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Looking for...a better Substrate cutter

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Hardware' started by ChiknNutz, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    I'm wanting to get something more efficient than a Skilsaw or Tablesaw, so I'm considering either a Panel Saw (like a Saw Trax) or a cutter like a Fletcher FSC. However, I'm not liking the cost of about $2500 for either one set up to my liking. Is there a more inexpensive alternative? I want something that doesn't make a mess (like the FSC), or cleans up after itself (like a panel saw with a vacuum attach). I don't need it to be capable of high volume, just an average amount, but does a good job and is accurate. Thanks much!
     
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  2. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

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  3. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    Oops, forget to even say what all I wanted it for. Primarily looking to cut Dibond, Alumalite, Coroplast, Gatorboard, etc. I guess MDO if it can (like a panel saw), but I don't use much MDO at all as I try and use Dibond or Alumalite when possible.
     
  4. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

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    Rail Saw looks OK . . . I sold my Panel Saw a couple months ago, but am now

    considering a simple Rail Saw !
     
  5. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

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    Hey Chris (and Rep),
    The link I posted is, more or less, a guide system that "locks" the saw into a channel to keep it from wandering. However, a circular saw and just about any straight edge would work. Just clamp the straight edge to the substrate and cut away.
    The trick to a good, clean, straight cut is using the right blade for the substrate you're cutting. While a sharp, general purpose, carbide tipped blade wil cut through just about anything, most manufacturers will provide specifications on the best type of blade to efficiently cut their substrate.
    Here's a link for some more reading...
    http://www.generalsaw.com/resource/rightblade.html

    Checkers
     
  6. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    I'd look for a used Panel Saw
     
  7. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    I love my safety speedcut panel saw. I have the best dust collection system they offer... but don't fool yourself into believing it "cleans up after itself" ...it makes less mess... but you will still want it in an area that can get dusty. Awesome tool... the money spent is long forgotten... but the fact that I waited 7 years to get is not.
     
  8. SAS

    SAS Active Member

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    I got a good deal a few months ago on a panel saw made by Safety Speed Cut Mfg. a local sign guy was getting out of the biz. (retiring) Give him $700 for the saw, and he gave me a two sided vinyl tree full of vinyl and around $1000 worth of alum. blanks.
    It has saved me a little bit since I got it I was paying $3.00 a cut from my blank supplier.
     
  9. threeputt

    threeputt Very Active Member

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    I've had the panel saw by Safety Speed Cut for nearly 20 years. But I'm now interested in the FSC thing. (no video of it available on the web) Does anyone out there have one? Can you describe it's use and evaluate/compare to a panel saw?
     
  10. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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  11. salvauser

    salvauser Member

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    I am subscribed to a magazine called Shopnotes. This is magazine dedicated to DIY woodworking jigs. About 2 or 3 issues ago, they featured a DIY panel saw with plans included. It did not look to hard to build. However, I've built a model from them featured in issue 5 of the magazine which I still use (check the uploaded photos). I've cut acrylic, plywood, MDF, and foamboard. But it would not manage coroplast or very thin materials.

    This is a link Shopnotes' newer model:

    http://www.shopnotes.com/issues/088/sources/sliding-carriage-panel-saw/

    This is a video of it:

    http://www.shopnotes.com/player.php?id=195

    I've included pictures of what I built. But do not purchase the kit suggested by the web site. It took me forever to get this jig squared.

    I hope this is useful. Good luck.
     

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  12. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    Chris- if you are serious about this, bite the bullet and get a panel saw. I
    agree with isign- you will not regret it. I have a Safety Speed Cut as well-
    it will cut 6' tall- also a nice feature. My vacuum system catches the fine
    particles that would float around (to your printer) and the heavier bits drop
    to the floor. Safe, fast, and the first straight cuts I have ever made.:tongue:
     
  13. Speeddm

    Speeddm Member

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    DONT BUY A SAW TRAX please!!! . Buy the safty saw brand they are very close but the saw trax is inferior by far. 2 Years ago I was very close to becoming a distiributer for them and I bought 2 52" sign specials. The only way I have been able to make the thing work is to modify it using components from safty saws machine. Plus Safty saw used to build all Saw trax units they are rip offs. The origionals are way better built. I brock off talks with them because they refused to adress the issues that we had with the cutter setup.
     
  14. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    No kiddin huh?! The SawTrax looks to be a very good unit, but I'm no expert on them by any stretch. Looks like they've made some significant changes recently, but you think it's still a poorly executed product? I am still interested in the Fletcher FSC, and these are all about the same $$$. I just today locally found a used Milwaukee panel saw for $800, but don't know much about the real-world specs of those other than what I read about it. Looks like all it has extra is the extensions (no dust collection as far as I know).
     
  15. Speeddm

    Speeddm Member

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    The saw trax is a very good interpretation aof a well built machine. The Milwakiee is a painted Safety Saw. Ive looked at many an I totally regret getting the saw trax. I thing the Safty saw was 500 more than the STx and I would gladly pay twice that now. I looked at the Fletcher and it will only cut soft board. Not Econolite sign ply or crezone (I hate wood) It is very comparable to the Excalaber. I have used that one it works really well but it is limited. No ling rips. The longest I have done on my STx is 34' of tufak. When you get a saw buy a REALLY good blade. I have a hand built German blade it cuts so clean we dont have to sand dibond.
     
  16. maddmd

    maddmd Member

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    How about a KeenCut Excalibur 5000 ?
     
  17. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    I think those are pretty much the same as the Fletcher FSC, but might actually be a little more expensive.
     
  18. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    So it sounds like the Milwaukee would be a decent choice for a panel saw? Can you get a blade attachment like for the SawTrax and Safety Speed saws? The FSC will cut dibond and alumalite, but not MDO (which I don't use much of anyway).
     
  19. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    yes
     
  20. Speeddm

    Speeddm Member

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    I would look at the c4 with the blade adaptor. I ended up retrofitting the blade plate to my Saw TX. Bu the milwak looks like the same unit. I do know from talking to saftey saw they make Milwakies saw.
     
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