Homemade air filter? Worth it?

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Forum topic by LucasWoods posted 05-26-2018 07:55 PM 994 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LucasWoods's profile


448 posts in 2144 days

05-26-2018 07:55 PM

I am sure having one is better than nothing. But is buying one better than building one?

I have a 2 car garage along with a older 2HP Grizzly dust collector. I always wear a dust mask even when using my dust collector or vacuum.

I would like to get to where I don’t have to wear a mask all the time, after I make cuts.

Would building a homemade air filter and hanging it from the ceiling work?

If so what design and what type of fan or blower would be best on a low budget? ~75 or less (I got materials) just no fan or filters.

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

13 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4459 days

#1 posted 05-26-2018 08:15 PM

There are a few things I’d recommend first,
one is upgrading you collector’s dust bags
to catch fine dust more effectively. As
supplied with bags they are really chip
collectors. Shaker felt bags are one option,
a pleated filter with a plastic bag on the
bottom is another.

The other is setting up overhead dust collection
for the table saw.

I have an air cleaner by JDS but I don’t have
to use it much because I get a lot of the fine
dust in my dust collector. I only turn it on
if I’m doing a lot of cutting.

In terms of making your own, many people
have done it using furnace filters. The JDS
has furnace type filters too but also has a
sort of pleated canvas filter in it which looks
sort of like a miniature “bag house” dust

View LucasWoods's profile


448 posts in 2144 days

#2 posted 05-26-2018 08:46 PM

I have a 1 micron bag right now with a plastic bag for catching everything. Is there somewhere I can get a better bag? Or is 1 micron “good”?

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

View Kazooman's profile


1516 posts in 2763 days

#3 posted 05-26-2018 09:02 PM

Lots of prior discussion on this topic.

Check out this thread:

And this one:

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4459 days

#4 posted 05-26-2018 09:09 PM

Sounds good to me but if you’re not capturing
the fine dust adequately to work without a
mask it’s coming from somewhere. Some
people may be more sensitive. I seldom wear
a mask but I do pay for it with a runny nose

View MNgary's profile


318 posts in 3228 days

#5 posted 05-27-2018 01:08 PM

I would contact HVAC contractors and price out a motor and blower they salvaged from a furnace replacement job. Another source would an appliance dealer for salvaging a clothes drier motor and blower.

1 micron filtering, Lucas, is as good as it gets for home woodworing shops.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View hairy's profile


3084 posts in 4343 days

#6 posted 05-27-2018 01:31 PM

I made this one.

If the weather is okay, you could use a box fan to pull the dust out of the garage. I also have a furnace filter taped to a box fan.

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

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3220 days

#7 posted 05-27-2018 01:51 PM

Just a couple of videos I remembered seeing and thinking hey that is interesting approach.

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

View LucasWoods's profile


448 posts in 2144 days

#8 posted 05-27-2018 02:02 PM

Thank you all for the help on this.

You all have given great options on building my own.

In time and money to build my own is it still worth it? Or is buying one. Better option depending on price?

Example there is a WEN 3 speed remote controlled air filter system for $126 but just has two filters and the smallest it will catch is 1 micron.

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

View mrg's profile


870 posts in 3810 days

#9 posted 05-27-2018 03:59 PM

I take it your using a contractors saw. Close up the back, that is where a good amount of the dust is coming from because the dust collector can’t pull all the dust since it’s open. This will make a big difference. Also you may want to seal along the base of the table and put something over your slot for the angle adjustment. Just closing the back will help quite a bit, I rigged mine with a cover system with magnets, when you need to make an angle cut just remove.

As Loren said, overhead dust collection, I have a shark guard and that makes a big difference also. For down and dirty air cleaning crack your garage door and put a fan in a window blowing out, that will remove dust and replace with clean air. When its cold out you can use a couple of box fans with filters on them.

If your blowing a lot of dust out of the saw, the air cleaner isn’t going to keep up with it.

Let us know how you make out.

-- mrg

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3220 days

#10 posted 05-27-2018 04:31 PM

I have this WEN unit, a gift a friend gave me for Christmas.

For the contractors saw I have 3 ways to collect dust. One drawer under the unit, enclosed the motor behind and put another drawer, and used a short bristle broom over the angle adjustment in the front.

Here are a few pics in the making give you some ideas.

More pictures and details about the cabinet build here:

Granted mine is two saws bolted together, same principle for a single just smaller, if you wanted.

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

View LesB's profile


2576 posts in 4254 days

#11 posted 05-27-2018 04:54 PM

I have used a recycled house furnace or air handler squirrel cage type blower in a floor mounted cabinet for many years. It has a double home heating type filter, one coarse and the second a fine or hepa type filter.

I have mine in the floor cabinet (with wheels) because I can then move it around the shop to place it closer to things like my lathe which produces quite a bit of fine dust when sanding. In the winter I place it next to my wood stove to not only clean the air but circulate the heat. The top of the cabinet serves as a sharpening station.

I think it is worth the time to build your own and you should be able to find a blower at a heating contractors for almost nothing. Doing the same with a box fan will work but I doubt it will move as much air.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6327 posts in 3304 days

#12 posted 05-27-2018 06:19 PM

It’s very difficult to compare the shop built to a commercial version since the air flow and filtration is so different. I had a shop built one that used 3 layers of Filtrete filters, and it did an excellent job of leaning my shop. We moved, and I bought a small Grizzly air cleaner and found it didn’t work nearly as well, but I suspect it’s because it didn’t move nearly as much air as my shop built one (shops were roughly the same size). We’ve moved again, and this shop will have another shop built cleaner using (another) recycled furnace blower. I think it’s well worth building one since (to me) they seem to work as good as the more expensive ones, and a lot netter than the smaller commercial ones.

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

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3107 days

#13 posted 05-27-2018 06:26 PM

I picked up the WEN as well and was surprised at house nice it is for the money.

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