This is a follow-up to my article of two days ago.
I have no idea how current the articles are at the web site Whirlwindtool. But reading and watching the demo videos gives me a sense that something new is around the corner with its patent-pending applications. What will be the final shape, form, and cost to the individual woodworker? And something I like: This new blade brake will also allow the saw “…to be started almost immediately…”
From the front page at the web site:
Developed by veteran woodworker David Butler, the patent-pending Whirlwind™ table saw emergency blade brake is a simple device which can be easily and inexpensively incorporated into production or retrofitted to millions of existing saws. The advanced bench top prototype showcased on this site differs from all previous table saw blade guards, with a built-in “electronic fence.”
If the operator approaches or touches the clear blade guard fence, the proximity detector will immediately shut down the saw motor and stop the blade, without damage, in one-eighth of a second — long before the operator can contact the spinning blade. The saw can be restarted almost immediately.
Is this a viable, cheap inexpensive alternative to the already-patented SawStop flesh-sensing technology? The “hot dog test” video suggests it is viable, as it looks like it senses flesh (the hot dog). But other questions remain:
- First and foremost, will CPSC mandate incorporation of this, or other flesh-sensing technology on our table saws?
- What will be the cost of commercial units? In other words, will “I” be able to afford it?
- How quickly must the retrofit be made?
- If it is mandated, will there be penalties for not installing the new technology?
- Will my old Unisaw be grandfathered, meaning I don’t have to install it? Or is there a time frame open to show/prove I have installed it?
- Can the technology be bypassed, therefore rendering it ineffective?
- What else can be done to increase table saw user awareness, and also user responsibility?
In a blog entry two days ago, Bob Lang, Executive Editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine, summarized it well:
A little less than a year ago, we conducted an online survey about table saw safety, and I think it showed that table saw safety isn’t about equipment, it’s about responsibility. If you don’t know how to safely use a table saw, don’t use it until you’ve taken the time to understand how it works and how to safely work with it. Here are some good resources that are free.
Robert W. Lang, Executive Editor
Popular Woodworking Magazine
The videos by the Power Tool Institute are a terrific resource. Lang recommends viewing the one on table saw safety, and remembering all the pointers for safe operation in your shop.
I would like to hear what YOU think about this subject. Please leave a Comment in the section below.