In Projects, Shop Blog, Techniques

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Central Dust Collection

Five simple rules for a dust-free shop

By Dave Munkittrick

Small, one-person shops don’t need complicated dust collection systems. We’ll show you how to get powerful collection at the lowest possible price without ever having to use a calculator. Even if your shop is shoehorned into a corner of your basement or garage, you can still enjoy the benefits of central dust collection. The fully featured, small-shop dust-collection system shown in this story was designed following five simple rules, and it fits in one stall of a two-car garage, where the machines have to be moved against the walls to accommodate a car.

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Small Shop Solutions

A few specialized
tools and hardware

are needed for installing
metal ductwork.
A hand crimper is a
must-have. When you
need one, nothing else
will do.#8-1/2-in., selftapping
sheet metal screws
and a nut-driver make
attaching the pipe sections
a breeze.

Metal hanger strap
is the least-expensive
way to hang duct from
your walls or ceiling.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Suspend pipe from
the ceiling with metal
hanger strap. Cut the
strap extra long, and
have a helper hold the
pipe level. Adjust the
length of your loop
and secure with a long
screw into the rafters.

Blast gates control
the airflow

to each machine by
acting like an on/off
switch. Install your
blast gate so the
thumbscrew tightens
the plate toward
the dust collector.
Blast-gate adapters
add length to the
stubby flange on the
blast gate for easier
attachment of the
flex hose. Note: you
must predrill through
the cast-aluminum
blast gate.

Some tools require
custom-made dust
ports. For our miter
saw, for example, we
built a simple plywood
hood, with a large 5-in.
port at the back. The
powerful airflow from
a well-designed central
system makes this possible.
Almost nothing
escapes this dust trap.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker May 2003, issue #100.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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