[Help/Advice] Dust Collection for RAS

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Forum topic by 1215 posted 05-19-2018 02:11 PM 1148 views 2 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 787 days

05-19-2018 02:11 PM

Hello, new member, first post. I’m at a bit of a loss and looking for help/ideas for dust collection on an old Craftsman RAS. It was my wife’s grandfather’s. (it’s a 113, date code C66, I believe 1952) He was a tool & die maker by trade. When I was gifted the saw it came with every possible accessory, add-on, part, jig, etc. (even the light). It is my understanding this is one of the earlier Craftsman RAS (all cast iron) that was made by DeWalt and sold/branded as Craftsman. So it’s not quite a DeWalt—but it’s one of the good Craftsman RAS.

I use all those things. (except the light:) Around here parts are easy to get (and usually free on Craigslist) because of the recall. I picked up a couple extra arms/bases/stands (everything but the motor & carriage) and spent a decent amount of time & effort to fabricate a solid table base and arm stand/support from the spare parts (involved a lot of cutting and welding, didn’t want to touch her grandfather’s base/parts so I used the stuff from Craigslist).

I use the saw all the time (daily) and for all kinds of things. I have two different table levels/heights relative to the arm/arbors so I can drop the table down and have a little more height/room when I use the 1/2” drill chuck for things like forstner bits and hole saws. (I have bench and floor drill presses as well, the big table on the RAS is nice at times when working with big pieces/making furniture.)

I’m a bit lost because I see a bunch of really good dust collection ideas on the web/Google for RAS but I don’t see much that is dynamic or that would work for a RAS with all of its uses. I’ve got several (maybe 6 or 7) fences for various things (dedicated fence for tongue and groove cutter heads, for example), I have a couple different back boards (board that keeps fence tight against the table), again, for various things. Some back boards have holes in them so I can clamp down jigs, others are solid.

I built a cabinet around the base legs to store all the RAS accessories—so I’m not so worried about sawdust dropping down below the table (will put something down there to suck sawdust off the top of the cabinet). I’d like something that will work (or at least contain the sawdust) for most of the RAS functions. I know that what I don’t want is 15 different dust collection hoods, one for each function. I don’t have space for that.

If you read all that I appreciate the time you took to read and I appreciate any help/advice. Thanks!

edit: Any ideas for ripping? I have a TS but have a really slick jig/setup for ripping with the RAS. Use that a lot.

8 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2448 posts in 941 days

#1 posted 05-19-2018 03:34 PM

a photo of your concerns will always help us help you.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6251 posts in 3272 days

#2 posted 05-19-2018 05:16 PM

A couple of things, first…if your saw is one of the rebranded Dewalts you have a top notch saw…but not much from the recall saws will work on it since the recall is for those made by Emerson Electric. But it’s not a Dewalt is the first 3 numbers are 113, that designation is for the Emerson saws. With Craftsman product, the first 3 digits in the model number indicate the manufacturer. As for DC, there isn’t much to do…what works best for me is to have a really large dust hood in the back with a strong air flow. Mine is shop built and has a 6” connection to fairly large DC so not much escapes with crosscuts and miters. Most of my cuts are just that so it fills the need. There’s almost nothing you can do on rip cuts to reduce the mess, and if you do things like raised panels or such it gets even harder. Just the nature of the machine. To your question in ripping…do it on the table saw, if for no other reason to avoid being covered in sawdust.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View hairy's profile


3075 posts in 4310 days

#3 posted 05-19-2018 10:56 PM

I use a scoop fitting, got it at Rockler. I only crosscut on my RAS.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View 1215's profile


7 posts in 787 days

#4 posted 05-22-2018 07:21 PM

Thank you all for the help/suggestions. And thank you Fred for the explanation of the Dewalt vs. Emerson saws. It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other but at least this way I’m not going around telling people it’s a Craftsman branded DeWalt :) Mine looks like this:

so rounded arm, all cast iron, chrome knobs, etc. No idea if that’s a good or bad model. I broke the whole thing down, restored it, built a table and have it very dialed in. Biggest issue was arm drop but that was at the base and a little welding took care of it. I was able to find new bearings too so the carriage is solid and smooth. Took a lot of work but the blade does what I tell it to do (and it stays put at same angle/plane). Curious if the RAS I have is considered one of the better (or one of the crappy) Craftsman RAS…

John, the saw is absolutely stock. Setup looks exactly like this:

My concerns are that I have a car I’m restoring right behind the saw and when I use the saw the car gets covered in sawdust. Not only is it a pain to keep clean, I do a significant amount of metal work/fabrication (on the car, building bbq smokers, etc.) and metal work (welding, grinding) plus sawdust don’t play nice together. I try and keep my shop as clean as possible but the RAS is just a messy tool/machine.

I was thinking about a hood type situation like this:

However you people are a terrible influence. I was looking at pictures of “RAS dust collection” and stumbled across this:

Not sure if I love or hate user mountainaxe right now :) I happen to have three (complete) spare RAS and about five more RAS worth of parts. I’ve been looking to build a proper cabinet underneath my RAS/saw table for storage. It never occurred to me that I could combine two saws into one table/cabinet. TS + RAS dedicated for crosscuts + RAS for everything else it can do. This forum/website is dangerous. The idea was to collect dust and consolidate, not get ideas for more saws :)

Either way, ideally I’d have a cabinet under my saw (or saws) for storage like in mountainaxe’s photo and then some type of backstop/hood for dust collection. Challenge is that I use it for angles and other functions so it can’t be as simple/small as what user hairy linked.

hairy, What do you do about the dust that falls down the bottom? (behind the fence & back board) A dedicated crosscut RAS could be pretty easy between the blade guard dust port, a solid back board and a back stop. It’s one thing when the saw and base have open legs so you can get in there with a vacuum but if I put a cabinet under it I don’t want to feel like I have to take things apart to clean.


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6251 posts in 3272 days

#5 posted 05-22-2018 07:34 PM

Tat saw is considered one of the better Craftsman saws, so your good to go. On my Dewalt I have a shop built hood that isn’t much different than Hary’s, except it may be a little wider. I made it so a piece fills in that are behind the fence up to the hood. Some dust still gets down there, but not much.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Ripper70's profile


1377 posts in 1687 days

#6 posted 05-22-2018 07:44 PM

I built one of these. Works great. Another version here.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Ocelot's profile


2541 posts in 3416 days

#7 posted 05-22-2018 08:51 PM

Ripper70, I like that thing! Thanks for the video. I have a 1961 Craftsman that my Dad bought on his 44th birthday. He would have been 100 this year. It’s the last tool I would sell.

View 1215's profile


7 posts in 787 days

#8 posted 05-23-2018 06:09 PM

Thanks again. Ripper70, not sure I can do that as I actually use my saw for more than cuts 90 to the fence. I already have several (six or seven) fences. I’d need all new fences and a bunch of different vacuum/suction contraptions. I think I’ll just make a big (ugly) hood behind the saw and call it a day. Maybe I’ll do it cheap/disposable so I can chuck it and build the next version better…

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