I’m developing a prototype for my miter saw dust collection. The miter saw is one of the worst offenders in the shop for creating dust and spreading around the shop and, if you’re not wearing a respirator, into your lungs. I’ve been kicking around a couple ideas lately and decided I would give it a shot.

 

Even though I wasn’t sure how the dust collection would work, I designed the project in Sketchup just to start somewhere.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE

I brought some ¾ inch plywood I had to the table saw. It was mostly cutting a few larger pieces down to roughly 26 inches, and then ripping smaller sections off of those.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE1

I needed to make a couple 30 degree angled cuts. Since my table saw only goes down to 45 degrees, I had to cut the boards vertically. Doing this means taking the opposite angle from 90, which would be 60. So I used the angle gauge to dial my blade in to exactly 60 degrees.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE2

A normal table saw fence isn’t tall enough to stabilize a tall piece of wood going through the saw. I had to build a jig to help.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE3

My plan was to nest two smaller boards over the existing fence. After bringing the blade back to a perfect 90, I marked and cut the two smaller pieces of plywood that would fit over the fence.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE4

I applied some wood glue to the two faces and when they were snugly in place, tacked them with brad nails.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE5

I pushed the boards through the blade while keeping them firmly against the new fence.

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The cuts turned out great.

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Now I could work on the base. I had to make a hole in the center to receive my dust collection port. Using a compass, I drew out a 4-inch circle.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE8

I brought the base over to the bench and used a drill for some relief cuts, and then the jig-saw to cut out the hole.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE9

I used a drum sander on my drill press to even out the hole, and then rounded the edges with the trim router.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE10

To attach the back, I marked its position on the base and then drilled and countersunk some holes. I added some glue and then screwed it in place. I also pre-drilled the holes on the back so the plywood wouldn’t split.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE11

I applied glue to the two boards that I had cut a 30-degree edge. I put them in place and then tacked in some brad nails.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE12

I went back to the table saw and cut the two side-end pieces. These are what hold the peg board. I glued and nailed them both in place.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE14

Now that I had the final dimensions I could cut the pegboard to the correct size. It slid in perfectly.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE15

To give the miter-saw a little more room, I bowed the pegboard back using some rounded supports on the top and base. I rough cut them with the jig-saw, smoothed them on the disc sander, and cut them to size using the table saw.

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I could now glue and nail them in place.

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I set the base where it would eventually sit and traced out the hole to cut through the bench. I then cut out the hole using an oscillating saw.

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Unfortunately, one of the bench supports was in the way…

Suction Box PROTOTYPE20

After relocating the support, I connected the dust collection hose to the flange.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE21

It was time to seal up the unit. I wanted the entire force of the suction to come through the peg-board holes, and not through leaks in the box. I used some caulking to go over all the edges and corners. After attaching the top with some glue and nails, I caulked those edges as well.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE22

This is what the suction box looked like before I started experimenting.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE23

Before screwing down the box, I sealed the joint to the dust collection flange using the same caulking.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE24

For my first test I swept up some saw dust and threw it over the box with the suction turned on. The standard peg board holes clogged right away.

Suction Box PROTOTYPE25

I grabbed a drill and widened most of the holes. I had no idea what effect this would have on suction. I sanded the board smooth and tested again. I also used a countersink bit to widen the front of the holes

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A lot of small chips were bouncing off to the sides, so I decided to add some small walls. I cut them out of quarter inch plywood and just tacked them in place.

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After about an hour of testing and modifying, this is what I came up with. I realized I didn’t need suction from all the holes, just some in specific locations. I used blue tape to cover up holes I didn’t want to use.

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I repeated 5 cuts through a 2×4 with the suction turned off. There was a cloud of dust and this is the debris that was left. This consists of both fine and heavy particles.

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I ran the same cuts, this time with the suction turned on. There was still some debris on the base but only the heavy particles, and a lot less than before.

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This is a cut in slow-motion with the dust collection ON.

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This is a cut in slow-motion with the dust collection OFF.

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My Project Tools

TABLE SAW

DIGITAL ANGLE GAUGE

BRAD NAILER

STRAIGHT EDGE

COMPASS

DRILL & IMPACT DRIVER

JIG-SAW

DRILL PRESS

TRIM ROUTER

OSCILLATING MULTI-TOOL

CAULKING GUN

MITER-SAW

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Recent Projects