Fine dust in the shop

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Forum topic by DrAllred posted 10-12-2010 05:18 AM 1286 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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137 posts in 2246 days

10-12-2010 05:18 AM

I need a way to capture the fine dust that is produced when using drum, band and other type of sanding machines.

I would like one that does not require baby sitting in order to have an extended sanding job interrupted.

I would like to be able to capture all of the dust if possible before going through a filter. I know that a cyclone would be good but all I know is that it will capture the heavier particles and not the dust. I found a site that has cyclones that classify print toner into different sizes. High Efficiency Cyclones

Any ideas?

-- David, Mesa Arizona

7 replies so far

View Walt's profile


211 posts in 2261 days

#1 posted 10-12-2010 03:18 PM

I just build a sanding box that connectes to the In home vacume system at my house. I tested it out last night and it works great when sanding . There are three thing you need to keep the dust to a minamum. I. a good way to collet the dust at the source. (sanding box) Most important is #2 a Good Respiratior. This can be obtained at Home Depot for $20.00 and an air cleaner to run when you leave the shop. I am in the process of building this now. I have used a twin window fan and placed it in a box with two intake furnace filters 12×24x1 and one at out flow end and it seems to work. I am at work right now but I will post the pictures of these item tonight.

-- Walt Wilmington Delaware,

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 2567 days

#2 posted 10-12-2010 04:33 PM

Downdraft table like Walt said and/or Air Filtration System.

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2583 days

#3 posted 10-12-2010 04:55 PM

Nothing better for fine dust, than a Fein Vacuum? Seriously, a shop made pre-separator, followed by a cyclone.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View brtech's profile


883 posts in 2345 days

#4 posted 10-12-2010 05:55 PM

You need a way to get the air stream with the dust into some kind of system, and then you need to separate the dust from the air.

The “system” should be a Dust Collector, and probably not a shop vac. You need more CFM. Your tools need DC ports. If all you can get is a shop vac, use a big one.

Your tools should have DC ports. Use them.

A downdraft table is great for any hand held tools in addition to the DC ports on the tool itself.

There is some kind of piping system between the system and the tools/table. This can be flexible hose, or permanently installed PVC or metal pipe. If the latter, you want no 90 degree turns, 45s separated by straight pipe instead.

A cyclone (or a Thein baffle) separates the bigger particles from the air stream. You want one.

Then you want a filter. For a real DC, you want a .5 micron canister filter, not a 5 micron bag. For a shop vac, you want a HEPA filter, the best you can find.

Finally, you probably want an air cleaner in addition to clean out the remaining dust in the air. FWW did a review, some of the cheaper models work great.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2497 days

#5 posted 10-12-2010 06:30 PM

If you are real serious about capturing fine sanding dust (I am) the best option is a festool sander with their dust extractor. They’re expensive but they are great sanders and you can work in a virtually dust free environment. They are also the kind of high quality tools that will probably last your lifetime making the cost a little more bearable.

Finally, the way the dust is extracted works keeps the sand paper clearer and cooler. This causes the sanding paper to work better and last much longer. I’ve not done a scientific test, but I estimate that I am getting 3 times the life out of my sand paper as I did with a conventional ROS.

If you are attentive (and lucky) you can find used units on e-bay that sell for reasonable prices. There are several variations of sanders but the very best are the dual mode rotex models.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2655 days

#6 posted 10-12-2010 07:02 PM

My solution has been a shop vac fitted with a HEPA filter, routed through a Thien separator, and then adapted to the dust port on my sanders.

My Ridgid EB4424 oscillating sander gets hooked up to the HF DC / Thien separator rig. I have the OE 2.5” connector hooked up via a Wye, and another 2.5” to a hood made from a vac floor sweep on a stand sort of rig. It gets MOST of the sanding dust. I do have an overhead filter to catch and screen out whatever else is missed by the dust collection system.

I am planning on building a downdraft table one of these years, but it hasn’t been high on my projects list yet…

As far as cyclones / separators pulling out fines or not. My Thien dust barrel is full of very, very fine flour fine sort of sawdust, and the Wynn cartridge on my HF DC is still clean after 1.5 years of fairly constant weekend warrior use…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View DrAllred's profile


137 posts in 2246 days

#7 posted 10-13-2010 04:42 AM

Well, we are doing an experiment, look at this topic Dusty Dust Collection issues

Will keep you informed with an update after I do some serious sanding and planning.

-- David, Mesa Arizona

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