Dust is always an issue when cutting and sanding wood. I build both model airplanes made of balsa and wooden projects made of pine, maple, oak, hickory, etc., so dust creation is almost an every day activity for me. Other than being located inside a room dedicated to the creation of such messes, the light weight, particulate form of dust causes it to spread far and wide throughout your house. I can be working downstairs in the corner of my garage on one end of the house and shortly thereafter, there will be a fresh layer of dust upstairs on the other end of the house. Even with doors shut, it manages to work itself into the air conditioning and heating ducts to facilitate the dispersal.
Adding dust collectors / shields to my radial arm saw and belt sander has done wonders to help keep the dust levels down. I used to build them out of 1/4" ply and pine sticks, but the latest iteration of collectors has been using corrugated cardboard. It's nice and cheap (free), lightweight, and very easy to work with.
The two photos are fairly self-explanatory. For the radial arm saw, I left the flaps at the top untaped in order to allow them to open up for when the saw arm is raised. Small clamps hold them in place otherwise. The belt sander dust collector does a pretty good job of catching the high-speed dust coming off the belt even without the vacuum connector to the collector holes. The disc doesn't launch anywhere near the amount of dust into the air as the belt does.
Even if you want to build a more permanent form of dust collector, using cardboard for the prototype is a good way to work out the final design to be used as a template for the wooden version.
Posted August 27, 2012