Turning Archive 2007

Dust management with a fan

>I thought I'd share an idea I've been using in my workshop to help with the dust issue while turning. This came to me when I was at work. I'm a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, and in our hospital we have positive pressure isolation rooms for patients who are immunocompromised. These rooms are designed to keep airborne microbes out by maintaining a positive pressure inside the room compared to the hallway. The way this works is that with enough pressure, when the door to the room is opened, air will flow outward into the hall, and any airborne microbes won't be able to "swim upstream" into the room. There's a lot more than this that's involved, of course, but this is the general idea.

So at my lathe I was busy getting sprayed with dust and chips, and it occurred to me that I could use the same sort of mechanism while turning. I set up a floorstanding fan so that it blew across the piece I was turning so that dust and chips were blown away from me. It worked really well. I could see that the majority of dust were turned back by the air blown by the fan. The "Blow your nose and look at the tissue" dust assay (if you know what I mean) was much lower, and my clothes were much cleaner afterwards.

Now, this isn't meant to take the place of a good dust collector, hood, and air cleaner, or a Trend Airshield type of device (which I don't have), but it does significantly cut down on the amount of dust that winds up in your face. Certainly, there is still dust in the air, but it will have to travel around for a bit before it winds back at your face.

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