If they can put a man on the moon, why can't they . . .?

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Forum topic by runswithscissors posted 01-02-2013 02:59 AM 2660 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2724 posts in 1989 days

01-02-2013 02:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw tablesaw scroll saw

My question has a couple of purposes. First is to inspire someone to design or invent a new tool or jig that will do something new or do it better. Second is to troll for ideas for something I might try to devise. Here are a few to start the discussion off:

1. Why have to choose between a right tilt or left tilt TS? Why not a saw that can tilt both ways?

2. Ditto for the bandsaw. How many times have you puzzled over how to make a cut that seems impossible? Imagine a long V shaped stopped channel (i.e. a “dead end”) that is easy to do with the table tilted to the right, but impossible to do from the other direction. I’m thinking the lower wheel could go way down low, then have the trunnion set up on a tall pillar. The better scroll saws already have this double bevel ability.

3. I’d like a small, hand held bandsaw that operates like a chainsaw, which is much more efficient than a reciprocating saw or saber (jig) saw. Unlike a saber saw, which doesn’t support a long blade well thereby making consistent bevels (or square cuts) hard to do. A long blade flops around too much. It would have a fairly stiff bar to prevent that. It would be useful for cutting long curves in relatively thin boards (1” or so) up to big timbers, such as boatbuilders might want to do. I have seen the Prazi Beam Cutter that bolts on to a circular saw or skilsaw, but the chain is too big. I want a narrow kerf and the ability to make fairly tight radius curves. The problem is how to make the chain.

Okay, your turn. What would you like to see invented or improved?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

35 replies so far

View bent's profile


311 posts in 3633 days

#1 posted 01-02-2013 04:40 AM

you only need your table saw to tilt to one direction. if you need to make a cut with opposite taper, flip your workpiece end for end.

portable bandsaws do exist. i use one almost every day to cut conduit and uni-strut. if you’re looking for one, i recommend a milwuakee.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2036 days

#2 posted 01-02-2013 05:14 AM

I have both a rt and lf tilt saw in my shop/... PS scissors = freedom … the force to cut is oppositional, or to saw equal. The force to have a tilt cut AND a square cut requires a positive stop for both. It is mechanically easy to put the stop on one or the other of the side, or both of the sides, but not all three. BC the 90 degree stop is the most used, (hate tothrow capitalism in there) it is the most designed. You must understand how much more important 90 degrees is than the others to the trade. All other cuts can be made from this. (don’ F w/ Pythagoras) and the balls needed to lower the piece into the cut iffin ya hafta
2nd ?.. force vs. blade strength = $$ (You can have all these things) and my BS does tilt both ways.

3d..You need a pull saw… Japanese have perfected this for years.(xx) btw..Chainsaws are only pullsaws. they can pull with more force than my arms but they can not push… and tell my why you would wanna push wood?
ps. there are good handheld bandsaws on the market

-- Who is John Galt?

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2600 days

#3 posted 01-02-2013 05:46 AM

Next time you stumble upon one of these situations you should do the following. Draft up a detailed CAD model (not sketchup because no machine shop or engineering firm will take you serious) with all the important parts exactly what they need to be. One of three things will happen. 1. You will design a profitable machine that will make you some money. 2. The way you need to design a component will be so expensive to machine/build that it will make it financially impossible to make. Or 3. and most likely, you will realize there is a major limiting factor that may not be easy to see which makes the design unfeasible.

Its extremely hard to come up with a “new” design for a tool, there is just so much stuff out there. The best we can do is make small improvements to tools to make them better.

View runswithscissors's profile


2724 posts in 1989 days

#4 posted 01-02-2013 08:27 AM

Bent and Joey: I don’t think you understood my question. I wasn’t seeking your critiques of my wild and crazy ideas I threw out there. I was trying to get LJs to think of new innovations, or improvements to existing tools, that they might have dreamed about or wished for. I have modified several of my tools to improve functionality, with some success. I did it because I wasn’t completely satisfied with what was available. In fact, there are some tools that I think are pathetic when it comes to doing what they’re supposed to do.

So are you saying, Rockindavan, that everything worthwhile has already been invented? I don’t think the guy who came up with the Domino thought so. And that is a tool that is such a crazy (but great) idea that it became a whole game changer for many people, and yet it must have sounded hopelessly complicated and unattainable to many who were asked for constructive criticism. And who says small improvements aren’t worthwhile?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2935 days

#5 posted 01-02-2013 01:49 PM

About the LT & RT table saw.
On a LT saw the motor is mounted on the left side of the arbor. So, when it tilts, the motor moves away from the table. On a RT saw it’s just the opposite; motor is on the right side. To make either arrangement tilt in the opposite direction from which it is designed would have the motor passing through the table. A difficult feat without some Star Trek technology to allow one batch of matter to occupy the same space as another batch of matter at the same time and still be separate.

In reality, as Rockindavan pointed out, we mostly can only make incremental improvements. Again, back to the TS, it’s possible, and I think already been done, to get a little over rotation and tilt more than 45 degrees and I think some saws allow a little reverse tilting as well, but these are incremental improvements, limited by design constraints that just won’t go away.

Now, if you could make the arbor very thin and then drive the arbor with a hypoid/bevel gear and set a compact universal type motor at an angle you could get clearance for tilting both ways. Look at a Mikita compound miter saw. They did it this way. And that might work on a table saw, but it would not fit a heavy cast iron arbor and induction motor, which would be the trade-off.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2036 days

#6 posted 01-02-2013 02:54 PM

Sorry to be all critical… But I did point out how quickly this was solved with out redesigning the saw(I have one of each) And that in some cases it already exists (Band Saw, sliding compound mitre). The other fact is that both saws reverse once the fence is placed on the other side of the blade, or if the piece is reversed and an up cut is used. And finally, to give Rockindavan a little prop, it already exists dual bevel table saw patent. To be fair the person who hinged two knives the first time prolly had a bunch of nay sayers like me pushing them along.

I do applaud the Idea of crowd sourcing new tool ideas, this one just isn’t that necessary. Still thinkin’ on the mini chain saw. I think you abandon the chain, and use a cord or wire, like the way stone is cut.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2262 days

#7 posted 01-02-2013 07:32 PM

those are good ideas can you weld and do a little machining thats what i do I try to make my own stuff when I can

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View FeralVermonter's profile


100 posts in 1935 days

#8 posted 01-02-2013 07:44 PM

One thing that really stands out to me, as a guy who’s coming to the fine manual arts in mid-life, is the way builders get “boxed in” by their experiences and/or training—woodworkers tend to work in wood, metalworkers in metal, electronics guys know how to design a laser cutter but don’t know which end of the saw to hold. Getting out of the box opens up a whole realm of hybrid possibilities, ones that might not even be possible “in the box.”

It puts me in mind of a time when I took a job on a roofing crew. My job was hauling stuff up a ladder, day in, and day out. When I suggested that we just pull it up with an electric winch, they were amazed at my “out of the box” thinking—of course, I invented myself out of a job on that one…

Another, somewhat related issue, is what I call the “product-oriented” way of thinking, since I think it’s derived from certain aspects of our market society, which I catch hints of in your question. I don’t mean to criticize, since it’s a problem that I find myself falling prey to fairly often. You ask about something “new” to do things “better.” In a way, you’re acknowledging the “in the box” problem that I described above, that people are missing something great because they’re not thinking out of the box. But there’s an “out of the box” problem too. The truth is, when it comes to woodworking, that “the box” contains the collective wisdom of countless generations, so much so that no one person could ever absorb it all, and that means that you can stay in the box all your life and still constantly find “new, better” ways to do things—especially if you start looking for “lost” technologies. A great case in point is the DIY concrete lathe making the rounds in the Internet these days—a wonderful invention, almost lost. Another good case in point is your idea for a portable bandsaw (already being produced) and my own flexible shaft-driven rotary tool (which can be found in mechanic’s shops everywhere, and if I hadn’t spent my money on the parts for my failed device, I could have bought one from Dremel).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about invention, and I would never want to discourage it in any way. And I’m not sure that anybody else who’s replied here was really trying to discourage you, either—I think, instead, that they were simply trying to point out some of the difficulties in your question. It’s only by keeping those difficulties in mind, and navigating between them, that you’ll be able to invent your game-changer.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10253 posts in 3612 days

#9 posted 01-02-2013 07:50 PM

Double bevel table saws exist.

Double bevel band saws are used in shipyards. They
are enormous.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2036 days

#10 posted 01-02-2013 07:51 PM

Feral What you are saying is.. It can be harder to get out of the box…if’n your whole life has been spent building boxes :)

-- Who is John Galt?

View runswithscissors's profile


2724 posts in 1989 days

#11 posted 01-02-2013 08:58 PM

Again, I’m not soliciting responses to my ideas, but asking you for your ideas. Every tool out there, whether manual or powered, was a response to somebody’s perceived need. Straightbowed: yes, I can weld, though I am self-taught, and therefore not very good at it. But I have made some of my own stuff where no similar tool existed, or where I felt the functionality was not that good, or where I was too cheap to buy existing. Example: a jig that lets me sharpen planer and jointer blades with a 6” stationary belt sander (in its upright configuration). Makes an even, precise bevel on the knife, with almost no heat build up in the steel. And it cost about $1 worth of angle iron and 1/4” plate. Oh, I also had to make a knife holder out of aluminum.

I do feel that sometimes we tolerate tools that don’t work very well for the tasks we are trying to do because nothing better is available. So we do workarounds, and get frustrated, and wonder, “if they can put a man on the moon. . .”

If we were to list all the tools in just the last 50 years that were responses to needs, we’d have a huge list. Just a few:

1. The hand held router
2. The router lift (that’s very new!). How many people have complained about having to grope under the table to make adjustments?
3. The jig, or saber saw. Before that you used a coping saw or keyhole saw or bow saw.
4. The miter saw
5. The double bevel miter saw
6. The portable planer (invented by Ryobi about 1984)
7. The digital readout for planers (and other tools)
8. The Incra jig
9. The Fein oscillating multitool, or its many clones

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2036 days

#12 posted 01-02-2013 09:25 PM

Perhaps if you started over by asking “What are your ideas for a new tool” you would get what you are asking for. Your premise is a little confusing to me. The question basically states Come up with a new tool for me to make, and then gives idea’s for discussion. Anyhow I gave you one…. The Mini cable saw. It could be made up with the body like a recip saw, but a cable running around hard blade, like a chain saw. For more stable “jig saw like cuts”... Now make sure and make one for me, and give my my cut if it takes of like the fien saw.

-- Who is John Galt?

View runswithscissors's profile


2724 posts in 1989 days

#13 posted 01-19-2013 10:17 PM

What gives the cable is cutting ability? Teeth? Abrasives? Or ?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View ejvc's profile


107 posts in 1925 days

#14 posted 01-19-2013 10:38 PM

Isn’t the end of the phrase, “put them all on the moon?” I was looking for a stinging critique of patriarchy, myself.

OK, then, why can’t they come up with some kind of tracking system for wood so that you can easily know its source? (in the UK they have cattle passports which are tracked all the way to the consumer, with a special number on each carcase or pack of meat).

-- Building stuff with my daughter (6). Pretty new to woodworking, I mostly sew...

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2036 days

#15 posted 01-20-2013 01:45 AM

abrasives or tiny little teeth,

-- Who is John Galt?

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