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Thread: Newbie Table Saw Question- Alum vs Cast Steel?

  1. #16
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    You sound like you are a materials engineer or metallurgist.

    Appreciate the information

  2. #17
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    $3-4K. Suspicions confirmed.

    Thanks Peter, it's always interesting to see how things are done differently elsewhere.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  3. #18
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    my day job I design aerospace equipment and we make extremely high performance accurate equipment and fixtures from Aluminum.
    Aerospace usually rewards lightness and corrosion resistance, woodworking machinery often rewards mass for its vibration damping properties. Mass market woodworking machines don't have a lot of component balancing I think.

  4. #19
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    Couldn't agree more but not all aerospace equipment flies. Designing to environments, sometimes very extreme, is a huge part of the process. Vibration, heat, cold, blast, EMP. All that we do but if we designed a table saw just the trunion might cost more than a top of the line Sawstop with all the bells and whistles

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    Aerospace usually rewards lightness and corrosion resistance, woodworking machinery often rewards mass for its vibration damping properties. Mass market woodworking machines don't have a lot of component balancing I think.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McKissick View Post
    Interesting. Thanks for the info but it's still a small TS

    Aluminum is pricey. I wonder how well vibration is controlled.
    The cutting height at 90 degrees of the 85 model is 85mm, which is more than a Unisaw or most clones. After trying one out, I wouldn't say that it's any less powerful or smooth running.

  6. #21
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    The one I was looking at seemed limited for rip capacity but I didn't see a number or look very hard after seeing the price.

    That is a good number for thickness but probably has more to do with the trunion design and not so much the table material. New designs are great because it pushes others to also up their game and the consumer/woodworker win

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kelly View Post
    The cutting height at 90 degrees of the 85 model is 85mm, which is more than a Unisaw or most clones. After trying one out, I wouldn't say that it's any less powerful or smooth running.

  7. #22
    Cast iron equals sound control....

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McKissick View Post
    New here and new to working with wood beyond 2x4 storage shelves and such.

    I see all the best saws are all cast steel and some have options for cast or stamped steel wings but always steel.

    Why? Purely for mass and vibration control (actually lowering the natural frequency)? Why are there no good table saws tops made from Aluminum? I know some jobsite saws have alum tables as does my Bosch.

    I my day job I design aerospace equipment and we make extremely high performance accurate equipment and fixtures from Aluminum. Surfaces can be hard coated providing a hard slippery surface.

    Thanks and I hope I am not beating a dead horse subject topic
    I am not sure about the rest of the Felder range, but my Hammer K3 has an aluminium slider, and the rip fence is aluminium (attached to a cast iron adjuster).

    Clearly, there is a place for all materials.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McKissick View Post
    I know a fair amount about Aluminum and I don't see warpage as any more of an issue than iron. Aluminum can come close to softer steels for strength and exceeds steel in performance per pound and for corrosion resistance aluminum wins hands down. Of course aluminum is generally softer and and can get gouged and scratched easier. I can see weight being a desirable goal for a table saw but the mass doesn't have to be in the top, can be added elsewhere.

    Just the designer in me asks these questions.

    I wonder how much is what I call "old-fartitis" which I suffer from which essentially says "That's the way did it back in the day"
    Agreed, I have a saw with a cast iron top, an aluminum sliding table, and a steel extension table.

    Material optimization for performance requirements and cost............Rod.

  10. #25
    In a table saw top aluminum is vastly inferior to cast iron for a number of reasons, particularly durability.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  11. #26
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    I know of no saw with a cast STEEL top. Cast iron? Yep! Big difference in material.
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  12. #27
    The OP posted that they are made from cast steel, not cast iron. The way steel is recycled, causes a lot of the cast to be cast steel, not cast iron. And cast steel is really a better material than cast iron, not nearly as brittle, and if something happens, cast steel can be welded.

  13. #28
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    I miss spoke

    They are both magnetic is my excuse and I am sticking to it...
    Yes I know there is a difference.

  14. #29
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    Cast iron is more rigid than aluminum, it is also more wear resistant and better absorbs vibrations. I like aluminum for many things but not table tops where material will be fed over it constantly.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  15. #30
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    My Inca Alum top held up well for 30 years with no noticeable damage other than discoloration, at one point i had 3-5 guys using the saw for 5-7 years I even had a power feeder bolted to the top to run a huge amount of trim for Holiday inn... well huge for me I think it was 15k-20k lnft a few times...

    However the trunnion was aluminum and that got snapped twice trying to get it to 90 deg...

    Mark

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Cast iron is more rigid than aluminum, it is also more wear resistant and better absorbs vibrations. I like aluminum for many things but not table tops where material will be fed over it constantly.

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