July 31, 2007

Irwin Chop Saw/Miter Saw Laser Guide

irwin_laser_guide.jpgThese days it seems like you can't buy a saw without it coming with some sort of laser blade guide. These little guys are installed on the blade and project a laser line onto the workpiece right where the blade is going to cut. Now, thanks to Irwin, you don't need to buy a whole new tool to have this technology. You can just pick up one of their Laser Guides and in no time, your 15 year old DeWalt saw has a 21st century makeover.

The Irwin Laser Guide automatically turns on when the blade is in rotation and it is powered by a battery that lasts for around 5,000 cuts. Most importantly, it's easy to install…

…Or is it? According to a commenter over at Amazon, there's more to the story…

The laser mounts on the saw shaft, replacing the washer to clamp the blade to the saw. I tried to mount it with the irwin saw blade and discovered the saw blade wasn't as thick as the length of saw shaft arbor, so the blade spun independently of the shaft when the laser was mounted to the saw. I switched to a wider kerf blade that was thicker and resolved this problem. With the new blade and laser mounted, I discovered an interference with the laser and the saw blade guard. The laser was too thick, and reached the blade guard. I had to remove the blade guard and grind away part of a washer and spring to provide enough clearance for the laser to fit and rotate. This resolved the interference problem.

Like all Amazon comments, we take this one with a grain of salt (although unlike the majority of Amazon comments, this guy actually sounds sane and didn't use a single exclamation point). But still, once installed, the writer absolutely loved the laser, and gave it the full five stars.

As far as the laser technology in general goes, we tend to ignore the laser for most cuts, but it does come in handy with things like crown molding, where it's tougher to see exactly where the blade will make contact with the wood.

There are two laser guides available; one for chop saws and one for miter saws. The chop saw guide sells for just over $15, while the miter saw guide, which comes with a few extra attachment parts, retails for just over $25.

Chop Saw Guide at Amazon.com
Miter Saw Guide at Amazon.com

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at July 31, 2007 5:45 AM
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