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J.Arthur Loose

Some shop ventilation ideas

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I wanted to post some pictures of ventilation / filtration for folks to see who might be setting up shop. I work in a reasonably confined space that's closed up during the Winter, and I've always been pretty cautious about art health hazards. I've been working in there for close to 20 years, and the doc says my lungs sound great, and recent physical therapy work for an old spine injury has also confirmed that my lungs and heart are in pretty good shape for a 44 year old. So I guess the equipment's been working O.K.

 

I recently added some upgrades and re-organized the studio, and thought I might post pics and some good source material.

 

I recommend these two books:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ventilation-Practical-Artists-Craftspeople-Others/dp/0941130444

 

http://www.amazon.com/Health-Hazards-Manual-Artists-Michael/dp/1599213184

 

grindertrap.jpg

 

Here's my makeshift water trap for the dust collector. The fan is an 800 CFM blower from pennstateind.com They used to do a lot more ventilation stuff, mostly for woodworkers, but they're phasing that stuff out. You can still find similar blowers, no doubt made in the same overseas factory, for $180 to $300. The collector funnel was from them too. The hose is just 4" aluminum dryer vent hose, which has been replaced a few times over the years. Next time I will use the stainless stuff I found that I'll link to later on. The 5 gallon bucket is filled with a few inches of water and really collects almost all of the dust. I wanted to see if the globs of flaming filing balls actually went out in the water, and to see the pattern of air / water flow so I put a round little window in there. Works great. I'm going to have a stainless top welded up when I replace the hose. Don't skip the water trap. I blew a bag once, having been told that "a four foot drop was enough for the sparks to extinguish," and man, does that bag blow up when it goes.

 

 

ambientfilter.jpg

 

Here's the 800 CFM ambient filter, also from pennstateind.com and also which they do not sell anymore and also which you can find comparable models for with standard size filters for also about $180 - $300. Yeah. Check woodworking shops / sites. Delta, Grizzly, Shop Fox and similar all have box filters like this. The electrostatic filter is awesome, because it really works and because it is totally cleanable outside with a garden hose. Behind the electrostatic filter is a 3 micron / carbon filter that even cleans out pipe smoke. In the 16' x 22' or whatever room, it filters the air every 3-4 minutes. Note the jewelry buffing machine at the bottom. It has a fan vent and uses the same size filters as the hanging air filter. It's hard to use it for long blades, but if you use it for jewelry, filtering the polishing compounds is really important. There's a lot of silicates and other problematic things in the buffing compounds. I bought that unit from Rio Grande some 20+ years ago, and those models are now more pricey, but I saw some on Ebay for $200. $300 to $400 seems more common, but hey, lungs.

 

 

forgevents.jpg

 

Here's the air movement for the forge, the room and the salt tanks (one is off-pic.) The ducting has a draft inducer from Tjernlund, and it's meant to induce drafts for boilers & oil burners for heating. It just has a bladed spinny bit like an old steam paddleboat to help move air, so once things are hot, it's a combination of the induced draft fan and the actual draft doing the work. Behind that is an 800 CFM slatted fan that has a rheostat control. During colder weather, I turn it down but typically, if it's on, it's full blast. It is strong enough to pull the wood stove draft upstairs in the house backwards if the fire is smoldering. It also pulls borax or other fumes away from me when I'm forge or stick welding, or quenching in the quench tube. The slats naturally close when off so the room doesn't lose heat in the Winter. I got that from MSC, for a few hundred. The draft inducer came from either MSC or Grainger and was also around $100-$200. The other thing to mention is the venturi draft for the salt tanks. The vent for the salt tank is the elbow behind and at the top. The hot air pulls a very strong draft through the stovepipe flue elbow above the salt tube. The cap of the salt tube lid is a T connector with one end capped, so the handle for the lid is hollow, and I can point it right at the draft elbow. You can watch the stream of salt fumes shoot right out the T and into the draft. It works great with the lid off too. All the ductwork was fairly cheap stovepipe flue from the farm store down the road- typically $5-$7 per piece for a total between $100-$200.

 

 

kilnandsoldervent.jpg

 

 

Lastly is the jewelry burnout kiln and the soldering station vent, which I just installed. The jewelry burnout kiln melts plastics and waxes from castings, and it's pretty noxious stuff. A hint of that smell takes me back to the Calderwood building at Portland School of Art and casting with coffee on a chilly Spring morning 25 years ago, but you don't really want to breathe it on a regular basis. The blower for that was pinched off of a propane hot water heater I replaced and it's so perfect I could't have purchased a better device. It was cheap as free if you have a good salvage yard. It's only about 50 CFM if that, but it works great. The soldering exhaust was a response to wanting to make more niello and also vent the heated acid fumes from etching stainless damascus. It's a 230 CFM blower for $125 from Grainger. The white plastic connector was a $7 piece with the right 4" female connector and the perfect diameter to fit under the blower and it's for something that has to do with toilets, but I found it at my awesome farm supply store and it works. The flexible hose is awesome too- it's really effing solid, flexible and stainless, so it will resist the acid fumes and the flames from making niello. It's chimney liner, so it's meant for really hot fires and meant to really last. It was $100 for 5 feet from woodlanddirect.com but worth every penny. It's stiff enough to hold a position, but I can move it to either my jewelry bench pin for sanding or carving bone, or over the soldering station and over the hot plate with the acid. I will replace the aluminum hose on the grinder collector with this stuff when I have a chance. I priced similar commercial units, with similar blowers / CFM's and not even with stainless flexible hose for $2000, so coming in at $232 is pretty amazing.

 

So. I start and end every day with a sweep of the floor and there's usually not much dust to deal with. So far, so good. Hope that helps some folks with ideas.

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This is really good J. Arthur. I know I have to make more improvements to my area, especially dust containment. Thanks for sharing.

Gary LT

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Really great that you're taking an active role in bringing your own safety concern to our shops. I know I have been severely lacking in air circulation and filtration before, and have also felt some of the effects of it that I'd rather not. Thanks for taking the time to share what you've learned and done over the years!

 

John

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Yeah thanks so much for such a detailed rundown of what you do and why. I'd love to think that I'll run out and buy all those things, but now I at least know what to start working towards. The grinder set up is great! Thanks again.

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Here's a handy tool for a dust removal system which is sold by Grizzly. It uses a 30 gal. metal garbage pail for a collection dump on a 6" vacuum line. (I like to place approx. 2" of water in the pail just for safety reasons.)

 

dust%20collector%20lid_zpsviklhihj.jpg

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I've thought about those, but the distance between intake and outflow always makes me think the sparks might just pass through...

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