I bought the Craftex CXARM overarm blade cover.
I wanted better DC on the tablesaw and most of the dust comes from above the blade. I debated between this one and the Excalibur, but decided to try the Craftex for two reasons:
2. It does not rely on the extension table for support. My fence has aluminum rails and these overam guards are very heavy. I have read reports of twisting the extension.
I have it almost completely assembled, and used it for some test cuts last night. I thought I would post some initial impressions.
Out of the box the boom arm was dented at the 4" end from shipping damage. BusyBee exchanged it for a new one no problem, but the first one they brought out had a big blemish on the paint. Second replacement was fine.
This thing is big and heavy. It swings out of the way if needed, but the boom is so heavy that it is not self supporting past 45 deg . The lower support arm will need to be bolted to the saw cabinet, which I plan on doing. It is well designed for this, however, requiring a couple of 5/16” holes into the saw cabinet.
The manual says that it can be used on saws with as little as 39” from the blade to the column of the arm. This is more like 41”. As well, the telescoping connection on the lower support arm that bolts to the saw cabinet only has one tapped hole to secure it once it is telescoped together that doesn't line up with anything. To keep it collapsed I will have to drill a 5/16” hole all the way through and secure it with a through bolt.
The dust cover is BIG (22” long). The Excalibur’s head is only 17” long. The CXARM almost spans the width of the saw table. At first I thought this was going to be a show stopper, but I decided to give it a try anyways. Turns out it really doesn’t matter that much when in operation, it just looks BIG.
It seals so well against the saw table that when I turned on the dust collector the first time it lifted the insert plate out of the slot. I had to snug it up with the side adjustment screws to keep it in the plate hole.
I cut some boards and MDF with the arm connected to my new Craftex 1HP dust collector. Not a speck of dust on the table. An epiphany for me, Dustless Sawing!! There is some dust that escapes to the side if you are just trimming the edge off (i.e. no offcut) but this is typical of Excalibur as well.
To perform the cut, the front edge of the cover is lifted slightly, the board inserted underneath, then saw away. Wheels on each corner of the cover ride on the workpiece as it feeds through.
One testy issue is that if the offcut is narrow, it can rise up a bit and catch the back edge of the cover, pushing it up as you feed through. A slight nudge allows the cover to drop back down, but it is something to be aware of. I may experiment with setting the cover a tad high prior to the cut and see if dust collection is compromised as compared to having it sit on top of the workpiece.
For crosscuts with the mitre gauge it gets almost all of the dust, but more escapes if your feed rate is too fast.
As I said earlier, the boom can rotate out of the way but I don’t think I’ll need to do that very often. The cover lifts straight up, and locks with a lever. It can be lifted enough for easy access for most cuts where the cover is not desired.
This device will take some getting used to, but after only a few cuts I can tell I am going to like using it. Capturing dust at the source is always preferable, and this arm does a good job of that. As well, my sense of safety is greatly increased with the blade being covered. I can clearly see the cut through the plastic cover, so no issues there. Combined with my Biesemeyer splitter, I feel my golf game is under a lot less risk in the workshop.
I will update this review as I use the thing more.