I’ve only recently started working with bigger power tools, and so until now cleanup has involved an old wallpaper brush and a dustpan for the most part. Airborne dust hasn’t really been an issue.
While I’m careful to wear proper safety gear when working with them, I don’t like to keep it on when I’m doing other things. I might leave the glasses on but I’ve not had issues with plane shavings filling my lungs so take off the dust mask then.
I’ve recently been in a workshop that had a couple of big air filtration systems and they seem to work very well at keeping fine particles out of the way. They are pricey and the footprint too big for a small, single car workshop so not an option for me. I do however like the idea so have been thinking of a way to build a smaller one myself.
The answer came to me when sitting at the PC. It has a number of front mounted fans with dust filters on them to draw cool air in while stopping dust. They are forever needing a clean because of the fine dust they pick up. I looked at them today and thought “Isn’t that pretty much what the big air filtration units do?”.
I’ve started to explore the idea further. To make it work I thought, I’m going to need a fan drawing in air behind some sort of filter so that the dust catches on the filter and can be removed. What have I got that can be used?. A little desk fan?. Probably not, not enough power and I can’t really mount it to draw air into a box rather than out without mounting the motor sticking out. Then it came to me – why not use what I already know works and built it out of PC parts?.
As luck (and an inability to throw out anything out) would have it, I have a spare old PC power supply, a 120mm fan and an air filter spare, along with a piece of plywood to build a case. There’s a power switch on the supply unit but this isn’t enough to make it work, you normally have it wired to a power switch on the PC case. In my box of parts though I happened to have a switchback connector, used when you want to test if a power supply is working. It simulates the closed circuit of a motherboard with power switch on and lets you then control the power supply with the onboard switch.
Will it work? Well the concept seems to work on my PC fans. How reliable the solution will be if it does work as expected is also yet to be seen, as these parts aren’t built to handle the fine wood dust but I might have a go at a larger unit with better dust exclusion if this one works. Pictures as usual once it’s done, but it’s down on the backlog below the workbench build and about five hundred other things!.
The power points in my garage are right next to the door, where my workbench is right up the other end. It’s a pain and a trip hazard running a long cable across the floor so I went looking for another option.
I was contemplating getting a sparky in to add one near the bench but the cost would be around $150, so I started looking at running a cable around the wall to the bench. That’s when I happened to look up. The auto-door opener is plugged into it’s own roof mounted plug. Why hadn’t I noticed it before?
The answer is simple – because I’ve never had need to. I’ve never had to replace the globe in it, and it’s too far out of reach to be useful for plugging anything else into. But now that I’ve noticed it I intend to put it to good use. I’m currently deciding between one of those four outlet hanging units and a traditional powerboard run to behind the bench. The later looks nicer and is easier to reach, but the other is much easier to install, costs about 1/3 of the price of getting a powerpoint installed and has the big advantage of being behind me when I’m at the bench.
If I put the powerpoints behind the bench, I have to deal with the cord dragging out over the workpiece. If it’s hanging behind me, I run the cord up to it and it stays out of my way while I work. I’m fond of throwing the cords over my shoulder while I work so I can control where it is in relation to the tool’s blade anyway.
I’ll post pics once I decide which way to go. The moral of the story though is to always look up – who knows what you will find?
I only have a few modest power tools, but I’d struggled for how to store them close at hand but without getting damaged. The answer came from a few wire baskets I used to keep toiletries in. These were mounted to the wall with standard masonry plugs and are quite strong, and are mounted below my sandpaper storage racks.
With the recent large addition to my plane collection I needed to modify my plane rack to handle them. This was pretty simple, get a chisel under the dividers, pop them out, plane them clean and reglue, and add a few new ones.
I’m thinking of keeping the second 4 1/2 as well and modifying it to be used as a scrub plane, and I’d eventually want a Stanley #3 if I can find one cheap so will leave room for those. I’m going to clear the top of the unit and build a second smaller rack for the wooden planes up there.
Remember when you were a kid and your mother would tell you to clean your room?. You probably didn’t care then but as you got older you realised the importance of this advice for health, safety and keeping your stuff safe reasons.
I like to think the workshop should follow the same rules. Sadly I’m not yet organised enough to practice what I preach fully, but I’m getting there.
One of the most important things I do every time I leave the workshop is to sweep it clean. This keeps dust from being tracked into the house and also makes sure I don’t leave a nail or screw where my car tyres will pick it up.
I’d always wanted one of those big scoop things that council workers seem to make from chemical drums, and so when I saw this one I grabbed it. It makes life a lot easier. About $20 from the local big hardware store from memory.
I’d just like to say thanks for all those who are visiting the blog and linking back to it, it’s a real pleasure to know that people are enjoying seeing what I’m working on and from some of the mail I’ve received that the articles are actually helping you too. I’d love to see your comments and ratings on the posts, so feel free to let me know what you think.
I’ll keep trying to put up as much new stuff as I can, right now there’s quite a backlog of things I’ve done but not yet posted about but we’ll catch up eventually.
I went out yesterday to buy pine for the workbench legs and ended up with four lengths of 100 x 50 oregon. It was almost the same price, has two sides milled already and I think it might be a little more durable than the pine. Not sure when I’ll get to start cutting it to length and putting it together yet though, so just keep an eye on the blog if you want to see it come together.
I should be able to get four laminated legs out of these, not sure if I will get more for the crosspieces yet or use the pine I have here already