Even more tips for dust collection
A dust free shop makes for healthy lungs, here's what you can do to ensure both.
Clamps team up for quick dust disconnect
In my small shop, I have to move the larger stationary tools out of the way when I'm not using them. That means I am always connecting and disconnecting dust-collection hoses from my equipment.
I needed a hookup I could quickly secure and separate, so I made my own from a steel spring clamp and a hose clamp from an auto-parts store. After cutting the hose clamp in the middle, I pop-riveted the cut ends to the jaws of a spring clamp.
Now, I squeeze the jaws open, slip the clamp over the dust hose, and release the jaws. My improvement holds the hose fast. And because the threads of the hose clamp are still intact, I can make fine adjustments to the tension or size as needed.
—John Gottschalk, Hemlock, Mich.
Shop-vacuum exhaust helps clean, too
When I built my router cabinet, I made the compartment right under the router airtight, except for an inlet in the side of the cabinet and the opening for the router bit. Using an extra piece of hose, I connected the exhaust port of my shop vacuum to the cabinet inlet so the exhaust air blows up and out through the router-bit opening. The extra boost from the exhaust forces wood chips toward the collection hose, which attaches to the fence by the router bit and helps keep the worktop clean.
—Robert Field, Springfield, Ohio
Filter cleaning is now in the bag
When fine sawdust clogs the pleated filter in my shop vacuum, I put the filter in a garbage bag and shake it up and down a few times. The dust settles in a minute or two, and 95 percent of it ends up in the bottom of the bag.
—Redmond Blair, Burnaby, B.C.
PVC hood corrals shaper dust
Few tools in my shop churn out more chips than my shaper, making a dust-collection hood a necessity. Because my older-model shaper didn't come equipped with a hood, I designed my own.
First, I cut a short length of 4" PVC drain pipe and used a bandsaw (a hacksaw would work, too) to cut a notch, as shown, so it fit snugly against the fence. Using a holesaw, I cut a hole in the pipe slightly smaller than the outside diameter of my dust-collector hose, then filed and sanded the hole for a snug fit. I topped off the hood with a 4" PVC test plug. Since I made the hood, my shop has never been so clean!
—Quentin J. Morris, Apple Valley, Minn.
Steady shaky air cleaner with rubber belts
I wanted to control dust in my basement workshop, so I installed a ceiling-mounted air cleaner. I hung it from the floor joists using lag hooks and eyebolts, as recommended by the manufacturer. But when I switched it on, the noise and vibration were very noticeable in the living room located directly above the shop.
To solve the problem, I suspended the air cleaner on the hooks with rubber vacuum-cleaner belts. The belts support the machine, yet dampen the noise and vibration. I added short lengths of chain as a safety measure in case the belts deteriorate over time.
—Thomas Morgan, Cannon Falls, Minn.
Increase tablesaw dust-collection efficiency
Making removable covers that fit over the large openings at the front and rear of your tablesaw will greatly increase the efficiency of your dust collector. I made mine with 1⁄8 " tempered hardboard and self-adhesive flexible magnets from a crafts-supply store. When I need to tilt the blade, I just pull off the covers.
—Randy Lee, Fairfield, Ohio
Make your own dust-collector hose connector
It's not uncommon to see 4" PVC drain-waste-vent (DWV) pipe used in a shop for dust collection—it's inexpensive and seals airtight. But, a normal DWV coupler makes a poor joint with the flexible 4" dust hose from your machinery.
To make your own coupler, cut a 5⁄8 "-wide slot down the side of a short scrap piece of DWV as shown. Then squeeze the piece, which closes the slot, and slip it into the dust-collection pipe. This leaves just enough to attach the flexible hose on the other end.
When you release the coupler, it will flex out out and hold fast inside the DWV. For an airtight fit, slide the flexible hose over your new coupler (sanding a bevel on the outside edge makes the job easier) and fasten it with a hose clamp.
—from the WOOD® magazine shop
Make a window to monitor dust
When I ran a bunch of lumber through my 15" planer, I never knew how full the bottom bag on my dust collector was until it overflowed. To solve this problem, I cut a 3x6" hole near the top of the bag and sewed in a 15-mil plastic window that lets me see when the bag gets full.
—Don Bacik, Clay, N.Y.
Pipe out dust from under belt-drive saws
Wood dust messes up a shop quickly and can lead to respiratory problems. Tablesaws with enclosed cabinets easily adapt to dust-collection systems, but belt-driven tablesaws with motors hanging out the back make poor candidates for dust collection. To solve this problem, put a 3⁄4 " plywood platform between your saw cabinet and stand and draw out the sawdust through a PVC pipe. Bore a 4"-diameter hole in the center of the plywood and insert a PVC pipe of the same diameter. Glue a PVC collar on top of the pipe to keep it in place, then reattach the cabinet of the saw to the stand using bolts that are 3⁄4 " longer than the originals. Finally, hook up the pipe to your shop vacuum with a reducer that fits the diameter of your shop-vacuum hose and let the machine eat your dust.
—Peter Hurney, Kailua, Hawaii
Loosen vacuum connections with WD-40
If you get grit and dust on your shop-vacuum wands, they may stick together so tightly that you can't pull them apart. When this happens, try squirting a little WD-40 spray lubricant around the connection. Let the lubricant sit for a minute, give the wands a twist, and pull them apart. To prevent this sticky situation in the future, lightly coat both mating surfaces with WD-40 and wipe them down with a cloth.
--Dan Wenciker, Jefferson, Ohio
For easier cleanup, put vacuum on the skids
For a quick and simple way to improve the operation of your shop vacuum, try raising the height of your floor nozzle by screwing a pair of skids to its sides. Position the skids so that they hold the bottom of the nozzle about 1⁄8 " off the floor. With the raised skid, the floor nozzle won't stick to the floor or push around larger woodchips. You can make the skids out of any solid wood. Bevel the ends so the blocks don't hang up on any small bumps in the floor.
—Danny Regans, Charlotte, N.C.