Archive | July, 2013

Dust Collection – Those First Wobbly Steps

16 Jul

My Dad has made a couple serious efforts at dust collection, but his dust collector wasn’t really much more than an automated broom.  His new shop really relies on massive ventilation to keep the air breathable.  That’s how I operated in my old Austin shop too.  I put a bigass whole-house fan in the attic of my garage.  When it was new, it could cycle the air out of there in no time.  Over time, it degraded, but still, you could chuck a handful of sawdust in the air and watch it just go straight up & out of the room.

But I’ve seen the videos, and I know that proper dust collection can be done, so I’m going to make a go at it.  Still, my Dad’s experience shows that my first go at dust collection likely isn’t going to do much good…  And [spoiler alert] it doesn’t.

But it’s a bit better than no dust collection at all.  My biggest concern at this point is just learning the lingo and getting in the game.  I feel that I’ve made some progress there.

My first move was the table saw (with its attached router table) and the planer.  The planer is a no-brainer.  I just bought an attachment, hooked the hose to the Dust Collector and there you go.  The table saw is not a cabinet saw, so it was never really meant to have serious dust collection on it.  It’s basically got a shop-vac port on it that’ll help your saw not generate an enormous pile of sawdust if you’ve got a lot of wood to cut.

I watched a couple videos and set about enclosing it.  I basically just bodged up some junk plywood to block all the openings and built it around the underside of my router table.  Then I stuck a dust port on it, and squirted Great Stuff in all the gaps I could find.  I’m not real pleased with the result.  I’ve got basically just a gentle breeze at the blade and router bit; not a swirling vortex.

I shouldn’t say the whole thing is fail.  It does collect most of the dust that otherwise would have spewed out behind or under the saw.  It’s just that it doesn’t do much for the dust that blows forward from the blade.  Also, I don’t have a cyclone separator, and that means changing the bag out is a pain.

I might yet be able to tighten the airflow down a bit more, though I do wonder whether that’s really important since I’ve also read that the dust collector I’ve got doesn’t move nearly enough air to seriously reduce fine airborne dust.  If I tightened down the air to just what’ll fit through the zero clearance insert, I might have a howling gale at that point, but still not have enough total airflow through the saw to move the dust.

Still, even if this initial dust collection gambit isn’t all it could be, there’s other wins that come out of this work.  I redid the electric with a longer, AWG-12 wire.  The stock cord on the saw was just barely long enough, and I was forever tripping over the wire and pulling it out of the socket.  While I was at it, I also ran a 110volt line over to the router table extension of the saw and put a few electric outlets there.  No more hassling with plugging the router up to the outlet on the ceiling.

So anyway, there it is.  Pictures will be coming in my upcoming post about the saw blade cabinet I built.

Oh and yes, I did overbuild a bird house.  It’s hung up.  I think my daughter has completely forgotten about it already.  We’ll see if birds take up residence next year.  I mean, assuming it doesn’t completely fall apart between now and then.