A downdraft dust collector is a box with a top that consists of a number of evenly spaced holes. The downdraft dust collector is typically either connected to a dust collection system or a shop vacuum. Some larger units may have their own fan and filtering system, but the principle is the same. A downdraft dust collector is ideal for sanding or routing a board, as the air flow will pull the dust through the holes in the top of the unit to be collected.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Table saw
- 4-by-4-foot piece of 1/2-inch plywood
- Power drill with screw bit
- 1-1/4 inch deck screws
- 24-by-16-inch piece of pegboard
- Flush mount dust combo port
- Shop vacuum or dust collection system
Set up your table saw's fence and rip two strips of plywood at 7-1/4 inches in width. Cut one of these strips into two lengths of 23-1/2 inches. Cut the other strip into two lengths of 16-inches.
Adjust the table saw fence, and cut out a piece of plywood measuring 24 inches by 16 inches. Cut the remainder of the plywood into two sections each measuring 15 inches by 9 inches.
Stand the four 7-1/4 sections on edge, forming a rectangle measuring 16 inches by 24 inches. The longer strips should fit inside, and be aligned with the edges of the 16-inch boards. Connect each joint with three 1-1/4 inch deck screws.
Place the 16-by-24-inch plywood bottom onto the rectangle, and align all four edges. Attach the plywood bottom to the rectangle with four 1-1/4 inch deck screws on each edge around the perimeter of the plywood to create a 16-by-24 inch open box.
Flip the box over, and place one of the 9-by-15-inch boards into the box. This board will be installed at an angle, from one end of the inside of the box down to the bottom of the box near the centre. This angled board will act much like the sides of a funnel, to guide sawdust down to the dust collection hose in the centre of the box.
Position the 15-inch long edge of this board about an inch down from the top of the box opening, with the opposite long edge on the box bottom. Attach to the end of the box with three deck screws. Insert one deck screw from each side of the box into the downward angled board to help hold it in position.
Repeat the previous step with the other 9-inch by 15-inch board on the opposite side of the box.
Position the dust port on the outside of one of the long sides of the box, directly in the centre of the board. Mark the mounting holes for the dust port. Remove the dust port, and mark the position for a hole to be cut into the side of the box to accommodate the dust collection hose. Cut out this hole using a jigsaw.
Attach the dust collection port to the side of the box with four screws.
Place the 16-inch by 24-inch piece of peg board over the top of the box. Attach it to the perimeter of the box with a three deck screws on each side.
Tips and warnings
- To use your downdraft dust collector, place it on a work table. Attach the dust collection or shop vacuum hose to the dust port, and turn on the vacuum. Place the board to be sanded on top of the peg board, and begin sanding. The suction created by the vacuum will pull the sawdust from the sander into the box and through the hose to the vacuum.
- When working with table saws and other power tools, always wear appropriate safety equipment, including safety glasses.
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