Track saw vs tablesaw

The best plan for a track saw if you ask me is to plan to whip your credit card out. Lol.. Between the aluminum extrusions, plunge mechanisms, and advanced dust collection designs, DIY is not really an efficient use of resources even for someone with access to a machine shop. You can make a straight edge fence system for a circular saw, but it won't be a true track/plunge saw with the same benefits. Yes a track saw is expensive, and it shouldn't be so expensive, but the alternative diy version is not a perfect substitute. I think good budget options are available as well: Even though the Ryobi is not a great track saw compared to the rest, I've seen it on clearance for under $200 with tracks for cordless, then the Wen with Powertec tracks is a decent option (corded and cordless available), followed in price by Kreg, then Makita, then of course there are the premium brands like Festool and Mafell. DeWalt and Milwaukee have their versions too, but I would personally recommend sticking with a brand that uses Festool style tracks like the ones I mentioned previously.

One of the many advantaged of a tracksaw is that you put the edge of the track across 2 points and go. The sacrificial rubber edge is made by the blade so the saw blade cuts exactly where the sacrificial rubber edge hits the measurement point.

Another advantage of a track saw is that there is pretty much no way the saw can twist while making a cut so the cut is perfectly straight all the way across. I could never achieve this with a circular saw and clamped straight edge. Most of the time I don't need to clamp the track saw clamp.

I agree with aluminum. The best option is to go out and buy a proven lower end track saw like the Makita. Like I said above, I bought a top of the line Mafell tracksaw, which I love, but I would have been just as well off with the much less expensive Makita.

I too would like to make my own track saw! But my purpose will be for making occasional cuts in Steel and Stone. I will start out with an off the shelf track and machine a base plate for a slow RPM saw suitable for cutting steel. I will use the same for a wet stone saw. My Mafell would probably handle both these needs but I paid too damn much to use it for such work!

Then, of course, there is the plunge capability of the commercial track saws. Why do we have this? How often do you guys actually start a cut in the middle of the board? Personally, I think I could live without the plunge.
Yeah but the arm on a classic DeWalt style saw can be rotated 90 degrees to sit almost flush against the wall when not in use. My experience with ripping on a RAS has been the opposite. I've ripped 4x4's in one pass, 2"+ thick hardwoods, ploughed 3/4" wide grooves with a dado stack, etc. With the blade guard rotated correctly to prevent lift, anti-kickback pawls, and a proper push board it's easy to feed wood through drama-free from a good distance. A featherboard or two helps with smaller pieces, but that's true on a table saw as well.

Growing up I ripped a lot of wood and sheet goods on our 10" Delta RAS... and I still have all my fingers! Once I acquired a table saw I gratefully never ripped on a RAS again. But for the most part the only thing I use a table saw for is ripping, all cross cuts, miters, dados, tenons, etc. are performed on the RAS.

I agree that ripping can be done on the RAS safely. I really don't miss eating all that saw dust being the guy pushing the stock through the blade.
The plunge mechanism is a means of control over the entrance of the blade into the workpiece. Whether starting the cut at an edge or in the center of a workpiece, it is that control that improves safety and quality of the cut.

Those that have used a table saw to raise the blade and cut through the middle of a workpiece (let's say to make a zero clearance insert) can understand how quiet and less dramatic it is than to start with the blade already up and introduced the edge of the workpiece to the blade.

It is this meeting of the edge to the blade, in a less controlled fashion, that can lead to misalignment, a bad cut, and/or contribute to a kickback slas the blade tries to distort its path from the misaligned start to the intended path. The plunge mechanism is an important part of why people enjoy and benefit from using a track saw.

Furthermore, due to the ease of adjusting the depth of cut to the material, the blade penetration is often lessened in comparison to other tools. This further reduces friction for a cleaner and safer cut.
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Then, of course, there is the plunge capability of the commercial track saws. Why do we have this? How often do you guys actually start a cut in the middle of the board? Personally, I think I could live without the plunge.
Oh, there's a good reason for the plunge; it means you can protect the blade until the saw is in use.
I use a homebuilt edge guide, and have to wire the blade guard UP and start the saw with all the teeth out
in the open, because blade raise/lower operations are too awkward after engaging with the rail.

Regular skilsaw-type blade guards swinging up are also putting awkward forces on the cut, and (in my case)
incompatible with a zero-clearance throat plate on the moving saw.
Radial Arm Saw comments. Many don't understand the recommended blade for a RAS generally isn't the same as one for a table saw. The recommended blade for a RAS has a negative hook angle and is often less negative than a table saw negative hook blade to reduce the tendency of the blade grabbing the material. I was surprised at the difference it made. Please do your research, I am NOT a subject matter expert.

Learning to true the saw will take time, and the first couple of times will probably be slow. The quality of the saw will dictate how well the saw stays true. The Craftsman I have did pretty good, I have yet to set it back up after a cross country move.

I wouldn't say I recommend it, but when the only metal cutting tool I had was an "arm strong," I found a friction cut blade on the RAS will cut properly clamped metal. Won't say it was a real precision cut.