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Inventor offers blade-braking technology

David Butler, owner of Whirlwind Tool Co. in Cotuit, Mass., has received a patent on a table saw safety product called the Black Box, which features emergency-blade braking technology.

Butler, a woodworking hobbyist with a background in engineering, says the product is currently in a prototype state and is not available for sale, but he does hope to eventually market the design.

The Black Box is a bolt-on, removable device that can be used on an existing saw and other woodworking machines. Once the operator approaches or touches the clear blade guard fence wired to the Black Box, a proximity detector senses flesh and immediately shuts down the saw’s motor. The blade stops in about an eighth of a second without being damaged, according to Butler.

“What my product does is sense the operator touching the outside of the guard before they can get to the saw blade. That can give them a lot more time and can stop the motor and the blade in less than one second, which should be before the operator can get to the blade if they’re doing things properly,” Butler said.

— Jennifer Hicks

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