Small-Shop Dust Collectors
Choosing the right features and power for your needs
Synopsis: A well-designed central dust-collection system whisks wood dust and debris from machinery, work stations, and floor. A central collection system — collector, rigid metal ducts, and flexible hose — is the approach suggested and explained here. Sawdust piling up on the shop floor is a nuisance and a fire hazard, writes Sandor Nagyszalanczy. Here, he explains why he thinks a central collection system, consisting of a collector, rigid metal ducts, and flexible hose, is the best approach. He compares central collectors to shop vacuums and says two-stage systems are safer and more efficient. He discusses cyclones, separator cans, and drop boxes, and offers advice on what to do if your collector is underpowered. He also discusses filtration and air volume that’s required for small-shop woodworking machines.
Even woodworkers with no natural housekeeping skills eventually may recognize that the sawdust piling up on the shop floor is a nuisance. Sawdust is also a fire hazard and, worse, poses serious health risks. Some of the bits of dust pumped into the air are many times smaller than the human eye can detect. Dust particles that small can stay aloft for hours, plenty of time to be inhaled and lodge in the deepest cavities of your lungs. Exposure to dust over long periods of time may even give you cancer.
These are good reasons to have a central dust-collection system. A well-designed system whisks wood dust and debris from the machinery, work stations and floor sweeps to a canister or bag. Good-quality filters capture most of the dust before the air is returned to the shop. Any small particles that sneak through can be controlled with an air-filtration device or by wearing a dust mask. The result is a healthier and cleaner shop.
You can get good results by mounting a collector on…