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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

DIY - Homemade (free) Shop Dust Collector (Disperser)

It's getting a little dusty and dirty in here... well it was until I made my very own shop dust collector! With all the work that I do dust is a big problem especially when wood turning on my Homemade Lathe. Of course and sanding, cutting and drilling also generates a lot of dust. Aside from being unhealthy it is also a pain as dust gets everywhere. No matter what I do it ends up in the house, upstairs, in my nose and pretty much every other place that  you can imagine. UPDATE: I wrote a new post with more details HERE with a video have a look!
To deal with this I decided to build a dust collector system that uses a radial blower. I chose a radial blower for this because they tend to be better at building up (static) pressure compared to a fan type but also I happened to have a blower that I wasn't using for anything (free). The static pressure part is good because to really work as a dust collector I have to not only suck up the dust but blow it through a filter of some kind. Filters especially when they get dirty and clogged don't pass air too well and the back pressure builds up. A radial blower can keep the pressure up and keep the air flowing.
So step one was to get a suitable container to collect the dust. I decided a paint bucket was just about right because of it's convenient size but also I happened to have one laying around that I wasn't using (free). Here is a picture of the finished system.
Finished Homemade Dust Collector

The top of the bucket wasn't flat and it's also just thin plastic so I cut a piece of pine planking that I had laying around and screwed the blower to it. Of course there is a hole in the plank that I lined up with a hole that I cut in the lid of the bucket. I applied some adhesive to the top of the bucket to help hold the wood plank onto the lid. In the side of the bucket I cut another hole and bent up some galvanized sheet metal that is used in HVAC venting construction. I formed the sheet metal into the hole in the side of the bucket and attached a piece of white clothes dryer hose to it. Clothes dryer hose works pretty good for this type of thing but the real reason I used it is because I had a piece laying around that I wasn't using (free). In the picture the hose is the white tube coming out the side of the bucket and snaking around behind the bucket. This is the inlet or sucking side into the blower itself.
In the same manner as I attached the clothes dryer hose I used some of the same galvanized sheet metal to attach some 6" diameter metal HVAC tube. I choose 6" because the increased diameter allows for more airflow but also because I had a piece laying around that I wasn't using (free).
The next task was to figure out how and where to put a filter into this thing. Laying around I found a plastic screen/filter that was used in a high flow water pump. The plastic filter screen was used to keep relatively large pieces of stuff from getting into the pump and damaging it. When I got the pump it was way beyond damaged so I threw it away a long time ago but I kept the screen because it was cool looking and I thought that one day I might turn it into a cool hat or something. The screen seemed to fit pretty good in the bucket and it looked like it would make a good support for a finer particulate foam filter so I screwed it onto the bottom of the paint bucket lid.
Dust Collector Bucket with Furnace Filter and Pump Screen
Once I had that I grabbed a replacement filter for my house furnace that I had and I wrapped it around the plastic filter screen. In the picture above you can see the screen and the tinge of sawdust on it.
So now you must be getting the idea. (If not send me an email at or leave a comment) When the blower is turned on it sucks air out of the bucket. In doing that air is pulled in through the white clothes dryer hose and to get out of the bucket it has to pass through the air conditioner filter and the plastic screen. The filter traps the dust and it falls into the bucket.... simple.
Exhaust Ducting and the Blower Motor
The only thing left was to decide what to do with the air after it comes out of the bucket and out the silver tube. I cut up some more of the pine plank into a 5 sided box that is the same size as the vent hole in my garage wall. This vent is to let fresh air into the garage for the water heater and the gas furnace that is in the garage keeping me company while I work. I made some brackets so that I can screw the box over the went with wing-nuts for easy installation and removal. Obviously I cut a hole in the box and attached a 6" HVAC fitting to it that I had laying around (free) to attach the silver tube.
The idea with the wing nuts and the 6" HVAC fitting is that when I am not using the dust collector I can disconnect it from the pine box, leaving the box attached to the garage vent. If I want (or need) more venting action I can remove the box easily with the wing nuts. Nothing space age going on here just simple airflow know how.
Since building, installing and using the dust collector the actual dust particle count in the garage has gone down by 62.68% !! That would be amazing if I didn't just make that up... but it has reduced the dust and has made working in the garage more fun!!! Click HERE to see some other woodworking projects that I have done or check out the "Site Index of Projects" link in the top bar of the blog!


  1. I want to make my own air filtration system and have checked a lot of different sites. There are some good ideas out there, but I really like yours. I have a 22' x 22' x 8' shop/garage; what size squirrel motor, attic fan or whatever do I need to handle that amount of space. My email address is
    If you can't get back to me, I understand. Thanks

  2. Hello,

    Thanks! I'm glad you liked my post about the dust collector. I'd be glad to offer some advice, I'll send you an email.


  3. Hello,

    I'm glad you liked my post and thanks for commenting. I can tell you what I have at home, just a simple one car garage shop that is 8-1/2' X 22'. The blower that I used is a McLean engineering 1NB412-115 Centrifugal Blower that is rated at 220 SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute). I used that particular blower because that is what I had from an old machine from a past employer. They didn't want it so I took it.

    I don't use this dust collector to clean the entire garage (shop) air bur rather just a local area where I'm working. As you can see in the post and the video the way I use it is the white vinyl hose does the sucking so I position the end of it near where I am working. I made a cardboard duct that I can tape, clamp or set something heavy on so it doesn't move and hold it in place. It does a good job of getting all the fine particles sucked up.

    To answer your question I would decide how to use it first. If you are building something small like I have that you can move to where you are working around a couple hundred SCFM works great. If you want to build something bigger to clean all the air in your shop then you would obviously need a bigger blower. Your shop is almost 4,000 cubic feet so to change the air in there a couple of times a minute you need a really really big blower. I really recommend a centrifugal blower because of the static pressure it builds up.

    If you have any more questions please let me know and thanks again for checking out my blog!