Building the Overarm Blade Guard and Dust Collector
by Gordon J. Sampson

I received a quite a few requests to provide drawings or plans of my overarm blade guard and dust collector. I didn't have any formal drawings when I designed and built the blade guard but Ponders gave me that extra push to get the job done. The drawings were done on PowerPoint. I wanted to make the drawings and procedure easy to follow so even those without CAD or drawing experience could build the blade guard. I accept no responsibility for any injuries or mishaps that occur when using the blade guard from this design. The design is sound. How you plan to use it is up to you.

Blade guard with the structural assembly
(Click for larger image)

Use this design for your own use and pleasure. Copy it, modify it, share it with your woodworking friends. I'm sharing this design because I firmly believe that it provides a safe environment in the shop and will not cost you an arm and a leg to build. Also, Badger Pond has provided me with so much pleasure and knowledge that I wanted to give back something to all my friends here at the Pond.

After two years of not having any blade guard on my Delta Contractors saw, I decided to bite the bullet and build one. I examined the design of 3 or 4 blade guards and none of them had all the features I wanted. I wanted a blade guard that would not only protect my fingers from the spinning blade but would also provide excellent dust collection. I believe I achieved this in my design. The total cost for all parts came in at just under $100.00. Not bad, huh? Best of all, there is virtually no dust given off when ripping a board or running a panel through the saw and there is very little dust when crosscutting.

The Lexan blade guard with screw locations
(Click for larger image)
The blade guard is made from 3/8" Lexan. I wanted a clear material that would be almost bullet proof and Lexan met the requirement. I used my table saw to cut the Lexan pieces and the Forrest WWII blade did a great job! I decided to attach all the Lexan pieces together with screws, rather than permanently bond them. This allows me to change out one piece at a time, rather than replace the entire blade guard, if something were to happen. The biggest challenge I faced was drilling the 3" hole in the Lexan top for the 3" plastic splice. If done correctly, the splice will fit into the 3" hole very snugly, requiring no hardware for the connection.
The majority of the structural mechanism that supports the blade guard is aluminum. The telescoping unit is made from 1 1/2", 1 1/4", and 1" steel square tubing. The top of the telescoping unit is bolted to a 2" x 2" x 1/8" piece of angle iron that is bolted to the ceiling. The telescoping unit is also bolted to a garage door support where it will not interfere with the garage door wheel mechanism. If you do not have a place in your shop to bolt the tubing to the ceiling, you may want to design a method to mount it to the shop floor, extension table, or a mobile base.
The entire system, including the
steel tubing and dust collection
(Click for larger image)
Aluminum structural mechanism with T knobs
I designed the blade guard so it will not lift up when cutting. The aluminum structural mechanism uses T knobs to tighten the structure and hold the blade guard into place. I prefer to have the bottom of the guard 1/16" to 1/8" above the work piece. This provides additional protection against accidentally running my fingers into the blade. Blade guards that lift up over the work piece do not provide this level of protection. The locking mechanism also allows the blade guard to be held above the table when changing blades and cleaning the table top. The steel tubing that makes up the telescoping unit can also be adjusted to raise the blade higher. The blade guard can also be easily removed from the structural mechanism.


© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
No parts of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without the written permission of the publisher.