How to Connect A Foot Pedal To A Scroll Saw

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How to Connect A Foot Pedal To A Scroll Saw

Do you have a Scroll Saw at home that you want to connect with a foot pedal? Perhaps you are thinking of ordering a pedal as a gift for a fellow woodworking friend.

Depending on the type of foot pedal that you get will depend on how you need to connect the pedal to the Scroll Saw.

How do I connect a foot pedal to a scroll saw? When you connect a foot pedal switch to a scroll saw, you want to make sure that you are using the correct switch for the electrical load that you are trying to connect. Overloading an electrical circuit as these can lead to severe injury or even death.   Here are the steps to connecting foot pedal:

  1. Plug the scroll saw 115V A/C Plug into the back of the Switch
  2. If you are using a more split plug the splitter into the end of the Switch, and then connect the Scroll Saw
  3. Plug the Switch into the Wall
  4. Turn on the Power to the Scroll Saw
  5. Press on the Switch to engage the scroll saw
  6. Either Release the switch or press on the switch again to disengage the scroll saw.

Types of Plug N Play Foot Pedals

There are two main types of foot pedals to choose from; You can select between the on/off switch and sustained on/off.

Both types of foot pedals are going to provide you with the same results, and for most garage-based scroll saws, these pedals will do just fine.

The On/Off switch works by providing electricity when you push down on the pedal.

The current is continuously offered and is only stopped when you push on the foot pedal a second time to disengage the power from the pedal.

These types of foot pedals are relatively inexpensive and work perfectly for a 115V 15A scroll saw. You can find one here for less than thirty bucks.

The Second type of Plug – N – Play foot pedal is the continuous motion on/off switch pedal.

These are mostly found in sewing machines, and possibly a little bit safer than using the type mentioned above.

You connect them the same way, plug into the back of the pedal. The main difference is that you press on the pedal to provide continued electrical current to the machine. 

This style is referred to as momentary action for these types of pedals.  You can find one here for around the same price as the other pedal.

You could connect a splitter to these plug-in-play types of pedals; however, you want to be careful not to overload the amount of electricity the switch is providing.

If the switch is meant for a 115V 15A power load, hooking up other devices to the switch using a splitter might prove to be rather dangerous.

Here is an excellent video that explains how to hook up these types of switches with an adaptor:

Related Article: Best scroll saw for cutting coins, use only the best tools!

Heavy Duty Switches

You may be considering a heavy-duty industrial switch to which you must open up and connect the wires inside. 

Unless you are running a wood-working shop and have the electrical knowledge to join the proper loads to the appropriate types of switches, this method is going to be the least common.

However, if you are changing out a switch, you can find some good quality Industrial foot pedals online.

You need to open the end of the lever and connect the wires to the correct poles. There will most likely be four poles inside the switch sometimes more.

Depending on the switch that you purchase, you may receive one that has both normally open and normally closed relays, with a single or double pole switch.

You can read more about those types of connections in detail here.

Hooking up a Double Pole Switch

You are probably not going to need to use any of the heavy industrial switches unless you are running a giant shop and have industrial scroll saws.

In this case, we would recommend contacting a licensed electrician in your area to help you.

When deciding to connect a switch that requires a massive Industrial switch to your scroll saw, you are going to run across some terms that may be slightly confusing.

Remember the Following with a Double Pole Switch:

  1. The Load is what Power is going to
  2. The Line is what is providing the Power

The double part means that two wires are providing the current flow or a dual connection.

The amount of power is too significant and safer to split in half. The double pole part would not come from the switch itself but the cord in the saw.

In some industrial settings, it is common to see a linear line connecting the switches from two different sources.

This setup saves a ton of space and places all the machines on a single circuit.

So the front and only the line sections would provide continuous power to the remaining switches regardless if the switch was on or off.

If the breaker trips, then all those machines go down until the problem is fixed.

If you want more information about double pole circuits, then you can watch this video:

Normally Open/Closed Switch or Relays

scroll saw foot pedal switch

Just like with the Double pole, some things to remember here before we dive into this are:

  1. Normally means: a state of being that the contact is in when something else is not changing it
  2. Normally Open is defined as A Contact that does NOT flow current in its normal state. Switching it on closes the connection and allows electricity to flow through the switch.
  3. Normally Closed means that a contact that DOES flow current in its normal state, so turning it off means that you are Opening the connection and disconnecting the electricity.

So when selecting a switch, don’t let those terms intimidate you.

To make this simple, if you want to have the machine turn on while electricity is flowing into the pedal.

Then you connect it to the normally open contacts on the switch that you purchase.

If you want the machine to run automatically and turn off when you press the pedal, then you connect the load poles for the machine to the normally closed contact point.

This type of connection is going to be standard for all heavy industrial Types of scroll saws.

You probably will not use this setting because your saw would just be running always until you switched it off. 

The most common heavy-duty switch for a shop scroll saw is going to be a double pole, normally open connection.  

Check out this video that explains the difference in full detail:

Final Thoughts/Conclusion

Skill Saws are fun pieces of equipment that require much patience to use.

We have made some fun little things over the years with a skill saw.

Some intricate coaster designs, small parts for wooden toys, little ball joints for projects here, and all items are fun to create with a scroll saw.

Safety is always the number one concern when using a scroll saw.

Before hooking up a switch, it would be best if you tried to get in the habit of using the switch first.

The excitement of having a switch hooked up in the first place may be more dangerous than useful. 

Regardless of whether you are comfortable using the footswitch or not, take your time with your cuts, and be safe.

“There are two men inside the artist, the poet, and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.” – Emile Zola

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