Dust Collection Journey

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Forum topic by NoSpace posted 07-06-2015 04:27 AM 782 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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120 posts in 1234 days

07-06-2015 04:27 AM

Posting this mainly in case it helps someone else to pay back for some of the great answers to questions I’ve got from this site.

I use my garage for a shop but unfortunately, due to space constraints, it’s also a multi-purpose room that other family members frequent and the layer of dust everywhere wasn’t scoring me any points. I also worried about safety issues with small particles zipping around the air and entering lungs. I’ve only been woodworking since 2012, and it’s only been within a few months that I perform operations indoors that create lots of dust—primarily the use of a table saw I bought a year ago. So after my last project I figured it was time to solve the dust problem and at this point, I feel pretty good about the situation.

The first thing I did was buy a Fein Turbo 1 to use as a dust collector. I don’t really have space for a real dust collector and with no experience it I went for something advertised as quiet. It certainly is better than nothing, pretty quiet, and there is a huge difference with it turned on than when I forget to turn it on, but it’s not enough. So I went down the path of a real dust collector but here I got a little stuck. There are a lot of opinions on this sort of thing. Further, using my Turbo 1 on table saw, bandsaw, miter saw etc., I had a hard time believing a real dust collector would make much of a difference as the tools I use are pretty bottom-end due to space issues. My DeWalt Contractor saw, the main offender, is open underneath and I’d have to first build an enclosure for it and then find a dust collector with the CFM to process the air, assuming I don’t create a worse safety issue constraining air flow.

So I came at the problem from a different angle. First, how bad is the situation, really? There are web sites out there that assume every hobbyist workshop is a death trap. There is obviously some exaggeration, but then, the concerns at base are legitimate. Can’t really say without measuring, and so the core piece of equipment to my dust collection operation is the the Dylos DC1100 Pro. Supposedly, it counts particles down to .5 micron. How accurate is it? Impossible for me to say without a 4000$ piece of equipment, but the scenarios I’ve ran it through seem to lend general credibility to what it reports.

The Dylos is really fun to watch and compare situations with. For instance, cutting MDF on the table saw creates horrific small particle readings and large particle readings (it reports two numbers), but those numbers were doubled one morning by what I believe (but not sure) was a hint of smoke in the air due to a wildfire. Cutting more agreeable wood or plywood lightly on the table saw on a clean-air day and the air quality is just a little worse than some of the natural hot/dry/dusty days in SoCal.

Since I don’t see the practicality of investing more money into my setup collecting dust at the source, I now wear my 3M 7093 NIOSH particular filter when I cut on the table saw. It’s really great but one caution is that you can’t tell you’re burning wood as easily.

Next on the list: I bought a Jet AFS 1000B. I decided that if my table saw is going to blast dusty air everywhere, then cycle this through an air filtration system. This is a pretty large unit for my small space but well worth the space sacrifice. First, a couple of notes on this device. I see a lot of stories about how awful this thing is to mount from the ceiling and I can believe it. There seems to be an assumption that it works best mounted from ceiling, but the owners manual clearly says it can run on its side and there is no preference. I have it “racked” on its side in an open cabinet system I built for storing my table saw etc.

My Jet is about 3 feet from a corner, and the back about 5 inches from a wall—probably not the optimal position but I don’t think air flow is constrained so motor should be OK. I doubt there is a ‘wrong’ place you can put this thing because as soon as it goes on, the Dylos is counting down fast from anywhere in the room. Heavy cutting puts the Dylos in the 2500 small particle / (arbitrary volume of air) range (‘poor’) and after 10 minutes on medium or high, and its in the 200-300 range, which is supposedly ‘good’. This on a typical day is cleaner than the air naturally. Running it on low for an hour, and I can get small particle count less than 10 and large particle count 0-1, and at that level, my shop air is many times cleaner than the air at the Leeds Platinum rated office building I work at. If you have an awesome dust collector and 1-micron bag, might get great results just running that to clean the shop air or taping a furnace filter to a fan, but the only way to know is if you have a way to measure it.

I wear the mask until air quality is normal but there’s one problem left that a proper DC setup would solve, and that is visible dust. For those with a mechanical background this may seem obvious, but to me it was quite the discovery that I could buy a small air compressor and clean shop with that. I put on the mask, run the Jet, and then blow the dust off of everything and let the air filter clean it up. It’s about 10-20 minutes of work every weekend. So until I have the room for a proper cabinet saw and DC, I’m very happy with the results.

2 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19618 posts in 2668 days

#1 posted 07-06-2015 12:46 PM

Sounds like you are doing it right….
and getting good results.
Your lungs will thank you!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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John L

148 posts in 1158 days

#2 posted 07-06-2015 02:21 PM

Hi NoSpace, I’m currently going through a major upgrade with my dust collection system. Being in the basement is a bit different from the garage, but I’m determined to get rid of the tiny particulates. Charlie and I are getting allergies from the dust making its way upstairs, and getting into everything including the carpet, where he naturally spends most of his time.

That Dylos DC1100 Pro is fascinating. I never considered one before. Interesting.

As for the air compressor, there are two power tools that should be at the apex of the “Got to Have” category. One is the table saw, but the other is the air compressor. I don’t know what I would do without it. Really, I don’t. I have six types of staple guns, two nailers, two sanding units, and a few other pneumatic tools. They are less expensive than the good electric tools, are easy to maintain, and they work like champs. All you need to do is make sure the compressor is turned on.

I keep a three gallon portable unit for “away jobs” and a twenty gallon unit for the shop. Once you find how convenient the compressor really is, you will naturally want a bigger one, because they are not constantly running all the time. I love my 34 year old Craftsman compressor, which I converted to 240volts. I have it filled with Moble 1 synthetic oil, and only one problem when the switch broke. But I have hoses running in the back basement deck, all over the basement shop, and enough hose to go upstairs and out the front, so I can put more air in my van tires. Actually, I use it much more than my table saw.

Anyway, good luck on your dust problem. Fortunately the air compressor can keep solving your problems.

“Thumbs Up”

-- Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil - Thomas Mann

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