The panel saw kits were one of the original products brought to market by Saw Trax Mfg.
They offer the shop or home owner an accurate and afforcable means of sizing large sheets of material.
You get the same accuracy, convenience and quality of a commercial panel saw and panel router machine at a fraction of the price.
The panel kits provide the guide tubes, guide tube brackets and our carriage with the U-bolt style bearings. You build your own frame. You spend a fraction of the price of the full panel saw but still get the accuracy and convenience of an industrial panel saw or panel router.
- Super strong 1/8" wall steel guide tubes.
- Universal carriage that can easily attach your saw. Router inserts are available.
- Guide tube support brackets that are powder coated.
- Bolt attaching kit.
- Assembled Carriage
- Guide Tubes
- Mounting Hardware
- Building instructions
- Floating router insert available
Saw, Router, wood backing, bottom fence and retraction mechanism are not included. Assembly required.
Joke: Did you hear the one about the blind carpenter who picked up his hammer and saw?
These plans are one simple design for making a vertical panel saw. You may modify them in any way to suit your particular needs.
- Sheets of 4 X 8 X ¾” material (we used MDF)
2 2” X 4” X 10’ (can be 2”X6”X10’)
- 4” Garage door pulleys
14’ 1/8” cable
- Utility Pulley
- Weight (approx. 40-50 lbs.)
- 2” X 4” X 8’
1 2” X 2” X 8’
- 5” X 3/8” Carriage Bolt
- 3/8” Lock nut
- 3” X 5/16” Carriage Bolt
- 2” X 5/16” Carriage Bolts
- 5/16” Nuts
9 5/16” Washers
- Metal Strips
2 6’ straight edges (like angle Aluminum) or One 12’ straight edge
- Saw Trax Panel Kit
Assorted fasteners of your choice.
Drill with assorted bits, (5/16 and 3/8)
Ratchet with assorted sockets or an adjustable wrench
Roofers square or large “T” square or an extra sheet with a factory edge.
Refer to cut list for corresponding pieces.
Setting up the Saw Trax Panel Kit.
Slide the two guide tube rails through the carriage bearings. Lock one side of the carriage to one guide rail. Position the guide rail support brackets at either end so the side with the “closed” towers is facing the carriage. Attach the guide rails to the bracket towers so the guide rail does not go beyond the top clamping flap edge. Use a ½” socket / ratchet to tighten the nuts on the towers. Lock the carriage in the center of both guide rails.
Place the assembled panel kit centered on piece “A”. Drill eight 5/16” holes (two on either side of the four tours in the slots of the bracket). Mount the kit using the eight 5/16” Carriage bolts, nuts and washers.
Attach pieces L, A, M to pieces N and O. (Use nails, screws, glue, etc.) Align piece O with the bottom edges of L, A, M and piece N with the top edges of pieces L, M. Be sure to counter sink the fasteners that attach to piece N so the front side of the panel saw stays smooth.
Attach pieces P and Q under piece N with the two metal strips They should be spaced 44” apart, centered around piece A. Pieces P and Q can be shortened to adjust the angle of the panel saw.
Cut the 2” X 2” so as to brace the bottom of pieces P and Q with piece O. Attach piece F to pieces P and Q.
Attach Pieces B to D and C to E so that you end up with long right angle braces that are 4” by 5.75”. Build up the to back of piece a with scrap pieces so it is as thick as the 2” X 4” running the width of the backing. Attach the braces so the 4” side is against the backing with the 5.75” side toward the outside edge of piece A.
Next, make a counter weight pulley jig as in figure 2. Attach the pulley jig to the panel saw. The cable should go straight up from the carriage to the pulley. Run the other end of the cable through the utility pulley that is attached to the counter weight and up to the pulley jig and lock it in place. With the carriage fully up, attach the weight and adjust the cable so the weight is barely off of the floor. Put your saw in the carriage and adjust the weight to get a smooth consistent draw as you pull down on the saw. Add enough weight so the saw retracts without to much lifting force.
Cut a kerf line into the panel saw with the saw. Attach the fences ensuring they are square to the kerf line of the saw. Use an extra sheet that has a factory edge still on it to align the fences to the kerf line.
Portable Panel Saw Plans
The Worlds First Transportable Panel Saw
Anyone who has ever tried to cut a sheet of plywood or paneling realizes why a panel saw was invented.
Yes, if you only need to make one or two cuts and have all the time in the world for set up you could clamp on a straight edge. If you have extra help and unlimited space you could struggle with your table saw, but you have to admit, a panel saw is ideal for cutting 4 by 8 sheets.
The problem with panel saws has been that their cost and size have confined them to big cabinet shops and lumber yards.
But what about the little guys? Builders, remodelers and small shops not only need a fast, accurate and inexpensive panel saw, they need a panel law that can be moved for space constraints or transported from job site to job site.
We set out to build this panel saw.
We used the following three criteria to qualify the design as a “transportable panel saw”. First it had to fit in the back of a pick up truck. Next, one person must be able to move it, load it and set it up. Finally, the set up time must be minimal, five minutes or less.
There were also two other considerations that went into planning this panel saw. We wanted to keep it as simple and inexpensive as possible.
WHERE TO START:
We started by eliminating the toughest problem first, the tracking system. This turned out to be easiest of all obstacles. There is a new product called the Saw Trax Panel Kit that supplies a carriage that uses “Sealed Steel bearings” and “super strong 1/8” wall steel guide tubes”. They supply all the hardware and templates for mounting. The version we used is called the Saw Trax Panel Kit . It has a cross cut capacity of 51”. It cross cuts only and rip cuts. There is a model the cuts 63” for 5 by 10 sheets.
After a few “learning experiences” on early designs we came up with a three piece set up that takes a little less than four minutes to assemble. The components are the stand, the backing and the counter weight.
Here is a list of tools and materials you’ll need to make yours.
Drill bits; 1/8, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2, 7/8 fostener or spade
Phillips head Screw Driver
1/2 socket and ratchet
2 or 4 clamps
Chalk line or string
1 Saw Trax 68 Panel Saw Kit 888 (SAW-TRAX) 888-729-8729
1 3/4” X 4’ X 8’ sheet of plywood
5 2” X 4” X 8’ (save the straightest one for the bottom fence)
1 30” piano hinge
2 support hinges (left and right)
2 utility “T” hinges 4 1/2!!
1 3” •garage door pulley
2 spring links
13’ 1/8” cable (uncoated)
1 1/8” cable ferrule (ends)
1 1 1/4” utility pulley
2 casters (optional)
12 3” x 1/4” lag bolts
28 1” x 1/4” lag bolts
38 1 1/4” dry wall screws
6 2” x 5/16 carriage bolts
5 3” x 5/16 carriage bolts
5 5/16 wing nuts
6 5/16 hex nuts
15 5/16 washers
1 3” x 3/8” carriage bolt
1 3/8” lock nut
Cut out the pieces from the plywood sheet as shown in Fig. 1. (If able have the store cut it down to two 3’x 4’ pieces and four l’x 2’ pieces.)
Attach pieces A and B along the 3’ edge with the 30” piano hinge, spine facing out. The Piano hinge should have a 3” gap between the top and bottom edges.
Cut two of the 2x4’s 72” long, See Fig 1. (L and H). (Set aside the straightest 2x4 to be used later as the bottom fence.) Place the two 72” pieces two feet apart from outer edge to outer edge. Line up and attach pieces C, D, and E to the 2x4’s starting at one end using the dry wall screws, see Fig. 2, (use a rafter or speed square to ensure square when attaching these pieces.) Unfold backing A/B and center under and against piece E, (Hinge facing back). Next but piece F under and against A/B and attach piece F to the 2x4’s using at least two dry wall screws and one 1” lag bolt per side. See Fig 2.
Clamp A/B in place centered under piece E. Using a 7/8 Fastener or spade bit, drill a 3/16 deep hole 4” from the top and bottom edges of boards A/B so that they are centered above the 2x4’s underneath. Next, drill a 5/16 hole in the 7/8” holes through the backing and 2x4’s. Now attach backing A/B to the stand using four 3” x .5/16 carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts. Attach piece N to the back of the stand 15” from the bottom of pieces L and H. Use two 3” lag bolts per side and pre—drill to eliminate splitting.
Cut two 54 1/2” pieces (P, Q) from the remaining two 2 x 4’s. See Fig. 1. Use the cut off pieces and cut the remaining pieces
32 1/4” (It) and 31 1/4” (8). Attach the utility “T” hinges to the outside bottom edges of piece R so that the hinge side is facing out, (See fig. 3). Use the 1” lag bolts to attach the hinges and pre-drill to eliminate splitting. Attach pieces P and Q to the long hinge of the “T” hinges using 1” lag bolts. Ensure there is at least a 24” gap between pieces P and Q. Attach piece S to pieces P and Q on the hinge side, 19” from their bottoms using two 3” lag bolts per side. Ensure there is at least a 24” gap between pieces P and Q. Pre—drill to eliminate splitting. Attach piece it to the back of the stand. There should be 4 1/8” of overlap per side. Measure 50 1/2” from the bottom side of pieces L and H to the bottom of piece It. Clamp piece It in place and use two 3” lag bolts per side to attach it. Pre-drill to eliminate splitting. See Fig. 3. Attach the support hinges (left hinge to left side and right hinge to right side), to parts P & Q (about 40” from their bottoms) to L & H (35 1/2” from their bottoms). Attach first hinge so that the desired angle is achieved. Fold the stand to ensure the hinges do not stick out beyond the back brace. If they do, readjust while folded.
Now drill the holes for the Saw Trax Panel Kit. Start at the bottom left hand corner of the stand and mark a point 4 1/2 inches in from the left side and 4 inches up from the bottom. From that point mark a second point up 66” and 4 1/2. inches from the left side. Drill a drywall screw half way in at each point and snap a chalk line between them, (if a chalk line is not available, tie a string). Using a rafter square lined up on the chalk line (or string), mark a third and fourth point 15 1/8” to the right of the first and second points. Pre-drill all four points with an 1/8 bit and then re-drill the four points with a 1/2” bit. Attach the Saw Trax Panel Kit as described in it’s directions. (Ensure the carriage is facing the proper direction for the saw you intend to use.)
Making the pulley jig:
Attach pieces J, K and I to piece G, as shown in Fig. 4, using three drywall screws in each piece screwed in from side 0. Drill a 3/8” hole through the center of piece J, 1 1/4” from the top of J Insert the 3” X 3/8” carriage bolt with the threaded part. sticking out. Tighten on a washer and nut ( the nut that came with the pulley), to the carriage bolt Attach piece H using three drywall screws in pieces J, K, and I. Put the 3” pulley on the screw followed by the lock nut. Drill a 5/16 hole 1” down from the top and 2” in from the right side through sides G and H. Put a 3” x 5/16” carriage, bolt through the hole and fasten a washer and wing nut to the other side of the pulley jig.
Attach the 1/8” ferrules to the cable leaving a 3” to 4” loop in the end, Attach a spring link to the loop. Attach this end to the saw carriage. Move the saw carriage all the way to the top end of the panel saw and lock it in place with its carriage locks. Align the pulley jig so the cable goes straight up and over the pulley. Run the cable over the pulley. Thread the other end of the cable through the 1 1/4” pulley. Attach a spring link to the pulley. Attach a weight to the quick link of approximately 40 lbs. (An empty bucket or discarded joint compound bucket full of rocks or dirt works fine.) Run the cable back up to wing nut coming out of the back of the pulley jig. Lift up on the weight while pulling on the end of cable. With the weight off of the ground tighten the wing nut on the hack of the pulley jig to lock the cable in place. Place a saw in the carriage and adjust the weight in the bucket until the desired feel is achieved.
ATTACHING THE BOTTOM FENCE
(See the “OTHER OPTIONS” section prior -to continuing)
Turn on the saw and score a line in the panel saw no deeper than an 1/8”. This is the line the saw will always cut parallel too. The remaining 2x4 will be used as the bottom fence . Prior to attaching the fence 2x4, some modifications are recommended.
First, Notch the fence by measuring 3” and mark the next inch in black on the fence. Repeat this for the entire length of the fence. Run a saw into the marked area just far enough to barely cut through the bottom of the marked area of the fence. Repeat this process and notch out all of the 1” marked areas of the fence. This notching will prevent saw dust build up under material being cut. The second recommended alteration is to cut a 10° bevel on the fence so that the material is forced inward toward the backing when being slid across the fence. This beveled fence will prevent thin material from kicking out while being cut.
Using clamps, attach the fence to the backing while ensuring the scored cut line cuts below the top of the fence. Use the rafter square or a large T square to align the fence to the score line at 90°. (An extra. piece of plywood with the factory edges still on it works even better than a square.) Some bending and re-clamping of the bottom fence may be necessary to fine tune it’s straightness. Once satisfied that the fence is square to the score line from both sides, drill three 7/8 in holes 1/2” deep in the fence at the beginning, middle and end of each piece A and B (a total of six holes, see Fig 2) . Next drill a 5/16” hole through each of the previous six holes that goes through the fence and backing. Mark the fence at the joint of pieces A and B and un-clamp it. Cut the fence at the marked joint. Re—attach both sides of the fence to the backing using six 2” x 5/16 carriage bolts. The carriage bolt head will go through the back of the backing. Use a washer and a nut in the counter sunk hole on the front of the fence to tighten both sides of the fence to the backing. CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE DONE!
1. Instead of a wooden fence an angle iron fence can be used.
2. Appliance casters can be attached to an angle iron fence if
“rollers” are desired, two sets of four are recommended.
3. Casters can be attached to pieces P and Q near the bottom to
roll the panel saw like a wheel barrow. Five inch wheels 5” from
the bottom Of P and Q work well.
4. Attach a tape from a tape measure along the fence to measure
material to be cut.