Dust Evacuation on Router Table - Router Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-02-2011, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Dust Evacuation on Router Table

Hi: I'm new here today. This question pertains directly to my router table, but it is more directly tied to issues of dust collection, and I recognize it's come out a bit long in writing, so you might consider paying more attention if you are knowledgeable in regard to both routers and dust collection.

I have a Grizzly 5 HP, 10-inch table saw with a router table extension. I have a 3 hp Ryobi router mounted to the router table extension. To this point in time I have used it either to route grooves at some distance from the fence or to make cuts using a bearing-guided router bit, so I've gotten away with using the table saw's fence for the work, but I need to optimize the utility of this router table.

I have several different ideas regarding means to improve the set-up, but one thing I need to make to optimize use of the router table is my focus here. Of course, a lot of the sawdust created by the router falls through the opening in the table and gets strewn all over the room from underneath the table by the spinning router bit, since this is not an enclosed router table system. To deal with that, I plan on making a polycarbonate box to mount to the underside of the table surrounding the router. It will have a hinged door to permit router bit changes and depth adjustment and a 4" dust collector mount on the back side, facing toward my dust collector.

My understanding is that the efficiency of dust collection is largely tied to the available airflow in line with the suction created by the collector. If there is inadequate airflow, the dust promptly falls out of the air in the collector ducts and never gets to the collector. Of course the opening in the router table alone will allow little, if at times any, airflow from above, so I presume I will need to cut some sort of port in the polycarbonate box itself to augment the available airflow to the collector.

Presuming that I am correct in that regard, I have 3 questions. First, what surface area should that port have? Should it be the same surface area as the cross-section of the collector duct or should it be somewhat smaller or larger?

Second, does the shape of the opening matter? I could simply drill a round hole using a hole saw or I could route a series of parallel slots, I imagine.

Third, if I get the size of the port right, do I need to screen it to keep dust from flying out through it, or should the air flow to the dust collector be great enough to keep dust from being thrown out through that port by the router?

Thanks in advance for any attention and consideration.

Rob
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-02-2011, 10:53 PM
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It's not as complicated as you might think. I just boxed in the area behind and above the bit and drilled a 1 1/4" hole for my shop vac. It gets 95-99% of the dust and chips. I wouldn't enclose the router. The routers I have used in enclosed stands get pretty hot and in an enclosure as small as you are describing it could be worse.
Have a look at the dust chute Lee Valley designed for use on their steel router table http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...,42837&p=30041

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 01:43 AM
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Rob, try an experiment: support a piece of 4" hose under your table with the opening as close as possible with out interfering with your routers adjustments. I think you will find this captures most of the dust and chips.(Nothing collects 100%) If you are satisfied with the performance then rig a bracket to support it. When you box in your router it makes adjustments more difficult, and being mounted under a saw table is bad enough. As you learn more about your router's abilities you will be changing your bits, guide bushings and height adjustments more often. Do you really want to have to open and close a door each time?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 11:35 AM
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There are products available that wrap around the base of the router to collect the dust coming down through the table. You could probably make something yourself along those lines or buy a pre-made arrangement relatively inexpensively. It is a lot easier than enclosing the router and worrying about the heat generated by the router causing issues. It is also more likely to keep dust from falling down into the router than an enclosure would.

You may eventually want a split fence so that you can use above table dust collection and possibly to use the fence face as a zero clearance insert. You can buy a fence or you can build a saddle for your table saw fence that includes a hollow channel in the middle that you can connect your dust collection to that will pull dust away on top of the table. A Y adaptor will let you connect both top and bottom collection though it is usually a good idea to be able to shut off collection to the top when you are not using the fence in a configuration that can take advantage of collection. That will let you have more suction to the lower port.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=Cherryville Chuck;251204]It's not as complicated as you might think. I just boxed in the area behind and above the bit and drilled a 1 1/4" hole for my shop vac. It gets 95-99% of the dust and chips. I wouldn't enclose the router. The routers I have used in enclosed stands get pretty hot and in an enclosure as small as you are describing it could be worse./QUOTE]

Thanks for your response to my question. I do have a tendency to complicate things, but I like to plan ahead and be fairly certain what I'm getting into.

I get what you're saying here, but as I see it, a problem arises when the cut is on the underside of the wood and away from the fence, like happens when cutting a groove at any distance from the edge of the board. Then the only places the dust can go are down under the table through the router opening and to a lesser degree out the end of the groove as you cut it. In both cases, it's dust all over the place, and a dust collector in the fence won't get it. That's a big part of why I want to be able to collect from both the fence and under the table.

It's also hard to take full advantage of dust collection attached to the fence when you are cutting at a significant distance from the fence, like for example when you're using an edge cutting bit with a guide bearing rather than using the fence as a guide (although in that regard, it occurred to me last night to design my tablesaw blade guard with dust collection so that I can slide it away from the saw blade and lock it in place to sit over the router bit simply for purposes of dust collection when I am doing that sort of work--perhaps that is again overkill, but I'm just thinking it through).

You make a pretty convincing argument, though, about overheating the tool. I have actually never had a router enclosed in any way previously, so that did not occur to me. I definitely have to rethink this.

Thanks again, Rob
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Rob, try an experiment: support a piece of 4" hose under your table with the opening as close as possible with out interfering with your routers adjustments. I think you will find this captures most of the dust and chips.(Nothing collects 100%) If you are satisfied with the performance then rig a bracket to support it. When you box in your router it makes adjustments more difficult, and being mounted under a saw table is bad enough. As you learn more about your router's abilities you will be changing your bits, guide bushings and height adjustments more often. Do you really want to have to open and close a door each time?
Thanks for the response. I've been going crazy over this because I keep reading about how dangerous sawdust is for the health. On top of that, I have a disability that makes the potential for slipping on sawdust a real problem for me, and it's also not easy for me to have to clean it up after the fact, so I'd really like to collect as much as possible as it comes off the machine.

I can certainly try what you've suggested. I've also gotten a response since I started responding here from The Nite Owl (thanks to you, as well), who suggested consideration of focusing the dust collection more directly around the opening and the rotating bit. The way the router is set up, if I get too much right up around there, it will complicate setting up the tool, but I wonder if it would be worthwhile to make a polycarbonate box shaped to direct the suction from the collector more specifically to the area of the bit from the side, rather than putting the wide open collector hose there. I really don't know whether I'd get better results from having a larger area of coverage with the full hose or from focusing the same suction in a smaller area nearer where the dust arises. I did a quick sketch (only as an elevation view, no scale, and a bunch of cut-and-paste help from Google Images, so it's pretty sad) of what I am thinking, in case it's not obvious, and I will try to attach it.

Anyway, thanks, again. I can try your way and also try mocking up a box quickly from cardboard and see which seems to work more effectively. At least I'm not getting into as big a project as I initially foresaw.

Rob
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Hi,
Thanks for your response. I tied it into a response I made to Mike because it all fit together and I didn't want to repeat the same discussion again in a response to you, but you could look there if you'd like to see where the discussion is going.

Rob
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 04:02 PM
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Hi Rob

You may also want to look at a sanding box setup, it's just a box with many holes in it that will let all the dust and chips go down the holes and into the bag..

something like below made by Mike
http://www.routerforums.com/attachme...-sunp0016s.jpg
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 09:48 PM
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In any situation where the bit is exposed, the suggestion I offered will work. You are correct about grooving. You would need to follow Bob's suggestion. A hole drilled on either side of your baseplate, centered to the router collet would work if you enclose the router. As pointed out, you will need easy access to the router. If you use a 4" hose you will need 2x 2x 3.14159 square inches (pi r squared) of openings total in your enclosure open at all times for air flow. If you have restricted airflow you will reduce the effectiveness of your vac as well as heating it up. It depends on airflow to keep the motor cool.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2011, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Rob

You may also want to look at a sanding box setup, it's just a box with many holes in it that will let all the dust and chips go down the holes and into the bag.
========
Hi Bobj3:

Thanks for the input. The problem is that with my setup a collection bag hanging under the router would really (underline that 3 times!) be in the way and from what others have suggested would result in the router overheating. Your recommendation did lead to a consideration that might augment what (I think) I plan to do, though, as I will outline below.

Instead I've decided to create a smaller version of the polycarbonate enclosure I initially planned, based on my thinking-through a recommendation by Nite Owl and thoughts that others have contributed. Instead of enclosing the entire router, it will enclose the upper 6" of it from the back and both sides (looking at it from the end of the table where I adjust the router and change bits) and have attached a 4" collection hose to the side facing the back of the saw table. I will have a hinged door on the front side facing me as I make adjustments, for which I will arrange a quick means of opening and closing that will not make it too inconvenient.

This will reasonably well enclose the business part of the router that expels chips and I suspect maximize the proportion of chips collected. It will leave plenty of exposure for air intake to support the dust evacuation. It will leave the motor of the router completely exposed so there is no risk of overheating and it will not get in the way of height adjustment. The door is intended to help constrain the dust, but I will try to design it in a way that it leaves plenty of room to change the router bits and is easy enough to get out of the way that it is not a major inconvenience to use.

I have thought in response to your recommendation that I could try suspending a broad, shallow sack of some sort well under the router where it would be out of the way of making adjustments and would not enclose the router and expose it to overheating. Then I can see how good a job it does of catching what gets away from the dust collector box.

I really suspect this will work well. I have attached a couple of quick sketches of a top-view and elevation-view. They are not to any sort of scale but just demonstrate my thinking. Perhaps someone could let me know if something looks like it won't work out or is otherwise a bad idea. Thanks to all for your input.

Rob
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