Overview Of Worm Drive And Sidewinder Circular Saw
A worm drive circular saw is a larger variant of the standard circular saw.
The basic working mechanism is the same as its smaller counterpart, but it has much higher power.
A sidewinder circular saw, on the other hand, is a smaller version of a normal worm drive saw and has a lower power-to-weight ratio than its bigger counterpart.
Generally, both these products are used for cutting different types of wood at different depths or thicknesses. We will take a look into how each one works in detail below:
Worm Drive Circular Saw
Worm drive saws are operated by a gear reduction system which amplifies the rotational torque and power to the blade.
They normally come with a direct current electric motor, which can be connected to an external power source like a generator or car battery for increased performance.
Mechanism Of Working In Worm Drive Circular Saw
In a worm drive circular saw, the worm gear is not present above the radial arm as in most other types of radial arm saws. Instead, it is mounted on the main spindle from which the whole system rotates.
When rotating, this spindle drives both the worm and carriage wheels through a set of gears present at its two ends.
The worm wheel attached to this spindle spins inside a worm housing which has a smaller diameter than that of the rotation axis itself. On its other side, the carriage wheel sits on another rotating body.
This “carriage” usually has a long cylindrical shape with one end having a circular disc attached to it.
The carriage also has two other pivot points at either end through which the radial arm is attached firmly. Usually.
This pivot point acts as the main fulcrum for making cuts in material with worm drive circular saw too.
When you push this type of saw into the material, besides rotating its cutting blade it also lifts that half of its body above the surface of the material to be cut.
All these movements occur because of the same reason – rotation of worm gear during each cut action by its user.
Sidewinder Circular Saw
A sidewinder circular saw is one of the most common types of circular saws out there and they usually come in smaller sizes and lighter weights than worm drives.
The working principle of this tool is almost the same as that of its bigger version, but it has a lower power-to-weight ratio.
Saws use standard blades for cutting either wood or metal, depending on their designation.
Mechanism Of Working In Sidewinder Circular Saw
In any type of radial arm saw or even a circular saw, two main parts work together to cut the material – a circular saw blade and a motor.
The circular saw blade is mounted on a kind of horizontal frame that can move up and down for cutting different types of wood at different depths or thicknesses.
This whole system is known as the radial arm, which moves from side to side during each cut operation.
In a sidewinder circular saw also, this mechanism is used by its users to make cuts in various types of material.
In this type, the radial arm swings from right to left instead of moving back and forth like most other types of saws.
If you stare into the upper part of a sidewinder circular saw closely, you would be able to see a worm gear present on its top edge along with a potentiometer.
These two components are responsible for converting the rotational energy produced by the motor into linear (sideways) power for cutting through the material.
This conversion is done in two steps:
First, these two components work together to convert the rotation of the drive shaft present at the center of a sidewinder circular saw into straight-line reciprocating motion.
Next, this reciprocating motion is converted back into rotational energy and delivered to the worm gear mounted on top of it.
This recirculation provides more mechanical advantage during cutting with a sidewinder circular saw than you get in most other types of radial arm saws.
The outer diameter of the sidewinder circular saw is just 10 inches which makes it possible to add larger blades without making its body too bulky.
These blades can cut a piece of lumber of a thickness greater than 8 inches at a maximum depth of approximately 4-1/8 inches with a sidewinder circular saw.
Difference Between Worm Drive & Sidewinder Circular Saw
Here are some of the main differences between worm drive and sidewinder circular saws:
1. Mechanism Of Working
Worm Drive Circular Saw works on WEDGE principle while Sidewinder Circular Saw uses GEAR & PULLEY mechanism for converting rotational energy into linear power.
2. Power Source
Worm Drive Circular Saw gets its power from the motor directly through a smooth continuous connection while Sidewinder Circular Saw gets its power from the electric motor through gears that reduce speed.
Sidewinder Circular Saws come in much smaller sizes than Worm Drives due to less powerful motors and larger blades used by them to cut thicker pieces of wood or metal.
4. Surface Area
Worm Drives have a larger surface area on both table and base as they need to support their heavier weight which sidewinder circular saws lack.
A Worm Drive Circular Saw is heavy & bulky whereas Sidewinders are lighter & compact ones with less powerful motors.
Similar blade size but a smaller working space due to the smaller circular saw blade design used in them.
This makes worm drives ideal for frequent setups while sidewinders are better for light-duty tasks that don’t require much attention or time involved in operations.
6. Cutting Thickness
The maximum cutting depth of most worm drive circular saws is 6-1/2 inches while sidewinders can cut a maximum of 8 inches.
Worm drives are usually heavy as they use more powerful motors and need to drive larger blades for cutting thicker pieces of material.
Whereas sidewinders are lighter due to less powerful motors and smaller blade designs used by them to cut thinner pieces of materials.
8. Cutting Depth
Sidewinder circular saws can cut maximum thicknesses of 4-1/8 inches whereas worm drives can cut to 6-1/2 inches.
9. Drive Shaft
Worm Drive Circular Saw uses a smooth continuous connection to power the motor while Sidewinder Circular Saw uses an arrangement of gears that reduces the rotational speed before reaching the worm gear mounted on top of it.
10. No Of Blades
Sidewinders use 2 blades (left & right) whereas worm drives come with double blades (one left blade & one right blade).
For sidewinders, two different blades are attached to both sides at 90 degrees to each other to produce vertical cut-in wood or plastic.
Workpieces for faster cutting operations without changing the blade direction every time you need to change its orientation for different types of cutting tasks.
Worm drives are expensive as they use more powerful motors and larger blades mounted on them for cutting thicker pieces of material.
Whereas sidewinders are cheap due to their less powerful motors & compact design with smaller circular saw blades used on them.
Difference In Power And Cutting Capacity
In a sidewinder circular saw, the radial arm moves from right to left during each cut which is a natural way of doing things.
This helps the user push its body into material for making cuts with lots of force and hence deliver more power while cutting through lumber & similar other material.
On the other hand, the worm drive circular saw has its smaller, rotating spindle attached to it.
When this spindle makes complete rotations in one direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise), its blade also revolves around at least twice.
Since both these actions happen simultaneously, you get higher revolutions per minute (RPM) while using worm drive circular saws than sidewinder ones.
This increased RPM delivers more torque that ultimately results in more cutting power.
And since worm drive saws are usually lighter than sidewinder ones, they tend to move more easily in the gap between the material being cut and the guide fence too.
This is why you can make accurate cuts with this circular saw at a distance of 6 inches from either side of its blade with ease.
However, most users claim that worm-drive circular saws can only cut up to 4-1/4 inches deep into lumber when making straight cuts.
As per them, inserting their radial arm into materials for cutting through them with sidewinders works better most of the time.
Another thing present in the sidewinder circular is its shorter height.
So if you have got used to handling long radial arms then sidewinders may not feel comfortable enough for you.
A longer radial arm of a sidewinder circular saw takes the same space as a worm-drive saw when fully retracted at its base.
However, these arms can only go down to about 4 inches from full extension at their back while sidewinders can go down to 2 ½ inches from full extension.
If you think about spending under $100 on a new circular saw for your workshop or construction site, then both these tools will be equally good choices for you.
However, if you are someone who has got used to using different types of tools & accessories like dust collection systems or extended base plates in your work then you should go for worm-drive circular saws.
They will provide you with a better cutting experience along with more value for your money.
However, if you would like to get rid of the challenges that come with changing blades on sidewinders then this is what you should go for.
Both these types of saws can be easily found second-hand at low rates so buying them isn’t going to put a hole in your pocket either.