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Bob Hunter

Bosch develops tablesaw with blade-brake safety

For over a decade SawStop has gained dominance in the tablesaw market with its unique flesh-sensing, blade-stopping safety mechanism. And until now, no other manufacturer has had any similar technology on the market to compete with that. Today Bosch announced it will launch this fall Reaxx, a 10″ job-site tablesaw with a flesh-sensing blade-drop safety mechanism. It will sell for $1,499 (MSRP). I got a sneak peek at this saw in action during a media event hosted by Bosch in February, but could not officially comment on it until now. It’s quite impressive. To see the saw in action, watch this video provided by Bosch (note: turn down the volume).

The key to Bosch’s safe saw is a device that uses similar technology that Bosch’s auto-parts division uses to deploy air bags in automobiles. (Nice to have sibling companies sharing technology.) With this saw, when the blade senses a finger (or any flesh), the device fires a cartridge that immediately and oh-so-speedily drops the blade completely below the table surface, leaving the user with only a slight scrape or skin nick. Unlike SawStop—which ruins both blade and brake cartridge—the Bosch flesh-detecting Active Response Technology kills the power and lets the blade coast to a stop safely within the cabinet, preserving it for future use. After activation, the system can be reset in less than 60 seconds. The brake cartridge has two “activation” cells, so all you do is flip it over and use the other after an activation. Replacement cartridges will cost about $100. More good news: This safety device works for dado sets as well as 10″ blades—no need for separate cartridges. All necessary parts, instructions and wrenches are located onboard the saw, including storage for extra activation cartridges.

An electronic control module with four colored lights not only turns the saw on and off, but also gives you helpful input as to the saw’s state of readiness:

• Green means the saw is ready for use.

• Yellow means the system is set in bypass mode by the operator; this mode is used for cutting conductive materials that could potentially activate the Active Response Technology system. In addition, there’s no override key to lose or misplace, yet it still offers various lock-out options to prevent unauthorized bypass mode operation.

• Red means the saw is not ready and will not function until the user corrects an issue.

• Blue means the saw requires service from a Bosch-authorized technician.

A smartphone app allows you to program and lock out some of these features, helpful if you want to limit who can bypass the safety mode or operate the saw when you don’t want.

The 15-amp motor spins the blade at 3,650 rpm.

—Bob Hunter, Tools Editor, WOOD Magazine

 

 

 

 

New products hit woodworking market at AWFS Fair

The 2013 AWFS Fair (Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers) in Las Vegas was hot (at least outside) and smaller than past shows, but those manufacturers who did exhibit brought lots of new tools and products to debut. Here are some that most appealed to me:

The most intriguing innovation at the show had to be… Read more

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IWF Day 3: Lots of cool tools and accessories

In a show as large as the International Woodworking Fair, where city-block-size industrial setups can dominate nearly all your senses, it can be challenging to not focus on the big, eye-catching stuff and instead find the nuggets sometimes tucked away in small booths. I always commit myself to looking over every booth at these tradeshows in search of new tools and accessories, and this show did not disappoint.

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware took up only a small corner booth, but WOW was it packed with lots of good stuff! Here’s a quick rundown:

• Mixing Mate lids with built-in stir paddles for paint and finish cans. Snap them on, stir, then pour—and never fill up the rim around the lid! Quart size is available now and costs $15; gallon size will be out in January and sell for $20.

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Machinery news from IWF Day 2

Innovation has not been easy to find in the woodworking machinery sector here at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Chalk it up to the recession mostly as manufacturers have scaled back on new product launches and research and development, as well as the fact that fewer people are buying stationary machines. Then consider that several large manufacturers did not exhibit at the show, and it left a slimmer pool to begin with. Nonetheless, I was able to find several new machines.

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New tools! Word from the first day of IWF

One of the great things about attending woodworking tradeshows as a member of the working press is being surprised by new-product launches that you didn’t expect. That doesn’t happen as much as it used to (due mostly to the last 4 years of recession cutbacks and such), but I was surprised by a few things at the opening day of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

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New woodworking tools among dozens of new products from Bosch

It seems like every time I speak with someone at Bosch, they’ve got new tools to tell me about. Last fall I was fortunate to tour Bosch’s worldwide headquarters in Germany, as well as four production facilities, and the thing that most impressed me about this German-based company is that it’s made a commitment to reinvest 8% of its sales into research and development for new products. Well, I just returned from Bosch’s North American headquarters in Chicago, and I saw that commitment carried out in the launch of nearly four dozen new power tools, measuring tools, and accessories for woodworking, construction, metalworking, and concrete. You’d never know there was a recession in the U.S. based on Bosch’s output. I’ll focus on the tools most applicable to woodworking.

The biggest splash, in my opinion, is the launch of a plunge base for the Bosch Colt palm router. Read more

DeWalt launches brushless-motor impact driver and other tools

Stressing its commitment to innovation and system expansion, DeWalt announced this week the launch of more than a dozen cordless and corded tools as well as some accessories. Topping the list is a new impact driver in the 20-Volt Max line, but this one sports DeWalt’s first brushless motor. It will be on the market in April, selling for $279 with 1.5-amp-hour battery packs and $349 for 3-Ah packs.

This new impact driver comes out less than a year after DeWalt debuted the 20V Max line—which included an impact driver and several drill/drivers—featuring standard carbon-brush motors. The brushless motor powers the tool more efficiently, creating less heat and friction, and resulting in a 57% increase in battery run time compared to the 20V Max driver with carbon-brush motor. With a brushless motor, energy is transferred from the armature to the drive train electronically, whereas with the other system that energy transfers through the brushes by rubbing directly on the armature. Read more

Tracing Swiss-made tools and Bosch’s place in the global market

My whirlwind tour of Bosch’s corporate offices and manufacturing facilities in Europe continued from Germany into Switzerland.

Like most large companies in the world, the Robert Bosch Company has grown not only through innovation and development of its own product lines, but also through acquisitions of existing companies. For example, in recent years Bosch has acquired Sia Abrasives, a Swiss-based company making sandpaper and other abrasives for many industries, and also Freud, the Italian business that makes cutting tools (saw blades, router bits, shaper cutters, etc.) and produces its own carbide.

My next stop was the former Scintilla company headquarters in Solothurn, Switzerland. Read more

Discovering about the man behind the Bosch tool company

On my second day in Germany to learn about the Robert Bosch Company, I discovered a great deal more about the man who founded the company, as well as a little bit about his tools from the early days and in today’s market.

At the Bosch Archives (which is more like a Bosch museum, but they had already named it before I arrived) I enjoyed a guided tour through the facility from the curator. He told me about how Robert Bosch, born in 1861 in the area near Stuttgart, Germany, grew up with a desire to be a precision mechanic. He studied under a number of established practitioners in Germany and the U.S. (including Thomas Edison), and later found his calling making parts for internal combustion engines. His magneto, the part that generates the spark needed to burn the fuel in the engine cylinders, was his signature product, and his business grew well from that. That magneto is visible today as a cross section in the Bosch company logo. (Run out and grab a Bosch tool and study it, or just look at the photo here of one of the original magnetos, and you’ll see the logo in the cross-section of the armature.)

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Finding out just what all Bosch sells (hint: it’s not all tools)

I’ve always appreciated Bosch power tools for their quality, performance, and durability, but I’d never really studied the history of the Robert Bosch Company. So to get a better idea of what makes this company so successful—and not just in the U.S., but also throughout the world—I’ve traveled to Europe to find out. I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday, and then drove to Stuttgart, home of the company since the beginning 125 years ago.

On Monday, I visited the corporate headquarters of Bosch. Read more

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