Are you in the process of hooking a woodworking dust collector up in your shop? If so you have stumbled upon the right article. I am going to give a little bit an overview of getting dust collection going in your shop. Dust collection is very important to your health so please take the time to properly install an adequate collection system.
Throughout this article, I am going to help decipher through all the woodworking dust collector jargon to make sure you chose the proper dust collector the first time.
Determine Your Suck Numbers
The factor you need to take into consideration when setting up your dust collection is what kind of air volume you’re going to need to satisfy your machines.
Here below is some ideas of what some of those requirements might look for each piece of normal woodworking shop machinery. Always take the time to seek what the manufactures requirement might be if you’re unsure to keep your shop safe. Most of these air volumes will be in a CFM rating. CFM if you do not know stands for cubic feet per min. Something like this anemometer must be useful if you really want to check for proper CFM on runs.
So take the time to figure out what those “suck numbers” are. Why are these numbers so important? Well because this will help us determining what size of dust collector you are going to need to pick up. Each HP (horsepower) rating is going to have a different air flow number.
An underpowered woodworking dust collector will not properly remove chips or dust from the machinery. This alone can cause many different problems. Including your health and machine problems.
To Single Stage Or Not?
So what does single stage mean? What single stage means is that the larger debris is not separated from the smaller finer debris so all of the debris will go through the impeller and into your collector. These larger chips could cause damage to your impeller.
Just about any single stage collector can handle debris from any one machine. Single stage dust collectors are normally a more economical solution for workshops on a budget. The reason being is that you have the ability to convert that single stage into two stage collector for a lot more budget friendly price. Yes, you can buy a two stage collector already built and basically plug it and go to work.
A simple search on YouTube will reveal a lot of people turning an affordable Harbor Freight dust collector into a two stage sucking machine.
The beginning question of this whole section was to decide if a single stage was worth it or to just go with a two stage collector. If your budget is not tight and your not a huge shop I would suggest going with a single stage. But this goes without saying take the time to convert it into a two stage on a Sunday afternoon.
Options Of Converting Your Single Stage
In the previous section, I talked about upgrading your single stage into a more economical two stage collector. Even with converting your single stage into a two-stage you have a few different options to choice from.
The Thien Baffle was created by a guy named Phil Thien. His site can be seen here. The wonderful think about the Thein Baffle is that very little vertical real-estate is used in making one of this. Making one of these? yes. A Thien Baffle can be easily made in your shop in an afternoon.
Like a Thien Baffle the rout of airflow follows an indirect path of flow and separates heavier chips and dust to the bottom. This then will, in turn, allow clean debris free air be returned back to your dust collector.
One of the more popular brands of the cyclone dust separation family is the Oneida Brand. They make a great quality product. If you haven’t built a dust collector separator for your shop-vac the Oneida Dust Deputy might be worth look into.
Now that you have got your single stage woodworking dust collector running in two stage mode its time hook your equipment together. This is probably my favorite part of the whole operation of hooking dust collection. This part takes time and patience.
Take the time to properly layout out your dust collection runs and minus turns as much a possible. This will help to make sure that the most CFM is getting from the machine to the dust collector.
Woodworking Dust Collector Install Tips
- For longer runs use sewer drain pipe (not schedule 40)
- Install or build blast gates for isolating machine’s not in use for greater performance
- Use dust collection ports and hoods for machines to improve chip removal
- Flex hosing near machine for mobility if needed
- Ground your dust collection system to prevent fire hazards
Setting up proper dust collection in your shop is very important to your health and safety. I feel like this part of proper dust collection is really overlooked by a lot of new woodworkers. Woodworking dust collection is a science on its own. There is so much great information out there one extremely great resource I recommend checking is Bill Pentz. There is so much value in the research in his guide. I plan to do a lot more articles in the woodworking dust collector realm because I am fixing to configure my new shop. So follow to stay updated with the progress on that.
If you enjoyed this article please feel free to share it on your favorite social channel.
Workshop Safety Tips
Yearly there are many home shop related injuries. Many of these can be prevented by taking the time to make sure you are using the proper PPE and safe workshop safety techniques. Equipment like your table saw does not care if you want to stick your finger in the path of blade. It will bite you and it will not apologize to you. I mentioned PPE, many might not know what this means unless you have been exposed to it in a manufacture position. What PPE stands for is personal protective equipment. Many things I will discuss below will involve PPE items.
Safety glasses are a must (I know there a pain to wear). I have to wear them for 10+plus hours a day at my current place of employment, so I know the struggle. I recommend you find a pair that fit and feel comfortable to you and possible stylish if you like. This will help make sure that your keeping them on your face and not on your forehead. The best practice is always to put them on whenever you enter the door to shop. Whenever people come into your shop make sure there also wearing the proper eye protection. You might look into a sign like this for your shop door plus its kind of stylish I think.
In your life, you only get one set of ears so take the time and purchase the proper hearing protection. Machinery in your workshop produces many different pitches of noise. A noise that doesn’t sound very loud to you could be doing more damage than you think. Prolonged exposure to the noise is when the real damage begins to occur. Take the time protect your ears. This snippet is from OSHA website :
Here’s an example: OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure to 90 dBA but only 2 hours of exposure to 100 dBA sound levels. NIOSH would recommend limiting the 8 hour exposure to less than 85 dBA. At 100 dBA, NIOSH recommends less than 15 minutes of exposure per day.
Once again, your respiratory system is a very important part of your body to take care off. This protection of safety is one that is problem more over looked that any others we have discussed thus far. Dust in woodworking can cause serious damage to your long term heath. Not only the larger chips that you can see coming from your table saw. The ones that you can’t see are causing the most damage to your long term health. They range somewhere in the 2-1o micron range and are mostly undetectable, So why are these smaller once so dangerous to your health? Well because when these smaller particles are inhaled they cause micro wounds and scarring to the inside of your lungs. The damage caused by this is irreversible! So take the time now and purchase the proper respiratory below.
Wearing the proper Apparel in your shop it is very important. This can make all the difference from a happy and fun evening of creating a projects to a trip to the ER. In my machining class back in high school I saw kid nearly get sucked into a lathe because of a simple hoodie string! Take the time to make sure there is nothing dangling/hanging from you while you’re working. Especially those earbuds!
This may come as common sense but make sure that you always were the proper footwear. This means make sure your not wearing any flip flops or sandals or another opened toe shoes. Plus you shouldn’t be wearing any high heeled shoes as workshop safety advocate!
Your clothing should also be form fitting and not loose and dangling. Wearing clothing like this around machinery is asking for trouble and could result in great injury as the story I mentioned above.
As much as I keep talking about dangling objects that I think we should know by now that were jewelry is a big NO! Items like neckless and rings should be removed. A quick google image search of some of the damage caused by wearing wedding rings should show you the damage the can create. As a avid builder/maker even current full-time welder I always wear a ring and I know its bad habit that needs broken.
While working in your shop workshop safety should be your number one concern. The power machinery we tend to work around doesn’t care that your in the way. Always take the time to read the documentation on any new equipment. This will ensure that all the proper guards and safety producers are in place. If your unsure of something or it doesn’t feel say feel free to contact me through the contact page and I will help you in anyway I can. Share this article with your friends to make sure that there workshop safety is the number one priority in there shop!