Dust collection

I am looking for something that can sit on my bench near my Fordham flex shaft to collect the dust particles. Hopefully a self-contained unit. That I can dump dust from Periodically

Drill a hole in the bench top in a location that is comfortable when you use your flex shaft tools. Then run a hose under the bench top from the hole to a shop vac. You can see a picture of this on my website under shop shots. It works well and allows me to sweep all kinds of stuff into it while the vacuum is running. You can then save what is in the vacuum and send it to your refiner as they can recover whatever precious metal might be in it. You can also buy a number of different units that do the same thing for a lot more money. Good luck…Rob

1 Like

Brilliant Rob! Just bookmarked your site for future reference. As always, thank you so much. You are always Johnny on the spot with the answers.

Since this has been brought up, I’m wondering if people can elaborate a little more on dust collectors. I tend to sit and clean castings for a while at the bench. I wear a mask and then sweep up the debris for my refining bins as I finish each type of metal. (When I do one-offs the dust tends to just sit until I have some gold to clean again which motivates me to sweep up and collect properly haha :smile:)

I love the idea of a dust collector, but they seem so bulky and LOUD. Do most of you really use them every time you are at the flexshaft? A friend of mine who does higher volume orders than me got one and then admitted she was bad about even turning it on because she found it to be such an annoyance! (She also suggested something similar to Rob, in that she regretted buying an expensive system because she realized she could have just bought a used Miele canister vacuum or similar and used that for less money.) Am I being a dummy or otherwise missing something about their benefit?

However you suck up the dust and contain it, you are keeping your shop cleaner, sending more to the refiner and keeping it out of your lungs. I too turn my system on and wear a mask, most of the time. The one offs are another story. I do a lot of sanding and grinding with rubber abrasive wheels and the debris from them adds up quickly. I am glad to have it go down the hole in my bench and get contained, the quicker the better. I have constructed various hoods that fit over the hole, but rarely use them unless I am carving a piece of charcoal to make a soldering jig. I keep a broken piece of patio paver block on this same bench that I use to level charcoal blocks. It makes a lot of dust that can quickly be contained by the vacuum. I have never wished that I bought an expensive system, but maybe I am missing something…Rob

There is a current discussion about fume collection. What I have described only collects dust and anything else that will fit through the hose. It does not collect fumes and all the nasty stuff that results from soldering, casting, welding, plating, chemical processes, heavy polishing, etc. These fumes will stay airborne and pass right out the exhaust of the shop vac right back into your shop. You need a lot of air moving over these areas that is then exhausted outside. I have a 900 cfm blower (sucker in my case) that evacuates my polishing hood direct to the outside. I do collect the duff with course filters. I have a smaller blower over my soldering area and am in the process of adding a movable hood for my casting and PUK welding area. I do any heavy melting and LOS work outside in the garage where there is always a wind on our hill. We need to be conscious of safety and the possible long term effects of the stuff that we come in contact with. Keep face masks handy (not that they are hard to come by right now), and nitrile gloves, especially for mixing glues, resins and plasters. I have developed a skin condition that is made worse by contact with the slurry that results from cutting and polishing stones, so I wear gloves then, when I remember to put them on. Sometimes putting on the gloves takes longer than the process I am trying to protect myself from. If your senses tell you that what you are doing might be unsafe, listen to them and do what is needed to remediate the condition. Making jewelry is a lot of fun, but it has its landmines too. Sorry for the rant, but I have been at this a long time and have learned a lot about safety by experience. Did I ever tell you about how I learned not to polish a chain on a big 6" 1/2 HP polishing wheel spinning at 3,000 RPMs?..Rob

1 Like

Judging by the sound of my shop vac vs the sound of my 1970’s range hood in the kitchen, an in-line fan in a four inch dryer duct might be quieter than the shop vac. You would have to look for the sound [sones] rating for the fan to tell how quiet it is and also compare the flow rate [cfm]. Another virtue of this setup is that the fan could be located at the outlet end of the tube, which also puts it further from your bench than you could likely get a shop vac. If you do use some kind of funnel or fish mouth at the intake end and keep that close to your work, the flow rate might not be so important. These fans are available on Amazon and elsewhere (like Grainger)…I think I looked last time we discussed this issue. They are relatively inexpensive.

1 Like

I agree that an inline fan would be a lot quieter than my shop vac. That is because the shop vac moves a lot more air. It also has a receptacle for the dust. I have a cyclone on my system between the hole on my bench and the shop vac. Theoretically this allows me to locate the shop vac some distance from my bench since the heavier dust is separated out by the cyclone and keeps the filter in the shop vac from needing to be changed as often as it would if all the dust was caught by the filter in the shop vac…Rob

1 Like

For extracting fumes, a fan like you’re describing could work, although restricting the outflow decreases their efficiency. But dust is another matter. For that you need a pressure blower, where the impeller is tightly enclosed in a housing to create positive pressure, like in a vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, they are also noisier.

1 Like

Take a look at Oneida Air Systems.

They make stock and custom dust collection systems and also sell many components. They also have design criteria on their website, or at least they did, to help you figure out what you need for various types of applications…Rob


I use a Vaniman Voyager dust collector…(it is probably 20 yrs old!)

I made a custom bench pin, with a hole (and small drain screen) to connect the dust collector hoses to…using rubber plumbing fittings and ring clamps…I had a (few) custom shaped plexiglass shield fabricated, which i screw on to the front end of the bench pin, that protects my face, as well as creates better suction (it is curved to create a slight 1/2 funnel)

I am also able to jack the hose to the back end of my Wolf belt sander unit.

I was forging ingot rods yesterday, and usually “borrow” my husbands shooting range ear muffs, to protect my ears from the noise…they are interesting in that they block the anvil/ hammer noise, but allow me to hear the radio clearly…

perhaps shooting range ear muffs would cut down on the dust collector noise as well…I will have to test it out and see if I can still hear the radio…

I also am researching a fume extractor system…interesting posts

Vaniman also sells air filtration systems, but I have no experience with them…

(Vaniman has great customer service!)


A reminder… Have you read the SDS for all the materials you’re using?
If you aren’t familiar with them, please make it a priority.