Disc Break | Popular Woodworking

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Disc Break

Back when I bought my radial arm saw, onboard braking systems didn’t exist. But I’m a gadget freak, so I bought an electronic brake and mounted it on top of the saw. The brake worked by converting the AC input to DC, essentially turning the saw motor into a big magnet to stop the blade. The “stop rate” was adjustable—I set it to stop the blade as quickly as possible. The device worked beautifully, stopping the blade almost instantly.

Later, I purchased a 10″ steel sanding disc to use on the saw. This disc was threaded in the opposite direction of the saw’s rotation, so during operation, it would continuously tighten itself on the threaded arbor shaft.

I mounted the disc and installed a small support table that I’d built to hold the workpiece in position for sanding. The set-up worked great … until I finished sanding and hit the brake. The saw came to an abrupt stop, but the disc kept spinning, right off the arbor shaft. I jumped out of the way as it sailed off the saw table and sparked its way across the basement floor. Needless to say, I haven’t used the brake to stop my sanding disc since. –Tom Biesterfeld

Gift Gaf

My cousin’s wedding was a few months away when I decided a handmade jewelry box would make a great wedding gift. I bought a new router bit and created some interesting textured sides, while the top was hand carved purpleheart. As a finishing touch, I had the local engraver laser in their names, “Sean and Cathy,” along with their wedding date. The problem? My brother pointed out that my cousin’s fiancée spells her name with a “K.” –Eamonn Kearney


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