Dust Control in a Garage Woodworking Shop
What is the best setup for a dust collection system in my garage for woodworking?
Dust collection while woodworking is obviously very important. It becomes especially important when working in a small space such as a garage. Not only does the dust coat everything in the shop, in a confined space all that dust build up in the air is a real danger to your health.
A lot of people just open the garage door(s) while working and then take a shopvac to cleanup the dust that has settled afterwards. Although this might be an option for some, it is not very convenient for those in colder climates.
So you might be asking can’t you use your shopvac to control the dust? You can just hook it up to the machine you are working on right? Well, you can but there is a better way. You can inexpensively upgrade your dustvac by adding something called a Thien Cyclone Separator Lid that can be homemade. Here is my article about constructing a Thien separator collector.
The next level up would be to buy a a dedicated dust collector. For the average sized one or two-car sized garage workshop, typically one would need something in the range of a 1 1/2 hp powered machine. This will cost about $300 for a good machine.
As I wouldn’t try to keep up with the number of machines out there, I recommend just going to a mega store site and reading up on the reviews about these 1 hp to 2 hp dust collectors and seeing what suits your needs most specifically. For example, the amazon links to the right should help you get started on good information by reading the reviews and specs.
Your dust collector is only as good as your filter. I recommend getting a 1 micron filter. This is usually not the standard filter, standard is 30 microns. The 30 micron filter will filter out most of the dense stuff, but will spew out the fine dust particles into t e air.Since your garage may most likely be attached to your house you definitely want to collect as much dust as possible.
Lastly, once you have purchased a suitable dust collector, you will need to run the duct-work to each of your machines. PVC is not a suitable material to use as static buildup may cause a spark that will explode the fine dust particles. You need to metal piping.
Overall, a good dust collector is as much about convenience as it is safety. Less dust in the air is easier on your lungs so you can enjoy life longer. It also helps keep airborne dust down in your shop which is a plus when it comes time to apply finishes. The lowest price point is not necessarily the place to start at when looking for a dust collector.