Scroll Saw

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Revision as of 02:16, 24 January 2020 by Pkuly (talk | contribs)
Scroll Saw.

Best for: Detail work

A scroll saw is a small electric or pedal-operated saw used to cut intricate curves in wood, metal, or other materials. The fineness of its blade allows it to cut more delicately than a power jigsaw, and more easily than a hand coping saw or fretsaw.

Safety Considerations When using the scroll saw, be sure to never place fingers or hands in the path of the oscillating blade. Before beginning, ensure teeth on the blade are pointing down and facing the user. If the blade breaks during your cut, you should turn off the machine and ask for assistance to replace the blade. To keep the blade from breaking, always advance your material at a moderate rate of speed, allowing the saw to do the work. Turning your material in place (pivoting) without advancing through your material can snap the blade.

Required Personal Protection Equipment Safety glasses, long pants, closed toe and closed heel shoes. No accessories such as rings, bracelets, and watches. Sleeves must be rolled up past elbows. No dangling fabric such as scarves or hoodie strings.

So What Can I Cut With This Glorious Instrument?

  • Cardboard, Chipboard
  • Foam Core, Rigid Foam (EPS, XPS, Polyimide, etc)
  • MDF, Plywood
  • Hard Woods (Walnut, Maple, etc), Soft Plastics (PVC, PP, PE, etc)

"Oh no! My material is not one of the ones specified above! What do I do???"

Fun fact: For cutting material not covered by the default blade, ask an Idea Shop staff member for assistance in selecting and changing the blade!

Machine Details

The panel saw is typically used to

Permitted Materials

Permitted materials allowed on the panel saw include:

  • Cardboard, Chipboard, and Foam Core
  • Rigid Foam (EPS, XPS, Polymide, etc.)
  • MDF, Plywood
  • Soft Woods (Cedar, Pine, etc.)
  • Hard Woods (Walnut, Maple, etc.)
  • Soft Plastics (PVC, PP, PE, etc.)
  • Acrylic

Safety Instructions


  • Wear safety glasses at all times. Ear protection is recommended for extended sessions.

Active Use

  • Allow blade to come up to full speed before beginning cut.
  • Cut thorough material in a steady consistent motion.

Clean Up

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

Best Practices

  • Always turn off and unplug saw when it is necessary to switch out blade or inspect for potential damage.
  • Circular saw blades can only be installed in one direction, refer to owner's manual for correct direction of teeth.
  • Do not cut material that is too narrow for the machine: i.e. less than a 12 inches wide - as it will pinch blade. Opt instead for the table saw or the miter saw.

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
  • Allowing the blade to come to a full stop before retracting

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Max panel material size and thickness
  • Permitted materials
  • 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 blade to the gantry
  • Making sure the material is pushed to the back of the saw frame

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Turning saw blade direction
  • Performing a horizontal cut
  • 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

Individual understands the concepts:

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