Bosch to Release Flesh-Sensing Jobsite Saw
Originally published by: Tools of the Trade — April 9, 2016
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Last week Bosch announced that their REAXX saw, which is equipped with flesh-sensing technology, will be available on June 1st of this year – a month sooner than they told attendees at the JLC Live event in March.
Before this announcement, the features and specs of the saw weren’t readily available except to those who were present for live demonstrations at select trade shows. Bosch had intended to release the saw last year, but those intentions were thwarted by SawStop’s lawsuit. A recent pre-trial ruling seemed to give SawStop an edge over Bosch due to some patent law verbiage. Given the ruling and the ongoing suit, how is Bosch able to still move forward with their release? Attorneys Neil L. Wilcove and Daniel A. Nicholson have the answer here.
The SawStop brake cartridge, shown here, plunges into the saw blade when triggered. Once the brake cartridge engages the blade, the blade is either damaged and needs repair or is destroyed and needs to be replaced.
While SawStop’s jobsite saw also has flesh-sensing technology (the first in the industry), there are a few major differences in how that technology functions that are worth noting. When the internal brake cartridge trips within the SawStop saw it plunges an aluminum stop into the blade and drops the blade beneath the work surface in milliseconds - faster than you can blink your eye. The blade is damaged in this instance – losing at least a couple tips - if not completely destroyed. The brake cartridge and blade both need to be replaced before you can continue using the saw so it’s necessary to have an excess cartridge and blade on hand. The replacement cartridge for the jobsite model runs about $69 (online) for the standard 10-in. blade, and about $89 (online) for the dado version. So with each activation you’re looking at spending at least $69 plus the cost of repair on the blade – or the cost of a new blade.
The dual-activation Bosch REAXX table saw cartridge with one side tripped (the right) and one side ready for activation (left). The cartridge fires a piston into the blade mechanism, forcing the blade beneath the table. The device does not touch the blade, leaving the blade unscathed in the process and immediately reusable.
The REAXX saw’s flesh-sensing technology works much differently, however. This saw has a replaceable cartridge that fires a piston into a drop arm mechanism inside the blade housing, dropping the blade below the table within milliseconds. This cartridge does not plunge anything into the saw blade – keeping the blade intact and fully reusable. Replacing the cartridge costs $99 – but it contains two rounds, so each activation costs about $50. The cartridge can be used on standard 10-in. blades as well as dado sets – so there’s no need to change it out when you’re using one vs. the other. And, according to Bosch, swapping the cartridge takes less than a minute, so your downtime here is minimal. The REAXX saw comes with a wrench for replacing the cartridge.
The dashboard above the saw's power switch alerts users to the saw's current mode: Ready (green), Bypass (yellow), Error (red), and Service required (blue). A mobile device icon on the left indicates that the saw is equipped with "NFC" technology.
An electronic dashboard near the saw’s main switch indicates several important elements of the saw’s functionality. A green light means the saw is ready for use. A yellow light means the saw is in bypass mode – which means that it won’t react to blade contact. This mode is used when cutting conductive materials that could potentially activate the cartridge (like foil-faced foam or aluminum-faced plywood). A red light means that the saw will not function until the user corrects an issue. A blue light indicates that there’s an error that's not fixable by the user and that the saw requires service.
A cell phone app available now on Android uses near field communication (NFC) to communicate with the saw. The app provides saw registration, saw status, and troubleshooting steps. It also provides lockout options, performance information, the number of activations remaining, as well as the service requirements should the blue light be illuminated. An IOS iPhone app is available as well – though this app cannot communicate with the saw and only provides registration information and troubleshooting steps.
Aside from the flesh-sensing safety feature, how does the REAXX compare to Bosch’s 4100 table saw?
REAXX Specs at a glance:
- Arbor: 5/8”
- Amps/hp: 15 amp / 4.0-hp
- No load RPM: 3650
- Voltage: 110V-120V
- Depth of cut at 90: 3-1/8”
- Depth of cut at 45: 2-14”
- Bevel angle range: -2 to 47 degrees
- Dimensions: 15.5 x 32 x 29 (including the rear out feed in stored position)
- Weight: 133 lbs. (with stand)
The REAXX saw looks a lot like Bosch’s 4100 jobsite saw, with some additional red banding that help differentiate it visually from the 4100. Bosch added these red features so that users would not mistake it for the 4100, which does not have the flesh-sensing technology. The REAXX rip fence functions identically to the 4100 – a system that has gotten high marks in the industry among jobsite table saws. On the REAXX, Bosch moved the push stick storage location to a holster in the front of the saw so that it’s easy to grab when you need it.
Both saws are powered by a 15 AMP motor and have a no load RPM of 3650. The REAXX is rated for 110V-120V, while the 4100 is only rated to 120V.
Both saws are 10-in. and have bevel angle ranges of -2 to 47 degrees. They both also have the same depth of cut at 90 degrees: 3-1/8”. At 45 degrees, however, the REAXX saw has a depth of cut of 2-1/4” compared to 2-1/2” on the 4100. Not a big difference, but it’s at least worth noting.
Weight is where things really change, however. The REAXX saw weighs a whopping 78 lbs. compared to the 4100, which weighs 60 lbs. The REAXX comes with a Gravity-Rise Stand (as does the 4100-09). While the stand adds weight (about 45 lbs), it has gotten great reviews for its ease of setup and maneuverability so it should help with the “portability” of this new saw.
We will be visiting with Bosch later this month for a real-world demonstration, so stay tuned for that.
MSRP for the REAXX: $1499 (US) and $1699 (CAN). Includes: Gravity-Rise wheeled stand, rear outfeed support, 10 in. 40-tooth blade, (1) dual-activation cartridge, miter gauge, rip fence, barrier-guard device, anti-kickback pawls, push stick, dual-activation cartridge wrench, blade wrench, hex wrench, throat plate kit.