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Central Dust Collection

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Central Dust Collection

Five simple rules for a dust-free shop

By Dave Munkittrick


Small, one-person shops don’t need complicated dust collection systems. We’ll show you how to get powerful collection at the lowest possible price without ever having to use a calculator. Even if your shop is shoehorned into a corner of your basement or garage, you can still enjoy the benefits of central dust collection. The fully featured, small-shop dust-collection system shown in this story was designed following five simple rules, and it fits in one stall of a two-car garage, where the machines have to be moved against the walls to accommodate a car.

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A few specialized tools and hardware are needed for installing metal ductwork. A hand crimper is a must-have. When you need one, nothing else will do.

#8-1/2-in., selftapping hex-head sheet metal screws and a nut-driver make attaching the pipe sections a breeze.

Metal hanger strap is the least-expensive way to hang duct from your walls or ceiling.

Click any image to view a larger version.


Suspend pipe from the ceiling with metal hanger strap. Cut the strap extra long, and have a helper hold the pipe level. Adjust the length of your loop and secure with a long screw into the rafters.


Blast gates control the airflow to each machine by acting like an on/off switch. Install your blast gate so the thumbscrew tightens the plate toward the dust collector. Blast-gate adapters add length to the stubby flange on the blast gate for easier attachment of the flex hose. Note: you must predrill through the cast-aluminum blast gate.


Some tools require custom-made dust ports. For our miter saw, for example, we built a simple plywood hood, with a large 5-in. port at the back. The powerful airflow from a well-designed central system makes this possible. Almost nothing escapes this dust trap.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker May 2003, issue #100.