Shop Vac Assessment

The cyclone for all intents and purposes is only supposed to allow finer particles to actually travel all the way to the shop vac. In its route from origin of mess wherever it may be the heavier pieces drop off in the bucket thus allowing only air and small particles to flow through the filter. Allowing the vac to provide the maximum amount of suction.

@dannym could you share an example of one of these “next-gen cyclones” that would be an improvement over the dust deputy? Google finds a bunch of DD knockoffs but not much discussion on alternatives.

As far as sanding goes, you should look at dust extractors, not shop vacs. They are more costly but also more effective. If you look at it from a personal health point, they are worth it. You already in a way have a sanding station but your biggest culprits are the CNC, planer, jointer, Table Saw, and miter saw. I understand that a traditional dust collection is out of the question due to building lease and electrical overload. Still, it would be more efficient to control the dust at the source and shop vacs are not efficient for that. Maybe look at a long term solution of a dedicated dust collector with a sealed collecting system at each major source which would be CNC, planer, and table saw. An alternative to just sanding is having a dedicated shop vac that has a bag and a HEPA filter in the system. HEPA filters are more durable can be effectively cleaned without being damaged but are not the cheapest. Also, it would have to be dedicated to only sanding as the bags are not cheap either and would be easily filled if someone decides to use the vac as a broom. More often than not if you install a bag in the shop vac, you really do not need the filter (I run mine with no filter, but only use that vac for sanding). Rockler sells adapters attachments from the shop vac hose to whatever tool you want to attach them, they have two different size kits. Regardless of what fix you decide, none will work without educating the users this is the biggest hurdle. The famous “I’m only making one cut, or one pass I don’t need that” more often than not, the one cut/pass grows into more. Also, without instructing the users to make sure dust collection is on before turning on the machine, check the container before operation, and or how to empty the buckets or containers once they get 2/3 full (if you wait until the container is full you overtax the system and creates a mess and puts more dust in the environment) your dust control is doomed. If you use shop vacs educate the users to empty them after each use, preferably outside.

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Could someone elaborate on this?

I believe Jose is saying the a full size industrial dust collector is not feasible because of electrical constraints.

Before elaborating I have to say I am not an expert in dust collection and was not much of a part of a previous discussion by members, just read some of the conversations. I do have a few years of experience in woodshops and woodworking (since 1985 or so). Anyway, I understand that it is a hackerspace and the mentality is to try to do things in the house and also know that there are a lot of members that are professional and know or have experience in some parts of the installation of equipment or infrastructure. In my opinion, dust-collection should be thought with an industrial shop solution, not a home shop solution. In this mentality, it would require a unit to be housed outside. So the ducting would have to be done through a wall or through the roof. It has been discussed before and I think the lease of the building does not allow for such modifications. Also, as the shop has been improved such as better lighting, drop-down extension cords and other electrical outlets often it has been said that the electrical boxes are near their maximum capacity. I am not sure what it was meant by this. I think this is the best short version I can give and it may very well be wrong. The only other thing I can do is explain my logic. Dust in a woodshop used to be classified as harmless. Is from wood is natural or organic was the misconception. I can tell you I used to say “is a woodshop has to have dust!.” Well nowadays with all the new exotic woods appearing in the market along with plywood being manufactured all over the world, you just don’t know if is actually all-natural and healthy. In the exotic woods, you do not know what kind of insecticides they were sprayed with (what may be legal in country “X” may not be legal here) and you just don’t know if there was anything else spilled on them. The plywood requires some kind of adhesive and outside the United States and European Union the adhesive is not stamped on the plywood and even if it was I do not put much trust in Chinese products as far as having all the chemicals listed on the label. So as you cut any of the above products it produces dust that you can breathe. If you throw into the equation silica that can be present in abrasive products and adhesives used in the woodshop and other chemical vapors created with the friction or heat during cutting or sanding, I am now a true believer in wearing a respirator or at the very least some kind of a mask. That’s why dust collection has become so important and this is leaving OSHA out of the discussion :slight_smile: lol.

In addition to the electrical and noise concerns, we couldn’t have air conditioning if our dust collector was constantly sucking conditioned air out into the parking lot :).

Our needs are closer to a home shop than a production shop. We’re not running all the tools or even most of them full time, but big motors on big industrial collectors don’t like being turned on and off frequently. If we went with one big collector, it’d have to be indoors and have to run basically all the time (or at least on a very long timeout), so we’d be wasting a ton of power and generating a lot of unnecessary noise in the shop.

You’re not wrong about dust being a hazard. We’re making progress but there’s a long way to go still.

Woodcraft has a whole shop system that might be worth looking at. The central vac is in a small room just off of the wood shop. The dust drops into a barrel that is then switched out. Complete with blinking light in the shop, indicating when it is full. Automatic blast gates at the tools. I don’t know the power requirements, but the system is not much larger (if at all) than the current system by the table saw.

That’s basically what we’re doing, except we’ll need multiple collectors and there’s no plan to wall them off into a separate room.

Are the yellow bags in the shopvacs reusable or throw aways?

Typically throw away.

Couldn’t we just build a cabinet around them? Could have the same concept with a sensor that would flash a light on the outside whenever its triggered.