Externally mounted flex cable drive table saw motor

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Forum topic by savan posted 04-03-2013 01:44 PM 2615 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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97 posts in 2592 days

04-03-2013 01:44 PM

This came up in another thread but I thought it deserved it’s own. this was my post in another thread. I could see where this would be very difficult on direct drive or belt driven saws but seems like it’d be a great win for cable drive saws.

Has anyone tried this?

Well here’s something I’m curious about. I suspect there’s a lot of wear caused by the nature of the mount. The motor is bolted on the back and the flex cable is turned in a U shape to connect to the blade.

What if one mounted the motor off the saw housing. You’d eliminate the direct transfer of vibration from the motor to the saw AND you’d have less stress on the flex cable.

Surely someone has thought of doing this, i’ll google it.

12 replies so far

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3518 days

#1 posted 04-03-2013 03:33 PM

Seems like the kind of thing a manufacturer would try that would then end up in a table saw museum someplace. Good idea, but not one that would be widely accepted, I don’t think, in spite of the reduced vibration.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

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97 posts in 2592 days

#2 posted 04-03-2013 03:35 PM

or even a rubber bushing a la a car’s engine mount

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2275 days

#3 posted 04-03-2013 04:19 PM

we used this kind of setup for hollowing large turnings (think wooden waste baskets). we used a dado blade on an arbor mounted to what essentially was a boring bar. The motor was mounted on a sled that slid on the ways. We used the apron feed to feed the saw down the inside of the turning up to four feet. The flex drive cable was not cheap. there was a considerable vibration due to the wind and unwind under load. This vibration would certainly outweigh the vibration caused by the motor if that is a major concern. Flexed in a “u” shape the working life of the drive would be reduced substantially. The only advantage I can see for this would be increasing depth of cut using the same diameter blade. I cant see a manufacturer going that route. they would just modify their saw to take a larger diameter blade.

View savan's profile


97 posts in 2592 days

#4 posted 04-03-2013 04:27 PM

well, in this case I’m talking about unmouting a motor that’s already flex drive so that cost isn’t a factor :)

The ramp up/down vibration is interesting. I could see how a bend in the flex cable might help reduce the wind up/down vibration but I wonder which is the lesser of the two evils.

wind up/down vibration or constant vibration during saw operation…

View MrRon's profile


5193 posts in 3444 days

#5 posted 04-03-2013 04:27 PM

I think Sears sold a flexible drive saw at one time. It didn’t go over too well.

View savan's profile


97 posts in 2592 days

#6 posted 04-03-2013 04:30 PM

MrRon, you’re correct. That’s the one I bought of craigslist for $50 and how I started pondering the idea :)

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 3044 days

#7 posted 04-03-2013 06:17 PM

I’ve been wondering why Sears produced this saw. It had to cost more than a belt drive saw to make and didn’t give any advantage to the buyer. Does anyone know if the flex-drive could power other attachments? If the same motor could power say a jointer, planer, lathe etc. it might make more sense. -Jack

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97 posts in 2592 days

#8 posted 04-03-2013 06:19 PM

they were ahead of their time

Flex drive
flex spending
flex fuel



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3261 posts in 2876 days

#9 posted 04-03-2013 08:01 PM

I am thinking of string trimmers like you would use on your lawn. There was at least one company that used a flex shaft on their straight shaft trimmers. They NEVER broke a shaft. Echo is the one I know about. Their shaft was warranted for life. I ran one for over 25 years with no problems. In the early days of trimmers shafts broke often especially in the ones with curved shafts. Now with that said….why couldn’t a person mount the motor under a table extension and drive it straight with the flex shaft. Even having a lesser curve int he shaft should help. Anything would be better than a shaft bent into a U shape….except a bow knot. Those Sears saws were sold in the mid ‘80’s. I never thought they would be very good. I do know a guy that bought one. He has it today. I will say that he doesn’t use it too much but it is operable today. Those came with a cast iron table I THINK. I never figured out why they spent that money on them though. They were no on the market too long.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2208 days

#10 posted 04-03-2013 08:08 PM

There’s a guy in Knoxville has two Sears tablesaws for sale on CL.One of ‘ems a flex drive. His dad passed and he’s cleaning out his garage. If I remember he wants like $125 for both.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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929 posts in 2275 days

#11 posted 04-03-2013 08:39 PM

the wind up/down I was referring to was during the cut with each tooth there is a load/unload cycle. It was very apparent with the coarse tooth wobbly dado that we were useing.

View bondogaposis's profile


5090 posts in 2552 days

#12 posted 04-03-2013 09:04 PM

I have one of the Craftsman flex drive saws that has been the workhorse in my shop since the early 80’s and so far I haven’t had a bit of problem with it. Knock on wood. I do know that they no longer make replacements for the flex drive cable so when it goes it’s game over.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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