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  1. #1
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    Default Beginning my dust extraction journey and looking for help

    Am in the process of expanding my workshop (size of an ample single car garage) and, with the recent death of my Target $99 special shop vac, am looking into dust extraction in more detail (have looked at FAQs here and Bill Pentz site). ATM my head is spinning. This looks like a whole new world of pain and I'd really appreciate any help.

    My short term approach is to:
    * buy a P3 face mask. The websites say this needs to be a full face mask to achieve P3 (??)
    * set up a pedestal fan to blow air out the window.
    * buy a dust jacket and hair cover and set up a change station outside the workshop.
    * buy an air monitoring tool - Dylos pro ($$$!)
    * buy a new shop vac with a HEPA filter while I work out a more comprehensive DE solution.
    * buy a CV mini to run inline with the shop vac.


    Longer term it seems like I need a big (3hp+) DC and 6" ducting to be anywhere close to useful:

    Q: can this and a single machine at a time (eg resawing on bandsaw) be run off household (10A) power or do I need to have a separate circuit installed?

    Q: how loud are DCs and if they are "quite loud" can that be reduced to acceptable (to others - workshop part of house, I'll have ear protection) once they are put inside a housing? Is it sufficient to put the impeller assembly in an enclosure or does the exhaust also need to be enclosed?

    Q: does the length of an exhaust run matter (ie will it affect the DC's ability to collect dust) if the ducting is sufficiently wide?

    TIA

    Brendan

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopblock View Post
    My short term approach is to:
    * buy a P3 face mask. The websites say this needs to be a full face mask to achieve P3 (??)
    P2 is more than good enough for DIY wood work BUT if your DC/ventilation is set up right you should not need a mask.
    Save your money and put it towards a half decent DC
    set up a pedestal fan to blow air out the window.
    There are more effective and quieter fans out there - look at Hydroponic fans
    buy an air monitoring tool - Dylos pro ($$$!)
    Bit of a waste of $ for DIY operations.
    For DIY work - search ebay for "PM2.5 dust monitor" and you should find one for ~!$50
    All dust particle monitors including the Dylos are very easy to damage beyond repair. Read the sticky on dust monitoring gear before using one.
    buy a new shop vac with a HEPA filter while I work out a more comprehensive DE solution
    * buy a CV mini to run inline with the shop vac
    Good for power tools - not much good for machinery.
    Longer term it seems like I need a big (3hp+) DC and 6" ducting to be anywhere close to useful:
    Q: can this and a single machine at a time (eg resawing on bandsaw) be run off household (10A) power or do I need to have a separate circuit installed?
    no - 3HP DC will need its own 15A circuit.
    For a 1 car garage you could get away with a modified 2HP DC )located or vented outside shed) - 6" ducting - and a couple of ventilation fans
    Q: how loud are DCs
    This is a how long is a piece of string question, The quietest I have measure at 1m was ~85dB and the loudest was ~95dB
    and if they are "quite loud" can that be reduced to acceptable (to others - workshop part of house
    You can always enclose DCs inside a workshop and vent outside.
    I'll have ear protection) once they are put inside a housing?
    If you are operating machinery you should probably be wearing ear protection anyway.
    Is it sufficient to put the impeller assembly in an enclosure or does the exhaust also need to be enclosed?
    For conventional bagged DCs it's better if both are enclosed.
    Q: does the length of an exhaust run matter (ie will it affect the DC's ability o collect dust) if the ducting is sufficiently wide?
    Exhaust cross sectional are should be be >2x (Preferably 4x) cross sectional area of main duct

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    All dust particle monitors including the Dylos are very easy to damage beyond repair. Read the sticky on dust monitoring gear before using one.
    Is this the note about not putting it directly in a dust stream?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    no - 3HP DC will need its own 15A circuit.
    Will I need to get a 15A circuit anyway? Is there somewhere that explains shop power requirements. If these have high transient currents, does that not trip circuit breakers? If I eg resaw on the bandsaw (guess ~6-10A) while running the DE (~6A?) won't that trip them?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    For a 1 car garage you could get away with a modified 2HP DC )located or vented outside shed) - 6" ducting - and a couple of ventilation fans
    By "modified 2HP DC", you mean one where both inlet and outlet have been expanded to 6"?
    I am looking at:
    The Generic 2HP DC and
    5in Flex or 4in DWV pipe?

    Does this mean I have to invest in an angle grinder to enlarge the outlet?


    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    You can always enclose DCs inside a workshop and vent outside.

    For conventional bagged DCs it's better if both are enclosed.
    So does this mean the entirety of the DC, including bags etc is enclosed? I'm not familiar with how air exits a DC. Does it go into and through the bags?

    Is the sound from the impeller or from the air moving?

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopblock View Post
    Is this the note about not putting it directly in a dust stream?
    Yep - and don't leave it running continuously even if a moderately dusty environment.

    Will I need to get a 15A circuit anyway?
    Most wood workshops will need a 15A circuit sooner or later.

    Is there somewhere that explains shop power requirements. If these have high transient currents, does that not trip circuit breakers? If I eg resaw on the bandsaw (guess ~6-10A) while running the DE (~6A?) won't that trip them?
    Those currents sound like they refer to 2A machines?
    The start up currents are momentary and even a standard 10A circuit and breaker should be able to deal with these especially if the are started in the following sequence
    2HP DC first (it starts full loaded so has starting current of about 30A) and then will draw about 7A.
    Then start bandsaw, it will have a smaller start up current (as its not as heavily loaded and should eventually settle to about 2A free running
    Then start cutting, I would be really surprised to see it draw more than 6A fully loaded (mine is 4HP and I rarely se it go over 8A)
    OK now you will see you have 7A plus 6A from the BS = 13A
    This is possible because most 10A GPOs will have a 16A breaker on them
    Also only the DC is continuous current draw - the BS is not continuous cutting

    However, if you are setting up a workshop I would install several 15A GPOs so you can do this when you upgrade to bigger machinery.

    By "modified 2HP DC", you mean one where both inlet and outlet have been expanded to 6"?
    YEP
    I am looking at:
    The Generic 2HP DC and
    5in Flex or 4in DWV pipe?
    Does this mean I have to invest in an angle grinder to enlarge the outlet?
    The rectangular outlet on most 2HP DCs is close enough to " 6 inch round equivalence" to leave alone.
    The one thing that does need opening is the smaller entrance to the dust collection bag holder.
    So does this mean the entirety of the DC, including bags etc is enclosed? I'm not familiar with how air exits a DC. Does it go into and through the bags?
    Yes it goes through the top filter bag - botton is usually plastic.
    Is the sound from the impeller or from the air moving?
    The impeller produces the sound but it escapes from both the impeller and the bags.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopblock View Post

    Q: can this and a single machine at a time (eg resawing on bandsaw) be run off household (10A) power or do I need to have a separate circuit installed?
    I have noticed Carbatec have stopped selling 3hp DC's probably for the very reason above, they now have these 2-3/4 HP DC's which can operate from 10A circuits. No idea how effective they are and probably will require some modifications before they perform.

    Carbatec Professional Twin Bag Dust Collector | Carbatec

    Having said that as Bob says having 15amp is pretty handy in the shop, but depends on what you plan on getting. If you're only considering portable machines, ie contractor style table saws, benchtop thicknessers etc. You can get away without having 15amp.

  7. #6
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    Thanks for the help. Have just had a chat to my switchboard and my circuit breakers are all 16A, except for three that are 20A (two behind an RCD, the other not). Does that mean I already have three 15A GPOs hiding somewhere?

    For the footprint of the DE, do I need to allow an extra ~75-100mm all round for the enclosure and insulation?

    Is it true that cyclones will only extract fine dust if they have a large enough ratio of length to width, so a cyclone (other than a CV) offers no real advantage over a bag?

    I have read a lot of trash talk about the performance of pleated filters for filtering fine dust. If fine dust is my concern is there any point to using a pleated filter?

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopblock View Post
    Thanks for the help. Have just had a chat to my switchboard and my circuit breakers are all 16A, except for three that are 20A (two behind an RCD, the other not). Does that mean I already have three 15A GPOs hiding somewhere?
    No really. It's pretty common to put 10A GPOS on a 16 or 20A breaker.
    What have you got that powers the workshop?

    For the footprint of the DE, do I need to allow an extra ~75-100mm all round for the enclosure and insulation?
    Yes
    AND
    enough space for the air exiting any filter bags to escape past the bags/filters to get out of the enclosure - allow 50mm all round should be enough. I have only 20mm on my enclosure and I can measure a back pressure due to this restricted space.

    Is it true that cyclones will only extract fine dust if they have a large enough ratio of length to width, so a cyclone (other than a CV) offers no real advantage over a bag?
    There are a number of parameters to consider; eg, air speed, angle of air intake, how full the collection bin is, and dimensions, all contribute to separation performance.

    When the filters are cleanish they will offer less resistance than any cyclone - however if the filters are left to get completely clogged they will have more resistance. Cloggature depends on what you are doing (sending versus say drilling) and how sharp your blades are but in general I would recommend emptying bags when they are no more than half full. If all you are doing is sanding then the bags should be emptied when they are no more than about 1/8th full. Few people bother with this and then complain they have poor DC performance.
    With a cyclone you don't need to worry about this if you can vent directly outside.

    I have read a lot of trash talk about the performance of pleated filters for filtering fine dust. If fine dust is my concern is there any point to using a pleated filter?
    The real benefit of PFs is that they have less resistance than felted filters. Less resistance means more flow and taking longer to clog.

  9. #8
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    Hi Brendan,

    It is a bit shocking isn't it? You want to start a small woodshop at home, you go to youtube and everybody's like "The most important thing is a table saw. Norm Abram said the table saw is the center of the workshop and that still rings true today, therefore lets start from that"
    Nobody is telling you that just to save yourself from horrible disease you need to spend half you budget and half your time and modify your space just to understand and install a giant system you didn't even know existed 10 minutes ago

    First of all everything that Bob is saying is right, he's easily the most educated person I know on this topic and he's probably single-handedly saved a few people from dangers they didn't know existed.

    But having been in your shoes, here's my advice: give yourself some time. How long have you been doing this? The reason for the question is that we all start with big plans for our woodworking but most of us end up doing it a lot less than we thought. Life gets in the way. Some people find a joy in hand tools and end up with very few machines. Others get so much into it that turn pro, move into a much bigger space and start their whole shop from scratch, including the dust extraction. Others catch the Festool bug and convince themselves that $1.5k shopvacs is all they need. Are you sure you want to attach next to your house a mini manufacturing facility with industrial dust extraction and giant machines? I mean don't get me wrong we all want a jointer the size of a small airport, but do we really need it?

    Don't try to cover all bases from the start. Dust collection is bit of a journey, if woodworking sticks with you, chances are you'll be finetuning your DC for ever.
    Start from the basics, do get a good mask and keep it handy, preferably something comfortable enough to actually wear, a mask you don't wear is no mask at all. Get the dust meter that Bob recommends, get a good extraction vent (you said fan, just want to make sure you understand that what you're after is a vent, which you will install in a hole on the wall or the window). A good hydroponic vent can empty all the air out of a garage, and whatever dust particles are flying in it, in a minute or so. And get a shop vac (or two). Doesnt matter if down the road you end up with an industrial extractor (or three), you still need a shop vac. Build a box, like a chest, to house your shop vacs so they don't spew their dust back into the air, and vent the box outside if you can.

    And then do some woodworking. That will give you some time to take some readings, understand how quickly the air gets dirty and how quickly it cleans up, how much a mask bothers you, what machines and processes are the worst culprits, how inadequate is the shop vac (if at all) and most of all it will give you time to understand how much time you actually spend woodworking, what kind of woodworking you do and which giant machines you actually want, if any. All those things vary from person to person and they determine what type of extraction you need. Once you get a feel for those things, from there you can make bigger plans if needed. Check back on this forum then, judging from our history I'm pretty sure we're not going anywhere

    But that's just my 2c anyway, if you decide to go big now make sure to show us what you're building, we love photos

  10. #9
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    It is indeed a journey.

    Mine started in ~1978 when I started working part time in a tiny (2 x 2.5m) "dust free" mini-lab at uni. It was a converted single user dark room and had a very squeezy 600 x 450 mm air lock in which you had to put on a lab coat, shoe coveralls, gloves and hair covering. I had to share teh "lan" with 4 other researchers, but only 2 people could be in there at any one time, and only one person could fit in the air lock was it was forever being opened and closed. It was not a very dust free lab (the fume hood was badly corroding so there were flakes of brown rust everywhere) so me and a young prof gutted it one weekend and spray painted everything with 2 pac white epoxy, installed a new PVC and perspex fume hood, and a 2 x 4ft HEPA filter (I remember the filter cost about $1000 - a lot of money back then) using an 800 CFM squirrel cage fan that over pressured the room through the filter. We were not permitted to install the new fan itself and had to get a sparky from central campus services to wire it up. I remember we were underwhelmed at sparky and the resulting air flow so the prof ordered a new propeller type anemometer (these are OK for measuring large filter area air flows). It took 12 weeks to arrive from the US. Meanwhile after using teh lab my skin started to turn yellowish and a silver chain I had around my neck turned greenish. When the anemometer arrived I repeatedly measured the air flow and found it was less than half the spec. After a long argument with central services the sparky came back and agreed he had wired the fan to run backwards. You might think squirrel cages running backwards would suck, but being a centrifugal type fan they still delivered some air flow. I used that lab to do my PhD from 1982 to 1985.

    In 1985 I got a job building my own dust free lab at the uni. This one started out as an 8 x 3 m cyclone resistant demountable. I built everything thing apart from the building itself which was made of 19mm ply and Colorbond. I did the electrics, plumbing, air handling, fume hood lab furniture, acid distillation stations, etc. No way this would be permitted these days. This one had an 3 x 1 m airlock. It used 3, 4ft x 2ft HEPA filters (all going the right way because I worked them). Once again I was not allowed to wire up the exhaust fan so had to get a central services sparky to do it - well I ended up showing him how to do it.

    That lab worked really well and we got some great results using it. We called this lab the SIDRAT (Tardis backwards - because it was even smaller on the inside than it looked on the outside) I eventually left to go to the US in 1988 but that lab ran for 17 years and was literally falling apart at the end.

    In the US I worked in a similar dust free lab at the Uni of Cal in SD. This one was about 8 x 12 m with a 2 x 1.5m air lock. I didn't have anything to do with the mechanics of the facility and my time was mainly spent learning techniques for working in such a facility. It was very strictly run place and the OHS was pretty full on.

    Back to Oz in 1990 at the same uni I was before. During the 1990's I helped build 2 new SIDRATs at uni - one was used by geologists and a mining company and one was used by PhD students. In 2000 we started to plan the building of a 400 m^2 ultra dust free lab. It took 4 years to build and fully fit out. The build and some of the fit out was done by contractors and we also employed two highly skilled technicians and students to do the main fit out. I was mainly involved with planning and design but two of my students built the $62K automated online, 12 sampling point, particle counting system which logged the counts 24/7. We had several web cams running but we could also tell if someone just entered the facility or had not put their PPE purely from the rise in dust counts.

    Overall it was very successful, ~100 times less dust than a hospital operating theatre, and it also won an major engineering award.

    Meanwhile at home in my shed I was ankle deep in wood dust. In 2002 I lost my sense of smell while working with MDF which got me thinking - SLOWLY. In 2005 I eventually bought a 1HP DC and only then decided to apply what I had learned at uni to my own shed. Borrowed particle counters and dust flow meters etc and started testing. Quickly found out that small DCs were not much chop. Then I bought a 2HP DC, then another 2HP DC and finally a 3HP DC and then felt like I was getting somewhere - yeah I know - slow learner! The rest is on these forums.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
    How long have you been doing this?
    I have always had an interest, having improved a chair with my dad's rasp as a child. However, not having the space or equipment or not wanting to have powertools in a house with children I largely confined myself to reading books and mags for decades. About 20 years ago I got a ryobi router and a jigsaw. That was an exercise in frustration for a variety of reasons, much of which being my inexperience meant I couldn't recognise the limitations of the tools.

    Several years ago I happened upon Paul Sellers and saw it was possible to do accurate work with hand tools. I bought a couple of planes and discovered the pleasure of running my hand over a freshly flattened board. My children were no longer young so I took the risk of investing in a track saw and an increasing amount of plywood. I built a cross cut jig for it, but was frustrated that my fence was slightly off square.

    Covid has meant no holidays this year but the flip side means increased funds available for the workshop. My son (doing HSC woodwork) asked for a lathe for xmas, while I have acquired a mitre saw and bandsaw in the past three months. I was a bit ambivalent about getting the bandsaw, but I felt it was time to acquire a saw and the tablesaw I was looking at was out of stock (and my son asked if we could get a bandsaw). There is a strange and surprising joy in using it.

    Having witnessed the aftermath of the lathe and having noticed that I'm on an asymptotic acquisition curve I felt I need to be precautionary at least about my son's health. I'd rather spend more $ and have peace of mind than try to skirt a cheaper solution. I am, however, concerned about noise and space.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
    Others catch the Festool bug and convince themselves that $1.5k shopvacs is all they need.
    This has been on my mind. The Festool ppl purport to offer collection of Class H dust and offer independent certification. However the hose looks like it is too small to move enough air. Is the issue that Festool tools have specialised ports to control dust collection? So if you stay in their system you're ok, but need a second solution once you use anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
    I mean don't get me wrong we all want a jointer the size of a small airport, but do we really need it?
    Funny you should say this. I had intended to do all my jointing/thicknessing by hand partly as a way to increase my physical exercise. However, I find it frustrating trying to get a flat surface and often overshoot so have found myself pondering the acquisition of machines to achieve this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
    But that's just my 2c anyway, if you decide to go big now make sure to show us what you're building, we love photos :)
    Thanks for your response. Since November I have made (sorry the photos are sideways):

    Headphone stand (NG Rosewood) for my son (who now just wants a hook :-/
    20210123_094708.jpg

    Did a prototype in laminated pine and I overcooked the tenon so it wasn't a tight enough fit. So I cut this tenon too wide and it began to split the base, so I had to back it out and take a little off. Final fit is good.

    Router lift, reverse engineered from a video on the Internets.
    20210113_193712.jpg
    I double snookered myself on this. I didn't allow enough height for the turning rod to clear the bottom of the router table, so I had to add a 90 degree turn to the crank arm. I thought I'd be clever and use the bevel gear from a drill chuck (and the chuck). However that has meant that I've lowered the gearing ratio, so have a little too fine control over the motion. Also, have had a lot of trouble centring the dowel on the key, so the turning motion is also slightly off axis.

    I have a 10s video of the lift motion but the upload manager refuses to deal with it.

    Also:
    Circle jig for bandsaw

    Dolly to get bandsaw from car to workshop. Used the wrong wheels, so they failed 6 metres from the door to the workshop.

    Mobile stand for mitre saw. Intended this to be level with my workbench with a collapsible support on the other side. Only I found the floor itself was not level, so the table part of the stand is leveled with four micro adjusting bolts (each captured above with a slotted bolt wingnut). The support has slots with bolts and wingnuts to level it (quicker and easier, but less accurate and less stable).

    Mobile stand for lathe with two drawers with half blind dovetail joints.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    No really. It's pretty common to put 10A GPOS on a 16 or 20A breaker.
    What have you got that powers the workshop?
    You are right. Scouted around and can find nothing resembling a 15A output. I will need to wait for everyone to be out of the house to identify the workshop's circuit. It seems clear that the previous owner used it as a workshop (by the layout of the powerpoints) so I'm assuming it's a 20A circuit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopblock View Post
    . . . .and my son asked if we could get a bandsaw). There is a strange and surprising joy in using it.
    Same here. I've found a lot of uses for my BS, from resawing, to cutting Al and PVC, to cutting dog bones - it gets a lot of use.

    Having witnessed the aftermath of the lathe and having noticed that I'm on an asymptotic acquisition curve I felt I need to be precautionary at least about my son's health. I'd rather spend more $ and have peace of mind than try to skirt a cheaper solution. I am, however, concerned about noise and space.
    A common problem. The best place for a DC is outside the shed.

    This has been on my mind. The Festool ppl purport to offer collection of Class H dust and offer independent certification. However the hose looks like it is too small to move enough air. Is the issue that Festool tools have specialised ports to control dust collection? So if you stay in their system you're ok, but need a second solution once you use anything else.
    The festool vacs are very good for power tools but near useless for machines, especially lathes. If you want good lathe extraction its worth considering a Bell Mouth Hood (BMH).


    I have a 10s video of the lift motion but the upload manager refuses to deal with it.
    The easiest way I've found to do this is to put the vids on Youtube and link to them.
    Thats how I've linked the BMH Video above

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopblock View Post
    You are right. Scouted around and can find nothing resembling a 15A output. I will need to wait for everyone to be out of the house to identify the workshop's circuit. It seems clear that the previous owner used it as a workshop (by the layout of the powerpoints) so I'm assuming it's a 20A circuit.
    Sometimes its better to get say a 32A cable run from the house switchboard to the shed and then get a small breaker box installed in the shed.
    That way your sparky can quickly and easily add more circuits inside the shed without having to continually running cables back to the house breaker box.

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    Oh I didn't realise you already have a lathe... yeah lathes are difficult to deal with for dust, same with the bandsaw, so you may as well go big DC now. The good news is if you get it right you can forget about masks. Also woodworking with most of the dust and chips cleaned up for you is generally a much more pleasant experience

    I have a question for Bob, hopefully not unrelated to the topic: I noticed Bunnings lately is full of "M Class" (EU) shop vacs, somewhat cheaper than Festool but much more expensive than your stock standard shop vac, mostly around the $1k mark depending on size. Bosch, Karcher, Makita. Do you have an opinion on those? I'm obviously talking for use with handheld power tools and general shop use, not for machinery.

    Same for the below underpowered mini-DC from Timbecon (which I've already bought). I needed it mostly for under the router table for use with that milescraft double hose system that collects both from the router fence and from under the table). I'm thinking it might also be suitable for a small table top belt sander I have. It says 0.5 micron and it has a pleated filter inside, which is covered with a replaceable felt bag I'm supposed to change every now and then, and then the whole thing closes firmly with a ring clamp. I know it is underpowered but with the short hose it came with it does suck like crazy, and I'm thinking of cutting it even shorter because it's right there next to the router. Currently when I use the sander, which is not very often, I always use a mask and keep my vent on for a while after I'm finished before I take it off. I havent finished the router table yet but that's how I'll be using it as well, despite whatever I'm doing for dust extraction.

    this is the DC I'm talking about
    https://www.timbecon.com.au/compact-dust-extractor

    The Milescraft kit
    https://www.timbecon.com.au/dustrouter-fence-collector

    The Bunnings M class shop vacs (just sort for most expensive)
    Just a moment...

    Sorry I don't want to start a separate topic for those, I'm hoping Brendan will also find your responses useful as alternative or parallel solutions.

  16. #15
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    I have tried to set up a collection port behind the lathe for him (add that to the since November list above). It's a piece of 19x42 DAR behind, parallel to and a little below the lathe centre with an assembly that rides along it to hold the vac hose:


    Attachment 488452

    He says it's good for sanding but not so much use for chips. Might be why the $99 special burned out. I will 3d print a bell mouth for it.

    I am now presuming I'll need to make a dust collection enclosure for the lathe.

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