Back in 1951, The Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp manufactured the first reciprocating saw and is commonly referred to as a Sawzall. The Sawzall has a long D-shaped handle and requires both hands to operate. It weighs around 10 lbs, which helps to minimize vibration and provide improved grip. The Sawzall normally has a variable speed trigger and/or controller for simple change of speed if needed.
The reciprocating saw operates using different blade types: bi-metal, high carbon steel, high speed steel, and special purpose or cobalt blades. The variety of blade types make the reciprocating saw an excellent choice depending on the types of materials being cut. It also uses raker, wavy, and alternating tooth sets.
Reciprocating saws are hand held and the cut motion is achieved via the push/pull reciprocating motion of the blade. The reciprocating action is produced several ways, either with a crank or Scotch yoke-type drive, a swash plate drive, a captive-cam or eccentric, barrel cam, or other rotary to linear drive.
Modern tools are built with variants of all of these mechanisms.
Eccentric cam, crank, and scotch yoke drives need balance weights to reduce vibration in the plane of the rotating element, and may still exhibit vibration and can lead to difficulty in controlling a cut.
The swash plate drive has the advantage of little out of balance rotation, so the principal vibration is in line with the blade. This is generally controlled by keeping the foot of a handheld tool against the work.
The reciprocating saw has a control that will enable blade switching for different cutting motions, like straight back & forth sawing or the orbital motion. This makes it work well on different types of materials. It is manufactured with specials features to include improved power and speed on the high-speed corded models to the less powerful, handheld cordless model.
Commonly used for cutting woods, metals, bars, sheets, plates, and dry wall, and well known in the construction industry for its use in demolition, the reciprocating saw is also used in medical and dental surgery, where it is used to cut or grind bone.
It is also helpful in rescue operations when rescuers need to cut something in a limited amount of space or with fewer resources on hand.
Reciprocating saws are not only light and handy but also useful, especially when cutting various materials. The reciprocating saw is ideal as a portable saw for the shop or personal use.