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Squirrel Cage vs Box Fan vs Ambient Air Filtration vs Dust collector

by WorksInTheory
posted 01-29-2018 05:55 AM


18 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12924 posts in 2914 days


#1 posted 01-29-2018 07:55 AM

Depends on how much work you want to put into it. If the answer is none, buy the Wen. If the answer is you don’t care, than build one from a squirrel cage. The box fan would be somewhere in the middle and if your neighborhood is like most, people throw those things away left and right. And 99% of the time they just need the dust blown out and a squirt of oil and they are tip top again. For a box fan, or any fan, I would buy one good filter and put it on the input side. A good filter like an Air Bear or similar will last longer and give you better performance (I think) over multiple small filters.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View WorksInTheory's profile

WorksInTheory

178 posts in 2136 days


#2 posted 01-29-2018 04:07 PM

Thanks Rick_M – so are you saying that box fan would be effective? When I research it’s been 2 camps but I know there always people who say unless it’s the most powerful or the best or a certain brand then it’s no good.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

4078 posts in 1921 days


#3 posted 01-29-2018 05:26 PM

Just be aware that unless you capture the dust at the source, you will still find that there is quite a bit of dust settling around the shop.

The problem with box fans is that they are usually not strong enough to pull air through a filter and be very effective. A simple pleated AC filter drops the motor speed noticeably. I often put one right behind my lathe when I am sanding something and it catches quite a bit that way but if I just run it somewhere away from the source of dust, almost no dust is collected on the filter.

If you go for the WEN, keep your eyes open because they frequently drop the price closer to $100. I bought one for under $90 last year with free delivery from Walmart. It does a good job of clearing dust out of the air but you won’t get it all. Running additional fans to keep the dust aloft helps. Every few weeks, I use my battery operated leaf blower to get all of the settled dust back into the air, leave the shop and let the WEN run for a few hours (it has a cutoff timer) to filter most of it out of the air.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

593 posts in 1153 days


#4 posted 01-29-2018 05:28 PM

I think you should use both the Grizzly dust collector to grab the big chunks at the machines and a box fan with filter for the smaller stuff that escapes. Use a good filter on the inlet of your box fan if you are exhausting into your work-space, use a cheap furnace filter if you can exhaust outdoors.

-- Sawdust Maker

View LesB's profile

LesB

2216 posts in 3977 days


#5 posted 01-29-2018 05:48 PM

I would recommend the squirrel cage blower from an old HVAC unit. Check with local heating/cooling contractors to see if they have any used ones. They are big enough to distribute air through out a whole house so they move a lot of air, fairly quietly. I have lived in my current home for a long time so I have replaced the heating system twice. I saved the blowers both times but I’m still running on the first blower which is close to 40 years old. The second one is in reserve. I built the blower into the bottom of a rolling cabinet (so I can move it near the source of the dust if necessary) and use the top of the cabinet for my sharpening center. It has a double filter, course type on the outside and fine one on the inside. Also because I heat my shop with a wood stove it serves to circulate the heat.
Search this web site for more ideas as several people have posted similar systems in the past.
You will still have some dust settling on things but it will definitely improve the air you breath.

-- Les B, Oregon

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

1461 posts in 1758 days


#6 posted 01-29-2018 06:18 PM

I was just looking at the Wen filters to put a couple around the shop but more towards machine level and it looks like Powertec and EJWOX are selling the same machine under their own brands on Amazon for less.

I haven’t heard of these before but not much different except the paint. I do know that Wen has been making a very good name for itself with tools lately but I wonder if there would be any differences that would affect quality.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

6055 posts in 2254 days


#7 posted 01-29-2018 06:32 PM

+1 to a former furnace blower, they’re quiet, move a lot of air at a greater pressure than a box fan and they’re efficient. The box fan would be noisier and move too little air after the filters season a little plus it likely wouldn’t last nearly as long as even a used furnace blower. The Grizzly blower, I’d avoid all together, they have great pressure but are noisy, inefficient, don’t move as much volume and have a high discharge speed which could stir up dust that you might otherwise not want disturbed. The Wen has its obvious benefits but there’s something to be said for building it yourself.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3156 posts in 2882 days


#8 posted 01-29-2018 06:42 PM

I’d suggest making some sort of multi stage DC. You can make something that will work such as a thien baffle with a bag collector that can attach to whatever machine you are using. For an air filter, you can use a box fan and HEPA furnace filter. Everything beyond that is a matter of how fancy you want to get and how much cash you want to spend.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2143 posts in 1137 days


#9 posted 01-29-2018 07:51 PM

As someone has probably already said, filtration and dust collection are 2 different animals. As far as the WEN type vs squirrel cage or box fan, I love my WEN. Self contained, quiet, and the timer is awesome. I turn it on when I go into the shop and then set the timer for 2 or 4 hrs when leaving. You can usually find them for about $100 online or at Home Depot.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View WorksInTheory's profile

WorksInTheory

178 posts in 2136 days


#10 posted 01-29-2018 08:47 PM

Thanks for all the response thus far. For clarity, I have dust collection already. I am talking about air filtration.

If the WEN is $100 make sense over box fan and filters as it’s probably $50 to 75 when all said and done. However, I have not seen it for $100 yet.

View fivecodys's profile

fivecodys

1516 posts in 2170 days


#11 posted 01-29-2018 08:56 PM

I got the WEN for $109. I also have a dust collector but I wanted to try and capture the fine air-borne particles that are bad for us to breathe.
I have a 1-1/2 car garage that I use for my shop and the WEN seems to be helping.
I have it suspended from the rafters near my table saw.
This is a fairly new installation so time will tell.

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

4078 posts in 1921 days


#12 posted 01-29-2018 09:02 PM

If you have the patience to wait, you can use this link to 3 Camels to see the price history and also set a price alert for Amazon. You can see that it was as low as $81 but has dropped to under $120 several times, though not for a while. Set an alert for $119 for example and they will send you an email when the price drops below that.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12924 posts in 2914 days


#13 posted 01-29-2018 09:53 PM



Thanks Rick_M – so are you saying that box fan would be effective? When I research it s been 2 camps but I know there always people who say unless it s the most powerful or the best or a certain brand then it s no good.

- WorksInTheory

Anything that moves air will be effective. A squirrel cage fan will move more air and last longer because it runs off an induction motor. But box fans are cheap and plentiful (often free), and if oiled regularly the better ones will move some air. It’s not a life changing decision :) you can try one and then try the other if you don’t like it.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Mike_in_STL's profile

Mike_in_STL

1053 posts in 1068 days


#14 posted 01-29-2018 10:46 PM

I’m thinking about using the squirrel cage blowers out of an over the range microwave to build a low profile air cleaner. I have two units now that sit in my windows and move a ton of air. I can only imagine how well they would work in a filtered housing.

By the way, over the cab microwaves show up all the time for free on Craigslist.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View nutmegger13's profile

nutmegger13

19 posts in 798 days


#15 posted 01-29-2018 11:20 PM

What about using the Oneide Dust Deputy with a good quality shop vac and a hepa filter in the vacuum. I use this and am happy with the results. The only problem is that I have to roll it around the shop and hook it up to the power tool I am using.

-- nutmegger13, Connecticut

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5974 posts in 2943 days


#16 posted 01-30-2018 03:59 AM



I would recommend the squirrel cage blower from an old HVAC unit. Check with local heating/cooling contractors to see if they have any used ones. They are big enough to distribute air through out a whole house so they move a lot of air, fairly quietly. I have lived in my current home for a long time so I have replaced the heating system twice. I saved the blowers both times but I m still running on the first blower which is close to 40 years old. The second one is in reserve. I built the blower into the bottom of a rolling cabinet (so I can move it near the source of the dust if necessary) and use the top of the cabinet for my sharpening center. It has a double filter, course type on the outside and fine one on the inside. Also because I heat my shop with a wood stove it serves to circulate the heat.
Search this web site for more ideas as several people have posted similar systems in the past.
You will still have some dust settling on things but it will definitely improve the air you breath.

- LesB

I used a older model overhead stove fan with a nice squirrel cage for pushing the air through my shop. Fits in the window of shop. You could easily reverse this and vent to the outside. For actual dust collection someone gave me a WEN and it works well. Do buy extra filters ahead of time rather than be without.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

926 posts in 2118 days


#17 posted 01-30-2018 06:28 PM

That little Wen unit is interesting.

I am very happy with my own combo of a DC system and a ceiling hung box filter, although I wasn’t even aware of the Wen, and went with a larger unit that moves a lot of air.

Given all I have read in this thread, I would say get the Wen rather than spend time building something.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View AdamScudder's profile

AdamScudder

41 posts in 2921 days


#18 posted 12-24-2018 01:48 AM

How have you solved your air cleaner needs?
I’d like to use my dust collector as the air filter, with a squirrel cage blower for a boost. Any ideas? I posted A new thread here…

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/302183

-- Adam Scudder Woodworking

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