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Scroll Saw for double-bevel marquetry under $200 - recommendations?

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  • Scroll Saw for double-bevel marquetry under $200 - recommendations?

    If I could afford a DeWalt - I would. But unfortunately, I can't. I do not want to buy used

    Double-bevel Marquetry sole use will be thin wood veneers (commercial) up to maybe 3/32 - 1/8 (if made myself). I have a bandsaw for heavy cuts. Accuracy seems most important.

    Looking at what is available in this price range, and from the parts diagrams, pictures, etc. - it seems the Harbor Freight 93102 ($70), the Skil 3335 ($109), and the Ryobi SCV164VS ($119) - are all the same 2-parallel arm machine. Even the Shop Fox ($133) W1713 looks like it might be an earlier (cast iron table) version of the same machine. The PROXXON 37088 ($144) is totally different - with what seems a fixed arm and likely an under-table cam-driven reciprocating mechanism of some sort. (Thoughts? Corrections?)

    Numerous problems are reported by Amazon reviewers on the cheap 2-parallel arm machines, including vibration and accuracy, though one extensive review of the Skil claimed 'easy 1/64 accuracy' after tweaking somehow. The PROXXON reviews seem centered on lack of power, but with good accuracy, and a straight non-elliptical cut.

    The PROXXON video I found impressive: PROXXON - DS 230/E

    So I am leaning toward this setup: The PROXXON has a fixed table apparently. I need one able to tilt a bit - maybe to 7 degrees or so. Probably re-inventing the wheel here, but:

    Envision a rectangular box very slightly taller than the PROXXON table. The PROXXON slides inside. The bottom of the box has 'ears' for table clamping' The PROXXON is rigidly screwed to the inside of the eared bottom (any rubber grommets removed). The box top floats just above the existing table, is surfaced with melamine, has a small sawblade hole in it, is fastened on one end with a piece of piano hinge, and the other with some kind of rigid height-adjust screw mechanism to be devised. All this to reduce vibration, add angle adjustability, and retain accuracy.

    What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? Alternates? PROXXON user comments?

    Any and all appreciated!

    Chris

  • #2
    It seems that your idea to make a box to give you the tilt you need would work. I seem to remember someone making a device that would tilt the whole scroll saw in order to keep the table level. I do a lot of double bevel inlay work @ 3 degrees tilt and and the tilt is not noticeable to me while cutting.
    Hegner Polymax- 3,Hegner Multimax-3,
    "No PHD, just a DD 214"

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    • #3
      I would like to see a photo of such a jig/device....anyone?
      "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." John Wayne.

      "Make the project so you're happy with it. It makes no difference if someone else likes it or approves of it. If you're happy with how it turned out, then it's a masterpiece". - My Dad 2010

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      • #4
        I have the Proxxon machine though in uk it has a different number disignation.

        I personaly would not recommend.

        It is a real pain to thread for internal cuts only does horizontal angle cuts due to an attachable protractor type guide of which the slide for it on the bed can snag work. It has a very small worksurface, anything overhanging the small bed needs extra finger pressure to stop tilt which takes some of your concentration away from the piece when doing tight turns.

        Setting tension is laborious and when one has to do this for each cut, well, you can imagine. The foot holds the blade guide and restricts vision of the line for cutting, even with a mag light in place. It gets in the way and makes it difficult to thread a blade through a drill hole on anything bigger than a tea coaster for internal work without having to twist your blade agonisingly into contortions that the blade is not meant to go through.

        If one moves the foot then the guide is not in use and the blade wanders at will.

        I am just in the process of finishing a project of one of Steve Good's, ie the 'Tallclock' (the one with the butterfly pattern). It was a chore and took me, even as a beginner, probably three times as long to cut or more through the constant problems with blade changeing and re-tensioning.

        I reckon it would be okay for small flat architectural cutting where most cuts are external or the inner cuts are large. Also seems okay on thick pieces like the vidoe shows you.

        The lack of tilt makes it impossible to do angle cuts for the type of work you will do, and I reckon your jig idea will only bring more pain and frustration to an already painful and frustrating machine.

        I used it today to do a pice for the clock that I added that is all axternal cuts on 6mm Mahogany and that was fine, it seems okay on externals without all the threading mayhem and challenge. Far better to get a more traditional type of machine like the Ryobi or similar for example over this little flatbed hybrid, at least your tilt is there and I am sure blade changing can't be as bad as this ones is.

        I will use it for small external cut pieces as added decor and that will probably be all that I use it for. My new machine is awaiting delivery as we speak. Even on a budget I would stay away from this one unless one wanted to do the type of work as shown in the video, as that is all it is realy up to.

        Hope that narrows it for you

        Sunlion
        Last edited by Sunlion; 12-16-2011, 12:05 PM. Reason: edited for typos and some glitching on my internet connection
        The Journey Is Everything.

        http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

        My Google+

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        • #5
          Lowes sells a Porter Cable scroll saw that has been sold as a Craftsman and Hatachi. I had one and it was a pretty decent saw. I know several members here are still using it. I gave mine to my son when I got my Dewalt but had I not gotten a good deal on the Dewalt I'm sure I'd still be cutting away with it.
          Here it runs about $170 with a stand.
          Welcome aboard and good luck,
          Pat
          Woodworking is Therapy.... some of us need more therapy than others.

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          • #6
            Why couldn't you just make a small auxiliary table that changes pitch..
            You could make it from Baltic birch plywood, with some wing-nuts or such..
            .....just thinkin'........
            Jim

            The limits of the imagination are imaginary.
            No task is too tedious for Art.
            Rock and Scroll

            My Gallery

            My Website
            Featherwood Woodcrafts

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            • #7
              Keep in mind if using a jig or aux table, you will have to raise the foot to clear the angle. The more clearence between the wood and the foot (where the blade guide is situated) could create a little slacj in the blade between the guide and the bottom clamp which will create some wander.

              Tensioning in this machine is exacting, too little and the blade buckles (hard to explain but there is issue when not tensioned enough, in conjunction with the bellows attachment, which is also attached to the top blade tensioner, in that the bellows can snag and when the bottom drive feeds back up you can kink the blade, Tension too a little much and the top clamp which is on a spring which creates the tension, hits its baseline and snaps the blade. (would need to go take l few pics to explain but its too late, cold and dark atm )

              A jig of any sort on this machine will, I guarentee, create extra problems on top of the ones inherant in the Proxxon machine already.
              The Journey Is Everything.

              http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

              My Google+

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              • #8
                So, it's the DeWalt then....
                Jim

                The limits of the imagination are imaginary.
                No task is too tedious for Art.
                Rock and Scroll

                My Gallery

                My Website
                Featherwood Woodcrafts

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                • #9
                  Don't forget craigslist....
                  Some of these folks don't know what they have....
                  Jim

                  The limits of the imagination are imaginary.
                  No task is too tedious for Art.
                  Rock and Scroll

                  My Gallery

                  My Website
                  Featherwood Woodcrafts

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                  • #10
                    Wow! What great info - Thanks to all.

                    Well, the brakes are on the PROXXON for sure. Back - sortof - to square one. Conceptually I liked it, as I have found that I usually get the best results on any job with the smallest power tool that is capable of doing it - a Festool TS55 rather than a TS75, a 10" simple chop saw vs. a 12" sliding, etc.

                    Now I will go look at the Porter Cable Rexon saw at Lowes, though I will have absolutely no use - I think - for the stand (no room, whatever I get will need to be table mountable on my workbench).

                    Curious for any more opinions on the PC/Rexon, and maybe about the Sears Craftsman 21602? It seems different than the other $100 saws (Ryobi, Harbor Freight) and is selling for $113 with free shipping at the moment.

                    Any other opinions or recommendations greatly appreciated!

                    Chris

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sunlion View Post
                      Keep in mind if using a jig or aux table, you will have to raise the foot to clear the angle. The more clearence between the wood and the foot (where the blade guide is situated) could create a little slacj in the blade between the guide and the bottom clamp which will create some wander.

                      Tensioning in this machine is exacting, too little and the blade buckles (hard to explain but there is issue when not tensioned enough, in conjunction with the bellows attachment, which is also attached to the top blade tensioner, in that the bellows can snag and when the bottom drive feeds back up you can kink the blade, Tension too a little much and the top clamp which is on a spring which creates the tension, hits its baseline and snaps the blade. (would need to go take l few pics to explain but its too late, cold and dark atm )

                      A jig of any sort on this machine will, I guarentee, create extra problems on top of the ones inherant in the Proxxon machine already.
                      So, just to get back into it...
                      ..We're talking about 3 degrees across, what is the span of the Proxxon table, 8". That shouldn't be to much at the center...(by the way, in rethinking this, I think that an 1/8" thick piece of BBply, with...shims..might not be too much...?!?
                      Jim

                      The limits of the imagination are imaginary.
                      No task is too tedious for Art.
                      Rock and Scroll

                      My Gallery

                      My Website
                      Featherwood Woodcrafts

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jim

                        for 1/8th (around 3mm I think) then that may be fine. Tell you what, later today I will go and snag some closeup photos on my machine, will give a better picture I think of its limitations and possible workarounds. I will, place some 6mm ply (only size I have) unsder the foot and you can maybe see how a few degree tilt would effect it.

                        If it is only slim work then it probably would be doable, but again if the piece is too large then threading can be a pain. The clock I did in another thread is around 10" high, and I struggled threading the blade at times.
                        The Journey Is Everything.

                        http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

                        My Google+

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                        • #13
                          I have the best idea. How about you hold off and save until you have enough money to buy somthing decent. When it comes to tools, it never pays to buy something real cheap or at the low end of the spectrum. You will find many problems in quality and performance and in the long run will be wasted money.

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                          • #14
                            Which is unfortunately what I did, thinking well if I buy a low end model, I may not enjoy and it would be wasted money. It was not in the end as I truly have enjoyed what little I have done so far.

                            Thinking back, I must have been commited to try it and learn in order to go out and order it in the first place, so aye, save up and get a decent machine.

                            I will pin some photos to show what a pain this one realy is.

                            Btw, my bed is only 6 and 1 quarter inch square, not sure if the one that was looked at over there was slightly bigger at 8" but anyhow theres a limiter right there on bed size.

                            Okay from left to right.

                            1: size of machine (very small)
                            2: Tension spring, limited in travel, have to make sure (picture: 3 ) drive is at top of travel for proper tension, and its a small space to fiddle aroiund in.
                            4: Foot has to be down, can limit visability on small inside cuts, okay for outside cuts so far.
                            5: as you can see could probably do small angled cuts, but watch out the channel does not snag work. Channel is for horizontal angle cut guide.

                            My best advice, buy a traditional machine or save and get a larger one that will not limit what you can do. I will use this for simple outside cuts on extraneous design parts, like the leaves at the base of my clock. That is all I can see it is capable of doing without a lot of faffing about with constant tension checks on lots of inner cuts.
                            Attached Files
                            The Journey Is Everything.

                            http://www.sunlion-pyrography.co.uk/

                            My Google+

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                            • #15
                              Here is my late night crazy post . . . .

                              I hooked up a pickup mic and amp to the excalibur and used the tension to level to adjust the pitch while I plucked the blade. Very interesting sounds. You can even play a song doing this.

                              That was fun, but you know, the old EX is never going to replace the guitar. There are a few that use the scrollsaw for Marquetry, but for thin veneers, I think the Xacto knife and tape are the guitar of this illustration.

                              ------Randy
                              "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"
                              website: http://www.coincutting.com

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