Frame size, which do you choose?
There are just a few basic considerations when choosing a frame size for your panel saw needs. First is frame width. “Compact” Frames are perfect for space restricted shops or for those looking to take their panel saw to the job site.
Compact frames offer big machine cutting capabilities in a smaller size frame. The Compact Frame is offered in two cross cut sizes, 52″ and 64″. The 52 inch offers 52″ vertical cut and unlimited rip cut from either direction while the 64 inch offers a 64″ vertical cut. The user supports the material off the frame. Optional builders extensions may be a consideration or a later add on to give you a 10ft wide base. This frame size is offered with the Basic, Classic, 1000 series or a Sign Makers vertical panel saw.
“Full size” Frames feature a standard 10ft wide welded steel frame. They are ideal for ripping 8ft sheets on a regular basis. This frame comes in 52″, 64″, 76″, 88″ and 100″ frame sizes. Rip cutting is unlimited in either direction. Packages for this frame size are the 1000 series, 2000 series, 3000 series and Sign Makers package. The 52, 64, and 76, frame sizes are assembled. The 88″ and 100″ must be disassembled once built for shipping.
How much room do you have? If you will need to move your panel saw to use it the compact frame width is better. If the saw is going to be stationary then material handling and cutting is easier on the full size frame. A compact frame needs as much space to rip a sheet as a full size frame and it’s easier to handle sheets on a full size frame.
Your second consideration is frame height or cross cut capability. We recommend a frame that will cut the biggest sheet you currently cut or could foresee cutting. Having a larger cross cut is like having money in the bank. If you need it, it’s there. For example, “We only use 4 by 8’s for crating. In one instance we needed to cut 30″ squares out of MDO for small table tops. If we used a 52″ machine, we could only cut 4 X 8’s and get only 3 table tops per sheet. Since we use a 64″ cross cut machine, we were able to cut 6 table tops out of a 5 X 8 sheet. The savings in material costs paid for the difference of the taller frame.”
What Saw to Use?
What saw do you need? For most applications, the Makita 5007F circular saw will do the trick. This saw is used in the Classic, Varsity, Sign Makers and 1000 series of panel saws.
When cutting 50 or more sheets a week or thicker plastic sheets we recommend the Skil Worm Drive circular saw offered in the 2000 series panel saw. The worm drive motor has the low end power that keeps if from getting bogged down.
When needing a deeper depth of cut or wanting to use your 10 inch table saw blades for a finer cut quality consider the 3000 series with a 10.25 inch Milwaukee motor. With the dust brush removed, you can get a 2.875″ depth of cut. When needing a really good cut on Melamine we recommend this saw with a Hi AT blade. Call for blade recommendations.