Working with wood – whether you are doing it once in a while or on a frequent basis – can expose to you to a number of health hazards. One of these is exposure to sawdust.Saw dust or wood dust can be innocuous to look at, but it is actually a documented health hazard. Exposure to saw dust (especially for a longer term) has long been correlated with various adverse effects to one’s health. These effects can include dermatitis, several respiratory problems (allergic or non-allergic) and even cancer. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you should invest on a good dust collector to effectively suck in the dust and debris as you make them.
But choosing a dust collector is anything but simple or easy. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming. There are a lot of things to figure out whil choosing a good dust collector – determining airflow charts and cubic feet per minute and so on. But with the right dust collection equipment, you will be able to turn your working environment a cleaner, safer and healthier place not just for you, but your entire family as well.
It's essential that you should look at a dust collector's important features:
Airflow – Dust collectors are usually rated by how much the volume of air they can move, measured by cubic feet per minute (CFM). It's good to buy a dust collector with enough CFM to handle the dust and debris from whatever dust-making machine you're using.
If you use more than one dust-generating machine at the same time, you should need a dust collector that will be able handle their combined dust yield.
To give you a basic idea of you will need in air flow capacity, here's a list below of the typical CFM requirements of each tool:
- Band saw (14 inches) – 350 to 450 CFM
- Belt disc sander – 300 CFM
- Disc sander (12 inches) – 300 to 500 CFM
- Drill press – 300 CFM
- Jointer (4 to 12 inches) – 350 CFM
- Lathe – 500 CFM
- Planer (12 inches) – 400 CFM
- Planer (13 up to 20 inches) – 500 CFM
- Radial arm-saw – 350 CFM
- Scroll saw – 300 CFM
- Spindle shaper – 400 CFM
- Table saw (10 inches) – 350 to 450 CFM
Static pressure – The static pressure tells you how much powerful the dust collector's air suction will be. Generally, the higher the static pressure (and the CFM) that your dust collector has, the stronger it is. Static pressure is expressed in inches.
Filter bag – How efficient is your dust collector's filter bag? The material of a filter bag is also a big factor. How good the cloth depends on the weave. The finer the weave, the better the bag. It just means that a quality filter bag does the job better in trapping the particles from escaping – yes, even the minute particles.
Noise level – The lower the decibels of the dust collector, the quieter it is.
Wheels option – Unless your home or shop has the ductwork needed for a centralized dust collecting system, you'll likely need a mobile dust collector equipped with wheels.
There are five different types of dust collectors:
- Shop vacuums – Shop vacuums or “shop vacs” are the least expensive option. They come in both wet vacs and are ideal mostly for light dust-collecting work.
- Single-stage – Single-stage dust collectors generally features a blower and two filter bags, stacked on top of the other. One bag collects the bigger debris such as wood chips, while the other bag gathers the finer sawdust, as wood debris is being sucked into the machine.
- Two-stage – A two-stage dust collector features a drum-and-bag configuration. As the air is drawn into the machine, the bigger debris settles into the drum. The finer dust, on the other hand, is and collected into the filter bag through a rotating device called the impeller.
- Cyclone pre-collectors – A cyclone pre-collector is characterized by its funnel-shaped tube, which whirls and separates wood debris. The bigger debris settles into the a waste container, while the finer particles are blown into the filter bag.
- Ambient air-cleaners – An efficient dust-collecting equipment, the ambient air-cleaner catches saw dusts that are too microscopic to be trapped by regular dust collectors. The air is drawn in and goes through under several filters, thenx` the microscopic dusts are collected. Result is cleaner air that circulates back to the area.