Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dust Collector Improvements

As I have mentioned several times so far in this running monolog, the original layout of the dust collector was pretty ineffectual.  My sander was located on one of the two 4” diameter branches of the system and nearly 20 feet (!) from the dust collector.  That “might” have been OK had it not been for the use of the corrugated tubing (lots of loss), one 90˚ turn (even more loss) and the presence of 2 or 3 blast gates going to side intakes (lots of leakage).   It would still remove quite a bit of dust but it was obvious it wasn’t removing it all because you could see where it collected in dips and corners.  I puzzled for years on the best/cheapest way to remedy the situation. 

Obviously, I could have just gotten a larger dust collector but that seemed wrong (to say nothing of outrageously expensive!) because it was the installation that was at fault, not the dust collector itself.   I decided that the way to improve the situation was to reposition the dust producers so that I could shorten their runs and reduce the number of places where leakage could occur. 

I looked at many different layouts and decided that the best solution was to build a hexagonally shaped manifold out of plywood.  4 of the 6 sides contain blast gates (one to each of the 4 devices).  This way, the runs are fairly straight and short.   
The manifold sits over and feeds directly down into the dust collector impeller.  You can see in the photo #1 how everything comes together at one point.  The inputs are: the lathe (the longest run at about 6’) at about 10:30, the sander at 9 o’clock, the auxiliary port at 6 o’clock and the bandsaw at 3 o’clock.
Photo #1 - Hexagonal Dust Collector Manifold

As far as leaks are concerned, if I close all of the inputs and fire up the motor, the dust collector strains to fill the upper bag, so not much air is leaking in.  While this test may not be definitive, I can infer from it that the system is fairly well sealed.  The fact that sander, bandsaw and auxiliary ports have much more suction that before bears that out.
The position of the lathe on the bench meant that I had to modify the hood to feed to the side rather than the rear (hence the thin plywood deflector panel inside the hood and new opening on the right side). 

Photo #2 - Lathe Collection Hood (modified)

I have not yet tried the lathe but I sprinkled some sawdust into the air in front of the lathe hood and most of it is properly disposed of.  I guess even if this new arrangement is not perfect, it is still a vast improvement.  You can see in photo #2 that I cut a 12” diameter hole in the bench top under the lathe (with a trash can positioned underneath) to take care of the “big chunks” from turning.  So, as long as the dust from sanding is removed, I think I will declare it “a success”.

Photo #3 - Sander, Manifold and Dust Collector

Now I have one place in the shop from where I can see and select which dust collector circuit is in use (no more losing suction to another circuit that I forgot to close) and turn the collector ON and OFF  with the switch located near the bottom of photo #3. 


Well, I hope you're not getting bored yet 'cause I gots lots more to show you.  Stay Tuned!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very smart solution. I am a big fan of manifold style DC systems. Short of fully automated blast gates, they seem like the way to go.