Saw situation

I have a small space in my garage for my GF and since I’m in BC, Canada I buy most of my material from Trotec so its just a little bit to big and I need to cut it down. I’ve read a few threads on here but I still am not sure what kind of saw to buy. I looked at table saws but they seem pretty expensive for the little bit of cutting I would be doing. I want to be able to cut acrylic and wood. I have hand cut acrylic but I’ll need something for the wood so I’d rather get something that works well for both. So opinions are welcome… is a table saw worth the price and what brand do you like that’s inexpensive or would a jigsaw suffice? TIA :smiley:

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Personally I use a 10 inch compound sliding miter saw. The slide just reaches 12". It’s a Harbor freight for about $80.

There are also some cordless hand saws, like 4" that can be used free-hand. If you already have a cordless drill, look at the manufacturer of it for an offering for a saw that would use the same battery as what you have.

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I use a skill saw and / or a table saw to cut down my material. A jig saw would work for wood, but I haven’t tried it on acrylic. I like the table saw because it gives you a flat surface to work on. Makes it easier when working with 1/8" or 1/4" material.

I see people using sheet insulation to cut on top of when using a skill saw. That way it supports the material. If I didn’t have my table saw, that it what I would do.

As far as brand, I have a craftsman table saw. Just about anything would do if you are just going to use it for cutting down material for the GF. You might have to build an outfeed table if you are cutting down 4x8 sheets, like I do.

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Not knowing what you consider expensive, I have a Ryobi Table Saw that I’ve had for years and still runs great which you can get at Home Depot for $168 there in BC. Or, you could use a jig saw for about $60.

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There aren’t any Harbor Freight stores in Canada. Princess Auto is more or less equivalent however the one near me doesn’t sell much in the way of wood working tools. I agree the best route would be the cordless circular saw or even a jig saw. Something small and cheap since you won’t need it for anything else.

Someone i work with just suggested Princess Auto… I’ve never been in one and didnt realize they sold all sorts of random stuff! I’ll have to have a look.

Cool store to browse, especially the surplus section. Never know what you’ll find. No big wood working stuff in ours on VI though. More geared toward metal working and mechanical tools. Still, it’s a store a guy can browse in while the wife is looking through the endless clothing stores at the mall lol.

I would go with a circular saw before a jigsaw. I use a battery operated one like this:

to cut down 8x4 sheets of plywood and smaller. Some people do it in the parking lot of their big box DIY store. For a space constrained “table saw” clamp a furring strip (a 1"x2" piece of pine) to your piece and then run your circular saw against it. You’ll get a nice clean cut. As for acrylic vs. wood, it’s about the saw blade and speed. Research saw blades for acrylic. I haven’t because I don’t use much of it.

Note: I use Ryobi because I bought their cordless grass trimmer, which is great, and then a drill and then I was locked into their battery-eco-tool-system. Any decent circular saw, corded or battery, will work for what you want.

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Small contractor saw is ok, but wrangling a 4x8 sheet would be tough. I’d go with the circular saw idea, although I wouldn’t use a 1x2 pine furring strip, it’d never be straight. Head to the molding section of the store and get a piece of 1x4 white MDF molding. That will be much straighter and if you want perfectly straight, they make clamp bars you can get that are a metal straight edge. You’ll want clamps to hold that in place and those are cheap at Harbor Freight.

If you have room in the garage space, get a 4x8 sheet of rigid foam insulation, they’re about 2" thick. You can put your material right on it, and cut away. Blade will cut the insulation but set the blade to be about 1/4" lower than your material and you’re only scoring the foam.

All told you’d probably get all of this for less than $100 and you’ll be set!

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this is a good point. it really comes down to what you’re cutting. i have a big circular saw that i can use to rip down big sheets (and i have), but personally i’m rarely cutting down a 4x8 sheet of GF materials. for me, most of the time i have an X by 24" piece that i need to rip 4-5" off of the end. and for that, a little worx saw works perfectly. toss a little blue painters tape on, draw a saw line, rip away. smaller, easier to use, needs even less of a workspace (half the time i just balance the board on a handrail of the deck and zip it off, couldn’t do that with an 8" circular saw as easily).

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oh this is interesting… so far I have just bought from trotec and they are small… maybe 2ftish square? I can’t fit any giant sheets in my car. So I’m only cutting off about 3" or so.

yeah, the worx saw would do that fine. just buy a better blade than it comes with. one designed for plywood/finished wood with a finer tooth blade.

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If space is a concern, I would suggest purchasing a corded circular saw and a circular saw guide from either Kreg or Bora. That and a couple of saw-horses and you’ll be able to cut down full 4x8 sheets of almost any material, and with some additional engineering, that combination could be converted into a wall-mounted panel saw.

I use a cordless circular saw with a Kreg saw guide, when I don’t feel like using my little contractor’s table saw.

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That was just what I was going to recommend. Along with a speed square to keep things straight. There are a number of similar & even smaller saws like that to be found at Home Depot or Lowes.

I figured since the OP was about cutting Trotec supplied materials that all the table saw & chop saw stuff was overkill so was going to link to a couple of small cutoff saws like that but you beat me to it :slightly_smiling_face:

There have been a few posts about small quick cutoff tools for breaking down big materials to fit in cars that also have good recommendations for this use case.

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Look for a track saw. If you don’t need much, this would probably fit your needs nicely, not take up a lot of space and economical, vs a table saw. And a chop miter saw at most will give you a 12” crosscut.

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A cordless table saw would be the most flexible solution for various saw cuts. More expensive. I have a cordless circular saw and it works great, but setup for square cuts is more difficult.

The cheaper sliding plug in miter saw would work well, but would be limited in width.

Depends on what you want to spend. For the long haul and for doing lots of material, I would have gotten a cordless table saw, easer to handle in my home craft room.