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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay ... so ... I procrastinate!

SEVEN years ago, I bought the components needed to build a large panel saw. I have the shiny polished slide tubes, the saw sled, the router sled, and some other components. I just have not taken the time to actually build the thing.

So it is on my “To Do” list for this Spring. Any suggestions? It is a long rail, 110” long. So when it is finally set up, it will be able to rip a 4x8 sheet vertically.

But I am like Tim Allen, and the character he plays on Home Improvement. I want to make it bigger, and better, and arg arg arg!

So I am considering a frame that will allow the saw to cut either vertically or horizontally, such that the whole thing would lay over like a table.

I have not selected a saw for it yet either. Suggestions? I want something powerful and able to handle thicker materials. I am even considering a carousel table so the material could be rotated around on the flat surface under the rail to slice up a sheet in any direction needed.

Since it is so large, there would need to be a drive chain or worm gear for it. I could not reach across such a large surface. Suggestions? LINKS?

What about hold downs for the material? Can you suggest pneumatic or electric hold downs I can incorporate into the design? Or would a vac table work better?

I would of course want to run a router on this thing also. I have a Bosch 2.25. HP. Router. That would work well I believe.

I would appreciate all input from you PROS!

Joe
 

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You are getting closer and closer to the workings of a CNC router! Take a look at ACME screws for your drive. You can get up to 6' lengths pretty readily. You probably would want some gearing to increase the distance per turn if you are cranking it by hand.

I think for hold downs you could get away with a small number of toggle clamps for the corners. It's not going to take much to keep it in place.
 

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Rick
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I was all gung ho to build a panel saw , then I joined here and learned about Track Saws .
Very happy I went with the track saw now , as it’s more versatile and can cut angles , plus it doesn’t take up a lot of room.
But each to his own
 

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I was all gung ho to build a panel saw , then I joined here and learned about Track Saws .
Very happy I went with the track saw now , as it’s more versatile and can cut angles , plus it doesn’t take up a lot of room.
But each to his own
I am with you there. A lot of times, I will bring a 4x8 sheet or 3 home. Slide straight on to the saw horses from the truck and rough cut to project pieces with the track saw. No more muscling sheets around the shop. Keeps my Advil cost down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was all gung ho to build a panel saw , then I joined here and learned about Track Saws .
Very happy I went with the track saw now , as it’s more versatile and can cut angles , plus it doesn’t take up a lot of room.
But each to his own
Yes, angles! That is why I am picturing a turret platform for the saw. It would be maybe 100" and round, and perhaps 2" thick? It would have a zero or true vertical notch or pin hole or something to align it, as well as 45 and 90 degree pins. But it could also be rotated to any angle for a cut. Now this would require the material to lay against a spoil board of some sort so the blade could cut completely through the material, but there are plenty of cheap options for that. Perhaps I could use sheets of thick foam, set against something to hold them in place like a waffle rack. When one "tile" is consumed, it could be replaced cheaply with a new tile.

I do like the track saws. They are easy to set up and apparently give very accurate results. I have two nice table saws, but when I want to cut a 30" x 10' sheet of 3/4" Durasein (The knockoff brand of Corian :wink: ) it is too heavy for this old man to muscle around by myself. I purchased 15 sheets of Durian to experiment with, and I am LOVING the results! This is a test piece using a 1/16" two-flute bit with a 611 router.

Joe

 

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What the heck do you want with bear arms? I've seen bear rugs and mounted bear heads but just arms seems really odd to me:) Or did you mean "bare arms"?
 

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Rick
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Yes, angles! That is why I am picturing a turret platform for the saw. It would be maybe 100" and round, and perhaps 2" thick? It would have a zero or true vertical notch or pin hole or something to align it, as well as 45 and 90 degree pins. But it could also be rotated to any angle for a cut. Now this would require the material to lay against a spoil board of some sort so the blade could cut completely through the material, but there are plenty of cheap options for that. Perhaps I could use sheets of thick foam, set against something to hold them in place like a waffle rack. When one "tile" is consumed, it could be replaced cheaply with a new tile.

I do like the track saws. They are easy to set up and apparently give very accurate results. I have two nice table saws, but when I want to cut a 30" x 10' sheet of 3/4" Durasein (The knockoff brand of Corian :wink: ) it is too heavy for this old man to muscle around by myself. I purchased 15 sheets of Durian to experiment with, and I am LOVING the results! This is a test piece using a 1/16" two-flute bit with a 611 router.

Joe
That’s an awesome idea and I’ve never seen it pulled off , but it sounds a little ambitious.
I’m still trying to insulate my shop lol
 

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I hope nobody is paying attention to this thread...it could go downhill pretty quick into the muck...

I'll give Steve the credit for starting it's death roll...of course, Phil jumped right on that train...:grin:

Maybe this will turn into a word game "bare _____" (fill in the blank)
 
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This is a little long and the wheels almost go off the track but it's related. I have/had most of the plans from the magazines but then ran across a Panel Pro Plus on ebay, brand new... I could not believe it was within about 15 miles of me. There weren't many bidders and I could NOT afford NOT TO BID! So I got it for an excellent price!

BUT the problem--I do not have a shop or garage to do woodworking! I’m going to use at least one room in my house. I have not done any woodworking since I was a teen. The tools I had back then are long gone. I decided to redo my kitchen cabinets and have been retooling the last couple years. I’ve also been cramming with tons of woodworking back issues & DVD’s to refresh my memory.

When I bought a new jointer, my neighbor helped me get it up the porch stairs and into the house. When I bought the panel saw, it was supposed to rain that day and I figured my neighbor could help me get it into the house---it was in a big box with a lumber frame around it. I had to use a SawsAll to get the frame off. I wanted to get it inside and I could keep it crated until I found room for everything---my fridge is in my parlor, my router table is in my living room, my jointer is in the front hall, etc., etc. Luckily I don’t have a wife to tell me NO!

When I called my neighbor to help carry the crate in, he said he couldn’t help me, he has been going for chemotherapy; he was a Vietnam vet and was told Agent Orange caused cancer in the lining membrane of his lungs, not just a section that can be treated or removed. They already took a couple pieces. I knew he was in Vietnam & knew he had 1 piece of one lung removed, but didn’t know he had cancer… he always LOOKED like he was in great shape, and did all kinds of carpentry & home repairs. He was told he had 9 months to live and died about two months later.

So with rain coming, I took the crate off and opened the box and took all the pieces inside, one by one. I didn’t have room to store all the separate parts, so I assembled much of it. I attached the side wings but not the bottom rule nor bottom extensions. It has never been plugged in yet! I spent considerable time getting the side wings flush with the main section.

It is sitting (standing?) across from my fridge, never used, never run. Stuff would have to be moved to get it out of the house, luckily it’s within 20 feet of the front door. It would be much easier cutting plywood sheets for me than a Bosch table saw folded up in my living room!

That was 3 years ago. This is the same saw:
Well, I cannot post links under this new account, so just search ebay for "Safety Speed Cut PRO2K Panel Pro Vertical Panel Saw w/Complete Accessories Kit" without the quotes.

For ME, it was maybe cheaper to buy than what it may have cost to build. Also, that's a caveat, to use something to make something--kinda like the egg/chicken argument. Use "A" to make space saver "B" to save space for "A."

I had problems logging in but originally came here years ago for the "Show me your router table" thread and am still subscribed to it to this day! But for me, I didn't have the room to build my own router table at the time; instead, I found a discount coupon for Grizzly that made it possible to get their router table for around a hundred bucks--when you don't have room or the proper tools, it may be more feasible to buy. And believe me, I HATE having to spend MY money!

Also, keep in mind, with a stationary saw that pivots 90 degrees, the saw runs vertically to crosscut a sheet of plywood, plus it can be pivoted 90 degrees to rip a sheet lengthwise--you just put it at the height desired and then just push the sheet through. The weight of the sheet helps keep accuracy high, unless you grab the sheet and jerk it around or lift it while pushing. Of course, you can also build your own which the saw travels instead of the sheet. This way, you need to insure there's no run-out as the carriage moves across the sheet from end to end.

Hope this helps.
 

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Several years ago I was all gung-ho to build one of those panel saw kits, and fortunately I did not have the shop to swallow something like that. Instead, I got my Makita track saw and am thrilled that I didn’t waste my money and space on the one-trick pony panel saw.

Remember, the panel saw is no more productive than a track saw, each sheet has to be “loaded” one at a time and gang cutting is probably more feasible with the track saw. As for accuracy, the panel saw is designed for breaking down sheet goods for subsequent final cutting on an arm saw or TS. The track saw’s cuts are dead accurate and straight, and are finish cuts.

Have you considered saving your shop space and money for something like a spray booth?
 

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Yup, a track saw is the way to go. I've had one for years and would never trade it in for a panel saw. I have a variety of track lengths, including a 3000mm (118") track that lets me rip the 8 foot dimension of sheet goods.
 

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Since my shop will be in a two car garage, I just can't imagine how I would find 16 to 20 feet of space (maybe 120 sqft) for a panel cutter. My current mode is to pull it off the back of the truck, cut it into pieces I will need and carry them in. If it rains, I don't buy wood that day...plenty of other things to do. It does sound like you have the right idea though...let the saw move rather than the panel. That will at least cut down on the space requirement.

Having said that, I can't imagine it in the house...just sayin'...

Apparently, you have a greater need for the panel saw than most and are likely cutting many 4x8's...? Commercial shop...?

Sorry...I'm have to stick with my Mag77, guide and a saw horse...
 

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Rick
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Yup, a track saw is the way to go. I've had one for years and would never trade it in for a panel saw. I have a variety of track lengths, including a 3000mm (118") track that lets me rip the 8 foot dimension of sheet goods.
I actually bent over and bought Festools 118” track . Haven’t used it yet , but there was a few times in the past when I really needed it and had to compromise.

Imo my track saw is my 4th best investment .
#1 table saw
#2 miter saw
#3 router
#4 track saw
 
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