Shop-built panel saw

Page 1 of 2  

Every now and then someone asks about panel saws and I'm reminded that my life might be some easier if I had one. Last time around I started sketching and accumulating files in a directory.
Well, Larry L'Hote might be proud of me. My next door neighbor buys 2" x 0.125" aluminum [aluminium] tubing in 24' lengths, cuts 17' for wing spars, and scraps the remaining 7'.
I started thinking that the tubing might make passable guide rails for a panel saw if I could puzzle out how to build a decent linear bearing out of a 2x4 and was encouraged by the donation of two of the cut-offs by their chief (actually, their only) test pilot/mechanic/floor sweeper (and lunch buddy.)
I've made a start of sorts - and had an inspiration to subject the entire design and build process to peer review. It works pretty well for software, so why not for woodworking? Anyhow, I've loaded what I have so far (and some has already changed) onto a web page at http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/panel_saw /
Anyone/everyone who has any interest is welcome to look it over and send suggestions and criticisms as you feel apropriate.
I'm hoping to end up with two things: first (of course) a decent panel saw; and second, a howto page that will make it easier for someone else to build one of these things.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto, Iowa USA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That explains why we haven't seen much of you as of late.
Looks intriguing. That has to work.
Staying tuned for next episode,
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Rob...
Seems that interest in solar heating panels follows the price of crude oil fairly closely - and it's been climbing steadily until the end of this past week. The panel saw is really a bit of R&R that may make my work life a bit easier when it's finished.
I've been skimming the wreck, but most of my free time has been spent on design of some CNC equipment that I'm hoping will allow me to hold the line on heating panel cost.
Please feel welcome to join in on the panel saw project. I've never even used one of these things before, so I value every bit of input.
-- Morris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Looks good! But, I think it might be more stable using two pieces for each stretcher. Could you use the top and bottom frames as the back stretchers? If you do that, you can bolt through the wood on both sides of each tube as your plan shows. If you just bolt through wood and tube (single stretcher), you might get some racking due to the nut not making full contact with the curved surface on the inside of the tube.
LD

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If the top and bottom frames are used as stretchers, then the tubes will interfere with the workpiece. AFAICT, there'll need to be stand offs of some kind to position the whole guide assembly far enough foreward to allow passage of panels.
The original plan had doubled stretchers; but a single stretcher looks like it would do the job of holding the tubing squarely. I really hadn't given enough thought to how the nut would contact the tube.
You're absolutely right about the less than ideal contact. I've "dry fitted" the parts and /think/ that the guide will be sufficiently rack resistant so song as the tubes are held firmly in their spreader recesses.
Do you think that if I cut a 7/8"R half round x 3-1/2" long piece to fit inside the tube it would provide an adequate flat surface for the nut (and a washer) to bear against?
If I've underestimated resistance to racking, the design can always revert to the double stretcher approach.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto, Iowa USA www.iedu.com/DeSoto/panel_saw/
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Right, hadn't thought of that.

Your stretchers should be enough, but you'll still need stand offs for the back of the frame. IIRC, your saw fixture rides between the top and bottom halves of the longitudinal bearing so that shouldn't be an issue.

Yeah, that would do it! You're going to put two bolts in, right?

Yep. It would be an easy add-on.
LD
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:> > AFAICT, there'll need to be stand

I'm planning to have the bottom of the saw platform/insert flush with the bottom of the linear bearing. If the bearing isn't in the way, then the saw platform won't be in the way - and because of the possibility of putting a router on the platform, it'd probably be a good idea to keep the platform as close to the workpiece as possible.

Ok. I'd thought about using a single 3/8"-16 bolt; but a pair of 1/4"-20 bolts should work as well. The real alignment and anti-racking properties are probably going to be more a result of the fit of stretcher and tube than the bolts here. I think the only need is to secure the guide assembly to the frame and to ensure that the tubing is firmly seated in the stretcher coves.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto, Iowa USA www.iedu.com/DeSoto/panel_saw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

snip
I tend to over-build. :o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lobby Dosser wrote:

Be very, very careful. That sort of thing could get you arrested and prosecuted on the wreck. Overbuilding's a crime in Canada, don't you know?
<g>
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think I'm OK. I also tend to over-plan. :o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Morris,
I mean no disrespect because I often thought that a panel saw would be answer to all my sheet good woes.
Then, a few months ago I made a saw board for my PC Sawboss w/ply blade (after reading posts here).
I am in heaven! Actually I made 2 - one about 52 inches and one 96. Total time invested - about an hour or two.
I am rippin' sheet goods left and right, up and down! For almost no cost, little effort and *very accurate* and with practically no additional space needed.
And for those who are still doing this (as I did for 15+ years) forget about pushing 4x8 sheets through a TS - get a small trim saw and save your back with a couple of sawboards.
I don't see why every woodworker doesn't have one or two.
Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Care to clarify this? What is a saw board?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As an example your saw cuts 1.5" on the skinny side and 4 " on the wide side. I assume that you get a straight 8' long board 4 inches wide. You glue and screw a piece of plywood to the bottom of the board about 8.5" wide. You rip down that straight edge and now you have a saw board that is about 8" wide and perfectly referenced off the straight edge. You place a 4x8 sheet of plywood on the sawhorses. You mark the width of the cut. You clamp the sawguide with the now perfect plywood edge on the marks. Clamp and cut. No math regured to figure offset for blade which may cut at 3.8" or 4.25". The sawboard is generally good for only one saw though unless you have more than one saw that cuts exactly the saw width. Works for routers also.
Jim B.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 23:31:47 -0700, the inscrutable "Markndawoods"

This, maybe?
http://members.aol.com/woodmiser1/sawbd.htm
---------------------------------------------------------------- "Let's sing praise to Aphrodite || www.diversify.com She may seem a little flighty, || Full Service Websites but she wears a green gauze nighty, || PHP Applications And she's good enough for me." || SQL Database Development
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SNIP

Lou,
Are you talking about the piece of panel with straight edge attached, where you trim the panel with the first saw cut? If so, I've been thinking of making a short and long one, like you have. Where I'm hung up is getting a 96" straight edge. I know people use the edge of a sheet of plywood. Maybe I'm being too anal here, but I figure I'm making a jig that I'll use over and over again and I want it to be accurate enough to give good cuts. I have doubts about getting a good, chrisp, straight plywood edge. Also, whatever I do get, I want to stay straight.
Again, perhaps I'm being too anal. I'm only judging the plywood edges by what I've seen at the BORG. Perhaps a cabinet grade plywood is OK. Anyway, finding a good straight edge here is important.
What do others think or use?
Bill Leonhardt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use a big piece of aluminum angle. Two inch or bigger. Fairly heavy gauge. Anything smaller can bend easily.
And it seems to me that at least one of the manufacturers of the circular saw cutting guides use aluminum angle for their straightedge as well.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Anyway,
I've been using the Lee Valley two-piece guide in combination with a plywood spacer that lets me offset it exactly from where I want the cut (see about 1/3 of the way down at http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/outfeed.html ) and, sometimes, a 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 1/8" aluminum angle (with the same spacer). Both work well, but require that I muscle the sheet goods around more than is comfortable - and spend more time with each cut than I'd prefer.
The saw board/fence approach is a good one and does save time. If it met my needs, I think I'd be tempted to pop rivet a piece of 1/8" tempered hardboard to the aluminum angle...
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SNIP>

Morris,
I would expect you'd need some kind of countersunk rivits here so they wouldn't mar the surface of the sheet material to which the saw board is clamped.
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Bill ...
Whenever the head would get in the way, I make a small counterbore using an ordinary drill bit so that the rivet head doesn't protrude. It's important not to drill so deeply that the tool head can't reach the rivet. In my shop I use stainless (rather than aluminum) rivets with a pneumatic tool and it works like a charm! I would expect equally good results with aluminum rivets and a hand tool.
-- Morris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Bill,
I first considered using a piece of 1/8 inch aluminum angle for the guide - especially since I already had a 96 inch piece of it. However, after making my smaller sawboard out of 1/4 oak ply and an oak strip, it was so easy to work with (light weight & easy to handle) that I went ahead and made the bigger one the same way.
I did not fuss a lot with them. For the bottom (where the saw sits) I ripped about a 10 inch wide piece of the oak ply. For the "guide" part, I ripped a 1/2 inch piece of solid oak from a 1x3. Next, I measured in about 2 inches from what would become the blade side and glued/tacked then screwed the strip on to the ply from below. I had the factory edge of the oak facing the blade. When it all dried overnight, I ran my saw against the oak strip and voila - a sawboard!
I do no find that it deflects left or right since I have about 8 inches of the plywood left after cutting. I wanted to leave plenty of material for clamping.
HTH.
Lou

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.