Dust really is an insidious pest in the workshop. Whether it is the heavier shavings created from bulk material removal, down to the finest particles that can remain airborne for hours, days, even weeks.
I know for a fact that I don’t do enough to contain dust at either end of the spectrum.
The reasons for and against may be a bit of a seesaw of justifications, but if I was to be honest, I don’t think that the seesaw is well balanced, or particularly justifiable for what I have on one side, versus the other.
So on the first side, I have
See what I mean, other than cost, and noise (particularly at night when it is often the only time I get to do anything out there, and I can’t afford to antagonise the neighbours) there are no really compelling reasons against doing something about it.
On the other side of the seesaw, I have
safety – (lungs)
safety – (slippery floor)
increase in rust of tool surfaces
potential damage to finishes
untidy working environment
I am sure there may be a few more examples for both sides, but they would follow the same trend.
Cost is a bit of a bugbear, I will admit. You need a good extractor to get the required performance – not only in the amount being extracted, and the distance it is pulling the dust from, but also in the performance of the filters.
Not much point extracting dust from the point of generation if you are only going to pump the most harmful portion straight back into the workshop atmosphere (dust below 1 micron in size that is).
My existing at-tool dust extraction is good in theory, but in practice I know that I am expecting too much of the current dust extractor – the distance I am trying to get it to draw over is far too great for it to be efficient. There are a couple of options- decrease the distance, or increase the power.
So I’m thinking of doing both.
If I relocate the current 2HP TruPro extractor to the back of the timber store shed, it can just service the lathe/CNC area of the shed. A new 3HP dust extractor would then be plugged into the existing extraction ducting.
Interesting idea, so I’ve been researching what is out there in the way of large dust extractors.
First thought – Powermatic. a 3HP extractor is $2000. Other than it being a traditional design (as opposed to a cyclone), this would be a gold-plated solution.
A Carbatec cyclone is $3200, but is too tall for my current location (not that a redesign of the layout is impossible). Getting pretty pricy – Like you can almost get a SawStop for that sort of money, and I think there is just a bit more build quality and technology in a SawStop than a dust extractor. On the other hand, a cyclone is a superior extraction solution.
Of course the Powermatic looks like a traditional bag collection system, but it does have a conical separator built into the top above each collection bag.
Another option is to put a cyclone separator in line, before whichever extractor is chosen. At $500, it is a lot of money for some rolled steel.
Given Timbecon now have a store in Melbourne, thought I’d check out online what they might have.
First thing that caught my eye – their 3HP 2 bag extractor…..$500. Say what? Even if you take the pleated filter option (which is mandatory personally – a cloth bag is a dust pump, not a dust extractor) it is $1000. I’m not a fan of Sherwood Orange, but that price can make one choose to be colourblind.
I need to get more information though – there wasn’t any detail on their site to be able to accurately compare it to other machines out there. They also apparently have a cyclone extractor, so it will be interesting to get more detail of that too. Guess a roadtrip to north Melbourne will be in my near future.
One other aspect that I am seriously considering, is being able to accurately assess the air quality in the shed.
There is the Dylos unit that can detect down to 0.5 micron (and can be set to alarm if the dust concentration passes certain thresholds) I haven’t found anything else that competes with that for price/performance yet – if anyone knows of something, I’d be interested to know. The Dylos Pro is $US260
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