Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dust Collection Thoughts

This past weekend was a lot of fun. Peggy and I went to two woodworking shows and a wood working store. It’s a new affliction we have—with the new shop toys we are looking at what we “can’t live without”. Thankfully nothing else followed us home, but we did get pretty excited about dust collectors. When we were doing the Christmas gifts the sawdust being generated was being dragged into the house each time we’d come in from the garage. Peggy looked pretty amazed when I told her of the virtues of a dust collector.

At the show we looked at a lot of things, but the ShopFox dust collector (the only one setup and running) was the one that I think made the most impression . . . it really (in a good way) sucks! It was a bit alarming to put your fingers in front of it and suddenly “whoosh” it would suck them in the hose. They had a really sweet deal on that particular model at the show, but we decided we’d stop and look around some more.

Once I got home I began reading and researching further. I’m more confused than ever, but I think we are going to remain status quo for a bit while working to pay off other debts. Instead we’ll keep watching for a smokin’ great deal on something like that at a sale of some type. We’ve had good favor being patient and waiting on the right deal to appear, and I suspect this will be the same way. In the mean time I contemplated building a air scrubber to instead do the heavy lifting for a dust collector. From what I read, most of the time unless you change to a better bag, you are just spewing all the ultra-fine dust right back in the air with a dust collection setup. If you vent the dust outside, your emptying the AC or heat too. Since we’re working on the premise of everything being portable, a huge dust collector setup with ducting isn’t going to be a great idea.

This might be an idea, but I envision this constructed to go under the Shopsmith with a small 5 gallon bucket for dust collection duties. In the meantime I’ll work on ways of using my current (minuscule) ShopVac to keep up with the sawdust.

Last night I continued to work on the cleanup of ShopSmith #2—the 510 model. I went to put it on the high speed side and the speed changer was difficult to turn and the speed seemed to lag quite a bit. I opened it up and put my new machine oiler to work. I found two different ones, one with a long snout in the 3-in-1 oil variety, and another in a special machine “turbine” oil. I went with the turbine oil version—that promises to be non-gumming, a definite plus in my opinion. I showed Peggy how the pulley/speed changer system works. (She was a lot happier when the belt covers were back on—at high speed she was a little alarmed.)

I got some Naval Jelly for the jointer top cleaning. I’ve waxed the tubes and I took the quill out and gave it a thorough cleaning. The unit is a lot happier now, but I still think there’s some improvement to be made in the speed changer dial—it probably needs cleaned out also. It’s very relaxing to me to work with my hands like that—because my day job is computer programming. There’s just something satisfying about the mechanical side of things . . . which is probably because of the long line of mechanics in my family. Soon we’ll have more projects out of the way—we’re very excited on that prospect. When we get a nice warm weekend I think we’ll destroy the front porch and rebuild it. Ah projects!

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