Dusting up a storm

Some further thoughts and developments on the dust extraction system.

I’ve been giving some thought to what happens next – as in how does the dust run get to the dust extractor, and just how far that is – how much more length, how many more bends are required.  The simple answer is “too far and too many”.

Hmm. So the question arose in my mind again – just why did I think the original idea of having the dust extractor on the mezzanine floor was a bad one?  Back in mid Feb, I had thought about it, and opted to bring the dust extractor back down from the mezzanine where it had just been put (and what a pain that was!)  However, now that the machine positions have settled, it is really looking like the mezzanine was a good idea after all.

Looking back at my earlier musing on the subject, I highlighted good points to be
a. free up workshop floorspace
b. for it to be inside the main shed, as it draws a lot of air, and if outside the main shed, that is a lot of hot (or cold) air that would be drawn into the workshop, and
c. as that would make it generally central to the machines it is drawing from.

On the other hand, I had thought having it in the timber store next door gives better access, better noise separation, better workshop air quality (particularly on the mezzanine).

Now that I have been working in the shed for over 1/2 a year, more informed decisions can be made.

These lead to the following justifications for relocating the dust extractor back to the mezzanine:

1. Significantly shorten the length of ducting, and minimises the number of bends required.
2. Noise isolation would be the same as having the dust extractor in the area I currently have placed it.
3. Dust isolation from the main shed is maintained, although the mezzanine will not be as clean, it is not used as I was anticipating. If I ever do start to make use of it for something other than storage, I can look at physically isolating the extractor at that point. It still has a pleated filter, and I can still run an air filtration system up there if I choose.
4. It does not draw air from the outside (hot or cold), so running the dust extractor will not significantly impact on the shed environment
5. Changing bags is as easy (if not a little easier), and I do have the hoist to remove full bags from the mezzanine.

To compare the two locations, let’s take the biggest producer of sawdust in the workshop (which also produces the heaviest particles), being the thicknesser.

With the dust extractor outside in the side shed, it would involve approx 12m of ducting (up, across and down), and a total of 6x 90 degree bends (each elbow is estimated to be the equivalent of 2m of straight pipe), so a total of 24m equivalent length.

With the dust extractor on the mezzanine, it would involve approx 4m of ducting and a total of 4x 90 degree bends (at worst), giving a total of 12m.  That is one significant saving to be had, for the machine that needs the most drawing capacity.  All other machines benefit to lesser degrees, but each ends up saving about 10m in equivalent straight pipe length, if not more.

So I guess that makes the decision an easy one.  The ducting is a lot less complicated, and shorter.  There is power already available (I originally placed a GPO up there to be dedicated to the dust extractor).

The future plan will be to look at continuing to improve and upgrade the dusting system – moving as much up to 6″ ducts as possible, rather than the current 4″.  But let’s see how the system works once I get it up and running, to see just how much that will be a priority.

Onwards and upwards (quite literally!)

Things get worse before they get better

The workshop certainly is an apt demonstration of that point at the moment!

Started off the weekend with the workshop being a little messy, after last week’s rush build to get the magazine articles finished.  Ended the weekend with it looking like a bomb site.

So what went wrong?  Nothing!

It was just time to finish off a job that I started almost two years ago, and has been notably absent from the current workshop: a fully functioning dust extraction system.

For the past 8 months, I have been working with a flexible hose running from the dust extractor, through a door and across the floor to whichever machine I am using at the time (although primarily focused on the jointer and thicknesser, so the other tools have been venting free).

Decided this weekend to do something about recommissioning a fully laid out system, given the machines seem to have migrated to relatively stable positions in the workshop.

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I’ve had all the odd lengths of pipe, tube, hose and fittings sitting aside from the previous workshop (and the collection above is a small portion of what came out of the previous shop), so that is where I started – working on the complex areas of the dust extraction.  The combined area around the tablesaw, jointer, thicknesser and bandsaw, which are all in close proximity (particularly where the dust ports from each machine are involved).

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It took a bit of trial and error, but I am pleased how it came together.  It is a bit hard to show it looking anything but a mess, but it looks better than the current photos!

One day, I’d be tempted by the metal dust extraction system, but that is an upgrade for the future (if ever).  At the moment, simply having each machine connected to the dust extractor, with blast gates isolating each is the plan.

So far, the bandsaw comes in the bottom (with two hoses, one from the bottom of the bandsaw, and one from just beneath the table), then the tablesaw.  I haven’t worked out how I want to have the tablesaw dust guard connected in yet, but I am still thinking the genuine SawStop solution looks to be an attractive option.

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There is a port visible that has nothing connected – I have placed a quickconnect port on there, so can easily connect the super-flexible hose with the floor sweeper when I do need additional cleanup.

I have the run overhead towards the dust collector, but that run isn’t finished yet.  I still need to drop it down, past (and pick up) the outlets from the second bandsaw, drum sander and Torque Workcentre.

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The run continues to the other side of the shed, then drops down to the router table and drill press.  The run then continues (smaller diameter) to the Kapex

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Still to work out how I am going to pick up an outlet near the lathes, I might have to cut into the run I have just completed by the looks.  Oh well, better done as right as I can.

Some work still to go – another day should knock it off, so long as I have all the parts I need (so better I plan ahead).

 

Compounding Cuts

Been working over the weekend on cleaning up around the shed.  A little bit of cleaning up after the last project, and a lot of getting some equipment into its final home.

Specifically the dust extractor.

If you remember from my recent floorplan, I am intending on putting it into the ‘dead’ corner caught between the shed and the diagonal fence.  My original idea was to create a bit of a standalone shed around the extractor, but for a number of reasons it is a lot better to resurrect the earlier plan of having the whole section boxed in.  Overall, it results in a loss in usable floorspace, but the floorspace that is available becomes significantly more productive.

It may stop me turning the rest of that corner into a rubbish tip!

The original shed design shied away from producing an angled section to the shed – too difficult to calculate, or manufacture the angled joiners or something.

But not if I am doing it myself. I’m using treated pine for the frame, so I can cut the compound angles easily.  45º side angle, 10º down angle for the roof.  Don’t have to think twice about it on the Kapex.

Getting this sorted, and the rest of the shed more organised meant I didn’t get to shoot the videos I was planning for the weekend.  Things rarely go to plan, but each day is a small step closer to having the shed organised and operational, and each step means when I do shoot video (or take some stills), that things look closer to how I would like them to be.  It also means I am a bit short of content to chat about here, but again, the more progress I make now, the easier it will be down track.

The Ti15 Festool impact driver is really earning its keep, and the TS55 REQ is going to do the same when it comes time to make the angled cuts in the polycarbonate roofing.  As is the Centipede Sawhorse!  You know a winner of a tool, when within days of receiving it, you can’t work out how you did without it.

Best made plans

I love it when a plan comes together.

Even better, when by some fluke, a plan formulated on the computer (such as the floor plan) actually works in real life too, as well as it suggested it would.

Moved the 4 machines around (tablesaw, 17″ bandsaw, jointer and thicknesser), and they all came together.  I did realise one thing though.  It is the end of the era for mobile bases in my workshop.

Mobile bases are really useful under the heavy machines in the shed.  Particularly when you are a sole operator, and especially when space is restricted.  A mobile base allows machines in sub-optimum position when stored to be moved out for use, then pushed away again.  I’ll still have a wheeled option for the thicknesser (it is built in), and for the tablesaw as well (when I upgrade it to the original built-in option).  The other machines though are another matter.

As I was sorting out the layout (and thank goodness for mobile bases at that point!), I found as I was finalising the locations, the bases were really restricting how well they each fitted together.  Once removed (from the bandsaw and the jointer), it was a whole different story.

I’m not against mobile bases – I have been using them successfully for years.  But I am also looking for to not needing them either.  I have more workshop room than ever, and with the layout compromised with them in place, I’m just as happy not to continue with them.  They do make a machine more unstable, and I could, if I become really confident with the layout, actually bolt the machines to the slab.  Now that is a big call.

Tempting though.  A really solid operating platform.

I may hold off on that for a while though – previous experience shows that I tweak the shed layout a dozen times a year, every year!

A vehicle in the workshop??

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Not in this case! That is the garage getting used, as a garage!

I’ve finally been able to move enough tools and timber to their proper home for the car to (just) fit. It is a reflection of how well the workshop is maturing that this is possible. Still a bit to move, but this has broken the back of the task. Now I just have to find homes for the latest collection of stuff, that has been unceremoniously dumped in the workshop. Getting there slowly, but surely.

(Title inspired by Ralph, and a comment left on Facebook where the image made its first appearance).

Ask, and the workshop answers

I’ve been playing around some more with the machine layout, and have come up with something that looks a great deal more workable. The latest layout started by considering the position of the tablesaw, and resulted in it being spun 270 degrees. Yes, I know that makes no sense whatsoever, but I started by rotating it anticlockwise 90 degrees before deciding it would be better facing the other way and up against the pillar rather than the wall.

Things gained momentum from there, as that placed the tablesaw in range of the 15A GPO I had originally planned for it (as a bonus for the location choice). It also allowed sufficient infeed, out feed and side clearance for full sheets to be cut- another indication I was on the right track.

Next, I pushed the bandsaw out of the way, and decided where best to place the router table, up against the wall. That then provided a logical place for the bandsaw, and I noticed I had laid out each of the cutting and shaping machines around a common central area.

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Not too bad if I do say so. I can see this working rather well.

The question about the location of the dust extractor became glaringly obvious. Looking at the thicknesser, jointer, bandsaw and drum sander, they were all pointing (with their dust chutes) to the same location. Back to my original plan for the dust extractor. No, not the mezzanine- my original plan when first designing the shed. The triangular courtyard between the two wings of the shed. Sure, I need to fill the area in so the extractor is protected from the elements, but it is logical. Furthermore, it puts the extractor within range of the GPO I had installed specifically for it- another bonus.

The two main sawdust generators (jointer & thicknesser) are close to, and have a direct path to the extractor. The next is the Torque Workcentre, and it is just on the other side of the wall, as is the drum sander. The tablesaw is a bit further, but it produces a much finer dust that will carry easily. The only tool left out then is the router table. I will either bring pipe work over the top to it, or consider its location further- it may be possible to get it co located as well.

So when asking where the extractor should go, the shed pointed the way.

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Line Shaft Setup

It has taken just a little longer than I was expecting when I purchased some line shaft pulleys and belts 10 months ago, but I have finally had a chance to get them up and on display as I originally intended.

They do look a bit out of place, but that is in part the contrast of the old technology with the new, and also the clean, yet to be really filled (and ‘shedified’) workshop. Working on it!

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