Poor Man’s Dust Collection
Sometime I think I am the most cluttered person on the planet. Well, maybe not up to the level of those “Hoarder” people you see on TLC, but pretty close. I’m the type that puts things down without paying attention, then spends 20 minutes looking for it. Ear plugs, pencils, rulers, Allen wrenches, etc,etc,etc. You get the picture.
Well, one of the things I wanted to get a handle on was dust control. Never had much more than a shopvac to use the for that, and when I moved into my new shop, I decided to try and do something about it. Plus the wife had read something about what dust does to woodworkers over time, and that was that.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the bucks to go out a big dust collector and cyclone from so I started looking around for what I could do on my own. I lucked out soon after moving, and picked up a standard air handler from a garage sale for $50.00. It’s a small 1.5hp similar to what Delta puts out. After that I came up with two ideas of what I wanted. An overhead dust collector and blade guard and a cyclone.
I saw this blade guard idea, http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/blade_guard.pdf, and used to to make the guard, then went poor man/simple man for the overhead holder. It’s just a standard bolt slider directly above the blade. I adjust the guard to slightly over the height of the wood I am going to cut before I start. No floating guard. I really like it because I feel a lot more confident pushing boards through with that guard in place. I’m still needing to tweek it a bit, it’s not as stable as I’d like, but my dust mess has dropped considerably.
That orange and white thing you see in the picture above is a home-made cyclone, and it really works! Its nothing more that an orange HD bucket, a 1 gallon white bucket, a large funnel, a two inch piece of pvc (inside the white bucket) and three pieces of dust port intakes. I use this mini-cyclone with my overheard blade guard on the table saw. It’s sorta cool watching the dust go spinning around in the big funnel. ;-)
The best thing I did though was make a Thein Cyclone separator. http://www.cgallery.com/jpthien/cy.htm. I made a circle cutter our of a piece of ply and my small router. It took a little tweeking to get the measurements right (It’s actually stilll a little too big for the trash can), but as you can see from the trash can, it works GREAT. I was AMAZED with how well it worked when I planed down a set of rough boards. If you have a small shop, and want something to help with dust control, I highly recommend making one of these. Phil Thein makes his standard with 2” ports for a shopvac. I made mine with 4” ports to fit my air handler. Oh, the small cyclone has a 4” port on top. I just move the intake tube and move it back and for as I need it.
I use the small cyclone on my dedicated dado and router table. It works well for general clean up also.
The best part it I don’t think I have $150.00 – $200.00 in all of this. Including the dust handler, you could by everything you need at HD or Lowes. You may need to order the hoses and connector somewhere else. You could do all of this with shopvac supplies and get it all at a big box store, and use pvc connectors of the cyclone lids.
If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer.
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