Canadian Woodworking

Reduce dust from your bandsaw

Author: Chester Van Ness
Photos: Lead Photo Bandsaw with lower door removed
Published: February March 2003
Reduce Dust
Reduce Dust

Make a dust port to connect your bandsaw to a dust collector.

These days, most of the bandsaws produced by the major manufacturers have some sort of hook-up for dust collection. However, most of them are set up for vacuum cleaner hook-ups and are usually not of sufficient size to hook up an effective dust collector.

Under table area for best pick-up of fine dust and across-blade airflow

3” exhaust pipe, Left – cut at 45 degrees.  Right – cut at 45 degrees and flattened to oval

Inside the lower door with pipe and enclosure shield in place

Dust chute in place and ready to be hooked up

After-market plastic adapter ports are available from woodworking stores, but they too are for hooking up to the vacuum cleaner. Of the manufacturers who have provided 4” dust collection ports, they have ether placed them on the lower access door or positioned them on the rear of the machine. I have only seen a couple of units that have the most important element of effective dust collection: a large port positioned directly off the blade guide area under the table. One manufacturer came close, but failed to fully open up the port into the machine, thereby greatly restricting it’s effectiveness.

If you look at a typical 14-inch bandsaw with its lower access door removed, you will see for yourself the reasons for wanting to hook up a dust collection system.

In photo 1, notice the pile of saw dust trapped in the bottom of the machine and the bits of dust on the tire.

Not only do you not want to be breathing the dust generated by your bandsaw, you also don’t want it to be accumulating on the lower tire (or it will eventually effect the saw’s performance).

As with all applications of dust collection, it most effective when the port is nearest the dust being generated. This is the area in which you want to place the dust port.

The port needs to be positioned as close as possible to the underside of the table – right where the blade enters the blade guide assembly.

Remember, you will need access to the lower blade guide assembly for adjustments, and if you use the tilt feature of your table, you will want to ensure that the position of the dust port will not obstruct it’s use. This is best accomplished by tilting the table and placing the port temporarily in position to ensure unrestricted use. I did this by using a magnet. You’ll also want to be sure that whatever you put into place can be easily removed for blade changes.

It is important to use the right materials for making the dust port. Effective dust collection requires a 4-inch diameter hose with 350 CFM and 3,800 FPM at the saw. I always like to look for something that will work and is cheap. The diameter for this is important and 3-inch auto exhaust pipe tucks nicely into this area.

The pipe on the left in photo 3 is cut off at 45 degrees while the pipe on the right shows how I have re-worked the pipe to give a longer opening with flat sides.

I flattened the pipe opening to give it a taller and narrower profile. The flattened side of the oval is lined up with the rear edge of the lower door side panel. The flattened side also provides the necessary clearance for blade guide adjustments when the port is in place.

Photo 4 shows the inside of the door and gives a better idea of the positioning of the port.

I have installed a deflector shield on the top front of the port. Note that I use a wire feed welder to attach the port to the door. If you don’t have this tool in your shop you can cut the pipe and leave tabs to bend over, so that you can pop rivet the port in place. You could also use silicone to seal the openings where the port meets the door.

Photo 5 shows the door with port mounted in place. Now it needs only the flex hose to be connected to make it functional.

The position of this particular port is functional for this model of bandsaw and is presented to you only as one possible solution to dust collection.

Adapt this installation according to how your saw varies in size and construction. This example leads you through a basic installation and will help you to determine where and how to perform dust collection on a bandsaw.

The construction of your particular saw will determine the design of your homemade dust port.

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