DIY table saw cuts through anything, leaves no room for mistakes

Students in the BASTLI lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich had been stuck using underpowered and unreliable saws for quite some time. The saws often got stuck while cutting through PCBs and were generally a drag to use. When group member [Mario Mauerer] came across a big and powerful brushless motor in his basement, he decided it was time to upgrade the lab’s cutting tools.

Along with fellow student [Lukas Schrittwieser] he built a test rig to see how powerful the motor really was, and satisfied with the results, the pair set off to build their own table saw. The enclosure was wrapped up pretty quickly, leaving the pair to source a power supply. Rather than purchase one, they built a 700w monster switching PSU to power their saw.

As you can see in the video below the saw chews through most things with the greatest of ease, but the students added a “boost button” to the saw just in case they need to run it at full tilt.

While we can’t exactly overlook the lack of finger and eye protection in their demonstration, it does look like a great little tool to have around.

62 thoughts on “DIY table saw cuts through anything, leaves no room for mistakes

  1. If they REALLY want to cut through anything, they should replace the carbide saw tooth blade with a diamond coated slitting saw. Probably cheaper, and no teeth to grab PCBs and chip them, or throw them.

    Really, if I were cutting thin, easily chipped material like PCB, I’d use a diamond slitting blade (no teeth, just a very thin diamond coated wheel).

  2. Back in high school, a woodshop teacher started the first class with a great demonstration:
    He had a “Hand” cut out of wood that was about 3/4 of an inch thick. He started up the bandsaw, waited until it was at full speed, and then flicked the wooden hand through it, leaving wooden fingers on the bandsaw table.

    Every person who’s spent time in a shop wears protection because they’ve seen (or worse yet, felt) what happens when they don’t.
    There is a reason that these kids look so young, seem so smart, but act so foolish.

  3. @KanchoBlindside You completely missed the point.

    Not many people breath the actual “dust” – it’s very different than fibers. The fibers are huge, and your body can expel them. The dust is much worse for you.

  4. @Tony

    Yep, plenty of manufacturers still make them. Usually it’s not really a retail showroom item. They are great for specific tasks.

    On your comment about power tool complacency… you are right of course.

    When I dabble in woodworking I only use hand tools (Roy Underhill is so hipster). Power tools feel like cheating, far less skill needed. Besides a mirror edge chisel is plenty to get into trouble with already.

  5. Mac, Most important comment yet-

    “Exceeding cutting speed only gives shorter tool life and dramatic tooling failure.
    Carbide is very brittle and you don’t want to see carbide shards flying a 200km/h.
    That’s why a riving knife is a must, it keeps the material out of saw sides.”

    That the “guard nazi’s” missed this is also important. Guards are of no use when the blade fails.

    I’ve seen the failure of a blade in a skil cut off saw. The blade was larger than recommended (by a 1/2 inch), and because of that developed a LOT more centrifugal force than the blade was designed to deal with. It literally pulls the blade apart.

    Everyone was ok, but the chunks of blade that were found embedded 1/2″ into a piece of wood nearby showed how bad it could have turned out.

  6. @Pete, even stable wood can close up on the blade. Stable refers to water content, it can still have tension inside it.

    You should see what cold rolled mild steel does when cut in half…

  7. The best safety equipment is inside the operator’s head.

    Many tools are intrinsically dangerous–designing a guard which isn’t more dangerous than the open tool is difficult, which is why so many tools get run w/o the guards.

    Still, SOME safeties are nice. Like an emergency OFF switch.

    At least if it cuts clean, the pinkie can be reattached.

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