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Larry Garfield

Dust collection for belt sander/grinder

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Greetings, fellow makers.

I have decided I need a better dust collection mechanism for my 2x42 belt sander than the air filter in the corner, especially since I don't have a proper workshop but have a repurposed spare bedroom.  My previous searching of the forum turned up a couple of examples of people building multi-hundred-dollar contraptions involving sheet metal and welding; that's thrice out of my scope.  I'm looking for something more low-end.

My current plan is a shop vac with a bucket catcher, with some water in the bottom to avoid explosions, and a wide-mouth utility attachment on the end, positioned underneath the belt sander.  It won't be perfect, but I figure it should at least catch the majority of grinder dust, both steel and wood.

Right now I'm looking at:

IMG_20181203_143356.jpg

The wet/dry shop vac just attaches to a bucket, which is good because I can remove the filter it comes with and let the dust just hit the water in the bottom of the bucket.  The wide mouth attachment there is the wrong size for the hose but I've found one on Amazon that looks like it should fit it.

It's a bit hacky, but it's also about $50 and doesn't require anything more complex than a clamp or two.

So my questions are:

  • Is this viable, or am I setting myself up to burn the house down?
  • If it's not a completely stupid idea, are there any changes I should make to this plan before trying to use it?
  • Any way I can filter the air coming out of the exhaust better?
  • If this is an incredibly stupid idea, what's the next recommendation that doesn't involve welding sheet metal and running duct work that's out of my skillset or budget?

Thank you for helping me not win a Darwin Award.

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You grind knives inside your house?  

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You could also build a small wooden box to sort of enclose the belt portion and hook the vacuum up under it and it might create a cyclone effect to help catch any that might fly out the back.

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not that i have a bigger 2x 42 or 2x72 yet, but i have seen some guys place a bucket of water directly under the grinder to catch the dust. apparently does a good job, but like i say, i dont have a big grinder to do that. im still using a little 1x30 that keeps the belt enclosed.

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I would never grind in a house, certainly not unless there was a concrete floor. or at least  sheet metal over fire proof MDF.

 are you grinding onto a plastic Tarp? I would say this is a certain house fire. 

with extraction my main concern would be getting it out of the house quickly when it catches fire.....at the least take the extractor out of the house when you finish grinding stuff can smoulder for hours and then catch lite.

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24 minutes ago, owen bush said:

I would never grind in a house, certainly not unless there was a concrete floor. or at least  sheet metal over fire proof MDF.

 are you grinding onto a plastic Tarp? I would say this is a certain house fire. 

with extraction my main concern would be getting it out of the house quickly when it catches fire.....at the least take the extractor out of the house when you finish grinding stuff can smoulder for hours and then catch lite.

now this is one benefit of living in a part of the world where everything is built from brick and mortar. i cant see any circumstances where a grinder in my house would cause a fire. granted my house is wall to wall tiled. 

out of interest, what is the greatest fire risk in a house constructed out of wood? 

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Jeremy: I've been using a cardboard backing behind the grinder to keep dust from splattering the wall too much;  it' mostly works.

Yes, I run the grinder in the house.  Engineered bamboo floors in there.  It's either that or carry the thing outside, which is 1) Very heavy and 2) Not something I'm going to do in December in Chicago!  (So far no problems other than lots of dust in the room, but...)

I have a plastic tarp I can put down underneath it if necessary.

Owen: When you say "Extractor", which part do you mean exactly?  The bucket? Wouldn't the water in it put out any embers on contact?  That's kind of the point of it...

I've been using it on and off for a few months now (not daily, maybe every other week on average), and I've yet to have anything come off of it that's even slightly ember-ish. Mostly just fluffy and hard to clean.

Since I don't have a purpose-built workshop space, any recommendations on safer configurations if this one is problematic?

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8 hours ago, Ross Vosloo said:

out of interest, what is the greatest fire risk in a house constructed out of wood? 

In my experience, people with a less than average dose of common sense. :D  Outside of that, electrical issues/malfuntions and improperly installed/maintained woodburning apparatus would probably top the list.  Oftentimes #1 is a contributing factor to the other two.

 

Larry,

The biggest risk with using a shop vac in your configuration is not necessarily in the dust that makes it to the water, but more in the dust/sparks that don't.  I would be concerned with them building up in the hose, or in the nooks and crannies within the shop vac before they make it to the water.  I know it seems like a low risk, and it probably is, but all it takes is one time and your house and all your possessions are gone.

That being said, I have actually thought about doing something similar to this myself.  If/when I go ahead with it I will try to add some plumbing within the shop vac that forces the dust to emerge underneath the level of the water (think thump-keg on a still).   I'm not 100% sure whether or not that would work but I've seen something similar on a shop vac that was used for cleaning out pellet stoves.  I'll probably also replace the hose with hard pipe to mitigate the risks associated with build-up in that.  Otherwise I would feel it necessary to clean out the hose after every use and I know that I'm not disciplined enough to actually do that.

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2 hours ago, Larry Garfield said:

Jeremy: I've been using a cardboard backing behind the grinder to keep dust from splattering the wall too much;  it' mostly works.

Yes, I run the grinder in the house.  Engineered bamboo floors in there.  It's either that or carry the thing outside, which is 1) Very heavy and 2) Not something I'm going to do in December in Chicago!  (So far no problems other than lots of dust in the room, but...)

I have a plastic tarp I can put down underneath it if necessary.

Owen: When you say "Extractor", which part do you mean exactly?  The bucket? Wouldn't the water in it put out any embers on contact?  That's kind of the point of it...

I've been using it on and off for a few months now (not daily, maybe every other week on average), and I've yet to have anything come off of it that's even slightly ember-ish. Mostly just fluffy and hard to clean.

Since I don't have a purpose-built workshop space, any recommendations on safer configurations if this one is problematic?

are you grinding steel? the most gentle of my grinders creats a whole shower of sparkes in every direction!  any plastic or wood underneath it would be on fire in seconds to minutes. I would be concerned with any dust in the tubing or in the extractor. steel dust is very flammable , especialy the wooly stuff that comes of at some grits.

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Yes, steel, at grits from 60 to about 600.  Also wood, mostly maple so far.  There are sparks but they're dull gray by the time they hit even the table underneath them.  So far no fire, or any damage other than a dirty wall.  I'm trying to keep it that way.

Edited by Larry Garfield

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Larry- buy some outlet plugs like the ones folks use to keep the kiddies hands from shock- and use them in the outlet below your grinder- and any unused outlets in the room... you dont want to create a surface fault or an arc potential.

Suggestions to eliminate "missed" dust and particulate material and protect your floors.

1- isolate this room from the rest of the house- cover any vents or ducts- yes- it will get hot/cold faster... but you are containing the dust to one room. Please wear a respirator.

2- get some strong magnets like from hard drives, speakers or some Nd strong magnets. Put them in plastic sandwich baggies and hang them around the room you grind in- you will be AMAZED (or creeped out) at the amount of black fuzzy magnetic dust you are creating... to clean- turn the baggie inside out- toss- no muss no fuss. Close the door to the room when you are grinding

3- to go along with #2- get a 20 inch box fan (these are like 20 bucks)... go to filter aisle and buy HEPA 20x20 furnace filters and  set them up blowing AWAY from you with the filter on the intake side. To increase the collecting potential lightly spray PAM across the intake side. Let this run for 30 minutes after you leave the room. 

4- Home depot sells "POLY WALL" sheeting- its a film you can lay over the floor and wall. I have this behind my lathe and over my workbench and it easily wipes off grit, greases and schmutz from my hobbies.  The link is in the POLY name above from Home Depot- about 20 bucks for 4x8 sheet and the clips are like 2 bucks- and it rolls up so you can pick it up in a car.

Edited by Kerri Duncan
spelling and grammr
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Kerri: Thanks.

On the subject of magnets, I have been highly amused to see little dots of steel dust sticking to my wall at very regularly spaced intervals.  I'm guessing they're attracted to the studs or something.  I love the baggie-and-magnet idea.  I have some welding magnets I can do that with, too.

Regarding respirators: I have been using the firm white semi-disposable face masks from Home Depot religiously when using the grinder; I'm not sure if it's the best option, though, and it does have the problem of that, combined with my goggles, the goggles fog up in about 90 seconds so I have to pause a lot to take the goggles off to defog them.  Is there a respirator you recommend for hobbyist level wood/steel working, preferably one that is less likely to fog my glasses instantly?

I'll check for the Polywall sheets the next time I'm at the store, thanks.  I already have a HEPA-grade air filter I'm running while working and for a few hours afterward to take care of most floating crap.

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The P100 masks from Woodcraft are comfortable and allow for goggles/eyewear- P100 masks  these are also not as expensive as the 3M VOC filtered masks.

-The masks are rated for Silica dust, coal dust- you dont need to worry about the VOC or active carbon filters unless you are doing things like paint or organics. I personally like these as I can wear my glasses over the nose piece and they are easy to wipe out and clean.

For eye wear- please look into the 3M glasses- 3M polycarbonate glasses I swear Im not a Home Depot sponsor- but they have the best prices local to me! These are a 4 pack, and are comfortable. Your mileage may vary- but I have had good results from these. For Forging work I use a pair of IR/UV glasses (separate thread).

If you are doing wood and metals- sparks can ignite the dust- just be careful- a Kiddie fire extinguisher is cheap and easy to keep near the bucket as well.

Best of luck in the limited space- If you rent- do NOT let the landlord know... if you own- read the insurance policy and make sure to cover your 6. 

Looking forward to seeing your work!

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By the way... If your goggles are fogging... Your mask seal is not good. Forgot to mention this earlier. It's the bridge of the nose that causes the most problems.

This is another reason for the silicone masks... They flex/fit your jawline and cheek better.

 

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I'll look into that respirator, thanks.  I also have a fire extinguisher in the hallway closet just outside the room in question.  (It's my place, not rented.)

For eye protection, I wear glasses so my options are a bit more limited.  I've been wearing these basic things, which seem to work aside from the fogging problem.  I'm open to better as long as I can comfortably wear them over glasses.

As far as my current work, I've only written up my first 2 pieces so far, because I'm a lazy bum.  I'm on blade 7 at the moment, I think.

I posted my first blade here on the forums last year, and my second earlier this year.  Most of my collection is in this picture, minus a chef's knife and a push dagger I made as a gift for a friend.  (I build the shadow box itself, too. The Sgain Dubh blade on the far right is just tempered; I still have to polish it and attach the handle.)  One of these days I'll do proper writeups of the rest of them.  Some have delightfully self-deprecating stories to go along with them...
 

collection.jpg

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I like the little curved blade on the bottom- Keep it up and hope all is well!

Kerri

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