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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently bought a Safety Speed Cut C-4 vertical panel saw, at a yard sale. ($300 :smile: )
There is no way to line the blade up with a cut line. The blade shroud prevents it. They have an optional blade shroud, that has a vacuum hookup. It looks like if you took off the vac hose, you could look thru the hole and see the blade. Before I paid $200 for the kit, I would just cut a hole and weld on a piece of tubing for a vac hose.

Has anyone rigged a simple hold down? Haven't used mine yet, and not sure if a hold down is needed, cutting 1/2 or 3/4 ply.

Also wondering if anyone has made any jigs, etc for the saw. They sell a mid level fence, for cutting small panels at waist height ($400+) Stop bar gauge, with 8 flip stops ($500+) The stop bar gauge looks like it would save a lot of production cutting time.
I'm interested in shop building the hold down, fence, and adjustable stops.
If anyone has done any mods to their panel saw, I would like to hear about them. Pics would be great as usual.
Anxious to get it cutting!
Thanks
 

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here's some ideas

Since I built my panel saw, I found out a few things. If you can attach a 1/2" thick plywood backer to the entire saw you can make a saw kerf into the ply which will give you a visual cut line. Another is to attach a fence at the bottom rather than the rollers and then cut into the fence for your cut line. A panel will slide easily on a piece of HPL Formica and you don't need the rollers.
I wouldn't mess with the dust shroud kit, but it does generate a lot of dust when making a cut, so you need something. I made my own from Lexan and attached a shop vac port.
Good buy on the unit! :yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Woodthings Thanks for the info. I will be making a fence, and the hpl is a good idea.

Assuming your shopmade panel saw cuts from the top down, and the blade, cutting up thru the wood, do you find it trying to lift the wood off the surface it's on? Safety Speed sells a hold down bar, which they say is for thin material.
 

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I have a Safety Speed Cut panel saw which I purchased new in 1977. It has the original Rockwell saw motor. They changed to Milwaukee motors later on. These saws have adjustments on the saw carriage to line it up perpendicular to the rollers. The rollers can also be adjusted up and down to get them all in line so the panels will roll through evenly when ripping.

I do not have the hold down or the dust collection chute. If you take your time when ripping or cross-cutting, the panel will lay back against the back rails as you cut. If you force the panel faster than the saw can cut, the saw will bind and kick the panel away from the back rails. For cross-cutting, if you use your free hand to hold the panel against the back rails, that problem can be avoided. For ripping, especially if the panel is bowed, it is helpful to have a 2nd person to hold the panel against the back rails as it is pushed through.

I use a stop block clamped to the back rails if I am making several pieces the same size. There are tape measures glued to the back rails on both sides of the saw carriage to use as guides for cutting. There is also a tape measure on the vertical carriage with an adjustable arrow to set the saw when ripping. I also look over the top of the carriage and sight along the blade to a mark I make on the top edge of the panel. I have also made marks on the bottom edge of the saw carriage in line with the blade. By pulling the top of the panel forward to meet these marks, I can line up the panel very close, then I make a slight test cut and check it before making the full cut.

I place the panels in the saw with the back side toward me. This side will chip to some degree, depending on your blade. I use masking tape to prevent chipping. The tape needs to be pressed in place to create a really good bond or the blade will pull it away and still chip the thin veneer.

Here is a link showing my son making some cuts on the saw. Click the forward arrow to see all 8 pictures...

https://mnsawyerswoodworkingandartworks.shutterfly.com/pictures/220
 
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