Introduction: CNC Router Dust Boot
I have a CNC for a while now, and it's totally awesome.
However one downside is the huge amounts of dust that fly around whenever I make a part.
(And the fact that I have to chase my mill bits all over the project, which gets boring on longer runs)
For a while now I've been looking around at the options here on instructables, looked on the internet, checked out all the stores, and so on. All in all I really wasn't getting anywhere
Since I couldn't find what I wanted/needed I made a decision..
I've got a CNC, just DIY it! I also wanted to share with you my train of thought and general work-path.
As in my previous 'ible I will not be giving an specific parts list, since your CNC will probably differ from mine.
I will be, hopefully, giving you some food for thought when you set out to design your own dust boot.
Total cost is up and arround 10-20 $/€, depending on how cheap you can source some of the stuff.
My dust boot will be connecting to a dust extractor which I'm currently making according to another instructable:
First up: The tools / materials list!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For the tools you will need:
- Hot glue gun
- Plumbing plier
- Wire cutters
- Your preferred design software (I use Solidworks and Solidcam)
For the Materials:
- Air hoses outer diameter should be equal to the inner diameter of the large diameter drainpipe.
I sourced mine from a DIY store that sold them for use in garden ponds. They carried different sizes.
- Hose connector coupling of the same diameter as the air hose (3-way)
- 2 pieces (or 1 large piece) of lexan
- 2 drainpipes, where the outer diameter of the smaller is the inner diameter of the larger (give or take a bit)
- Letterbox wind stopper (the brush kind)
Step 2: Gathering My Thoughts
I will elaborate on how I got my initial idea, and how the final design was made.
All of the dust boots I found on the internet and here had one problem in common: They all were fixed to the Z-axis.
Which meant that if the z-axis goes down/up the whole boot follows.
Downside to a design like that is that you need quite flexible brushes. With the odd chance of one snagging the end mill.
I wanted a design which would keep it forced down at all times.
I thought about contraptions with a spring, or with a screw that would allow me to adjust the height. Or maybe some magnets which would allow easy removal of the lower plate.
My solution was, I think, the most elegant, namely gravity!
It comes down to this:
I designed a set of plates that would house two sizes of drain tubes, which would "snugly" fit each other. But allow for easy sliding movement, without blocking.
The upper plate is affixed to the Z-axis and follows movement up and down.
The lower plate is solely held by the drain tubes, which would rely on trusty ol' gravity to keep it on the project.
It follows movements over the X- or Y-axis, but not the Z.
One of the upsides of this design is that if the Z-axis comes up high enough I can easily change mills, without wrestling the bristles on the lower plate.
The only downside on my design, which will be fixed later, is that the drainpipe on the side of my router blocks the on switch on my router.
I'm contemplating an on button next to my mill instead of on the router itself. This also prevents accidentally moving the z-axis when turning the device on.
For ease of design I opted to make the upper and lower plate identical. Which required me to incorporate a dual design. Which both the pocket for the bristles and the pocket for the larger diameter drainpipe both in one.
The lower plate only utilizes the bristle pocket and the upper just the drainpipe pocket.
Step 3: In the Making
After the design I went into solidcam and added all my pockets, profiles, and so on.
Which were all routed in 5 mm Plexiglas. I have the luck of having a dealer nearby which sells me some "leftovers" by weight instead of measurements.
The drainpipe was roughly cut to size, with the smaller diameter for the lower plate and the bigger diameter for the upper plate.
The larger diameter should be a tad longer than the other, this allows you to insert the air hose a bit into the pipe, with it hitting anything.
Next up was to cut the letterbox windstopper for the bristles.
I carefully inserted on end into the pocket and slowly bent and twisted it to fit.
Tight corners were not doable, so I opted to cut and make bristles for all for sides.
After you got all those separate parts made to fit it's time to fix them together.
First glue the upper plate and the drainpipe and use that as a guide to get the lower drainpipe in STRAIGHT.
If it isn't in straight the lower dust boot won't be able to move freely up or down. Which would defeat the purpose..so make sure it is.
For this I used hot glue. Since it allows to fill up small cracks and crevices.
Do not use superglue, I was told that superglue and plexiglas are not the best of buddies.
After the pipes have been attached, attach the bristle to the underside. I also used the hot glue here, for the same reasons.
Step 4: Adding the Air Hoses
First hook up the dust boot to the router and then add the hoses.
Keep in mind to add some play for the z-axis movement.
My upper plate is wedged between the router and the fixture to the z-axis.
It is larger by a tad, so that it doesn't offset my router, but does fit quite snug.
The lower plate is sanded down a bit, for ease of movement without catching.
Connect both hoses into the 3-way connector and run a hose to your vacuum cleaner or dust separator (which will be the case on my router)
Just make sure to keep the left and right hoses the same length, to prevent imbalance. And also check of the hoses don't hit your gantry on any side.
NOW MAKE SOMETHING!!!
Step 5: Afterthought
I like afterthought, because there is always room for improvement.
In the case of the dust boot i think it would be that the downside of this design is the soft bristles.
Larger bits of plastic sometimes fly through. It is however kept to a minimum.
The design I made is based on two vacuum hoses, but my guess is that a single vacuum hose would do the trick too.
I'm just a big sucker for symmetry and wanted both sides to look the same (and two looks better than one), instead of one large hose on one side of the router.
Also, I will NEVER, EVER be using hot glue again. The stuff is messy and has a bad finish.
I had it lying around, and decided to give it a shot. never again it is!
From my preliminary test the dust boot worked like a charm, all that is left is to quickly finish the dust extractor and get the right size air hoses for the dust boot. The ones I have now are a tad too small, which is fixed by adding some painters tape.
So, I hope I managed to inspire you a little bit and hopefully have been able to show a different design to what is available (or at least, what I was able to find).
ps. Here is a quick and dirty dry run to show the workings:
Doing a facemill on a piece of styrofoam, low speed. Note how it handles angles, this is due to a little play in between the two pipes.