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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Question Saw Stop Questionst

I am currently doing legwork on a new product line, that if successful may cause me to need an additional table saw. The saw I am considering is the SawStop. We've all read about how great this safety technology is, but I am wondering this: Let's say I am cutting wood (not hot dogs) and plastic laminates (not chicken legs), how well does it cut? Certainly this has a lot to do with the chosen blade, but how is the fence, square guide/miter guide, dust collection, etc.
I am curious to learn how well the cuts turn-out. Sure safety is of vital importance - but this new product line will require some super-accurate cuts and absolutely perfect repeatability. Also, I've been told that once a sawstop "works" the blade is warped - this is okay, as blades are cheaper than fingers; but I'm uncertain of how the mechanism works.
Any help from SawStop owners that have used it and other "high-end saws" will be greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 05:09 PM
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When SawStop "works", you need to replace the blade and also a sensor cartridge costing I think about $60 or $70. Sounds expensive, but much cheaper and less painful than the alternative.

Depending on your definition of "super-accurate cuts" and "absolutely perfect repeatability" I don't think ANY saw set up by a human and using manual material processing will give you what you're talking about. You'd need a CNC machine for that.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 09:28 PM
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Otis, I have a 3hp cabinet SawStop with 52" fence. The fence is a "Bessy" style and is very accurate. I haven't used other saws except a ShopSmith. I would recommend this saw to anyone willing to spend the money on it. I have had mine for one year now and I love it. yes, if the brake is set off you have to replace the blade and brake cartridge. Dust collection is very good, The better the dust collector the better the collection. Rip cuts are very good and accurate. I feel this saw is as good or better than a Delta.
Just my nickle worth.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 12:08 AM
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Hi Otis,

The last place I worked they replaced the Powermatics with SawStops. The commercial grade SawStops table saws are as good as the Powermatics that we had or better in my opinion. Dust collection is top notch, fence system is good. We did have some Incra miters gauges and still used the miter gauges that came with the table. I have seen the safety cartridge save a few fingers. All you could see looked like 1 layer of skin might have been removed and most of the time, no blood. If you hit the blade faster than normal feed rate there will be more damage to a finger but they still have the finger.

You do need to know if you are cutting aluminum of any conductive material you need to lock out the safety system or it will set off the cartridge. It's no problem to lock out the safety system just holding the key counterclockwise until it signals the system is disengaged then start the saw. The safety system will reset automatically when the saw is turned off so the next time it is started the system is working, unless you lock the system out again.

Also if the material you are cutting has a high moister content it could set off the cartridge.

The safety system is constantly monitoring the saw blade and when a tooth on the blade touches, say your finger, it looks to see if it happens again on the next tooth. If it encounters the second touch it shoves the cartridge into the blade to stop it and at the same time the blade is drawn away from the front of the saw and down below the table. The cartridge contains a chunk of aluminum with holes drill across it, this is where the blade is buried when the system is set off.

Hope this helps,
Mike

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Charlie, Ron & Mike, My thanks go out to each of you for taking the time to answer my question. This latest product line will utilize some custom thinwood laminations and my repeat cuts need to be dead-on accurate to ensure quality control is at its peak. I would not be cutting aluminum or anything with a high moisture content, but I will be cutting some plastics & composites. The saw I am using now - in my home shop - is an Hitachi C10FL, which I am very pleased with. I also have this same table saw at the shop where my concrete forms are manufactured - both of them perform perfectly and if I can get that high of a quality cut, fence positioning and angle consistency, I will be extremely pleased. The reason for a SawStop would only be for liability. Some of the "geniuses" in the concrete form shop have been cut, but I want to minimize my liability with this new business venture. Some of them could hurt themselves with a rubber ball. Thanks again Guys!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:50 PM
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You're welcome, Otis. Your insurance cost should be better with a SawStop. Best of luck with the new venture.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 09:15 PM
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Hey Otis and welcome. You should also consider a simple bandsaw as well, very easy to set up and cuts are extremely easy to repeat once you have everything lined up without having to monitor your crew to see if they are doing anything that might set off the safety features.You should or at the least consider using another tool that most shops a have been using for yrs, a seperate drive or stock feeder to push the material into the blade rather than a human hand. Cost effectivly cheaper than a new tablesaw and without the additional possible downtime and cost associated with the possible premature firing of a Sawstop cartridge or for that matter any electronics that are associated with it as well. There's no guarentee you will get any less insurance unless you contact your agent to see whether he offers a discount with that machine. Also be aware many false/positives have occured on plastics as they have a tendency to build up static electricity as they cross the saw table and set off the cartridge as well as other factors besides wet lumber. I would suggest you invest in ensuring you technicians are properly trained in the use of a tablesaw and equip them with the proper safety tools as well. I have seen many of these fine saws going up on the auction block in recent months as the cost associated with replacing the blade and cartridge have gone up incrementally forcing some companys to simply abandon them as an option after $2-3k in replacement cost,downtime ,etc stops or slows production. It is a great saw, however as all tools it has its limitations and reliability issues. Better and proper training should be first foremost and a good stock feeder completely eliminates the human contact at a much less expensive cost as well as lower insurance premiums.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:51 PM
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Otis,
We never had a problem cutting plastics, except lexan mirror, however Tommy is correct that if the plastics can build up a static electrical charge if not handled properly and set off the safety mechanism.

You said you may be cutting composite materials so you need to check with the manufacture to make sure they do not contain any metal fiber or dust it it's construction.

Johnny is correct on consulting with the insurance company about possible reductions in rates, they may give you a break and they may not. Remember if the operator has to lock out the system to cut any material they will not be protected. You also need to be aware that when the safety system needs to be turned off your insurance may not pay at all if an accident does occur. Think about it, the operator knowingly turned off the safety system before operating the equipment as instructed to by his boss.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Ron, Tommy & Mike, Thanks for your input and some very good points have been made. I've been so pleased with the two Hitachi C10FL table saws, I was kinda looking for an excuse to simply get another one of those. I know from personal experience insurance companies are notorious for trying to get-out-of paying their fair shares and quite frankly, with the safety feature being something that can be manually avoided - it might simply get "overlooked" - if you know what I mean..
The feeders that Tommy mentioned are something that I had forgotten about - but this is an extremely good point. When my wife's dad ran a big furniture manufacturing business, they used feeders on many of their machines - I had simply forgotten about those! Thanks so much again!

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