Yet another way to do an overhead blade guard

Hi, Here are a few pictures of the overhead guard on my JET contractor's saw. This version mounts to the ceiling straight up from the blade - it's fairly recent, but I think I'm gonna like it.
First a shot looking at the back of the saw:
http://lmills01.home.mchsi.com/saw1.jpg
Then a closer look:
http://lmills01.home.mchsi.com/guard1.jpg
The guard itself:
http://lmills01.home.mchsi.com/guard4.jpg
Ceiling mount:
http://lmills01.home.mchsi.com/guard5.jpg
The guard is 3/8" polycarbonate (Lexan, I think, but maybe a different brand) solvent-welded. The shape is like Gordon Sampson's, but a little longer because I wanted to "capture" the Biesemeyer splitter. The support is 3" and 4" Schedule 40 PVC. The height adjustment is just a 3->4" adapter that allows the lower 3" section to slide up into the upper 4" section. The 3" section is solvent welded to a 3/4" square of PVC, which is then bolted to the guard itself. There is a branch out that will eventually connect to the dust collector, and then a closet flange lag-bolted to a stringer on the ceiling.
Total cost, including a $20 piece of polycarbonate from eBay, was about $40. I initially tried an upright PVC post at the far end of the extension table with an arm running the length of the table. Didn't work; way too much flex/sag in the six foot horizontal length of four inch Schedule 40. This one seems like a better design. Hope this gives you all some ideas! Lewis
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Well this confornts the question, does one need to have some pivot mechanism of some sort -- as every other such guard I have seen has? As I sat here thinking about it, I think perhaps not. Set the right height using your high-tech height-setting mechanism to clear whatever stock you will be cutting and then saw away. I'll be interested to see others' comments. -- Igor
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Hi, One way to look at the function of the blade guard is that the guard should not be free to ride up over the wood being cut, but should stay down to hold down the wood and keep your fingers from following the wood under the guard and into the blade. This design does that; when it's tightened down, I can't raise it with a prybar. Lewis
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Lewis wrote:

That's one way of thinking about it but in normal use the types that "ride up over the wood" will be there where your fingers contact the guard first thus sending a signal to the brain that indicates back to the hand and arm that they shouldn't go there. Under normal use (in a non-drugged state) this system runs fairly flawless.
The problem I see with the use of the guard as a hold down is we (1) have a tendency to not want to be constantly adjusting things. Eventually a person could find themselves setting it for an optimum height and leaving it there thus foregoing some safety aspects as well as lessening the effectiveness as a collector of dust particulates.
As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
On the other hand, I do like the fixed down tube (my saw isn't movable).
(1) We might just be me but from the early data collected there are a lot of we around.
UA100, who wishes Lewis would clean his damn shop or at least the top of his saw (with a nod and a wink to Mark & Juanita)...
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[snip]

Me, too! Actually, I needed toget the saw positioned in its preferred-but-not-permanent spot relative to the garage door, etc. Now I can figure out where the jointer, planer, and drill press go. Once I get them set, a major cleaning will ensue. Well, that's the plan, anyway... Lewis
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Lewis -- Even in close-up, I cannot quite figure out what that dark piece of plastic is that the 3" PVC is connected to and how it is connected. My best hunch is that that piece has a hole cut in it and that the pipe is somehow glued to it -- to then connect the pipe to the guard. Could you provide some more details aboyt that? What is that square made from and how is the pipe connected to the square -- solvent/glue? TIA. -- Igor
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Hi, That square of gray plastic is 3/4" PVC. It has a round hole cut in the center that is exactly the outside diameter of the 3" PVC pipe. The PVC pipe is glued into this square, which is then bolted to the polycarbonate guard. The polycarbonate is only 3/8" and I didn't think that was enough surface to glue to, so I added that block of 3/4" PVC. Lewis
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Lewis, very nice looking guard. I have been pondering building an overhead guard for my saw for a while now and really like your design. There was a similar one in the Methods of Work section of FWW a while back that looks interesting but I think yours is a bit better (and I have the same "problem" of needing to capture the Biesemeyer splitter). Couple of question for you though if you could spare the time to answer. The PVC tubing is quite large - in use, does it get in the way of you seeing your work piece? How close can you get your rip fence to the blade before the guard has to be raised out of the way? Although the problem does not present for you as you have your saw on a really nice looking mobil base (shop made?), those of us with our saw fixed in one position will likely need to make it so the whole works can be moved out of the way to do cuts on any stock of appreciable length standing on end - as with cutting tennons with a jig.
L
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[snip]

Hi, The pipe doesn't seem to be in the way. Here's a shot that shows it more or less as you would look at it in use:
http://lmills01.home.mchsi.com/guard3.jpg
There's a lot of clear polycarbonate in front of the pipe. I can rip down to 3/8" plus a hair before I need to raise the guard. Lewis
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I didn't know that Jet made shelving units. <G>
Barry
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That guard looks very functional, very nice solution. Only change I would make is to add a wingnut or lever to that clamp to make adjustments as fast and painless as possible.
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