Before launching into the purchase of a new tunnel, regardless of the type, we suggest you consult our buying guide, in which you will find further information and insights on this particular tool. Before the guide, however, you will find a review of the models currently most in demand on the market.
The various tunnels are listed in order of importance based on their market success, and in fact at the top are two examples for hobby use that buyers have particularly appreciated: the Dremel Moto-Saw MS20-1 / 5 , of which it is above all the excellent value for money was awarded, and the FERM SSM1007, produced by a subsidiary brand of the Makita company and particularly appreciated for its modest and easily accessible price.
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Below you will find the review of the models sold online that buyers have appreciated the most, and of which they have reported both their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Dremel Moto-Saw MS20 Compact Scroll Saw
Dremel, along with Proxxon, is one of the most renowned brands in the production of precision power tools, and even if the Proxxon company is considered to be at the top when it comes to the quality and performance offered by its equipment, Dremel benefits from economic convenience. .
This is why the MS20-1 / 5 electric tunnel is considered by buyers to be one of the best tunnels of 2021, with a decidedly advantageous price and high versatility and ease of use. The package, in fact, is a convenient and well-finished case also from an aesthetic point of view, which includes the bow, the worktop with the fixing clamp, the guide for angular cuts and five blades: two MS51 and two MS52 for cutting the wood, plus an MS53 to cut metal.
It can also be used freehand, of course; the flaws, on the other hand, are the vibrations produced and the shallow arch, which limits the movement of the workpieces.
Value for money : The convenience of the price and the decent performance have made the MS20-1 / 5 tunnel one of the best-selling models, among all those intended for hobby use.
Versatile : It can cut not only wood, but also plastics and non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum alloys for example; it goes without saying that to do this you need to mount the appropriate blades.
Easy to use : The Dremel fretwork is also very easy to use, especially when it comes to changing the blades, made extremely simple by the lever system.
For hobby only : The Dremel tunnel offers a good level of performance, but is in any case intended exclusively for hobby use; the most demanding will have to focus on another product.
2. Ferm SSM1007 Sega da Traforo 120W
The SSM1007 wood tunnel is manufactured by the Dutch company FERM, and this model too is mainly intended for amateur and hobby use. Compared to the Dremel it costs a little more, but has the advantage of being equipped with a foot switch, which allows you to keep your hands free while working.
It is also more powerful, 120 Watts against the 70 of the Dremel, and the worktop has an adjustable inclination in an arc of 45 degrees, it is also equipped with a quick blade tensioning system and an adjustable blower, in order to maintain the ” cutting area always clean and free from the dust produced.
The package also includes an Allen key, two universal saw blade adapters and six blades, two 10, two 15 and two 25 TPI. The only flaw, unfortunately, is the lack of a lateral guide, present instead in the Dremel tunnel.
Foot Switch : The accessory pack also includes a convenient foot switch, allowing you to keep both hands free and focus on work. The switch can also be deactivated for continuous operation.
Well equipped : Apart from the foot switch, the accessories include six blades divided into three pairs, each of a different size, two adapters for universal saw blades and an Allen key.
Easy to manage : Thanks to the rapid blade tensioning system, both the change of the same and the management of the hole are extremely easy; as is expected of a good hobby electric tool.
Lateral guide : Unfortunately, there is no lateral guide that can help in linear cuts, even angled ones, which require greater precision.
3. Proxxon 28 092 DSH Sega da Traforo, 205 Watt
According to the opinions of numerous satisfied buyers, the Proxxon 28092 DSH is the best tunnel among all those examined in our guide; it is well designed and assembled with premium materials, solid, durable and with a professional level of performance.
In fact, unlike the tunnels examined previously, which struggle to cut thicknesses greater than 18 mm, the Proxxon tunnel can easily cut thicknesses up to 50 mm in wood, up to 30 mm in plexiglass and plastic, even when reinforced with fiberglass, rubber, cork, foam or leather, and even up to 10 millimeters in non-alloy steel and non-ferrous metals.
It has a power of 205 Watts and two working speeds: 900 and 1,400 revolutions per minute; its only limitation, according to some buyers, is given by the price which, compared to the tunnels examined previously, has more than doubled.
Proxxon : We are talking about the leading brand in the production of precision power tools; it is especially appreciated by goldsmiths, dental technicians, mechanics and other specialized professionals, but it is also much loved by hobbyists.
Excellent performance : The Proxxon DSH tunnel is capable of cutting wood up to 50 millimeters, plastic up to 30 millimeters and non-ferrous metals up to 10 millimeters; among the different models sold online you will hardly find one with similar performance.
Professional : This tunnel is especially suitable for craft toy manufacturers, architectural model making, carpentry and antique furniture refurbishment.
Not easy : The professional characteristics of the Proxxon DSH tunnel make it not easy to use by hobbyists, especially the blade change system.
4. Pebaro 935 Fretsaw Set
If, on the other hand, you are looking for where to buy a manual fretwork bow at low prices, the article 935 produced by the German company Pebaro is exactly what is right for you. It is in fact a fretwork set that includes the fretwork bow, a hammer, a small screwdriver, a manual awl, a clamp, the support tablet and a case with five blades.
It is the classic fretwork set that almost every one of us has used at least once in their life as a didactic activity in middle school, but it is functional and also suitable for hobby work and, if necessary, for light artisan use, as long as you change. the blades because those supplied are of poor quality and tend to break very quickly.
Buyers mostly recommend it as a gift for children ages 8 and up, in order to offer them a playful alternative that is constructive and different from TV and video games.
Economic : With just under 16 euros you can make a great impression, giving a set that stimulates the child’s creativity and dexterity, introduces him to the world of art and crafts and, above all, keeps him away from the TV.
Complete : The kit includes everything you need: the headband with a reserve of five blades, a hammer, a screwdriver, a small hand drill, the support tablet and its clamp to fix it to the table.
Safe : The Pebaro set is also safe, since the German company specializes in the production of tools and accessories for fretwork for didactic and educational purposes, so it uses materials that are free of chromium, lead and other harmful substances.
Only for children : Occasionally it could also be used in the hobby field, for small maintenance jobs, but it is normally intended mainly for children.
5. Einhell 4309040 Oscillating Tunnel TC-SS 405 E
The TC-SS 405 E tunnel, produced by the German company Einhell, is the cheapest of all the electric tunnels examined in our guide, and is obviously intended exclusively for non-intensive hobby use.
It is driven by a 120 Watt motor equipped with electronic speed regulation in a range between 400 and 1,600 rpm, in order to adapt it to the type of material to be cut; it is complete with a worktop that can be tilted from 0 to 45 degrees and has a maximum cutting height of 57 millimeters, which is reduced to 27 millimeters in 45-degree angled cuts.
However, according to buyers, although the Einhell oscillating tunnel has good characteristics on paper, it is actually made of mediocre materials, the assembly leaves something to be desired and the performance is mediocre even for hobby use. The main advantage that is recognized is its cheapness.
Economic : The Einhell oscillating tunnel was appreciated above all because it is a low-cost electric tool, therefore ideal for the less demanding and for those who use it sporadically.
Adjustable speed : Unlike other electric tunnels in the cheaper range, it offers at least the advantage of adjustable speed, so that you can cut both wood and soft plastics and metals.
Cutting capacity : The maximum height allowed for cutting is 57 mm with perpendicular blade; obviously you have to deal with the economic nature of the product and not expect miracles.
Performance : The blade fails to follow linear cuts but pulls towards one side, increasing the speed the precision disappears and the performance of the motor is also inconsistent.
6. Proxxon 27094 DS 460 2 Speed Scroll Saw
The Proxxon DS 460 is a professional wood tunnel at the top in all respects, both in terms of manufacturing materials and performance, and in terms of price, in fact it is the most expensive of all the electric tunnels examined in our guide.
Unlike the other Proxxon tunnel examined previously, in fact, the DS 460 is decidedly superior, starting from the dimensions and therefore from the depth of the bow. The engine is similar to that of the DSH, in power and speed, but the throat length is 460 mm, compared to 400 for the DSH, and the cutting capacity is 60 mm for wood, 40 mm for plastic and 15 mm. millimeters for non-ferrous metals.
The high cost, however, is only advantageous for a professional; even the blade attachment system, made to ensure universal compatibility, is too complicated for a hobbyist.
Professional tunnel : The Proxxon DS 460 is expensive but it is a model of high quality and performance, its cutting capabilities are even superior even to the Proxxon DSH examined previously
Universal Compatibility : The attachment system for the blades is unique, as it is designed to be compatible with both pin and smooth blades, so it is not easy for a hobbyist to handle.
Versatile and comfortable : Apart from the high versatility regarding the materials that can be cut, it is also equipped with a vacuum cleaner and predisposition for attachment to an external vacuum cleaner.
Not simple : Although it is potentially suitable for hobbyists, it is still expensive and not easy to manage when changing the blades, so it is only recommended for very experienced users.
7. La Nuova Faro SRL Blister Tunnel plus Clapboard
The children’s fretwork produced by the Italian company La Nuova Faro is about to become an unobtainable collector’s item since this historic Italian company, founded in 1945, had to close its doors for good in 2017.
The Nuova Faro became famous above all thanks to its line of toy power tools, drills, milling machines and many more, faithful and functioning reproductions of the originals, but in smaller dimensions. The SR8 / 23 fretwork is sold in a blister pack of six elements which includes the bow, a ruler, the support tablet with its clamp, a case with the blades and a multilayer wooden plank with the print of a small house, in order to allow the child to start practicing immediately.
It has a very affordable cost and is suitable from 6 years of age; moreover, as previously mentioned, it is almost a collector’s item given its difficult availability.
Unique object : The toys of La Nuova Faro were known and appreciated all over the world; since the company closed definitively, in 2017, it is increasingly difficult to find its products.
Economical : Although it can be considered almost a collector’s item, it is still available at the old sale price, very cheap and accessible to all.
Complete set : The set comes complete with everything you need, including a plywood plank with the layout of a small country house.
English edition : The packaging in question is an edition for the English market, therefore the instructions for use are only in that language.
Buying Guide – How to choose the best tunnels?
The different options of choice
What drives you to buy a tunnel? Are you looking for one because it is required by your child’s curriculum, or because you want to give a child an original gift? Which tunnel to buy? A specific tool to use for work, or a simple model for hobby use?
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As you can easily guess from these questions, to understand how to choose a good fretwork you must first know the main purpose for which it will be used, as the models and types available on the market are quite varied.
First of all, we must start from the two main categories into which the different openings on the market are divided: the manual models and the electric ones. The manual fretwork, known more simply as a fretwork bow, is a variant of the saw created specifically for cutting pieces of wood with a thickness of a few millimeters.
As far as size and shape are concerned, the fretwork arches have remained almost unchanged over time; even the blades they use are highly standardized. The electric tunnels, on the other hand, represent the technological evolution of the manual variant, and are real stationary machines, albeit of reasonably contained dimensions.
The manual fretwork arches can in turn be divided into models for children and those intended for general use. The most popular children’s tunnels are kit packs, which usually contain the basic components needed by a beginner, namely the headband, a set of spare blades, the cutting support, the clamp to fix the support to the table and a manual awl drill. Their price can vary from about 10 euros up to a maximum of 25, based on the brand, the quality of the materials and any additional accessories supplied, such as rulers or other.
Apart from the spare blades, it is also possible to purchase the other components of the kit individually, therefore only the bow, the support, the clamp and so on; obviously in this case the prices drop further, but if you need to buy them all then it is more convenient to do it in the form of a kit.
The same applies to the generic manual tunnels, which are intended for both hobby and artisanal and professional use, with due differences regarding the number of accessories present in the different kits on the market, the quality of the manufacturing materials and the prices, which in fact they range between 40 and 90 euros approximately.
The single pieces, also in this case, are to be purchased only if you already have a kit, as taking them all individually, the overall cost, even if only slightly, would be higher in any case.
The electric models are intended exclusively for hobbyists, both beginners and experts of course, craftsmen and professionals. If your needs are of this type, then it is advisable to choose a type of power tool whose cost can vary from about 90 to 400 euros.
The price variation is quite substantial as you can see, but unlike simple manual bows, the electric tunnels are real bench stationary machines, designed with more or less different characteristics depending on the model and intended use but with a high level of performance and power.
Some models are specific for cutting wood, while others also allow you to cut plastic materials and metal alloys of various types, including aluminum and in some cases even soft steels. Also, while some are built to have a fixed headband, others, like the Dremel for example, have the option of being able to separate the headband from the worktop and direct it manually.
The specimens that fall into the medium-low price range, ranging from 90 to 150 euros, are ideal for hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts; the best known and most reliable brands in this range are Dremel, Feider, Einhell, Ferm, Scheppach, FoxFemi and others.
For artisanal and professional use, on the other hand, it is better to move towards the medium-high price range, which goes from 180 to about 400 euros; the brands that have a particular reputation for excellence in this range are Hegner, Proxxon and Holzkraft, not to be confused with the Holzstar brand instead, which falls within the medium-low range.
How long is the blade for the jigsaw?
The standard length of the blades for the jigsaw is 132 mm in total, i.e. including the ends to be inserted into the fixing points, so the toothed useful area has a length of about 105 mm.
The only exception to this standard is the blades for the jigsaw, whose overall length can be up to a maximum of 180 millimeters. This type of blades, however, are fixed only at one end and their width is also greater than those designed for the classic fretsaw, manual or electric.
Another important feature to classify the different fretsaw blades is the coarseness, with this term we refer to the number of teeth per inch possessed by the blade, or TPI. The fewer the number of teeth, the coarser the blade, therefore suitable for making fast and aggressive cuts at the expense of precision; the greater the number of teeth, on the other hand, the more precise and slower the cut will be, but also the risk of breaking the blade will be increased.
Where to buy the fretwork designs?
The diagrams and projects for the tunnel, depending on their purpose of use and their complexity, can be found in various sources. Those intended for children for educational purposes or for play, for example, can be easily purchased in toy stores and stationeries; designs for hobby use, on the other hand, can be found both in shops that sell tools and materials for art and crafts and in the most well-stocked model and hobby shops.
Obviously, they can also be purchased online, where the further advantage is given by the possibility of accessing a wider range of projects based on their purpose of use, especially as regards highly complex drawings made for professional as well as hobby applications.
Most of the designs for fretwork made for professional use, or even for hobby use but of a certain complexity, however, are obviously covered by copyright which is why they have a different cost than those intended for educational use or simply for play.
In principle, therefore, prices can vary from about 2-3 euros for drawings for school or general use for children, up to 100 euros and over for more complex and detailed projects, intended for use in modeling, art, craftsmanship and professional.
How to use a tunnel
How to learn to work on the tunnel
Here is a small guide intended for beginners, with tips and advice on the use of the fretwork: starting from the manual bow up to the oscillating bench models.
Among the various tools intended for hobby use, the fretwork is one of those that exerts the greatest charm; It is no coincidence, in fact, that this instrument, in its manual form, is also used in the study programs of art schools, and in the past also in those of middle schools.
The tunnel is used above all for cutting panel wood, both solid and multilayer, with thicknesses ranging from 2-3 up to about 50-60 millimeters, for the creation of models, lanterns, decorated frames and a myriad of other objects of arts and crafts; some tunnels, however, especially the electric models intended for professional use, are also capable of cutting plastic, metal and other types of material, and therefore can be used for renovation, carpentry and other applications.
The use of the tunnel requires a certain dexterity, regardless of whether you use the manual bow or the electrically powered stationary machine, so now we will try to illustrate the main characteristics of these tools and the correct way, for a beginner, to approach them. use.
The manual tunnel
For absolute beginners it is advisable to start with a manual fretwork, that is the classic bow compatible with blades with smooth ends. It is important to start with the manual tool because this is the only way to really and fully understand the dynamics of the blades, but let’s go in order.
The manual bow is equipped with two clamps with butterfly screws where the ends of the blade must be tightened, the latter must be tensioned and the only way to do this is to tighten the bow with one hand while tightening the screws. The blade must be rigorously mounted with the teeth facing forward and down, once fixed the bow is ready, at this point you can take the wooden or plywood panel, place it on the appropriate table support and start engraving. an edge to start cutting.
The control of the bow, initially, will be quite difficult as the movements of the hand are not limited only to the up and down that is done to cut, but also to the lateral ones; since the saw blades are extremely thin, therefore, the small lateral torsion movements that they undergo during the cut, if unnoticed and not intentionally guided, considerably increase the chances of breaking them.
That is why it is very important to first acquire some practice with the hand tool; the second reason, however, equally important, is of an economic nature. The manual headband costs much less than the stationary power-powered machine; consequently, with a minimum expense, you can easily buy an excellent fretwork (here is the list of the best products) and a large supply of blades to begin with, without having to worry if you break several before acquiring the right dexterity.
The different blades and clamping methods
The importance of acquiring the right dexterity starting from a bow, before moving on to an electric tunnel, is given above all by the fact that most of the cuts to be made are curved, and often even with very marked angles. Furthermore, you will not always find yourself cutting two or three millimeters thick panels, but also four or five centimeters thick pieces of wood.
Electric tunnels can count on a wide variety of blades that, more often than not, make things easier as they are designed specifically for specific uses. The various differences consist primarily of the type and number of teeth; packs with spare blades can indicate the type by means of a number followed by the acronym TPI, which indicates the exact number of teeth per inch, but most simply indicate the definition: coarse, fine or extra-fine .
Coarse blades are those that have fewer teeth, and are suitable for cutting wood and other soft materials, while fine and extra-fine blades, on the other hand, are designed to work on harder materials. Usually the teeth are linear, that is, they are shaped only on the front edge, however there are particular blades that are defined omnidirectional, where the teeth are sculpted in a spiral all around the blade.
Another distinctive feature of the fretwork blades is given by the type of ends they have; the smooth ends are practically universal, that is, they can be mounted both on the manual arches and on the electric tunnels, the ends equipped with small transversal pins, on the other hand, are compatible only with the electric tunnels.
The detail concerning the ends of the blade assumes a certain importance above all due to a particular type of cut, which is very frequent when working on the tunnel, namely the buttonholes.
Often and gladly, in fact, it will be necessary to cut areas that are inside the outline of the piece being made; to do this, therefore, it will be necessary to drill a hole with an awl drill inside the slot, disassemble one of the ends of the blade, make it pass inside the hole and then fix it again to the bow, or to the oscillating arm in the case of an electric tunnel. Even this apparently easy operation requires a certain amount of attention and dexterity to avoid breaking the blade.
The electric tunnel
Unlike the manual tunnel, the electric one is a real stationary machine where the bow is connected to a motor that generates high speeds, adjustable or not depending on the model. The workpieces are then placed on a work surface and pushed against the moving blade.
Since the swing arm is driven by a motor, both the operator’s hands are free to move the piece to follow the cutting lines. Those who have spent some time practicing with the manual bow will have an advantage, because they will know how to move the piece in order to perform a smooth cut without running the risk of breaking the blade, especially when making inclined cuts; beginners who use the electric tunnel without any previous experience, on the other hand, are more prone to make sudden movements, especially in the tightest curves and corners, which as a result lead to simultaneous damage to the blade and the piece to be cut.
The oscillating tunnel
Everything you need to know about this particular type of power tool, from its features to its applications, and how to choose the right model for your needs.
Unlike the classic fretwork bow, which is an extremely simple manual tool, the oscillating fretwork is a real compact bench stationary machine, powered by an electric motor and designed for cutting different materials.
Some specimens, in fact, are designed exclusively for cutting wood, while others are also able to act on plastics, including those reinforced with glass fiber, and non-ferrous metal alloys, such as aluminum for example.
It goes without saying that the models capable of cutting different materials are much more expensive, and usually intended for a range of professional users made up of craftsmen and mechanics specialized in precision work.
The best-selling tunnels (here are the best models), on the other hand, are precisely those designed for the amateur user group, made up of hobbyists, regardless of their level of experience, and DIY and do-it-yourself lovers, who represent the largest market segment. But let’s try to examine in more detail what are the main characteristics of these power tools.
Technical characteristics and particularities of electric tunnels
Like the manual arch, the electric tunnels are also equipped with an elbow arm at the ends of which the various compatible blades are fixed; this however, instead of being equipped with a handle, is fixed to a solid base and connected to a motor.
The motor is connected to a hinged section of the boom, and when it is put into operation it swings it up and down at very high speeds, thus allowing an efficient cut that requires no effort from the operator. Being an integral part of the machine, in fact, the cutting arm does not require direct control, the operator can therefore have both hands to move the pieces to be cut with maximum freedom.
The cut takes place by placing the piece on a work surface and pushing it manually against the blade, following the lines indicated in the design scheme on which you are working. The work surface is placed immediately above the main base of the machine, and can usually be adjusted in an arc of 45 ° in order to allow the execution of inclined cuts.
Almost all examples of oscillating tunnel currently on the market are structured in this way, except for some examples such as the Dremel tunnel , for example, which is designed so that it can be used both in stationary machine mode and freehand, such as a classic manual fretwork bow, simply by detaching the bow from the worktop.
Fretsaw blades and fixing methods
The blades for the tunnel, manual or electric, follow a single standard of measurements. Their dimensions, therefore, although variable, are about 125-130 millimeters in length, 1 millimeter in thickness and about 3 millimeters in width, which is why they have a high degree of compatibility regardless of the manufacturer.
The only substantial differences, between the various specimens on the market, are given by the number of teeth, by the type of ends they are equipped with and, of course, by the quality of the metal with which they are manufactured. As for the type of indentation, this is indicated by a number followed by the acronym TPI, an acronym that indicates Tooth Per Inch, or the number of teeth per inch. A 10 TPI blade, therefore, averages 10 teeth every 25mm or so, and so on.
The lower the number of teeth, the coarser the blade, therefore more suitable for cutting wood and other soft materials; the finer blades, on the other hand, are characterized by a greater number of teeth and therefore are more suitable for cutting hard materials.
The ends of the blades can be of two types, completely smooth or provided with small transversal pins; this detail is very important since some oscillating perforations, especially those belonging to the cheaper range, are compatible only with blades with smooth ends, while those of medium-high range can mount both types of blades.
Furthermore, the clamping system with small pins at the ends is especially typical of oscillating drills intended for professional use, as this clamping system is not only more efficient, but also makes the replacement operation easier and faster.
The various categories and price differences
As we mentioned in the paragraph relating to the technical characteristics, the specimens on the market follow a structural design common to almost all the models. The substantial differences, therefore, reside above all in the type of engine integrated into the machine, in the assembly of the same and in the level of performance offered.
Low-cost oscillating tunnels, for example, are equipped with brushless electric motors, so they tend to be noisier and consume more; their cost can vary from about 60 to 100 euros, but they are intended exclusively for occasional and non-intensive hobby use. Despite being built with reliable materials, in fact, they are characterized by a coarse assembly, like the finishes, so the level of performance offered is decidedly low, especially as regards precision.
The same can also be said of the mid-range oscillating tunnels, with the difference that they are slightly more attention to detail and, depending on the model, can also be used for small, not too demanding crafts. The average price of the tunnels belonging to this range can range from about 100 to 200 euros.
From 250 euros upwards, up to 500 euros and more, depending on the manufacturer, there are professional specimens; the latter are characterized by a high level of precision, sturdy and first choice materials, assembly performed by CNC machines and are usually driven by induction electric motors, therefore more efficient in yield and consumption, as well as less noisy.
The professional models are used above all by craftsmen who produce wooden toys and objects, by model makers and precision mechanics, but they are also highly appreciated by the most experienced and demanding hobbyists, who do not spare any expense in order to have the best tools.
Self-construction of an electric tunnel: is it really convenient?
Building your own tunnel yourself can be economically advantageous but only under certain conditions. So let’s take stock of the situation.
The self-construction of tools represents the most intriguing and satisfying part of the DIY hobby, both for the challenges it entails and for the degree of satisfaction that is felt when you succeed in the undertaking. Unlike the construction or repair of furniture, furnishings and systems, or the creation of objects and other handicraft products, however, building an electric tool from scratch is a long, very complex and articulated process, which in turn requires the use of materials and very precise tools.
As regards specifically the self-construction of an electric tunnel, the matter becomes even more complex as it is a stationary machine that can be used both for cutting wood and other materials, such as plastics and metal. .
So let’s try to understand, based on the typical characteristics of a tunnel and the type of performance you want to obtain from the self-built model, which materials you need to use, how to recover them, how to proceed with the execution and assembly, and above all if the self-construction operation is really advantageous and cheaper than buying one of the many tunnels sold online, already assembled and ready to use.
The project and the main components
The first step to take, to build your own tunnel, is to design a project that is as clear and precise as possible; the electric tool you are about to build, in fact, generates movement at very high speeds and consequently the mechanics must be impeccable, otherwise you run the risk of damaging the appliance or seriously hurting yourself.
The design must take into account the main components of the tunnel, which in principle are the following: the electric motor, the switch and any power regulator, the system for transmitting the movement from the motor to the blade, the head where it is precisely fixed the blade and the relative clamping mechanism, the main frame to which all the parts will be connected, the worktop, any adjustment mechanisms for the inclination of the same and the base on which the frame must rest with all the mounted components.
The structural scheme of the machine must conform to your needs, for example if you prefer to place the motor below the work surface or on the top of the frame. It should also be borne in mind that some structural schemes may or may not be mandatory to follow depending on the type of transmission, belt or gear, and so on.
The materials to be used
The most important components can be recovered from old appliances, as in the case of the electric motor for example, or from materials or other waste objects. For the frame it is always good to use good quality steel, especially if the hole you have designed is intended for cutting different materials.
The transmission elements: gears, pulleys, belts and so on, in the same way can be recovered from disused machinery and adapted to the need; as regards the electric motor, in particular, it is advisable to use one of the appropriate power for the level of performance you want to obtain. Just to give an example, if you are planning to build a tunnel capable of cutting metal, then you will have to use at least a 500 Watt motor or higher.
As for the blade clamping system, in the project you will have to take into account its range of compatibility and then choose whether to make it suitable only for fretwork blades or also compatible with other types of blades, such as those for the jigsaw. Also in this case many of the components can be cannibalized by disused power tools, or self-built from scratch.
The pros and cons
At this point, therefore, as you may have easily guessed from what is illustrated in the previous paragraphs, the self-construction of a tunnel requires a certain commitment, many hours of work and the use of various tools.
Not only those that are cheaper and easier to find, such as the rulers and protractors necessary for the design phase and to note the exact measurements of the pieces to be machined, but also various power tools which, in turn, are necessary for the processing of the pieces and their assembly, such as the drill, the welding machine, the tester for electronic components and so on.
For artisans and skilled workers who work in large companies or workshops, and who are perhaps equipping a small home workshop in the basement or in the attic, the self-construction of the tunnel could prove to be really advantageous in economic terms. Thanks to the very nature of their work, in fact, they can enjoy easy access to the necessary tools, but above all to recycled materials: old engines, steel bars, old sheets and so on.
Furthermore, their experience in the field also benefits them as regards the assembly of the machine, which significantly affects the level of noise and vibrations produced.
On the other hand, hobbyists, especially novice ones, start at a disadvantage in terms of practical experience in the use of different power tools, especially the welding machine, not to mention access to waste and recovery materials.
Even turning to a second-hand dealer, in fact, one would still have to take into account a minimum expense, which would further tend to go up if you want to use good quality materials, to be purchased directly in hardware stores or from specialized dealers.
Consequently, for most DIY lovers, the choice to build their own tunnel must be motivated more by a personal challenge than by a real economic advantage, since a hobby oscillating tunnel can be easily purchased at a figure ranging from 80 to 150 euros approximately.
The latter, moreover, would prove to be more reliable and suitable for the needs of the case, thanks to the specific technological systems patented by the various manufacturing companies in the sector; in most cases, moreover, it would also be easier to manage than a self-built specimen.