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Automatic dust collector system advice

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Forum topic by bbrown posted 01-22-2020 12:42 PM 487 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbrown

334 posts in 4193 days


01-22-2020 12:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collection automatic blast gate

I’m finally looking to get a serious dust collection system installed. I’m wondering if any folks have automated their systems (Dust Collector turns on and Blast Gate opens when the machine is turned on) and what might be recommended for a total non-electrician like myself?

There are a few automatic blast gate systems such as the iVAC but they are over $150-275 for each tool .....https://shop.ivacswitch.com/

Found this one too…...https://grngate.com/product-pricing/ which looks really good and maybe even user-friendly. $500 just to get the starter system. And it only works with 4 inch pipes.

The Artuino type home-made systems seem too difficult for a non-electrician like me. That can be done for under $100 apparently, but honestly, my eyes grow dim watching the YouTube videos. These guys are electrical engineer types mostly.
I am sort of amazed that no company is making a simpler automatic system.

-- Traditional Woodworking & Carving classes at my shop in Coastal Maine: http://www.MaineCoastWorkshop.com


21 replies so far

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3492 posts in 2989 days


#1 posted 01-22-2020 01:11 PM

As I was building my 2-stage DC I came to the realization that most of the DC stuff we obsess about (cyclone, thein baffle, automatic gates, complicated setups) really aren’t necessary. It really comes down to “want” rather than “need” in most cases. A basic 2 HP DC with a 0.5 micron pleated filter with an easily emptied dust bin under it does the job for a single person shop with the usual equipment. Similarly, a simple piping system that connects to the most commonly used equipment (in my case the table saw) and a hose to connect to the mobile equipment is really all most of us need. Collect the chips and dust, remove them from the work space and filter out the fines. That is dust collection in its most basic terms. More than that is up to the user and his budget.

I looked at the I-Vac blast gates as well as the other automated options out there and came to the realization that I don’t really need to have the blast gate open when I turn on the machine. I can open the blast gate by hand prior to starting the machine and save the money. I did splurge on the I-VAc on/off switch so I don’t have to turn the DC on/off by hand since the switch is hard to get at.

Just a few thoughts to consider before spending your hard earned cash.

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

View HuckleberryWoodWrks's profile

HuckleberryWoodWrks

45 posts in 43 days


#2 posted 01-22-2020 01:37 PM

I like the ivac auto on with the machine. I don’t have automated gates.

I do think there are several benefits to a cyclone or Thien baffle though.

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

334 posts in 1171 days


#3 posted 01-22-2020 02:24 PM

Not a lot of non-DIY setups out there that are in a reasonable price range. I have been adapting a self made system over the past couple years. I have a decent amount of electrical knowledge, but the arduino/microcontroller programming is out of my skill set. I am using a 24vdc controlled contactor to start my DC. Much like how a thermostat turns on a heatpump. From there I have limit switched the on my blast gates that turn it on when they are open. If my DC is on, I know I have a gate open and it is hard to accidentally turn it on with all gates closed.

Right now I am controlling the blast gates with throttle cable from a lawnmower, but it is not holding up well. My next change will be to change over the gates to pneumatic controls. Again another 12-24vdc signal that is is connected to a switch by the tool. Flip the switch and it will extend or contract the cylinder connected to the gate and turn everything on/off…..in theory.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

852 posts in 1229 days


#4 posted 01-22-2020 02:34 PM

I don’t use automatic start in the DC. In my underpowered shop the automatic start kept blowing the breaker. This didn’t happen if I started each item separately.

I stopped using the DC for every saw cut. I just let the sawdust pile up in the base of my cab saw and vac out every few months. This saves stop/start on the DC and electricity too.

Since saw dust is coarse vs sanding dust this prevents the DC from blowing out ‘fines’ everytime the blower kicks on.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

2471 posts in 2135 days


#5 posted 01-22-2020 03:32 PM

1) Automatic gate control for dust collection is expensive. iVac is cheap compared to commercial systems that cost $400-$600 per machine. Don’t forget the cost of permanent wiring parallel to dust work, or at each machine. It cost ~$100 to have an electrician to drop a 120v outlet next to the $200+ 240v machine power outlet.

2) While automatic gates are cool, IMHO they are luxury for home shop. Either you can afford to be spoiled with shop full of Powermatic, Festool, and Felder tools with auto dust collection, or you can’t. :-)

3) IME Simple wireless control and couple of easy to reach manual gates is all you need. I keep the remote fob for my dust collector hanging on my shop apron. Shared a $40 DIY version of iVac as part of some upgrades to my dust collector that might be of interest?
Click for details

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View MPython's profile

MPython

220 posts in 453 days


#6 posted 01-22-2020 03:40 PM

Like RobHannon, my system is rigged so that a relay turns on my cyclone when I open a blast gate and off when I close the gate. I built all of my blast gates and installed an inexpensive, magnetically activated “reed” switch in each one. There is a magnet imbedded in the gate that lines up with the switch and closes it. This activates the relay and turns on the cyclone. When I close the gate, the magnet moves away from he switch and shuts the cyclone off. The switches are inexpensive, about $2.00 each. The blast gates are mounted overhead at each machine and are operated with pull cords. They were inexpensive to build from Baltic birch plywood, and the electrical components cost about $3.00 for each gate. You could probably figure out how to use this circuit with commercially available blast gates. A friend who is an electronics guy, built the master switch with the relay for me. It was not expensive either, but you’d probably need somebody who knows electronics to build it. I have a schematic for the circuit I’d be happy to share it you’re interested. I like it because it doesn’t tax the cyclone motor and relay with short-term on/off cycles; I can leave the cyclone on while I change machines or turn a machine off briefly for adjustment. Here are some photos:

P.S., My system also includes a photoelectric circuit with a photo cell at the chip bin that shuts the cyclone off when the bin gets full. This prevents the system from overfilling and jamming the ductwork with chips. The circuit works flawlessly. It is in included in the electronics schematic.

View bbrown's profile

bbrown

334 posts in 4193 days


#7 posted 01-23-2020 02:33 AM

Thanks for the great tips and advice. I’ve been in the planning stage for about 30 years so no big rush here :) Definitely been in the ‘analysis paralysis’ mode for some time: the more I read the more confusing it all seems and so I put it off for another day (or year, or decade…..).

I think I might go with “Cap’n Klutz” advice: “Simple wireless control and couple of easy to reach manual gates is all you need.”

-- Traditional Woodworking & Carving classes at my shop in Coastal Maine: http://www.MaineCoastWorkshop.com

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1254 posts in 3434 days


#8 posted 01-23-2020 04:37 AM

I have manual gates, but put in current switches that sense when a motor starts and close contacts to start DC a couple seconds after tool starts using a time delay relay. I only have this on the TS, shaper, jointer, planer, and drum sander. Otherwise, I can use stop start stations or the wireless remote. It works for my home shop needs.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6065 posts in 3454 days


#9 posted 01-23-2020 06:09 AM

I actually have both the ivac and Grngate systems. While I will agree they are a luxury, it’s kind of like power windows in your car. It would be very hard to go back to manual gates.

Just in terms of workflow… Walk across shop and close last gate you were using. Open required gate, and look around to make sure you don’t have additional gates open. Turn on tablesaw for one cut. Close TS gate. Open bandsaw gate etc.

With the automatic gates you just flip the switch. Gate opens. DC turns on. Shut off the saw and the DC shuts down. After a brief delay, the gate closes. It just plain works like you always thought it should.

I highly recommend both systems.
Even if you have 6” or larger main ductwork, you won’t need gates bigger than 4”. Since you don’t have to reach the gate by hand, you can mount it right on the saws dust port.
Just get the basic setup and see how great it really is. You’ll want to upgrade most every gate before long.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

625 posts in 295 days


#10 posted 01-23-2020 06:28 AM



Not a lot of non-DIY setups out there that are in a reasonable price range. I have been adapting a self made system over the past couple years. I have a decent amount of electrical knowledge, but the arduino/microcontroller programming is out of my skill set. I am using a 24vdc controlled contactor to start my DC. Much like how a thermostat turns on a heatpump. From there I have limit switched the on my blast gates that turn it on when they are open. If my DC is on, I know I have a gate open and it is hard to accidentally turn it on with all gates closed.

Right now I am controlling the blast gates with throttle cable from a lawnmower, but it is not holding up well. My next change will be to change over the gates to pneumatic controls. Again another 12-24vdc signal that is is connected to a switch by the tool. Flip the switch and it will extend or contract the cylinder connected to the gate and turn everything on/off…..in theory.

- RobHannon


I’m curious how you would incorporate a micro controller. I’m a software architect so the programming is definitely in my skill set.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

2471 posts in 2135 days


#11 posted 01-23-2020 07:49 AM


I m curious how you would incorporate a micro controller. I m a software architect so the programming is definitely in my skill set.
- sansoo22

WWW search for:

1) ‘arduino AC current sensor’
Will show you various sensors available and code required to measure current flow in wire. Put one sensor at each machine with single black or red wire running through sensor to know when machine is on/off.
You either have make small box for each machine with current sensor in it, wired inline, or need to mount the sensor inside the existing supply box, or magnetic starter. How you get the on/off signal to dust collector controller is up to you: either use ardunio with each sensor and use wifi communications, or use interconnect wire with all sensors tied back to dust collector controller.

2) “arduino power relay’
Can buy plug in module with relay on it to switch the 1A 24v-240v needed to engage a regular power contactor that would control the dust collector power. This module would be located in the box with your dust collector, taking inputs from all the sensors.

Basic micro-controller sensing AC power is easy, and so is simple relay control. The devil is in the system packaging details to install it on the tools. :-)

Adding automatic gate detection uses the same idea, except it detects simple micro switch or reed switch on/off.

Controlling gates based on machine power status requires adding more relay output modules to control the pneumatic cylinders (or the motors) that open/close the gates.

The ardunio modules are relatively cheap, so often easier to use WiFi/Bluetooth modules to enable one device at each gate, machine, and the dust collector controller. In simplistic terms, you end up with a network of micro-controllers running your shop dust collection.
I remember seeing separate dust collector and gate control control module DIY posted somewhere in WWW, but not interested in digging up references right now, sorry.

Hopefully this gives you enough to figure it out?
Cheers!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View teetomterrific's profile

teetomterrific

96 posts in 1002 days


#12 posted 01-23-2020 12:52 PM

I just finished installing a cyclone and spiral piping in my shop and my long range plan is to use micro controllers to turn on the DC but not with a power relay at the DC. My approach will be to have the micro controllers communicate via bluetooth or wifi to a Raspberry Pi which in turn will will send the same infrared signal my remote sends to power on the DC if it is not already running. I plan to have the Pi send signals to open the powered on machine blast gate and close the others. Most of my blast gates are 6” I have some work to do to figure out the electro-mechanical method for opening and closing them but likely I will use stepper motors or linear actuators. Using the Pi I can also incorporate some data collection on usage for maintenance cycles and also use some visuals to a 32 inch TV to indicate what gate is open, etc. This is all still in the planning stages but I already have the Pi and TV in the shop, (mostly used now for streaming music at the moment).

The biggest shortcoming I see is powering on the DC remotely from my SCMS. It is always plugged in and power is a finger switch not a main power switch. The SCMS may require a manual button of some kind or a work light to be powered on.

-- Tom, Adams, TN

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1254 posts in 3434 days


#13 posted 01-23-2020 12:59 PM

The current switches I use sense the current draw of an operating motor, not the voltage in the conductor.

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

625 posts in 295 days


#14 posted 01-23-2020 08:18 PM

My main curiosity was the end goal. Is it one micro controller that detects current and also opens closes the blast gate? Or is it like a swarm of micro controllers where you have one at the gate and one on the machine? That would determine which controller used. The ESP8266 comes in different form factors from ESP-01 to ESP-14 depending on the GPIO pin count. I’ve been playing around with a few of these. They can be powered with standard Micro USB 5v and works with Arduino IDE.

Off the top of my head the simple solution is one controller detecting voltage and controlling a stepper motor or actuator of some kind on the blast gate. At the same time it broadcasts an mqtt message over wifi picked up by mosquito running on an rPI. You could also have node-red on that same rPI and write all your control functions there. No need to detect blast gates that are open. Just broadcast the close signal via mqtt.

View clagwell's profile

clagwell

112 posts in 433 days


#15 posted 01-23-2020 08:32 PM


My main curiosity was the end goal. Is it one micro controller that detects current and also opens closes the blast gate? Or is it like a swarm of micro controllers where you have one at the gate and one on the machine? That would determine which controller used. The ESP8266 comes in different form factors from ESP-01 to ESP-14 depending on the GPIO pin count. I ve been playing around with a few of these. They can be powered with standard Micro USB 5v and works with Arduino IDE.

Off the top of my head the simple solution is one controller detecting voltage and controlling a stepper motor or actuator of some kind on the blast gate. At the same time it broadcasts an mqtt message over wifi picked up by mosquito running on an rPI. You could also have node-red on that same rPI and write all your control functions there. No need to detect blast gates that are open. Just broadcast the close signal via mqtt.

- sansoo22


Ha! Finally, someone else on a woodworking forum using the NodeMcu. If I wanted automated blast gates I would probably take your approach. At least some of that hardware, maybe not mqtt.

Of course this doesn’t address the OP’s situation. He’s looking for an off-the-shelf solution.

-- Dave, Tippecanoe County, IN

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