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Shop made dust collector


David Arens wrote:

Has anyone tried mounting a polishing lathe in a cabinet similar
to a bead/sand blasting cabinet? That'd solve several problems,
hooked up to a vacum it'd trap the dust (precious metals too),
and when things went flying they couldn't go very far. Guess
I'll have to put together a set of plans, what'd ya think?

The best dust collector I have used for buffing is one that
I built myself. It is rather large and clumsy but works very
well for my purposes and didn’t cost $2000.00. I built a
large plywood box, open on one end and with a lid. The box is
built around the dimensions of a 16"X25" furnace filter. I
use two or three of these in a row to catch large dust
particles. I put a screen in front of the first one. The
final filter stage is a 3/4" piece of plywood cut to the
same size as the furnace filters, with 3 circles cutout to
fit cartridge type filters from a shop vac. These filter the
small stuff. In the back is a 1/3 to 1/2 hp blower that is
ported from the rear of the collector chamber. The entire
filter box is made to house the buffing motor in the front.
The front of the box is open. I made a hinged section that
drops in the front at an angle. This ensures that all dust
will be sucked into the filter.

The filters slide into guide slots that have been attached
to the sides of the box. The lid has a lip around the edge to
help seal the unit.

The front filter clogs often and has to be vacuumed off. I
suppose some sort of cyclone would be best to deal with the
large stuff, but I don’t have time to work up a different
system just now. Without the vacuum filters in the back the
unit is worthless as it throws fine buffing dust all over the
shop. The unit is so large that I put it on wheels so I could
move it around the shop. Sometimes I buff outside in nice

Sorry I can’t describe it much better than this. I am
describing it from memory, as I am not in the shop just now.
I suppose a picture would be worth several thousand words.
Sealed buffing motors (often called “lathe” motors) are also
a great help in that there is no turbulence from the motor
itself to blow buffing dust outside of the suction area.
Also, there is less operator fatigue as there is no side play
of the shaft with the buffing wheel.

My first buffer was a collection of felt and leather buffing
sticks (hand operated). Then I advanced to a washing machine
motor mounted outside on a table (kind of cold in the winter)
Then I bought a standard metal unit that held one furnace
filter and that was it. What a mess those days were.
Everything in the shop was covered with black dust.

Necessity and economy are the mother of everything.

Now I pray to the tumbling Gods to give me the wisdon,
vision, and courage to design no buff jewelry.

Kenneth Gastineau