rip fence using formica


Looking at some of the cheap rip fences on table saws in the local hardware store, I see why they are too flimsy to be useful. I wonder if anyone would tell me why rip fences are not much wider (to reduce the play in the angle at the blade) and 2. use cheap formica instead of teflon to make the fence easier to slide along the table?
Thanks in advance.
regards, Hasan
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The answer to your question is in your question itself. See the phrase "cheap rip fences". Wider is not cheaper. Teflon is not cheaper than laminate. Most of the time you don't get what you don't pay for. In fact that corollary to the more familiar "You get what you pay for" is probably more accurate.
-Jack
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JackD wrote:

But AFAIK a fence has to be stiff, and not strong. So surely a truss can be wide, cheap and use less material than a solid plate.
I wonder why they don't use thin plates for the rest of the saw table with trusses running underneath. That design would weigh less than a solid plate, weigh a lot less and may be even stiffer (less deflections).

Formica is cheaper than teflon. Most amateur telescope makers use it for supporting their monster telescopes, and it slides with little friction, but has with just enough static friction to keep the scope steady when it needs to be.

When there are clever engineering solutions to problems at hand, then if technology comes into play you can sometimes expect pay an order of magnitude less for similar quality than what you used to. Telescopes used to be thousands of dollar monsters, but now telescopes much larger are being built by amateurs for prices impossible to imagine in the old days. They're still expensive, but not impossible to afford to build like they were previously.

Hasan
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Trusses are harder to make. Cheaper to use a big hunk of cheap material.

Would it be cheaper? More parts usually means more assembly expense.

Yeah, that is what I said.

I do not think that there is much room for new technology in cheap table saws. Besides if it is a lot better than the others, you can sell it for more and it won't be cheap anymore.

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Well, cheap is built cheap.
2. use cheap formica instead of teflon to make the fence easier to slide along the table?
Actually the formica is probably slicker than your saw table top and your saw table top normally makes more contact with the wood your are ripping than the fence does.

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