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Hello felllow L-jocks,

Ever wonder if any of the effort you make to control dust in your shop is actually making any difference? After building a top hat style Thien baffle, I began to wonder the same thing, so I built a dust measurement device using an Arduino, a cell phone screen, and a few other devices. It has turned out to be very sensitive - the specs of the dust sensor call out 1 micron detection capability.

I wrote this up as an article for Digital Machinist magazine, and they accepted it, so it will be published in a couple months or so and the build guide, parts list, and source code will be made available from them.

In the meantime, I am looking for a few intrepid volunteers to beta test the article that provides instructions to build this device. Note the device already works well, so you are not being asked to work with something that is not complete, just comment on the build process. To be a beta tester, what is being asked is the following:

1. Be willing to spend about $70 on parts. The sensor alone sometimes takes a couple of weeks to arrive, so it needs to be ordered right away and I am under a deadline to submit changes to the article.

2. Be willing to write up and email me your experience in building the device using advance copies of the article. I am looking for feedback on what is missing, vague, or wrong in the article in order to improve it for everybody when it is published. I have tried to make this thing easy to build, the only electronics experience you need is splicing wires with solder, and having some Arduino experience, or knowing someone who does, helps. All needed software is either provided or available for free download.

3. Be willing to write up and email me your experience using the device in the shop. We can talk about improvements or mods from there.

Here is a screen shot:



Above is a screen shot of the gauge's display. (The actual screensize is 3.2 inches on the diagonal.) What you are seeing is a period of inactivity in my shop (the area on the right of the graph) and then the first steep spike you see is when I turned on my random orbital sander. I wasn't actually sanding anything, this was just dust that kicked up from simply turning it on. I admit I hadn't cleaned its cloth bag filter in some time, as there was a slightly detectable cloud of dust that emerged from it when I first turned it on. I was about 6 feet away from the monitor at the time, and after letting it run for about 10 seconds I turned it off and left the room for over an hour. You can see it takes quite some time for the dust to settle down. The two left most peaks represent the two times when I came back into the room to do the photography to take this photo - just moving about in the room stirs up the air a bit. After that, it flatlined.

Besides graphing the data, the device logs the data to an SD card and you can upload a spreadsheet file of its logged data to your computer for further graphing, etc. and the data displayed on the screen can be filtered and smoothed.

So, if any of you are interested in having a device like this, and are willing to build one very soon and tell me about how to make that experience better, please PM me with your email address. I will not share that address with anyone else. I only need a few intrepid volunteers to participate.

Any questions, just ask.

Thanks,

Revwarguy
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just wanted to say that I have enough beta testers for the article. If you are still interested, it will be out in the spring issue of Digital Machinist. Thanks to all who responded.
 

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I think that is a very cool device. I would love to know just how effectively I am capturing the dust in my shop. Let us know when the article is published.

Thanks,
Charlie
 
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