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How do you control workshop dust?

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  • How do you control workshop dust?

    OK, there’s really no controlling it but how, what, when and where do you deal with this everpresent workshop nuisance?
    My present workshop is 1/2 of a garage and my method involves a shop vac, broom and dust pan and a leaf blower. I’m anticipating a move sometime this year and hopefully to a residence where I will finally have a dedicated shop. I plan to upgrade to a cyclone collector then, perhaps a ceiling mounted unit, etc, etc. Thoughts?

  • #2
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ID:	22630 This is the downdraft portable sanding table I built. I can move around the garage powered by a regular box fan with regular AC filters. It works great but when fine sanding balsa it will load up the filters fairly quickly and you have to stop and beat them out. As you can see I've got it pushed out of the way since I haven't used it in awhile. I only use when doing serious sanding in the garage.
    The side you can't see has a box fan for air movement. Under the removable top with the holes are two AC filters to capture the dust.

    But these are an even simpler solution:

    ...Or this one:


    • #3
      I modeled mine after this one. Can't remember where I saw this but it's the one that gave me the idea.


      • #4
        I like the idea of a portable sanding table a lot. I have been thinking about a pull-out drawer system but the moveable concept makes more sense even though it will take up a bit more floor space. Thanks for the ideas and links.

        So does anyone have one of those hanging units for errant dust? Do they help at all/worth the money? Capturing as much as possible at the source makes the most sense but there always seems to be airborne delinquents ;-)


        • #5
          Do a web search for "downdraft sanding table", or "portable downdraft sanding table" and you'll get lots of good ideas.

          For what it's worth I have the large "dust" collector unit in my woodshop but it's primarily for non-airborne size of chip/sawdust collection you hook up to your large power tools. It doesn't really filter the fine airborne stuff. To separate airborne "dust" from your work area you need a filter like a hanging unit or maybe just a couple of box fans with filters taped to the front of a fine enough size to capture it. I wear a mask either way if I'm in serious sanding mode regardless. When working with hardwoods more have natural toxins that do the body harm then not. Some are down right poisonous. Balsa and most conifers don't have any serious toxins but their fine dust is a definite irritant to the ole respiratory. Having a "dust" filtration system of some sort, especially in your model assembly area is also important to prevent that fine layer from coating everything.


          • #6
            Down draft sanding table is a great idea and a perfect way to get the bulk of the dust out as soon as possible. I will more than likely be looking to build one very soon.
            For airborne dust, I installed a Jet air filtration system. Works well but a bit noisy.

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            Len Buffinton
            Team Horizon Hobby


            • #7
              Len, would you buy it again knowing what you know now about it’s performance and it’s cost? Thanks for the input.


              • lenb
                lenb commented
                Editing a comment
                Asher, Definitely would buy it again, It cleans the air in no time.

            • #8
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              I was not impressed with shop vacs and small hoses and went all out about 7 years ago with 4 inch hoses, this Delta 1 HP 650 CFM dust collector with 1 micro canister system. the arm thing hanging down is used to " beat" the dust off the inside of the canister after each time you use it. You will have sticker shock when you price this stuff, but like any really good tool that you use almost every day in the shop, it is never regretted. The Shop Fox is a down draft sanding table with 4 inch outlet. I find that if I am sanding a smaller piece, I block off part of the table with wax paper to give even more suction. I find that I can sand balsa with out face mask. While you are at it, buy the more flexible clear hoses and Rocker stores have a hose clamp that allows removal in about 2 seconds. the Table is portable, be placed on it's side and the dust collector is on wheels so I can be moved about. I think if I were to do it all over again, I would buy an even more powerful dust collector but not sure Delta makes one with this canister system. You can see there is still some dust that gets around when sanding something big like the Czmelak fuse but I would NOT be without this system. One of my best investments. This unit is VERY NOISY if sound is an issue. I also use FEIN shop vacs with 1 micro filters as well for things like band saws etc. I actually have two of them and use them all the time.


              • #9
                Kevin, that’s similar to what I want at some point. Thanks for sharing.


                • #10
                  I just bought this and am working my way through it. Explains all the options, pros, cons, etc. from masks on up to the high capacity devices. Worth the investment on the book before the potentially BIG investment.


                  Dave Smith


                  • #11
                    Thanks Dave. I should have known Taunton Press would have an in depth critique.


                    • #12
                      Wish I had seen that years ago, but I am glad I spent the money I did. I just looked and I think JET makes some even bigger machines that are more powerful than mine but pricey...
                      IF you would Dave, is there any mention on 1 micro canister systems if there is a expiration on them ?? I can't find any reliable information. Replacement on my filter is $399.00 from Amazon.


                      • #13
                        Kevin, Sorry, (or depending on your point of view, not so sorry), but I'm in Mexico at the moment and the book is at home

                        If memory serves me, there is a "con" about the high cost of filters for devices such as yours, but I can confirm in 9 days.....



                        • #14
                          I just ordered the book as it looks to be a good reference...enjoy Mexico while you can...very cold here at the home of the Super Bowl... 3 below on game day...


                          • #15
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ID:	22726 I got the book same day from Amazon and since I am down with the it in one sitting. He highly suggests using face masks while sanding even with the best dust systems and while I have some nice 3M silicon masks with the detachable filters..i have not been good about using them. He says the disposables are fine for a short time but over 15 minutes and you already have inhaled more than recommended.
                            I have another Dust Collector that was my first one, not as powerful and I think like 10 micro that I keep in the one corner for this sanding disc and sanding drum which I use all the time...they call the big scoop, the when sanding with the belt sander there is a storm of dust that just hooking up a shop vac to just doesn't begin to cut it...
                            Having trouble posting two pictures so will post a second one now and show the 3M type face mask.