|Forum topic by crank49||posted 02-14-2011 07:48 PM||4156 views||0 times favorited||16 replies|
02-14-2011 07:48 PM
I have been thinking about all the uproar over table saw safety that I have seen lately, and I have really tried to comprehend all aspects of the problem in order to decide where I come down on this issue.. As an engineer that’s just how I look at everything; can’t help it.
As a conservative minded person I don’t like the idea of government getting involved with coming up with solutions for things like this. If most politicians knew how to do any real work they would have real jobs instead of trying to be everyone’s nanny. Regulating unsafe practices or outright banning dangerous equipment is arguably an acceptable role; but not coming up with alternate solutions.
It is obvious to me that Saw Stop’s solution is a pretty good one. It uses the spinning blade’s own momentum to actually stop itself by digging into a sacrificial aluminum block, and then uses the resulting reaction forces to this “crash stop” to snatch the blade below the table where it can’t do any more damage. Using the reaction to stopping the forward momentum to snatch the blade down like this has the advantage of absorbing a lot of energy to do useful work. From an engineer’s point of view this is a very good design. It is also patented in so many ways there is no way anyone can use any part of the concept without paying Saw Stop for the use of the technology. That is the root of the problem. The technology, or the liscensed use of the Saw Stop technology is so expensive there will no longer be any sub-$1000 saws on the market if this is the only accepted solution to table saw safety.
The only other solution I have heard of is something called “WhirlWind”. This, if I understand it as presented, is the use of photo cells or proximity sensors in the blade guard to detect anything on top of the workpiece and apply a motor brake if any thing breaks the beam. No where near as effective as Saw Stop, but potentially much more affordable. WhirlWind takes 1/8th of a second to stop a spinning blade. Stopping from 3600 RPM that is 7 1/2 revolutions of the blade. That can still do some serious damage to a hand; enough to slice through a whole pack of weiners I would imagine. It also will not work at all if the guard has to be removed, like for a dado or rabbit cut.
I am thinking another approach is needed. My only other idea so far would be to completely guard the top access to the blade and use power feed rollers to carry the workpiece past the blade; kinda like a power planer works. Or, perhaps a slider type carriage beside the blade; that’s being done in Europe I think. I know these ideas restrict the use of the saw for odd shaped pieces or with special purpose jigs.
Anyone out there have any other ideas? I’d like to know we all have several options going forward.