Is it practical to place all the major dust making machines around the dust
collector? Like the wagon trains of old, when attacked.
Seems like all the vertical DC pipes would get in the way, if spread out.
A lower level would be great, but... Last working area was a car port, so
no DC. The constraints of the car port made a less then optimal layout.
I'm in the middle east for another 18 mo. (so ready to get back to TX) So
have PLENTY of time. SHMBO gave my 1st generation tools to her brother and
cousin last year. Now has built my new shop, and left me the hard task of
filling it. <grin> Not sure where to start on the lay out.
Thanks for your help
As a one man gang, I like to set up my work space "kitchen style",
thinking in triangles and squares based on work flow over DC location.
For instance, my dimensioning area includes the table saw, jointer,
planer, and band saw. I keep a hand saw and cordless circular saw near
the stock rack for breaking down boards. The rack area flows to the
dimensioning area. My hand work / assembly area includes my bench, easy
access to hand planes, chisels, etc... as well as the 12" disc sander.
The sharpening station is near the hand tools. The lathe I rarely use
is on the other side of the sharpening station.
The router table / shaper, drum sander, mortiser, miter saw, etc... can
be on wheels or located anywhere. They usually get taken them out, used
for an extended period of time for specific tasks, and put back. I
have extra DC ports and quick-connect hoses in the area where I normally
That said, I'd suggest thinking through your personal work flows and
setting up based on that. The answer to the DC location may or may not
change, but your flow is much more important than a few feet of pipe or
an extra horse on the DC. Once I arrived at this realization, my work
became much more efficient and enjoyable. My first shop setup was based
on DC location, and was very different and less efficient.
Don't forget a remote for the DC! I'd also recommend a quad (vs.
duplex) for each 120V power point and some basic compressed air plumbing.
As much as practical, but I think your primary focus should be on the
functional layout. Think operations or processes and do your layout
that way. If you're going to start with rough lumber, you need to
layout the flow of your initial processing (cross cut, edge joint,
rip, face joint, plane) then go to the secondary processes (glue up,
sand, final sizing, shaping, final component sanding, assembly,
It is a lot easier to move chips and dust then it is to move stock
Additionally, once you have the layout, the companies that are big in
dust collection will help with the layout, routing, and sizing of
equipment and plumbing to get your dust collection job done properly,
and as much as possible, unobtrusively.
I have mine (future) on cad, however, I found it easier to make little
cut paper scale models of the machines and the required feed and
workaround zones and do the layouts by pushing them around manually
Ah yes, "paper doll time".
Still a very effective way of doing plant layouts.
Starting a shop layout from scratch, give your utilities (electric &
air), some consideration.
It's a lot easier to install them in an empty facility.
Yeah, if you are a daily cad user putting in lots of time in the
software, you can beat that method, but for someone like me who has
full autocad but uses it infrequently, the "paper dolls" method is
the fastest way.
My days of making an investment in learning new software are fewer and
Many years ago, I quit doing control systems designs.
My kid could do them twice as fast at half the price.
Time to redirect my efforts into more profitable areas.
As a result, keep a graph pad handy for "paper doll designs".
Something that once learned is not soon forgotten.
I am just going to throw this out here. It is not my idea. It was showcased
on one of those woodworking/home shows.
What they did was to build a nice, big building for the wood whop. But they
needed to be able to vacxate the building and move elsewhere as of some
point in the future. They needed to leave the building nice and clean when
Their solution was to install multiple portable dust collectors around the
shop. Almost everything was mounted on wheels, including the dust
collectors. The shows that I saw showed them using these portable dust
collectors. Everything worked fine.
My problem with it is that this does seem a little spendy. It also takes up
space. And will any small portable dust collector handle the output of a
big planing job? Noise problems?
It was quick and fast though, in terms of setup. No pipes to install.
I have a legitimate excuse! Nooo...., I don't think that will work in this
I had a friend who published a small book. It had some typos in it. He knew
it and did NOT want to be bothered by people sending him memos on these
Soooo...., He wrote a big introduction that declared, THERE ARE NO
TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS IN THIS BOOK! He went on to explain that every thing in
that book was intentional and that the errors were included as a service to
those nanny types who love to find and report errors. By providing this joy
to them intentionally, he relieved them of the responsibility to report said
He received almost no typo messages.
Best DC set up I've seen belongs to a friend who has a large shop with
a full basement. Both DC and air compressor are in the basement, piped
into the first floor shop area. Probably 90% of his stationary tools
are just that, hooked into PVC DWV pipe that comes through the floor.
Very quiet with that four bagger downstairs, and very efficient
because it is sucking down.
There was a guy in the "tools and shops" issue of FWW a few years back
that did essentially this. His jointer/tablesaw/planer/drill
press/bandsaw/sander/chopsaw/router were all integrated into an "island"
in the middle of his shop, with custom bases for each unit such that the
working height of each one was identical. There was a cyclone sitting
in the middle of the whole thing, with a custom dust bin on
full-extension drawer slides to make removing the dust easy.
That said, I'm not sure why you think vertical pipes would get in the
way. Most shops I've seen are set up this way. For the table saw put
the vertical pipe at the back right corner...that will almost never
Maybe a hybrid aproach? Vertical drops that come down and split to
serve multiple machines?
I would point out that "vertical" drops better be used on
a DC that is capable of lifting up heavy shaving,etc.
I have a 3HP DC with 3800 CFM. My ceiling is 12'8" in height
and I doubt my DC could ever lift the shaving coming from my
15" planer or my 8" jointer. Fine dust, maybe... heavy shaving
I don't think so.
I have seen this vertical arrangement in several photos but
I really question how well a DC handle that situation.
My situation is a "cluster" method and I'm not happy with it
but it does make it easier to collect the dust.
I'm looking at another version some day...
I tried the "all" machines on the wall method and that
does work, but you walk yourself silly.
I'm still "looking" for the best method.....
Chris Friesen wrote:
The key to minimizing that is to keep the planer by
the jointer, the table saw by the chop saw and so
on. That way you will mostly be walking from one
station to the next one when milling stock.
A rolling table about the same height as the jointer
and planer bed helps a lot too.
If you place them along the walls then the ducting and power cords
can run up the walls, keeping them pretty much out of the way.
And that leaves the central area open for ad hoc use, or a
central workbench that can be accessed form all sides.
Downside is that it will use more ducting than the way you
Think about how and where you're going to store everything. You need
various sizes and forms of storage. It's usually not convienent to store
nuts and bolts in the same drawer as your wrenches and pliers. If you
store various size boards together, the big ones will be on the top and
the small ones will fall. (This is one of the problems in my shop I'm
working to fix...)
Watch out for the curse of flat surfaces.
You can only do so much with caulk, cardboard, and duct tape.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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