I updated the track saw design based on feedback I received from viewers. A lot of people suggested making the entire bottom out of plexiglass or polycarbonate, but when I looked for pieces that were big enough, they were all really expensive. Instead, I just added plexiglass at the sight hole locations. That did the trick and was much more affordable.
And really, the only reason to add plexiglass is to maintain zero-clearance at the sight hole locations, which helps to reduce tear-out at those locations. I didn’t find that tear-out was bad on the first version, but it’s certain better on this version.
The thing I think I like most about this newest version, is that I used higher quality plywood, which means it’s flatter, and has a more premium feel. Since the plywood is higher quality, I decided to use a thinner piece as well. So this time around, I used 1/2″ instead of 3/4″ plywood. That didn’t exactly make it lighter though (as some people have suggested would be a reason to use thinner material). In fact, it’s probably right about the same weight because this plywood is so much more dense.
However, it was never really very heavy to begin with. One of the main discussions regarding the original track saw in the YouTube comments was about how to make it lighter weight. No-one ever asked me if it was heavy though – it’s really not. I would say just a few pounds, and I’ve never felt strained when lifting or maneuvering it around the shop.
As I mention in the video, another thing people wanted me to try was making it out of masonite, and the reasoning was that I could use a thinner piece and it would be lighter. As you see in the video, I tried making it out of masonite, and that didn’t work. One thing I failed to mention in the video though was that the masonite was actually very heavy especially for how thin it was. That said, even if the masonite had worked out, I don’t think it would have reduced the weight much at all.
I guess the other reason for wanting to use thinner material would be to increase depth of cut. I find the depth of cut to be very good, especially when considering most of the other DIY options for a track that captures your saw in both directions. Most of the current designs involve attaching pieces to the bottom of your saw that then go onto of the track. This creates a reduction in the depth of cut equivalent to two material thickness – double what this design affords.
I’m pretty happy with how the track(s) are working now, and the videos have done very well. People really seem to like the idea of this track, and I think that’s because it’s very simple to make, yet still has really good performance. All that said, I’m still open to more suggestions. If you have any, send me an email, or post them in the comments on YouTube to let me know what you’ve got!