Not every woodworker has the luxury of (or the need for) a huge workshop. If you work in basement, single car garage, or back porch workshop then floor space is likely to be one of your most important considerations. Where feasible, compact machinery is the way to go. But, at the same time, you want machinery that will enable you to work efficiently. This is particularly important when it comes to dust collection, as small shops can have a lot more concentrated dust in the air. You really want to collect as much of that dust as you can at source, as less will end up all over your shop, on your projects, and in your respiratory system.
MADE IN: Overseas
SOURCE: Dealer Locator
Motor: 1 HP, 115/120V, 8.8 Amps
CFM: 550 (real), 650 (nominal)
Max Static Pressure: 4.86″
Impeller/Fan: 9″, steel
Inlet Diameters: 4″ intake, one 4″ outlet
Collection Bag: Plastic (14″ x 38”)
Canister Filter Type: 1 Micron
Filtration Efficiency: 0.2 – 2 micron @ 99.97%
MERV Rating: 12
Decibel Level: 76 dB at 10 feet
Weight: 32 kgs/71 lbs
Footprint: 14-3/4″ x 29″
Includes: 2 clear dust bags, cloth covered snap bag ring
I’ve been using the Laguna B|Flux in my smallish shop for the past four weeks, and find that it does a commendable job, without taking up much space. The B|Flux is a single stage dust collector that has a footprint of roughly 15″ by 29″ and is only 50″ high. However, the 1HP motor draws an actual 550 CFM of air – that’s at the end of a 12-1/2 foot dust hose – and a nominal 650 CFM (at the inlet). You can get more details on the Laguna clean air microsite.
Depending on the length of hose you use, the B|Flux should have no problem servicing any standard woodworking machine that’s likely to be found in the average small workshop. I use the B|Flux connected to a DeWALT 13″ thickness planer and a General 6″ jointer via a 4′ dust hose, and dust extraction is great. I manually switch the hose, though eventually I’ll install an extra hose along with a 4″ Y connector and a couple of blast gates. I did run both machines connected to the B|Flux with a 12′ hose, and the collector had no problem clearing all the wood chips.
There aren’t many parts to the B|Flux, so you should have it up and running in about 1 hour, even if its your first stab at a machine assembly. Most of the components are labelled (insert in photo above), so if you follow the instructions in the user guide you won’t run into any problems. The collector can be assembled on the floor, and then lifted upright by a single person – assembled weight is about 70 pounds. I also recommend that you watch the Laguna B|Flux assembly video.
I like that the B|Flux only draws 8.8 amps, which means I can plug it into almost any 120V/15amp circuit in my shop and not worry about tripping the breaker.
The steel band that wraps around the filter cannister and secures it to the separator/motor housing incorporates an adjustable key bolt that enables you to ensure a tight dust seal.
Installing the waste bag is quite different on the B|Flux than on other collectors I’ve used. You wrap the plastic waste bag around a cloth covered snap ring, and then insert it into the indentation that is at the bottom of the separator/motor housing opening. The indentation is shown in the top photo, inserting the ring/bag is shown in the bottom photo. Once inserted, the snap ring will push tight up against the indentation, locking into place. You’re then ready to go. It is a bit cumbersome – I went through the process three times before I got it down pat.
The snap ring does an excellent job of holding the dust bag in place and preventing any dust from escaping the bag. The reusable plastic bag holds a decent amount – over 3 cubic feet of wood chips.
Laguna does include a steel band clamp, which you can optionally install to further secure the dust bag to the separator/motor housing. In fact, the Laguna assembly video mentioned earlier in this article shows the band clamp being installed. However, I’ve not found it necessary.
The intake adapter, which mounts on top of the separator/motor housing, has an arrangement of internal fins that help to disperse the wood chips and fine dust as it enters the separator. The fine dust is captured in the pleats of the filter canister, while the heavier chips fall into the bag.
The 1 micron cannister filter screens 99.97% of particles between 0.2 and 2 micron, obviously not as good as a HEPA filter, but pretty decent, and certainly a heck of a lot better than the conventional cloth bags. There’s a flapper handle at the top of the canister that you rotate to remove dust build-up from the inside of the filter. Unless you inadvertently damage the canister, the polycarbonate re-enforced pleated inner filter should last for as long as you own the dust collector.
Standing right next to the B|Flux, without any other machine running, I measured the sound level at just over 77 decibels, which makes it one of the quietest machines in the shop.
I’m very happy with my purchase – it’s compact, easy to move around the shop, has great suction, offers very good dust control, has a decent size waste bag, and is very quiet. Whether you’re looking for a first dust collector or wanting to upgrade an older archaic unit, take a close look at the Laguna B|Flux – I think you won’t be disappointed.
Carl Duguay - [email protected]
Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.