In preparation of now having a CNC Milling workstation in my office I needed to think about dust and quick. For quick milling operations I’ve held a ShopVAC nozzle to the bit and sucked up most of the sawdust/plastic/aluminum shavings – but realizing pretty quickly that material must be removed with thin bites, it won’t be unheard of a metal milling job taking hours to complete. I’m not standing there and holding a vacuum nozzle for hours. Sorry.
So the next step in the whole scheme of things is a vacuum system. While I figure out how I’m going to design and attach a brush dust collection shoe to the mill, I need to think about the back end. Without a way to filter the air the tiny dust particles will build up on my ShopVAC filter pretty quickly, decreasing suction and potentially damaging the motor. I’ve looked at a few alternatives with pricey options and realize that I have a good enough understanding of the idea that I should be able to build something pretty decent.. I hope…
Enter the “I HAS A BUKKIT” DIY Dust collection system.
Here’s how it works. Five Gallon bucket (You can probably use something smaller but that’s the smallest size I could find with a screw on lid attachment available). In the lid I have two holes cut and inside are PVC pipes. You don’t need to be fancy. In the middle is my connector to the vacuum.. It’s a straight piece that is about 3″ long. On the side of the lid is a 90° elbow pointing parallel to the inside edge. What size do you want? Take a small section of your vacuum hose with you and stand in the PVC plumbing aisle until you find what you need. Don’t make it too tight as you’ll need to remove these to unscrew the lid to empty the bucket.
Once you have everything dry fitted, use some hot glue to hold your elbows where they need to go and then epoxy them on both sides. See the bottom of this article for construction photos.
The Elbow port goes to the dust you’re vacuuming. The suction causes the dust to enter the bucket and swirl around the inside of the bucket itself and fall into the bottom.
Oh, and tape a photo of Bukkit Walrus to the bucket. He’ll look after you. But be warned, this has not been tested on large amounts of dust. In the future I may make some adjustments to the positioning of the elbows, specifically taking the input down an inch or two if the output grabs the dust too quickly without letting it settle.
Some shots of the elbows and placement.