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Thread: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

  1. #1
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    Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    I have a friend who makes a lot of custom knives and some of the materials he uses for the scales are kind of hazardous to breathe in. in addition, he grinds an awful lot on his 2 x 72" belt grinder and an RA grinder.

    Other than wearing a carbon filtered mask, is there some way to catch and filter the dust before it floats around the shop? Woodworkers have those big vacuums with hoses to each machine, is there something like that or more suitable for a metal working shop?

  2. #2
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    Fume extractors are definitely one thing, and all manner of Hepa filter air purifiers.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    For point of use application, I have a dust collection system from Home Depot. It attaches to a 5 gallon bucket and utilizes a small shop vac for suction. You can put a HEPA filter and bag in the vac. The heavy stuff stay in the bucket. Finer dust enters the bag. It is pretty efficient on capturing large pared. I guess you would have to measure to determine the efficiency of the captured small parts. I also have an Oneida collector that I never assembled.

    The bucket collector saves the vacuum filters big time. I have not changed the more than bag in a year.

  5. #4
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    The biggest problem is having a system that can handle sparks and not burn up the filter, the hose or the collection bag/bucket.

  6. #5
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    As others noted, you can find and buy dust collection systems for metal working, but make sure it is rated for grinding sparks. It is unlikely to capture everything from hand type operations like you described as they are rarely well enough contained to allow good capture. I would also recommend a respirator, but you do not need or want carbon cartridges. Grinding/sanding and welding operations generate particles, so you need a particulate filter. Carbon cartridges are for solvents and chemical vapors. Sometimes you can also get a bit of a burnt odor from some of these operations, so your best total solution is a particle filter with a little bit of carbon in it to take out odors (often called "nuisance odor removal" in the industry).

    You can use disposable respirators, but if you are doing this full time I would recommend either a reusable respirator with a silicone faceseal or a full blown PAPR with a helmet/faceshield. The silicone masks are going to be comfortable and your most cost effective long term solution, but the comfort and ease of use of a PAPR w/helmet is unequaled if you can swing the cash for those. Having the full faceshield with the helmet is great for keeping your face intact from flying objects and keeps all dust out of your eyes too. You still need safety glasses on, but the faceshield is sweet. A silicone mask and filters is probably $30-50 whereas a PAPR w/helmet is going to be $1k+ Both will last for many years with modest care and how often you need to replace filters will depend on how much dust is in the air and how much you use them. You could go years on a set of filters in a one-man shop. Of course finding anything in respirators right now is tough with COVID.
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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  8. #6
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    I built a cyclone type dust collector years ago, there's plans & drawings all over the ole interweb, just search out cyclonic dust collector.
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  10. #7
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    The Oneida and Home Depot are cyclone style. You can create a grinding station from a 55g barrel or trash can or whatever you decide. Would be ideal for small parts like knives.

    I have a portable welding fume extractor. I would not recommend it because often close proximity to the source needed for it to perform. I also have a dri eaz air scrubber. They appear to have pretty good suction away from the source ant are used for welding. I have not used the DriEaz, purchased very cheap for a specific job that didn't happen..

    The fume extractor simply used a wire mesh to retard hot sparks.

  11. #8
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    Re: Is there any way to deal with hazardous dust in a shop

    Good advice, thank you all. I'll pass it along.

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