Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Efficient Dust Collection

  There's plenty of info on the internet regarding dust collection for our small shops. Without doing the math I can tell you this,  "Use the largest diameter duct you can obtain. The more air volume your collector moves the more successful your chip collection will be." Also, I strongly suggest the use of a chip separator. My collection system employs a separator made from plastic barrels.                (see separator)

  Both collector and separator are outside my shop housed in a large shed attached to the workshop. This keeps the shop quite and my lungs away from the fine sawdust particles that escape the filter bag. A switch is located on the inside of the shop to turn the system on and off. You could also use wireless remote. My setup causes a negative pressure in the shop which can be bothersome in the winter as it draws the cold air into the shop. I'll live with it.

  I checked building material recyclers for ducting first then picked up the rest from the local building supply. Watch prices as they vary widely on this stuff.

In this photo you can see some of the duct work for my setup
  My setup works very well but as always nothing is perfect. Here are some ducting items I would try to do differently:

Little or no flex hose, they mess up the airflow.
Rework pickup boots from 4" to fit 6" duct.(I'm doing the jointer and planer next)
Combine 2 adjustable 90's to create swept 90's. (set each at 45 degrees).
Y Pipes no Tee's
Connect pipes using pop rivets, long chips can get caught on screw tips.

  The way in which my Y pipes are oriented to my drops is a bit of a problem. When you use a machine that is down stream of the previous Y pipe some of the chips will fall into the drops and begin to pile up on top of the closed blast gates. I just open those upstream gates to get rid of the chips before I shut down the collector.

   I was unable to find 6" blast gates readily available so I made them myself using coffee cans and plywood. I got the idea from this video on Youtube. I used a jig saw to cut out the circles in the plywood.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Welcome to the Shop

  A couple of years ago the two car garage was a shop in progress. Progress lasted 20 years. The concrete floor sported a couple of yawning chasms in which to twist the ankles. The walls were 80% insulated but not covered with anything save for a generous coating of fine sawdust. The ceiling allowed one to view most of the rafters and roof decking. Electricity was available from a couple of outlets sprouting many wires, enough to make Medusa look the other way. Lighting was provided by two 150 watt bare bulbs, these doubled as supplemental heating. When it snowed there would be a drift stretching 2 feet inside past the bottom of the overhead door. That didn't bother me much as the drift would be gone by summer. Prevailing winds beat on the man door so it was held closed using a long handled axe wedged against the inside door handle. The small wood stove fought Old Man Winter but was more a match for Jack Frost. I was always provided an update on temperature and wind speeds when I used that axe to split some wood to keep the fire burning. Decent shingles managed to keep the rain out and off the tools over the years.

  It took about 4 months to reach the point where I could paint the drywall and hang the florescent light fixtures. It was an extensive refurbish, I raised the ceiling to 9 1/2 feet, all new wiring and outlets (20amp minimum), windows and doors, insulation with proper attic ventilation and I even trimmed the windows and doorways. I considered baseboards but hey it's just a shop.

Gutted the building starting in December 2008 and finished painting March 2009

  I invited my wife out to marvel at the fruits of my labour. She said, "Very impressive, you did such a nice job, when will you be moving in." "My large tools are already in the building and the smaller ones will follow.", I replied, a little puzzled. "Yes, but where will you put your bed.", she said. I considered stating that there would not be a bed but a pull out couch opposite a big screen LED TV. But I just laughed. So did she, thank goodness.
  With some time and left over wood came cupboards. From much plywood came worktables and the out feed cabinet.
I've never had a dust collection system before so I researched many a blog on the subject. I'm pleased with the performance. Please see Dust Collection.

Enjoy these pictures I took today, thanks for looking.
Torsion box top for this assembly table with adjustable height.

Looking North
South west view
Looking West. My daughter's getting her bike ready for the motocross season
Lots of duct for the chip makers.

Plenty of chips and dust created in this area.
Out feed table, storage underneath. Can be lowered on to casters for portability.
Maple bench I built as a tribute to my father.

This 18" band saw works very well.

Almost Free Separator for Dust Collection System

  Tired of emptying the bag on your collector every 10 minutes? I was, in fact it made me reluctant to use the collector. After gutting my two car garage/workshop I refused to have dust piled on every horizontal surface. I also like breathing without the aid of a forced oxygen supply. Cyclone separators are efficient, but  a bit much for my one man shop and most emptied into a small container anyway.

Searching the internet for a solution I came across a chip separator made by Tom Berninghausen. I'll tell ya, it works like a charm. It holds about 50 gallons of chips before the collection system begins to lose suction. My system uses 6" diameter metal duct to the blast gates (table saw is 6 inch duct all the way) and a King brand 1 1/2 hp collector. The collector and separator are in the storage shed built onto the side of the garage. It took me about 4 hours to build the separator. The handles on the side make it easier to drag the lower part out to my burn pile and aids in tipping the drum to empty it.

Link to Tom's chip separator page or you may prefer The Thien Baffle

This shed is not insulated so covered the ducting with wrap.

This separator holds about 50 gallons of chips before I have to empty it.
The previous felt bag developed a hole (mice) in it leaving a fine coating of dust.