Dust Broom take 2

With an upgrade of the brackets and the addition of a handle, the prototype was ready to try.


Immediate Affirmation

In a couple of seconds, I was surprised just how successful it was proving.  In a very short space of time, the entire shop was returned to a semblance of normalcy.  It is also a bit of a shock to see just how much dust was there – the contrast was rather marked.  It really goes to show I shouldn’t use hand tools (particularly circular saws) without some attempt at dust extraction.  Between that, and a less-than-ideal dust collection on the router table, the workshop was obviously significantly covered in a uniform dust skin.


Dust Broom

The broom handle is….a broom handle – one of those $4 ones from the hardware store.  A block of wood screwed across two of the brackets that are holding the wheels has an angled hole drilled, then tapped with the wood thread kit, and a matching male thread cut into the end of the broom handle.

The 4″ hose is the ultra-flexible dust hose from Carbatec.  It looks a little clumsy, and perhaps I need to go to version 3 to get some more bugs out, but you know me – when a prototype works well enough, it tends to end up being the final version.


Broom Detail

Part of the problem I was having (I now discover), is the amount of downforce generated by the dusty was sucking the nozzle down onto the ground as the brackets were not strong enough.  These new ones are coping (just), and the rubber matting is getting pulled towards the nozzle.  It works exceptionally well on the concrete floor.  My initial thought about variable height is not an issue once the handle was fitted – pushing down on the handle causes the nozzle to lift (riding on the two back castors only) so larger particles can be collected easily.

So not bad – bet there is a better commercial version out there though!

Floor Dust Collection

Just a quickie – been cutting quite of MDF recently, and not all the tools I was using were fitted into the collection system, so there is a bit of mess on the floor.  In the past I’ve been connecting a super-flexible length of 4″ hose and doing the sweeping by hand, which is slow and annoying (but effective).

So instead I’ve coupled a typical nozzle to the end, and am partway through the build of a simple sled to hold it just off the ground.  When I’m happy with the height and function, I’ll add a handle to it.

Pity I don’t have one of those robotic sweepers- I could mess up the shop and find it neat and tidy the next day (and it would be rather discouraging for my recent possum visitors to boot).


4" Broom - WIP


Determining the required clearances

Originally there was no MDF portion planned, but the brackets I used were too weak for the job.  Next prototype will either place the wheels out nearer the corners of the MDF, or the MDF will be absent and stronger brackets used.   The actual clearance looks about right, although it would ideally be adjustable so I can first do a sweep to pick up the heavy shavings, then a second to pick up the fine dust.

The MagBroom (Prototype)

“This amazing, fabulous, incredibly versatile broom can be yours for just 5 equal payments of $19.95.  And if you buy in the next 10 minutes with your credit card, you get a second one for free!”

Yeah, whatever.

Back to reality, and here is another (prototype) jig I came up with ages ago for the MagJig.  Course I didn’t get around to building one at the time – was hoping MagSwitch would bring out a commercial one!  I did suggest it to them 😉

Anyway, it took a total of about 20 minutes to fabricate my own.  The idea of course, is for when you invariably drop a whole bunch of screws/washers/bolts/ferrous whatevers all over the floor, and need to pick them up, lost in the drifts of sawdust.

You can use a magnet if you wish, but scraping the findings off the bottom invariably leads to metal splinters.  And just sweeping it all up conventionally leads to a lot of wasted, frustrating times picking through the sawdust to find the small, elusive items.

My idea then was to use the switchable convenience of the MagJig, and its strong magnetism to make the job a breeze – or a clean sweep!

To start, I took a block of wood to carve into.  After cutting to length, I used a forstner bit to make the initial angled cut so the holesaw I needed had a good platform to bite into. (If I had the right size forstner bit I could have skipped that step).

Broom Handle Hole

Broom Handle Hole

Having the drill press laser made aligning the hole so much easier (and the pro drill press table’s clamping system).

Broom Body Cut

Broom Body Cut

This is the resulting broom body, with the broom handle hole tapped, and 2 forstner holes cut for the MagJigs.  I could have simply used a 19mm thick piece of timber, but instead this gave a much stronger joint for the handle.

The MagBroom

The MagBroom

I’ve also added a couple of wooden wheels to each side, so the magnets are held off the ground at a fixed height, relying on the strength of the MagJigs to pick up items, rather than having to actually contact them directly.  It also means I can roll the broom over the ground, picking up items without those items then causing problems – catching sawdust, getting knocked off the magnet etc.

Broom Head

Broom Head

The wheels provide approximately 5mm clearance.  There is no real reason for wooden wheels – they are from the toy wheel cutter, and just happened to be available, and the right price.  This is a prototype after all.

The Pickup

The Pickup

I gave it a test drive by throwing a few screw hooks on the floor into the sawdust.  A couple of passes with the MagBroom picked them all up without a hassle. I then placed the broom over the storage container, and turned the magnets off, allowing the parts to fall away.

This photo gives a better view of the wheels, and the end of the broom handle (which was sanded flush).  I chose 4 wheels rather than 2 so the whole bottom was kept level.  Not so critical when just using the 2 magnets, but I was (and may still intend) to add a full ferrous plate to the bottom of the broom.  The only problem was the plate I originally chose seemed to drop off the magnetic strength significantly.  Not sure why – either I know a lot less about magnetism than I thought, or the metal plate I chose was not the right material.  More research required.

Or perhaps not – like so many prototypes, if it works too well, it never gets beyond the prototype phase, as the jig then becomes version 1.0!

Stu’s Shed Thrift Tip #27

If you ever see me coming out of a hardware store or a supermarket with a bundle of broom handles, don’t mistake it for a developing cleaning fetish!

The cost of a smooth, straight grained 25mm diameter 1500mm long broom handle $3.96

The cost of a piece of dowel, 25mm diameter 1500mm long $15 (approx)

Sure there are advantages to dowel for some circumstances, but for all the rest of the times, I’ll stick with my brooms!

Broom Dowel

Broom Dowel

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