My intention is for this first to be the last.
I checked google groups archives and see that there was a lot of
discussions in the past on the subject and the Milwakee 6480-20 was a
hands down winner. The dates of the threads on rec.woodworking where
kind of old and when I looked around I see a strong contender Saw Trax
ST-52. Here is the list of benefits of the Saw Trax over the Milwakee
(for the discussion):
1. Total cost of system with dust collection and 8ft panel handling:
(sorry - hit the wrong button and posted this partial article)
milwakee: base unit ~$1200, 8ft extension ~$100, dust collection ~
$350, wheels ~$50: total $1700
saw trax: base including dust ~$1400, stand ~150: total $1550
2. Support for router installation instead of the rotary saw.
I find this a big plus. Being able to make dados with router on the
panels is a big thing.
3. Keyless blade change:
The saw trax is using off the shelf porter-cable saw.
4. Very smooth track operation.
I had a chance of seeing the milwakee in operation at one of the shops
here in Denver and the saw would have to be really pushed to move.
The movies from the saw trax website shows this saw being moved with a
small finger up and down.
5. Powder coated finish.
This saw trax finish versus milwaukee steel is more appealing or
I wouldn't buy a panel saw at all. Instead build an open grid cutting table
and then use your circular saw with a good quality guide.
If you have cash lying around, you might check out eurekazone for the EZ
Smart system. I wish I could afford it all. There are videos and a message
board at sawmillcreek.org.
But anyway, I slice up panels no problem with my collapsable table, twenty
year old skil saw, and two dead straight aluminum guides.
Hope it helps.
I was considering the track system first. I looked at Festool and
realized that the saw with gide and the table that would allow for
alignment of the guide will put me right at the price tag of the panel
saw (plunge saw and guide ~$1000, table ~$800). I saw the festool
table with screws on the side to fix both sides of the guide and it
must be very time consuming and inaccurate procedure.
I checked the Eurekazone web site and see the same approach with
sliders on the sides of the table moved by hand.
The biggest advantage of the panel saw is the guide that does not need
any alignment - it is always moving parallel or perpendicular to the
edge of the panel.
On the second look at the EZ system I see it has nice hookups for the
rail under the rail to the cut panel. It looks quite attractive with
those anti chip inserts. It is not that expensive and has one more
benefit over the panel saw - it cuts on any angle. I think I will
give it a try before jumping into panel saw option.
Very glad to help Peter. If you decide to go after a panel saw down the
road, check out the latest ShopNotes Tools and Jigs book. It has a panel saw
plan that looks doable. My workshop is literally based on extra pennies here
and there. So I browse a lot and buy little. The EZSquare is on my eventual
If you guys are looking for a real good straight edge I got one from the
local window installer. Those aluminum studs used in store fronts are
straight and stiff, not solid so they are fairly light weight. I got a 9ft
piece for $20 second hand, best $20 I ever spent.
Sat, Dec 8, 2007, 2:31pm (EST-3) email@example.com (pzi) doth query:
<snip> Comments anybody?
Yeah. Unless you need it for helping you make a living, and cut a
Helluva lot of sheet goods, you really don't need one - unless you've
just got money to burn - most of us don't. I don't recall hearing what
you consider you need one for, or what type of woodworking you do. So,
what DO you consider you need one for, and what kinda woodworking do
Even Popeye didn't eat his spinach until he had to.
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