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"Smart" table saw safety accessory

Post in 'The Gear' started by Eric Johnson, Jun 1, 2006.

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  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I heard a report on the radio the other day about a new safety device for table saws that can sense the difference in density between wood and flesh, and will stop the blade immediately if you try to push some of the former (like your thumb) into the saw blade. Since it was on the radio, I don't have any idea how it works, but I suspect it's some sort of light or laser beam that the object being sawn has to pass through on its way to the blade.

    Obviously, this is expensive, sophisticated technology that's probably impractical for most users at the moment, but the report said it is available commercially and is being successfully used in high school shops and vo tech programs.

    Anyway, it got me thinking that someday we may see something like this on chain saws. A better approach than a flesh-sensor might be a device that detects a specific material (woven into the fabric of wood-cutting clothing), engaging the chain brake when the saw gets too close.

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  2. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    I think this is the tool you heard about.

    http://www.sawstop.com/

    It uses sensors to detect a change in capacitance, a dropout saw arbor and a mechanical brake to stop the blade...

    very cool technology, but like you said, it's spendy... I think the biggest challenge would be building such a system that take the vibration and still be low enough in weight to carry around. Also, I think i recall hearing reports that the system could false trigger when cutting very wet woods... very wet in a cabinet shop environment is probably pretty dry by tree-feller standards!

    -Dan
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the link T-n-B.

    It doesn't look like easily-transferrable technology, at least not to a chain saw, for the reasons you cited.

    I'm still wondering about the laser/fabric chain brake trigger. That would get around most of the technical impediments, if such a thing is feasible at all.
  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    that hot dog video was awesome. Table saws scare the poop out of me.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Our local science teacher cut off 3 or 4 fingers last year with a table saw. They were able to put them back on, but his grip ain't what it used to be.

    Being the world's worst carpenter, I couldn't live without a table saw. It's the only chance I have of ever cutting a straight line. That still doesn't guarantee that my measurements will be accurate, but that's what they make caulk for, right?
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I'm also quite active on some of the woodworking forums and so far the basic read on the saw stop technology is that it's pretty good. The Saw Stop company is looking to legislate this into a legal requirement for all saws. That's not a good plan, but it is a finger saving technology.
  7. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Guys,

    I took a chunk out of my thumb last year Feb. I was cutting up some old doors for kindling. Worked well until I got tired. Oh well. the ER stiched it nicely and I am back to work with a nice white line scar to show for my mistakes.

    Live and learn. Since a chainsaw is WAY more dangerous than a table saw, I reread my safety manual 4 times a year. I also will complete all my safety gear this fall. I never cut standing timber and especially not leaning timber. I cut until I get tired or sweaty.

    Carpniels
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    There is no substitute for common sense. and paying attention to what one is doing. Almost all accidents could be advoided,
    if one thinks out the process. Most people get hurt trying to cut short pieces with their hand too close to the blade.
    Take the time to add an extention or make up a gig for safe cutting. Always work with a longer piece and hands at a safe distance
    If you cut a short lenght a fraction too long it is better to cut a shorter piece from a longer length than trying to shorten that short piece Think about what you are doing. You may be able to clamp that short piece to the miter fence and prevent a dangerous situation. If the material starts to bind then use a kerf to separate it. Do not continue pushing threw the material.
    I think novices should wear a cup when using a bench saw. One kick back hitting a sensitive area and you will know what I mean.

    Always adjust the blade height to 1/4" more than the material. Working witha fully extended exposed blade is dangerous and
    asking for injuries plus less blade contact less binding and using the cutting teeth to their maxium abilities
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