I don't have a dust collection system in my shop. All I have is a small shop vac, and that's not exactly powerful enough to run a bunch of tools, so I needed a solution after buying my first planer/thicknesser. I was amazed at how much fine dust it threw into the air, making it a real pain to work with. Any time I wanted to flatten a board I would have to prepare for a barrage of dust which not only affected my health, but would also coat the shop.
This mobile cart doubles as a dust collector and the results were quite impressive. If you don't have a shop vac, this might be the project for you if you're battling thicknesser/planer dust.
Watch the Youtube video here:
Step 1: Glue Up the Cart
I used the cheapest pine 2x4s I could find. This was going to be shop furniture so all that counts is strength*. I cut the boards to length, 4, 800mm legs and 8, 400mm rails.
I notched out the legs so that the rails could fit into the notch. Using a rail to mark the size of the notch meant that the cut would be perfectly to size. To speed the process up I clamped all of the legs together and marked (and cut) all of them at the same time.
You could use a circular saw to make a series of cuts and remove the waste. I wanted to try something new; I cut the notch out using a handsaw. This way was a lot cleaner and I was able to get a much smoother surface on the legs (and a smoother glue surface means a stronger join).
A little clean up was required with a chisel but after that I could glue the rails into the notches. Once the 2 halves of the assembly was glued up I then glued them together with the left over rails.
*If you're one of those people who want their shop furniture to be a work of art I commend you. I don't have the patience for that, but good on you for taking the time.
Step 2: Continuing With the Cart
After the glue had dried on the legs I reinforced the joints using dowels. The second half of the glue up meant gluing end grain, a very weak join. Driving dowels through the corners into the end grain strengthens the join dramatically.
I drove 8mm dowels 150 millimetres into the assembly. After the glue dried I cut the excess off using a hand saw and sanded it flush.
Next, I glued some extra 2x4s to the underside and screwed 4 castors into the corners. This would make the cart mobile.
Step 3: Building the Dust Collection Box
To collect the dust and chips coming out the planer I built a box out of melamine. This box was made to fit the cart snuggly to give it the maximum volume possible.
Melamine is easy to work with and has a durable surface. I cut it to length with a circular saw, drilled pilot holes, then screwed it together along the edges.
At this stage I didn't add all the screws. I knew I would need to take some of the panels off so I was just trying to create the box and get measurements from it.
Step 4: Continuing With the Box
To allow the box to be emptied I attached the bottom panels using hinges and a latch. This would allow the bottom to swing open.
On one end I drilled a 102mm hole using a hole saw and glue and screwed a PVC stormwater finishing collar/drain from the inside of the box. This would allow a PVC connection from the outside.
I then drilled a few holes into the top using the same hole saw. Inside the panel I could then screw in some furnace fabric and this would allow the the positive air pressure to leave the box. The fabric would filter all of the loose dust particles while the big chips fall to the bottom of the box.
Step 5: Using the Cart/Box
I could connect a 100mm/4" hose from the thicknesser to the dust collector box. This particular thicknesser forces the chips out so the hose had no problem getting them into the box, but it still works better if you can use as much solid/smooth pipe as possible and let gravity do some of the work. I kept the pipe short and had a 90 degree PVC bend at the box end.
To assemble simply attach the the hose from the planer to the box and get to work. Once the box fills up pull the hose off the box and empty it out. Then plug it back in and off you go.