Cheap shop air filtration - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-18-2019, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Cheap shop air filtration

I've seen lots of people putting furnace filters on box fans, and from what I've seen it works ok. Problem I have with that approach is that the filters get expensive.

But I had a thought recently - I can buy a 3 micron dust collector bag for $25. I have been using the same bag on my dust collector for like 3 years - I just knock the dust out of it and keep on using it.

Why can't I just buy a dust collector bag, cut it down too get a panel that fits my box fan, and just keep knocking/vacuuming out the dust and reusing that piece of felt? This will work right?

If not, why not?
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-18-2019, 11:14 AM
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That sounds good to me. 👍
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-18-2019, 11:22 AM
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It may work... kinda?

The area in square inches of filtration is much greater in a pleated furnace filter than a single layer of fabric. Once your fabric gets the least bit clogged, you filtration suffers greatly. When I made a box fan filter, I used a "U" channel track on the side so I could slide a new filter in without a lot of fuss. I then took the clogged filter outside and gently banged it on the driveway. Most of the dust came right out. My outside air hose finished the job.



By just occasionally cleaning the filters, you will save money over buying new ones. They will actually last quite a long while.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-18-2019, 11:47 AM
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I use the box fan with cheap filter and vacuum the filter 10 to 12 times before changing to a new one. I probably go through 2 filters each year, 3 at the most. The way I made the mount it's easy to slide the filter out, vacuum, and put it back - takes about 1 minute. And I also built a swivel mount for the fan so I can direct the air if necessary and the fan is mounted upside down so I can easily reach the switch.

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post #5 of 10 Old 03-19-2019, 09:44 AM
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Yep, box fan and pleated A/C filter. Used one for years. Wife saw it on a TV show. I let it run for about an hour after I'm done in the shop.

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post #6 of 10 Old 03-19-2019, 12:36 PM
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I put a cheap ($3.00) fiberglass furnace filter in front of the 3M filter. It triples or more the life of the 3M filter by pre-filtering most of the coarse dust. It does not affect the flow very much.

The price has gone up a bit to $3.57 each. You might find it on sale or at a dollar store.

https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Heavy-Fi...ag=googhydr-20
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-19-2019, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremymcon View Post
dust collector bag, cut it down too get a panel that fits
I'd go with a circular fan the same (or smaller) diameter as the bag, and not cut it.

I'd expect the box fan's small motor to be ineffective with a 3 micron panel. The dust collector has a more powerful motor and has more fabric area to push the air. Their sizes are coordianted. The more bag surface area, the less force required to move a given volume of air through it.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-20-2019, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremymcon View Post
I've seen lots of people putting furnace filters on box fans, and from what I've seen it works ok. Problem I have with that approach is that the filters get expensive.

But I had a thought recently - I can buy a 3 micron dust collector bag for $25. I have been using the same bag on my dust collector for like 3 years - I just knock the dust out of it and keep on using it.

Why can't I just buy a dust collector bag, cut it down too get a panel that fits my box fan, and just keep knocking/vacuuming out the dust and reusing that piece of felt? This will work right?

If not, why not?
Filters are inexpensive in comparison to a new set of lungs.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-20-2019, 10:08 AM
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you can stack 2 filters. we put a cheap mesh one in the front, and a pleated behind that. blow them out outside when it gets clogged.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-20-2019, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimPa View Post
you can stack 2 filters. we put a cheap mesh one in the front, and a pleated behind that. blow them out outside when it gets clogged.
Exactly what I suggested in post #6. On mine the cheap filter takes out most of the larger particles, so the 3M Filtrete filter lasts a lot longer.

I also run mine after I'm done creating dust. A two hour timer at night will do more that running it all the time while you are generating "man glitter".

After about one hour the dust settles to the floor where it can be swept up. Then the fan can capture what remains airborne.

I don't think there is a filter in the world that will keep up with the amount of saw dust I can produce in a 2 or 3 hours session in my basement.
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