Bandsaw Dust Collection Retrofit

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The stock dust collection on my 14″ bandsaw is mostly useless.  It came with a 1.5″ dust port under the table that on a good day could get 50% of the dust.  I found myself shying away from using the saw because of all the dust it let escape.  It was time for a better solution for my new shop.

I knew I needed to address two things:

  1. According to Bill Pentz’ excellent website, I needed two 4″ ports to support the airflow that my 6″ main needs.
  2. I needed to enclose the area underneath the table like Paul-Marcel did.

This post will be light on description and heavy on the pictures.

Lower Wheel Housing Dust Port

Adding a dust port to the lower wheel housing involved cutting a hole into the cover.  I traced the inside of the dust port onto the cover and drilled a pilot hole using plenty of WD-40 as coolant/lubrication.  With the pilot drilled, I cut the profile of the 4″ hole using a jig saw with a metal cutting blade.  The dust port came with an adhesive rubber gasket.  I stuck that on and reenforced with 4 sheet metal screws.  The screws protruded too far into the cover and would interfere with the rotation of the lower wheel.  Hitting them with a cutoff wheel mounted in a dremel made quick work of them.

    

  

Under Table Hood

My goal for the under table hood was to create good airflow across the blade as it passes through the table.  Since a bandsaw cuts downward, this is the place the dust leaves the kerf.  In order to get a good fit to the hood, I prototyped the shape with cardboard and blue tape.  This let me play around with the shape and fit much easier than with plywood.  The hood design I came up with has a front and back piece.  The two pieces are held together by the suction from the dust collector and the front can slide out for blade changes and tilting the table.

Once I was satisfied with shape, I traced the pieces to 1/4″ plywood, cut them out on the bandsaw, and glued them together with 5 minute epoxy.

  

  

Performance and Future Improvements

I’m really happy with the dust collection performance of these two modifications.  The picture on the left shows how little dust escaped after ripping 12 2x10s in half for my workbench.  With the stock dust collection connected to my shop vac, this would have been covered in dust.

I could probably improve things a bit more by filling in between the gussets under the table to achieve a tighter fit between the hood and the table.  I could also try to improve the airflow routing so that it’s directed across the blade more.

If you have a high CFM dust collector like my Clear Vue CV1800 that can support a 6″ main, I highly recommend this retrofit.  Sure it’s unnerving to cut a hole in the side of your nice bandsaw, but you’ll thank yourself every time you use it.

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