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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

So I have several thousand delicate cuts to make with a reciprocating saw and I want to be able to run the saw at a consistent, slow speed. Most saws out there have a variable speed based on trigger pull and as your hand fatigues the stroke rate starts to vary. The variable saws that have a dial setting don't seem to make me very happy. I tried to wire a dimmer switch into an extension cord and it worked really well...for about 30 seconds at which point the dimmer switch blew up, the saw motor kakked and the room had a fair amount of burnt out saw guts smoke in it.

Is there a way to do this successfully? Was the switch just not rated for the amount of juice the saw was asking for? If so, do they make heavier duty switches? I've been a Carpenter for 28 years but I admit to being utterly hopeless with any of the technical side of electricity. I can install a light fixture or a plug or a switch no problem but ask me how any of it actually makes things spark up...well, you get the point. Thanks in advance for any advice and for not deriding my intelligence too badly : )
 

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World's Tallest Midget
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Harbor Freight has a router speed switch that I would try in your situation. It just lowers the voltage. I use it to turn the suction down in my shop vac, but it sounds like it would work for you.
 

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Sounds like you tried a lighting dimmer switch. You need a VS motor controller.
I have one I built from a VS fan switch that so far has not burnt up any of my power tools. But you can buy them as Mort said
 

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If you check the recip saw's instruction manual it should talk about extension cord size/length. This kind of ties into what you are trying to do i.e. the tool won't be happy running on reduced power....not good for the motor. You may potentially damage the saw's motor.
Just curious, what are you making 1000's of cuts in?
 

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Dimmers distort the waveform, which many loads do not like. I believe a variable transformer (Variac) would solve your problem. Plenty available new and used. Get one rated for the voltage and current your saw can draw.
 

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Before making thousands of cuts at a significantly lower speed, I would talk with the mfg tech support.

My guess is they will tell you that the saw is designed for limited operation at reduced speed. Prolonged operation at the reduced speed will overheat and damage the saw.

If you describe these thousands of cuts, someone here may know of a better tool for the job.
 

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QUOTE - Is there a way to do this successfully? QUOTE.

Go to an electrical supply house and get a electronic motor speed controller.
Make sure it can handle the current the saw uses.

Be carefull you do not over heat the saw
Less speed means less air thru it
Which means more heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the great ideas folks I really appreciate it all. I'm feeling pretty confident that one of these is going to solve the issue.

For the curious among you, I'm making partial cuts in aged PVC that's quite brittle and spread over 200 acres in am irrigation system. It's a Band-Aid solution to buy a couple of years for my Sister on a farm she's just getting started.

The "DEXTER" comment was awesome but don't fret, no nefarious intent here.
 

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200 acres? Are there electrical outlets scattered throughout the 200 acres? How long an extension cord were you planning on? Too long and the saw motor will suffer. Is this to create a soaker system? How about drilling small holes in the PVC? Gather up all your friends and tell them to bring their cordless drills.
 
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