Consider that the SawStop not only stops the blade, but also drops it below
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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IMO SawStop really needs to work on their website, and they should do
it before their backorder list is gone. The site should tell a lot
more about the differences between their saws and competing ones.
They could include links to magazine reviews and independent reviews
such as this thread and the ones I mentioned. It would be cool if
they put together and maintained an accurate and reasonable schedule
for delivery of the saws, told you at the time of preorder about when
to expect delivery, and followed up with an e-mail each month giving
I suspect that what they're doing is letting matters take their
natural course and avoiding overexpansion. They might want to build
the number of saws that are out there slowly. Beta saws have been
working in shops since April 2004 but what if some obscure
operational or quality control issue comes up? Better to have to
rework 100 saws than 1000.
My guess is that they will have to face serious expansion questions
about when the thousandth saw ships. That will be mid-2005, and
might roughly coincide with reduction of the backorder list to a
reasonable length. By that time the Wood and AW articles will have
printed, they should have ironed out any obscure issues, and
production should be rolling. They will then have to make important
marketing, distribution, and service decisions.
Here's the text from page 66 of FWW #174:
"I stuck a hot dog on the end of a stick and swung it into the moving
blade as fast as I could. The result was a 1/16-in.ideep by
1/8"-in.-wide by 3/16"-in.-long cut. One of the students, a medical
doctor, said that such a wound would require two or three stiches at
The blade not only stops - it also drops below the table top. Sounds
like the blade got out of the way before, even stopped, it could cut
the hot dog in two.
I'm a lot more concerned about a digit simply being in the wrong place
along w/ the lumber being cut...I don't see how that would (or could) be
I also read the FWW review article and don't recall the test of
strapping the hotdog on a piece of oak and running the combination
through the blade...
If the saw won't cut lumber w/o a pinkie (or hot dog), it won't be of
much use will it? :)
I'm simply questioning whether the detection capability is able to
distinguish a piece of flesh in the way while there's still a continued
normal cutting load and have seen no indication of a test to show it any
The detection has nothing to do with the load the saw is under. It is
similar to what is used on the "touch lamps" and detects contact with
a conductor. Because of that false triggers due to very green lumber
(or wet pressure treated), metal in the wood or other possibly
conductive things are a concern.
But still doesn't answer the question of whether it can detect the
condition of hand on board into the saw...which is the only case I've
ever even come close to finding myself in. I've never had any concern
of just putting my hand into the blade by itself...
That's what it's intended to do. There's discussion of how it goes about
this on the Sawstop site.
While there are a lot of concerns about its function and utility, being able
to trigger under the circumstance you describe has not been one of them.
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
It doesn't detect flesh per se, it's looking for a change in electric
potential. Have you ever been in a building that has a door with
a crash bar that youhave to touch with your bare hand in order to
release a magnet that holds the door closed ?
That's the whole point of it. It uses electrical signatures--a finger has a
different signature than a piece of wood and it can distinguish the two
most of the time--it seems to be designed to err on the side of caution--it
apparently will trigger with some species of wood if cut green for example
because the signature is similar to a finger.
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
The brake works whenever it touches your blood stream regardless of
whether it is also cutting wood at the time. In fact, the standard
hotdog demo that SawStop runs at trade shows is with the dog perched
on top of a piece of 3/4" plywood. The plywood is being cut at the
exact same time as the hotdog is sensed and the blade stops &
drops. You could be churning through 12/4 rock maple under enormous
feed pressure straining your 5 HP 3 phase motor to the max, happen to
run your finger across the top of the blade, and the brake would still
work. The sensing system is independent.
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