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In The Shop #1: Dust is getting to be a problem

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Blog entry by live4ever posted 1540 days ago 3471 reads 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of In The Shop series Part 2: Shop Layout - Making do with a small/weird space »

<dustcollectionrant>

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!

</dustcollectionrant>

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.



16 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112018 posts in 2211 days


#1 posted 1540 days ago

Most of DCs are not any quieter I’ve mounted two of mine outside. that makes a big difference. I have three HF units I think you can’t beat them for the money

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

523 posts in 1814 days


#2 posted 1540 days ago

My Jet DC1100 might not be quieter than my cabinet saw, but it’s not really much louder. It’s definitely quieter than my old contractor table saw, my miter saw and router. It also doesn’t have the scream of a shop vac. Although, you should still use ear protection. Mounting them outside is a good idea of you can work it. I’ve seen some people frame them out inside the shop with filters on the walls. I thought that would take up too much space (ie. not mobile).

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5020 posts in 1943 days


#3 posted 1540 days ago

I have my dust collector installed under my stairs and the stairs are enclosed exceept for an access door. I insulated this area and the dust collector is relatively quiet. Have my compressor under the stairs also. If you don’t have such an area you could enclose a section of your shop and soundproof it.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 1618 days


#4 posted 1540 days ago

It sounds as if noise will always be an issue for this shop due to its location. Also you are correct that the tool should be running with dust collection to help collect dust more efficiently. I don’t think a new dust collector is going to accomplish the problem you are trying to control. Having a 16 gal shop vac myself I understand the noise level. So let me offer you a couple of solutions that have helped me.
First, the problem of emptying your shop vac so often. Make yourself a Thien collector there are several posted here on LumberJocks. This will save you from emptying the shop vac so often. I used a 30 gal. fiber barrel for mine. You could use a trash can or similar container with a lid. You won’t have to empty it as often and you won’t always have to keep cleaning the filter every time you empty the collector. This helps in the next step of noise reduction. Do a search for shop vac noise mufflers not all models have this option. This won’t eliminate the noise completely but will help restrict it some. Then build a box to house the shop vac in. Make a hole for the hose to pass through from the shop vac to the Thein collector. Then around the top of the box drill a series of 1” holes to allow fresh air be drawn in for the shop vac motor to keep from burning up. This made a big difference in the noise level in my shop. The use of an air scrubber will help also with air borne dust.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 1618 days


#5 posted 1540 days ago

I stand corrected, and misunderstood the post. I thought it was meant what to do about noise reduction with out having to spend more than necessary to quite things down.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1644 days


#6 posted 1540 days ago

Thanks for the responses, guys. Greg and Skarp, you’ve both presented solutions that could help (Greg, you didn’t misunderstand).

Quieting down the shopvac so it could be used during tool operation is definitely an option. I’ve looked into the muffler for the Ridgid – it’s supposed to save 7db. The box is a good thought, but unfortunately I’m not sure if I can afford the space required to “boxify” my 16gal Ridgid and be able to move it around like I do. I need to munch on that…

I think my best course of action is to just get the HF 2hp unit and see how it sounds. If it feels too loud I’ll take it back or sell it (I’m really hoping I can get the sound down to drill press or bandsaw levels, which is about 70db). I also have a small “room” which is in the garage but sort of closed off. It is juuust large enough for a DC, I think. Technically it is under the stairs that lead up to the front door, and it has a “door”...well, more like a gate…I could solidify the door. I could do a better insulation job on it and maybe I can get the noise down to manageable levels.

As far as PVC ducting goes, do you have to ground the pipes? Do you just get regular 4” PVC from the big box?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Pete_Jud's profile

Pete_Jud

423 posts in 2387 days


#7 posted 1540 days ago

I have a jet DC, don’t know what model, but it if very quiet, and I installed a HF at a mill that I consult at a couple of months ago, the Jet sucks a lot better than the HF, and is a little quieter, but the HF is a way quieter than a shop vac. In my shop I used 4 inch pvc drain pipe for the mains with blast gates, and it works great even with a jet 15 inch planner. The bandsaw will be a problem, I have a delta 14 and it only has a 1 inch or so dust port to connect to. It outside of the sliding miter saw are the worst offenders in the shop. My vertical router table has a 2.5 inch port behind the bit and on the horizontal table I added a port under the table. I also added a radio remote to the DC, with remotes at the table saw, and the router table so I don’t have to hike back and forth to turn it on and off.

Good luck

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

523 posts in 1814 days


#8 posted 1540 days ago

just turned my DC on and stood about 4 feet from it in my basement. With all the blast gates, chip separator, overhead collection on the table saw…etc… My Jet DC1100 is about 76 db. That’s with an analog spl meter from Radio Shack. My Ridgid shop vac with a muffler on it is around 85-86 db at the same distance. This test wasn’t very scientific but the db scale is logrithmic meaning that every 3 db is a doubling of perceived loudness.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View 559dustdesigns's profile

559dustdesigns

632 posts in 1802 days


#9 posted 1540 days ago

I found this guys solution to dust and noise on utube, its a good idea but could be improved on. Check it out. He did a great job with his videos of this project.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View 559dustdesigns's profile

559dustdesigns

632 posts in 1802 days


#10 posted 1540 days ago

I agree, you will get better collection from larger DC’s. I have been brain storming a tool storage cart that would have dust collection built in to it. I think it would be cool to have this cart near the work bench. When I work I have no where to set small power tools and I spend a lot of time clearing off the bench for the next operation. The carts dust collector would only be used for my small tools like my random orbit sander, jig saw, and biscuit joiner. I’ve considered a small shop vac with a dust deputy from Oneida air systems to keep the filter clean. Just takes time money and vision, that I don’t have right now. Maybe I’ll get to it some day.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1644 days


#11 posted 1540 days ago

Jason – thanks for the SPL measurement! Gives me hope, though I think the Jet 1100 is one of the quieter models out there. Did you get yours with the canister?

559DD – Thanks for the vid link. Recently I’ve been using my small shopvac much more than the larger one. It’s easier to maneuver through the cramped space and clean up workspaces quickly. A cart that quiets it down and provides work surface plus storage would be handy.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

523 posts in 1814 days


#12 posted 1540 days ago

I did not get the canister but kind of wish that I had. I did get the remote which I like a lot. What I ended up doing was more drastic. I mounted the blower housing and motor to the wall in my basement then vented the exhaust outside the house under a low deck. I have a large separator that I built using Phil Thein’s designs. Nothing goes outside but very fine particles that would have made it through my bags anyway. There’s a topic about it here and I have some pictures of the setup that has been tweaked a little since then.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1808 days


#13 posted 1539 days ago

To add to what JasonWagner said ….

In a test of about 15 dust collectors under $400, the sound pressure levels ranged from a low of 78dbA to a high of 85dbA.

For comparison, a 5-6HP shop vacuum ranges from about 81dbA to 90dbA

Either way, you should save your eardrums, with a proper DC

-- -- Neil

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2119 posts in 2558 days


#14 posted 1539 days ago

It is a fact that you can start a fire inside your DCU or even in the duct itself. If memory serves me there was someone here that had a fire but got to it in time.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill http://www.sandhillwoodworks.com/

View brtech's profile

brtech

664 posts in 1557 days


#15 posted 1538 days ago

First, before you spend any money, spend some time at this site:
http://www.billpentz.com/woodworking/cyclone/index.cfm

Lots of folks think he is over the top, but it has a really large amount of useful information in one place.

I’ve been working towards the same end as you, although noise isn’t my biggest issue, and I’ve decided that the 2HP HF is probably the best overall base, but I think you need to upgrade to the Wynn filter, and the Thein separator. There are several threads about that in LJ here.

Then you have to deal with the ductwork. Even if you drag the DC around, you really want to keep the duct short and smooth, and for some of your machines, like your table saw, you need to split it top and bottom. Also, think about the power and where it is relative to where you put the DC. You don’t want a sag in your line voltage from a long cord and/or an overloaded circuit.

If you are going to get the HF, there is a coupon in the last (not the current) issue of Wood magazine that brings the price WAAY down. It would be worth getting this issue for that coupon.

I even signed up for 2 years of Wood, hoping they would send me the current edition first. Alas they didn’t, I just got the July edition, and no 2HP DC coupon in this one. In fact, if some fine LJ out there wouldn’t mind clipping that coupon and sending it to me, I’d sure appreciate it!!!

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