Dust Collector Mini-Disaster
My shop is divided into two 16’ x20’ rooms, one “clean” and one for
noise and dust. I build a small room in the “clean” room for my dust
collector and air compressor - with sound proof walls and a weather
stripped solid core door. There’s a pocket door between the Clean Room
and the Noise and Dust Room - handy if it’s raining or I need a longer
wood alley for the bandsaw, which is has a mobility kit.
(Here's the "shop" layout for those who have difficulty visualizing
given only a text description. The Sound Proof Room is in the upper
corner of the left larger room.)
Though it’s been on my To Do List, running compressed air lines through
the walls of the Sound Proof Room into the Clean Room and the Noise and
Dust Room, I hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it. Big mistake!
So, if I need compressed air, like over at the lathe in the Noise and
Dust Room, I open the door of the Sound Proof Room enough to get an air
hose out of it. A bit inconvenient but it works acceptably - until
Today I decided I wanted to try the pop bead type air nozzles I got from
Enco, at Detroit Bill’s suggestion, to blow crap out of a turned box I
was hollowing. AND since I already had the 4” flex dust collector hose
temporarily behind the lathe - the dust and chips blown out of the box
were sucked into the dust collector hose. Nice set up - and cut down on
the dust and debris in the Noise and Dust Room.
An hour into hollowing and sanding and more hollowing and more sanding I
heard a noise from the Clean Room. Since I was turning the dust
collector on and off periodically, I guessed the upper felt bag on the
dust collector had come off its support hook and, when the dust
collector was turned off, had collapsed suddenly and hit the metal
Maybe 10 minutes later I grabbed a handful of turning chisels and gouges
and headed for the Clean Room - where the Tormek is located.
Pulling back the pocket door between the shop’s major rooms I was hit in
the face with what I feared was SMOKE! HOLY SH*T! I shouted and
grabbed the nearest fire extinguisher (I’ve got four in each room).
In an instant I realized that there was no smoke smell. Wasn’t smoke -
but SAWDUST! WHAT THE F*CK!?
That sound I’d heard earlier was the dust collector’s upper felt bag
coming off the dust collector. Reconstructing what happened found that
the upper felt bag had in fact come off its support hook, sagged over
and pinched itself shut, The lower felt bag, being half full and pretty
clogged up it turned out, didn’t provide enough venting capacity for the
amount of air the dust collector impeller was generating. The metal
strap that’s supposed to keep the bags held in place on the their stand
wasn’t quite as tightly installed as I’d thought. Pressure built up,
band wasn’t tight enough - upper felt bag, partially full of dust, BLOWS
OFF - the dust collector continuing to run - spewing very fine sawdust
out the ajar Sound Proof Room door - and ALL over what had formerly been
the Clean Room!
Assessing the damage and estimating the time to clean things up - I said
to hell with it for today, walked back to what is now the Cleaner Room,
closed the pocket door and got back to turning one of two finials for a
double lidded turned lidded box.
I’ve got a forced air furnace blower air cleaner that my bench top
planer is on. Tomorrow I’ll wheel it over to the Former Clean Room,
turn it and the compressor on and blow all that dust back into the air -
where the air
cleaner should capture it - eventually.
Tomorrow is not going to be a fun day!
(now don't you feel better about your latest screw up?)