How does a jigsaw work?

     
     
 Shop for Jigsaws 
     
     
 Jigsaw and sewing machine up close 

A jigsaw is a type of powered saw consisting of a motor that drives a narrow blade in a rapid up-and-down motion.

 

The reciprocating movement of the blade is very similar to that of the needle in a sewing machine.

 
     
 Internal workings of a jigsaw, eccentric gear mechanism 

Within the housing of a jigsaw, the motor is connected to the blade by a set of eccentric gears (gears that have axes that are off-centre). 

 

These gears convert the rotary motion of the motor into the reciprocating vertical movement of the blade holder, causing the blade to move quickly up and down.

 
     
 Jigsaw blade cutting on the upstroke with shoe flush against the workpiece 

The blade of a jigsaw usually cuts on the upstroke as a result of its teeth pointing upwards. If a clean cut is important, you should turn your workpiece over so that you cut from the back of the material to prevent splintering on the front.

 

During use, the shoe (base) of the tool is placed against the workpiece. The work is pulled against the shoe as the blade cuts up and through the material.

 
     Wonkee Donkee says: 'Whilst most jigsaw blades cut on the upstroke, some have teeth that point downwards and cut on the downstroke. These are called reverse tooth blades.
     
 Changing orbital action setting of jigsaw 

The speed of most machines can be altered using a variable speed dial.

 

This feature, along with the orbital action function, enables the user to control the cut and work with different materials. High speeds are used for wood, with slower settings employed for plastic and metal. 

 
     
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