Developing the Dust System

I’m not sure if a dust system ever gets finalised.  At least it never seems to in my shop – I seem to be constantly changing my ideas, tool positions, and dust system layout concepts.  Oh well – it’s like a real-life jigsaw puzzle that can be assembled many different ways, and how well it works tells you which picture you’ve created.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I have capitulated and have moved the dust collector back into the main shed.  There are a number of reasons for doing so, and a number of reasons why I didn’t want to have to.

Reasons why I wanted the DC located in a different shed (or at least outside the primary workshop)

* Noise. DCs are noisy (not brushed motor noisy), but still, sounds of lots of air moving would be better elsewhere if possible.

* Dust. If air is passing through a filter, then there is a probability that dust will also be carried through, even if the filter is a 1 micron filter.  If the unit is in another location, some minor dust leaks are inconsequential.

* Space. The footprint of a dust collector is going to consume about 1 metre square of valuable shed floor space.

Benefits of having the DC in the main shed

* Starting and stopping. There isn’t the issue of requiring expensive remote starting systems.

* Blockages. Easier access to clear blockages, empty dust bags, clean filters.

* Airflow. Simply the less distance the air needs to move, the better the system works.

Relocated Dusty

Relocated Dusty

I’ve relocated the dusty into the same corner where the original 4″ tube to the other shed went, but now instead of joining the two halves of the system into one pipe, I’ve coupled each arm up to its own intake. In addition, I’ve also run the 15″ thicknesser directly in to maximise its collection.  More on that in a sec.

My primary influence on relocating the DC was performance.  After my recent air velocity tests, I decided that I was compromising the performance too much to have the luxury of it being in the other shed.  There are some other minor benefits as well, but they were not enough to sway the decision either way.

I haven’t decided if I will do anything to counteract the additional noise, other than running it when I need it rather than constantly.  I might investigate building a fake wall around it with noise dampening, but that is a project that will probably never actually eventuate.

To counteract any issue with fine dust leakage (and dust during bag changing), I have located it right near the overhead air filtration unit (which is also a 1 micron filter), so between the two, any dust I collect shouldn’t end up back in my environment.

Underneath the DC, I have used both 4″ inlets, as much to allow a smoother entry of air as anything.

DC Inlet

DC Inlet

I’m not happy with the result however.  The tubes you can see are – from the right hand side is a solid connection from one of the 2 main shed trunk lines.  It doesn’t have any flex section at all, and this is what I want to modify.  As much as flex sections have a greater internal roughness, a short section is going to have a tiny effect on the overall flow.  It would however, make removing the nozzle to clear out blockages much easier so that is the first change.

Into this same trunk line through a Y section is the output from the thicknesser.  However, after testing it out, it failed. Inside the DC nozzle are some grates/blocks to catch heavy particles before they hit the fan.  The amount of chips produced by the thicknesser formed a mass that caught there, and immediately blocked the pipe.  Without any airflow, the thicknesser then rapidly clogged its discharge nozzle.

I have 2 ways forward.  Removing the grates (which I am still dubious about their value), but I’m not sure if that will then result in the blades becoming blocked up, and accessing them is even harder.  The other solution is a pre-separator to catch the majority of the output from the highest producing machines.  I’ll start with this, and see if it is enough.  Damn- it looked to be an elegant solution.  But this is Bauhaus – form must follow function.

In the background is a flex end to the second trunk line, and that works well.

To improve functionality, I have replaced the flex hose to the tablesaw with another length of PVC pipe.

Tablesaw Extraction

Tablesaw Extraction

I’ve used a Y section which I’ve capped to allow cleaning of the system, and also as a way to add a bit of flexible hose when cleaning up around the place.

Jointer/Planer Extraction

Jointer/Planer Extraction

I’ve kept the extra flex from the jointer so I have the ability to move and angle it depending on the length of stock I’m trying to plane.  Each item has a blast gate (my modified version).

One Response

  1. Hi Stu,

    When I installed my dust extraction system I came up with three things to consider. It had to take up as little space as possible, have the minimum number of direction changes (to minimise air flow resistance) and accommodate all future possible equipment changes etc.. I even dismantled the dust extractor and mounted it into an awkward corner next to my roller door.
    I have a few photo’s to show you but I can’t get them onto this comment thing.

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