Category Archives: Workshop Builds

Cyclone Dust Collector – Harbor Freight and Super Dusty Buddy

Make #31

For dust control, I’ve been using an old shop vac and Dust Deputy. It worked well enough, but then the vacuum died spectacularly. It stopped running with a column of thick smoke and then melted down. Rather than abusing another shop vacuum, I started looking for a dust collector.

I opted for the 2 HP model from Harbor Freight. It’s very popular and a good price that’s even better with a 20% off coupon. I also got the larger Super Dust Deputy since the little bucket version worked well for me. Using the conical cyclone, debris enters, swirls around, and drops to a collector rather than going through the blower motor into a collection bag. The primary purpose is to prevent solid chips/chunks, etc from hitting the motor’s impeller and causing damage. But it’s also extremely efficient at capturing anything that gets sucked up.

I’m not using the bagging system with Harbor Freight Kit. I’m simply venting outside. The advantage here is that only the finest dust will escape the Dust Deputy, but this fine dust is the most problematic. It’s the most dangerous to inhale, and it’s also the most difficult to filter. So, rather than building an expensive filtering system, I’m just going to just exhaust it outdoors. Once it snows, I’ll be able to see how much dust is being vented and whether I need to rethink it. So far, it’s working great.

The other advantages of this setup are it’s a small footprint. It’s vertical at less than 2-foot by 2-foot. The other advantage is there’s no filter to restrict airflow, so it should help increase power or at least help counter the restriction from the cyclone.

I opted to go for the newer 4-inch Super Dust Deputy. I was hesitant to buy a smaller unit than the larger cyclone with 5-inch connections. I was concerned if it would hurt power and not be as efficient. So far, it seems perfectly fine. It seems Oneida designed this version of the Super Cyclone for the popular Harbor Freight and similarly sized dust collectors. This is a turn-key system that includes a 15-gallon drum. The cyclone fits directly on the drum and doesn’t require a lid or cutout. It also includes a foam gasket to get a tight seal. The output is 4″, which is the typical for small to medium shop dust collection. It also includes a fitting/adapter out of the top for 4″.

For my setup, I made a wall mount with 2x4s. I then just set then fan blower so the input is facing the ground. I didn’t mount the blower anywhere. It’s heavy and the blower input sticks out so will keep it from sliding off. Once mounted, I used the Harbor Freight duct adapter and 5″ output hose. I cut a hole in the wall, installed a 5″ wall duct baffle, and connected it all with clamps. I also cut a short length of the 5″ hose and connected that to the lower input with a clamp. Then used a 4″ reducer. Then I attached a length of 4″ hose to the Super Dust Deputy.  Out of the Harbor Freight kit, I’m just using the blower, duct adapter, and hose.

This gives me a straight line for airflow with only a minimal curve on the output. I mounted the lower at a height that was convenient for me to reach the switch. I thought about sitting the drum on a cart  for convienent emptying and maybe steal a little extra shop storage space but didn’t I don’t have a clear path to wheel out the drum anyway. I also didn’t want to directly connect the blower to the Super Dust Buddy because I thought it might make it more difficult to empty the drum. I’m thinking about using some bungee cords to hold the Super Dust Buddy when emptying, but it seems light enough that the hose clamps can support it hanging.

Lastly, I need to work on connections. I intend to simply move the 4″ hose to machine to machine. My shop is small and only the table saw is stationary, so I don’t have fixed stations for duct work.

Dust Collector System
Dust Collector System
4" Super Dust Buddy
4″ Super Dust Buddy
Collected Dust
Collected Dust

Links

Box Joint Jig #2

Make 28

Remaking a box/finger joint jig. This fits my new saw. Similar to the remade cross cut sled, I left this open on the top and also using 1/2″ plywood. This is lighter and gives more flexibility.

I have a rear fence and behind that I have a stop block for the blade. Then I clamp templates to the fense. I have templates for 1/2″ and 3/8″ joints. Each template has its own little piece glued in as a key,

 

Cross Cut Sled #2

Make 26, Week 15

This is a new crosscut sled for my new saw. The old sled didn’t fit the new miter slots. This time around I made a few changes.

First, I use 1/2-inch birch plywood rather than particle board.  I also didn’t do a front fence. This is much lighter and also without a front fence, larger workpieces can extend off of the sled.

The fence is two pieces of 3/4-inch birch plywood laminated together. I also screwed a block behind the blade area. This will give a place to bury the blade and be a guide of where to not place fingers. This block is screwed into the sled so it’s also helping to hold to two pieces of the sled together.  Also, two blocks at the end screwed into the fence. This is basically somewhere to hold when moving the sled with the hope of not putting to much stress on the fence. Lastly, I used walnut for the miter rails.

We’ll see how this holds up.

It seems to be pretty square. I did a 5 cut on about a 10-inch board and it came out to I guess 0.0009 inches off. I think that’s probably close enough.

New cross cut sled
New crosscut sled
Fence and blocks
fence and blocks
Miter rails
Miter rails
0.00045 inches off across 5 cuts
0.0045 inches off across 5 cuts

Box/Finger Joint Jig

Make 24, Week 14

My first try at a box I did 45-degree miter joints for the edges. For the next box, I want to try using box joints. I made this sled and jig to make these on the table saw. I also picked up a dado blade to cut these joints.

I made a little sled with two miter rails. The plan is to have different fences attached to the sled fence for different dado widths. I then made a small key to fit the dado slot as a placeholder. The first time I did this, I made the key too tall. Being that tall I had to cut deeper dados than I needed, so I redid the fence and key with a shallow dado.

This worked out pretty well on my test pieces. The set fence was held in place with a clamp, but I needed to reposition the clamp when I started the other board. I think it shifted a 1/8 of an inch or so. I’ve seen some similar jigs held together with a bolt rather than clamps. I’ll have to play around with it, but it’s close enough.

Mini sled
3/8″ dado fence with key
Spacer key
Fitting the cuts
Matching it up
Fitting joints together

Cutting Board #5

Make 22, Week 13

Yet another cutting board. This one turned out pretty well although a perfect pattern is still elusive. I actually meant this to be a checkerboard but did an odd number of edge grain strips instead of even to get a pattern when cutting the end grain strips. But this works.

Cutting Board #4 - Maple and Walnut Stripes
Cutting Board #4 – Maple and Walnut Stripes
Closeup Cutting Board #4 - Maple and Walnut Stripes
Closeup Cutting Board #4 – Maple and Walnut Stripes

 

Drum Sander Cart

Make 20, Week 12

I got frustrated enough with end grain boards to pick up a drum sander. These cutting boards are learning project and I’m planning to start building some boxes next. A drum sander would be handy in working with pieces too small for a thickness planer. So, I figured I’d have uses other than cutting boards as a justification for a new toy.

As with other large power tools, I made a mobile cart using similar designs.

I chose the small Jet 10-20. Not only is it one of the most affordable, but has a small footprint for my little shop. Although, the cart is bigger than it needs to be. I may repurpose this cart in the future for something else and make a cart a little smaller to save on space.

I’m still learning to use it. I keep tripping the motor overload, but I’m getting the hang of it. It seems running the belt fast and doing very small thickness adjustments works well. Slowing the best causes a lot of burning, so seems like this small sander just needs some patience. It’s not a huge time saver, but it requires little to no concentration, unlike the router sled.

Drum Sander Cart
Drum Sander Cart
Sanding Cart Sketchup
Sanding Cart Sketchup

Links

 

Exhaust Fan

Make 18, Week 9

My workshop has an exterior door and a doorway going into the garage. When making dust, I open the outside door and car garage door for some ventilation. The doorway into the garage and the outside door and in-line, so the rest of the shop doesn’t seem to get a lot of air movement. A forced air exhaust vent at the other end of the shop seems a good idea.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is I probably don’t want to have all the doors open when the weather turns cold.  My thinking is that I may run the fan only when running saws, or perhaps just flip on the fan for a few minutes to clear out the air. There’s no heat in the workshop, but I’m thinking of installing some kind of electric heat. By just running the fan to suck out dust, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to take the edge of the cold in the workshop and momentarily run the fan to clear out the air. I plan to crack the garage door when running the fan in the winter.

I’ve also moved my shop vac dust collector over by this fan. I run a short hose from the blower port on the fan and shoot that out the fan. The idea is whatever isn’t captured by the Dusty Deputy and HEPA filter should go side.

Anyway, I got this 14-inch fan from Amazon. There are bigger fans, but they seemed excessive and not worth the price for my space. I didn’t get fussy installing it. I basically cut out a hole in the garage wall with a beat up jigsaw blade, then braced the fan with 2×4 boards against the joists. I wired then it up using an extension cord. Eventually, I’ll make it more permanent with a switch.

This seems to work pretty well. There’s noticeable less dust hanging in the air and even less eventually settling. I always wear a respirator when making dust, but I feel this fan clears the air enough to remove the mask when not running saws or sanders.

Mounted exhaust fan from the inside
Mounted exhaust fan from the inside
Mounted exhaust fan from the outside
Mounted exhaust fan from the outside
Shop Vac Exhaust
Shop-Vac Exhaust

Links

Shop Lights

Make 17, Week 8

Small project to improve lighting. I’ve been using four CFL bulbs for my little workshop.  I bought an LED array that’s in the form of tube bulbs. I’m trying to keep down the power usage for the shop just because everything is on a shared circuit. LED seemed a good solution for low power and quality of light. I installed one and liked it enough to add a second.

These worked out great. Hopefully, they prove to be durable. They offer 4800 lums of light at 5000k daylight temp and run at 64 watts. They make a big difference lighting up my work.

You can link them together, which is pretty convenient for installing multiple bulbs. Installation is pretty easy. Just u-shaped bracket, chain, and clips.

Everything is brighter!
Everything is brighter!
Bulbs installed
Bulbs installed

Links

Jointer Cart

Make 16, Week 8

Finally got around to building a cart of the little jointer. I was keeping this on the floor and lugging it on the workbench when needed.

This cart is using some new casters I got from Amazon. I think I like these much better than the casters from Lowes. Seem smoother. Cheaper too. These don’t have locks. Next time I may try a set from Amazon with locks.

Jointer Cart
Jointer Cart
Jointer Cart
Jointer Cart

Links

Bench Vice

Make 10, Week 7

Some day I’d like to either rebuild this cart or build a more traditional work bench. Until then, I’m getting an idea of what is helpful and what is not helpful for me to a work surface. One thing I decided to add last week was a bench vice.

This is an Eclipse 7-inch vice that has a few features that I wanted. I wanted something that mounted to the side of the bench and sat level with the surface. I didn’t want a bench-top model. I also wanted something that I could use to hold a workpiece against a bench dog, and this has a little notch that can pop up for this purpose. I also wanted to screw in some scrap wood to prevent the metal of the vice from marring the surface of a workpiece. Lastly, I like how this vice has a quick release to quickly open and close without working the vice.

I opted for the smaller 7-inch model because it was significantly cheaper and I don’t see myself needing to hold anything much bigger. Plus it just seemed like a small vice would be an easier retro fit into my bench`.

The vice is designed to sit about 2.25-inches from the surface. This means a 2×4 and 3/4-inch bench top fits it perfectly. Since the front of my cart has a 2×4 running vertically, I trimmed down a section with the jigsaw. The cutout isn’t pretty, but it works. Then I screwed in a new 2×4 to lay flat under the bench top. This supports the second bolts for the vice and I have it screwed from the front of the work bench and sides with the side of the bench and middle cross support.

View of vice from under
View of vice from under

I ran four 3/8-inch 4-inch hex bolts through the bench top and secured them with washers and nuts. The rear bolts could actually be shorter since there’s less material in the vice. I made it work just by adding some extra washers rather than another trip to the hardware store. Also, I didn’t have a 3/8 counter-sink bit to have the bolt sit below the bench top. I ended up just making the holes a little bigger with a drill. Doing this, however, I actually over drilled a couple of the holes, so the heads spun freely in those holes. It’s not solid tight, but it works.

The last part was I cut two pieces from 1×4 pine to screw into the vice. I trimmed the height of the board to be flush with the workbench top.

Vice installed
Vice installed

Tip: Make sure to screw in the wood before bolting it down! Another tip, this thing fell off the bench and chipped the paint. Don’t do that either.

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