Dust Control Initiative – Take 3
As noted in a previous post, with the demise of my Shop-Vac (again) I’ve once again decided to improve dust collection in the workshop. The shop continues to be a dust-bowl despite my previous attempts.
Current semi-functional system
- a 1 hp Penn State Industries (PSI) dust collector collected to a 12 foot long, 4″ diameter overhead PVC duct with blast-gates/drops for the tablesaw, router table, lathe and bandsaw. 1 micron cloth bas filters. I also have a garbage-can based 2-stage separator in front of the collector. PSI unit is way too weak for this system and doesn’t really work. 1 micro cloth bas filters. Very hard to move the unit around since my shop is very tight on floor space and oddly laid-out.
- a JDS air cleaner mounted on the ceiling. Works absolutely GREAT!
- a Shop-Vac that I hook to portable tools and sometimes to the jointer. I seem to get about 1 year per Shop-Vac before they break.
Due to the nature of the low beams in the ceiling of my basement shop and the strange “Z” shaped floor-plan, a single central system does not seem practical. So, I’ve decided to try and come up with a “hybrid” distributed system.
Plan for the “new” distributed system
First, I don’t want to spend a lot of money, but I am tired of spending money on things that don’t work just because they were more reasonably priced. So, the stuff that I buy from now on for dust-collection will be “better” brands/stuff (like my JDS air-cleaner) so that I won’t be back in this position again in 2 year. Sorry PSI, sorry Shop-Vac.
The new system will evolve through time, but I am going to try to control the dust one “machine-station” at a time, rather than trying to solve the problem in one swoop.
Here is the new plan:
- I will reduce my 1 hp PSI dust collector to serving only the table-saw and bandsaw which will both be located within 5 feet of the collector. The PSI 1 hp unit has just not proven to be strong enough to work with the overhead PVC ducts that I installed a couple of years ago. It has been nothing but trouble, and in fairness to the PSI unit, it was not really designed to handle a system like that. I think that if I strip the PSI unit down to these 2 machines (with blast gates) located within 5 -feet, it will work fine. I will leave my Long-ranger remote installed on the PSI unit also. I will remove the 2-stage garbage can collector so that the unit is more mobile and can be easily wheeled out to service other machines, particularly the lathe and jointer. The bags will need more clean-out, but that is the price that I will have to pay.
- I have purchased a Fein Turbo I shop vac as a replacement for the old Shop-Vac unit. The Fein is outstanding in terms of suction, noise (quiet) and fit and finish. It is worth the money. Also, the Fein has a 16′ long, very flexible, hose (1 1/4″) that can reach most of the shop since I now have located the Fein centrally. This will allow me to attached the Fein to all hand-held tools (random orbit sander, hand-held router, etc), plus the router table, workbench and use it for general pick-up without moving it. Also the Fein has a 1-micron filter and a vacuum bag, so it is well suited for sanding work. I will not use the Fein for general shop-vac tasks. I will use it for saw-dust only. I will get a cheap vac for general non-workshop cleanup, etc. If you are going to buy a Fein, check out Walter Tool Company, they have great prices on Fein equipment.
- My JDS air-cleaner will remain as-is. It is a great unit and is doing its job well. One note, I’ve noticed that I can clean the intake filter on the JDS without removing the filter by running the hose from the Fein over it while it is off. It is as good as new in seconds. Since the Fein filters down to 1-micron, I am not sending the dust back into the air either.
- I am trying to get Shop-Vac to repair/replace my old Shop-Vac since its less than 1-year old (but I do not have the receipt). If I managed to get it fixed, I will dedicate it with a HEPA filter to the “sanding station” in my shop. The sanding station includes the Delta BOSS spindle sander and the Delta 12″ disc sander. Both machines are plumbed for 2 1/4″ hoses, so it will be easy to semi-permanently affix the Shop-Vac for this purposes. I need to have a “fast and easy” solution for the sanding station, because otherwise I get lazy and use the sanders with no dust collection attached because “I only have a little bit to do”….so it must be an always there solution.
- Eventually, the PSI unit will be replaced with a 1 1/2 or a 2 hp unit and then the PSI will move to the other end of the shop and be dedicated to the jointer only….no hurry on this for now.
- I will rig up a 2 1/4″ line off of the 4″ hose to the tablesaw (from the PSI unit) to allow for dust collect through my blade guard as well as from underneath. Since I use a zero-clearance insert in the saw, a lot of sawdust remains up top.