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Festool as a general dust collector?

David writes:

I am trying to decide how to proceed with dust collection/extraction in my shop. I am principally a wood turner. I have a Robust American Beauty lathe (I, like you, believe that money spent on good tools is rarely wasted) and the problem is, of course dust when power sanding dry wood. My approach to dust collection while turning is three phased. I see a dust extraction unit to collect the majority of the dust directly at the work as part one; a HEPA filtered air breather helmet (3M AS400) to protect the lungs as the second part; and a ceiling mounted (directly above the lathe) air filtration unit to collect the particles “that got away”as the final step. Presently, I have a large Rikon air filtration unit (61-1250) that I turn on prior to sanding. My practice is to leave the air filtration unit running while sanding and during shop clean up. I turn it off prior to turning off the lights and closing the shop door. I presently use a large shop vac with the hose set close to the work as my dust collector. You can see the vac taking the dust away (I have installed the bags designed for collecting drywall dust in the vac) but this soon has to change. The mystery to me is what to replace the shop vac with. My research indicates that Oneida makes some of the best cyclone dust collectors but I see them perhaps as overkill when my prime concern is collecting dust at the lathe. The larger units (3HP and up) are expensive but I would pay the money if I could be convinced that the money would be well spent. This long winded background story (sorry) leads to my question: I am wondering if you have experience using the Festool dust extraction units while turning? I have read your review on the Festool but you did not specifically mention whether you use it for collecting/extracting dust while turning.

Unfortunately, no, I’ve never used the Festool DE while turning. Offhand, I would think it wouldn’t be a good idea because a) turning tends to generate a *lot* of shavings and would quickly fill up the very expensive bag and b) power sanding on the lathe generates a lot of really fine dust very quickly that would tend to cake up on the inside of the bag or blow through and clog up the even more expensive HEPA filter.

I use a 3hp cyclone from Grizzly that I’ve been extremely happy with, I did a lot of research and felt the Grizzly was just about as good as the Oneida but considerably less money. Given your limited needs, the 2HP model may suffice, especially with a very short duct run. I have a drop by my lathe that connects to a 6″ flex hose that I hold in place with a plywood jig that affixes to the lathe bed with a switchable magnet. While this doesn’t catch all the heavy chips and shavings, it’s pretty good and it’s especially good with sanding, as the airflow is tremendous and gets nearly if not all of the dust.

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