Friday, September 6, 2013

V4.36 - Table Saws: Who Loses?

Continuing our discussion… OK, MY discussion… you’re just listening in on my ranting.

Flesh Sensing Brake Technology (FSBT) is currently available on the product called Sawstop. That’s all well and good. When the brake engages, it utilizes a replaceable cartridge that I believe costs around $80 to replace. So, let’s say that you have a table top saw that costs you $150 and it is mandated that you install FSBT on it. Currently, a FSBT retro-fit package doesn’t exist, so if a law is made that you cannot use your table top saw unless it has FSBT – you’ve just been legislated out of a table saw. So, OK… someone (be it Sawstop or another company) designs and starts selling a new table top saw that has FSBT included. The first thing that happens, the initial cost of this saw goes up to accommodate the new FSBT. But for the discussion’s sake, let’s just say that some REAL - cheap manufacturer out there finds a way to still sell a small saw with FSBT for $150…and then your brake fires…and it costs you $80 to replace the cartridge… that would be over half of the price of a new saw. Now, seriously, how many times are you going to do that before you throw the thing away?

Alright, back on target…So Mr. Gass is ‘helping’ the Consumer Product Safety Commission decide whether to adopt new product rules that require FSBT on some table saws. He hasn’t made a secret of his efforts. This is well-known in the industry. It still smells a bit unseemly, but to each his own, I suppose. Please don’t misunderstand, I believe the FSBT invention is right on par with automotive airbags or seatbelts. It IS a game-changer, but if Mr. Gass’s motives for working with the CPSC were as pure as he would have us believe, it seems to me that he would donate the patents to the open market and anyone could use them…for free. Will we see that from him? Do NOT hold your breath. I believe I’ve read articles that have him saying how this invention was so badly needed and such a great contribution to society, and in the next breath refuse to release it so that everyone could be safer. Sadly, the ultimate loser will be the consumer. How? Good question. As already alluded to, if FSBT is required, the cost of ALL saws will go up. Not good. There are some small benchtop saws wherein FSBT is totally impractical. The motor design, or the ‘guts’ of the saw, may very well not be ‘beefy’ enough to handle the sudden explosion of a FSB…and let me tell you, it is fast, loud and hard when it goes off. It has to be in order to bring a saw blade that is turning around 4000RPM to a dead stop in milliseconds. 

Till next time….

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you. 

No comments: