With a little more time, and some minor changes to the layout once the dust extractor was relocated to the mezzanine, the dust extraction ducting was finished.

At least the first stage!

Stage 1 – connect up a functional dust extraction run from each of the main machines to the dust extractor, with blast gates isolating each machine.

Further work to be done as time, energy and motivation permits:

Modify base of dust extractor so it fits properly in the available space.  This may also involve shortening the legs by a couple of inches to assist with clearances (to be assessed).

Capture dust from the tablesaw dust guard.

Improve (straighten) path from thicknesser to vertical ducting.

Break into existing ducting to add a run towards the wood turning area.  Includes a pickup from the bench for the bench-mounted tools, and a quick coupling connector for the superflex hosing for cleanups.

Set up extraction as appropriate from the lathes.

Increase diameter of trunking from the dust extractor along the main run to 6″

Add a cyclone separator if possible.

The Super Dust Deputy is $US239, or $A626 for the metal version.

snapz-pro-xscreensnapz001Alternately, the latest version has a standard size, or an XL size for larger HP extractors.

Not sure if and when they will be available in Oz, but they cost $US239 for the XL version, and $US169 for the standard version. It will be interesting to see how the price compares.


Fence or Ambulance

I could have also titled this “Source or destination”

Would you prefer a fence at the top of the cliff, or an ambulance at the bottom?

Following on from the previous article, there is one thing that has been annoying me with heavy construction, specifically in occupied buildings. Unlike the precautions I take in my workspace (shed), there is so little (as in “none”) control of dust at the point of origin – the construction industry appears to rely on cleaning up afterwards rather than dust minimisation techniques.

While sanding down some of the walls in my home (part of the whole fix-up – I’m getting better at plastering), I’m using the Festool ETS 150/5, with a Cleantex CT36 and Oneida cyclone.  Just on startup, if you don’t wait for the vac to kick in, you can physically see the cloud of plaster trying to billow out, before being sucked straight back into the various ports on the ETS.  The rest of the job, there is no dust, nothing to clean up, even when sanding in the walk-in wardrobe – there was no dust on the clothes at all.  Let alone in my lungs.

Something like the industrial sized Microclene unit for a worksite

Microlene MC3000

or a small unit suitable for a workshop


This is one decent step towards capturing dust that is produced before it fills the room and settles on all the surfaces.

You can improve the collection further by adding a shield to the collector

mc1000-2or even place the unit right at the source of generation.

micro-3Whether that be an air filtration unit nearby, or on-tool dust collection, or a combination of both.

One way or the other, the results are always better when you actively mitigate dust production at the source, rather than cleaning up later.  What would you prefer – using and cleaning a filter, or using your lungs as that filter?

Festool in the House


Ok, so it doesn’t have the same ring as Ali G, (and I suspect there are very few who even get the reference!  Oh well).

My Festool CT36 has managed to find its way inside, and it looks a bit out of place – when you get it in a small room, you realise just how large it is (particularly combined with the Oneida cyclone and Festool Boom arm).  If I hadn’t cut down the height of the boom arm by 6″ or so when I got it to fit under the shed rafters, it wouldn’t have been able to get through the doors either (without lifting and tilting the whole setup that is).

I have bought it inside as I am doing some patching and plastering, and wanted to sand without dust.

Speaking of dust, before I bought it inside, I gave the unit a quick once-over with compressed air, and emptied the bags.  Well that is not strictly true.

My Festool has the Oneida Dust Deputy Ultimate II on it from Professional Woodworker Supplies.


Dust Deputy Ultimate II

I hadn’t checked it for a while (other than to quickly confirm if the bin was full or not), but certainly hadn’t checked how much carry over there had been.

The Ultimate II has a small tube that provides suction to the bucket, and as such means the bin can have a plastic bag for dust collection.  This is very convenient, and a significant improvement over the Ultimate (I). So I was able to lift this bag out, and it was full of the worst kind of dust that your parents warned you about.  Not the sort of dust you want to bring home to meet the folks.

The dust that had been collected was so fine, that if thrown onto an open fire (or ignition source), it would create a serious fireball.  It is all about the surface area of the fuel, and the abundance of oxygen.  Not the sort of stuff you want to be breathing.

So then I went and tried to empty the Longlife Festool dust bag.  I tried, but there was nothing to empty.  It had all be captured by the Cyclone.  If there was any carryover, it was too fine to see, or capture easily in the vac bag, and would have then been caught by the HEPA filter.  What was going in was definitely not coming out!

So bad news for the Longlife bag – with this system, you can stick with a disposable bag, and even that for a long time.  You don’t actually need the capacity of the large vac either if that isn’t as important.  It also makes emptying much easier, as you are not lifting off the whole motor to get access to the dust bag.  Not to say that the Festool vac is redundant – having a combination of autostart or direct power through ports on the vac, boom arm, combined power lead and hose, variable speed, HEPA filter etc etc, still sets the Festool Cleantex apart.  The Ultimate II just makes it even better.

It was a pretty convincing demo of the Ultimate II cyclonic dust separator.

Well I was impressed.

Oneida 1, Stu’s Shed 0

Gave a real crack at sorting out the Systainer version of the Dust Deputy, making up a strong box to go inside the Systainer, all Dominoed together (used the Domino with the Cleantex for the first time……nice!) and slots cut to match the inside of the Systainer using the router table in its new configuration which also worked very nicely.

Tried it out again, and with all the additions, still very little dust was collected, the majority passing through to the vacuum bag.

Inner Skin

So with such an unexpected failure of the concept, I wondered if it was just the Festool Cleantex that was too powerful for the size of the cyclone.  I then tried the unit using the Shopvac, which has been very successful in the past, and although the collection was improved, still no decent result.  I can only suspect now that the shape of the collection container plays more of a part than I first suspected.  I may play again another day, but at this stage I couldn’t be bothered wasting any more time on the development.

So I reverted the cyclone to its original (commercial) orientation and tried the Cleantex again.

Big dust pile test

The Cleantex certainly has a fair suck on it – the problem I have highlighted in the past about the original lid of the Dust Deputy bin not being strong enough was significantly exaggerated – the lid getting badly sucked in (but still maintaining a seal)

At the end of a dust mountain (about 1/2 the dust drum), I checked the Cyclone bin, as well as the Cleantex dust bag.

Cyclone bin – nicely full, Cleantex bag – nicely empty.

Suck results - full bin, empty bag

So reverted everything back to pre-mod orientation – the Cooltainer back to being a Cooltainer, the Cyclone back to original, and the other Systainer put back together.  It still has a hole in the lid, and I still like the idea of a cyclone that fits on top of the Cleantex.

So I took the second dust bin of the Dust Deputy, and screwed it straight to the top of the spare (and somewhat aerated) Systainer.  Now I do need a longer initial hose, but the concept is there, just not as elegant as I intended. (Bugger).

A version of my vision

A visit to Costco

Had an interesting first visit to Costco over the weekend (the place seems like a Tardis – much larger on the inside than it certainly appeared from the outside)!

Didn’t expect it to become a shed-related activity, and there was a very limited number of tools there (did spot a Lithium-Ion GMC cordless drill (guess there are still some GMC tools out there)), and a stack of ShopVacs.

ShopVac 20

Given the GMC vac I have been using occasionally is already threatening to turn into a molten lump of plastic in the middle of the floor, I thought I’d grab one of the ShopVacs (think they were about $70).  The other reason I picked one was because of comments made in the past on this site when discussing dust collection from Festool power tools.  Someone mentioned they used a ShopVac as the nozzle size was pretty suitable for Festool.

ShopVac to Festool

Ah well, it’s better than nothing.  In a perfect world…….

Festool Vac with Dust Deputy Cyclone

……I’d have a Festool Dust Collection system, and even more ideally, with a cyclonic dust separator such as this commercial one from Oneida.  That sucks 😉

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