Introduction: World´s Smallest Portable Table Saw?

Picture of World´s Smallest Portable Table Saw?

When it comes to woodworking the table saw is is an irreplaceable tool. Rip-cuts, cross-cuts, miter-cuts, bevelled-cuts etc. Of course, all of this could be done with a regular handheld circular saw but a table saw allows you to be more precise.

Now, I do not know if this saw that I built is actually the smallest in the world but I did not see any smaller ones on the internet.

The table has foldable legs which when closed are held in place with small magnets. They have an angle of 15 degrees which in combination with gravity will make the table really stable. It can easily handle my body weight! The setup time is around 30 seconds and when folded together the whole thing can be carried with one hand (saw in the other)

The table can also be used for other purposes such as alternative meditation bench, chair, dining table or workbench.

I built this table saw out of personal need. I often do construction work and I have a few big jobs coming up soon. I am planning on finishing the second floor of my flat and I have on an awesome project with my father. And of course, the main building material will be 2X4-s or 5X10 as we like to call them. I designed this saw so that it can easily cut such material. This simple add-on to circular saw allows to step my game up a notch and do some really precise cuts much faster.

I tried to keep the text part of this ´ible as short as possible. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave them down in the comments and I will try to respond to them as soon as possible!

Have you built something similar? I would love to see your version!

Check out the video I made! Let´s get started!

PS: Circular saws are dangerous and should not be toyed around with!

Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed for This Build!

Picture of Tools and Materials Needed for This Build!

In this step, I will only have tools and materials for building the table. Requirements for crosscut sled and rip fence will be at the end of this instructable. I have also added a Sketchup file of the project. This is not the final product and the measurements vary slightly from what I actually built!

  • The main component is of course plywood. I used 20 mm thick marine plywood as it was the one I already had. Using marine plywood also means that it will last longer in rough and wet conditions and does not bend so easily. Of course any plywood or harder sheet materials can be used but in that case, some timber preservation (varnish, etc) is needed.
  • L-bar (20x20mm, wall thickness 3mm, length: enough to cover sides and back) This is used to cover the side and back edges to really toughen them and to make sure the plywood can not bend. This is not really needed when using marine plywood but I did it anyway. A big minus is that it adds quite a bit of weight. As a hindsight, I would say that the L-bar on the sides is not really necessary as it will not add any strength to the structure (just some weight). The back one is absolutely necessary when you plan on adding a miter track ( 1cm cutout in 2cm material will make it really brittle.
  • Flat bar (width: 40mm, thickness: 4mm, length: width of the table). This is used to cover the front edge of the table and is also part of the rip fence mechanism. I will explain it later.
  • Aluminium U-track. This will be used to make miter track. I used 10x10mm one as it was the only one I found, but I would recommend using 10X20 one if possible
  • Wood screws - have to be shorter than the thickness of the plywood.
  • Piano hinges - I found one that was 1 meter long and it was enough.
  • 8 Button magnets
  • Paint for metal parts
  • Oil for plywood edges

Tools:

  • Circular saw/table saw
  • Drill press and cordless drill
  • Chop saw/ hack saw/ metal band saw
  • Jig saw/ band saw
  • Hot glue gun/ epoxy
  • Router/router table

Step 2: The Table

Picture of The Table
  • Start by cutting the table to size (1000x600mm)
  • Router a groove for the L-bar on sides and back
  • Inside corner of the L-bar is not exactly a corner - it is quite round. Chamfer the edge to accommodate that.
  • Cut the L-bars for the back and sides and flat bar for the front to size.
  • Drill holes and countersinks
  • Attach the metal to the plywood!
  • Drill a series of holes with a spade bit near one edge (back) to make a handle, smoothen it with a chisel and roundover bit.

Step 3: The Legs

Picture of The Legs
  • Carefully measure and cut the legs to size. First, cut the 15-degree bevels on a table saw and then set up a stop block on crosscut sled to cut the 15 degree angles on the sides.
  • Rout a groove for piano hinge (double check before you do so)
  • Drill holes with hole saw. These holes will make the construction just a bit lighter and they can be used to clamp the table to a firm surface. Later on, I also added a row of holes - It was mainly because one clip (for attaching the circular saw) was right under one leg. To make it symmetrical I decided to cut holes in both legs.
  • Round over the sharp edges with router and/or roundover plane
  • Cut the piano hinge to size and attach it to the legs.
  • Measure and attach the legs! I later on doubled the amount of screws that were holding the hinges. This made it really stiff!
  • Drill a small hole in the leg, push a small nail in there and close the leg to transfer the hole to the table. Take out the nail and drill a bigger hole for button magnet. Attach the button magnets with hot glue or epoxy. Repeat the process until the legs stay closed when carrying the table (It was 4 pairs for me)

Step 4: Attaching the Circular Saw

Picture of Attaching the Circular Saw

Now comes the big moment you have been waiting for! Attaching the saw and plunge cutting for the first time. Do not mess it up like I did!

  • Measure and align the saw. Reference from the flat bar on the front as you want the saw to be perpendicular to that.
  • Bear in mind that the saw has to clear the leg even if it is at its full cut capacity. I messed it up the first time. No worries, I cut a thin strip of plywood and glued it to the hole made by first plunge cut. On the second cut, I made sure that the motor unit cleared the leg.
  • Fix it temporarily in place with screws.
  • Plunge cut!
  • After that mark where the saw is with a marker and rout a cavity around 1 cm deep. I did this only so that I could cut 2x4-s on the table saw (It added 1cm to my cut height) This is of course not mandatory.
  • Now comes the tricky part of fixing the saw securely to the table. Of course, screws could be used for this but it requires a cordless drill and is overall more time-consuming. I decided to make 4 clips that easily secure the circular saw in place. They are made out of plywood, pan-head screws and washers. I think that pictures (and video) explain it pretty well. Tighten the screws by hand so that they are fairly tight but still turnable by hand. You should aim for at least four clips in every corner, but every saw is different (mine is pretty bulky).
  • I routed the cavity just a bit to big for so the saw so ended up adding two plywood blocks that would further fix the saw in place.

Step 5: The Miter Track

Picture of The Miter Track

I decided to also add miter track so that I can do also crosscuts.

For this you will need:

  • Aluminium U-track
  • Small screws
  • Router with a straight bit
  • 2 clamps
  • Straight edge
  • Framing square
  • Set up your router by doing test cuts on some scraps
  • Measure and align the framing square and straight edge. Clamp it down firmly!
  • Rout! (repeat if your router bit is smaller than the width of the U-track)
  • Drill holes in U-track and attach it with screws

Step 6: Rip Fence and Crosscut Sled

Picture of Rip Fence and Crosscut Sled

Of you also need some guides to make your cut (please, please, please do not do it freehand)

Crosscut sled is pretty straight forward. Four pieces of wood connected with brad nails and wood glue. I did not bother to fine tune it to exactly 90 degrees as the saw is not meant for fine woodworking.

The rip fence is bit more complex.

You will need:

  • Plywood
  • Pan-head screws
  • 2 furniture bolts and 2 lock nuts
  • Adjustable furniture leg and a single bolt
  • A piece of flat bar (I used 6mm thick, 60mm wide, around 15 cm long)
  • Small piece of L-bar from earlier
  • Some wood for the knob
  • Epoxy
  • Paint and oil

Tools: Welding machine, chop saw /metal band saw, drill press, cordless drill, brand nailer, wood glue, tap set

  • Start by cutting strips of plywood for the fence. I made my fence 60mm wide and 80mm tall.
  • Make a long box by glueing and nailing the pieces together (see pictures)
  • Add small pieces in the middle to strengthen the structure. I left the first slot intentionally bigger as it will hold pencils.
  • Cut the metal to size and tap the holes for furniture leg and two bolts. This piece could technically also be made out of wood but it would have to be thicker and bulkier (and no nearly as strong)
  • Weld the metal parts together as shown in the pictures. Be sure to add the furniture leg in before you do that!
  • Paint the thing!
  • Make a small knob and epoxy it in place
  • Attach the metal part to the wooden "box" you made earlier
  • Try it out! If the end of the fence tends to rise when tightening the screw, add an end piece (out of plywood) that won't allow that.
  • Oil the wooden parts

So how does the mechanism work?

When tightened, the furniture leg will press on the flat bar in front of the table. This pulls the two furniture bolts against the back side of the flat bar. These bolts allow to adjust the fence and when you have found that it is parallel to the saw you can fix the position by adding to lock nuts. It is pretty primitive and simple (but it works)!

Step 7: The End

Picture of The End

That´s it - the saw is ready!

As you can see the saw is pretty strong! I was actually quite surprised myself that when I stood or sat on the table, it did not show any sign of breaking.

Check out the video if you did not see it already!

Of course, you have to bear ion mind that this saw is not for fine woodworking. The circular saw that I used hat quite a lot of play in its trunnions/hinges. I do not think that other handheld circular saws are much better. This table saw is merely for rough construction work!

It is super easy to transport this thing! It stays compact until you give it a nudge and the legs open. You attach the saw, plug it in and add the guide and you are ready to go! It all takes just around 30 seconds to set up!

I hope you enjoyed this project!

Cheers

Andu

Comments

Dui ni shuo de dui (author)2017-03-13

Nice little table saw but I think you may want to use an other system than the clips to hold it in place, first because they can become loose due to vibration at some point, and second because it might break in case of kickback or exceptional event. You probably better bolt it directly to the table and use butterfly nuts to quicky remove the saw whenever you need.

Other than this, great build !

Thank you!

Yes, I am aware of the possible accident that can occur due to failing clips.

Butterfly nuts sound like a fantastic idea! Thanks! :)

brmarcum (author)2017-03-13

I'm thoroughly impressed. Well done. I wouldn't use it for fine furniture, but you make the point that it's not for that use anyway.

Two thoughts I had. The first is how well do the clips hold the saw to the underside of the table? Does the vibration of the motor loosen them over time? The last thing you need is for a clip to give out in the middle of use. So many bad days.

The second is how to maintain the 'squareness' of the rip fence. In the video you can see the end of the fence opposite the user (nearest to the camera) flex as you push material through. Any thoughts on how to secure both ends so the cut stays square?

CraftAndu (author)brmarcum2017-03-13

Thank you very much!

Yes, the clips.... They were the best option I could think of. I was aware of the possible problem right from the beginning. Them vibrating loose would be a real bugger. I will definitely keep an eye on them and report if anything happens. Could you think of any better/safer ways to attach the saw to the table?

If I really tighten the knob then the "hook" at the end of the fence is pressed tight against the back edge of the table. This rules out the flexing. In the video, I did not really tighten it well.

brmarcum (author)CraftAndu2017-03-13

I think metal might work better as it is less prone to wear compared to wood.

Maybe some kind of a cam style clip that has a small indentation on the saw side of the clip that would catch on the lip of the saw's base plate. There would be a noticable 'click' feel as the indentation fell into place over the base plate. This would make it harder for the vibration to overcome the tension holding the saw up.

egallet (author)2017-03-12

That is a tribute to old world craftsmanship. A time when as much detail went into the aesthetics of the tools and equipment as went into the product. ?

CraftAndu (author)egallet2017-03-13

Thanks!

RodrigoL11 (author)2017-03-13

Very good job!!!! I'will make one for me!!! Pretty cool!

CraftAndu (author)RodrigoL112017-03-13

Awesome! I would love to see how it turns out!

Cion Cassiano (author)2017-03-13

Beautiful design, inspiring.

CraftAndu (author)Cion Cassiano2017-03-13

Thank you very much!

CraftAndu made it! (author)2017-03-12

I have upgraded the Sketchup drawing. It should be pretty accurate now ;)

CarlinC1 (author)2017-03-12

That's really cool!
I have a cordless circular saw that I might make one of these for.
I'll be going off grid soon, and it would be nice to be able to do some builds with out starting the generator all the time. Well Done!

CraftAndu (author)CarlinC12017-03-12

Thanks!

I do not have much experience with cordless saws but I think it should work with thinner materials. Or how are these saws handling thicker materials like 2x4-s?

CarlinC1 (author)CraftAndu2017-03-12

I honestly haven't done much with it yet :) The one I have is an 18 volt Bosch that uses the older NiCads, I think the newer ones with the Lithium batteries might be pretty good.

hodavame (author)2017-03-12

This is exactly what I need. Thanks for sharing!!
Good luck in the contest, I gave you my vote :)

CraftAndu (author)hodavame2017-03-12

I am glad you found it useful. And thanky you for the vote! I really appreciatei it :)

silkier (author)2017-03-12

Genius, sheer genius

CraftAndu (author)silkier2017-03-12

Thank you, thank you very much ;)

rjmah (author)2017-03-12

Nice design! I had made something similar but not so portable. I attached a toggle switch and duplex outlets to a leg so I could turn the saw on & off without reaching under the table. It can also be used as a job site extension cord.

CraftAndu (author)rjmah2017-03-12

Awesome! It sounds like built a nice saw!

Yeah, I was also thinking about adding a switch but ended up leaving it out as it would have added quite a bit of thickness to the (folded up) saw.

BeachsideHank (author)2017-03-10

"This table saw is merely for rough construction work!"

You'd be surprised at the accuracy one can get with a shopmade tool, all you have to do is use it a lot and it's faults become known and manageable over time. ☺


CraftAndu (author)BeachsideHank2017-03-12

Yeah, you make a good point!

iOskr (author)2017-03-10

Excellent work! Simple and easy to carry! thanks for sharing!

CraftAndu (author)iOskr2017-03-12

I am glad you liked it :)

About This Instructable

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Bio: DIY maniac from South-Estonia! I love to inspire and to be inspired.
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