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DIY hepa dust collector

Ok since I’ve gotten so much great advice from the Orchid over the
years, I have decided to give a little something back. We basically
live in our studio and dust is a serious issue that was at one
time causing problems in our home, especially polishing dust. I
realized something had to be done when my cat turned pink from all
the rouge! The solution I have come up with has changed everything
and I thought I should share it.

I took a home HEPA (High Efficiency Air Filter, i think), one of the
larger ones, not a little desktop thing, and converted it to a dust
collector for benchtop use as well as for our polishing machine. The
way I did it was to get a cardboard box about the size of the intake
grill of the filter about 4-6" deep, and some 4" clothes dryer vent
type flexible plastic ducting long enough to go to my benchtop, and
some 6" same to go to the polishing machine. I cut out a 4" and a 6"
hole in the bottom of the box for the duct and used red vapor-barrier
tape to tape the ducting into the holes and seal it up well. Then I
taped the box over the front intake grill of the HEPA filter. I cut
the the sides on the top of the box to make a flap that can be opened
to filter the general room air, or closed to pull air through the
ducting. I routed the ducting to the polishing machine along the wall
under my bench and taped the end of it (again with vapor-barrier
tape, it’s expensive but it sticks to anything forever) over the
outtake fan grill on my polishing machine. Then I made myself a
benchtop dust collector out of the 4" ducting by taping a piece of
window screen over the end of it, and making a dust guard out of a
piece of clear acrylic, carefully heated with a propane torch to
conform to the curve of the duct at one end and the also tapedon. I
secure it to my benchpin with a piece of copper wire. With the HEPA
filter fan on it’s highest setting it pulls fairly well through the
4" duct, and the polishing machine has the added assit of a fan and
both ends of the system. In fact with a well sealed acrylic guard on
the front and sides of the machine I can now polish in a white
T-shirt for two hours and it’s not even pink afterwards. I know that
a “real” dust collector is extremely expensive but this cost me about
150 bucks, and it’s HEPA, so it filters out the extremely fine
particles that are bad for ones health. OK anyway I hope this made
sense and somebody gets some use out of the idea.

Happy dust free polishing to you all…


very interesting. can you send pictures??


I took a home HEPA (High Efficiency Air Filter, i think), one of
the larger ones, not a little desktop thing, and converted it to a
dust collector for benchtop use as well as for our polishing

Thank you, Doug, that’s a good idea! I’m shopping now for
polisher/arbor, and we have planty of room-size hepa filters around
here, from back when our former next-door neighbors heated their home
with an old 24-hr wood-burning furnace that gave my resp. system


Hi Doug,

HEPA filters are great for this. One thing you need to do however is
put a pre-filter or two in front of it as the HEPA element will clog
rather fast if it is your only filter. The idea is to let each
progressive filter get the particles it can and let the next filter
get the smaller particles. So if you can find a standard air
conditioner filter to put in front of the HEPA filter you will make
the more expensive HEPA unit last much longer. This is the standard
practice in most HEPA filter air cleaners.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

There is a carbon prefilter on the HEPA unit itself, and my polishing
machine w/ “dust collector” (should probably be called a dust
atomizer) has a built in filter for the big stuff. Supposedly a
properly prefiltered HEPA can last for a year or two before it
becomes too clogged to pull air through efficiently. I’ve been using
this one for polishing dust quite heavily for over a year and notice
no sign of reduced airflow. It seems like the plastic ducting hose
I’m using may have some electrostatic qualities since a lot of dust
seems to stick to the inside of the hose, perhaps that is also
prolonging the life of my filter. I’ve also thought of adding another
prefilter or two between the ducting and the intake, but never got
around to it. Most of the dust seems to get trapped by the carbon
prefilter. How do I share a photo here anyway? only through a link
right? I’ll work on it.

Especially if you already have a HEPA for your home or shop you
gotta try this. I also used another unit connected to a shop-vac for
mold abatement in a remodelling project, worked great.

Enjoy, d.