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Taming the Unruly Reciprocating Saw

For versatility and portability, no power saw can compare to the reciprocating saw. Held like a shotgun, the reciprocating saw is the go-to tool for a variety of cuts that can’t be made on a workbench. The trade-off, however, is that the reciprocating saw is a bear to handle. The high-speed, back-and-forth blade motion that gives the saw its name also produces a lot of vibration and kickback, making precise cuts difficult at best. In inexperienced hands, it can be downright dangerous.So when Infusion Brands sought Nottingham Spirk’s help in expanding its DualSaw product line, which began with dual-blade circular saws, both companies agreed that the handy but frustrating reciprocating saw was due for an upgrade.

DualSaw_profile“It seemed easy on paper,” recalls Bob Soreo, a Nottingham Spirk designer and DualSaw project leader. After all, electric carving knives use two blades. But adapting that for a tool that must tear through materials much denser than a turkey breast proved anything but easy. Getting from concept to working prototype took about 18 months.The solution was “stacked” mechanisms that propel the two blades independently, one forward and one back, “essentially neutralizing each other,” Soreo explains. This dramatically reduces the kickback of the traditional one-blade reciprocating saw and allows for smooth entry cuts. But the blades also had to move much faster, which doubled the amounts of friction and heat produced. The team overcame this dilemma with oil-impregnated steel, which virtually lubricates itself.

After another year of testing and refinement — including the addition of a 270-degree rotating handle and a speed control built into the trigger — the DualSaw is reaching the market via TV commercials. But the hard work is already paying off. Uncrate.com (“The digital magazine for guys who love stuff”) has decreed it “the safest, smoothest cutting reciprocating saw available.” And the reciprocating DualSaw is just the beginning. Soreo says that Nottingham Spirk and Infusion are now applying the same approach — adding a second mechanism to an existing mechanism to improve performance — to other products. All of the new technology is already “highly patented,” he adds, so competitors will be hard pressed to keep up.


Topics: Infusion Brands, product design, reciprocating saw, Uncrate, Consumer Product, consumer product design, existing product innovations, Innovation, Dual Saw, industrial design

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