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DIY Ceiling Air Cleaner

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Project by TheBarrister posted 12-31-2010 08:00 PM 5166 views 6 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a little project I threw together in about 2 hours using some scrap luan, pine, and a very old but fairly powerful kitchen vent fan that was removed from an old house in a kitchen remodel 20+ years ago. For ease of joinery I just made it rectangular, with a slanted board inside that directs the air towards the 12×12x1” filter on the side. As you can see from the photo of the filter (I vacuumed half of it to show the difference) it does collect quite a bit of dust that escaped my vacuum. The filter fits snugly into the opening – there is a smaller frame behind it to support the filter, and the hinged door clamps down tightly on top of it to hold it in place.

It’s held to the ceiling by some scrap shelving supports that have been leaning against the wall for 20 years.

Total cost: $1.50 for the filter.

If I had to do it all over again (and I may) I would make it much smaller, perhaps in a triangular shape with the flat side up, the fan on one side (aimed towards my workbench) and the filter on the other. But hey, it works like it is.

-- Mangling good wood since 2005.





20 comments so far

View ChuckM's profile

ChuckM

504 posts in 2353 days


#1 posted 12-31-2010 08:10 PM

Good attempt to improve your air quality in the shop.

You do not provide any info. about the size of your shop nor the rating of the fan, so it’s hard to tell how helpful this air filtration system is. Here’s some info. you may review and assess how your system goes: http://www.woodworking-news.com/woodworking_tool_reviews-airfiltration.shtml

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View TheBarrister's profile

TheBarrister

13 posts in 1754 days


#2 posted 12-31-2010 08:18 PM

My shop is laughably small, maybe 350 SF, and I have to share that space with the furnace, the electric water heater, and water filtration system.

I don’t know how much air that fan can move, but it creates quite a breeze and it’s fairly quiet. If I forget to turn it on while sanding the air quickly becomes hazy with dust. I turn the fan on, and it clears in half a minute or less (as I continue sanding).

-- Mangling good wood since 2005.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1861 days


#3 posted 12-31-2010 08:19 PM

Very nice job !

-- -- Neil

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4146 posts in 1543 days


#4 posted 12-31-2010 08:30 PM

Great job, I bought mine but I think when they need replacing I might try this

thanks for showing it.

jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View SteveW's profile

SteveW

362 posts in 1545 days


#5 posted 12-31-2010 09:01 PM

These do work great don’t they? I have one also, and can attest that when running,
any kind of sawing that produces dust gets drawn into the air cleaner very fast.
The one I have is made similarly, and it works great…
thanks for sharing,

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! SteveW

View Gator's profile

Gator

377 posts in 2363 days


#6 posted 12-31-2010 09:03 PM

These are a great idea, and cost effective if you can get a deal on a fan motor.

I have a home built filter as well. Mine pulls air in from both sides through two stacked 1”x12” hepa filters on each side, and blows it back out through the front. When I replace the filters, I put two new ones on the inside, and move the current inside one to the outside. This works very well. Pics can be seen in my workshop profile..

Good job and use of collected “stuff”

Gator

-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View TheBarrister's profile

TheBarrister

13 posts in 1754 days


#7 posted 12-31-2010 10:17 PM

CharlieL – Yes. I figure the fan is meant to pull air through it, and it works most efficiently that way. I sealed the box to make sure everything goes through the filter and can’t escape through a crevice. The frame also seals tightly against the filter. It pulls air away from my bench and aims it away from me.

-- Mangling good wood since 2005.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11663 posts in 2375 days


#8 posted 12-31-2010 11:12 PM

I’m assuming that the fan motor is a sealed unit so fine dust won’t get inside and become a fire / explosion hazard. I do believe that this is the first air cleaner that I’ve seen that forces air into the box and then out of the filters , but if it works , it’s good enough : )
Any problem with the dust building up inside of the box yet ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View RONFINCH's profile

RONFINCH

142 posts in 1611 days


#9 posted 12-31-2010 11:20 PM

Hmm….. like Charlie, I’m puzzled why you don’t just flip the fan over and SUCK the air into the filter. Gotta be a lot easier having air that’s already been filtered running through the fan than having all the dust running through it….

View ChuckM's profile

ChuckM

504 posts in 2353 days


#10 posted 12-31-2010 11:21 PM

Please read this post from FWW and its free corrected article download. http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/30960/problems-with-our-air-cleaner-article

Even FWW made a mistake on this tricky topic!

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View Knothead62's profile

Knothead62

2364 posts in 1648 days


#11 posted 12-31-2010 11:22 PM

Great idea and I like the price! Always good to keep scrap, never know when you will need it. I use a box fan with a filter on the intake side. Turn it on and the filter sticks to it. I’m surprised how much dust it collects.

View TheBarrister's profile

TheBarrister

13 posts in 1754 days


#12 posted 01-01-2011 01:22 AM

Wow, thanks for all the comments. Here are some answers to questions:

Motor is sealed – as noted, it was used in a kitchen, so it had to be sealed for use in that environment.

As far as the push v. pull issue, I considered employing it the opposite way (to pull through the filter, rather than push). Two things led me to use it the way I did: 1) that’s the way the fan is employed in its native environment, and 2) I could not figure out a way to pull air through a filter such that the dust would stay put when the fan was turned off. Since the fan faces downward it pulls everything up and out. If the filter was facing down (since that’s where the dust is) then much of it would fall out when the fan was turned off, right? Even if the filter is horizontal, the dust would still fall.

Well, my son is getting ready to go to college to get an engineering degree, so maybe I’ll let him figure it out. :-)

Dust build up inside? Nope. There’s enough air flow that it all gets trapped in the filter. Just a light amount. No issues.

And this is the third line of defense for me as I employ a shop vac hooked directly to my sanders (orbital, belt, disc and drill press-mounted drum) and other equipment, and I use a dust mask.

-- Mangling good wood since 2005.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11663 posts in 2375 days


#13 posted 01-01-2011 02:01 AM

ALL fans suck from one side and blow out the other.
Regarding the dust falling off of the filter , I have a pre-filter that traps all of the larger particles in it before the main filter traps the smaller stuff. It is just a cheapy , older fashioned furnace filter ….the kind they used before the pleated filters came out. I am able to blow the dust out of it several times before needing to clean the main filter. I also used the filter medium from air conditioners in the past with good results : ) If you have enough dust built up on your filter that it is falling off , then you need to replace the filter anyway , or at least clean it : )
Think about this …your old kitchen fan was meant to blow freely into the great outdoors , unrestricted. Now you have it blowing into a confined space with the only “out” being through a filter that is constantly becoming more and more clogged and will eventually slow down the motor by blowing back through the fan opening itself. Most Filters are meant to be sucked through , not blown through : )
Regarding your shop vac : For the same amount of electricity , you’ll get far better suction and a lot cleaner and quieter shop by using a dust collector with an up to date micron filter element. I’m not being a critic , just sharing some already learned info with you. : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View juniorjock's profile

juniorjock

1930 posts in 2452 days


#14 posted 01-01-2011 03:35 AM

Hell, think about it….. the dust has to go through the motor at some time…..
- JJ

View juniorjock's profile

juniorjock

1930 posts in 2452 days


#15 posted 01-01-2011 04:02 AM

exactly….. dayuuum….... i’m agreeing with Chuck.

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