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Here are some "rule of thumb" numbers on cubic feet per minute (cfm) used to remove dust from machinery. For example, a press takes 350 cfm, where a radial arm saw would take 400-500 cfm. A planer could use 350 cfm, also. The sander is also at 350. As you can see, if one or more pieces are up and running at the same time, the demand can add up fast. This an important factor when setting up a dust collecting system.
Just like the old days of wheat mills, when the danger of explosions from igniting wheat dust by fire or spark using grinding wheel stones was great, the same holds true for dust collectors today. Although danger of explosions from metal debris such as nails or screws coming in contact with the impeller is rare, it is always wise to err on the side of caution. One good way to avoid this risk is to select a single stage collector with either plastic or aluminum. And of course, always use good sense when cleaning up work benches and floors.
While dust collector systems save time compared to a broom and dust pan, they don't save on your hearing. With the loud noise on top of whatever else it is that you're running in the shop, it can get pretty loud. Over time a loss in hearing is in inevitable. That is why it's important to protect yourself and wear properly rated hearing protection.
In the world of dust collecting the two-stage cyclone is king. This machine deposits dust and wood chips into a convenient canister rather than a plastic bag, which can be hard to empty. The motor and impeller sit on top of an ice cream cone-shaped canister, which creates the cyclone effect forcing down debris, avoiding damage and wear on parts. An internal filter or external bag works nicely to clean dust out of the air, not to mention save a lot of space on the floor.
Single stage dust collectors only collect dust through an impeller fan and deposited into a bag. The exiting from the machine passes through a cloth type filter mounted on top of the collector. These are, of course, the most popular and cost saving and are most commonly found in the home shop.
When it comes to dust collector hose selection, there are a few common sense rules. First, depending on the type of collection system needed, it may have it's own specifications as far as hose size and run limits. But the type of hose has good and bad points to consider.
There is PVC pipe, flex hose, and duct work. And as with plumbing, the more turns and bends there are, the more restrictive the water, or in this case, the air. The recommended hose is the metal duct work; it's smooth and harder to brake than the PVC. The flex hose, of course, is a quick hook up. Another recommendation is the use of waste gates and attachments. They also can be used on flex hose ends to clean up whatever.
Thanks to today's innovative minds, dirty dusty shops everywhere are a thing of the past thanks to sophisticated dust collection systems available on the market. The systems are customized to fit every need - from the one-man garage shop to a very large shop, and to fit any budget.
Dust collection systems don't just collect dust anymore. With filters capable of filtering out 80 to 90 percent of airborne dust down to 1 micron, these filters have gone one step further in improving your shops air quality.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|