Those with dedicated workshops of their own design have the luxury of placing their own power outlets. Bur for DIY'ers making do in mixed-use spaces, or tradespeople on jobsites, the chaos that is extension cords is a built-in part of any project: You need to keep the tool connection out of the sawdust pile, and arrange the cords in such a way that you and others won't trip over them.
When it comes to sketching, line quality is everything. To build up the desired thickness using ink, you can either switch between multiple pens or you can hit the same line repeatedly with the same pen, as Spencer Nugent has done above; if using pencil or a pressure-sensitive stylus on a digital device, you can hit the same line and/or press harder, as Michael DiTullo's done below.
So this currently-under-consideration-at-Quirky design proposal has me curious. Designer "HSingh" is pushing for a pen with an adjustable tip, whereby a dial in the barrel somehow alters the nib's width.
There's virtually no explanation for how the thing would work, but the question is: Would you guys use this to change line weights, or do you prefer the old-fashioned way? And does anyone remember having to swtich back and forth from like, five different Koh-i-Noor Rapidographs in design school?
Statistically speaking, most of us only use crowbars when we're about to be arrested for Menacing, but if you've ever had to do light demo around the house you know how handy they can be. Someone actually stole my crowbar a couple of years ago, and I never bought a replacement since I haven't recently needed to pry anything open or dispense street justice.
Maybe it's just as well that I've held off, as a new crowbar may be hitting the market at the end of this summer. And, usefully, it also happens to be a hammer. And a 1/2-inch socket wrench, and a couple of other things. I'm normally skeptical of multi-tools, but the Cole-Bar Hammer, which is currently up on Kickstarter, look pretty promising:
I know what you're thinking: How well would that central joint hold up when the tool is extended into a full-length crowbar?
When I used to work for an artist who specialized in photorealistic portraiture, I remember watching the assistants use a projector to draft the preliminary pencilwork for his medium-to-large scale (30”×40”+) paintings. Since we were working with digital compositions, it was a simple matter of lining up the image with the canvas or archival paper, then painstakingly tracing the photograph and background onto it.
Now that software has democratized and simplified the tools of creating images, I imagine this is a common practice in artists' studios. But what about drawing from real life? Most everyone has seen or at least heard of camera obscura, but it turns out there's a somewhat more, um, obscure tool that draftsmen of yore had at their disposal.
Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin (Art Professors at SAIC and CMU, respectively) note that "long before Google Glass... there was the Camera Lucida." The device is a "prism on a stick," a portable lens-like device that is affixed to a drawing surface, allowing the user to accurately reproduce an image before them by hand.
We have designed the NeoLucida: the first portable camera lucida to be manufactured in nearly a century—and the lowest-cost commercial camera lucida ever designed. We want to make this remarkable device widely available to students, artists, architects, and anyone who loves to draw from life. But to be clear: our NeoLucida is not just a product, but a provocation. In manufacturing a camera lucida for the 21st century, our aim is to stimulate interest in media archaeology—the tightly interconnected history of visual culture and imaging technologies.
According to the well-illustrated history page on the Neolucida website, the device was invented by Sir William Hyde Wollaston in 1807, though the Wikipedia article suggests that it was actually developed by Johannes Kepler, whose dioptrice dates back to 1611, nearly two centuries prior.
Selections from Pablo Garcia's personal collection of vintage camera lucidas
The YouBot doesn't come with an "end effector" that can perform the rotating motion you and I would do with two hands to get that leg into the table. Knepper's team devised an elegant workaround, using rubber bands attached to two different rings:
Another day, another design, another multi-hour stretch to focus focus focus on your design work. If you're like me, you vacillate between needing the total silence of an empty studio and the busy-ness of working in a cafe. But what if you need to be in the studio? Perhaps all the cafes are closed, or perhaps you have a few hours before your next meeting, and it doesn't make sense to pop out for a quick cafe work session.
Enter Coffitivity, my new favorite web site for those moments when the office is either too quiet or too loud. The site simply recreates the ambient sounds of working in a cafe, that slight murmur of voices and random clinking of glasses that makes a cafe a cafe. They point to a study from the Journal of Consumer Research that suggests the link between creativity and this sweet spot:
We argue that noise distracts people but that the degree of distraction induced by various noise levels will affect creativity differently. A high level of noise may cause a great deal of distraction, causing individuals to process information to a lesser extent and therefore to exhibit lower creativity. A moderate (vs. low) level of noise, however, is expected to distract people without significantly affecting the extent of processing. Further, we reason that such a moderate distraction, which induces processing difficulty, enhances creativity by prompting abstract thinking. We predict, in sum, that a moderate level of noise will enhance creativity relative to both high and low levels of noise.
It's been just over seven months to the day since the Morpholio Project debuted their Trace app to much acclaim. By January of this year, they had added several new tools for designers beyond the original audience of architects, and now, just a few months later, they're pleased to announce a suite of new tools that constitute a major release. "The App Store's number one portfolio app re-imagines the portfolio as a design utility, moving it into the fast, flexible, at-your-fingertips device era. The project seeks to advance the ways that creatives access, share, discuss, and get feedback on their work from a global community of users."
By combining production and presentation software with web-enabled tools for sharing and critique, the app offers a fully-integrated platform for production and collaboration. To hear Morpholio's Anna Kenoff tell it, "Aside from making design production easier, we wanted to know if better tools could make it smarter by integrating the wisdom of crowds and capitalizing on the power of the touchscreen to capture feedback."
To achieve this, Morpholio had to become very sophisticated about all the ways that designers communicate—not just through language, but most importantly through their eyes and hands. Over the past year, the team of architects and programmers has collaborated with experts from various disciplines to build a robust design-centric workspace that could be used by anyone—from fashion designers to photographers, architects and automotive designers, even tattoo artists. It builds on research into human-computer-interaction to deliver innovations like a tool for image analytics called "EyeTime" and virtual "Crits" where collaborators can share images, and comment on each other's work via notes or sketches. Human behavior data-mining is essential to offering these forms of powerful feedback, letting you know how your followers are interacting with your work.
In design school these days, we've gone so far around the 'sustainability' bend that it seems like the word might have lost meaning all together. That's why whenever we see a unique take on the cradle-to-cradle conversation; it's a breath of fresh air. The most recent addition to the canon of sustainable design comes from the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design's Hannah Dow, in her senior BFA thesis project cleverly entitled, Temp Tools.
I created Temp Tools aiming to stir up the conversation about the complete life cycle of objects; Thinking about where our items go once they leave our house in a garbage bag. I hope that with Temp Tools, I can get people thinking about other things they own that could be designed in a similar way as the tools, with sustainability in mind.
Hannah has been developing the tool line, consisting of a skewer to roast marshmallows or hotdogs, a spatula, and a shovel for nearly 8 months. Each tool in the line can be fitted to a stick to be used as a makeshift handle and will fully degrade in nature leaving only flower seeds in its wake. While sustainable design will never embrace the 'hey, just toss it out' mentality, maybe we can still do a little guilt-free littering with our Temp Tools.
We asked Hannah to share with us some insights into both the material exploration and product development leading to Temp Tools:
Core77: How did you develop a composite material strong enough to create a durable 'temp tool'?
Hannah Dow: The material the tools are made of is what comprised my first four months of the project. After trying to find a man-made, biodegradable, strong material that I could purchase and coming up empty-handed, I realized I needed to do my best at making whatever it was that I wasn't getting elsewhere. The composite material is completely natural and biodegradable after use and strong and rigid during its role as a tool. If put into production the tools would be made using a 3-4 part mold seeing that the material is a kind of liquid wood mixture.
Whether you're using a frying pan, a television remote control or a circular saw, you are at the mercy of whatever ergonomics the manufacturer designed—or didn't design—into the thing. Badly designed plastic molded handles, like you'd find in a cheap pair of scissors, are often the worst; the parting line is usually in the perfect place to bite into your skin every time you squeeze it.
But if you have an object with removeable handles, well, then you can get your hack on. YouTube user Pocket83 figured out an ingenious way to get rid of the chintzy knobs on his drill press and step it up to a more ergonomic solution:
The otherwise-useless skill I've picked up from working in a photography studio: Untangling and elbow-winding a kinked extension cord. It's a pain in the neck to do, but after each and every shoot I have to go about the room collecting and organizing them.
Which is why this RoboReel Power Cord System is looking good to me. When I first saw it, my kneejerk reaction was "That's ridiculous and bulky, who would want that?" but quickly came to realize how much time I'd save in the studio alone. For those in shop and garage environments it's bound to be even more useful and, with the ceiling mount, out of the way. And I dig the built-in safety features you'll see in the demo vid:
P.S. For those of you using compressor-driven tools, the company is working on an Air Reel variant; for those of you with lawns, their Water Hose Reel can be rigged up for hoses and sprinklers.
Remember Ron Paulk's Mobile Super Workshop? The Washington-based builder crammed a highly functional production shop into the back of a box truck, exhibiting the kind of clever design thinking that only comes from a lifetime of building things.
Paulk, of course, is not alone in his mobile woodworking needs; across the country in Connecticut, Brian P. Way has his own woodshop-on-wheels. Way is the founder of Precision Woodworking LLC, a high-end millwork shop, and he opened his "Lean Truck" to a camera crew at the JLC (Journal of Light Construction) Live exhibit in Providence last weekend.
I'll never tire of seeing how makers solve problems using design. A truck is one of the more fascinating vessels for a shop in that things have to be designed 1.) for easy access and removal, 2.) so that they don't roll around in transit, and 3.) to fit within tight space constraints. Everything from Way's pull-out drill press table, to the extendable material support arms, to the portable-drill-holding rails, to that clever little diamond-plate lip he added so one person could load the table saw, all speak of careful thought and high efficiency.
Paulk and Way are both builders, but too often, I feel, guys like this don't get credit for their design skills. I'd love to see what these two would do if, say, entered in a competition to design one of Manhattan's tiny apartments. The interviewer nails it when he assesses Way's overall scheme and says "Nobody should complain about not having enough room."
The simple French Cleat technique is a clever way to hang things on a wall, whether permanently (as with a cabinet) or temporarily (as with rearrangeable modules you can easily pull on or off). Here popular woodworking YouTuber Steve Ramsey uses it to add some order to a tool collection that's spun out of control. (And sure, the hyper-animated Ramsey seems nutty, but he's nutty to the tune of 56,000 subscribers.)
I was kind of surprised that he didn't slant the tops of the screwdriver holders towards the wall, to prevent the problem he addresses around 5:00, but his eventual solution seems to handle it fine. And that's part of the fun of watching maker videos anyway: Seeing what you would do, what you wouldn't do, and how different folks solve different problems.
Want to build a wheeled, revolving bookcase designed in 1890? Yeah you do
Tools for Working Wood is the name of a Brooklyn-based company that sells, well, guess. And in addition to their retail arm, they've got a website featuring articles on craft along with some very interesting information for makers—from 1889. The company somehow got their hands on several volumes of Work: An Illustrated Magazine of Practice and Theory for All Workmen, Professional and Amateur, a 19th-Century British magazine aimed at craftspeople. And the team at TWW has decided to scan every issue they've got, releasing new updates each Friday and making them freely downloadable.
While the information listed in Work is over 120 years old—TWW goes so far as to include the disclaimer "[some of the articles] describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today"—I've totally fallen down the rabbit hole. Advertisements for tools of the day, like this crazy-ass hand-powered table saw...
...share space with articles on how to build a workbench that folds into the wall, or breaking news like the then-new production method of metal spinning, or why you should make your own "callipers" rather than buy a set, and an "Our Guide to Good Things" section where they review tools and materials of the day.
One surprise is their letters section, called "Shop: A Corner for Those who Want to Talk It," whereby craftspeople of every stripe—metalworkers, furniture builders, watchmakers, toolmakers, and even people toying around with these newfangled things called cameras and electricity—sound off with tips, techniques and criticisms. Which brings me to a second surprise: Trolls existed even in the Victorian era. One reader writes in to criticize an article from a previous issue, opening with "I would point out that the description you give of the process is evidently far from correct, nor have I any idea as to what is intended...."
For those of us that don't work on the factory floor, it's rare to see an object get made in its entirety, from start to finish. But here NYC-based designer Jimmy DiResta—you'll remember him from Dirty Money, the Discovery show where he and his brother dumpster-dove for raw materials—shows us how he whips up a tool bag from scratch. While every step of the process is shown, it's fast-forwarded during the tedious parts, providing a comprehensive look while still coming it at sub-six-minutes:
If you couldn't guess by the watermarks, DiResta recorded the video for Make, who visits his studio twice a month. The complete materials list for the bag is posted here, along with a brief description of the project. "I think learning how to sew," he writes, "is a must for all makers!"
Did you ever wonder how craftspeople used to split thick wood into boards, prior to the invention of bandsaws and sawmills? They performed riving using something called a froe, and good God does it look tedious:
As you can see, the froe had to be banged downwards with a mallet or maul made of wood, for obvious reasons. (Ideally you'd want to make the mallet out of a tougher wood like maple; this guy makes them out of baseball bat blanks that have been deemed too heavy for the sport's regulations.) Using a froe and mallet was used to create things like shingles, panels, chair backs as you just saw in the video, and anytime you had a thick board you needed to divide into multiple thin boards.
While it no longer has any commercial application, there are still hardcore dudes rocking this technique, both in the field and in the shop. Be thankful next time you're resawing boards on a bandsaw...
Is there anything you use all the time, even though you know the design of it sucks? For me that thing is safety goggles. I have a hard time finding a pair that fits properly, particularly when worn with a respirator and/or ear protection. Some companies make them in different sizes to ameliorate the fit, but my local hardware shops stick with the one-size-fits-all variety, presumably to keep stock down.
3M is attempting to tackle both poor ergonomics and the retail inventory issue by designing the SecureFit, a purportedly better-fitting pair of one-size-fits-all safety glasses.
After studying models of the human face and sussing out contact points, they've calculated a (hopefully) universally-fitting wraparound curve for the lenses; coupled with the flexible temple you'll see in the vid below, they're claiming this will provide a better fit for many.
I'm eager to try them out if I can find a local stockist. The only thing that gives me pause is the permanently-pinned ear stems; since the glasses won't fold up, that means they'll be stuffed into a toolbox or drawer with a bunch of other tools in and around them, increasing the potential for my other eyewear pet peeve—scratched lenses.
I always assumed protective eyewear with design flaws was just the name of the game. Have any of you had good experiences with a particular pair, especially those of you with smaller heads? And has anyone had a good experience with prescription protective eyewear?
I hate the imperial measurement system, and can confidently say that anyone who doesn't recognize the superiority of metric is a freaking idiot. How nice it must be for you Aussies, Germans and Koreans to drill an 8mm hole, realize you need it a smidgen bigger, and yell down the ladder for a 9mm bit. Versus us Yankees drilling a 7/32 hole, then having to do an equation in your head to calculate if you need a 3/16 or a 1/4.
For the non-mathematically-gifted like me, dividing things with fractions is the worst. For example, when doing DIY projects you often have to calculate the midpoint of a particular piece—whether it's wood, fabric or metal—and I'd be constantly scrawling equations onto the piece of wood I was working and having to sand the marks off afterwards. That is, until I learned this simple tip to easily find the exact midpoint without having to divide fractions.
Let's say I want to find the midpoint of the board above. We take a tape measure to it...
...and see it's 17-something. That's all you're looking for, ignore the finer gradations.
Then we take note of the nearest even number, whether higher or lower than the actual measurement. In this case the nearest even number is 18.
Years ago, while studying ID at Pratt I had the pleasure of taking a sculpture class taught by the master crafstman Toshio Odate. It was in his class that I first used a block plane, and I was all wide-eyed at the gossamer shavings that came out of it.
I was reminded of this as I came across this video from the William Ng Woodworking School in California, where they offer a class where you make your own plane. (The video is not a tutorial but an unnarrated look at what you'd be doing in the class.)
For those on the West Coast, the three-day class will run you $385 plus another $75 for materials.
In an earlier interview we did with Otherlab's Saul Griffith, he discussed the importance of creators fabricating their own tools. While he was referring specifically to modern-day digital fabrication, his point was something that woodworkers have understood for centuries. "Using a finely tuned wooden hand plane you make yourself," reads the hand plane course description, "is probably one of woodworking's ultimate experiences."
Despite me being sick of sawdust, I'm aware that my annoyance is trivial; other people have it much worse. Steampunk object fabricator Jake von Slatt, for instance, discovered that he had developed an adult-onset allergy to pine sawdust--not good when you spend a lot of time working pine on the table saw and sander.
Complicating things, "I can't use a conventional respirator," von Slatt explains, "because I sport a beard and a normal respirator or nuisance dust mask will not properly seal to my face. For painting I've always used a Pro-Air Supplied Air Respirator that deliveres fresh air to me via its 50 foot hose. However, walking around the wood shop dragging a 50 foot hose gets old real quick."
In search of the raw materials for a hackaround, von Slatt snagged this gas mask on eBay.
Trying it on, he found the face seal accommodated his beard, but there was another problem. "The temples of my glasses would not fit past the seals," he writes. Hence hack #1: He found an older pair of glasses, took the stems off, and mounted them inside the respirator using a cable hold down and piano wire. "The glasses are allowed to slide up and down on the piano wire so they rest comfortably on my nose," he explains.
It's been a while since we looked in on woodworker/inventor Matthias Wandel, and the man has not been idle. One of his recent contraptions that caught our eye is his Router Copy Carver, an ingenious sliding mount that you can use with a palm router to trace 3D objects; it's essentially a pantograph with a Bosch Colt as the copying head.
The best part is that Wandel shows you how he built the thing, step by step, and you're bound to be impressed by some of his solutions, like a trio of rollerblade bearings arranged in a triangle to hold the crossbar in position while allowing smooth travel. He's even designed a box to hold counterweights opposite the router to prevent fatigue during extended use.
Here's Part 1, where he builds the router-holding carriage that will handle the X- and Z-axes:
Call me cheap, but I hate the design of the rubber sanding block, mostly because I can't stand that one-third of each sandpaper strip is wasted in the ends that you have to tuck into the spikes. I save the little perforated, untouched bits but never get around to using them.
A product currently under consideration at Quirky looks to replace the sanding block—and the sandpaper—entirely. Sandables are essentially moldable, elastic, claylike objects embedded with grit.
In Part 1 of The Quest for an Affordable Dust-Collecting Cyclone, I got one of the facts backwards; luckily Stuart Deutsch (newly-minted PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, congrats Stu!) over at ToolGuyd wrote in to set the record straight. I'd incorrectly stated that "most of the dust (and particularly the fine particles) gets sucked away by the vortex," but in fact it's the reverse. As Deutsch points out,
Generally, cyclones are more efficient at separating out larger and heavier debris and particles. In terms of woodworking, they're better at trapping chips, shavings, and coarse particles, than lighter and finer dust that often continues on to the dust collector or shop vacuum anyways. Still, separators do greatly cut down on dust collector/shop vacuum maintenance.
The first, which is pictured at the top of this entry, is the Mini Cyclone Bucket Dust Collector, an Instructable written by a guy named Steli. Parts will run you about US $25 and it's "easy to build in a weekend." Steli lives in Europe, and when American readers commented that they couldn't find the common-in-Europe funnels in the size specified by Steli's design, he came up with an interesting suggestion:
"Buy an emergency street/traffic cone, and cut it down to your diameter size and length."
Drilling holes into wood at an angle is a pain in the neck. To avoid deflecting the bit you need to set up some kind of angle jig, which means clamps and more time. Or you can try free-handing it: I had a buddy who could drill pretty decent pocket holes by initially using a too-large bit to make a shallow crater in the surface of the wood, then going into the crater at an angle with a smaller bit, but I was never able to do this consistently well.
A Rhode Island-based company called Bad Dog Tools has developed an innovative drill bit that can start out drilling straight, and then drill at an angle, during the same action. It's called the Rover Bit and it's freaking amazing:
Seoul, like so many other great cities of East Asia, bustles and buzzes with life, a modern and dynamic metropolis. At night neon signs and giant digital displays battle for attention, advertise everything from the ubiquitous internet cafes (per capital South Korea is the most 'online' nation in the world) to the all night eateries, saunas and singing rooms. Like Japan and China, Korea and the Koreans are a nation of early adopters. Technology exists to be embraced. The latest digital products, software, systems and means of communication are all readily accepted by a culture which now not only adopts technological innovation but is a world player at its leading edge.
It is against this background that I exit the subway system at Seoul's hip, creative district of Jamwondong before ducking off a busy main highway south of Seoul's Han river. I've travelled on a bullet train from Ulsan's National Institute of Science and technology (UNIST), having recently made the move from the leafy suburbs of South London to start a new life at UNIST's School of Design and Human Engineering.
My final destination is Seoul's young, ambitious and rapidly expanding design consultancy SWBK. Founded in 2008, the firm offers an extensive range of design services from IT-based product design to brand consultancy, service design and their Matter & Matter range of fine furniture. SWBK's global design awards speak for themselves (Red Dot, IF, IDEA, GOOD Design...). They have an ambitious, skilled and highly motivated team, whose knowledge and expertise are sought by a growing list of national and international clients.
Their work also extends to the direction of design and cultural exhibitions. One such expo recently organized by SWBK, is the Sulwha Cultural Exhibition in Seoul. It showcases the work of some of Korea's most celebrated craftsmen, artists and designers; from master Bang Chun Woong's display of Korean Ethnic Earthenware (onggi) to Media Artist Yang Min Ha's virtual, interactive installation reinterpreting the process of making onggi through manipulation of digital content via physical, embodied interaction.
In a way SWBK's Sulwha Exhibition is an apt reflection of Korean society more generally. Traditions of the past live cheek by jowl with a modern tech-savvy culture, creating a hybrid mix of embedded traditions within an emergent, dynamic digital culture.
I pick my way towards the SWBK studios and am greeted at the door by co-founder, Sukwoo Lee. Having worked as an industrial designer for Samsung and then at Teague in the United States, Sukwoo returned to his native Korea in 2008 to co-found his consultancy with fellow designer Bongkyu Song.
I've come on a mission: to find out if, within this tech-driven culture, design firms have decided it's time to finally kiss goodbye to dated, low-tech analogue design tools like hand sketching and model making in favour of a fully digital industrial design process.
We sit down to talk and Sukwoo starts by pulling out one of his sketchbooks...
He then produces a tiny handcrafted scale model of his latest chair design and sets it to rest on a page of thumbnail or thinking sketches of the same design.
"I quite like this kind of sketch' Sukwoo explains as we leaf though his work, 'I feel like I'm freer with this kind of quickly made sketch on paper...just hand drawing. From these sketches we often move to these sketch models," he explains.
At this point Sukwoo scuttles off across the studio to return armed with a large plank of balsa wood. "When I touch this wood," he continues, "and I even smell this, it feels much freer than digital work." Sukwoo speaks of an emergent design language that is explored and considered through the use of sketches and scale models. Like the master craftsmen of his Sulwha Cultural Exhibition, there is something honest in the way he describes his expression of form through hand sketching and hand making. From the start, the impression is that these analog processes are integral to SWBK's working culture and design process; to their ability to explore and develop design intentions?
We move on.
"After this," Sukwoo explains, indicating a wall filled with sketches, illustrations and 3D digital models "we start to sketch a little more of the aspects of the form."
At this point Sukwoo describes how CAD tools (Illustrator and Rhino) are employed to test the potential of the concept. "The CAD model is quite rough" he explains, "but gives the team a better idea of proportion and curvature."
When Morpholio Projects released their Trace app for iPad at the end of September, the architectural community was abuzz with the possibilities that a digital version of trace paper would afford the profession. The app allowed users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate.
Developed by architects, Trace allows users to trace over images in order to offer feedback or convey information quickly and graphically. Additionally, the app easily connects to an online community through their Eye Time function allowing a global community of users to provide feedback on work shared in public arenas: Crit, Pinup and Community.
Today, Trace announced the release of Automotive Design and Jewelry Design templates for their growing base of users. Working with Brett Stoltz, Industrial Design Transportation Track student from the University of Cincinnati, on the automotive templates and Liz Ricketts, co-founder of design education organization (the)OR, for the jewelry design templates, Morpholio Projects hopes to enhance the interative process for product designers. In conversation with Core77, Ciara Seymour, Morpholio UX Director, tell us, "The inherently iterative process of design lies central to the ability to reimagine within known constraints. These templates begin to provide students with a variety of basic and advanced perspective views as a foundation from which to begin designing."
This is officially the craziest woodworking tool I've ever seen. German power tool manufacturer Mafell makes a track saw called the PSS 3100e. You say, big deal, Festool makes a track saw, Eurekazone makes one. But Mafell's is freaking automatic.
The PSS 3100e from MAFELL is the worlds first self-driven, rail-guided and mobile panel saw. In a single operation, the portable panel saw system handles cutting of lengths of up to 2800 mm (110 1/4 in.) and with the follow-on fence even longer cuts are possible.
"2800mm"—By the way guys, once we get into the thousands with the millimeters, can't we just switch over to meters? It's like saying your baby is 64 months old. Anyways check this crazy thing out:
Pretty sweet that it's got a scoring setting, so you don't have to manually raise and lower the blade each time. I do wonder about the safety of the thing: For example, let's say it's making a 2-meter (sorry, 2000mm) cut, and while it's just 3/4s of the way through, someone bumps into the still-attached waste side of the material behind the blade and closes the kerf. What happens, does the resultant binding and kickback cause the thing to shoot backwards, or does it just shut down?
Still, I love that it comes back to home base after each cut. And Mafell, like Festool, is preoccupied with dust collection: They claim the PS 3100e operates "virtually dust free" when hooked up to a vac, even if you're cutting plasterboard.
I'm scared to ask how much this thing costs, but it's probably moot for us Yanks; looks like Mafell's keeping it Euro-market-only.