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Thread: Shop Air Filtering

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    Shop Air Filtering

    What's the simplest, easiest, cheapest quick temporary solution for fine particle air filtering for my shop while I spend some time trying to figure out a better, more comprehensive, longer term solution? Did I mention simple?

    Thanks all,
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Find a heating and air conditioning guy. Get a used squirrel cage fan and motor from him for next to nothing. Get three commonly sized furnace filters and a switch to match the multispeed motor from the borg or a good hardware store.

    Then build a box that has the fan mounted in the middle and is sized to mount two filters on the intake side and one on the exhaust side.

    When the first intake filter is dirty, toss it and move filter #2 to the first slot. Move the exhaust filter to the #2 slot and put a new filter in the exhaust slot. Easy and inexpensive.

    The switch is not hard to wire up. We can help with that or find a sparky (electrician) friend to do it for you.

    FWIW, you will want to learn some simple electric wiring basics, especially switches. It's not hard. Holler when you are ready and we'll help you with that as well.

    Hang your fan box on the ceiling sort of in the middle of your work area.

    Even simpler but far less effective is mounting a filter in front of a box fan. But couple than with close up dust collection with a shop vac and it helps. Not as effective as the ceiling fan, but better than nothing.

    If simple means buying something ready to use, look at JDS fans, but be prepared to lay out some bucks. Other folks may have cheaper solutions.

    But your first line of defense is a good dust respirator. A good one seals real well around your face, and is comfortable and light weight. Or you won't wear it.

    I have a North 7700 that I really like. After 50 years of this stuff, it is the one I actually put on!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post
    What's the simplest, easiest, cheapest quick temporary solution for fine particle air filtering for my shop while I spend some time trying to figure out a better, more comprehensive, longer term solution? Did I mention simple?

    Thanks all,
    Also considering the climate where you live, it's even cheaper to just open the garage door while you work.

    (My brother used to live in Courtenay when he was posted at CFB Comox)
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Outside the beltway
    Note of caution; many I mean many guys have lost there shops to cheap filtering systems. So it will depend on the chemicals you plan to use if just for acrylic water base material not much can happen chemically, getting to the solvents is a different story. I was reminded yesterday of this when an old friend shopped by and we got to talking about another old friend who burnt his house down with a Jerry rigged , quick, cheap filtering system.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    This is a subject of great debate, but if you search Bill Pentz (spelling?) and read his research he concludes that airflow like an air filter is the worst thing for your health. It keeps the extremely fine dust that airborn rather than it settling and where you can inhale it. Best solution is wear dust mask.

    I may be mistaken but I think his conclusion was that Health Wise, your better of with nothing and a poor dust collection system or air filter that keeps air moving and stirs up the invisible dust.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Go to Grizzly and get one of these.

    Very good value for money, three speeds remote control and i made a frame to put my own filters in when the first one was used up.

    If you get into building a unit you end up never finishing those projects you got the wood for.

    This is not the total solution though.

    When you have time you need to do a bit of reading at this site. Its Bill Pentzs site.

    It will be a one stop education stop on dust and dust collection and if it scares you, good then you will be careful to make sure you deal with dust.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
    Completely agree with Jeff. Get a good North Dust mask with cartridges are the best and cheapest quick fix. Though I don't know where in Campbell river you will find these, this is what a would recomend that you get. There is a cheaper similar mask but this one is far better and will not harden with age. We use these all the time at work and I have a few in my shop

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    My Experience

    Hi Cynthia

    I think I told you about the wonderful Cynthia that worked for me a long time ago. If not let me know and I will tell you one of my old man stories.

    In the beginning I thought a face dust mask was a dust mask. I was real smart and purchased them at the Dollar Tree...ten for a buck. I used them when I cut out the plastic shower in the downstairs bathroom. My lungs probably have a ton of fiberglass in them from that experience. I did put in some real nice cabinets in that space however.

    My son, Glenn, got a real good deal on a Black & Decker double bag dust collector. I am sure that it loaded his lungs up with the real fine stuff that is the real problem. Stuff under 1 micron is the deadly stuff---read Bill Penz. Anyway he wasted most of $200 on a unit that removes "aggrevating" or some such terminology dust (3 micron).

    We both thought that it was great until we learned more. Personally I think he would have been better off with nothing.

    Then I purchased a single can, half-face unit. I had to continually remove it to blow my nose from the high humidity. When we exhale we blow out a lot of moisture. The moisture causes the nose to run so you need to remove the mask to blow your nose or live in a lot of snot. This unit cost about $35.00.

    I saw an article or ad about AO Safety. They had a mask that would open. You flipped a lever and the "nose" part would come off and hang down on straps. To replace you just held up the nose piece and flipped the lever back into position. It turns out that it was just as much a problem as removing an entire unit. It is a dual-can unit and has filters for dust, paints, bug sprays, and anything else you can think of.

    I have kept the two-can unit. I have not worn it for a couple years. However, if I ever have to use pestacides, I will wear it. It cost about $40.00.
    Both the single-can and the double-can units interfered with my field of vision.

    I am currently using Makrite N95-910V. These are N95 rated. They are not for pestacides, etc. They do filter 95% of particles one micron size. They also filter smaller, however I cannot remember how much of what size. Cost was $15.00 at Home depot or Lowe's; I can't remember which. In my hobby shop one lasts about a year. I have three scattered about the shop.

    I also have an FDS Air Tech 750-ER Air filtration system. Under the right lighting conditions and after sanding without a Dust Collector you can see haze from across the room moving towards it. (I have one belt sander that does not have a connection to dust collection). When I use that sander, I normally roll it outside. However, when it is raining (Yes it does rain in So. Calif.) I do my sanding quickly, doors open, FDS running, Dust Mask in place and then go talk to friends at FWW or go out to eat or whatever for a couple hours.

    I also have a full-blown DC system. Six inch mains througout the shop. I have six or four inch drops to each piece of equipment---not including the belt sander. My drops are four inch flex part-way. My lathe is rigid all of the way except the flex, which I move all of the time at the lathe. The other flex drops are becoming rigid with time. The ducting has been purchased.

    Not too long ago I did post photos of the DC system. I cannot remember to which thread it was added. If you cannot find it easily PM me and I will find it for you. The system works quite well. The first time I turned it on it ate a pair of safety glasses laying across the table. I mean it was like a table saw kick back. One second the glasses were there, the next they were gone.

    I mentioned opening garage doors. I have a people door on the west side of the shop and garage doors on the east side. There is almost always a nice breeze off of the ocean, up our box canyon, and through the house and garage if they are open.

    Gads, I am sure the gabby one tonite.

    Enjoy and don't hesitate to ask me any questions or for specific photos if they will help you.

    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    The bag unit is a Delta (just for correctness, not a recommendation) that has worked well since I added an American Fabric Filter .3 micron bag to it BUT, all of this eludes your original request for inexpensive and simple. 3M, in their wisdom, after purchasing AO Safety, stopped making my favorite face mask:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Street price about $13, long lasting filters, low interference with direct and peripheral vision. It was perfect; so of course it must be discontinued and replaced by those big ole honkin' twin cartridge vision impairing half masks. Ron Keeble went above and beyond the call of duty in analyzing the fit and visibility restrictions of the Lee Valley model for me, which I now have. It is a close second to the no-longer-available AO Safety unit in comfort and visibility interference but, that varies with your head size and shape.

    *** Hmmmm, I just noticed that I am not to blame for my long-winded-ness, I get it from my dad ***

    Anyway, cheap and quick protection is a mask (shop long and hard, if you don't like it, you won't wear it). If you want the layer of dust that coats the clothes dryer under control, a shop made unit as Carol suggests is worthwhile; commercial units available . I use mine to scrub the air (while I leave the shop) if an activity has created a mess (like free hand routing of MDF).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DC Ambient 1.jpg   DC Ambient 2.jpg  
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 10-08-2010 at 01:06 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Santa Claus, In
    I have the same setup as Carol mentioned. I did put the main unit above the ceiling and filters mounted at ceiling level. Used metal duct work. Discharge goes out the gable vent.

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