Rockler’s newest dust collector is a good choice for small shops with a limited budget. With a 650 CFM rating and a canister filter, it’s a step above the lower-featured entry-level models.
For larger tools, stationary equipment or collection running through longer ducts you’ll want to move up into a dust collector with more power. These systems typically pull in the 1100-1200 cfm range.
A well-designed and maintained dust collector can make the difference between a productive woodworking session and a stiflingly exhausting one. In addition to removing chips, the best models will also circulate air through the tools and your ductwork to prevent overheating or clogging.
The most powerful machines typically have 1 HP or more of motor power to drive a high-velocity, impeller type fan that moves a considerable volume of air. Generally speaking, it’s not uncommon for the aforementioned to generate upwards of 2200 CFM with a good system design.
If you’re considering the purchase of a large, portable or ducted dust collection system, a system with a 3HP motor and above will be your best bet for maximum efficiency and performance. There are many great options on the market and most offer some combination of a few key features. Ultimately, your choice will be based on what works for you and your shop’s needs. The best way to ensure you get the most out of your new piece of equipment is to perform regular maintenance, including cleaning, checking the fan and testing for leaks.
The filtration system of your rockler dust collector is designed to remove particles from the air. Depending on the application, it may consist of a single filter or a multi-stage system that utilizes multiple filtration methods.
Some types of filtration systems are designed to collect sub-micrometre particles, such as HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) or carbon filter modules. Others use a combination of different separation and filtration media, such as filter bags, cartridge filters, and impinger systems.
Another type of dust collection system uses water to reduce the heat and moisture content of dust before it reaches the filter media. This reduces the abrasion of fine dust and improves the performance of your system.
Most dust collectors use fabric bag or canister filters for the first stage of their system. These filters must be periodically cleaned and changed, though, to keep them working properly.
Dust is created in a variety of manufacturing processes, and if it remains in the air for too long it can cause respiratory problems, harm the health of workers and potentially be the catalyst of an explosion. A properly designed and installed dust collection system can remove the dust from a work area, preventing these problems and helping to protect workers’ health.
A simple yet effective way to control the flow of air in a dust collection network is to use blast gates. They’re simply sliding doors that fit between two sections of pipe, and can be closed or opened to direct the airflow to specific extraction points.
Blast gates are available in metal or plastic, and can be used manually or automatically. In the former, a duct screw must be turned to lock it in place; in the latter, a power source is connected and a switch can be wired to the blast gate to open or close it.
Ideally, the hose/duct design of a dust collector should be designed to minimize friction and static pressure losses that cause the airstream to lose energy. Friction occurs as the air moves through ductwork – it rubs against the walls, corners, and restrictions; it has to be forced through small bends and tight radii; and it builds up static pressure in the system that impedes airflow and power demands.
For example, elbows and wyes with 45deg branches reduce static pressure losses in the airstream because they allow a gradual transition from one angle to another, which allows the air to keep moving quickly. A 90deg elbow, however, forces the air stream to negotiate a tight curve, which can be difficult for the airflow and reduces system efficiency.
For that reason, flexible hose designed for dust collection has a clear interior wall that makes it easy to spot any clogs or buildups of debris in the system. It can also help prevent the buildup of static pressure.