Both professional and consumer workshops where woodworking is done employ a variety of dust collection solutions. In any workshop where woodworking is done, there are three general classes of debris:
- Wood shavings and chips
- Large-particle dust
- Fine dust
Fine dust is a serious health hazard for workers and also impacts productivity and lifespan of filters and shop equipment.
Particulates and fine dust in workshop air are extremely harmful, especially with long-term exposure. Some common health issues effective dust collection can mitigate include bronchitis, asthma and in extreme cases cancer.
Protecting worker health in workshop environments with power tools that generate fine dust, such as planners, jointers, table saws, sanders, scroll saws and CNC routers requires high-performance dust collection.
Dust Collection and Management
All modern dust collection systems have some combination of a motor, ductwork and one or more chambers to remove dust from the air. They also employ a series a filters to remove different sized dust particles. Professional workshops often have one or more standalone cyclone dust collectors. Workshops, both small and large, equip shop vacuums with add-on cyclonic separators.
Cyclone Dust Collectors for Dust Collection
Cyclone dust collectors are standalone units which trap dust, removing it from the work environment. These units usually take the form of a funnel-shaped chamber positioned above a larger collection bin. Both large and small wood chips as well as dust are captured in a large bin, allowing it to be run for long periods of time before being emptied.
Cyclonic dust collectors vary in size and complexity, but all use the same principles for cleaning workshop air.
Shop Vacuums with Add-on Cyclonic Separators
An add-on cyclonic separator can be though of as a dust and debris pre-processor for a shop vacuum. Placed inline, between a shop vacuum’s hose and the vacuum motor, a conical chamber above a large dustbin traps all but the finest dust before it reaches the shop vacuum.
These simple, clever additions to shop vacuums remove the bulk of dust and wood chips usually handled by the vacuum. This pre-filtering extends the life of the vacuums filters. It also makes emptying less frequent.
Shop Air Filtration Systems
Air filtration systems are also used on a wider scale in wood shops and workshops. Usually overhead, these rectangular units filter the ambient air, remove airborne particles, and return the cleaned air to the shop.