For the number of
times Bill proclaimed that we must run 6” ductwork to all our
machines, I decided to take his advice. It was not feasible for me to
buy everything from Oneida – I would probably spend $2000. Here
are a few things I did to save money:
home-made blast gates. The collar has a 6 1/8" hole, and
the gate has a five and 5 15/16" hole. Zoom in to see detail
1. I made 9 of my own 6” blast gates. The
design is pretty straightforward. One thing that I did is make the hole
in the collar that receives the ducting about 3/16” larger than
the hole in the actual gate. This allows the 6” duct to insert
into the collar and bottom out in the blast gate, and then it is easily
sealed at the collar. To make these blast gates I drilled the holes
in the gates (which are made of ¼” luan) with a large circle
cutter on the drill press, set to about 5 15/16”. This was just
right for the 6” duct to not go through the gate. These drilled
I wanted about a
6 1/8” hole in the collars, so the duct would slip through the
collar and bottom out against the gate. As well, 6 1/8” was large
enough for some of the ductwork fittings to fit into the gate as well.
For instance, several times a wye inserted right into a blast gate and
these fittings need about a 6 1/8” hole. The circle cutter was
not cutting well through the ½” plywood that I used for
the collars, so I made just one collar with a precise 6 1/8” hole.
I then rough cut with a jig saw the holes for the rest of the collars
to just under 6 1/8”, tacked each one over the perfect 6 1/8”
template, and used a flush-trim bit in the router to make 17 more 6
1/8” collar pieces. These collars with their 6 1/8” holes
were then glued to either side of the gate pieces perfectly centered
over their 5 15/16” holes, leaving a 3/32” reveal all around.
This is a little difficult to explain, so hopefully the above picture
2. I was lucky to have four metal blast gates
and several plastic gates all in the 4” size from my previous
system. As well, I had a few lengths of 4” spiral pipe and a great
deal of 4” flex from the previous system. So, these costs are
not included in the cost section of this site, since I didn’t
have to purchase them. I was able to use these gates and lengths of
pipe and hose only at the very end of duct runs, as the pictures show.
For instance, the planer dust hood has a 4” outlet. So, the 6”
duct was reduced to 5” flex, which was reduced to 4” right
at the blast gate at the hood. Or, for the horizontal belt sander and
band saw, I used a reducing wye and then installed the 4” blast
gates and hose, since I think that these are large enough for the tools
they serve. The only other place that 4” gates and pipe were used
was for one of the floor sweeps, which has a 4” outlet.
3. I bought as much as possible from home centers
(Menard’s and Home Depot around here) and as little as possible
from dust collection supply companies. Home centers have the HVAC pipe,
reducers, flexible elbows (I used a tremendous amount of these), hose
clamps, and various take-offs, boots, and hoods that can be retrofit
to work in the system. The only items I purchased from dust collector
supply companies were the 6”x6”x6” wyes (at $20 a
pop, I had 12), reducing wyes (I bought about six of these), a couple
5” and a few 3” blast gates (since I grew tired of making
my own and they were only $10 and $6 respectively), and 3”, 5”,
and 6” flex hose (since you can’t really find good flex
hose for dust collection applications anywhere else, and Oneida is famous
for their efficient flex hose). So, avoiding purchases from dust collection
companies was difficult, as there are certain things you have to get
from them, but I think I saved some money by going to home centers for
the parts they had.
boot used as floor sweep
ideas do not make the ductwork cheap by any stretch of the imagination,
but they did save hundreds of dollars for me. For instance, for a few
hours of work with scrap materials I had nine 6” blast gates that
would have cost me $109 plus shipping. I saved about $200 by purchasing
three HVAC boots, and making two cuts on them that turned them into
phenomenal floor sweeps. As well, the adjustable elbows (of which I
probably used 20-25), reducers, and ductwork are all just cheaper at
the home centers.
A cost analysis of the entire system is located on page 8 of this article.
Anyway, I took great
pains to seal the ductwork UP TO every blast gate, because every leak
that exists prior to a blast gate will be a leak that affects performance
at every machine at all times. I was not quite as concerned with sealing
every single seam after the blast gates, as these would not have a detrimental
impact on overall system suction. The various sources of ductwork integrated
well together – that is, crimped ends always fit into uncrimped
of overlap technique
used to connect two uncrimped ends
I discovered a
pretty easy way to handle two uncrimped ends meeting one another: rather
than trying to create crimps or cut slits to make these things go together,
I would just butt them against each other, and surround them with a
short piece of snap lock duct ONE SIZE LARGER than the ducts that were
being coupled.This piece merely wrapped around the joint (the snap lock
was not utilized), overlapping itself, and was tightened down with two
hose clamps. I used this technique about four times. The picture shows
how the connection of an uncrimped end of an adjustable elbow to the
uncrimped end of the miter saw hood is made by wrapping the two with
overlapping 8” snap-lock (extra from the 8” diameter cyclone
outlet pipe) and tightening with two hose clamps. It’s very cheap
and it felt good to use the small pieces of ductwork scrap I had left
over from cutting other ducts to length. Hopefully the picture and explanation
help you understand this idea. I used 6” duct scrap to join two
5” uncrimped ends, 5” duct scrap to join two 4” uncrimped
ends, and 4” duct to join two 3” uncrimped ends.
A few other innovative ideas I utilized were at the sanding center
and the table saw. The sanding center, which is the bench that has the
1” belt sander as well as the 6”disc/4”belt sander,
would necessitate two reducing wyes in addition to the wye off the main
duct. This would be costly and take up more space than was there. So,
I built a box with a 5” hole to the dust collector, a 4”
hole for the 4” belt sander, and two 3” holes for the 1”
belt sander and disc sander. I built custom dust ports for the belt/disc
sander to capture the dust at the source, and the hood for the belt
sander is adjustable so it can be put below the plane of the belt if
necessary for longer parts sanding. The blast gates fit right into the
box so they’re all centralized, and the box is secured to the
saw vertical drop
The table saw vertical
duct drop is removable. It is set back from the table saw about 15”,
and allows ripping up to 43 ½” in its current location.
I did NOT want it to run on the floor, and I didn’t want it to
be further to the right of the table saw because it would interfere
with walking through the shop. As well, since the surface planer is
to the right of the table saw, it might get smacked a lot as boards
are being run through the planer, brought back around to the front,
and fed back in. I don’t anticipate disconnecting it often, since
it allows me to rip 43 ½”. The only problem I foresee is
if I’m using the fence as a stop block to cross-cut a long board
or glue-up that is wider than about 15-18”. This is the only circumstance
in which I see a board making contact with the duct, which will only
happen rarely. So, I’m pretty happy with the layout.
saw dowel blast gate extension and lower HVAC hood hook-up
The other thing
to note is that I extended the blast gate with a 5/8” dowel I
had laying around, so I can open it from the front of the table saw.
I connected the 6” duct to the table saw with an HVAC hood that
takes it from 6” round to 10”x4” rectangular, which
works out well for the base entry of the Unisaw.
6" main trunk goes diagonally across the shop
As the photos show,
the set-up is essentially a 6” main trunk pipe running diagonally
across the shop with several 6” branches coming off it. The longest
duct run is to the miter saw, which is roughly 35 ft. of 6” ducting
through a few wyes, and several adjustable elbows. I used no tees, only
wyes. This cost more, but there is unanimity in the dust collection
world that wyes are the right fittings to use. I located the blast gates
as close to the collector as possible without putting them in an inconvenient
location to use at each tool. I did this because the more duct there
is before a blast gate, the greater the chance is that there will be
a leak that affects the entire system.
gates extend into ceiling when closed
Because of the design
of my blast gates (they are the “self-cleaning” design),
they can’t be installed against a wall to simply be pulled out
when I want to use that machine. This is because when they’re
closed, the moving part of the gate extends about 7-8” behind
the gate. So, these gates were often installed along the ceiling above
the machine, since there was just enough room in the floor joists above
to shut the gates.
As much as possible,
I used two adjustable elbows to make a 90 degree bend, as this would
make a less abrupt, longer sweeping turn in the system. Oftentimes the
90 degree turn was coming off of a 45 degree wye, so only one adjustable
elbow (set to 45 degrees) was required to complete the turn. These adjustable
elbows were lifesavers for me – they allowed me to maneuver around
all the crap that is found along our basement ceiling – heating
ducts, plumbing and electrical pipes and fixtures, phone lines, etc.
I couldn’t get a consensus on whether or not every seam on those
adjustable elbows needed to be sealed or not, so, prior to the blast
gates in the system I sealed every seam, and after the blast gates I
only sealed the seams where the crimped end inserted into an uncrimped
pipe. This sealing was all accomplished with duct tape, and the sealing
at the blast gates (where the duct inserts into the collar of the blast
gate) was done with duct sealant, and, in some cases, epoxy. Oneida’s
site confirmed that the we don’t have to seal the long seam along
the snap-lock pipe. All in all, I think that this recipe works well.
Tool Hook-up Specifics
flex to router table and 4" blast gate
to hook up to band
saw with 4" flex
1. I ran flex hose to every machine that I foresee
moving a little from time to time. This meant 4” flex to the horizontal
belt sander (which is on wheels), and the band saw (which has yet to
be hooked up but has that 4” black plastic gate designated for
this tool), 5” flex to the drill press and planer, and 6”
flex to the router table which may need to be adjusted from time to
time depending on how it interacts with the miter saw, which is directly
to its left. Also, the sanding center utilizes 3” and 4”
flex even though those machines are stationary, merely because it was
much easier to hook them up that way.
2. All other machines were hooked up with either
a direct run of 6” rigid duct (radial arm saw, miter saw, two
floor sweeps, jointer, and table saws), 6” reduced to 5”
(one floor sweep), or 6” reduced to 5” reduced to 4”
rigid duct (one floor sweep).
3. At the jointer, the 6” duct is run right
up to just below the cutterhead. Nothing escapes on this tool.
rigid duct right to cutterhead
4. As indicated before, I used the 4” port
on the planer, but ran a short length of 5” flex from a 6”
wye, so that works just fine.
floor sweep using HVAC boot
5. Also as indicated before, I used HVAC boots
and register adaptors in several places. My two 6” and one 5”
floor sweep are adapted HVAC boots, I used a boot to attach to the table
saw (which went from 6” round to 10”x4” rectangular).
As well, HVAC fittings were used at the miter saw and radial arm saw,
saw dust port
6. The radial arm saw collection is accomplished
with a 6”x5”x3” wye. This wye has a 3” flex
hose going to the front dust port of the blade then through a 3”x2”
reducer. Behind the blade I used a common HVAC fitting that transfers
the duct into a 10”x4” rectangle. I made a couple cuts in
it to open it up and receive as much of the dust as possible, and on
the left side I added an extender to do the same. I don’t ever
really plan on using the various angle settings on the radial arm saw
– it’s really only a rough cut saw that I recently inherited
from a good friend of mine – so I went ahead and screwed the dust
port to the table right up next to the blade at its 90 degree setting.
Up to this point, I haven’t found it necessary to connect the
3” flex to a spring or bungee cord to hold it up.
miter saw dust port
7. The miter saw uses a similar HVAC fitting
as the radial arm saw, but it is taller with a narrower opening, 14”x2”.
I thought this was a better height for the way I wanted to collect dust
from this tool. I pop riveted some wings and a small top to the HVAC
fitting to capture as much of the dust as possible. It seems to do a
good job. I considered using a wye like at the radial arm saw and running
a hose to the port where the dust bag is generally attached, but seeing
as all that dust gets shot directly backwards anyway, this would prove
useless. All that comes out of the port gets sucked up instantly by
the main hood. Cutting miters, this hood is not quite as good at collecting
everything, but gets the job done. It certainly collects the fine dust
from this tool which is what I’m most concerned with here.
I am considering
getting a saddle-tee to tap into this duct run and have a hood to collect
at the mortiser, which is right next to the miter saw.
collection bag used to collect at the open-based contractor's
8. The 6”x6”x6” wye on the
table saw drop splits to the Unisaw and to the contractor’s saw.
These tools do not move much, so rigid duct was run right up to each
of these machines. The 10” contractor’s saw presented a
dust collection challenge, but I am pretty happy with my solution. It
was accomplished by getting a dust collection bag from Harbor Freight
(about $3.00) that fits open-based table saws. I cut a hole in the back
of this bag, and fit a 6” starter collar through the hole. As
well, I dropped a piece of ¾” particleboard in the bottom
of the collection bag so it would keep its shape amidst the suction
from the dust collector.
flex for drill press
9.The drill press currently has a 5” flex
duct hanging down towards it. I bought 10 ft of 5” flex, and this
is what was left after the planer run. This will be used in conjunction
with various adaptors to collect from the drill press when it’s
being used as a drum sander (I have a box with a collection hole), and
also will just sort of rest on the table when doing large drilling operations
hopefully collecting some of the fine dust that might result from those.
This and the floor sweep next to it are where I used the two 5”
blast gates I bought.
6x6x3 wye with adaptor for
10. There is a 6”x6”x3” wye
over the center workbench in the shop, along the run that goes to the
miter saw. This has my third 3” blast gate which is hooked up
to a 3”x2 ½” adaptor. I happened to have an extra
length of 2 ½” hose for my shop vac, and this is hooked
up to this gate. So, I can use this hose in conjunction with another
adaptor (a 2 ½” x 1 ¼”) to collect dust from
routers with dust ports and sanders. This set-up is great because the
hose comes from above, and stays out of the way. This hose can also
be used for general clean-up after hand planing or drilling on the bench.
11. There is a 5” branch duct that extends
beyond the center bench over to the workbench with the pegboard. This
is on the opposite side of the shop from the dust collector. I have
no idea what it might be used for, but it’s there right above
the bench if I ever need to tap into it.