Picture of A Guy's Guide to Dusting
I'm in the process of setting up a home workshop in the basement. My first project is to build a workbench. (Building a Real Woodworker's Workbench)

Now many woodworkers have sophisticated dust collection systems. I've got a shop vac. I've been as conscientious as I've been able, in using dust collection ports on all of the equipment that has it, and in vacuuming up the sawdust off the floor and various surfaces where the saws, sanders, routers, etc., had thrown it.

But despite this, my POSSLQ was complaining about the dust, The problem is the really fine dust that settles on surfaces far removed from the source, hours after it was created.

She insisted that something be done, so while she was out one afternoon I decided to dust.

Of course, I'm a guy. A tool user. I wasn't about to try to deal with the problem with a feather duster.
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Step 1: The solution involves duct tape

Picture of The solution involves duct tape
The solution, of course, involved duct tape, as every solution should.

I took an industrial air blower I had lying around, a cardboard box, some duct tape, a box cutter, and two furnace filters, and built an air scrubber.

One was the highest-quality filter they had on the shelves. The other was the cheapest. The good one cost more than $15, the cheap one cost $0.56.

My hope was that the cheap filter would catch some of the larger particles, so that the expensive filter would last longer. I'm not sure that that's the case, because most of the larger particles had already been swept up by the shop vac. Still, at $0.56 a piece, I could afford to experiment with them.

I cut a hole in the bottom of the box that fit over the intake of the blower, and cut the flaps on the top of the box to fit the filters. Then I duct-taped the blower to the box, duct-taped the two filters together, and then duct-taped the filters to the box.

Total construction time: seven minutes.

I wonder how many cfm the shop vac moves?

Why use two fans when the several horsepower sucky thing is sitting right there.

wgoble5 years ago
I LIKE IT! I'm thinking air compressor blow off tool for the indoors, with pressure regulator. Maybe let her catch you in the act. She'll never ask you to clean again! BWAHAHA
jdege (author)  wgoble5 years ago
This was actually my second attempt to build a shop air scrubber on the cheap. My first try was a furnace filter taped to a 20" box fan. This one worked a great deal better. (I think the box fan leaks too much air around the corners of the fan, so it doesn't pull as much air through the filters.) The blow-the-dust-up-into-the-air technique works fine, for dusting. It's how geeks have always dusted the interiors of their computer cases, but you need somewhere for the dust to go. If I was to do this in the living room, I'd just stick fans in the windows and blow the dust outside. In my basement shop, I don't have windows. I've abandoned the outer filter. I found it did nothing but make it more difficult to clean out the inner filter. Aside from that, it's as described. I'll probably build something out of plywood, someday, but this is working for now. (The workbench is done, too, and turned out very nicely.)
then kind sir u have an illegal basement. u are required under laws to have windows. there to help u get out if theres a fire. perhaps your other half will allow u to put in a bunk door in there as well. 4 active air flow an being able to escape to fresh air.
jdege (author)  astral_mage1 year ago
There are windows, they just aren't suitable for window fans.
Rob3113 years ago
I would go with a cyclonic trap.

Your system looks like a good idea for the exhaust to me airbrush box.
jdege (author)  Rob3113 years ago
What Cyclonic separators do best is to separate out the large stuff. So they're commonly used in woodshop dust collectors.

Think about a table saw - you'd likely have a hose running from beneath the saw blade to your dust collector. A cyclonic separator there makes good sense, because it's going to pull a lot of chips and debris, and not just fine dust.

An air scrubber like this isn't a replacement for a dust collector, it's more of a supplement - to pull the fine dust out of the air that the dust collector missed. As such, it isn't going to have to deal with the larger chips that a cyclonic separator deals with.
servant744 years ago
I've been thinking about making a similar box.

But I have found that one of the HEPA filters for our shop vac helps a lot too. Previously way to much fine dust went right through the shop vac filters.

A air scrubber will probably be next (similar to this one but bigger) then eventually a chip collector based on the Bill Pentz design ( check out and READ the site if you have any interest in clean air in a shop, or even the health issues involved ... Bill did this design because without it, his Dr wouldn't let him work in the shop anymore)

Good starter scrubber! ...
Actually, I might use this... we have five cats and the litter dust has just about driven me crazy.

Cheap, simple, practical. Thanks.
ferrous5 years ago
If you want a dust-free space for painting or whatever, you can put the filter on the front of the fan and blow filtered air into your workspace from an outside source. the increased "clean" air will pressurize the room and suck all the dust out whatever leaks you have in the room. Basically exactly the same setup.