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Picture of Snow Saw - part 1
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  • This is part one of the snow sculpture contest for instructables.  I posted this instructable  here early so others could build this simple tool and greatly expand everyone's ability to create something awesome for the contest.  20 minutes in the garage and your out the door with this bad boy.   Now if only the contest gods would favor me for my willingness to share one of my secret weapons...
  • Now sawing snow may seem an odd thing to do, but it makes for easy snow sculpture.  It allows precision cuts in the snow, is flexible so concave or convex curves are easy and if you want a large area to look nice and smooth a snow saw can't be beat.  The first time you use one you discover how easy it is to wield, even this one at just over 44 inches long.  You can make it smaller of course, bu you will appreciate the extra long blade when make broad cuts that need to look smooth and level.
  • Video to follow in the next day or two, demonstrating the type of cuts you can make with this and its ease of use!  But don't wait for the video, build it now, trust me!
  • Whoops, nearly forgot!  BE SAFE, YOUR USING POWER TOOLS TO CUT OUT A WICKED SHARP BLADE, PROTECT YOUR HEARING, WATCH YOUR EYES, AND ANY APPENDAGES YOU WANT TO KEEP!  DO NOT USE THIS AS A PLAY SWORD OR TOY.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
 
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Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Picture of Tools and Supplies
Tools
Jigsaw
Angle grinder with aluminum cutting zip-cut abrasive discs or... a hacksaw -ech!
Bench clamp
Drill & drill bits that match the diameter of your bolts

Supplies
1/4" plywood scraps suitable for the handle
Aluminum road sign - obtained legally!
4 3/4" bolts, complete with locking nuts - stainless steel is ideal

Step 2: Trace out and cut your blade

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  1. Lay out your sign and trace out your saw blade.  Take advantage of the pre-finished straight edge of one side of the sign.  There really isn't much to the design other then for strength you should make the blade and the handle all in one or full tang.  The handle should be about 12 inches long by 1 1/4 inches.  The blade section is about 31 inches and 1 3/4 inches at the tip and flaring towards the base at about 3 inches wide.  Total length is 44 inches
  2. If you can, just for bonus points, while tracing it out, take advantage of any of the graphics printed on the one side.  Totally not necessary, but if your going to build a time machine into something, might well be into a Delorean.
  3. Once you have the desired shape, put your sign in a vise and cut it out.  I used an angle grinder and an aluminum cutting zip-cut blade.  You could use a jig-saw with metal cutting blade or even a hack-saw.  The angle grinder took about 2 minutes, a jig saw, probably about 10 minutes.  A hack saw, think I would still be in the garage.
  4. Once the general shape is cut out, you can roughly mark how you want the teeth to be layed out.  Remember, this is thin springy aluminum, you are only cutting snow.  A nice irregular jagged saw tooth works best, with 1inch teeth about an inch apart.

Step 3: Zip Zip or Snip Snip

Picture of Zip Zip or Snip Snip
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  1. Cutting out the teeth is simple, just cut into the blade at roughly a 60 degree angle about an half an inch.  Move over a half inch and repeat, all the way from end of the blade to the other. 
  2. Flip it over and repeat, watch the teeth fall away!
  3. Now of course I used the angle grinder.  A jig saw would work, maybe even some tin snips but a hack-saw, ouch

Step 4: Get a handle on it

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  1. The handle is simple, lay your blade on a piece of 1/4 inch plywood that is about 12 inches long, it OK that it overlaps the business side of the blade, as this will be trimmed later. 
  2. Flip the blade over, and trace another.
  3. Cut them both out, I used a jig saw, quick and easy.
  4. See the picture how I changed near what would be the hilt, to expose more teeth.
  5. Next sandwich the blade between the two pieces of plywood and secure in a clamp.
  6. Drill straight through all three layers, spacing out the holes evenly.  4 Holes is more then enough.
  7. Push a bolt through the hole and secure with a locking nylon washer type nut.
  8. Tighten it up firmly, but remember this is just thin plywood, to tight and it will snap.
  9. Don't be tempted to make the bolts flush, you want them there to provide positive grip on the handle.  You SHOULD be wearing gloves when using this and it will provide positive feedback and position.

Step 5: Saw, saw, Saw

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Now go out and saw some snow into something cool, get it, cool - haha sorry.... 

PS: BE CAREFUL, THIS THING IS WICKED SHARP!!!!
l8nite4 years ago
thats a really cool idea and badass looking saw, we don't get much snow in florida..we did get flurries from the recent storm that socked the NE though..But a saw like this would look gruewome in a halloween display ! !
l8nite l8nite4 years ago
I KNOW I typed gruesome, why did it change to gruewome??
Can you put some heat to it...

Kinda like a hot knife/saw...

Great instructable!
iminthebathroom (author)  Greasetattoo4 years ago
I'm sure you could, but being aluminum the heat would disperse so quickly. For ultra smooth snow, they actually burnish it with a slightly curved disk, usually it has been waxed to prevent ice build up. Always though Teflon might work well, perhaps one of the smooth cutting boards.
rimar20004 years ago
Good idea!
iminthebathroom (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Not a new idea though, people have been using snow saws for ever. When I was younger I even saw a plastic one designed for kids to make igloo's at a science toy shop. It doesn't even have to be very sharp, just exaggerated saw teeth make nice clean cuts and with ease. Mine being aluminum is super light. yet allows deep penetration of the snow.
caitlinsdad4 years ago
iminthebathroom (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
nice