Dust Collection: Thein Baffle

One of the biggest problems with using a CNC router is the amount of dust it produces.  Using an air cooled spindle makes the dust problem even worse, as the internal fan blows chips all over the shop.  After sweeping up a quarter inch of sawdust off of everything in my garage, I decided it was time for some decent dust collection.  My first rig used a shop vac connected to a Dust Deputy cyclone separator.

This helped things, but the shop vac just couldn’t move enough air to get rid of all of the chips.  My next move was to get a real dust collector.  Because my router and the dust collector have to run on the same circuit, my options were limited to dust collectors that drew about 12A.  I ended up settling on a Harbor Freight dust collector and retrofitted my existing dust collection cart to accommodate the new equipment.

This was marginally better, but two problems became readily obvious.  First, the cyclone separator constricted the air flow too much to get the full advantage of the new dust collector.  Second, the fan on the router blew too hard for the dust collector to keep up.


Next, I made a new dust boot that redirected the flow of air away from the chips.  I was initially worried that this would interfere with the router’s cooling process, but that hasn’t been the case.  Without the router exhaust blowing all of the chips out of the way, the dust collector works much better.

Old boot.
New boot.

After a lot of research, I decided to make a Thein baffle to separate the dust while constricting air flow as little as possible.  Here is the bottom piece I cut out.

Once I had made the top and bottom of the baffle, I bent some thin luan plywood around a plastic bucket to match the curve routed into the other pieces.  I used an iron and sprayed water on the plywood to coax it into position.  Some of the plywood veneer delaminated but fortunately this piece doesn’t have to look good.  After all of the pieces were made, I used silicone sealant to glue them together.  I used a weak adhesive in case I needed to disassemble the whole thing later.

The whole thing is a little bit hodge podge, but it does the job.  I even made a janky air quality meter to test if it makes a difference.  According to my somewhat suspect data, running the CNC with the dust collector and the garage door open puts fewer particulates in the air than just having the garage door open.

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