Laser guide question

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I want to get a laser cutting guide for my Dewalt 12" sliding compound miter saw - I've seen a couple different brands on the net, one from Rockler's (Avenger) for $57.99 and another from SevenCorners.com (bladepoint) for $59.88. They both say easy to install. Is there any great difference in brands, quality? Are there any safety issues involved?
I saw my first laser guide in person a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine had one on a jobsite on a Hitachi miter saw (it came built into the saw) and I thought it was the coolest thing I've ever seen. I don't have any depth perception and I'm always doing the squat, lower-the-blade-and-look-where-it's-going-to-cut thing, and this seems like a tremedous time (and knee) saver. Thanks in advance for any and all input.
Tony
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T asks:

They are, but...
In my opinion, the arbor mounted laser units are not very good. They work on only one side of the blade, for a start, and I always seem to be making cuts on both sides of the blade. For another, you've got to have the saw running and partially down to make a check on where the cut will be, if for no other reason than the fact that the bottom guard blocks the beam. Some saws have slotted guards, but still don't project a beam until the saw is on (aftermarket models may differ. I haven't tried any of those).
Accuracy is iffy in the ones I've seen.
For good laser marking on compound miter saws, the laser needs to be a designed in part of the saw. So far, the Porter-Cable and Delta models with dual line lasers are about it. And the 12" non-sliders are IT there, at something like $350, IIRC. They are good packages otherwise, too. The PC and Delta both have switchable lasers. You turn them on with a rocker switch on top of the handle, and they project their line down onto the base. Very, very good for line up for those of us without perfect vision or perfect knees.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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Never align your laser again...A simple laser mouted on the blade arbor...I saw this at a show this fall.....Check this review out...http://www.thisoldworkshop.com/bladepoint-review.htm Happy cutting.

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I have the bladepoint on a 12" sliding Dewalt. Not too happy with it. The line is great.. but it is not really accurate. It is a little off of where the saw is actually going to hit.

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I have looked at a few different ones, also used the Hitachi . The laser that mounts on the blade did not seem to be very good for me as it only lights up when the blade is spinning. I got the Laserkerf and installed it on my 12" sliding DeWalt, it was easy to install and setup was easy too, Although I have a type 1 saw so I had to buy an extra bracket for it. They have two options a battery one and an AC powered one also two sizes of laser,a thin kerf and a full kerf, so the laser line is exactly where your blade will cut, either side. setup and installation was a breeze (sticky pads) the whole thing cost me about $95 inc tax and shipping. I do trim and stairs for a living and the saw gets moved everyday and the laser seems to be good all the time. Although I do have to spent a minute or so setting it every time I set the saw up. In a workshop you probably wont have to do that but once. http://www.laserkerf.com / Hope this helps

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wrote:

Would you have spent the $95 for the laser if you were just a hobby woodworker?
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I think I would, but thats just me, I like gadgets

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wrote: me, too... but figuring that my CMS was less than $200 it would be a major decision to change/improve the laser for $100... then again, I might use the laser more..

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The laser guide I would suggest is one that bolts onto the blade shaft and when the blade spins faster than 600 RPMs the laser lights up and draws a line exactly where the blade will cut. This is especially helpful when cutting compound miters.
The one I got is a disc about 3" in diameter and about 3/8" in thickness. Don't be fooled by a laser pen that is mounted to the blade housing and as the CMS comes closer to cutting the wood, the pen moves upward and draws a line across the cutting area on the wood. This kind of guide can get out of adjustment real easy.
-- Woody
Check out my Web Page at:
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******** How My Shop Works ******** 5-21-03
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Woody Woodpecker responds:

Blade shaft? Oh, the arbor. Well, of bad choices, that's not the worst. But far better is the dual laser that lights up when you rock a switch on top of the saw handle.
I don't think I've ever seen a laser pen used on a CMS or an SCMS.
Charlie Self "Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy." Edgar Bergen, (Charlie McCarthy)
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woudn't a laser pen just put a 'dot' on the work rather than a line, or is than just me?
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steve responds:

I think maybe it is just Woody.
Charlie Self "Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy." Edgar Bergen, (Charlie McCarthy)
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On 03 Dec 2004 18:25:22 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

I think the OP meant one like one the Craftsman CMS, where the laser disk replaces the outer blade washer.. downside of this one is that it isn't adjustable, so always 1/8 to the left of cut..
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mac davis responds:

Possibly. But that's the kind I don't care much for. It's a solution, but it is not accurate and can only be seen with a spinning blade involved, so is not too handy. The Porter-Cable and Delta (more costly saws) have a dual laser beam that is placed just to either side of the blade. It cuts between the lines. I'm still trying to figure out Woody manages to measure the 600 RPM bit. Or if that's an advertising claim.
Arbor mounted lasers just do not do a good job.
Charlie Self "Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy." Edgar Bergen, (Charlie McCarthy)
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The problme is, the blade is turning about 4000 rpm in a second or two. While holding the trigger to keep the blade running to keep the light on, you have to line up the cut with your other hand. I really don't care what you do, but when my blade is spinning, my other hand is firmly in place, far from the carbide tips. Reminds me of playing Russian roulette.
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Yeahbut... unless you're working with some pretty small stock you can usually grab the wood well away from the blade contact area. Just like you do to hold that same piece of stock as you're cutting it. In fact, it's really not any different than what you do to actually make the cut.
--

-Mike-
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You always do the line-up with the blade spinning? You have more balls than me.
I bring the blade down to the cut line and make any adjustments needed. I then hold the wood firmly, pull the trigger and make the cut. Once the blade spins, I do not move my hand. Just my narrow minded opinion, but lining up a 16' 2 x 4 or an 18" piece of quarter round molding under a 12" blade at 4000 rpm is just plain nuts. Your eye is on the light, not on the blade and your hand is moving. Sorry, but I just don't need that kind of adrenaline rush. You're welcome to do as you please.
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I think you're taking my comment too far Edwin. I too line my cut line up with a stopped blade before I pull the trigger, but I also watch that line as I bringing the blade down into the wood. It's not uncommon for the starting torque of the motor to cause slight shifts and I do make sure I'm still lined up. I don't worry about 4000 rpms or any of the other alarmist things because I don't put my hand anywhere near that blade when cutting. For me to have to make a very slight nudge while the motor is running does not put my hand near the blade. I might be one of the luck few, but I have the presence of mind to know that if my hand is 12 inches from the blade and I'm making a 1/16 inch adjustment, I'm not putting myself in peril. I've also developed the skill to distinguish big movements from small movements. I know - that was wise guy stuff, but honestly, we all make, or are prepared to make very minor adjustments as the blade approaches the stock. The safety aspect comes in when your hand is holding the stock too close to the blade in the first place, and I clearly disclaimed that in my original post.
Rant mode:
I have to say, one aspect of this newsgroup is that in any given thread there will always be some comments that completely ignore the discussion at hand and make no effort to understand the context of a comment. Rather, these posts seem ripe with things like "4000 rpm spinning blade" (not even singling out your reply here Edwin - this is a pretty common type of phrase here), "Darwinian", etc. that seem more purposed for the author to take off on a whim of their own than to speak to the original thought. In all of the time I've spent here on and off over the years, this has been consistent. In all of the time I've spent here on and off over the years, I've never heard anybody suggest that they don't care about safety and that brave and daring is the order of the day when working with power tools. Yet, the sensational and irrelevant seem to prevail, no matter. Oh well. It's not the end of the world and I guess it's just the way it is. Just felt like getting it off my chest.
--

-Mike-
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My orignital commets were to to Woody's comments about the arbor type being the best type of laser. I don't agree. If I was the saw manufacturere, it would not be on my tools. Put a swithc to light it witht he blade stopped and we have a good product.

Nor do I, but we have different ways of achieving that. Others may not posess your skills or anyone can make an error. Ever push the wrong button on the radio or heater controls on your car? No big deal, but if you were flying an F14 the outcome may be different.

Count me out. Once the blade starts, I don't move anything. I intend to keep it that way. If the wood moves, I take my hand off the trigger and wait for the blade to stop.

Not taken personally at all. It was as noted above, my opinion on a type of aiming device on a saw blade. Do as you see fit.
In all of the

Yes, but you've probably seen some really stupid ideas brought up too. Even people that do care about safey do stupid things just because they don't know any better.

Ah, the fun of newsgroups. Gives us all a soapbox.
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