I had never really considered the need for a table saw dust collection plan until we started building our shed. Somehow I had always felt that the drill press dust collector was enough to handle any table saw grinder, but not so much anymore as I have since done my homework on this topic. It’s amazing how differently you feel about the safety and cleanliness of your workshop when you’ve got a new baby in tow – protective gear is a must!
I’ve also been researching different ways to do it, and while there are some decent options online for DIYers, they all seem to have their own set of trade-offs that might or might not apply to your specific situation.
So I’ve put together this quick guide on DIY Table Saw Dust Collection, as a starting point for my fellow woodworkers and their table saw dust collectors.
Hope it helps!
DIY Table Saw Dust Collection
- Best Hybrid Table Saw
- Dust Collection Hood
Duration: 30-45 Minutes
Budget: $100-$150 (USD)
1. You can purchase a stationary table saw or make one yourself. We opted for the latter since it saves us ~$100 and it should be fairly straightforward to build something like this so there’s no reason not to do it. Set aside some time and give yourself ample space to work in, as this will likely be the most time consuming part (unless building a unique table saw – there are many options on the internet).
2. Measure your table saw fence – this is important because it will determine what measurements you need to input into the saw and the cutting path you need to build. Be sure that your saw’s fence has a “wide opening” so that it will be able to accommodate the larger pieces of wood you will use when building your dust collection system – a reliable contractor saw without a wide opening doesn’t have enough space for larger pieces of wood.
3. Build your dust collection system. We decided on the use of a three-point system, where the smaller pieces of wood are captured in one bag, the larger pieces of wood in another bag, and large chips in a third bag. Here are some suggestions for what to put in each bag:
i) My favorite option is particle board; it’s cheap +ideal for heavy duty applications, it makes a lot of dust (you don’t need much), and you can use anything as long as it’s clean and can stand up to being flattened.
The trick here is to buy particle board that is fairly dry – if it’s damp, the cardboard will absorb moisture and it won’t hold up. If you’re looking for particle board in particular, Ikea has some pretty good stuff that you can get for ~$4 a sheet (keep in mind shipping if you’re local).
ii) A third bag is a good idea as well – we used an old pillow case from my parents couch.
iii) Finally we added some small plastic boxes from the Dollar Store to contain any larger pieces that might accidentally fall through the 3-point system. You could also use something like this . The small netting bag is a good spot for anything that might get stuck in the dust control system. You can buy plastic boxes like these for about ~$2 each – I wouldn’t use anything more expensive as they will probably crack quickly.
iv) I would also suggest an idea similar to our own – you can order any dust collector that will fit your table saw via Amazon or eBay and then modify it with some wood, screws, and rope to make it simpler.
4. Attach the bags to your saw’s fence so that the bags are just below the blade guard where they can be accessed when ripping – this eliminates the need to clear them out every time you cut something.
5. Attach vacuum. This is the part where you will want to attach a vacuum with a wide opening or vacuum lance – otherwise, it will block the path of the wood. Mount it just above your machine and make sure that it is securely fastened. The best source for this is Amazon as there are many available on there that will work with your particular machine.
6. Set up shop vac(s) outside of fence – I recommend at least two if possible, but one may be all you need in extreme cases (like ours). If you have a shop vac with a hose/trigger/motor already, it will be much easier to manage as there is very little assembly required. If you don’t have one of these, I suggest that you get an inexpensive one like this one.
7. You’re almost done! All that is left to do is tear down your saw and clean them both out (the saw and dust collection system, if applicable). Cleaning the saw itself can be done with whatever method you prefer – I found that for our saw, simply removing the blade from the machine and then using an old toothbrush quickly removed the majority of debris followed by water to rinse it all off.
You can use the water to clean out any dust from the machine as well, although we found that if you do this, you should be sure that all of the water is either drained or has dried before turning on the machine. This part of the process is entirely up to you – some people like to take it completely apart before cleaning it, others just use a small vacuum (like on an angle grinder).
8. Finally, put it all back together and enjoy your gorgeous new saw.
9. Don’t forget about proper ventilation if your shop (and workspace) is not large enough for a dust collection system. Ventilation should be located above your workbench at least 3′ away from the workpiece. This can be as simple as creating a hole in the ceiling or adding a box with ventilation holes.
Happy ripping! We’ve been cutting on this saw for two years now and have no plans to buy anything else (if we ever do, we will certainly shop around). In our opinion, this was definitely money well spent for a worthwhile experience in woodworking.
DIY Table Saw Dust Collection Video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What kind of dust collector is great for DIY?
Can I make a dust collector for a miter saw?
Can I use a vacuum hose instead of Shop Vac?
What size table saw dust collector do you need?
Do you need to use a mounting bracket?
Can I use PVC for dust collection?
DIY Table Saw Dust Collection
This ends our How To Guide of DIY Table Saw Dust Collection.
Now that you know how to make your own DIY Table Saw Dust Collection system, learning how to improve your workflow efficiency can be more easy. For example, learning how to make your own DIY Table Saw Jig for better cuts is a worthwhile thing to learn.
We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional Woodworking projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.
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