Behold A DIY, Kid-Friendly Table Saw

The “table saw” swaps the saw for a nibbler; here it is cutting corrugated cardboard in a manner much like the saw it replaces.

“Kid-friendly table saw” seems like either a contradiction, a fool’s errand, or a lawsuit waiting to happen; but this wooden table saw for kids actually fits the bill and shows off some incredible workmanship and attention to detail as well. The project works by using not a saw blade, but a nibbler attached to a power drill embedded inside.

Unsurprisingly, the key to making a “table saw” more kid-friendly was to remove the saw part. The nibbler will cut just about any material thinner than 3 mm, and it’s impossible for a child’s finger to fit inside it. The tool is still intended for supervised use, of course, but the best defense is defense in depth.

The workmanship on the child-sized “table saw” is beautiful, with even the cutting fence and power switch replicated. It may not contain a saw, but it works in a manner much like the real thing. The cutting action itself is done by an economical nibbler attachment, which is a small tool with a slot into which material is inserted. Inside the slot, a notched bar moves up and down, taking a small bite of any material with every stroke. Embedding this into the table allows for saw-like cutting of materials such as cardboard and thin wood.

The image gallery is embedded below and shows plenty of details about the build process and design, along with some super happy looking kids.

Kids Table Saw

DIY table saws come in all kinds of variations. We’ve seen a high-quality micro table saw and another micro build that embeds a Dremel tool, but this is certainly the first one we’ve seen that can boast being kid-friendly.

[via Reddit]

26 thoughts on “Behold A DIY, Kid-Friendly Table Saw

  1. A real circular saw is just an oversimplified nibbler. So this is a great way of making something safer without taking away much.

    The main disadvantage seems to be that the circular saw works as a guide of sorts, it provides naturally straight cuts. This thing more like a jigsaw in this regard. The problem with jigsaw is that you can’t make a straight cut even if you have guides, because the blade tends to wobble and the cut diverges from the straight line at random. This process needs to be corrected constantly. The nibbler is more stiff, so I imagine it is better at keeping a straight line.

    1. naaaaah the circular does not realy guide anything. the fence and the miter gauge do guide, but not the saw itself. search youtube for “table saw kickback” and get some some popcorn.

    1. There are attachments for drills, never seen one for a dremel. I’ve found that a stand alone nibbler gives better control. The drill attachment can be a little unwieldy for intricate patterns. Search “sheet metal nibbler”

  2. So the operator demonstrates the tool with all thumbs out. That left thumb just asking to be severed.
    Sure the machine won’t cut fingers. But thats no exccuse to NOT practice and teach safe operating procedures.

    1. Also: just because you thing a tool is too small to get even little tyke fingers Into does not make it so. Child will accept your challenge and achieve absolute victory. Even if you never threw down the gauntlet.

    2. For thin materials and to allow kids access to making things this seems great! But I agree, the video shows using this in a manner that would NOT be safe on a ‘real’ table saw and I think it would be a very poor idea to teach kids bad habits on this relatively safe saw which could translate to disaster when they move on to a ‘real’ table saw (which is a Powermatic 66 in case you are wondering:)

  3. I like this a lot! My old hand nibblers for electronics work used to tire out my hands something fierce but this tool can do it under power from a cheap electric drill, and the safety aspect is obvious. If you use a battery powered drill you won’t even have the electrical cord to worry about though removing the battery pack for charging might require a bit of thought. Kids probably shouldn’t cut sheet metal with the saw but that’s exactly what I’d use it for. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Nibblers are nice for sheet-metal work, but setting it up in table-saw form means losing its flexibility, without gaining the ability to do characteristic table saw things with it, like rabbets and dados.

    If all you can do is cutting straight lines in thin sheets, it’s more toy than tool. We already have a better family of tools for cutting straight lines in sheet products, they’re called shears.

  5. Sheers have their place but I’ve never liked them because they bend and warp the piece as they cut, and you can’t use them at all on small boxes. Hand nibblers are better in this regard because they have small cutting heads and don’t distort the piece as they cut but can be tiresome to use, especially if many irregular shaped holes need to be cut. The table saw form has a larger head so it can’t cut out small openings but it should be a breeze to operate for cutting sheets and the larger cutouts in boxes.

      1. Don’t be fooled, they are safer, you can touch the blade with it moving at high speed and typically won’t hurt ya. But they certainly can cut you.

        I’ve done it! I wanted a limb off of our tree but I wanted to cut it flush to the trunk and it was an in awkward spot where a handsaw or reciprocating saw wouldn’t do the job. “I’ll use my oscillating saw”, said guy with lots of tools and bad ideas. Plunge cut right into myself, cut through my watch band and into my arm. Any other type of saw in my arsenal would have jacked me up way worse! I’m glad the universe was on my side and taught me a lesson without using my left hand as a tuition fee. But that oscillating saw cut still required some stitches.

  6. Reminds me of the Kenner or Remco toy in the ’60’s that was a spinning battery powered motor spindle “table saw” that would only cut sheet Styrofoam supplied by them. The stuff was almost unknown then. No cups or meal boxes yet.

  7. As a regular user of a nibbler for cutting sheet metal, the big difference between a saw cut and a nibbler cut is that the edge produced by a nibbler is absolutely lethal, and akin to lots of razor blades. The tiny circular cuts overlap, leaving the most awesomely destructive edge with millions of tiny ultra-sharp peaks. Flesh disappears at the merest touch. I’ve had paper cuts from an ordinary sheet of typing paper, so I imagine a decent thickness of card would cut quite effectively is you ran your fingers along the edge. Plastic or plywood would be especially effective. Industrially, this way of using a nibbler is not uncommon, but at least in an industrial environment the dangers are (or should be) recognised.
    One way of improving safety might be to have a follow-on oscillating drum sander set to smooth the cut edges.
    Having said all that, this is a nicely made table, and there is a good idea in here. It just needs a bit of refinement.

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