Air Cleaner

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Project by justinwdemoss posted 04-15-2011 11:54 PM 5156 views 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been admiring the brand name air cleaners at the local woodworking store and those built by other lumberjocks for quite some time. About a month ago, there was a craigslist posting offering a squirrel cage blower and motor that was used to dry basement floors. I checked it out and found two blower fans, only one had a working 1/3hp motor. The guy gave my both for the price of one $20. I combined parts of both to get the blower and motor combo pictured.

The cleaner is built from 1/2 plywood leftover from other projects. I used three 15×20x1 furnace filters, 2 on the intake one of the out. Two filters are 3M pleated good ones and the initial is a cheap fiber glass one.

The overall dimensions are 21×21x25. The unit hangs from J-bolts and hooks from the ceiling connected by chain leftover from a new dining room light I installed awhile back. I used a 60 minute timer and wired it to have a plug end as I will likely move my shop from time to time and want the ability to relocate the cleaner easily. The total cost was under $50!

I will admit that it is a little louder than I would like. I can’t hear my shop radio easily while it runs, but I usually wear ear protection that has a radio built into it so this is not much of an issue. The unit is much quieter than any of my power tools when they are running, and for the price I can’t complain. I have a few projects to start this weekend and will give it its initial workout.

If you are thinking of building one of these, DO IT! Its an easy build and you can get blowers cheap. Before getting my unit, I called around to some HVAC guys. They got back to me after I had already scored the two blowers so I didn’t need them, but they only wanted $25 for a 110 multi-speed unit.

Good luck.

-- Justin in Loveland, OH

13 comments so far

View Grandpa's profile


3262 posts in 3002 days

#1 posted 04-16-2011 12:03 AM

I have been looking at building one of these also. In fact I have already talked to my HVAC friend. The squirrel cage blower is better than a fan. I saw that someone had used a fan on of thess but they don’t “slip” when the filters clog and the motors get hot. I was afraid of a fire with one of them. this is what I was thinking of building. I had not thought of using filters on t he outlets. In the dry climates they use these and the pads on the outside have water in them so they are designed for this use. Only thing I have thought about is the filter size. I looked at the paper filters at the store and they were all the same cost no matter the size. I am thinking that a 20×30 filter will last longer with more surface area….and it is the same cost to me.

View justinwdemoss's profile


148 posts in 3222 days

#2 posted 04-16-2011 12:19 AM

Good thought on the filter size. It is very true with the intake. The output side shoves about 90% of the air out the bottom on my 15×20 filter so I will likely just flip it over as it ages. 15×20 on that is a bit of useless space.

-- Justin in Loveland, OH

View Resurrected's profile


671 posts in 3018 days

#3 posted 04-16-2011 04:56 AM

I built mine from a old furnace. I used the same size filters as my house furnace uses. I reuse the dirty ones. Gives me a reason to change the house furnace early. Wired mine off a house hold switch that was prewired before the drywall went up. I recommend everyone try this and save the 200 to 300 dollors you would otherwise spend to buy one. thanks for the post. Looks good.

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3159 days

#4 posted 04-16-2011 10:34 AM

Nice score. For the noise part, I see from the pictures that you have attached the motor directly to the blower frame, hence making it resonate and amplify the motor’s noise. You can add silentblocks between the two to reduce vibration transmission, hence the noise :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4317 days

#5 posted 04-16-2011 11:02 AM

The forced air furnaces you find in mobile homes use a direct-drive unit that’s more compact and produces less vibration. But whatever’s free can’t be beat!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Roger's profile


20993 posts in 3130 days

#6 posted 04-16-2011 02:52 PM

yes, very good. your lungs will really like it too

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Chefshep's profile


121 posts in 3009 days

#7 posted 04-17-2011 08:56 AM


Looks good!

I am in the process of making one of these now… I got a squirrel cage blower from an HVAC guy for $30, (see my blog, “Wood Shop on a Budget“). I plan on putting it on wheels, just like a “shop cooler”, & using the top as either a sanding station, or some other bench tool will be mounted to the top… still working on the final outcome design…

-- Chefshep :) "When we allow our present to quarrel with our past, we risk jeopardizing our future.” - Winston Churchill

View Jeffery Mullen's profile

Jeffery Mullen

355 posts in 3144 days

#8 posted 04-24-2011 04:48 AM

Thanks for sharing. This will be on my to do list one day soon.

-- Jeffery Mullen

View thelt's profile


667 posts in 3706 days

#9 posted 04-24-2011 12:53 PM

Hey Justin, You may have hit upon one of the best ideas yet (using the top as either a sanding station,). I have been given a cleaner that is working and looks good. I haven’t had the chance to hang it yet. From your idea, here’s what I thought about: A dual purpose system that is a cleaner AND a Down Draft Sanding Station.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View DIYaholic's profile


19769 posts in 3001 days

#10 posted 04-24-2011 09:39 PM

I plan on a dual purpose cleaner/blower. The air cleaner will be a run of the mill standard air cleaner with several filters to clean the shop air while making sawdust, with an attachment that will connect/blow into a finishing room. I plan on blowing clean air into a finishing room/tent. I will build a hanging plastic room within a room, have the “blower” to create possitive air pressure and vent out a filtered window opening. This will provide clean air for the finish room and vent all fumes to the outside. Blowing clean air into the finishing room solves two problems. 1) isolates the motor from the combustible fumes. 2) Positive air pressure reduces the risk of fine dust from ruining the finish.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View SteveW's profile


396 posts in 3185 days

#11 posted 05-16-2011 04:54 PM

These do work great, I have one with similar construction.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! SteveW

View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3615 days

#12 posted 07-28-2011 01:30 AM

Thanks a lot for the info, very nice work also.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View sillac's profile


644 posts in 3090 days

#13 posted 05-16-2012 03:32 AM

I just finished my shop air cleaner, but with mine I can barely hear it.

-- Steve in Oregon,

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