Bench vacuum system

Hello all! Over the last few years I’ve heard (seen only one) of
jewelers’ installing vacuum systems at their benches. The
positioning is right near the bench peg. I like the idea;and
after watching another jeweler recently, rubber wheeling, right
into his face. I’m ready! What an unhealthy condition to
continue. The system I saw had used a shop vac. in the ceiling.
It sounded like an airplane overhead when in use. I went through
two shop vacs prior to purchasing a torit dust collector. I
could probably tie into it, but don’t for obvious reasons. First
reason being higher grade sweeps than polishing dust. I wouldn’t
be able to turn it in with my filings.

Anybody know of any collector/system made for this purpose. I
suppose $200 to 300 would be a plausible expenditure.

Now if anybody says, “get some sheet metal and a five gallon
bucket, fabricate a cone, fit tightly in bucket, get a strong
vacuum” etc. Spare the details! I’m not a gearhead! I would like
to purchase a system that I can plug in. Yes!

To fresh air and all!

Dear Tim: There is an excellant unit made for the dental industry
that is a small under bench dust collector, with a hose
connection to a open collecting head called a fishmouth, because
that’s what it looks like. Sells for $795.00 If interested
contact me at 800-282-1980 or at my email address. Regards, RG

Buy yourself a squirrel-cage fan at graingers ( 490 cu. ft./min
works for me at $120), some aluminum duct and duct tape and put
it together like Lego. Just be carefull and remember to tie
yourself to your chair while it’s on - It might just pull you in.
And I barely hear mine at all and the motor sits only 8 feet

Hope that does it for plugging in, Peter Slone

Stop at the tool dept. of a Home Depot (other home supplies may
also have these). Check out the Ridgid (brand name) shop vacum
system. They have a series of straight & flexible tubing,
different adapters & such that can be configured to your own
requirements. The tubing can be connected to just about any shop
vac or other vacum system.

One way to keep the flexshaft dust from flying into your face is
to learn to work with your left hand. Another is get a reversible
flexshaft, of course, this requires burrs & other toothed cutting
tools that can operate in that direction.


There are dust collection systems made specifically for bench
work - for the EXTRA FINE dusts and particulate generated by
rubber wheels, burs and other tools used at the bench. This
dust is so fine it easily escapes shop vacs and other systems
not designed for fine particulate. Shop vacs may collect most
of the dust, but it also allows it to escape thru the filter via
the exhaust air and back out into the shop where you breathe it

The system Gesswein carries was designed for bench workers in
the dental industry. It is called the Micro-Vac and collects all
fine dust at the bench and holds it in the 3 ply filter without
allowing it to escape back into the room air. It’s made in
Germany, beautifully engineered and well over $200-$300.
Personally I think it’s well worth it - this is our health we
are talking about. And when all is said and done, that’s all
you got.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Phone: 1-800-544-2043 x287
Fax: 203-335-0300

   . The tubing can be connected to just about any shop vac or
other vacum system. 

Is there a shop vacuum which has adequate filtration and air
flow with tolerable noise level?

   One way to keep the flexshaft dust from flying into your
face is to learn to work with your left hand. 

Lapidary work did not prepare me well for using a flexshaft in
one hand and holding my work in the other. I don’t do well with
the hand piece in either hand – so I mounted my flexshaft from
the left side (to prevent that face stuff) on a garage sale drill
press. Used velcro straps (about a buck apiece) from RCI
(Recreational Equipment, Inc.) to hold it solidly in place and
can use both hands to manipulate my piece. I have a portable
air handler behind it.


I have two squirrel cage systems set in my workshop. The first
is a homemade dust collector. it is a plywood box with the
inside diameter the size of a standard furnace filter (mine is
20 x 14). It is the depth of about 8 inches. It holds 3
filters: the one closest to the back is a fiber filter setting
2 inches from the back of the box, the two filters are a
standard fiberglass and sit inside but 1 inch from the front.
My husband cut a round circle and mounted the motor on the back
with the outflow facing upwards. I placed a pair of panty hose
over the opening as a 4th filter. I use a single sided lathe
motor and have made a mousehole opening out of a piece of
cardboard. This covers the front of the dust collector. I plug
it in, my pantyhose wave freely and away I polish! Looks funny
but for a system that cost me $100 and works better than those
costing $800 it is worth it!

My second squirrel system is my fume sucker upper. the opening
of the motor (squirrel cage part) sits directly behind my
soldering station with a dryer vent hose going to a hole punched
near the basement window. I plug it in and no more sore throats
after hours of soldering, no more stuffy noses. No more
problems at a cost of $75.00.

Joy in Illinois


The issue of bench safety is one that’s still neglected. I
know, although I have no symptoms, I’ve damaged my lungs over
the last 20-odd years of inhaling pickle fumes, rubber wheel and
seperating wheel dust as well as polishing dust. Several years
ago, I got smarter and bought a good under the counter dust
collector for polishing and put a lid on the pickle but still
have not found a reasonably priced bench model. The last one I
found after searching through several tools catalogs was about
$1,500.00! A bit pricey for a small vacum with a hose attached.
There have been previous posts on Orchid concerning this issue.
Perhaps they are in the archives but I seem to remember someone
recommending a Rainbow canister vacum cleaner. I considered this
but since they’re so noisey, I thought I’d go deaf! If you or
anyone else should hear of a good, fairly priced unit for sale,
please let me know via e-mail. I’d sure appreciate it.

Steve Klepinger

Hi Elaine Corwin,

This is regarding Gessweins Micro-vac. I am in the midst of
pricing whole shop ventilation systems, sort of commercial size
heat exchangers. The problem is all of these have vents in the
ceiling to suck out the air in the shop and vents to blow in
fresh air. I would prefer to have the particulate and air sucked
off of the benches or at least closer to bench level. I have
looked at the Micro-vac in the catalog and had thought that 7-8
of them might be a little noisy, is that true? I imagined it to
sound something like the Indy 500. What do you think? Do you
have other options for a group of goldsmiths in a shop
situation? The air in my shop is not that bad, we have plenty of
windows, air conditioning and its a fairly open space. But at
really busy times I can almost taste the cloud of rubber
wheel/polishing compound/emery/coffee/burning bench smoke/pickle
steam/burning wax/burning hair/microwaved popcorn/herbal tea/hot
metal dropped into bench pan of god knows what/etc. What do
people usually do?

Thanks again,
Mark P.

On a similar note, I found in an old Jewelry making gems and
minerals magazine from January1982, an inexpensive and easy dust
collector idea for someone like me who does not have the ability
that Joy’s husband has for building equipment (He probably knows
how electricity works, too!..and it aint by flipping a
switch!..the light goes on…the light goes off). Here’s
what was written:

Select a plastic antifreeze bottle or comparable of suitable
dimensions, and place the intake end of a vacuum hose over the
spout or near a bottom corner. Mark the area with a suitable
marking pen and cut to the inside of the circle. Trim until you
can plug in the hose. A fitting can be made of the proper size
tubing, if desired. This could be taped or glued in place. Now
cut away the end of the bottle opposite the hose connection so
you can slide it over the buff and spindle. Make the opening
large enough so that you can remove and replace buffs. Anchor
the bottle to a piece of wood with wood screws through the
bottom and use washers so that it will last a while. A piece of
nylon window screen will keep jewelry out of the vacuum hose.
This can be taped over the hose end. Note: You will need a
filter over the exhaust of your vacuum.

Just thought I’d pass the info on…
God bless,
Tom and Donna

Mark and Steve,

Look into an "Aqua Vac’ made by Hanau engineering. I think that
they are a division of Emesco Teledyne. I also e-mailed Elaine
at Gesswein to look into it. They use both a replaceable filter
and a pan of water to collect the dust. They are quiet enough
and I think that I paid about $300 for the whole set up from
Zahn Dental (1-800-496-9500).

Steve, I was the guy who talked about the Rainbow vacuum. A
friend of mine has 3 of them in his lab and they are in their
own little soundproofed area which is ducted out side.


Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
N.R.A. Endowment &
Certified Instructor
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor
ICQ 37319071


Thanks very much for the info. I’ll call Zahn Dental as soon as
I can and get the details. I must confess to spending too many
years at the bench without bennefit of a vacum system and just
hope I don’t pay for it in the furure. As for the Rainbows, When
you posted the info on them, I posted a reply to the general
membership concerning the noise and never saw a reply. Thanks
again for clearing that up.

Best wishes;
=DFteve Klepinger