Garage Dust/Sanding Enclosure





So I wanted to write this introduction in an effort to manage expectations and put forth a few disclaimers.

The first disclaimer is that I am in no way shape or form a professional carpenter nor a master builder/fabricator. I am merely a hobbyest who had a problem and found one solution that works (as I am sure, there are many other solutions).

The second disclaimer is that I do not have every tool under the sun. In fact, I very rarely have the right tool for the job, so I have to get creative. Throughout this Instructable I will attempt to inform you what I would have done had I owned the correct tool.


I have a very small shop in my two car garage. Unfortunately I have to share that space with two cars. When I am sanding, routing or drilling, dust seems to coat every surface in my garage, including my wife car. I was tired of washing my wife’s car so I needed to find a solution to all the dust I was creating. I did some research and found some sanding downdraft tables, but I couldn’t imagine those working without an incredibly powerful vacuum (which I do not have), plus they do not contain the dust jettisoned out. I then started looking at bead blasting cabinets and found that I liked the containment aspect of the cabinet but I needed the downdraft capabilities of the sanding tables, so I decided to create a hybrid.


With the exception of the the adhesive backed rubber stripping and the thumbscrews, all materials were purchased at Homedepot.

Step 1: Framing the Back Panel

  1. The first step is deciding what size box you want to make. I decided on the internal dimensions as being the critical dimensions and would thus dictate the overall size of the box. I chose 16"D X 28"L X 20"H. You can scale yours for your application and spacing constraints.
  2. Measure the stud spacing where you are mounting the enclosure and make sure to space the 1x3's accordingly.
  3. Pocket drill both ends of the 1x3's a and glue/screw a 3/4" X 3/4" sq dowel on either side.
  4. Pocket drill all four ends of the sq dowel and glue/screw a 1x2 to either side as shown in the photo.


This is the rare instance where I had the correct tool for the job. I used the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig R3 (and wood glue) to construct the frame. If you use the Kreg Jig, use the right screws (1-1/4) or you will have issues.

Step 2: Framing the Side Panel

  1. I modeled the frame in Fusion 360 so I was able to print out a 1:1 picture for the angles I needed to cut the 3/4" X 3/4" sq dowel. I have attached the angles I used, but these will be different depending on the overall dimensions you choose for your enclosure.
  2. Overlay the templates, scribe the line and cut the sq dowel.
  3. This is where I had to get creative in holding the sq dowel so the glue could cure. I used a combination of clamps and scrap wood to hold the sq dowel in place.
  4. You will need to pocket drill both inside ends of the side panel frame.
  5. Glue/screw bottom 1x2 to the sq dowel (Not shown in these photos. You can see this in the next step photos)

Step 3: Assembling the Frame

  1. Glue/Screw the side frames to the back frame. Make sure the pocket holes are facing inside.


Disregard the random pocket hole on the front face of the right side frame. I had to fill this later.

Step 4: Adding Panels to the Frame

This is a simple but lengthy step.

  1. Trace the frame onto the 1/2" MDF paneling and cut out.
  2. Glue/Screw the paneling on the inside surfaces of the frame
  3. After all the panels are glued/screwed, I went back to the top panel and, using a hand sander, carried the angle of the side frames through the MDF. I did this so the door could sit flush on the face.
  4. I needed to cut two 4.5" holes in the front panel for my hands. Since I didn't have a hole saw of that size, I made a simple adjustable hole jig for my router. When cutting the holes make sure you pick a location that is both comfortable for your hands and a comfortable height from where the perforated sheet will sit.


This is where I question my choice of material thickness for the MDF paneling. In hindsight 1/2" might have been a bit overkill and added significant weight to the final enclosure. If I were to do this again, I may explore 1/4" MDF, but definitely investigate before committing so you down go all in on flimsy paneling.

Step 5: Seating the MDF Perforated Sheet

  1. Decide on the height of the MDF perf plate. Remember this correlates to arm hole location.
  2. Cut 3/4"x3/4" sq dowel to size. I added one more sq dowel in the middle after the photo was taken just to add more rigidity to the MDF perf sheet.
  3. Clamp glue/screw each sq dowel at the designated height and let cure.
  4. Once the seat is complete cut the MDF pegboard sheet to size and set to the side. This can be put in at the end.
  5. I used wood filler to fill all the gaps between the paneling. This enclosure needs to be relatively air tight so to ensure that the dust is enclosed.

Step 6: Cutting the Door Panel


For whatever reason I didn't to take all the pictures of this step. This text and the final pictures should be sufficient to get an idea what to do.


  1. Measure the opening in the enclosure and cut the 1/4" MDF to size.
  2. Once door panel is cut to size, I clamped the the panel to the enclosure and hand sanded the angle in the top to match the top panel. (The photo shows me filling the incorrect pocket hole I mentioned earlier.)
  3. Sizing the cutout for the Lexan is important. Lexan can be expensive as is scales up. I chose to use 18"x24" Lexan to base my panel cut out on.
  4. Before I mounted the lexan to the door panel, I painted the door panel so as to not get paint on the window.
  5. Once the paint is completely dry cut the Lexan to mount to the back of the door panel. Use the construction adhesive to mount the Lexan window. Watch for adhesive runoff when compressing the Lexan to the door panel.


  1. I used scrap 1x2 as the end mounts and 1/2 round dowel as the handle itself. You can very easily just go a buy a handle.
  2. Using two wood screws, mount the handle from the back side of the door panel.

Step 7: Assemble the Funnel

  1. I decided to use a standard size of 1/4" MDF (24" x 48") as the starting size for the funnel dimensions. See the Funnel Board Breakdown PDF for the dimensions I used, but they will be different depending on the size of the enclosure you used.
  2. Once the MDF was cut, fold the pieces together and secure with tape.
  3. Turn the taped funnel upside down and tack the pieces together with wood glue and let dry.
  4. Once funnel is dry and sturdy, size the funnel to the enclosure. I had to trim the sides on the funnel on my bandsaw in order to make it fit, but after I trimmed the sides the funnel fit beautifully.
  5. Next, Take the funnel and cut the tip off the funnel so that you can fit a piece of 1/4" MDF to cover what you just cut off. This piece of MDF is what I mounted and sealed the vacuum adapter to.
  6. Use the adhesive to adhere the MDF with vacuum adapter to the funnel where you just cut the tip off.
  7. Use wood filler to fill all the gaps between the funnels panels and sand once dry.

Step 8: Paint the Enclosure and Funnel

  1. For the enclosure, I painted the outside black and the inside white. I chose black because it matched my garage and I chose white because it would better reflect the light inside the enclosure making the work pieces easier to see.
  2. Paint the funnel to match the enclosure

Step 9: Assemble Door to the Enclosure

  1. I used two simple black hinges to attach the door to the enclosure.
  2. I also drilled out and installed #10 threaded inserts into the enclosure to correspond with thumb screws through the door to secure the door while in use.

Step 10: Assembling the Funnel to the Enclosure

  1. Turn the enclosure over and insert the funnel into the bottom of the enclosure so it rests on the underside of the MDF perf sheet seating sq dowels.
  2. I used a ton of adhesive to attempt to firmly attach and seal the funnel to the enclosure.
  3. Let adhesive dry then I also used Silicon Sealant to make sure there were no air gaps.
  4. Make sure you let this dry!

Step 11: Mounting and Final Touches

  1. Install 1/4" x 1/4" sq dowel cleat on wall and screw into studs. This cleat is what the enclosure will sit on.
  2. USE TWO PEOPLE FOR THIS! Sit the enclosure on the cleat and use two 1/4-20 x 3" lags to secure the enclosure to the wall.
  3. Install and screw 4" toilet flanges into each of the arm holes. This is for comfort.
  4. Line the enclosure face (where it contacts the door) with adhesive backed rubber for sealing.
  5. I used a 1-3/4 hole saw to drill pass-through ports on either side of the enclosure. These are for feeding cords through and into the enclosure.
  6. Install LED strip to the roof of the enclosure and run the cord out the hole in the side.
  7. Press the MDF pegboard into the enclosure and you are done.



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    39 Discussions


    7 months ago

    I was actually thinking as I read step 4 that MDF was probably overkill. And extra pricey. If you're not actually beating up the walls, cheap luan plywood will actually work just fine for this (and be significantly cheaper!). I would probably still use MDF for the front panel, though, as luan edges are always sharp and splintery.

    If you wanted to make this capable of doing double duty as a blasting cabinet *and* a sanding cabinet, instead of having ports to pass through the power you could mount a sealed/waterproof outdoor outlet on the inside with an extension cord that goes outside and plugs into a wall. Actually, now that I'm thinking about that design I think I'd probably have two "plates" that can be mounted on the side - one for air supply and the other for electric supply. You could use window sash latches to secure them, and given a reasonable gasket around the edges they should keep the air in when sandblasting.

    Anyway, cool project! Especially if you have the right scrap and can make this project for cheaper.


    7 months ago on Introduction

    A very useful project. i will make something similar.


    7 months ago

    I was searching for the same "concoction" that You did! I have also a small garage, and here in Argentina sanding cabinets are really hugue and expensive. The bonus track of using It for dusting is awesome! Glorious too is the use of the ABS Toilet Flange!!! I would have never come to such solution by myself....!I have plenty of laminated wood from pallets, and 1x1's and 1,5x1,5's to reuse... I will use some tee nuts (see image) that I had lingering around for years....finally they found a good use. I Really owe you an imaginary beer, pal!
    One BIG question....I have used some sanding cabinets before, and those with plastic windows always shocked me with static electricity arcs....are You using some device, cabling or magic trick to avoid this??? Those with glass windows never shook me, or at least I do not remember (perhaps the shocking was too big to remember...?). A big thanks, from down here in the South!


    Reply 7 months ago

    Excellent question. Consider including this description in your beginning "Introduction" section, and possibly somewhere also include photo(s) of you using it. Say, putting an item in it to be sanded (cover lifted), and/or actively sanding an item. Nice project!


    Reply 7 months ago

    I connect my shop vac hose to the PVC flange I installed at the bottom of the funnel. When I turn the vacuum on, it pulls a down draft through the MDF pegboard. This pulls a good amount of the dust straight into the vac, the rest is contained in the enclosure. Works great for keeping dust off of everything in my garage.


    7 months ago on Step 4

    Excellent idea, nicely executed. I'm gonna make one right now!


    Question 7 months ago on Introduction

    How much did this cost in materials? Harbor Freight has a sandblasting cabinet that is $120 regular price but with coupons/sales is often available for around $100.

    1 answer

    Answer 7 months ago

    So my cost of this is around (with materials I already had) $150. I have very little space in my shop so I needed a custom solution.


    7 months ago

    I was thinking exactly what @DIY Hacks and How Tos commented, I've been struggling to not dust my apartment I may make one of this in the future.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 months ago

    No worries, I figured there had to be more people who had my problem with dust indoors. Good luck.


    7 months ago

    What a well done instructable. Easy to follow with enough pictures. I see one of these in my workshop future.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thanks. I definitely recommend this. It has worked beautifully for me so far.

    Alaskan Bev

    7 months ago

    This excellent 'ible has come just in time; thank you! Great photos and clear instructions make this seem possible for a home woodcrafter. Our kids are grown and out of the house now and I am just beginning a recycling project. I want to recycle our daughter's former bedroom into an indoor wood shop. My driveway shop is not heated and power tools used outdoors at -20 in AK doesn't feel like a safe or desirable idea! My first idea was to buy a heavy duty tarp large enough to cover the nice carpet; I may still do that.

    In my classroom I constructed a nice basic box design for kids to use for sanding down projects. They loved it and it worked well enough to keep the teacher next door from complaining about her many allergies. The principal (one of the very best ever!), who had a large home wood shop, was very supportive of the woodworking that many of my kids loved, and said he would request a summer project of incorporating an exhaust system into my room. Then he retired and was replaced by an administrator who was not supportive of woodworking and the whole thing closed down.

    Your sanding box instructions look as if they will work well in the former-bedroom-turned-indoor-wood shop. I'll post pictures when I get the room redesigned and completed. Thanks for your great instructions!

    1 reply
    corbor4shoreAlaskan Bev

    Reply 7 months ago

    I have used this enclosure a handful of times now and it has completely improved my dust problem in my garage (as far as sanding goes). Now i just need a dust solution for my routing table. Good luck.


    7 months ago

    Or if you can find a small sandblasting cabinet for cheap eliminate the sand blasting components and you can do it quicker and possibly cheaper.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 months ago

    You're absolutely right, but I am very constrained on space and needed a custom size to properly fit my needs rather than trying to fit a large blasting cabinet in my corner of the garage.


    7 months ago on Step 8

    I feel using this would be very awkward to use. I know it would not work with what I make. I think the only way it would sand well would be by having a fixed belt sander inside. But, I think it would work well for those who spray paint their projects. I just feel a vacuum table would perform better for sanding. But it is nicely done.