GiGadgets | GiGadgets | This company came up with a technology to save woodworker's fingers

This company came up with a technology to save woodworker's fingers
SawStop is the difference between a cut and an amputation
Jane Wise
By Jane Wise
Feb 11, 2018


We admire the artistic creations made by woodworkers, but the risk of working around a lethal weapon is always daunting, even for the most cautious woodworkers. A careless mistake could result in a time-life pain and trauma. SawStop, an Oregon based table saw maker, came up with a safety system that had saved thousands of fingers.


From the outside, the product looks no different than other table saw on the market. But the spinning blade will miraculously stop the millisecond it comes to contact with the skin, leaving at most a small nick that could be fixed with a few stitches instead of one or more missing fingers.


The below are how the finger-saving technology works:


1. Monitor and Detect

1. The blade carries a small electrical signal.
2. When skin contacts the blade, the signal changes because the human body is conductive.
3. The change to the signal activates the safety system.

2. Brake Activation

1. An aluminum brake springs into the spinning blade, stopping it in less than 5 milliseconds!
2. The blade’s angular momentum drives it beneath the table, removing the risk of subsequent contact.
3. Power to the motor is shut off.

3. Reset

Resetting the saw yourself is easy. Simply replace the blade and affordable brake cartridge and your saw is operational. The entire reset process takes less than five minutes.


The system carries a BYPASS MODE for testing purposes. In BYPASS MODE, the lights on the switchbox, which are located below the table, will signal detection of a sausage used in lieu of an actual human finger, without triggering brake that will require cartridge and blade replacements afterwards.
Also the system is said to be able to cut through wet wood and a piece of metal in the wood without triggering the brake pawl. But it is suggested users check for wetness and metals in the wood before slicing it up, as certain conditions may likely trigger the safety brake such as excessive humidity that could leads to detection of electro-conductivity. Or simply use BYPASS MODE to ensure smooth cutting of conductive items.

You may order yours and accessories from a list of SawStop's authorized online dealers. The cheapest model, SawStop JSS-MCA Jobsite Saw with Mobile Cart retails at $1,399 and the highest end SawStop PCS175-TGP236 1.75-HP Professional Cabinet Saw Assembly starts at $2,719. You may also customize you own saw at the official website or with the dealers.


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