Introduction: SABER SAW TO SCROLL SAW

This saber saw can be used normally, or mounted upside-down and used as a scroll saw. Two tools in one! Note the different PVC "foot" designs that hold down the work. The first photo shows the improved blade safety shield, which is the one you should follow.

The old foot design is OK if one is careful not to touch the blade with a finger, but the safest design is the new one.

Step 1: Details of the Design

The foot that holds down one's work, and other parts are made out of PVC plastic. PVC can be heated to form it. Be careful not to burn it, to avoid toxic fumes. I use either a gas stove or a propane torch for heating.

The saw slides forward for removal from the wooden frame. The frame has two pieces of 2X4 screwed to it that bracket two sides of the work table. The clearance is tight and all it takes is a small PVC wedge in the crack to lock the frame firmly to the table.

On the bottom side of the frame is a PVC piece screwed to the wood that applies pressure to the saw housing. That holds the metal base plate of the saw firmly against the wood on the other side and keeps the saw from vibrating up and down. The foot that holds the work down keeps the work from vibrating up and down.

Step 2: Wire Adapter for Cutting Circles

A recent project involved cutting circles out of rubber floor mat material. I needed a center point pin at an adjustable distance from the saw blade to rotate the foam around.

To cut the material, I first punch a hole at the center point with an ice pick. Then, the bent down tip of the wire tool is poked through the hole. I trim the foam in with scissors at one point to bring the saw blade in to the radius distance. Clamp down the wire to the base, turn on the machine, and rotate the foam to cut the circle.

Step 3: Improved Blade Safety Guard

Since publishing this instructable, I have modified the holding "foot" to also be a blade guard.

The guard is made out of heat formed PVC plastic, using a gas stove to flatten the pipe and a propane torch to bend the section that covers the blade. I used some 1/2" plywood while folding the PVC in order to keep the gap space uniform.

I had to saw a slit in the front of the guard in order to see the blade as it cuts, for precision cutting. Two sheet metal screws in elongated holes adjust the height of the foot.

When I was a kid, our scroll saw (what we mistakenly called a jigsaw at the time) had no guard above the foot, so we were just careful not to get cut. I was told at the time that continuous direction blades, like band saws and table saws were much more dangerous than the up and down scroll saw blade. More or less dangerous is still dangerous, though, so I suggest you use this blade covering design.

Comments

author
darrenhall (author)2016-02-26

Really found this build very clever - I usually just clamp my jig saw upside down in my workmate but this INST is far better.
A little while ago I created a F/B group called PROTO - TYPE - CHAT, as one of the coolest builders on Instructables it would be great if ya got time to pop over and maybe put up some of your favorite creations, and the story/inspiration that lead to their production.

Nice INST as always.

author
Paulojds18 (author)2015-12-21

Excelent idea. Thanks!

author
kelseymh (author)2014-11-24

Very nice improvised design. One serious comment: the exposed blade is extremely dangerous. You can, with not much difficulty, remove the last joint on your finger with the design as shown. Adding a split length of PVC pipe to the working foot to cover the blade would eliminate the hazard without compromising functionality.

author
Thinkenstein (author)kelseymh2014-12-13

I have added a new-improved blade safety shield. No time to change all the photos and republish it at the moment but at least the safety issue has been addressed.

author
kelseymh (author)Thinkenstein2014-12-13

I like it a lot! Having the blade visible is great, and as you say important for precision cuts: I've had mine wander off to one side many times.

author
Thinkenstein (author)kelseymh2014-11-25

Good point. There is risk involved. Being careful always helps, but built in safety features are a good idea.

author
LynxSys (author)2014-11-29

I saw the thumbnail picture and came here to say almost exactly the same thing as kelseymh. This is a neat idea (I especially like your circle-cutting attachment) and I love jigs that make handheld tools more useful, but please consider adding a blade guard to that foot (and updating the Instructable if you do). As a woodworker and a former ambulance worker, I'm scared of this setup! My safety concern aside, this is great work!

author
Thinkenstein (author)LynxSys2014-12-13

I have added a new-improved blade safety shield. No time to change all the photos and republish it at the moment but at least the safety issue has been addressed.

author
LynxSys (author)Thinkenstein2014-12-13

Nice work! It looks great and puts my mind at rest!

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Thinkenstein (author)LynxSys2014-11-30

I'll see what I can do. Probably something out of PVC. Thanks for your concern for the public.

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rimar2000 (author)2014-11-25

Bill, my saber saw is identical to yours. ¡Good idea!

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Thinkenstein (author)rimar20002014-11-25

Thanks Rimar. Nice to hear from you again. Hope all goes well with you.

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Dustin Rogers (author)2014-11-24

I have a saw just like that in almost the same setup. I just sandwiched the metal base of the saw between two pieces of plywood held together by drywall screws. I put a work glove around the handle for some cushion and clamped it in a vise. I turned the blade backwards so I'd have a bit of "tabletop" to support the piece before the blade.

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author

Nice solution to the problem.

author
CaseyCase (author)2014-11-24

"Saber saw" and "jigsaw" are the same thing. I think that you mean to use the term "scroll saw" to describe your upside down saber saw/jigsaw setup.

author
Thinkenstein (author)CaseyCase2014-11-25

You appear to be correct. When I was a kid, my father always called our scroll saw a jigsaw, so that's what I learned to call it. Looks like I have to do some unlearning now and rename it.

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Bio: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home ... More »
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