Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bandsaw Dust Collection

As I continue to make more projects out of wood, I find that I rely on my bandsaw for more and more of them.  The bandsaw is great for cutting curves, resawing wood and for cutting blanks for woodturning.  The bandsaw is very versitile and comes in useful for many projects but it does have one major drawback, SAWDUST! 

The bandsaw makes LOTS of sawdust.  Not only does it make a lot of dust, it throws it around too!  A majority of the dust settles in the lower wheel housing and stays there.  As the dust fills the housing, more dust gets stirred up by the lower wheel spokes that are spinning around like fan blades.  Where the blade channels through a blade guard going to the upper wheel is the spot where the dust really gets airborne.  If it's in the air, then we breathe it usless we have some way to filter it.  But even if we don't breathe it by wearing a respirator the dust still gets all over the shop. 

The best way to help solve both of these problems is the capture the dust where it is being made rather than in our lungs or, all over that still wet finish on our masterpiece project. 

My bandsaw is a Delta 14" saw and the only design of any dust collection is a very small port located just below the blade where a vacuum could be attached.  The volume of air that this small port could collect isn't enough to keep up with the amount of sawdust that the saw can produce. I had to do something to help keep the dust down, it was just getting to be a chore to keep the dust mess to a resonable level in the shop. 

What I have here is the beginning of my process for adding some adequete dust collection to my bandsaw.

This is getting wordy so I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

 Here is the saw with the pulley and guard removed to have access to position, mark and cut a hole for a 4" dust collection fitting.  I marked it with a Sharpie marker.
Here are the markings for the 4" hole and the four holes where I drilled and tapped to hold the plastic dust collection fitting.
I wasn't really sure how I was going to cut a 4" hole in the cast iron so I started to drill the perimeter of the hole and found out that I didn't really want to do that for the whole thing.  Next I used a jigsaw with a metal blade and that worked for a while until I toasted the only metal cutting blade that I had.

Next I moved on to using a metal cutting hacksaw blade and handsawing it.  Yeah, right!  That lasted only a few minutes until I figured at the rate I was cutting the cast iron, I wouldn't get done until Chritsmas! 

I moved on to breaking the hacksaw blades in half and using them in a sawzall or recipricating demo saw.  That worked well but I did burn up few blades doing it like that and it was tough to cut the curve so I ended up having to drill out some more holes on the right side across from where these holes are located. 
Here it is all cut out.  I did take a dremel tool with a grinding bit in it and smoothed the circle out better than in the photo and to take the sharp edges off of the hole. 

The fitting installed.
The pulley, belt and guard installed and ready to go.  You can see the small dust port under the table on the left sticking out (black).  I bought a 2.5" port for that and next will be to figure out how to get that on there and working. 

I haven't tried the dust collection with the new 4" port installed yet but I hope to get some time to soon.

I also want to say "Thanks Dad" for the 2nd bandsaw!  The one on the right is a saw that I got from my Dad.  Now I can have one set up for resawing and the other one for curves.  What a life of luxury!

If the dust collection works well on this saw, I will do the same to the 2nd one.


Simtel said...

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Anonymous said...

I suggest a four-inch angle grinder fitted with an abrasive cutting disc for cutting the cast iron. A hexagon is probably the best you can do, but that's probably good enough and it will be much, much faster than the methods you tried.