left the am radio on so I got to hear the oldie songs and current event kind of things

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          • #6
            I don't disagree with that at all. Plenty of degreed idiots around.

            The best panel saw I have used was a German made one. Used it to break down a couple truck loads of mdf. It was very precise with laser lines. Very clean cuts and dc. It even had a riving knife behind to keep the sheet goods from pinching when cutting horizontally. I do not recall the brand name however. It was likely priced over $5000 back then.

            The design of today's saws is really not that dangerous to an experienced user. However, even with those guys, accidents still happen. Making saws less obvious to injury is where I see it heading. Just not sure what brilliant idea or format will get us started.

            Saws that engage from under the table after the start button has been pushed is another idea that has also been in use for some time. We used one called a Whirlwind as a cutoff saw in one of the Furniture plants I worked at.
            If you think speed with this type things is an issue, It was incredibly fast. A bit dangerous because of it. Still workable technology that would be better than an open blade.
            Lee

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Daryl View Post
              Computerized laser cutting. You would clamp the board down and cut it without any need to be near it or have hands on it.
              You would bring it home on back of your hover truck too.
              I already do that with my CNC router in my small shop. Now the hover truck sounds very interesting. That would help prevent vehicles driven by other type Darwin award winners from having to be rescued for driving through a flooded road.

              You may have hit the nail on the head though for what the future of material cutting has in store. Hobby cnc has become quite affordable lately. As more and more open source software comes about, the more shops you will see these in.
              Lee

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              • #8
                Regardless of other safety features, I'd like a saw that doesn't weigh a ton.

                Inca made some cabinet saws that had cast aluminum tops and an induction motor. I think they only weighed about 150#.

                My dream saw would be a Ryobi BT3K modified to take rails similar to the Inca rails (which are similar to the BT3K rails, but it is easier to make extension tables). I'd also like a 27" front to back top instead of the 22".

                If someone could make a saw like that, I'd pay $1000 to $1200. If you could beef up the motor w/o adding too much to the weight, and add flesh detection, I'd pony up $2000 to $2500.

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                • #9
                  All the safety features in the world are useless until the one between your ears is functioning properly.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tommyt654 View Post
                    All the safety features in the world are useless until the one between your ears is functioning properly.
                    You know what they say: If you make something idiot-proof, they'll make a better idiot.

                    I would imagine that if blade guard sensors, etc. were in place with an override switch, there would also be a little black box (much like in my Titan) that records the positions of guards, strain on the motor, whether the override was in use, etc. This could help determine operator error vs defective machinery, much like my Titan's black box records speed, brake force applied, gear, etc. on a 60-second loop.

                    g.
                    Smit

                    "Be excellent to each other."
                    Bill & Ted

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                    • #11
                      how long before the rotating blade is replaced by a moving CNC controlled laser beam, like the one that almost cut James Bond in half in Goldfinger?

                      Loring in Katy, TX USA
                      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                        how long before the rotating blade is replaced by a moving CNC controlled laser beam, like the one that almost cut James Bond in half in Goldfinger?

                        Nooooo, Mr. Bond... I expect you to die!

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                        • #13
                          They have those now.
                          Lee

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                          • #14
                            The problem is, as long as there is a profit to be made selling unsafe machinery it will continue to be manufactured and sold to those who have very little money to invest or are too cheap to buy safety. Ryobi admitted that people don't' buy safe and that was one of the reasons it decided in 2002 to not include the saw stop technology in their saws after they had originally considered it viable.

                            What I think we need is to revamp our educational system so that we turn out HS graduates that understand the need for and the desire to get additional education on how to use the things they buy. To use them safely and to get full use of what they pay for.

                            As to the original question. I think that basic safety devices have to be made integral to the machine and not an afterthought, intuitive in use and functional. There will always be some danger, education and training will mitigate that but there will be accidents. Perhaps the RobotWoodworker will be the solution. Computerize the plans and let it do the dangerous stuff. Then sue the table saw manufacture when your RobotWoodworker cuts off a finger.

                            Bill
                            My RobotWoodworker would be up and working if I could just find a brain for it, oh here's one belonged to Abby Normal. I'll use it!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mr__Bill View Post

                              What I think we need is to revamp our educational system so that we turn out HS graduates that understand the need for and the desire to get additional education on how to use the things they buy. To use them safely and to get full use of what they pay for.

                              What educational system? Many woodshop industrial arts courses have been dropped from the school system. Education only goes so far. There are those with years of experience, using equipment every day in their jobs that still stick their fingers in a sawblade. It's the lapse of concentration, or improper usage that outweighs the safety devices (or lack of).
                              .

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