Basic Points on Dust Extractors
Proper dust extraction in your woodworking environment is not just a matter of convenience - it's essential for your health. Beyond the immediate issue of the chips and shavings woodworking machines produce that require cleanup, finer wood dust can fill the air and cause long-term damage to your lungs. The greater your ability to trap and filter wood dust the lesser your risk to respiratory problems arising from exposure to it.
Dust extractors are made in various sizes and configurations to suit your workshop needs. For example, a basic 650cfm 1hp unit is suitable for use with a single lathe, small thicknesser, sander or a similarly sized machine. However when using more than one machine or a machine that produces an excessively large amount of waste (like a larger thicknesser or wide drum sander), a 2hp 1200cfm would be a minimum requirement. There are larger sizes to fit even more exacting requirements.
Another variation between machines is the type of filtration used. All of our basic filtration / collection machines use an upper bag made of high-density needlefelt, along with a disposable collection bag. Needlefelt is capable of trapping most particles (ratings are usually between 90-95% efficiency) down to 5 micron size. From 2-5 micron this efficiency rating drops to around 75%. For even greater efficiency, most machines can be fitted with a pleated filter cartridge, essentially a wire mesh canister that contains a pleated insert that will trap particles down to 1 micron with roughly a 95% efficiency rating. Finally, a closed cyclone system uses fully closed ducting that allows maximum material extraction and suffers almost no loss in vacuum pressure.
A common question we get is whether or not drop saws and other power tools can be used in conjunction with dust extractors (as opposed to vacuum or 'shop-vac' type extractors), and the converse of this, questions about the feasibility of using 'shop vac' type systems with woodworking machines. Essentially, the two systems are built for different purposes. A smaller 'shop-vac' type extractor works on a low mass airflow / high velocity principle. These machines excel at drawing finer amounts of waste material at very high velocity, somewhat like your household vacuum. However, 'dust extractors' work on a high mass airflow / low velocity principle, which means they are much better at drawing large volumes of waste material at a lower rate. As an example, the chips and shavings produced by a thicknesser will only be partially removed by a 'shop-vac' type extractor and it will tend to clog. However a larger 'dust extractor' will remove this type of waste material much more efficiently, albeit at a much lower intake velocity.
Selecting a suitable extractor is the first step in the process - then selecting a suitable set of fittings to integrate it into your workshop setup will be the next. We carry a wide range of fittings for this purpose, or you can opt to start out with one of our dust collection kits that includes all the fittings you need to get started.
For any questions relating to proper dust extraction, please contact your nearest Carba-Tec store and we'll be more than happy to help point you in the right direction.
Click here to see an article on:
- The Basics of Dust Extraction
- The Basics of Dust Extraction
- Part 2