Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dust control - the background

If you haven't used one of these devices, there are two issues you will need to deal with - noise and sawdust. And these routers produce both in ample amounts. The noise can be dealt with using hearing protectors. IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: eye, ear and dust protection is mandatory. You may feel like a goober wearing all this protective gear, but at least you will still be able to see and hear and you are less likely to cough up bits of your lungs years from now.

Regarding the dust, goodness only knows what carcinogenic crap is in that stuff, and these machines produce a lot of very fine particles - I'd bet these are the most dangerous.

I needed something that would include a vacuum system, and there had something that would enclose the router bit, extending all the way to the surface of the workpiece. Upcut spiral router bits really sling the sawdust - somewhere between a speeding bullet and the speed of light.

I am a firm believer in intercepting the dust as close to the source as possible - especially considering my garage is attached to my house - and all that fine dust will work it's way inside - and my wife will find it - and I will be in deep, deep sh_t.

Whatever I used needed to be flexible - it has to bend against the work surface when the router cuts deeper. It had to be firm enough to not get sucked into the router bit or the vacuum system.

I've seen some builders used a 'skirt' around the router mount, others suggested brushes (called 'door sweeps'). Yet others just put the whole-damn-thing into an enclosure (thereby addressing both dust and noise). I will eventually do the enclosure route and a dust-pickup at the source. Sort of like wearing a belt and suspenders.

This looks like an industrial router, but I really like the dust control.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Router Mount

Since I had to take the whole thing apart to replace the drive screw for the x-axis, I decided to replace the left-and-right side of the z-axis assembly with two parts I made on the CNC router.

The photo (above, left) shows the router mounted in the original mount. I had to raise the router in the mount so that the router bit did not extend past the dust brush (details on that later). That moved the router too far away from the table, so I had to jury-rig it to lower the whole router/mount assembly lower toward the table. The new sides to the Z-axis assembly (above, right) includes a "jog" to hold the router mount lower.

Here is the router mount. I designed it in cardboard, transferred the design to 1/4" hardboard. I verified the fit of all the components. I used a pattern bit on my router to duplicate the shape on two 3/4" pieces of plywood. I stacked and glued the plywood together.

The small hole to the upper right is for the vacuum attachment. It works fairly well, but I will re-make this with a 2 1/2" vacuum attachment. The more air you can move, the better.