This is the fourth post in a series covering the installation of the dust collection system for my workshop. The previous posts can be found here:
- Dust Collector Project – Part 1 (mounting the dust collector on the wall)
- Dust Collector Project – Part 2 (installing a shop made wireless remote system)
- Dust Collector Project – Part 3 (designing and making brackets to hang 4″ PVC pipe)
So… I’ve run into a snag. In my last post, I designed and built a bunch of brackets to hang 4″ PVC pipe from the ceiling of my workshop. These work great and I’m using them to run ducting around the shop with no problem. However, my Grizzly 15″ planer is positioned right up against my garage door and the garage door needs to be able to roll up and open. This means that any dust collection pipe needs to be attached to the shop ceiling about 8-feet away from the planer and cantilevered under the garage door. This will require a specialized mounting bracket.
I’ve done a quick drawing to better illustrate the lay out. It’s a bit rough and not to scale, but I think it gets the point across.
To cantilever the pipe, I will need two supports/brackets, one to lift up and the other to push down. To get started with the two bracket arms that I will make, I cut six pieces of ¾” plywood taken from my scrap bin. I’ll glue these up into two blanks, each three sheets thick.
I really tried to go easy on the glue. I thought I wasn’t using very much, but when I added some clamps, glue went everywhere. When will I learn?
Once the two blanks were removed from the clamps, I smoothed the edges at the combination sander. I used an off-cut of PVC pipe to trace a curve on one end of each of the support blanks and then cut the curve at the band saw. With this done, I gave the blanks a coat of white paint.
The next snag I ran into was that the place on the shop ceiling where I wanted to install the supports is not over a joist. In fact, it is almost exactly between two joists. The pipe supports/brackets will need to be attached to something more substantial that drywall, so I figured that I would need to install two boards that would span the joists. The supports can then be attached to these boards. I cut boards about 6″ x 27″ from more scrap ¾” ply. I rounded over the edges with a palm router and gave them a coat of paint before temporarily installing them on the ceiling. They will have to be removed later when I attach the pipe supports to them.
I tied a length of PVC pipe to the garage door opener steel support to approximate the angle at which it will be installed. I then held a sheet of cardboard with one good straight edge up against the ceiling and ran a pencil along the pipe. This showed me that the pipe needs to be installed at a 4° angle relative to the ceiling.
Now, back to the supports themselves. I tilted my drill press table to 4° and using a drum sanding bit, added the 4° relief angle.
The two supports now cradle the PVC pipe snugly at the correct angle.
I cut the support brackets down to length on my cross-cut sled, leaving them slightly over size. I tested the fit, and then removed another 1/16th inch. I retested the fit and continued this process until they fit just right. I didn’t want to cut them too short after taking the time to carefully cut the curves, adding the relief angle, and painting them.
After fine tuning the fit, I was left with these two supports:
Before I attach the supports to the ceiling boards, and while they’re still easy to work on, I’ll attach the pipe strapping hardware to the pipe supports. To attach the pipe to the supports, I modified two 5″ hose clamps.
I cut the hose clamps with some metal snips making sure to cut on the right side of the tightening screw.
The metal in these clamps is much stronger than I had thought. I completely melted the tip of a drill bit trying to drill these holes at the drill press (I did have the press spinning waaay to fast). Luckily, I have a drill doctor that was another garage sale find.
Using washer head screws, I attached the hose clamps to the support brackets. I made sure to leave plenty of slack to install the pipe. This can be tightened later, simply by turning the clamp screw.
I then attached the support brackets to the ceiling boards and re-installed them on the ceiling.
I opened the garage door to test that I had done everything correctly. I think I had about ¼” gap. A little less than I probably should have left, but it works. I really didn’t mean to cut it this close. The door goes up and down with out any interference, so I’m calling it a success.
So, here it is:
With this key part of the dust collection ducting done, I needed to hook the rest of the tools up to the collector. This cantilevered section in a fixed point, and the dust collector it a fixed point. I had to find the most efficient method of connecting the two and still allowing for hook ups for the other tools. When I first started running the ducting it looked like this:
This simply wasn’t going to work so I took it all back down again. The pipe hanging brackets that I made, make it very easy to move things around on the fly. There is certainly a trial and error aspect to running the ducting to all the various tools.
I re-positioned the ducting to run across the shop about six feet from my first attempt. This worked much better.
Here’ how I hooked the cantilevered pipe section into the main ducting line. I used three 22.5° angle pieces all hooked together to make an adjustable (almost, but not quite flexible) section. By rotating the angle sections, you can vary the pitch and height of the section. This was particularly handy in connecting the section of pipe that ran flat with the ceiling to the section that ran at the 4° angle.
I continued running ducting to the rest of the tools. Once done, I turned the dust collector on and checked each tool. Each was getting some suction but not much. All five openings running at once, equates to very little air flow at each. The system will need blast gates at every tool to shut off air flow to everything but the tool being used.
In the next post, I’ll show you how I made all the blast gates for the system. It might be a little while until I can put that post together. I have taken so many pictures that it will take me some time to edit them. To hold you in suspense, I’ll just say that the blast gates came out fantastically. There might be over 100 images, so bare with me.
– Jonathan White