Author: Saw Trax Support

Bearing & Squaring

BEARING

 

What are the major factors you should look for when buying a panel saw.

There are two kinds of panel saws, vertical and horizontal. Each of them have pros and cons.  The biggest difference is the space needed to work with these machines. The vertical saw takes up much less floor space, and is easier to load one sheet at a time.

Without getting into the weeds any further about the types of panel saws, we will discuss the vertical saws for the remainder of this article since they are the most familiar/common and most likely used by small shops and Home Center stores.

A panel saw is just a big guide for a circular saw so it can cut sheet goods at 90 degrees (Cross Cut)  or parallel ( Rip Cut).  There are 2 key elements to doing this;

The first is the tracking mechanism for the saw to move up and down for cross cuts;

The second is the alignment system for the supported material to be cut vertically and horizontally.

By tracking mechanism, we mean what allows the saw to move up and down the guide tubes for the vertical cross cuts.  If there is “play” in this mechanism, the cut will not follow a straight line.

There are two types of bearings used in most panel saws.  The first is a low cost U-bolt with nylon rings around the U.  The rings are squeezed between the guide tubes and the U bolt at the same time.  As these rings try to roll, the carriage moves on the guide tubes. A bottom button glide is used to “Load” (put pressure) on the U-bolt rings.  As you might already see the flaw in this system is friction.  The tighter you get the tolerances to take out the play, the harder it will be to move the carriage causing a trade off of ease of movement and accuracy of the cut.

The Second Bearing system is using a “true bearing” using real sealed bearings.  This is done by high end vertical panel saws typically costing over $25,000 but there is one company making panel saws for a tenth of that figure using actual bearings.  This company, (Saw Trax Mfg. Inc.) makes their panel saws in Kennesaw GA.  They use 3 sealed bearings per carriage corner for a total of 12 sealed bearings per carriage.  This arrangement has two bearings on top to carry the weight and one bearing on the bottom to “Load” the top bearings.  The bottom bearing ensures constant pressure during a cross cut.   By using a true sealed bearing system like this, you get both accuracy and ease of movement during a cut.

The alignment system consists of two elements.  The first is ensuring the guide tubes stay square to the material rollers.  The second is to make sure the material rollers stay aligned with each other.

Different panel saw manufacturers handle this in different ways.  One manufacturer has the outside rollers on hubs that have a centered hole and all the interior rollers on hubs that have off-centered holes.  This off-center allows the interior rollers to be adjusted up or down to align with the outside rollers.  The problem is there are no 10 ft. straight edges that allow the end user to re-adjust the rollers once they go out of alignment.

This same manufacturer has users hit the guide posts with a dead blow mallet to adjust the tubes right or left when the vertical tracking goes out of alignment.  Obviously, this can take a lot of whacking back and forth to get it right.  A secondary issue is if you whack too hard, you can dent a guide tube and render your machine useless.  Our issue with this system is there are 13 adjustments that can throw your machine out of square, the 12 interior rollers and the guide posts shifting.

An innovative approach to the alignment system elements is to not have an indexed adjustment to the rollers and guide tubes.  If all the rollers and hubs are the same, they don’t go out of alignment.  If an adjustment is needed to align the fences, an indexing system is used to incrementally adjust the end of the fence up or down in 1/32″ increments and then locks into place.

A similar indexing system is used for the vertical guide tube posts is patented.  The manufacturer calls it the “Accu-Square“.  Nine holes spaced 8/32 apart are centered in the frame.  Another nine holes spaced 9/32 apart are centered in the bottom guide tube bracket.  Only one hole in the frame and guide tube bracket will line up at any given time and adjustments left or right can be made in 1/32 increments.  Once adjusted, the bracket is locked to the frame using a sheet metal screw keeping the guide tubes from ever shifting in relationship to the frame.  This system is patented and is guaranteed to never go out of square.

When you combine the dependable Makita saw with the sealed bearing and Accu-Square squaring advantages of the Saw Trax Panel Saws, the decision of which panel saw to buy becomes an easy one.

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Necessity is the mother of the Scoop Dolly

Scoop Stair Pic Press Release 8 21 17

Press Release, Kennesaw GA, August 21, 2017

by Mike Della Polla, President, Saw Trax Mfg. Co., Inc.

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, said the founder of Saw Trax Mfg. Inc. a vertical panel saw manufacturing company. They needed a way to move the long, top heavy crated panel saws around the factory and into the freight trucks.

Moving a long top-heavy object with a forklift is a difficult and dangerous process. The panel saws are over 10 feet long and 500 lbs. Some need special trucks with extra high freight doors for some models. Besides a forklift driver, a man had to walk in front to stabilize the panel saw crate so it didn’t fall over.

By marrying a lifting and pivoting mechanism to their yel-Low Dolly, Saw Trax could make the Scoop Dolly. The Scoop Dolly is like a pivoting hand truck mounted to a dolly so the load can move in any direction. The arms of the scoop are supported when tilted by 2 support arms that can be placed in 4 bracing positions allowing to change the angle of the scoop to keep the center of gravity of an item over the dolly. This way you can carry a 3-foot-high set of stairs or an 8-foot-high door or window group by adjusting the support arms.

“Our insurance agent told us that we should show the scoop dolly to a couple of his staircase manufacturing clients” said Michael Della Polla, the President of Saw Trax.  “We would have never thought of the staircase manufacturing industry. The first two companies we showed the Scoop Dolly to bought it as soon as we demonstrated it. They told us it turned a four-man job of moving a staircase, into a one-man job.”

Later that month, it was demonstrated it to a door and window manufacturer. “When I saw the gathering of workers starting to smile from ear to ear, I knew we had a winner for the door/window industry,” said Mr. Della Polla.

The all steel and powder coated Scoop Dolly starts at $799. You can get an optional dock transition kit for $99.95 and a brake set for $109.95. A leverage handle is also available for moving large boxes that are not so top heavy like furniture. This handle is a $300 upgrade.

Compared to a forklift moving top heavy objects, the Scoop Dolly is much faster to load, faster to move and faster to unload. It also makes the job much safer.

For more information on the Scoop Dolly and other innovative dolly options contact Saw Trax Mfg. at info@sawtrax.com or 888-SAW-TRAX.

 

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Forklift compatible? Read on!

Saw Trax is developing an addition to the yel-Low Safety Dolly for distribution centers that want to brace items vertically on a dolly and move them a distance with a forklift or Electric Pallet Jack. Since some distribution centers are over 1,000.000+ square feet, it is not practical to push the dolly long distances when a mechanized option saves time.  This version can be picked up with a forklift, maneuvered close to an item,  load the item (or two), then moved  again with the forklift, dropped off at a dock and then rolled into a truck.  Dollies can be bolted together to increase capacity per trip using the same post system to brace materials during transport.

The horizontal fork posts can be removed when not in use and stored vertically on the dolly saving floor space or permanently mounted to the sides.

Forklift cart 004 Forklift cart 003 Forklift cart 002 Forklift cart 001

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First Hypoid Heavy Duty Panel Saw Introduced at IWF 2016

Hypoid, Heavy-Duty, Panel Saw Takes the Place of High Maintenance Worm Drive Saws

If a cabinet shop, a solid surface shop, or a home center store needed a panel saw for heavy duty use, they have traditionally turned to one that used a worm drive motor. These motors use a geared down drive mechanism turning at a slower RPM than a sidewinder saw but has more torque. So with a high cut load, a hard material to cut like man-made counter tops or hard plastics, the worm drive saw was called upon for the job.

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Sign Maker Panel Saw on Display at the NBM Show!

Saw Trax will be exhibiting this week in Booth 138 at the NBM Long Beach Show  in  California. THE NBM B.I.G. SHOW is the place for top industry manufacturers and suppliers to showcase their product lines and services. This is the perfect opportunity for those on the west cost to come view a demo of our Sign Maker’s Panel Saw. We will be showcasing both compact and full size panel saws at out booth during the show. See you there!

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