The amount of time I spend running my two shopvacs (did I say two? yes I did) is getting to be ridiculous. The bandsaw, tablesaw, and router put out a lot of dust and chips (duh). Today I routed a 3/4” groove in 30” long MDF for some T-track and everything to the left of my router table was covered in powder. My cabinet saw, though it spews most of the dust out the back and into a neat little pile under my workbench/outfeed table, makes a lot of it. Oh, did I add I have a shelf under my workbench? Its inhabitants probably don’t enjoy being covered in sawdust everytime I make a cut.
Resawing on the bandsaw? Let’s not even go there. Even quick resaws leave everything within a 5 foot radius covered in dust. I’ve never understood the aerodynamics of bandsaw sawdust – how does most of the dust end up on the power switch?? And I hate, hate, hate emptying out the shopvacs and cleaning their filters, and I’m having to do that more and more often.
And because I’m anal and obsessive-compulsive, I hate seeing my tools covered in dust, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s like having a child and wanting to clean them up after they’ve been playing in the mud. It’s like, “Aw, let’s get all of that off of you.” So this means I spend a good 15-20 minutes after spending any time in the stop vacuuming up all the dust. There’s something satisfying about watching the dust get sucked up into my fairly powerful shopvac, but at the same time I’m sure you’ll agree it is a colossal waste of my time and it’s also “unproductive noise generation.” (My house is attached on both sides, so I try to keep noise to a minimum for the neighbors – usually this means working in short bursts). My Ridgid shopvac puts out about 100db so it’s fairly comparable to a circular saw.
I’ve got to start collecting dust at the source while I’m using the tool. I’ve known this for a long time now, but it’s really starting to hit home. The shop, for some odd reason, tends to house at least one car when I’m working, sometimes two. The fine layer of dust settling on the cars, not so good. Not to mention it’s difficult to vacuum it off.
I’ve been thinking about a lot of options for DC. I think my number one requirement be that the DC is quiet. At the very least, quieter than the tool I’m hooking it up to. This is why I don’t connect my shopvac to any tools while they are running. Because it generates additional noise, I’m just not likely to turn it on and keep it on while the tool is on. Again, I’m surprised my neighbors haven’t run me out of the house already but I have my suspicions they’re planning on it. I will make them things of fine wood to appease them…as soon as I get this dust thing in order.
In addition to the DC being relatively quiet, I’m probably also going to have to wheel it around tool to tool (or at least to two different sides of the shop – one has TS & router and the other has BS, jointer, drill press). I don’t have the space for a larger DC that would be required to drive the miles of hose that would be required to set up something permanent.
The 2hp HF model that so many talk about seems like it would be a worthwhile investment to get started. I’m willing to give it a go, I think. I’d pay more for a unit that was significantly quieter though, so if you have any ideas, please share them!
-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.