A table saw to cut solar panels


Steampunker extraordinaire [Jake von Slatt] loves the idea of solar-powered garden lights soaking up the sun’s rays during the day and powering a LED in the evening. Commercially available solar lanterns, as [Jake], you, me, and everyone else on the planet have discovered, are universally terrible and either don’t have solar panels large enough to charge a battery, or only last a year or so. [Jake]‘s solution was to make his own solar lanterns and in the process he came up with a great way of cutting his own solar panels.

[Jake] turned to ebay to source 100 3″ x 6″ solar panels for about $30. These are broken panels, factory rejects, but still are able to produce the 0.5 Volts they should. Since these are rather large panels for a solar lantern, [Jake] needed a way to cut these panels into manageable sizes.

To cut the panels, [Jake] made a box to fit a Dremel with a right angle attachment and a port for a vacuum cleaner. There’s a sled for the panels with markings at 40, 80, 75, and 150 mm so the panels can be quickly cut to size with a diamond cutting wheel.

After the boards are cut, [Jake] checks them out with a multimeter to be sure they’re producing the half volt they should. After that, it’s a simple matter of soldering them together and adding them to his solar lanterns.


  1. Bogdan says:

    That’s one interesting way to cut them. I never thought you could cut them so well.

    I always thought that putting the pannel on the lamp is one of the worst places…. i thought a lot about using lamps connected through wire(leds are low power, so i could push a few watts through a simple twisted pair from UTP cable at 30V). … but that doesn’t make them so … wireless.

  2. James says:

    So, he made a tile cutter?! :-)

  3. Joshua Johnson says:

    I’d be interested in finding out which blade was used. I’ve tried cutting with a dremel abrasive cutter with no luck.

  4. SteveHaD says:

    Very cool, I like the idea of a baby table saw!

  5. fartface says:

    they cut better if you score them with a tungsten blade and then just break it like glass. In fact cutting them properly is very much like cutting glass.

  6. Edr says:

    how do yo solder them together? I have tried with solder paste but is almost impossible

  7. INquiRY says:

    FAIL in copying the original post’s title.
    Nobody is talking about cutting solar panels. Use common sense or google or Wikipedia to check what you are writing prior to posting, please.

  8. hpux735 says:

    Love the table saw. I’ve been looking for a dremel table saw design for ages. It would be perfect for separating panelized PCBs!

  9. ameyring says:

    Neat! My walkway LED solar lights are almost all dead after a year and was thinking of making one large solar chargeable battery to power them all at a decent brightness. Will have to explore your method!

  10. Solar Panels says:

    I can’t believe you found 100 3″ x 6″ solar panels for $30, I normally pay double for that!

  11. pusalieth says:

    just FYI make sure to use a good mask and sealed goggles, silicon dust is extremely fine and can cause massive lung and ocular damage

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