Rockwell Bladerunner. Rockwell jig saw
Remember when there were just table saws and jigsaws and occasionally someone would try hanging a jigsaw upside down in a table? Well, enter the Rockwell Bladerunner and we see that the initial concept was good all along. What it needed was to be thought out in modern terms from the ground up and Rockwell took on the challenge. Rockwell is obviously not trying to replace a real table saw or a real jigsaw but this combination has definite possibilities for a subset of today’s woodworkers.
The Rockwell Bladerunner is a bench top machine and I think sized right for that use. The table surface is 15-3/4” wide by 17”-deep. The table surface is 9-1/4” above the surface that the machine is set on. The table surface is made from brushed steel panels with inset T-shaped slots that accept the included miter gauge. One slot runs front-to-back and a second running side-to-side with both going all the way across the table. The case sits on rubber feet in the corners that help keep it in place and reduces sound transmissions.
While the corners of the table are clipped at a 45-degree angle the rest of the table edges are square. That makes it possible to use aftermarket clamp-on fences or shop-built jigs for ripping or other specialty operations.
The motor (left) is under the table and has plenty of power for this application. The over arm guard (right) is effective as is the dust control. Click images to enlarge
The Rockwell Bladerunner has an over arm blade guard with a built-in dust port. The guard is pretty rudimentary but does work and can be adjusted up out of the way for blade changing or at any height in between to accommodate various material thicknesses. A lever-operated pressure foot helps keep the workpiece down on the table. The dust port is also pretty simple and includes a twist-in connector with a 1-1/2”-diameter end that fits common shop-vac hoses. The dust system actually does a pretty good job when you can work with the guard down.
The Rockwell Bladerunner is driven by an internal 5.5 Amp, 120V motor that produces blade SPM (strokes per minute) of 800 to 2800 with a 7/8”-long blade stroke. A speed control dial is built into the left front corner of the case. A keyed ON/OFF flip-type switch is mounted in the right front corner. Remove the plastic key and the switch is disabled to prevent unauthorized (inquisitive children and adults) while you are not present or using it.
When equipped with the correct blade for the material the Rockwell Bladerunner is versatile. It is capable of cutting wood up to 1-1/2”-thick and PVC pipe up to 1-1/4”-diameter. Put a metal-cutting blade in and the Rockwell Bladerunner can handle aluminum up to 3/8”-thick and steel with a maximum thickness of 1/8”. You can even cut ceramic material up to 7/8”-thick with an appropriate blade.
The cabinet (left) has built-in blade storage and a dust drawer. Changing blades (right) is fast and tool-free. Click images to enlarge
The cabinet has cord storage pegs in the rear and a pull-pout dust drawer at the bottom of the front panel. Just below the table, also on the front is a pullout blade storage drawer with holders for several blades. The blade drawer has a magnet built in that helps hold the blades in place during transport.
The case of the Rockwell Bladerunner has a carry handle that make it easy to take it where you need it or to store it when you are done. With an overall weight of just 17.6-lbs you won’t need to build a cart to move it around.
Blades and Changing
The Rockwell Bladerunner uses the Hyper-popular T-shank style blades so the available selection is virtually endless as is their availability. I would however strongly urge you to use good quality blades in this machine to get the most out of it. The Rockwell Bladerunner comes with five sample blades with one each for wood, scrolling wood, aluminum, “metal” (steel etc.) and a ceramic blade.
Blade changes are tool-free thanks to a slide button set into the table surface. Depress a red button and slide it to the right and the blade is released. Insert the new blade through a rubber seal that protects the blade mechanism below. Make sure that the blade is fully seated and release the slider button lock and it is ready to use.
The over arm guard (left) can be adjusted to accommodate the wood thickness or to be out of the way for blade changes. The Bladerunner comes with a miter gauge (right) that pivots to both sides, has an adjustable fence and can be locked in the T-shaped slots but if accuracy is the goal, think about building a sled. Click images to enlarge
In the Shop
It is important to note that if you are looking for a bench top miracle to replace a table saw, the Rockwell Bladerunner is not it, is not advertised as one and there really isn’t such a miracle machine anyway. However the Rockwell Bladerunner is a well thought out improvement on the old idea of hanging a jigsaw under a table.
After assembly I made basic cuts using the supplied blades. While they do work I quickly found that you can help the Rockwell Bladerunner a bunch by using high-quality, aggressive blades. I used some mean looking Bosch blades and the performance perked up a bunch. The included miter gauge is OK but if you want to make accurate rip and cross cuts I would suggest building a sled. Just as on full-sized table or Band saws, a sled improves accuracy and cut performance. The metal blade that came with the Rockwell Bladerunner did a good job on some 1/8”-thick steel angle that I tried cutting.
The over arm blade guard works and takes just a little getting used to in terms of setting it up right. The dust collection with my DC hooked to the outlet is very good. Some saw dust still found its way onto the top of the machine but not much at all considering the cuts I was making.
The speed control is handy when changing to different style blades or working with different materials. The motor has plenty of power when you use reasonable feed rates and good blades – both of which you should be doing anyway regardless of the available power.
Where the Rockwell Bladerunner really shines is when equipped with an aggressive scrolling-type blade. Being able to have the work flat on the table and using both hands to steer it just feels way better than when using a hand-held jigsaw or even a real scroll saw. Certainly the Rockwell Bladerunner can’t match the really fine work a scroll saw is capable of but with the right blade it can come close.
Circle Cutter Accessory
Note: The over arm guard and dust collection assembly has been removed for visual clarity for both accessories.
This accessory gives the Bladerunner the capability to cut perfect circles from 3” to 18” in diameter in material up to 1”-thick. The Circle Cutter slips into the front-to-back miter slot and uses a latch that fits into the left-to-right miter slot to lock it the jig in place. That latch also lets you start with the jig and material pulled towards the operator and then with the Bladerunner operating slid forward to engage the blade so you can cut the circle in a piece of stock that is slightly larger than needed to insure a fully round work piece. The Circle Cutter kit (RW9261) includes the jig itself, a center pin fixture with screws and a scrolling-type blade capable of cutting the full range of circles.
The Circle Cutter Kit (left) actually does a good job of cutting circles accurately. I cut four different sized circles and all came out at the right size and round! Not all circle jigs can say that! The Picture Frame Cutter (right) is going to take some effort to get it cutting accurate miter joints. Its fit in the miter slot is a bit loose and that lets the entire jig rock back and forth horizontally. I think this jig could be made to work right but this is taxing the capabilities of this saw. Click images to enlarge
To use the Circle Cutter cut the stock slightly larger than needed and mark the center with crossing lines from each corner. (Using square blanks is easiest) Place the center pin fixture over the intersection of the lines and use the included ½”-long screws to secure it. Install the included scrolling blade in the Bladerunner.
With a Phillips screwdriver set the pivot point on the jig to the size wanted and then tighten the screws to lock it in place. Slip the jig into the miter slot but stop well short of the blade. Place the wood and pivot fixture on the Circle Cutting jig making sure that the pin goes into the pivot point on the jig. Start the Bladerunner and slowly push the wood forward until the latch on the Circle Cutter clicks into the left-to-right miter slot. Then slowly turn the wood to cut the circle making sure to hold it down to keep the center pin engaged. When the circle is complete shut the Bladerunner off before removing the work piece. Remove the pivot fixture and the circle is complete.
Picture Frame Cutter Accessory
The Picture Frame Cutter fits into the front-to-back miter slot and uses two prepositioned faces to hold stock 45-degrees to the blade. The jig includes the base jig, an extension arm and an adjustable stop. The fence surfaces have a rubber strip that helps to prevent creeping during the cuts. The Picture Frame Cutter can cut components up to 26”-long and in material up to ¾”-thick.
To use the Picture Frame Cutter place the material against the front (operator side) fence and make the first cut. Depending on the length of the wood you might have to install the extension arm. Set the stop to the length the component needs to be. Move the stock to the rear face and put the end just cut on the front face of the jig against the stop and make the second cut to finish that piece.
The kit also includes something called a “rebate pointer” that helps set up for cutting frame pieces with rabbet for a backing board.
The Rockwell Bladerunner is an interesting saw with capabilities that will suit many woodworkers that live with a small workspace or that enjoy making small projects or smaller project pieces. It has plenty of power and runs on normal household current which can also be important for many woodworkers.
With a street price of 159.95 (10-01-2010) putting a Rockwell Bladerunner in your shop is economical as well.
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rockwell RK7315 Variable Speed Scroll Saw, 16
Shop Series present anoher great value for your home workshop the 16 inch scroll saw. Variable speed and a 4/5″ stroke ensure clean accurate cuts while the 0 to 45 degree bevelling table lets you make more specialized cuts, It is also equipped with a dust port and dust blower to keep the work area clean and safe. Power is provided by a 1.2 amp motor with no load speed of 500. 1700 spm’s. Throat depth is 16 inches and the cutting depth is 2-1/2 inches. It comes with a blade guard, blade holder, allen key and two blades (1 x 15 TPI and 1 x 18TPI).
- Throat depth: 16″
- Stroke: 4/5″
- Cutting depth: 2-1/2″
- Weight: 30.8 lbs
- On board dust blower
- Dust port for dust extraction
- Blade guard
- Variable speed
- Table bevel: 0-45 degrees left
- No Load Speed: 500-1700 RPM
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Powerful 15 amp motor with 1.2 amp no load speed makes this a great machine for the workshop or the jobsite
We are unable to ship to certain locations due to restrictions. If you have any questions, please reach out to customer service. Below is a breakdown of the abbreviated locations.
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Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner with Wall Mount Review
The Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner with Wall Mount might be a good choice for the hobbyist or do-it-yourself type because of its ability to adapt quickly to different materials and types of cuts. For many casual project people, the lack of adequate work space, along with cost considerations, make it difficult to have a Band saw, scroll saw, and table saw individually. Thanks to its ingenious use of t-shank jigsaw blades, the BladeRunner gives you the ability to do scroll cuts, rip cuts and cross cuts in many different types of materials. With a smooth stainless steel table and a unique material tension system, guiding materials though the cutting area is very easy. The ability to free up bench space by use of the included wall mount bracket is a significant feature as well that we really liked.
Rockwell Bladerunner X2
The Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner with Wall Mount might be a good choice for the hobbyist or do-it-yourself type because of its ability to adapt quickly to different materials and types of cuts. For many casual project people, the lack of adequate work space, along with cost considerations, make it difficult to have a Band saw, scroll saw and table saw individually. Thanks to its ingenious use of t-shank jigsaw blades, the BladeRunner gives you the ability to do scroll cuts, rip cuts and cross cuts in many different types of materials. With a smooth stainless steel table and a unique material tension system, guiding materials though the cutting area is very easy. The ability to free up bench space by use of the included wall mount bracket is a significant feature as well that we really liked.
Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner Build Quality
At first glance, the BladeRunner comes across as a jigsaw mounted upside down under a metal table with its blade sticking up. On top it is mated with something resembling the foot and spring tension assembly from a heavy-duty sewing machine. The lower portion of the saw is made of up a sturdy plastic, with thick rubber feet that work well to grip any flat surface. On the left side is a speed control dial and on the right is the on/off switch that has a safety pull-out key that renders the saw in operable when removed. On the very bottom front is a drawer that collects dust and debris and on the same side, just under the table top, is a small drawer that holds spare blades. Having a variety of spare blades easy accessible makes choosing the right one for the material and type of cut a simple task. On the back side, provisions are made for cord storage and there is a place on the left side for the storage of the included miter guide and rip fence combo. To keep things lightweight, the table top is made of cast aluminum, but four stainless steel sheet metal plates are integrated into it to make the surface slick and smooth. The smooth stainless steel finish makes it easy to slide and navigate materials through the blade. Probably one of the most interesting features of the saw is that integrated blade guide and material tensioner. This piece ships disassembled and is the only item that requires assembly before use. It is attached with two Allen head screws at the back, right corner of the BladeRunner. The blade guide and tensioner reaches over the table like an arm and actually was surprisingly rigid once all the screws were tightened. There are two adjustment points on the arm. The first is near the back and it provides a rough adjustment for the blade clamp height. Final tension comes from a flip-style switch on the right side of the cutting head. Inside the cutting head are roller guides that keep the jigsaw blade aligned as you make different types of cuts.
As for blades, the Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner includes an initial included selection of six different T-shank style blades that offer everything from fine tooth metal blades to some longer, large tooth blades which are good for making quick, rough cuts through soft wood. Blade changes are quick and easy. To start, make sure the saw is off and unplugged that so that it can’t accidentally start up. Next, swing the blade guide up so that you can get to the top of the blade. Using your right hand, stick your finger into the red blade release mechanism and pull it towards the right with a squeezing action. Now you can pull the blade out of the holder and replace it with a different one. Once the blade is seated in the holder, you can release the mechanism and the blade will stay securely in place. Make sure to lower and blade guide once the new blade is installed.
The included wall mount brackets are made of steel and come in four pieces. The cross braces that get screwed to the wall already have pre-drilled holes at 16” apart. Sorry, but if you have stud spacings different that this, you are on your own for mounting holes or you’ll have to resort to using some kind of wall anchor. The wall bracket provided more than adequate support, even when we leaned on the table top. We liked that the BladeRunner always felt well secured.
Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner Testing
Before we even turned on the Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner, we securely installed the wall mount bracket to one of the walls in the shop. Thankfully, the studs were spaced at 16 inches on center which made mounting a breeze. The included 4 foot long cord was just long enough to reach the nearest power receptacle. At first we had a hard time getting the BladeRunner to latch into the wall bracket, but after some checking we saw that the alignment of the lower and upper catches have to be located with a little bit of precision with the notches on the BladeRunner. Once locked into the wall bracket, there is a surprising amount of rigidity to the whole assembly and we would think that for users that have a little bit of extra wall space to dedicate to the BladeRunner, they’ll find that this is probably the best way to use it. If you should need to take your BladeRunner off the wall bracket, that is easy as well and involves simply flipping two latches on the top.
For a fun little project, I was making a pair of new grips for a handgun out of a black linen laminate phenolic material. This material is made up of many layers of linen fabric embedded with a phenolic resin. This material is very hard and durable and it has a very attractive pattern when shaped and sanded. We figured this would be a good test of the BladeRunner because of the tough qualities of the material and the level of precision of the cuts that we needed to accomplish. First we transferred the pattern onto the material blanks with a permanent marker. Since this is a hard material, we chose a fine tooth blade, much like what would be used for cutting metal materials, and loaded it into the tool. We set the cutting speed to about half and went to town. While our cuts were mostly straight, we found that it was easy to keep to a line and that visibility was good as we made the cuts. Since we did not have a vacuum (for which there is a provision for an attachment on the tension/guide head) we had to periodically blow the dust out of the way to see the markings. When working with hard materials, or any material for that matter, it is critical that the material tension clamp be set with the right amount of tension. If it is too loose, the material has the tendency to want to jump around as the blade moves up and down through it. If it is too tight, it is difficult to guide the material through. After a little getting used to the way the saw behaved, it was easy to set the cutting speed and the material tension clamp.
In using the Rockwell RK7321 BladeRunner, in many ways it felt like I was using a cross between a bandsaw and a scroll saw. What came across as one of the nicest features is the ability to quickly adapt to different materials with a simple blade swap (which is not so easy to do with a Band saw, for example). The wall mount bracket is a must if you plan on using this saw a lot, since it keeps it from taking up precious bench top space. For our Performance rating we gave this saw an above average score of 6/10 due to its ability to cut different materials with relative ease, but with obvious limitations like dept of cut and the working area of the table. For our Value rating, we also gave the BladeRunner a score of 6/10 since it does a good job of combining the the features and ability’s of a few different tools into one which can be a significant cost (and space) savings over buying a couple different tools. The key to remember with this tool is that it is a great product for the hobbyist or do-it-yourself given its compact size and versatility. If you are a professional that is looking for a production type tool, there are more heavy-duty solutions.
Rockwell X2 Saw Demo
Rockwell, Norman. 18 Results
Norman Rockwell’s vintage illustrations graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post for over 4 decades. Now translated into jigsaw puzzles. they capture emotions flawlessly, engulfing the viewer into the scene Rockwell created.
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