Isn't Fine Dust Bad for You...? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-07-2016, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Default Isn't Fine Dust Bad for You...?

Thought I'd put this under Safety only because of the incredible modification made to dust collection (see about 5:30 into it)...

...must have been a good idea at the time...


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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 09:50 AM
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Nick, the one word answer is yes, and some more so than others.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 10:13 AM
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Planers put out fluffy chips, not sawdust so this might be OK for that use only.

I saw a small drum style filter advertised last week by Rockler, the kind with the folded paper filter enclosed in a metalic mesh-walled drum. His container with a drum filter on top might make a decent small shop unit, but you'd probably have to put the intake into the side, or even build a circular unit to go between the collection drum and the filter to create a cyclonic air flow. Air would enter, circle, the chips and larger particles would fall down, the finest dust would go to the filter. You clean drum filters by occasionally blowing compressed air through the outside to blow the sawdust out.

The question posed was about how dangerous fine sawdust is. There are two dangers, first, some woods produce sawdust that has harmful, even carcinogenic, chemical qualities. Second is that though the lungs can clear some larger particles, the finest sawdust stays in forever, reducing oxygen/CO2 exchange and lung capacity, and producing lots of phlem (wet coughing). If you have a heart condition, the second problem can trigger heart attacks, dependence on supplemental oxygen , and constant fatigue and breathlessness. Even with the best dust collection, wearing a good mask should be standard procedure in any shop.

According to a detailed article I read on dust collection, but can't seem to locate again, home shops have far higher fine suspended dust concentrations than commercial shops. In fact, the article suggest that if OSHA inspected most of our shops, they'd shut us down. I keep simple passive dust masks handy and put one on almost every time I go into the shop for more than a few minutes.

The biggest dust problem in my shop has been that it is so full of stuff that it is hard to get the collector hose into all the corners. I've been putting doors on all cabinets to reduce infiltration, but its the dust in every crevice that is really problematic. I recently purchased a couple of HF dust collection carts (2hp), and put a canister filter on top of the one in the shop, which has reduced random dust significantly, but it is still everywhere. I'm thinking of adding an overhead filter box to clean up the airborne sawdust.

If I seem obsessive, it's because I'm a throat cancer survivor and don't want a repeat bout with that disease.
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Last edited by DesertRatTom; 09-08-2016 at 10:18 AM.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 04:20 PM
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Fine dust is very bad for you and is why so many people in the construction industry eventually develop COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) in later years. I had a family member who was diagnosed with COPD at age 55 and who died relatively young as a result. All from breathing too much fine wood dust.

In order to deal with dust it should always be collected at the point of production using a shop vac or dust collector rather than by attempting to catch it in one of those suspended air cleaners after you already breathed some of it.
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Last edited by Job and Knock; 12-20-2016 at 04:22 PM.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 05:40 PM
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A bit more. I recently purchased two, 2hp Harbor Freight DC units. They were on sale plus a 20% coupon. One is in my shop, the other in my garage. Each hooks up to my machines via 20 foot long hose that pulls itself short and straight when the DC is on. I also have a hanging DC filtering unit in the shop and one coming for the garage, where I only do a moderate amount of sawdust making. Both units have a chip collector before the DC blower intake.

All that said, I will generally wear a surgical style mask, or if I'm doing MDF, a powered positive pressure nose and mouth mask. My safety glasses have wrap around lenses to help keep the dust away, and my battery powered mask lets the air out through valves, but also a small amount of filtered air blows across my cheek and defogs my glasses.

The DC unit in my shop has a drum type, 1 micron folded paper filter, so the air exits into the room, but is quite clean. The hanging filter unit is located so much of the air exiting the filter gets re-filtered by the hanging unit. The hanging filter goes on for several hours so I can leave and come back to very clean air. Sawdust control takes a lot of effort, particularly in a small shop area. The EPA found that most home shops are far worse for air quality than most commercial shops.

Sawdust is insidious and goes everywhere, especially behind tools and in hard to reach corners.. In my shop, I have gradually put all my tools on enclosed stands (with tight fitting doors), so I can move them to vacuum up the stray dust. It has been slow going, but most of the hard to get stuff is in those locations. I have also been keeping all items up, 16 inches from the floor so I can get into those corners with a 4 inch vacuum attachment just for that purpose.

I also have smaller hoses and fittings set up so one end of the hose fits into the 4 inch connector on the 20 ft. flex hose. This allows me to occasionally vacuum shelving and items on shelves. The same setup works for the 2.5 inch ports on several smaller tools.

At some point, as budget allows, I will set up some sort of DC over the table saw blade to feed dust into the second intake of the DC unit.

So, all this may seem excessive to some, but it used to be that if I went to the shop, I was coughing within a few minutes. Now, I no longer have any coughing going on even hours later. This makes the shop a much more inviting place to go and play. Was having a great shop atmosphere to play in worth the near $1,000 investment so far? Hell yes. It is nice to know that I'm not destroying my health too.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 01:38 AM
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Why not use a respirator Arco Website - Sundstrom SR 100 Half Mask Respirator from Sundstrom - Product 168600 ?
You can avoid all the risks even COPD
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 10:45 AM
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Basically the guy built a cyclone but he should have continued on to a finer filter. He's catching the chips but redistributing the part that is dangerous. I have a lot of wood that had been sitting around for years and it can get quite dusty when planing it.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 11:43 AM
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I am redoing my DC because I want a planer.

And I worry about fine dust.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coxhaus View Post
I am redoing my DC because I want a planer.

And I worry about fine dust.
Planers usually produce more chips than sawdust, but they produce a LOT of it, and it is fluffy so it fills up your barrel pretty fast. Check frequently so the chips don't back up. I've seen nothing but praise for the unit you've chosen. You do need a filter at the end of the system to keep the fine dust from rsimply returning to your shop.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.

Last edited by DesertRatTom; 12-21-2016 at 07:17 PM.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 11:24 PM
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I am planning to route all the fine dust out the back of my shop where there will be no open windows. My saw dust is passing through 2 cyclones. The Cincinnati motor unit also has a cyclone in the second 55 gal drum. So the saw dust will come into the Super Dust Deputy first and then what dust makes it out of the Super Dust Deputy will pass through the Cincinnati cyclone where the motor and fan are on the second drum. After the second drum what saw dust is left will be routed outside. Hopefully there will not be much saw dust left going outside.

Time will tell after I get it running. The next step if there is still saw dust I may try to bubble the outside in some water to cut down on dust coming outside by trying to capture what is left in water. This is only if I see a lot of saw dust outside after running my DC for a while.
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