Saving Fingers (and hot dogs) the SawStop


Sawing a Hotdog
We don’t normally report on industrial machines but when we saw a video of this circular table saw in action we had to make an exception. The SawStop is one of the safest circular saws around as it automatically stops in 3 to 5 milliseconds if it comes into contact with any part of the body.

The SawStop works by the fact the human body is conductive whilst wood is not, using this bit of science means the machine can detect when the metal saw blade comes into contact with some clumsy fingers and sets off the lightening fast stop system.

The blade is stopped by a brake which meshes with the saw’s teeth, this takes 3–5 milliseconds (1/200th of a second). The angular momentum then causes the blade to go back into the table, totally out of harms way.

This is a pretty cool idea and I hope the technology is cheap enough to find its way into workshops as it could certainly save a fair few pinkies. There is an awesome video which shows what happens when a piece of wood with a hot-dog sausage held on it is pushed into the saw. The saw stops and disappears faster than the eye can see (well my eyes anyway).

You can find further info about the SawStop (and a few more slow motion videos) on their site.

2 reviews or comments

Chris Andrews Says: January 12, 2006 at 7:10 am

I’m wondering how it fares with wet wood. Surely that conducts? Anyways, pretty cool. And I’m not a carpenter or lumberjack so it doesn’t really effect me :)

Al Says: January 16, 2006 at 2:55 pm

You’re probably not supposed to saw damp wood as it could damage the blade (I’m guessing here). I actually know a guy who lost one of his fingers to a table saw, though in the end I think he was quite happy as he got enough compensation to buy a car, besides you’ve got 10 fingers.

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