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Workshop Tip: Place a dust collector outside the shop


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What’s unusual about my dust-collection system isn’t the components. They’re similar to many others—I have a large single-stage collector connected to a large cyclone separator (Oneida Super Dust Deputy). It’s that I found a way to locate them outside my shop.

With floor space at a premium, I wanted to place the dust collector in the garden tool storage room next to my shop. Living in Florida and heavily reliant on air conditioning, I also wanted to find a way to return the air directly, instead of pulling in warm air from the outdoors. My solution was to enclose the filter canister inside a large plywood box, which directs the exhaust back into the workshop via an opening in the wall. I added a door so the canister could be cleaned or replaced, and installed acoustic insulation in the box to absorb sound. To save even more floor space, I raised the shop floor to allow the ducting to pass below it and emerge where it’s needed, eliminating hoses underfoot.

mounted dust collector

I made a number of other moves to add efficiency. First, I re-oriented the dust collector’s motor/impeller unit so I could connect it more directly to both the filter/bag unit and the Oneida separator. Second, I used 6-in. PVC electrical conduit for the ducting, as it has larger radius bends than plumbing pipe, reducing friction that would otherwise steal velocity. To accommodate those big bends, I raised the dust collector by mounting it on a custom wall bracket. I made that from plywood instead of metal, to dampen motor and fan vibration that would resonate through the walls. The dust collector is so quiet in the shop that I had to hang little tape flags in the opening to see when it is running.

—STEVE FIKAR, Shalimar, Fla.

Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #293

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