Panel Saw

From Idea Shop Wiki
Panel saw.

The panel saw is any type of circular sawing machine with a sliding table or saw blade that crosscuts sheets into sized parts. The Idea Shop panel saw is a vertical unit with a sliding saw blade. This is especially useful for cutting down large standard 4' x 8' sheets of plywood, melamine, acrylic or cardboard. The saw normally operates in the vertical cutting direction, however the blade can be rotated to rip long steps from sheet material. Many circular saw blades are available to cut a variety of materials from wood to metals. Because of guards the panel saw is a much safer alternative to the table saw for making straight cuts, especially on large stock materials. The size of the stock normally requires two poeple to load the material safely into the machine.

Machine Details

Safety Instructions


  • Always wear eye protection and ear protection is recommended for extended sessions.
  • Always unplug saw when it is necessary to switch out blade or inspect for potential damage from embedded nails.
  • Circular saw blades can only be installed in one direction, refer to owner's manual for correct direction of teeth.
  • Remove magnetic insert/guide when it is necessary to rotate blade 90 degrees for longitudinal cuts.
  • Cut flat stock only - do not cut round stock.

Active Use

  • Blade should always be at full speed before beginning cut.
  • Always have a partner to assist feeding material in order to make horizontal/longitudinal cuts.
  • Do not cut material that is too narrow for machine: i.e. less than a foot or foot and a half wide - as it will pinch blade.
  • It is highly desirable to move cut panels away from blade on the upstroke.
  • If flat stock has a warp, cut with concave bow facing towards outside - this will minimize any pinching or kickback.
  • Be aware of the power cord so that it does not fall into path of the blade - critical when returning blade to top (upstroke).

Clean Up

  • Slowly return saw to the top and tighten it down. Never let go until it is secure.
  • Vacuum up all debris after cutting.

Machine Proficiency

In order for an individual to advance in machine proficiency they must demonstrate ability to perform certain actions or tasks. All levels include abilities and concepts from lower levels.

This section is primarily for student workers.

Level 0

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Basic Cross cut of standard 4’x8’ plywood or MDF
  • Safe separation of material after cut has been performed
  • Letting saw blade spin up and spin down

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Max panel material size and thickness
  • Useable material
  • Never letting go of the gantry and allowing it to spring back into starting position

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Aligning the blade to cut along a line
  • Using the measurement guides
  • Demonstrating proper cut speed

Individual understands the concepts:

  • How to lock the gantry
  • Making sure the material is pushed to the back of the saw frame

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Performing rip-cut
  • Turning saw blade direction
  • Cutting thin strips of material

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Knowing when to use the panel saw instead of the table saw
  • Demonstrating knowledge of 1/8th inch kerf

Level 3

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Replacing the blade
  • Clamping material properly to saw frame
  • Checking the blade angle is 90 deg to support rollers

Individual understands the concepts:

  • What types of blades can be used on our panel saw