Summary: These Cyclone and Dust Collection Research web pages share more than you probably ever wanted to know about the hazards of fine invisible airborne dust, how to protect yourself from fine dust and how to get good fine dust collection. These pages share how to choose, upgrade and set up your dust collectors, cyclones, ducting, shop vacuums, air cleaners, tools and downdraft tables for better fine dust collection. They share how to inexpensively test your air quality, airflow, and filtering. These pages share plans to build my dust collection solutions that protect my family and me. You can use the included free plans to build a cyclone of my design for your personal use or purchase my cyclone design from Clear Vue Cyclones. These easy solutions let you get good fine dust protection and collection without having to master the complex air engineering science that air engineering firms who guarantee customer air quality use to provide good fine dust collection.
Applicability: Although woodworking dust inspired this site creation, most fine dust particles have so many sharp edges and points that do so much damage to our respiratory tissues that the peer reviewed medical research clearly shows every exposure to fine dust of every type causes a measurable loss of respiratory function, some of this loss becomes permanent, and the greater and longer the exposure the higher the damage. Fine invisible dust causes so many health problems that the EPA sets indoor air quality standards that will fail a typical small shop when less than two tiny thimblefuls of any type of fine dust gets launched airborne. Many respiratory doctors now recommend small shop owners and their family members, fiberglass workers, coffee roasters, granary storage workers, and others with fine dust exposure read and follow the recommendations shared on these pages. Woodworkers should pay particular attention because working wood creates huge numbers of particles with razor sharp edges and point, plus different woods contain and carry many toxic chemicals that are poisonous, strong irritants, sensitizers meaning they cause us to build ever stronger allergic reactions, and can increase our risk of cancer.
Bottom Line: I strongly recommend good fine dust collection and these pages share how you can get good fine dust collection, but please do not get overwhelmed and forget your goal is to protect yourself and those close to you from fine dust. All need and can easily and inexpensively get good fine dust protection. Good fine dust protection requires us to address the dust we are making and the previously made fugitive dust that keeps escaping collection. Fine dust consists of particles that are invisible without magnification and so fine and light it gets launched and kept airborne by the lightest air currents. Fine dust does not settle in normal room air currents, so it rapidly spreads like an odor to rapidly contaminate all shared air. Most fine dust lasts until it gets wet. The unhealthiest finest dust particles go right through the even fine filters used on almost all shop vacuums, dust collectors, cyclones, air cleaners, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Most health damage comes from this finest fugitive dust that keeps escaping collection and going right through our filters. The health damage is so high that just a couple of tiny thimblefuls of fine dust will cause a typical two-car garage sized shop to fail an EPA air quality test. With every twenty pounds of sawdust we also make enough fine dust to cause over 15,100 typical two-car garage sized shops to fail an EPA air quality test. Those who vent their dust collection systems inside invariably build up so much fine dust that just walking around without doing any woodworking stirs enough airborne to fail an EPA air quality test. If our homes share air with our shops, they also get badly contaminated. So good fine dust protection requires us to make sure we don't build up the fine dust and to wear a good dual cartridge properly fit NIOSH certified respirator mask. Our particle counters show it is easy to prevent the fine dust build up. Before we start making fine dust we also need to turn on a good strong commercial fan blowing out a back door or window with the main shop door cracked a little. Our particle counters show we need to leave the mask and fan on with good airflow through our shops for about a half hour after we stop making dust to minimize fine dust build up. So protection is easy, just wear a good respirator mask and use a strong fan to limit dust build up.