A messy woodworking shop will only produce low-quality products. Do I need to mention how harmful it is for your health? Working in fine dust particles for the long term can seriously affect your breathing and cause permanent damage to the lungs.
On the other hand, working in a dusty shop or garage will affect your mental health. The accumulated dust will fill up your mind and will leave less space for creativity. When the workpiece is dusty, you can’t tell where it needs more improvement. And the list goes on.
A clean work environment is a must for any artistic field. And it is compulsory for woodworking due to health hazards. Professionals pay much attention to their dust collection system as they pay attention to their work.
There are many dust collection systems are being installed in woodworking shops and garages. Some are cheap, some are time-consuming and each one has its own advantage. Let’s have a look at the dust collection system so that you can decide whether your one needs an upgrade or not.
Dust Collection Piping System
In a word, the dust collection piping system works like electric lines in our buildings. Electric lines are connected to all the outlets so that we can plug in the devices and get the facility. Dust collection piping system is designed that way.
How it Works
Here, PVC or metal pipes are used on the ceiling and are connected to a wall mount or standing dust collector. Then, hoses are used with woodworking power tools as required to suck on the collected dust.
How to Choose the Dust Collector
You can set up this system all by yourself. The pipings, connectors, and adaptors are cheap. Only the dust collector is a bit pricey. You have to pay attention to the feature of the dust collector. Usually, the regular dust collectors can only capture dust up to 15 to 20 microns. You can replace the clothing bag with a better one so that fine particles up to 2 to 5 microns are also captured.
Dust collectors are of different types. A wall-mounted dust collector will save the floor space. On the other hand, a static dust collector is easy to use as it does not need to be mounted. Besides, it comes with wheels so that it can be steered easily.
How to Choose the Pipes
Choosing the right pipe is also necessary. Though the pipes are cheap, some woodworkers rely on metal pipes rather than PVC pipes. Their logic is, the PVC pipe can create static that can spark the wood chips and lead to fire hazards. But the metal ones are heavy and not so easy to drag around.
However, you should get 4-inch pipes with lighter weight. Also, matching connectors will be needed to connect one pipe with another. Flex pipes of the same size and some connectors are a must. Because these are the pipes that are actually going to attach to your tools.
If your woodworking tools for example saw or drum sander already have a 4-inch adapter ( which is common) then you don’t need any extra. Otherwise, you will also need adapters to attach to the dust collection system.
One Way or Two-Way System
Now, the most crucial part: setting up the pipes. First, you have to decide whether you want a one-way collection system or a two-say system. The one-way system sucks in all the particles along with the wood chips and fills in the dust bag.
The two-way system has a bin in the middle. So that, heavy and large particles fall into the bin and the finer ones go to the dust bag. The advantage is, the dust bag needs less maintenance in the two-way dust collection system.
I personally prefer installing the two-way system. As you are already doing the works, why not make it perfect? Right?
ShopVac for Portable Tools
The dust collection piping system is for professionals. Or people who work with large, complex, and multiple tools in their shop or garage. If you are a beginner or DIYer, then the whole piping system is not necessary for you.
A shop vac is all you need if you work with portable and light tools. Tools like an orbital sander, jigs saw, miter saw, etc usually are compatible work with a standard shop vac. Those also include the necessary adapter. If you already own those, then get a shop vac. It is enough to suck up 90% of the produced dust and keep your workpiece clean.
Woodworking Air Filtration System
It is best to get an air filtration system even if you have installed a shop vac or piping system. Because there will always the dust those the too fine to be captured. Besides, most people work with their garage door closed. The fine particles can be lethal if you work in an enclosed space without a necessary filtration system.
So, I recommend getting an air filtration system and hanging it overhead so that, as you work, all the produced dust, left behind by the shop vac can be cleaned up by the overhead air filtration system.
Now there are many air filtration systems available in the market with smart features. You should get an automated filtration system with a timer. So that, even when you are left from the garage, it will still filter the air for a certain time.
Cyclone Dust Collector
This is the most expensive and most powerful dust collector so far. It sucks in fine particles up to 1 micron and chips as well. But the wood chips and heavy particles are separated before it gets into the dust bag. Another advantage of a cyclone dust collector is, you can steer it around your shop. You really don’t need to set up a piping system if this dust collector is used for one tool at a time.
Using this with the piping system will create the most efficient dust collection system you can ever get. You will instantly feel the difference in how the air quality improved after installing this one.
Setting up a dust collection system or investing in dust collectors may seem bank-breaking. But in the long run, it is beneficial for your health, well-being, and also the performance of your tools and your own workmanship. Invest in the right dust collection system and trust me, it pays off.
You can start with the low-cost dust collection system. Later, when you are ready and feel right, you can always upgrade your dust collection system. There are numerous online videos out there, those will be handy.
About This Writer
Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.