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Thread: how far should belt grinder be from machine tools?

  1. #1
    vanguard cycle's Avatar
    vanguard cycle is online now Hot Rolled
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    Default how far should belt grinder be from machine tools?

    sorry in advance for the long winded post
    mods please delete if not appropriate.

    i have a bit of a dilemma in the shop right now and i need some advice. im out of floor space at this point and starting to get real creative with space saving solutions. I needed 2 new belt grinders so i got a 2 x 48 and 1 x 42 Kalamazoo. I set up 2 pedestals for them today in anticipation of tomorrows delivery but without making major footprint changes the only place for them is diagonally in between the mill, drill press and lathe. about 6' away from mill, 5' away from drill press and 8' away from lathe.
    i have always heard that you want any abrasive grinding as far away from any machine tools because of the abrasive dust wearing down tolerances and what not.
    but...there are tool post grinders, and all of those people that use emery on the lathe, etc..i know i do. so why is it such a big deal if you presumably keep clean tools and a clean shop.
    to keep the general amount of dust in the shop down i intend to build a sort of dust collection very large down draft register in the floor (36" crawlspace) connected to a large squirrel cage of some sort that would be wired to the momentary foot pedal for each grinder. There would never be any wood grinding considering the fire hazard.
    so whats the general consensus among you guys? do any of you have any grinder type things very close to your machine tools and have you seen any problems as a result?
    also, im very interested in hearing creative solutions you have come up with to manage the dust in your shops.
    i know im probably over thinking this one but i would really like for my shit to not get ruined as a result of something i could have done differently.


    thanks in advance everyone
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  2. #2
    sfriedberg is offline Titanium
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    Good practice would put abrasive work (including blasting) and spraying in their own areas with separate air circulation and/or filtering. That's not always practical.

    I've got a small shop (24x28) and do varying amounts of grinding and sanding. T&C grinder, belt/disk sander, bench grinder, carbide grinder, plus a drawer full of die grinders and angle grinders/sanders. In this same space live two lathes and two mills.

    On rare occasion, I roll the AirFlow smoke collector out of its corner and use it to corral grinding dust at the source. This is seldom practical. The state of my shelves makes it clear that quite a bit of fine stuff is in the air, and it takes a long time to settle out.

    So, I try to keep exposed machine ways clean when I'm fabricating, and wipe them down before relubing and firing up the machine. As I use straight cutting oil on most of my machines, this is a bit messier than it might otherwise be.

    I used to use 6x6 framed welding curtains to try to contain welding dust and grit, but they were a lot of trouble to store and position, and they did nothing for the fine airborne stuff.

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    LKeithR is offline Hot Rolled
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    Sounds like you're a small one man operation so all machines are not likely in use at the same time. Do like I do and go to the local thrift/surplus store and buy some old cotton sheets. Drape them over the machines when they're not in use. It's a simple job to flip the covers off if you need to use a machine and, since it doesn't make sense to cover a dirty tool it's a good incentive to clean up before putting the cover back on. It may take a bit of time to do this but in the end I think you save on overall cleaning time so you're further ahead...
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  4. #4
    helocat is offline Aluminum
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    My shop is packed in like most. My CNC mill is about 6' from our welding table where almost all production welding/grinding takes place. I have it on the books for the next shop to be in two walled halves. One side for office/warehouse/machine tools the other for side for welding/production etc. For now I keep a full weld curtain between the mill and the fab area. I also clean the mill after each use and wipe it down before use. I do have a 22' ceiling so I do have pallet racking around the machine area. I have three 5hp JET air filters going all day long with a regiment of changing out the MEV11 filters once a week. Costs about $24 in filters but we don't have grinding dust building up.

    ALSO I do the sheet thing for my Lathe that gets rarely used.

    Mark
    Last edited by helocat; 02-07-2012 at 01:29 AM. Reason: I have the power too

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    77ironhead is offline Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanguard cycle View Post
    to keep the general amount of dust in the shop down i intend to build a sort of dust collection very large down draft register in the floor (36" crawlspace) connected to a large squirrel cage of some sort that would be wired to the momentary foot pedal for each grinder. There would never be any wood grinding considering the fire hazard.

    rather than mounting the 2 machines on pedestals and going with a 'huge' yet unfocused downdraft for dust collection, you might consider mounting both machines on a small box-type cabinet and putting a ~2 gallon shopvac inside the cabinet direct ducted to the outlet ports on the belt sanders. For added flexibility, mount lockable wheels on the cabinet for ease of movement when not in use. Where I work (big XYZ multinational), there are about 2 deburring stations for every 3 machine tools, comprised of both deburring wheels and abrasive belts, and the shopvacs do an acceptable job keeping the dust under control. All are wired to power on/off with the deburring machine.

    Something to consider with the system you propose: one- that's an awful lot of air to move (as well as being unfocused), which will seriously affect your heating/cooling efficiency; and two- cleaning a 36" crawlspace of accumulated dust and grit will be a nasty experience.

  6. #6
    adama is online now Diamond
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    My advise, forget the machine's think of your lungs. Trust me as a asthmatic having working lungs is way more significant in 20 years time than a couple of though slop in your Bridgeport! Dust extraction needs to be as near point of generation as possible. Secondary air scrubbers are just that secondry!
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  7. #7
    strokersix is offline Cast Iron
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    Shop vac hooked up to each machine is my approach.

    Kind of loud and plastic hose won't hold up to heavy grinding sparks but if those are not serious objections then shopvac works great for me. Probably some fire hazard with this so please consider before doing it.

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    Clive603 is offline Titanium
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    Generally belt grinders/sanders are pretty predictable as to where most of the dust goes so a husky shop vac or two with some detail attention to collection nozzle shape and position will be pretty effective. Be prepared to experiment as a small change in collecting orifice shape or position can make a considerable difference. If using small shop vac or similar sized systems two independent suction systems can be better than one especially if you need a larger general area nozzle and a smaller higher suction one.

    I've seen large roller blinds fitted to shield machines and/or create a smaller workspace for dusty jobs in shops with fairly low ceilings, 8 to 10 ft ish. Easier than drop cloths or machine covers and small, albeit leaky, "room" effect seems to make it easier to arrange effective collection. I guess that flow in the smaller space is better behaved so the collection ducts has some effect pretty much everywhere which helps pick up the further flung particles. In a large open shop the effective region of a collector can be very small.

    Clive

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    vanguard cycle's Avatar
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    good tips, thanks guys.
    mounting these on a cab is just not an option for me. i like tools on a pedestal anyway so i'm sticking with that plan for now. as for my dust collection idea it would be located immediately under the grinder pedestals, sort of a large downdraft table with a large (760 cfm) squirrel cage fan that a friend gave me. i would think that amount of airflow will be somewhat suitable for what i'm trying to do, i do understand that it will suck any conditioned air right out of the shop in a matter of minutes but the fans would only run when grinders run and i guess at this point i have to choose between a dusty shop and tools or higher hvac costs...not a great choice to have to make.
    as far as cleaning out the crawlspace, i can see zero reason to ever do that. just beach sand under there (on the water) maybe i'm missing something but i just don't see the need to do anything more than change the filter when needed. if i did need to clean under there however it wouldn't be a big deal at all, just drag a shop vac under there and go for it..plenty of room under there. i used to do historic renovations where we would shimmy our way under 12" and smaller crawlspaces to redo rotting sills, now that's a nightmare

  10. #10
    vanguard cycle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfriedberg View Post
    Good practice would put abrasive work (including blasting) and spraying in their own areas with separate air circulation and/or filtering. That's not always practical.

    I've got a small shop (24x28) and do varying amounts of grinding and sanding. T&C grinder, belt/disk sander, bench grinder, carbide grinder, plus a drawer full of die grinders and angle grinders/sanders. In this same space live two lathes and two mills.

    On rare occasion, I roll the AirFlow smoke collector out of its corner and use it to corral grinding dust at the source. This is seldom practical. The state of my shelves makes it clear that quite a bit of fine stuff is in the air, and it takes a long time to settle out.

    So, I try to keep exposed machine ways clean when I'm fabricating, and wipe them down before relubing and firing up the machine. As I use straight cutting oil on most of my machines, this is a bit messier than it might otherwise be.

    I used to use 6x6 framed welding curtains to try to contain welding dust and grit, but they were a lot of trouble to store and position, and they did nothing for the fine airborne stuff.

    my main shop is just a little bigger than that at 45 by 35 or something like that, i do actually have a completely separate 12 x 20 room that houses blaster, clean up sink, parts washers, small paint booth, etc. so that's a huge plus in keeping things clean in the main room.
    I did originally set up my shop like you with main production area separate from bike lifts via welding curtains on rings like a big shower curtain but haven't set it all up yet.

  11. #11
    MwTech Inc is offline Stainless
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    "how far should belt grinder be from machine tools? "

    Far, far away

    At work the machine shop is sealed from the rest of the work area.

    If not, you must have housekeeping or your machines will wallow in grit.

  12. #12
    ARFF79 is offline Hot Rolled
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    Default belt sanders

    There are a few things to consider when enclosing dust collection on sanding and grinding gear. If you work a lot with aluminum, you need to keep it seperate from any steel as the powdered aluminum dust can catch fire. The collection hoses need to be grounded to stop static from causing a spark as well. As it appears that seperate sanders may not work for you, a thorough cleaning needs to be done after each use to avoid the hazard. I have been on several fires that were cause by the mixing of metals on sanders and grinders. Usually it is contained to the machine and the collection system,but as powdered aluminum burns hot, and when mixed with iron in the proper ratio acts as thermite, it can get out of hand. This would give me pause about dumping it into the crawl space. I would go with the shop vac idea. You can use an enclosure similar to the kind used for dust control on radial arm saws, placed just behind the sanders, with the vac wired to come on when the sander is turned on. Just make sure to have a real god filter on the vac to avoid shorting the motor.
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  13. #13
    vanguard cycle's Avatar
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    wow, good info there ARFF79,
    I had no idea about the combustible properties of alum dust when mixed with steel dust, i DO NOT like the chance of making home made thermite...scary for sure.
    Problem is space and the amount of room a vac will take up, the way i have things set up it effectively kills the work path between the machine tool area and the main fab table.
    oh what i would give for a thousand more sq ft right about now.

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