October 9, 2021

What Size Dust Collector Do I Need

What Does a Dust Collector Do?

The dust collection system reduces and removes unwanted particles and fumes that are a possible danger to your health. These particles are removed from gases that come during the manufacturing process and the surroundings. 

The dust collecting system purifies and filters dust released into the work environment and the atmosphere. Pollutants differ by industry, and industrial dust collector models are specific to the extraction method required for each industry. Dust collector systems draw dust and particulates from the air through a filter. 

The filter first captures and separates the air and discharges clean air back into the workplace. The process involves filtering and capturing dust and particulate and releasing sanitized air.

A dust collector is a system that removes dust and debris from the air in any workspace. The system cleans the air by forcing it through multiple airtight filters. When the air cleans out, it is expelled outside or recirculated. That is after the system has achieved the proper emission standards. Production creates many contaminants, which is why there are dust collectors to remove the pollutants. 

In other words, that is a design meant to capture toxic contaminants. The dust collector has multiple components that complement each other to fulfill the duty. These include a blower, dust filter, cleaning system, receptacle, and means of collecting the particulate matter. 

The types of dust collecting equipment include fabric filter baghouses, inertial separators known as mechanical cyclones, cartridge collectors, wet scrubbers, and electrostatic precipitators. Baghouse dust collectors gained popularity since they have a 99% efficiency. The types of pollutants removed depend on the industry. Dust collectors are made with specific designs to meet the needs of each environmental condition.

Why the size of the dust collector is important

Knowing the size of your dust collector helps you plan well in woodwork, and it helps you keep your workshop clean and healthy. Since there are strict rules on workers’ protection, make sure you have a clean and dust-free workspace. 

What is CFM, and Why Is It Important for You?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It shows how much airflow each dust collector requires for the proper removal of dust. Knowing the numbers helps you know the size of the dust collector you should purchase. The dusting tool has to handle the required CFM that a machine has to get rid of. More devices attached to the dust collector determine the power it needs. 

If you hook a portable collector to the machine, the collector should handle the minimum CFM for the tool. A 10” table saw with a CFM need of 350 CFM, and a horizontal belt edge sander with a CFM need of 550 requires a dust collector that handles a minimum of 550 CFM.

Calculate the CFM needed for your shop. Below are step-by-step instructions that help you purchase your new dust collection system without a hassle. 

Determine CFM for Each Tool

Start by listing all the CFM requirements for each tool in your workshop. Use the attached chart for average CFM requirements. Check your instrument manuals for accurate measurements.

Measure Air Flow for Each Tool

Measure the tool’s dust collection port to determine the flow capacity.  Measure the diameter if it is round and for a rectangle, multiply the length by width, then multiply that number by 28 to find the flow of CFM at 4,000 feet per minute (fpm) airflow. Look for the largest CFM number out of all your tools to get the required rating for your dust collector.

For multiple machines, do not have blast gates to cut off airflow for machines not in use. Add all machine CFMs together to determine your required maximum airflow. Installing blast gates improves the performance of your setup. 

Measure the Static Pressure Loss

Static Pressure Loss is friction from wood chips and sawdust debris rubbing up the side of the dust collector tubing. An increase in static pressure loss comes with more bends and angles in your ductwork. Measure each length of ductwork before it hits a branch for accurate measurement. Expect better results from an online static loss calculator that will ensure your best results. There is a way to reduce static pressure loss by making a floor plan with straight ductwork. 

How to Calculate CFM for Your Shop

Work on the total volume of air (in cubic feet) and divide by the exchange rate. The exchange rate is how quickly you want to replace the air. The result is the total CFM you need for your dust collection system. Many applications use more than one blower.  Measure cubic feet per minute and the measurement of the volume of the room, and divide by how quickly you want to replace the air.

When do you need a dust collector?

When you see, smell or taste the dust in your workspace, you need a dust collector. Dust particles change from dust to clouds. Metalworking projects like grinding, cutting, and welding produce a lot of contaminants. 

When you need to “air out” the work area, it is time you get a dust collector. There are small particulates that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Whenever you feel that the air is dirty, get a collector. That prevents diseases and reduces the costs of regulating temperature. The collector keeps you and your staff safe, thereby keeping up the regulatory standards. 

When HVAC air filters are clogged with dust, use the dust collector, and it comes with filters and vents that collect dust. When small dust and fume particles are in the filters of HVAC systems, there are high possibilities of heating and cooling. 

When pieces of equipment are covered with a layer of dust, get a dust collector. Failure to get rid of the dust slows down performance. Dirt, dust, and debris make their way inside, interfering with the mechanics of the equipment. That also leads to broken equipment. When the machinery gets compromised, it constantly needs attention and repairs. 

How to decide which dust collector to buy

  • Consider the size of the unit. Your workspace determines the size of the dust collector to buy. If you have a bigger space in your workshop, you would not mind getting a bigger machine. A bigger dust collector captures more chips and dust. When looking at the size of the dust collector, consider the horsepower and the motor. 
  • Consider the type of ducting materials that suit your collector. What determines your ducting is your budget and needs. Metal ducts are for industrial settings and not affordable, and however, it comes with high quality. 
  • To set up your shop with permanent ductwork, decide what type of ducting to use. You have options to choose from depending on your budget and situation. A flexible hose is comfortable to work with. However, the hose is not very efficient over long runs. The corrugated interior walls produce turbulence in the airflow, reducing the performance. Using a 4″ PVC pipe brings good airflow. 
  • Know your dust properties to have an idea of your dust and the progress the machine generates. 
David D. Hughes

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