This woodworker uses a Phantom camera to show the power of table saws at 19,000fps

Jul 15, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This woodworker uses a Phantom camera to show the power of table saws at 19,000fps

Jul 15, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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As somebody who likes to make stuff, I follow a lot of channels on YouTube that have nothing to do with photography. People like Alec Steele, Clickspring and Jonathan Katz-Moses. Now all of these guys work with some pretty dangerous equipment. Like, limb-severing types of equipment and safety is paramount.

When it comes to table saw safety, there’s the obvious blade guard, but there are also companies like Sawstop, which produce saws that can actually detect if your skin touches the blade and stop it spinning immediately (almost literally). Jonathan decided to rent a Phantom V2640 high-speed camera to see just how quickly these things work and how much damage they prevent from happening to your fingers.

As a finger-proxy, Jonathan uses hotdogs in the video, which are about the same thickness as his thumb – a logical appendage to find potentially meeting a table saw blade. Sawstop makes some pretty bold claims on their website and even have a video of their own showing how it works. But much of it is CG, really low-resolution slow-motion footage, or the hotdog they’re using is just moving much more slowly than your hand might in the real world.

Jonathan’s video shows just how quickly this thing can stop a blade in glorious HD, and in some of the tests, he throws that hotdog at the blade pretty rapidly, resulting in only minor superficial damage. At least, it’s very minor and superficial when compared with having a finger sliced off.

What was particularly impressive, though, was when he tests it with a stacked dado blade. This is essentially several blades sandwiched together in order to cut a wide channel in a piece of material. These can weight 2 or 3 times as much as a standard table saw blade and require a lot more stopping power. And this sounds kinda clickbaity, but you really have to see what happens during that test. I’m not going to spoil it for you here, but if your jaw isn’t hanging down after you see it, there’s something wrong with you.

Anyway, aside from the actual demonstration of the safety features of the saw, the footage itself looks pretty epic. And we like epic slow-motion footage here on DIYP, so we’re posting it.

But it also goes to show just how useful slow-motion cameras can be for capturing this sort of thing and presenting it in a way that mere mortals can actually comprehend. So, if you’re a filmmaker who’s debating whether it’s worth renting a slow-motion camera for your work or your client’s needs, maybe this’ll help you make your decision.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “This woodworker uses a Phantom camera to show the power of table saws at 19,000fps”

  1. Sid Valluri Avatar
    Sid Valluri

    Fantastic technology and a great video illustrating it