A scroll saw is a type of saw that is designed to make precise, curved cuts in a variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, and metal. It is a popular tool among woodworkers, metalworkers, and other craftspeople because it allows for precise, detailed cutting and can be used to create a wide variety of shapes and designs.
How Does A Scroll Saw Work?
A scroll saw operates by moving a thin blade mounted on a reciprocating arm that moves up and down through a small opening in the table. The material to be cut is placed on the table, and the blade is guided through the material using a pattern or template. Scroll saws have a motor that drives the blade and a belt that connects the motor to the blade. The blade is mounted on a spring-loaded arm that allows it to move up and down as the motor turns. The blade is held in place by a pair of blade guides, which help keep the blade straight and reduce deflection.
To use a scroll saw, you start by clamping the material to be cut in place on the table. You then choose the appropriate blade for the material and thickness and install it in the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Next, you turn on the saw and guide the blade through the material, following the pattern or template as needed. You can adjust the speed of the blade and the tension on the blade guides to control the cut quality and reduce blade deflection.
Types Of Scroll Saws
There are several different types of scroll saws available in the market, each with its own set of features and characteristics. The following are some common types of scroll saws.
1. Benchtop Scroll Saws
These are smaller, portable scroll saws that are designed to be used on a workbench or a table. They are a good option for hobbyists and DIYers with limited space.
2. Floor-standing Scroll Saws
These larger scroll saws are designed to be used on the floor. They have more powerful motors and can handle thicker materials, making them a good choice for professional woodworkers or those working on larger projects.
3. Variable-Speed Scroll Saws
Variable-speed scroll saws have adjustable speed settings, allowing the user to adjust the speed of the blade depending on the material being cut.
4. Scroll Saws With Tilting Tables
Some scroll saws have tables that can be tilted at different angles, making it easier to cut beveled or angled cuts.
5. Scroll Saws With Built-in Light
It’s not uncommon to see scroll saws that come equipped with an integrated light that lights the work surface and makes it easier to view the cutting line, which is especially useful in dim working environments.
6. Scroll Saws With Dust Blowers
Some scroll saws have a dust blower feature that helps keep the work area clear of sawdust, making it easier to see the cutting line.
They are typically priced at $200 or lower.
Mid-range models fall in the price range between $400 to $600.
This is the most expensive and high-scale of the bunch, with a price tag of $1000 and up.
They are usually single-speed models.
Mid-range scroll saws typically feature at least two-speed models or even better, offer variable speeds that range from 300 to 3,000 strokes per minute.
They often feature blowers that remove dust away from the workpiece, giving you a clearer view of your work.
May struggle with cutting through thicker or harder materials
The speed makes them a better choice when you need to cut through thicker pieces of material.
More versatile than other tiers
Low-end models are noisy and tend to vibrate.
Compared to low-end types, these mid-range models create less noise and vibration when in use.
These professional models create the least noise and vibration.
How Do You Choose A Scroll Saw?
When choosing a scroll saw, there are several factors to consider including:
1. Size and Type of Materials
Consider the size and thickness of the materials you will be working with, as well as their type (such as wood, metal, or plastic). This will help you determine the size and power of the saw you need.
2. Blade Size and Speed
The size of the blade and its speed will affect the precision and versatility of the saw. A larger blade will be able to make wider cuts but will be less precise, while a smaller blade will be able to make more precise cuts but may be limited in terms of the size of materials it can handle. The speed of the blade is also important, as a faster blade will be able to cut through thicker materials more quickly and vice versa.
3. Power and Durability
Consider the overall power and durability of the saw, including the motor size and type, as well as materials used in its construction. A higher-quality, heavier saw will typically be more durable and able to handle heavier use.
4. Additional Features
Some scroll saws come with additional features that may be useful, such as adjustable blade tension, a built-in light, or an adjustable table. Consider whether any of these features would be beneficial for your needs.
How Do You Use a Scroll Saw Safely?
Here is an overview of what you need to know about using a scroll saw safely:
- Wear protective eyewear because it is important to protect your eyes from debris, which can result in an injury.
- Make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are using the saw safely and correctly.
- Keep the saw clean and well-maintained. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your scroll saw will help ensure it is operating safely and efficiently.
- Secure your workpiece firmly. Make sure your workpiece is securely clamped or held in place before starting the saw to prevent accidents or injuries caused by the workpiece moving or slipping.
- Keep your hands and fingers away from the blade and at a safe distance from the blade to avoid injury.
- Unplug the saw when not in use to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries, and be sure to unplug the saw when it is not in use.
By following these guidelines, you can help ensure the safe and effective use of your scroll saw.
1. Can a scroll saw be used to cut straight lines?
While a scroll saw is not the most efficient tool for cutting straight lines, it is possible to do so by using a straight edge as a guide for the blade.
2. How do I change the blade on a scroll saw?
Changing the blade on a scroll saw typically involves loosening the blade tension and removing the blade from the blade holder. Some saws may have a blade-locking mechanism that needs to be released before the blade can be removed. Consult the manual for specific instructions on how to change the blade on a particular model.
3. How do I properly tension the blade on a scroll saw?
Proper blade tension is important for safe and accurate cutting with a scroll saw. The blade should be tightened just enough to prevent it from bending or breaking, but not so tight that it becomes difficult to move.
A scroll saw is a versatile power tool that is well-suited for a variety of tasks, including creating decorative patterns, cutting out intricate shapes, and making small, precise cuts in a variety of materials. Regular DIYers should consider investing at least in a mid-range saw as it vibrates less, creates less noise and comes with a more powerful motor.