Capturing belt grander dust - ideas appreciated
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  1. #1
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    Default Capturing belt grander dust - ideas appreciated

    Fine belt grinder dust, much of it, just flies off into the general shop air. A lot collects in a pile on the floor below the position of the grinding wheel/platen. All the recent mask wearing resulting from The Other Problem has made me think that it's not a bad idea to see if we can reduce inhalation of belt grinder dust. A first thought is a positionable shopvac hose nozzle held close to the wheel with locline-type support in hopes of capturing a significant amount of dust. This arrangement seems like it might be clumsy and in the way when grinding. Ideas for dust capture would be appreciated. I'm guessing that there aren't many solutions to choose from.

    The machine, along with other abrasive machines, is in a small grinding room, off a ventilated main shop floor. The focus is mainly on the dust from the belt grinder, not from the other abrasive machines. The grinding room is separated from the main shop by only a half-wall. and has two windows that can be opened. I'm not sure that a simple exhaust fan in a window would mean very much. There is also the fact that for four or so months of the year it is cold here on the Maine coast, and with a box fan set in the window heating the room would be an issue.

    -Marty-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Feldman View Post
    Fine belt grinder dust, much of it, just flies off into the general shop air. A lot collects in a pile on the floor below the position of the grinding wheel/platen. All the recent mask wearing resulting from The Other Problem has made me think that it's not a bad idea to see if we can reduce inhalation of belt grinder dust. A first thought is a positionable shopvac hose nozzle held close to the wheel with locline-type support in hopes of capturing a significant amount of dust. This arrangement seems like it might be clumsy and in the way when grinding. Ideas for dust capture would be appreciated. I'm guessing that there aren't many solutions to choose from.

    The machine, along with other abrasive machines, is in a small grinding room, off a ventilated main shop floor. The focus is mainly on the dust from the belt grinder, not from the other abrasive machines. The grinding room is separated from the main shop by only a half-wall. and has two windows that can be opened. I'm not sure that a simple exhaust fan in a window would mean very much. There is also the fact that for four or so months of the year it is cold here on the Maine coast, and with a box fan set in the window heating the room would be an issue.

    -Marty-
    What kind of dust ?
    Any possibility of sparks ?

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    Every wood plant has a cyclone and bag house. In spite of working with a non-sparking material, they all, sooner or later, catch the system on fire.

    At a previous shop the dust collector used a small squirrel cage fan and the dust cyclone from off-road engine for dust collection. A piece of metal flex hose allowed close placement to the wheel. It exhausted into the room. A fiberglass furnace filter would probably have cleaned up the exhaust even more.

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    Gotta know what you're grinding. I like a wet belt for metals, but won't work for wood.

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    I have one of these on a 6" grinder we use for deburring part with a woven wheel on one side and normal stone on the other.
    Error | DNS Resolution | Northern Tool + Equipment

    It captures some of gunk. Floor is definitely cleaner than it would be without it. Their hose kit was crazy expensive. We bought some high temperature hose from McMaster for 1/2 the price.

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    What's being ground is important, but one solution we did in a couple places in the shop was to mount the offending dust-creating grinders on top of a large down-draft table. We affixed a large sheet of perforated steel with holes smaller than the parts and pieces we work with over the top and then some grinders that were less prone to wandering around could sit wherever you wanted. The ones that would move around when used were fixed to steel or wood bases (depends if there are sparks/fire hazard present) that could be attached to the table. Now the whole work area becomes a dust collector.

    One of the tables (4'x6') is used more for clean-up and buffing so there's less fire hazard and it pipes straight into a dust-collector. The other table (3'x4') does see sparks, but it has baffling inside so the sparks run into panels and have a chance to cool before getting filtered through a wire mesh filter which can be pulled out and cleaned as needed. That table has it's own squirrel-cage blower built in. However you contain the dust, just bare in mind that it needs to be checked and cleaned regularly or any dust build-up can become flammable (especially fine steel) on top of making the system much less efficient.

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    As others have mentioned the material being ground is a consideration.

    I.E. if you do any TIG welding, using a dedicated grinder with built-in (or otherwise purpose-made) dust collection shrouds and a HEPA vac is a must - unless you're okay with releasing radioactive dust into the air. Alpha and beta emissions don't penetrate very far - but they don't need to if hot particles become lodged inside the lungs.

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    One, dusts of pretty much any kind should not be inhaled. Wood, metal, plastics, paint overspray, sandblasting/beadblasting dusts, etc. If you're grinding, use some sort of mask- even just a painter's dust mask is better than nothing.

    Two, a fast trick the knifmakers use on the typical 2x72" belt grinders is simply a bucket of water right under the contact wheel. Won't catch everything, but will catch a lot.

    Three, if you go with any kind of vacuum system, get (or make) some sort of "cyclone separator"- look up "Dust Deputy" for one style, but there's also types that clip to the top of a galvanized steel trash can.

    These not only catch the bulk of the material, making the vacuum system's filter last longer, but in a steel can also act as a "spark arrester" when grinding steel.

    Which is also why thy recommend a steel trash can- a plastic one melts and just adds fuel to the fire.

    And four, it sounds like you already have the best setup- an entirely separate grinding room. As I get more and more machines, I find myself crowding out the dust-making stuff. The belt grinder is a very handy machine, but I hate running it as I worry about getting grit all over nearby machines.

    Oh, and five, on the tungsten grinding, while Thorium/thoriated electrodes are still in wide use, people are rapidly moving away to the newer "tri mix" and other non-radioactive versions, like Ceriated and Lanthanated. Speaking personally, I haven't had a Thoriated stick in the shop in nearly a decade- the purple and green "tri mix" stuff works just as well, if not better.

    You still don't want to be breathing tungsten dust no matter what it's laced with, but the minuscule radiation is easily avoided in the first place.

    Doc.

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    Could put a fan box near the belt sander with having a sucker fan, perhaps a squirrel cage fan

    Air would be socked in and through a furnace filter.

    Agree wearing a suitable mask is good for all abrasive use.

    OT: I'm thinking the use of covid masks may lead to lung problems from the fibers of the masks.

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    At one point in my life I was a partner in a grinding shop. The order of the day was central dust collection, but of course there is still stuff in the air. We looked at the hanging air filters, they are spendy and if you run out of filters they are hard to come by

    Now having said that 20" box fans can be had for $20 / ea, and MERV 11 HVAC filers are less than than $15 each from McMaster Carr by the case.

    Granted, they're not super efficient. Who cares they're cheap. We wired a dozen of them to come on with the lights.... at a fraction of the cost of what we'd have to pay for a commercial one. That alone made a huge difference in shop air and cleanliness.

    A proper fit mask with proper filters is still your best protection

    If I had a consumer grinder or even one of the 2x72 grinders that the knife guys love, I'd have some 3" loc-line hitched up to a shop vac with HEPA filters, and ditto on the Dust Deputy. Make the loc line system modular so you can put it on your table saw, solder bench...... whatever.

    And PS for grinding that makes sparks there are cyclonic spark arrestors. they are passive devices and very very efficient

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    What kind of dust ?
    Any possibility of sparks ?
    These questions are right on target and important, and they are echoed in subsequent responses. Unfortunately, the grit I have in mind is widely variable, including at times a stick of hardwood, weldable and other mild steels, stainless, tool steel, non-ferrous, etc., with sparks sometimes in the picture, and finishes from hogging to smoothing. That makes a single solution very difficult, I recognize.

    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. They are smart and well worth serious consideration. I will try to report back when I get something in place.

    -Marty-

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    Best way is to capture the dust in a 5 gallon bucket with a standpipe that goes into a few inches of water and an outlet that connects to a shop vac. Easy enough to make from a bucket and lid. All of the plumbing from the grinder collection point to the water should be metal in case of sparks but the bucket and shop vac connection can be plastic because any sparks will be quenched in the water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Best way is to capture the dust in a 5 gallon bucket with a standpipe that goes into a few inches of water and an outlet that connects to a shop vac.
    What's the mechanism that makes this work? Seems that many of the particles suspended in the air going into the water would just stay suspended in the bubbles and come out the other end.

    As supporting evidence? Millions of stoned teenagers?


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