Build your own silent dust collector.......
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If you plan on Power
Carving this is one area you should plan to spend some time, and money.
High quality systems can be purchased from woodworking stores for less
than $300.00, or you build your own from some salvaged appliance parts
at a fraction of the cost. The best thing about this dust collector is
it doesn't sound like a 747 jet preparing for take off. I often
forget it is on.
is a very efficient portable unit built from a dryer blower / motor,
cotton bag, vent hose and some scrap plywood. A call to your local
washing machine repairman should supply you with a source for a used
blower/motor combination, the rest is easy.
If you cant find a used blower/motor
you can find a new one easy enough. Most any Heating and Cooling Supply
center can provide you a high cfm blower/motor unit for less than one
hundred dollars. Look for a minimum of 300-400 cfm.
The main advantage to this type of
dust collector is virtually no noise and the inlet board rests between
your legs forming a laptop work bench to work over. This is a natural
position to work in. Most carvers tend to work from their lap instead
of a bench top like most dust collectors are designed for. Since bench
top space is at a premium in most carving rooms this lap model works
best. Slide the blower / dust bag portion of the unit under a bench and
inlet is free to move about the room as needed.
To make your own dust collector follow
these simple steps:
Obtain a blower/motor combo unit either
new or used like the one shown. Fasten it to a piece of scrap plywood
for a base. Cut a piece of wood to adapt the blower outlet to a round
disc. Router a channel around the adapter to secure a dust bag with a
large rubber O-ring. Fasten the adapter to the blower case and caulk
any seams that may allow dust to escape on the way to the collection
Using an adjustable hose clamp fasten a 6 foot length,
or longer, piece of flexible duct hose to the blower inlet. Most blower
cases have a flange in which to attach a hose, if not fabricate one to
fit a 4" hose or larger from scrap wood and PVC pipe.
Cut a piece of wood large enough to cover your lap.
Next cut a hole large enough to accept a 3" long piece of PVC pipe the
same size OD as your duct hose ID. Epoxy the 3" length of PVC pipe
into the hole with one end flush with the work surface and the other
hanging down below the board at least 2". Slid the duct hose over the
PVC pipe adapter and secure with an adjustable hose clamp. Drill two
holes in the board and tie a small rope to the board, this will act as a
belt keeping the inlet board in your lap as you carve.
Tape down a piece of screen to prevent your carving,
tools, etc. from being sucked into the blower. The blower wheel will
shred anything that falls down the tube in an instant!! I would
rather not discuss how well it destroys what it eats, I still haven't
got over the "hummingbird carving incident". Think of it as a garbage
disposal in your lap. Trust me, use a screen.
Sew a cotton bag or use an old diaper bag as a dust
bag. To fasten the bag to the blower case either sew in a large rubber
O-Ring or elastic into the neck of the bag. Or you can simply slide the
bag in place over the blower outlet and then put the O-ring over the bag
end on the adapter. Which ever way works best for you, the end result
is the same.....dust goes in the bag!
Note: Air can only
enter the bag through the inlet at a rate in which the air can leave the
fabric of the bag. A small, tightly woven material as a bag attached to
the largest blower will filter no more air than a small blower with a
large, medium weight material bag. Since these blowers are high volume
and low pressure you need to be concerned with how easy the bag will
release filtered air. If you cant easily breath through the fabric by
holding it to your face the blower cant force air through it very easy
as well. I prefer a loose weave material for a dust bag. It may pass a
little dust at first but it will quickly seal those tiny air leaks in
the fabric with sawdust seconds after you turn it on. Once a layer of
sawdust lines the inner surface of the bag it becomes a pre filter of
sorts, especially after a few minutes when the dust bag becomes static
charged and grabs every particle that comes near the bag wall.
The key to this whole project....... The larger
the bag you use the more surface area you have to use in filtering air
quickly and the faster your air flow into the inlet will be. Match the
right bag to a blower and you will have a small tornado sucking up dust
over the lap board. I have a small 300 cfm blower running a cotton bag
4 foot long x 2 foot wide and it draws more air than another with a 750
cfm blower with a 2 foot long bag, also 2 foot wide. Remember, most of
the cfm ratings on blowers are rated as free wheeling no restriction so
don't be fooled by the rating. I have seen large blower wheels run by
small motors that slow to a crawl when you choke the exhaust down with a
dust bag. Dryer blowers, like the one shown here are often over powered
if anything, since the same motor is used to turn a drum full of wet
clothes , so you shouldn't have a problem there. I listed a new blower
from Grainger's below that works excellent if you cant find a used dryer
Commercial dust bags used on shop style dust collectors
are too constrictive to use with this type of low pressure high volume
blower. They are meant for a high pressure blower that has the strength
to force air through the dense fabric.
Sources for pre-made bags-
Gander Mountain (36" Cotton Camping Gear Bags)
Dicks Sporting Goods (36" Cotton Camping Gear Bags)
Bass Pro Shops (36" Cotton Camping Gear Bags)
or any other sporting goods store that sells camping gear will have
these bags for less than $10 ea.. They are often sold in a little black
mesh draw tight bag in the camping section. When you buy one of these
bags be sure to run it thru the washing machine machine to remove the
heavy starch they use in the fabric, it alone tends to restrict the
Woodcraft stores sell a length of clear 4" heavy vinyl hose that
works perfect for less than $20 a 10 foot length. They have 6" as well.
Their Dayton Blower #4C444A is a great blower for this
purpose. Small, lightweight, silent operation, and a strong air mover.
Cost is under $100 the last I checked.
Any appliance repair shop or city dump can produce good drier blowers to
serve the purpose well. Or keep an eye open on trash day in your
neighborhood. Somebody is always putting an old drier to the curb, and
9 out of 10 times it's because of another problem, the blowers are
generally fine. The older the drier the better since most of the late
model stuff uses a cheaper blower setup.
Or look for a heating and cooling repair company. Some
of the smaller gas furnaces use compact squirrel cage type blowers that
work well for dust collectors. We have one company here locally that
leaves the old furnaces behind the shop as they collect them. Once they
have a large enough collection they rent a dumpster and haul them away.
Until then they let people remove parts for the asking. I am sure there
are many places like this out there. Look and ask around.
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