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Track Saw Update

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.

[Watch the Video]

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!

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Super Simple DIY Track Saw

Well, I’ve needed a track saw for a long time, and I didn’t want to spend the money on one either. The solution sounds simple; just build one! The only problem was that I hadn’t found or came up with a design that would appeal to my nature. Meaning, I hadn’t found or come up with one that was cheap, simple, easy to build, and would still perform as well as something that was complex and/or expensive.

[Watch the Original Video]

UPDATE: I’ve made a new track and built it a little bit differently based on viewer recommendations.

[Watch the Updated Video]

I was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t get the cut I needed for my latest “real” build (an all in one board milling station). I had cuts I needed to make from sheets of plywood, and those cuts exceeded my table saw’s fence capacity. So with that pressure on, I HAD to come up with this idea pretty quickly because if I didn’t, it would have meant wasting a day or more…or going to the store to buy a track saw – not happening. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that was certainly the case here. Even thought I had been kicking around the ideas for a long time, I never would have come up with the final design unless I needed it as badly as I did right then.

I was already shooting video, and had originally just intended the track saw to be part of the board milling station video, but I figured some people might be interested in it. As it turns out, it seems like a lot of people are interested and have been wanting the same thing. So far, this video has been off to a more popular start than any project I’ve ever posted before, and by a lot. I had no idea that there was that big of a need for something like this, but I’m happy to share and hope it helps a lot of people.

Oh, and by the way, somebody commented on YouTube saying that they would like it if you could make it without a table saw (with just a circular saw), and this is how you do it:

  • Buy a piece of plywood.
  • Cut one of the factory edges off (don’t worry about the cut being crooked).
  • Attach that strip to the sheet (with glue, screws, etc.) with the factory edge facing towards the meat of the sheet, and the crooked cut of that strip alongside the crooked cut of the sheet.
  • Cut the other factory edge off, and then finish up the track as shown in the video…which is this:
  • Using a paper shim, butt one side of the circular saw’s base up against the 1st strip you glued in place,
  • With glue on the other strip, butt the factory edge of it against the other side of your circular saw’s base and fire a couple nails to pin that section of the track there,
  • Repeat that for every section of the track.
  • Add end stops, drill holes, and cut the slot. You’re done!