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How to make a dust collector for a buffer

I was able to buy a set of jewelry tools and equipment as a lot from
someone leaving town and it included a two sided buffer, which I
needed. I had planed on buying one soon that had a dust collector and
filter but as it costs $600. + here in Mexico I wasn’t able to buy it
yet. So for much under that price I was able to buy the lot of
assorted items. BUT the buffer does not have a dust collector and I
now need to get one build.

Does anyone have a simple plan for building one? It would need
exhaust fans over the two sides and go through a filter before going
into the room.

Any suggestions much appreciated.

Sharon, have you looked at Instructibles on the internet? They have a
wide variety of projects being built be people often on limited
budgets. Sometimes the results leave a lot to be desired, but hey,
that’s what I have found with some of the machines that I’ve bought
over the years for which I have paid big bucks!

BUT the buffer does not have a dust collector and I now need to
get one built. 

Hi, Sharron. It seems to me I’ve seen those fit-over collector hoods
sold separately at places like Rio or Contenti. I’m sorry that I
don’t remember exactly where I saw them.


Sharron- The easiest way is to hook up a shop vac to the back of a
simple sheet metal or wooden hood. It’s noisy but effective.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

You might check out Stuller. Might have used one or one from show

I have used the same polishing hood for forty years. I made it from
some scrap plywood and a repurposed squirrel cage blower. I pull the
air, dirt mixture through a set of baffles to collect that which can
be recycled and the rest goes out a cellar window. Works great. I
also use a wood shop dust collector to pull air and grit over my
flexible shaft area through a set of baffles and a common kitchen
hood over my soldering bench. The hood also vents out the window.
Attached may be a picture of the polishing hood and wood shop dust
collector if they can be viewed via orchid. Good luck keeping your
shop clean and healthy and remember to always use eye protection and
a face mask when you polish.


Here’s what I did before I found a good one at an estate sale:

Find a used kitchen stove hood with a strong fan in it. hook it up
with a regular electric plug if it doesn’t have one. set it so that
the hood is sitting facing you rather than down as it does normally.
Measure it and get the closest fitting furnace filter you can from a
hardware store (or anywhere that carries them). This will go over
the suction area (normally underside) of the hood. Use heavy plastic
tarp and duct tape around the filter to make any exposed areas on the
hood air tight. If you do it right, you even have a light on it you
can use while polishing. You can periodically vacuum your filter
with a shopvac or vacuum cleaner until it is really worn out, then
just replace the filter and tarp.


For reasons I cannot understand, or prefer not to understand, people
discard perfectly useful items because of minor or imaginary
defects. Where I live, (Victoria, BC) they often assuage the guilt
they may feel over their wastefulness by placing these out on the
street where other folks, presumably less fortunate or more
desperate, might take them for further use. There is an
ever-changing display of once-valued items lining the curbsides. At
the moment the most common offerings seem to be large “box” TV
sets, displaced by the newer flat screen types. In recent times
there were many desktop computers, having been supplanted by
laptops or ipads. There are always old sofas, easy chairs, and
mattresses. Old windows, doors, and kitchen sinks are also common.

Now to the problem at hand, dust collectors. We are building a new
house and are at the finishing stage where the house is nearly

but various bits of dust-producing work continue in various rooms. A
vacuum cleaner must be handy to keep the detritus from spreading to
finished surfaces. Mirabile dictu, there has been a fine crop of
discarded and perfectly functional vacuum cleaners out on the street
of late, ready to be harvested. I now have 4 at the construction
site, my original store-bought model and three freebies. One is
always handy almost anywhere in the house. The big bonus is that
one of the freebies came along with 23 unused filter bags - retail
value close to $100. Why do people discard them? In one case just
one of the little attachments was cracked where it slipped onto the
"wand" - all other parts in fine shape. One swift turn of duct tape
repaired the damage. In another case the people had apparently used
their machine to vacuum outdoors and had clogged the flexible hose
with pine needles and grass clippings. This problem exceeded their
competence and so out it went - a $700 machine in near-new
condition, complete with accessories!

Handy hint department - if your vacuum hose is clogged just hold the
hose vertically and drop an item like a big bolt or 6" piece of
rebar, anything heavy and cylindrical - down the tube. Best to do
this from the end of the hose which attaches to the vacuum. If
there is a bent segment of tube which cannot be detached from the
hose, make sure the weighty object is not so long that it might get
stuck at a bend. You may have to shake the tube up and down for a
moment or two to loosen the

obstruction but I don’t believe I’ve ever spent more than ten
seconds at this most strenuous part of the process. The bolt will
emerge at the bottom end, pushing the obstructing wad ahead of it.

So it seems that vacuum cleaners are thick on the ground if you keep
your eyes open. Some of them are a bit noisy, but since we put up
with them in our ordinary housecleaning routines, why not in our
studios? Unless you are into mass-production, requiring the machine
to run all day, the exposure to noise will be brief and sporadic.
So why not find a free vacuum, hook the hose up to the enclosure of
your buffer, and there you go - dust collector, with built-in
filter to collect dust for refining if you’re working with precious
materials worth salvaging.

Another possibility I’'d consider, if you’re handy - Get ahold of an
old stainless steel kitchen sink and mount it in the bench in your
"polishing centre". Use some kind of sturdy screen or grill to cover
the sink. It may need to be supported by some openwork structure
below so as to support the weight of your buffer. Mount the buffer
on top of the screen with openings in the back or bottom of its
enclosure so that air can be drawn down and away from you. Remove
the sink drain and attach by whatever ingenious means you can
devise a 3" or 4" diameter hose such as is used to vent clothing
dryers. Run that to a largish box fitted at the top with a bathroom
exhaust fan which vents to the outside. Now you have a downdraft
table, Dropped items will land on the screen and not be lost. Dust
particles will settle at the bottom of the sink or in the box where
the air will slow down upon entering before

being drawn up to the fan at the top.

Some “sweat equity” involved in these approaches - but if the cost
of a purpose-made buffer exhaust system is an obstacle, these ideas
can help to overcome. The bits and pieces can all be found for free
or at trivial cost.


Mine works as follows: The suction is provided by this dust

I then made two hoods out of sheet steel and brazed them. Make a
cardboard mockup first and use that as a pattern for the steel. A
little work with some tin snips and a hammer, and then screwed them
all to a wooden bench, a coat of paint and we are done.

The whole setup works very well, there is very little dust in the
area, but plenty in the bag, which I can only assume means that I am
capturing everything. Woodworkers don’t like dust either, but their
tools are generally a lot cheaper.

For those who don’t know, brazing is a “welding” term, which is
essentially similar to soldering. I used brass brazing rod from the
welding supply store. If you are using oxy & acetylene and have a
large (jewellery large, not welding large) tip then you can easily
braze thin sheet with brass. LPG is not really hot enough, but it can
be done.

I hope it helps someone.


My dust collector and booth.

Jeff Herman

Dear Marty,

Just to clarify, I live in Mexico and believe me no one has enough
money or goods to put vacuums out for the general public to take.
This country may belong to NAFTA but is still very poor. What I was
hoping for was a clear description of how to build a dust collector.
I will buy a new small vacuum but an easy but effective design for
the other part is what I was hoping for.

But I do understand your frustration over seeing all the discarded
items. But this only happens in rich countries. Japan does this one
day a week on what is called “big garbage day”. mostly electronics
and really great finds.

Thanks anyway.