This guy has been an ongoing battle for a while and I motivated again today to improve it. I had closed in the open contractor frame with a bunch of plywood screwed into place (not caulked or sealed), a slotted plate closed up the back, and I hooked up a shop vac to the port on the arbor assembly. I feel that this collected about 95% of the dust. My problem was that the remaining 5% was being shot out from the blade right into my face.
A great article in Fine Woodworking by Richard Babbitt talks about dust proofing contractor saws with the take away being that you have to seal up the gaps and strategically direct the airflow. I needed more airflow concentrated on a downdraft through the throat plate. However his suggestion of boxing in the motor won’t work with a Rigid 3650…at least if you plan to bevel it to 45 degrees. At 45 degrees the motor actually swings up to 1/32 of an inch shy of flush with the table. I was planning to build an outfeed table but now have to rethink that project also.
So I’m sticking with the plywood slotted plate that closes off most of the space in the back. In addition to the 90 degree plate, I’ve also made one for 45 degrees. I minimized the air space and opportunity for leaks by sealing only the cabinet above the legs, I had to remove the arbor assembly mounted dust port because through the tilt cycle the port drops below the level of that upper cabinet, but since its now all closed in there is really no use for it anyway.
And I used foam sealant to fill in the gap between the cabinet and the table. I wish there was a better way to do that. If I have to do this to another saw I am for sure going to try to find some closed cell foam to stuff into the gaps. Foam sealant in a can has to be one of the nastiest most toxic substances you can buy. You can’t touch it, it felt like it was melting my nitrile gloves. It oozes all over the place, only sprays when held upside down, melts before it expands, drips all over the place, generally creates a mess, and no matter how much of the can you use once it sets you can’t use any more, go buy another can. Did I say I’m not a fan.
I am going to use magnetic sheeting to close in the controls but have to wait on it to arrive because I could not find it at any of the local stores. I will post an update when I get the sheeting and am able to test the saw in its final “dust-proof” state.
-- J Azuma