So the story goes like this: I’m in the garage minding my own business routing a groove down the center of some 1×2 poplar when I hear a loud pop and smoke starts billowing out of my shop vac/dust collector. I turn off the router, yank the shop vac cord out of the wall and get outside. It’s then that I remember that I unplugged the garage opener because I needed the outlet, so I had no good way of getting all the smoke out of the garage. So I hold my breath and plunge back into the garage, plug in the opener, and air out the space. Finally, I drag the smoking shop vac out to the patio and hose it down.Let’s look at what went wrong here:
- Underpowered shop vac used for dust collection. Perhaps little 5 gallon vacs from Target are not meant for woodworking. Go figure.
- Dust collection bags. These things are actually fantastic, but apparently when you don’t empty them soon enough the motor gets unhappy and goes out in a blaze of glory.
- Inadequate shop space. Probably time to get my basement space all ready to go, or at least add a few more outlets in the garage, so I don’t have to unplug the opener to plug things in (although it’s quite convenient, as the opener is right at about head level…)
- I probably need to be more in tune with the sounds of my tools. Between my hearing protection and the sound of the router, I never even noticed the strained sounds I’m sure the shop vac was making.
On the plus side, I get a nice new (and bigger) shop vac now, and hopefully soon a small dust collection unit as well.
And of course, the aftermath:
Melted casing and burned up paper filter
Dust collection bag stuffed full of dust and such
And a good overview shot
Thanks for reading