The Bosch ReaXX Table Saw GTS1041A is an amazing new portable saw that offers a new safety system that snatches the blade away from your hand should you make accidental contact. How fast is it? It’s based on Bosch air bag technology (for which the company holds a ridiculous number of patents) and it literally uses air bag mechanisms to retract the blade at faster-than-lightning speed in the event of accidental contact with your finger(s). What makes this new table saw different from other competing table saw safety technologies is that it retracts the blade below the table and brakes it (note the spelling—it doesn’t “break” it) without destroying the blade. What’s more, you can reset the GTS1041A system after deployment in just under a minute!
We got to see this new Bosch GTS1041A table saw up close and personal at the 2015 World of Concrete show in Las Vegas. While we were at the 2015 Bosch Media Event, we got to see ReaXX tested using a bratwurst (coming from a German company it just seemed fitting somehow!) This is an amazing new table saw that builds upon the well-regarded Bosch 4100 table saw and does a number of things really well. Build quality is superb, and the system comes with the gravity-Rise Wheeled Stand to make it fully portable. Getting back to the safety features of the Bosch ReaXX table saw, however, what I liked about it was the way the system worked so intuitively.
Check out the product video:
Bosch ReaXX Table Saw Safety System
The way the Bosch ReaXX system works is really ingenious. First of all, how fast is an airbag? Very fast. So fast that it deploys before your head can hit either the side of a car or the steering wheel. On top of that, it has sensors to properly keep the bag inflated throughout an accident, but without making the bag hard as a brick so you actually have some cushion when you strike it with your body. It’s this type of speed that Bosch turned to for its blade retraction mechanism. The system uses sophisticated sensors, but then Bosch added a two-sided activation cartridge that fires down like a piston and sends the blade below the surface of the table. A brake then stops the blade—from the sides, not through a destructive mechanism—and another mechanism keeps the blade from bouncing back up through the blade access hole.
A couple of things happen simultaneously when the mechanism on the Bosch ReaXX table saw engages. I’ll try to go through them in order, but in the event we miss a few steps, we’ll come back and fill in with more details once Bosch releases the full data sheet:
- The table saw does a quick check, recognizes the system is ready to go, and allows you to activate the saw
- An event trigger is detected—namely, your finger or fingers touch the spinning saw blade
- The sensor fires the piston which contacts a lever that retracts the blade into the table so quickly, it doesn’t even leave a mark on your finger
- A physical locking system prevents the blade from bouncing back up through the table
- A mechanism much like a disc brake stops the blade from spinning
- The system indicates a safety trigger has been activated
- The system must be reset before the saw can be used again, or bypassed.
All of this, of course, happens in a period of less than 50 microseconds (we’ll try to get the exact number from Bosch). Resetting the system is a matter of releasing the mechanism that holds the blade below the deck, opening up the top of the saw (which doesn’t require the use of external tools), pulling the side-by-side activation cartridge out and reversing it (you get two firings for each paired set), replacing the activation cartridge system, and resetting the saw. We watched Bosch do this, casually, in less than a minute.
Bosch Reaxx Table Saw Quick Specs & Info
- Includes a 2-shot carriage w/60 second reset time
- MSRP: $1499 (replacement cartridges cost $99 each)
- Smart phone app-enabled for saw status
- Power: 15 Amps
- Motor: 4 HP
- Blade Size: 10 in. (5/8 in. arbor)
- Blade Speed: 3650 RPM no load
- Cut Depth: 3-1/8 [email protected] 90º
- Ripping Capacity: 25 in. with additional 18″ rear outfeed support
- LED Indicators: Green – ready; Yellow – User-initiated bypass mode; Red – Disabled due to active safety event; Blue – Service required (occurs automatically after 25 safety event activations)
- Onboard Storage: Parts, instructions, wrenches, extra activation cartridges
- Available: June 1, 2016
You can purchase additional replacement piston systems from Bosch for $99 each (~$50 per firing), and the saw will actually store a couple extras onboard for you so you’re never without a working set. After 25 instances of the saw deploying the safety system there is a mandatory maintenance requirement where you need to bring the Bosch ReaXX Table Saw into an authorized service center for examination. This is actually a good thing, as the table saw needs to be checked to make sure it’s still safe. Honestly, if it deploys 25 times, you’re likely doing something wrong, or your people aren’t using the table saw safely.
Bosch ReaXX vs SawStop Table Saws
There are a number of differences between the Bosch ReaXX table saw and the SawStop table saws. First, they both are very good technologies that use very different methods to both detect, and react to, inadvertent blade contact. Both systems use a type of capacitance detection technology to sense when a finger or body part has come into contact with the saw, but the similarities end there. And the sensing technology is different, in the same way various smart phone and tablet manufacturers use different screen technologies for their touch sensitivity. Where SawStop uses a destructive braking system whose inertial force lowers the blade below the table saw deck, the Bosch ReaXX table saw uses a system derived from their patents on vehicle airbag technology. This system pushes the blade down below the deck using a firing mechanism. Another mechanism then keeps the blade below deck, while an electric brake slows the blade—much like the electric brake on a circular saw. Where the blade on a SawStop saw is likely ruined by a safety event, the blade on the Bosch is never damaged. The two technologies are excellent for those looking for safety solutions on the job site or in the workshop, and it’s great to see some competition in the table saw safety marketplace.