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posted by martyb on Saturday August 12, @03:05AM   Printer-friendly
from the safety-is-no-accident dept.

In 2015, 4,700 people in the US lost a finger or other body part to table-saw incidents. Most of those injuries didn't have to happen, thanks to technology invented in 1999 by entrepreneur Stephen Gass. By giving his blade a slight electric charge, his saw is able to detect contact with a human hand and stop spinning in a few milliseconds. A widely circulated video[1] shows a test on a hot dog that leaves the wiener unscathed.

Now federal regulators are considering whether to make Gass' technology mandatory in the table-saw industry. The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced plans for a new rule in May, and the rules could take effect in the coming months.

But established makers of power tools vehemently object. They say the mandate could double the cost of entry-level table saws and destroy jobs in the power-tool industry. They also point out that Gass holds dozens of patents on the technology. If the CPSC makes the technology mandatory for table saws, that could give Gass a legal monopoly over the table-saw industry until at least 2021, when his oldest patents expire.

At the same time, table-saw related injuries cost society billions every year. The CPSC predicts switching to the safer saw design will save society $1,500 to $4,000 per saw sold by reducing medical bills and lost work.

"You commissioners have the power to take one of the most dangerous products ever available to consumers and make it vastly safer," Gass said at a CPSC public hearing on Wednesday.

Source: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/08/patent-disputes-stand-in-the-way-of-radically-safer-table-saws/

[1] SawStop Hot dog Video - Saw blade retracts within 5 milliseconds of accidental contact - YouTube.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Arik on Saturday August 12, @03:16AM (38 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Saturday August 12, @03:16AM (#552712)
    I watched a guy saw his thumb off on his table saw when I was a kid. Left an impression. This tech sounds awesome.

    But unpaid mandates don't. If this is really so important it should be mandated (and I'm not sure I disagree) then the state should buy out the patent and grant it in general - royalty free.
    --
    "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @03:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @03:26AM (#552714)

      Nope. Privatize the profits!

    • (Score: 2) by snufu on Saturday August 12, @03:27AM (12 children)

      by snufu (5855) on Saturday August 12, @03:27AM (#552715)

      Or their can be no mandate, and instead hold manufacturers liable for public injuries that could have been avoided by using existing proven technology.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Saturday August 12, @04:36AM (7 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @04:36AM (#552725)

        That's a terrible precedent.

        What if you have a similar situation, where there's a dangerous power tool (perhaps a weedwacker), and there's "existing proven technology" that can prevent common accidents that happen with it. Problem is, the "proven technology" is patented, and the patent fee is $100 million per device. Or maybe it's just not even licensed at all, because the company with the patent wants to put everyone out of business.

        How is it in the interest of the state, or even not against anti-trust law, for the state to impose these onerous conditions on the other competitors in the field? The whole idea of the government forcing a bunch of companies out of business so that one can be left with a legally-forced monopoly is wrong on MANY levels.

        If it's so imperative to have this technology, then the state really should be seizing the patent and allowing these companies to use it at no cost.

        And if Gass really wants to stop people from sawing their fingers off, why isn't he offering the patented technology royalty-free?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:53AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:53AM (#552735)

          I miss TMB's old sig line.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:27AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:27AM (#552798)

            What's a TMB?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:44AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:44AM (#553056)

              The Muslim Brotherhood or The Mighty Boosh [youtube.com]

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 12, @01:20PM (3 children)

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @01:20PM (#552838)

          Or maybe it's just not even licensed at all, because the company with the patent wants to put everyone out of business.

          Is lite beer patented? You can imagine teatotaller types putting all the beer companies out of business because their lite beer is safer yet unlicensed.

          Sounds ridiculous today but I'd expect someone to try it with legalized weed. "Lite-weed" which is mixed with non cancer causing grass clippings, perhaps.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Saturday August 12, @02:31PM (2 children)

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 12, @02:31PM (#552854) Homepage Journal

            "Lite-weed" which is mixed with non cancer causing grass clippings, perhaps.

            Marijuana doesn't cause cancer. They did a study a decade or so ago studying long-term use of tobacco and marijuana. Those who smoked both cigarettes and pot had half the cancers of those who only smoked cigarettes, and there were fewer cancers among those who only smoked pot and those who didn't smoke anything, although the difference between nonsmokers and pot smokers was statistically insignificant.

            The results amazed the researchers, who thought that the result would be that those who smoked pot and tobacco would have twice the cancers of cigarette smokers.

            And the only way you could patent a strain of cannabis would be to genetically engineer it.

            --
            Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:29PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:29PM (#552934)

              http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/marijuana-and-lung-health.html [lung.org]

              Oops, better catch up with research. But the study that you and other pro-weed cite didn't control their numbers for the relative amounts smoked. Turns out those that smoke cigarettes smoke a LOT more. When you control for that, the numbers are not nearly as skewed.

              • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday August 12, @07:52PM

                by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @07:52PM (#552937)

                Yeah, if you burn anything and inhale the vapors, plus the nasty combustion by-products, you're polluting your lungs and risking cancer. There are pot smokers who really like "vaporizers" which I guess separate the not-so-harmful vapors from the nastier particulate smoke. But one of the nice things about pot versus tobacco, in my observation as a total non-smoker of anything, is that pot smokers don't smoke *nearly* the volume of material that cigarette smokers do. The cigarette smokers are constantly lighting up, at least every couple hours, but the pot smokers might smoke once in the evening, or even once a week.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by darkpixel on Saturday August 12, @05:48AM

        by darkpixel (4281) on Saturday August 12, @05:48AM (#552760)

        Great idea. Hold the creators accountable. Remember that the next time someone browses the wayback machine and finds your old 1995 geocities site complete with the blink tags and has a seizure.

      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Saturday August 12, @08:38AM (1 child)

        by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @08:38AM (#552801) Journal

        You must be a lawyer.

        No, I take that back. If you were a lawyer you would know that there already was a lawsuit based on this exact concept (person sawed off part of their body and then sued the saw maker for not making their product idiot-proof).

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @10:23AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @10:23AM (#552817)
          This is what drives me crazy about the whole situation.

          Lawyers are heavily indoctrinated that they serve the greater good by doing their jobs. And that's not completely bullshit.

          But in a case like this, follow the dominoes. What are the outcomes?

          1) Sue-er wins, smaller amount, winnings are covered by increasing the cost to future purchasers of saw. Sue-er does get a pile of cash.

          2) Sue-er wins, larger amount, sue-ee is bankrupt, sue-er may or may not manage to get a pile of cash, future saw purchasers have one less option, increasing price and/or decreasing features (including safety features) included, possibly even shutting down last supplier. Particularly if a potentially expensive mandate like this one is won.

          3) Sue-er loses, no award, only lawyers fees need to be covered so price increase may be extremely modest.

          In what possible world is there a better option than 3? How are you making the world a better place when the best possible outcome with you is a modest price increase to consumers for the same good?

          Manufacturers are not averse to safety measures - quite the opposite, frankly, they tend to be enamored of them. But these measures are not free, and it doesn't always make sense to pay what they cost.
      • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Saturday August 12, @09:51AM

        by FakeBeldin (3360) on Saturday August 12, @09:51AM (#552815) Journal

        Can the manufacturers then hold the suers liable for buying table saws without the existing proven technology, when table saws with the existing proven technology are available?

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by captain normal on Saturday August 12, @04:07AM (20 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Saturday August 12, @04:07AM (#552720)

      This is stupid. If some (apparently ~4700 per year numb skulls) idiot doesn't know how to use a push stick and side guides and stand away from the blade line, just hand out the Darwin Awards. New table saws already have a safety cover over the blade to prevent such accidents.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:29AM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:29AM (#552723)

        This is one of those things where the aphorism, "you only have to be unlucky once," really applies. You can be as vigilant and careful as possible, but one slip up is all it takes. An example that happened at my local butcher, was that one of his workers was cutting some meat with a meat band saw when a car ran into the store, which caused him to jump and side-shift the blade, which then snapped in two and went flying across the shop, punched through a plastic wall and cut someone on the other side. I would never have believed that story if it had been told to me by someone else, but the point stands in that many things can happen that cause otherwise normal situations to turn dangerous or deadly. Same with a table saw, you can take all the precautions in the world and still have accidents. And so I'm clear, we could mandate these special guards and I guarantee that people would still get hurt in saw accidents. We need to do a cost-benefit analysis, which I'm not sure comes out in this technology's favor given the costs.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Saturday August 12, @09:08AM (8 children)

          by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @09:08AM (#552803) Homepage Journal

          AC writes: "We need to do a cost-benefit analysis"

          Which is exactly right, and completely true, and applies to essentially every government regulation ever.

          And it never happens.

          Instead, we get (a) people wanting to make money, like the patent holder in this case, (b) politicians wanting to be seen "doing something", (d) ambulance chasing lawyers rejoicing over yet another reason to file lawsuits, (d) Darwin-award winners doing stupid stuff, and ... I'm sure I'm forgetting other factors...

          Part of the problem is also the societal expectation that complete safety is even possible. Another poster wrote about a bizarre accident in a butcher shop. Yep, shit happens, and there is literally nothing we can do to make life completely safe from the unexpected.

          An objective analysis of costs vs. benefits would probably eliminate 90% of government regulations, and make entire herds of bureaucrats unemployed. Unfortunately, it just isn't going to happen :-/

          --
          Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
          • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday August 12, @02:35PM (6 children)

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 12, @02:35PM (#552855) Homepage Journal

            It costs $65 to add this tech to a saw. How much is your hand worth? How much will the hospital bill be? I really don't think a study is needed to determine that fire is hot and water is wet.

            --
            Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday August 12, @10:40PM (5 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @10:40PM (#553006) Journal
              mcgrew, cost is not price. It might cost $65 to put that tech on a saw, but what is the price that the monopoly provider will set that tech at?
              • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Sunday August 13, @05:32PM (4 children)

                by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday August 13, @05:32PM (#553309) Homepage Journal

                The patent expires shortly. It will be expired, along with the monopoly, before congress can pass a law. Congress moves slowly.

                --
                Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @01:03AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @01:03AM (#553410)

                  Now I know you are being disingenuous. First, Congress doesn't have to pass a law, the SawStop people are seeking an administrative rule, which, by law, takes a handful of months, unless Congress or the President take active steps to stop. Second, is just because the first patents expire around 2021 (based on a quick analysis of priority date), that doesn't mean that all patents expire then, and he and his company have a lot.

                  Of course, you'd probably be OK with them requiring all books have special anti-papercut paper invented by Bob's Paper Co.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday August 14, @03:52AM (2 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 14, @03:52AM (#553469) Journal

                  The patent expires shortly.

                  A patent expires shortly, but he has more such.

                  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday August 14, @02:12PM (1 child)

                    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday August 14, @02:12PM (#553671) Homepage Journal

                    The basic patent is set to expire. Afterwards, anybody can make one who has the tools, plans, and expertise.

                    --
                    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 15, @02:16AM

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 15, @02:16AM (#554035) Journal

                      The basic patent is set to expire. Afterwards, anybody can make one who has the tools, plans, and expertise.

                      As long as they don't violate the other patents that this inventor has on the device. It sounds like he has plenty of blocking patents in place.

          • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Saturday August 12, @05:35PM

            by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @05:35PM (#552907) Homepage

            Instead, we get (a) people wanting to make money, like the patent holder in this case, (b) politicians wanting to be seen "doing something", (d) ambulance chasing lawyers rejoicing over yet another reason to file lawsuits, (d) Darwin-award winners doing stupid stuff, and ... I'm sure I'm forgetting other factors...

            Well, you seem to be carefully ignoring all the forces against regulation of products like this, including but not limited to:
            (e) The manufacturers who don't want to go through the time and expense of figuring out how to comply with the new regulations,
            (f) The medical device manufacturers and hospitals that profit when more injuries occur.
            (g) The retailers who want to keep prices down so they can move more product.
            (h) Politicians wanting to be seen as friendly to business.

            There is definitely such a thing as bad over-regulation. There's also definitely such a thing as bad under-regulation. The really hard part is finding the sweet spot between reasonable cost and not too much risk, and maintaining that as new technology changes what can be done at reasonable cost.

            --
            If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @01:47PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @01:47PM (#552843)

          This is one of those things where the aphorism, "you only have to be unlucky once," really applies.

          Indeed, I'm a 'numb skull' who lost the tip of one finger and damaged another on a circular saw, in my case I'd finished cutting, was removing the cut wood from the table in preparation for running another bit through, there was a massive glare/reflection in my glasses, one startle response later....fingers strayed too near the rear end of saw blade (crown guard fitted, but blade was high) saw go chomp chomp...or, more precisely slicey, dicey...

          This was my first accident after 30 years in workshops, and 40 years of using power tools of all types, was there some idiocy involved? maybe, but there was a lot more 'shit happens'. Workshops are full of inherently dangerous machinery, no matter how safety aware you are, familiarity breeds, in my case, complacency. The cutting job I'd carried out on the saw which mohel'd my finger I'd done over two-three years without incident despite it being technically the wrong saw for the job (the argument is that as we've a couple of smaller table saws which would have been more suitable, but as they were in use I should have waited, but, to paraphrase the Bard of Ayrshire, a saw's a saw for a' that...) that morning, however, thanks to clear skies, a strong sun and it's reflection off the side of a passing white van and two sets of open doors..shit indeed happened.

          Regarding the Sawstop, the blade dropping/retracting isn't the most impressive part of the system (and would be impractical/impossible to implement on the saw which bit me), the electrically released spring driven brake is the part of the beastie I'm more impressed with, and looking at the videos, this could be retrofitted to all the saws in my current workshop without too much hassle, and I see they have also have a Bandsaw prototype (I always assumed that it'd be one of the Bandsaws (especially the Band Resaw, never trusted the bugger) which would eventually get me..)

          As to all the whingeing about monopoly from the saw manufacturers, if it stops any other 'numb skull' losing fingers, then fuck them. Mr Gass has come up with a pretty good thing IMHO, he deserves to profit.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Saturday August 12, @04:39AM (4 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @04:39AM (#552727)

        You can't use the safety cover when you're doing a non through-hole cut.

        And people don't do things perfectly even in the best circumstances.

        As for standing away from the blade line, if you're talking about kick-back, it doesn't help that American saw makers refuse to use riving knives instead of their shitty splitters. Riving knives pretty much eliminate kick-back, and are required on all European saws, but as usual the Americans are decades behind (I think the newer Powermatics have them though). And unlike the tech in this article, riving knives don't cost any more in materials than the shitty old-fashioned splitters.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Saturday August 12, @04:59AM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @04:59AM (#552738) Journal

          The tech in this article doesn't cost much either. They charge a lot for it, but the cost of production of the sensor and blade brakes is easily lost in the price of a good saw. Maybe not so easy on your home Depot weekend hobby saw.

          My friend has this on his saw. He builds custom cabinets. His brother lost a thumb in the same trade.
          He showed me the sausage test in person. He also showed how a wet chunk of wood was unsawable, even if you wanted to saw it.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @05:33AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @05:33AM (#552757)

          As of 2009, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) requires that all new table saw designs include a riving knife.

        • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Saturday August 12, @08:32PM (1 child)

          by el_oscuro (1711) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @08:32PM (#552953)

          While I don't know the exact regulations, riving knifes became common here about 4-5 years ago. I was in the market for a new tablesaw and wanted one with a riving knife, so I waited for them. I was going to get the Bosch with the gravity stand, but Rigid made an equivalent model that $500 instead of $600, and more important, it was on the shop floor.

          The riving knife on my saw is quite nice, and I have never made a cut without it. Many saws have shitty knives, but I haven't seen one with a splitter in years. And all of those splitters were so shitty the first thing we did was remove it.

          A few years ago on Fine Woodworking, they had a slow motion video about kick back and why it is so dangerous. It's not the wood being thrown in your face. It is feeding the wood through, and having your fingers in front of the blade when the kickback happens. The kickback will draw your fingers back though the blade very violently.

          The simple expedient of always finishing cuts with your fingers still behind the blade will prevent the most dangerous kickback accidents, and wearing a face guard should help with the rest.
             

          --
          SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday August 12, @09:09PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @09:09PM (#552972)

            A few years ago on Fine Woodworking, they had a slow motion video about kick back and why it is so dangerous. It's not the wood being thrown in your face. It is feeding the wood through, and having your fingers in front of the blade when the kickback happens. The kickback will draw your fingers back though the blade very violently.

            No, it's both. Having wood shot at you is also very dangerous: it can hit your face, or your chest. I've heard of people getting killed by a piece of wood shooting back at them.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 12, @01:31PM (3 children)

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @01:31PM (#552841)

        I have a saw and my understanding is almost all accidents sound like aviation fails, X led to Y led to Z led to losing a thumb or whatever.

        Aside from the operator was drunk/high of course, which is the vast majority.

        Something like there's sawdust on the floor due to inadequate dust collection leading to slip a little leading to stack of raw or sawed wood tips over leading to op trips over the fallen wood leads to flailing hands around trying to grab to prevent the fall leads to grabbing the blade.

        I take a system administrator type of outlook to using my table saw and have a plan before I start and back out plan at all times.

        Also kickback simply isn't that dangerous. Like getting hit with a baseball absolute worst case, but most situations can't be absolute worst case. A 4x8 of plywood isn't going to fly 100 mph there's not enough rotational inertia in the blade to do it. A little match stick sized piece from cutting a miter can't fly supersonic to damage flesh because the tip speed of the blade is only 100 mph or whatever it is and air resistance will do its thing. I can't cut a rabbet without featherboards to keep the work under perfect control, and the featherboards prevent any possible kickbacks as a side effect.

        The "do the best you can" attitude probably saves many lives. "It doesn't have to be very good, I'll just wing it by hand" results in hands getting cut off occasionally, but more perfectionist "this joint will be tighter than business card tight" means I must use featherboards and jigs and stuff and that means I can't get hurt. It's hard to think of other hobbies where the more perfectionist you are, the safer you are. Maybe home car mechanic work like doing a brake job, I guess. Just saying that in woodworking its interesting how producing quality work always seems to involve safe production techniques.

        • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Saturday August 12, @08:00PM (2 children)

          by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Saturday August 12, @08:00PM (#552939)

          "I have a saw."

          doesn't mean you know anything about it.
          You've never actually been in a machine/wood shop before have you?

          "Aside from the operator was drunk/high of course, which is the vast majority."

          Really? Cite a source for this misinformation.

          "Also kickback simply isn't that dangerous."

          Proof you've never touched a table saw.

          "A 4x8 of plywood isn't going to fly 100 mph there's not enough rotational inertia in the blade to do it. A little match stick sized piece from cutting a miter can't fly supersonic to damage flesh because the tip speed of the blade is only 100 mph or whatever it is and air resistance will do its thing."

          It doesn't have to go 100mph. More proof you've never even stepped foot into shop.

          You would be the guy whose fingers I have fished out of the sawdust. Yep, I've worked with your type before. Stay out of shops for all of our safety please.

          --
          The Trump Presidency, an attempt to make Nixon look respectable......
          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday August 13, @02:09PM (1 child)

            by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 13, @02:09PM (#553259)

            Although your post is nearly perfectly content free, I was motivated to skim a CPSC report of table saw injuries from 2007-2008 and there is a minor interpretive issue.

            The TLDR is I made fun of kickbacks because competent operators can't be hurt by kickbacks, which is in fact true and proven in the CPSC study, but 90% to 95% of all table saw accidents come from incompetent operators not using any safety gear while doing dangerous rip cuts that kickback resulting in the vast majority of table saw accidents. So depending on if you look at saw ops as competent by default or incompetent by default colors how you look at the risks of kickback.

            IF the operator is totally incompetent and intentionally refuses to use safety gear like feather boards riving knifes guards jigs shooting boards and push sticks and then rips small pieces of wood very close to the blade, that accounts for 90% to 95% of all table saw injuries. If you exclude "stupid ripping tricks" then the danger of a table saw slips down to other tools and most of the injuries are like "strained back moving heavy saw across workshop" or "lacerated hand while opening blade storage package" type of ridiculous stuff.

            It seems if you're ripping small pieces almost touching the blade while holding the work with your hands with no safety or anti-kickback gear at all, its rather likely it'll kick back and the odds are very high the kickback will involve pushing hand into blade leading to accident. But only the dumbest idiots use a saw that way. I've never experienced a kickback while ripping because I've never been dumb enough to not use the plethora of cheap and easy gear.

            I have experienced plenty of kickbacks when crosscutting and thats where the "kickbacks never hurt nobody" commentary comes from. If you're cross cutting a 3/8 dowel and the end kicks back as you cut it off, it hurts about as much as having a pencil thrown at you, actually a bit less, I've never seen a small cross cut scrap kicked further than I can throw a pencil, its not a tungsten dart 20mm rifle round. So it bounces off my normal shop safety gear, ore more likely hits the floor 5 feet away, and does nothing. Likewise something big and heavy getting crosscut like the plywood back panel of a bookcase, first of all I'm behind the center of mass of the work which puts my body parts like a yard away from the dangerous spinning parts, secondly, there's not enough inertia in the blade to accelerate the cut off piece must faster than if it fell off the table. So I've also never been hurt crosscutting anything huge because I'm really far away from ground zero and big stuff can't move fast. I've taken the occasional cut off end of a 2x4 to the chest which feels not as bad as getting hit by a baseball but but it is kinda annoying. Not being an idiot I have a study leather apron in my safety gear so I imagine getting punched in the gut while wearing only a tee shirt or shirtless might leave a bit more serious of a mark, LOL. A few things have ping'd off my face shield but nothing gets thru to the safety glassed so no worries. Also not being an idiot its very rare for me to stand in line with the blade precisely because of kickback, so I haven't been hit many times while crosscutting.

            Actually I've had wood shatter in the lathe and that is WAY more exciting that a mere table saw kickback. Wood is organic, you can never really tell whats gonna happen.

            • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday August 15, @01:12PM

              by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday August 15, @01:12PM (#554243)

              It seemed you were making light of issues of kickback and saw safety as well. I got a tad worked up as you sounded exactly like the guy I described whose fingers I fished out of the sawdust.

              I have seen properly operated saws catch on an odd patch of wood and spun out sideways with enough force to put a worker in the hospital with three broken ribs. As I was a sawyer safety trainer with Allpak for years so I took it a bit personal. Apologies.

              Yeah, shattered wood in a lathe is an unforgettable experience.....almost as much fun as the idiot who knocked over the Oxygen tank breaking the valve off....Went through a brick wall and firmly lodged itself in the side of a semi truck trailer full of wooden panels. Rocket power for the win!

              Too much beer before posting. I hope I am not rambling too much.
              Peace.

              --
              The Trump Presidency, an attempt to make Nixon look respectable......
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday August 12, @02:21PM (1 child)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 12, @02:21PM (#552850) Homepage Journal

      Here's [youtube.com] a video of the saw in action. Its only drawback is, it will only save your hand once; the saw won't operate after saving a limb. But a new saw is a lot cheaper than having them sew your hand back on.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by richtopia on Saturday August 12, @08:42PM

        by richtopia (3160) on Saturday August 12, @08:42PM (#552956) Homepage Journal

        I've run Saw Stop saws. If anyone has a Tech Shop near them, all of their makerspaces have the saws. Talking with one of the staff they have about 1 stop every month. It does cost the person with the accident about 60 bucks to replace the blade and brake, but is leaves a scratch on par with a bad splinter.

        You can disable the Saw Stop for some cuts. There are a lot of false positives if you aren't careful: the technology depends on conductivity, so if you cut anything with a staple or too wet it will trigger.

        There is a premium of Saw Stop over other brands without brakes. I cannot afford to own a Saw Stop saw, but I hope with this mandated the cost will come down.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Saturday August 12, @04:01PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday August 12, @04:01PM (#552879)

      It has happened before. Just prior to WWI, when the need for airplanes became pressing, the Gov't basically forced the Wright Brothers to stand down on their aggressive patent lawsuits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers_patent_war#The_patent_pool_solution [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 2) by tekk on Saturday August 12, @03:37AM

    by tekk (5704) on Saturday August 12, @03:37AM (#552717)

    Way back the US government just forced all manufacturers into a patent pool where you had to pay a nominal fee to get in and that's it. They could probably also just invalidate the dude's patents.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:05AM (19 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:05AM (#552719)

    What if I want to cut a piece of metal, that I'm holding in my hand? Will the saw stop? Safety tech usually has drawbacks that aren't mentioned.

    I vote no on the mandate. Everyone should be careful around power tools and sharp objects. If you want extra safety, you can buy this kind of saw, but don't force it on everyone. Even under Trump, the nanny-state lives on.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Saturday August 12, @04:47AM (18 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @04:47AM (#552729)

      What if I want to cut a piece of metal, that I'm holding in my hand? Will the saw stop? Safety tech usually has drawbacks that aren't mentioned.

      There's no drawback. This tech won't work for metal, nor for overly damp wood. To deal with this, these saws have an extra button you press to disable the SawStop safety mechanism when you're cutting stuff like that. Of course, then you lose your protection, but you're probably not cutting that stuff most of the time anyway. In case you aren't sure about a piece of wood, you can just touch the wood to the blade while the motor isn't running, and it'll light up an indicator light to tell you it would trigger the mechanism if the blade were running.

      If you want extra safety, you can buy this kind of saw

      The problem with this mentality is that the people losing their fingers aren't the ones making the purchasing decision in many cases. It's not just hobbyists buying table saws, you know. And hobbyists probably have significantly better safety statistics, because they don't do this stuff day in, day out, and don't develop the complacency that professionals do, nor are they usually in a rush.

      Do you think taxi companies should be allowed to buy taxicabs without airbags and seatbelts too, and taxi drivers should just die when they get in a crash?

      Maybe you could make the argument that saws used in professional settings must have this tech, while hobbyists are allowed to buy cheaper ones without it, and companies using the hobbyist saws are subject to huge OSHA fines, just like companies with factories are subject to far more onerous safety regulations that some guy with a home-built CNC machine in his basement.

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday August 12, @05:29AM (13 children)

        by mhajicek (51) on Saturday August 12, @05:29AM (#552751)

        So if I'm a business owner who buys a table saw for cutting aluminum, my operators have to remember to disable this feature before each and every cut, and WHEN they forget the saw is destroyed and I have to buy another.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:01AM (10 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:01AM (#552764)

          WHEN they forget the saw is destroyed and I have to buy another.

          What the hell are they doing that would destroy the saw when it stops? Throwing aluminum at it?

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:02AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:02AM (#552781)

            "Stop" and "Emergency Stop" are not the same thing. The first is a safe shut-down, the second brakes so hard that it destroys equipment because, as the name says, it's supposed to save life and limb in an EMERGENCY. This is standard in industrial equipment of all sorts.

          • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday August 12, @09:17AM (6 children)

            by mhajicek (51) on Saturday August 12, @09:17AM (#552806)

            Touching the blade with something conductive while it's running destroys the saw. Have you watched the videos?

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday August 13, @03:29AM (5 children)

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 13, @03:29AM (#553084)

              What are you talking about? On the SawStop, it destroys the blade, not the saw. A blade is maybe $100 for a good one; not pocket change for most people, but a lot cheaper than the saw. If you have a spare on hand, it takes a few minutes to swap out.

              • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Sunday August 13, @05:32AM (4 children)

                by mhajicek (51) on Sunday August 13, @05:32AM (#553124)

                I think there's a good chance it damages the bearings and spindle axle. I've seen those kinds of forces destroy machines before.

                • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday August 14, @02:12AM (3 children)

                  by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 14, @02:12AM (#553425)

                  Citation needed. Everything I've ever read about SawStop, including their own literature, says nothing like this: you replace the blade and stopping cartridge and you're back in business.

                  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday August 14, @09:41PM (2 children)

                    by mhajicek (51) on Monday August 14, @09:41PM (#553849)

                    Their device intentionally causes what we in the machining industry call a "crashed spindle", which generally voids all warranty on a spindle no matter the machine type. It's possible that they dramatically overbuilt their spindle to handle these forces, which would partially explain why their cheapest saw costs $1400 when I can buy something otherwise comparable for $140 at Harbor Freight. Yes, literally 10% of the cost. Replacement Sawstop cartridges are $70 to $90 each, so unless it can run without one I'd have to pay for a Harbor Freight saw every two times someone forgot to disable the "feature".

                    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Tuesday August 15, @04:10PM (1 child)

                      by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 15, @04:10PM (#554296) Journal

                      It's possible that they dramatically overbuilt their spindle to handle these forces, which would partially explain why their cheapest saw costs $1400 when I can buy something otherwise comparable for $140 at Harbor Freight.

                      Or perhaps it's because you're comparing to Harbor Freight, the place that sells tools so cheap they can't even manage a goddamn SCREWDRIVER BIT that won't shatter on the very first use. I've seen disposable napkins that were sturdier than their "tools". You've gotta be out of your mind if you're buying a table saw from that place...

                      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Tuesday August 15, @08:03PM

                        by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday August 15, @08:03PM (#554404)

                        I have several Harbor Freight tools which perform as well as or better than Home Depot tools. When the job calls for a $140 tool, I don't want the government mandating that I buy a $1400 tool.

          • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Saturday August 12, @04:11PM

            by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday August 12, @04:11PM (#552884)

            Actually, that is exactly what they are doing. See here at about 3:35 -- the blade bites into and embeds itself into a hunk of aluminum for the quick stop, then that part needs to be replaced along with blade. There is also a possibility of damage to the electric motor.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnlTGndRi38 [youtube.com]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:00AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:00AM (#553041)
            Actually yes.

            It jams a giant block of aluminum into the blade stopping it. (and destroying it)
        • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:57AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:57AM (#552794)

          If you bought a table saw to cut metal then you've bought the wrong tool for the job.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by mhajicek on Saturday August 12, @09:15AM

            by mhajicek (51) on Saturday August 12, @09:15AM (#552805)

            Table saws with carbide tipped blades are actually excellent for rapidly cutting aluminum plate, much better than bandsaws. Source: 23 years of machining experience, and I run a machine shop.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 12, @02:06PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @02:06PM (#552844)

        professionals

        Table saws are rapidly nearing their post-professional era. Kind of like how metal shops don't have or use horizontal mills or shapers anymore so you can't buy them new. Or how most home electronics were not assembled on an assembly line using hand soldering irons. Or how most cooks, professional and amateur, have oursourced butchering services from their kitchens for better or worse.

        They'll always be a place for stuff like custom crown molding installation inside houses, well, probably, but the days of table saws on factory floors are already gone, too productive and cheap to use automation and CNC.

        I would not be entirely surprised with ever increasing automation and technology if the table saw market eventually disappears except for hobbyists and retro people.

        For example people don't buy table saws because they're cool machines, they buy them because they want controlled predictable perfect cross cuts on a piece of wood, for example. Well... you're gonna need a CNC wood mill for market pressure anyway, and with advanced machine vision and robot arm clamping tech, you could casually toss a 2x4 on the mill bed and the machine vision will figure out a perfect 90.000 degree cut on both ends at precisely 92 5/8 standard wall stud length (or WTF it is, I think thats standard wall stud length?) regardless how you toss the 2x4 on the mill bed. In fact you can toss 5 or 10 studs at a time on the mill bed and the robot arm will feed material in and out and nicely stack it. And you need the mill to do millwork onsite anyway. So why purchase and haul a table saw that does an inferior job more slowly and more labor expense?

        I would not be surprised if in 10, 20, 30 years people look back on using old fashioned table saws like most woodworkers look back on using jointers hand planes from the middle ages, well, that's very interesting and historical and makes interesting TV coverage but that ain't happening in my shop thanks!

        The impact on structural engineering and building codes of aerospace grade onsite CNC manufactured tolerances is interesting to think about. No more "pound to make it fit" or "the house will settle eventually making that gap disappear"

        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Sunday August 13, @05:41AM

          by mhajicek (51) on Sunday August 13, @05:41AM (#553128)

          Metal shops don't use horizontal mills anymore huh? That would be news to the machine tool industry. I would say most high volume machining is done on horizontals. As far as table saws go, you might as well claim that hammers are going out of fashion. Why put a process on a $200k+ machine when you can do it at least as fast on a $500 table saw?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:10PM (#552883)

        There are two very big differences though. First is that seat belts and airbags are not monopolies by one company (who is the petitioner for this rule, BTW). But are available to all car companies, precisely to make their use as widespread as possible. The second is if you actually look at the safety statistics they cite in the proposal, hobbyists account for approximately 3/4 of injuries and are more likely to have severe ones.

        As a final note, you'd better believe that if the actuaries for workman's comp thought requiring SawStop would save them money, it would be on their safety rider, just like a bunch of other safety and protective equipment is.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @10:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @10:10PM (#552992)

        Driving cars is a licensed activity, especially taxis. You don't need a license to cut wood with a saw. It's reasonable for licensed activities to have various government regulations, including for safety. But if you want the government to solve all problems and prevent all accidents, I guess they should also regulate table saws.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:36AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:36AM (#552726)

    Bosch has a system that only wastes cartridges, not blades, as eveything moves down. And IIRC they got sued by Stephen Gass. Oh, mentioned in TFA. Yep, smells like monopoly by writing yourself the laws. Demo of Bosch REAXX https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFiJD5w-cZU [youtube.com] Damn fast, don't blink. And don't try to cut sausages, useless.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @05:09AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @05:09AM (#552741)
      Good thing it only waste cartridges since it triggers incorrectly in that video. At 1:52 the plastic cover has only just lifted and then it goes off.
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Saturday August 12, @06:29AM

      by captain normal (2205) on Saturday August 12, @06:29AM (#552772)

      Lesson: don't put your wiener in saw. And don't use the dumb guide like the one used in the demo with your thumb behind it.

  • (Score: 2) by Sulla on Saturday August 12, @05:59AM (3 children)

    by Sulla (5173) on Saturday August 12, @05:59AM (#552763) Journal

    I would love to get one, the tech is awesome and much safer than traditional table saws. Unfortunately I am not in a position to shell out 1500-3000 for a table saw. This will do great for carpentry businesses and to ill for tool retailers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:04AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:04AM (#552782)

      That's what it costs now, but with more units the price will come down. Also, we're already paying for the costs of these mishaps in terms of L&I and the subsequent inability to work effectively.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by mhajicek on Saturday August 12, @09:20AM

        by mhajicek (51) on Saturday August 12, @09:20AM (#552808)

        Price will only go up if it's mandated. No more $100 Harbor Freight tools for us.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday August 12, @02:44PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 12, @02:44PM (#552857) Homepage Journal

      It was invented in 1999, [wikipedia.org] so the patent will expire soon.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by drussell on Saturday August 12, @08:37AM (3 children)

    by drussell (2678) on Saturday August 12, @08:37AM (#552800) Journal

    There is absolutely NO WAY that injuries cost society $1500 to $4000 per table saw!

    I want to see that data and their calculations on the installed base of table saws!!

    :facepalm:

    Terrible idea.

    • (Score: 2) by qzm on Saturday August 12, @09:36AM

      by qzm (3260) on Saturday August 12, @09:36AM (#552811)

      Thats because they calculate it, in typical retardocrat style, by comparing new sales per year and injuries per year.
      Because as we all know, people are NEVER injured by the existing base of saws...

      So yes, you are absolutely correct, it is a stupid number.

      But this is now government do-gooders rationalise nearly everything, and they get away with it, continuously.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @09:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @09:47AM (#552813)

      How much money do you want for your thumb? I'll give you a discount for both thumbs...

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by RedBear on Saturday August 12, @03:46PM

      by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @03:46PM (#552872)

      There is absolutely NO WAY that injuries cost society $1500 to $4000 per table saw!
      I want to see that data and their calculations on the installed base of table saws!!

      I want to see YOUR data and calculations proving that those numbers are way off the mark. Got any?

      Health insurance and worker's comp in this country will shell out for astronomically expensive reconstructive surgery if there is any hope of restoring functionality, and for very expensive but inadequate prosthetics otherwise. Because we are not a third-world country where only the wealthy have access to health care options. But often there is no way to restore the abilities that were lost, and the loss of full productivity of a trained worker has an actual, measurable economic cost. For both the company and society as a whole.

      I will never be able to fathom how profit-worshipping conservatives have such a hard time understanding that everything in life has a price tag attached. The smartest employers will have already invested in this kind of technology or will be strongly in favor of requiring all equipment manufacturers to at least have this tech available in the models their business uses. Because they know every time the safety feature gets activated, even if it destroys a $99 blade and requires replacement of a $99 safety stop, they will have likely just dodged a minimum $100,000 worker's comp claim and a minimum loss of $25,000 during the training period for a new worker to do that same job. This is not rocket surgery.

      --
      ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
      ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Saturday August 12, @01:45PM (4 children)

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @01:45PM (#552842)

    They have to hurry to embed this into law. We're very close to using machine vision and AI to detect the operator doing something really stupid, and non-contact vision being much earlier warning instead of destroying the motor / brakes / blade it can be decelerated at a very fast but not self-destructive rate.

    Its very hard for a human hand to move over 100 mph controllably like while throwing a baseball. For an engineering estimate 1 mph is 1 foot per second (yeah no kidding its not 1:1 but its also not more than 10:1 off). Your average saw spins about 60 times per second. Lets say the machine vision system can tell you're about to F up and stick your hand in the blade at 100 mph incoming speed from 1/2 a foot away, thats about 1/200th of a second warning. That's about a third of a rotation of the saw blade which should be survivable and not need hardware replacement time every time it fires.

    Its interesting that 1/200th of a second is so slow (compared to contact detectors) that you could just use springs and solenoids to launch the blade and motor beneath the table.

    So with physical contact detection you need the saw to basically self destruct, but with machine vision based monitoring, the fastest baseball pitcher in the world can't punch the saw fast enough for a non-self destructive safety system to work.

    The point is the guy wants to use the patent system and human suffering to make money, but he's literally just a couple years, maybe mere months, away from technological obsolescence, so he needs to hurry up and buy laws from our legal system while he can. Maybe this soon to be obsolete technology could be milked for decades once its forced into law that its the only legal technology "stack" for the problem.

    TLDR is the saw stop of the future (phrase in the sense of all photocopiers are Xerox machines) is something like a raspi-zero and a webcam and some real time os processing and some spring and solenoid system on the saw depth of cut mechanism. All this "shoot a shotgun slug into the moving blade" junk is about to be obsolete so the legal scam has to be implemented Right Now or it'll be too late for the legacy tech.

    • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Saturday August 12, @09:00PM (3 children)

      by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Saturday August 12, @09:00PM (#552969)

      "Its interesting that 1/200th of a second is so slow (compared to contact detectors) that you could just use springs and solenoids to launch the blade and motor beneath the table"

      Bosch already has a system like this called REAXX. It does exactly what you describe and uses a replaceable cartridge so you don't damage the machine like this system does as it drives a piece of aluminum into the blade to stop it.

      "The point is the guy wants to use the patent system and human suffering to make money"

      Yep, he even sued Bosch over their tech. He wants a monopoly.

      --
      The Trump Presidency, an attempt to make Nixon look respectable......
      • (Score: 2) by Sulla on Saturday August 12, @10:24PM

        by Sulla (5173) on Saturday August 12, @10:24PM (#552999) Journal

        I would shell out for the double-double. I want it to detect and drop and also wreck the blade if the sensors fail.

        How well does the bosch sensor hold up to getting covered in dust?

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @10:42PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @10:42PM (#553008)

        Bosch already has a system like this called REAXX. It does exactly what you describe and uses a replaceable cartridge so you don't damage the machine like this system does as it drives a piece of aluminum into the blade to stop it.

        I tried to find those cartridges, and what I came up with is $100 for a double. So a wet spot in wood, or a hot dog, will cost you $50. I'm hoping what I found was wrong, and for $100 you get 20 of them.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday August 13, @01:35PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 13, @01:35PM (#553240)

          So a wet spot in wood, or a hot dog, will cost you $50.

          Well there you go. Thats kinda my point that with the sensor being based on physical touch capacitance or resistance in a circuit going thru the operator, with machine vision instead of requiring the speed of a shotgun shell or a electrical blasting cap or whatever, a mere reusable spring and solenoid "should be fast enough". Note that my numbers were kind of ridiculous and most people don't thru a baseball pitcher 100 mph pitch at a table saw blade... technically it doesn't have to disappear before the hand arrives, it merely needs to accelerate fast enough to be moving away from the hand faster than the hand is moving toward it by the time the hand arrives...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:54AM (#553059)

    A saw that won't cut off your finger? Watch the inventor demonstrate by using his own finger:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cTUOhYcw4ZY [youtube.com]

    Save a hotdog today!

    Made by a company i have no affiliation with.

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