How Does A Dust Extractor Work?

Man using dust extractor

Thin dust travels through the air and settles on your things, and it piled up, making it visible for the naked eyes to see and may become an eyesore not only for your visitors but also for you. The presence of dust is unsanitary, for it may trigger some health issues, specifically in the respiratory health system.

There are different ways of having the dust removed. You can simply wipe it, and you can use a duster or a vacuum cleaner; however, it only works when you are confronted with a dust issue inside the household but not when you are confronting a dust concern in a workplace that produces a massive amount of dust.

The Dangers of Dust in the Workplace

With the great volume of dust being produced by re-mulched hardwood shavings, it cannot be removed by simply wiping it or by using a vacuum cleaner. Logically, vacuum cleaners are designed for sucking small quantities of fine dust from your rugs or carpets, but it does not work with dust that is constantly being produced in massive quantities. In a place that is constantly producing a large volume of dust, you need to have dust extraction.

Judging by the term “dust extraction,” we can have an idea that this is made for “extracting” the dust from your workplace. Since it is industrially designed to cope with the large quantity of dust being produced, it has the functionality to perform the task. It has a larger diameter hose but provided that you have adequate air volume. It needs to have a high volume of air for the dust extractor to work efficiently. Bear in mind that dust extractor functions at a high volume of air, but it travels at low velocity.

Dust extraction entails an analysis of the extraction point for different extraction points that require different levels of air volume. You can adequately measure the air volume in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The basic 1HP extractors usually have an airflow of 600 CFM, and it is suitable for extracting dust in cutting/drilling machinery. A 600 CFM extraction is needed in this type of machinery. But it will be entirely different when you are dealing with large milling machines like the thicknessers, for it requires an 800 CFM extraction.

That is the basic assessment that you should conduct before making any dust extraction, for every extraction point has a different level of CFM. The second factor that you should consider is the positioning of the dust extractor in relation to the machine. Usually, woodworking machinery has an extraction connection which is a large diameter of around 4” or 5” (100mm 0r 125 mm). Such a diameter connection will perfectly blend into your dust extractor.

To maximize the machines that are connected with the dust extractor, you may devise a system such as the Y-pieces by adding some meters of the flexible hose to run to the wall, across the ceiling, then eventually gets back to the extractor.

It may sound very enticing about adding some meters in the hose in order to have a large system; however, there is a drawback to this. Every meter of flexible hose you run entails that you lose around 10-20%  of the volume of CFM, and you keep on losing CFM for every bend and fitting that you make in the hose. A simple mathematical analysis will give you an idea that just three meters of flexible hose will mean that your third suction is gone.

Logically you can assume that more meters in flexible hose to run is just a wastage for every single ridge of the hose causing the disruption of the efficient flow of the air. Remember that for the dust extractor to work efficiently, it needs to have a high volume of air, and disrupted airflow may affect the dust extractor to perform efficiently.

But do not fret, for there are also ways of having a large system of dust extraction that may not entail a great wastage, but you must always remember that you need to have enough suction volume. It can be possible with a larger system that is a professionally designed system that uses rigid metal pipes that has a smooth finish engineering bends. It has the efficiency and the capability to run the machines simultaneously together with the high-capacity dust extractors.

Setting up this system entails a big chunk of money, but still, there will be a suction loss of around 1-2% per meter. It is still better to settle for a simpler, straighter and shorter system, for it has a bigger CFM. The longer the meter is added to the flexible hose, the more you lose CFM, which means a loss in suction capacity.

Just keep a simple system in your dust extraction, which is straighter and shorter. It will yield more efficiency rather than investing and shelling out more money in a larger system, which will diminish the dust extraction capability.

Worker using Festool mobile dust extractor

Choose The Dust Extractor That Suits Your Needs

Basically, the needs of every individual vary, and so with the dust extraction system. The type of dust extraction entirely depends on the kind of need that you have. If what you are looking for is something to hook up in the table saw, you can settle for a basic unit. The basic 1HP extractors usually have an airflow of 600 CFM will be perfect for this job.

However, if there is a need to connect with the jointer or thicknesser that requires an 800 or more CFM extraction, opt to have a 2hp unit. The 2hp unit has a higher CFM which is suitable for this type of need, especially since it has a larger waste holding capacity

Before making any impulsive decision in investing and selecting a dust extraction system, you must think whether the type of “need” that you have is already permanent or just “temporary.” If it is temporary because you have plans for expansion, then you must also consider your future requirements. If you have plans to add more machinery, then better settle to a larger unit. It will be a good business decision to have a larger unit that will give you extra points and efficiency.

Safety Measures In Dust Extraction  

There may be some instances that you have heard about explosions in dust extraction, and of course, it rarely happens, but it is better to take a glimpse as to the cause of this “explosion.” It has been observed that there is a static electricity build-up in the dust extraction equipment. This is due to the constant rubbing of the timber particles inside the flexible hose. It can be compared to a comb that accumulates some hair particles caused by the constant rubbing of the comb on the hair. This can produce or build a static charge and discharge a “spark.”

An explosion can be had once the three parts are ignited by the spark. The other part may be in the form of the “fuel” produced by the fine dust particles while the remaining part is the air that is being forced into the system. If these three parts collide, then an explosion will follow. This scenario may be rare, but it is better to take some precautionary measures to avoid this untoward incident.