Author Topic: Who has a ceiling mounted shop air cleaner, and if you do, do you see any benefi  (Read 2466 times)

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Online DrD

  • Posts: 366
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Just finished reading an article from Oneida about the fact that ceiling mounted air filtration/circulation units do more harm than good.  Now I know they are selling dust collectors and have a very big dog in this fight.  None-the-less, it would be helpful to hear from those of you who have one or more of these installed in your shop as well as those of you who chose not to, and your reasons.

Appreciate your input, thanks,

DrD
Dr.D

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Offline RobBob

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Offline Flatsawn

  • Posts: 193
Never heard that one before. I have one but rarely remember to turn it on, however, I can't imagine pushing air in a circle to capture air born dust is a bad thing.

My cynical side says they insist on capturing the dust at the source and they have just the ticket $$.

We all want that, but I've never gotten that close so I set up a Jet air circulator to make up the deficiency.

Mark

Offline air19

  • Posts: 30
I run mine when I'm not in the shop - over lunchtime and late in the day.  The next time I come in the shop it definitely feels/smells better.  Very helpful during those days I'm working with cedar or just running a tool that is really hard to collect the dust properly for - e.g. my horizontal router I use for cutting mortises. 

I never heard Oneida's argument before.  My unit is really noisy or runs at a pitch that is annoying so I just turn it on when I'm walking out the door. 

Offline Nat X

  • Posts: 182
I use it mostly when spraying waterborne polyurethanes because the mist gets all over everything. That is not what they're made for, and it absolutely destroys the filters, but it makes a huge difference.

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2248
Collecting at the source is obviously key, but I use one for secondary capture of fine particles and it helps. I do not think it makes things worse as some article suggest.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1623
I have an Oneida HEPA cyclone and find that, for the most part, collecting at the source is the best and, with the HEPA filter, most of even the finest dust is collected. However, some does escape. Also, there are times when I work on my table saw or other tools that more than normal escapes the dust collector. (For example, the other day, I made quite a few cuts with the table saw blade raised all the way. A much higher volume of chips and dust escaped than normal.) I have found that my shop is actually very clean and I attribute that to the use of a great cyclone dust collector (for my planer, jointer, bandsaw, drill press, router table, and table saw),  a Festool CT for work with my TS55, sanders, routers, and Domino, and the ceiling mounted air cleaner that I have running the entire time I'm in the shop working plus for 30 minutes or more after I quit working.

I'm sure you will get a wide range of opinions. I wouldn't be without the air cleaner. It is just a further opportunity to clean the air. None of them have HEPA filters standard, although JDS makes a very expensive HEPA filter which is (according to them) a one-time use filter. Therefore, these air cleaners will not filter the tiniest particles, but do, however, get 91% of the 1 micron particles (HEPA filters down to 0.1 microns I believe) and there is some of those 1 micron or larger particles floating around no matter what you use for dust collection.

I have no scientific measurements that would support my opinion, but, for the few hundred dollars they cost, I think it's worth it as another line of defense. I still almost always use a powered dust mask (Trend Airshield Pro) especially when I'm working with the table saw which seems to be the least effective with regard to dust collection no matter what I do. Also, I use the dust mask when I'm sanding for long periods regardless of the Festool superior dust collection.

I just feel that it's something you shouldn't take a chance on.
Randy

Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 1025
Another opinion, this one from Rockler:
Dealing with Fine Wood Dust
"Shop Air Filtration Systems

Even if you've done everything you can to improve your dust collection system's filtration performance, don't be surprised to find that a coat of fine dust still settles on the surfaces in your shop. The fact is, much of the dust created in a woodshop never enters your dust collection system at all. In spite of your best efforts to set up an efficient, powerful dust collection system, some amount of the fine dust created by the tools it services will always escape into the air in your shop. Dust created by hand-held sanders, for example, is among the finest dust created in the shop and is extremely difficult to completely capture.

Over time, the fine dust problem multiplies. The fine dust particles missed by your dust collection system remain in your shop, ready to be stirred into a dust cloud by the slightest movement of air; you'll add to the problem every time you use your shop.

The answer is air filtration."

Offline JELL

  • Posts: 5
When I purchased my Oneida cyclone the told me to stop using my ceiling mounted unit and instead use the floor sweep.  This way the fine dust is pulled away from my nose and mouth and to the floor.  That sounds logical to me.  So I run my filter system when I am done for the day on the timer for a few hours and I do notice the amount of dust that settles out on equipment is reduced.  For me both systems are a must have.

Offline blaszcsj

  • Posts: 260
I have the fe unit in my shop and run it constantly while I'm in the shop. I try my best to contain the dust at the source but it still gets everywhere with some of my older equipment. I would not have a shop without one. Hands down.
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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 412
I have a cyclone with a HEPA filter and run two air filters in my 1000 ft shop.  I don't buy the Oneida argument.  Some machines just aren't designed for good dust collection, regardless of how good the dust collector is.  Running my dust collector full bore on my planer, dust just gets out the front.  The design of the planer height mechanism and the way the dust collector port is sized and located, no dust collector will ever get all of the dust from that thing.

One of the great things about Festool, btw, is that Festool designs their tools and extractors together as a system.  Very little dust gets out of my Festool tools.

Offline Chris Wong

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I think that as long as there is sufficient dust collection at the source, an overhead air filtration unit is redundant. There is my obvious statement of the day. I owned two units in the pay. I gave away the lightweight "portable" plastic one, and left the large metal Delta unit on the ceiling of my last shop when I moved. I don't miss either, and never used them much when I had them.

Ha! I'm remembering the one time i was using the thickness sander and had to turn it on because it was creating billowing clouds of dust. Seemed strange, as I usually got pretty good dust collection. Then i realized the dust collector wasn't on - i couldn't hear that it wasn't over the sander.
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The thoughts and ideas expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of http://UltimateTools.ca.  But Dan does say "hello".

Offline PreferrablyWood

  • Posts: 847
I look at this topic with interest. If I had a shop, I think I would design with good natural cross ventilation plan using windows placed strategically. Open the windows in the location I live is not a problem as we get only a 30 real frost days a year. I think the dust filtration system are not efficient enough when your actually generating a lot of dust as it takes 30 minutes to clear the air. So I use a dust mask in any case.
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Online DrD

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Appreciate all the great responses!  I had my Circulair 1400 mounted on an old router table, where it was seemly very effective when used.  As the shop is being "remodeled", it was pushed aside and taken out of use, and the dust began to disgustedly build up.
 
It's just my wife and me and we're not young sprouts anymore, thus mounting it from the ceiling as Laguna recommends has been a bridge to far for us.  I was thinking of selling it, but your responses have led me in a new direction, I'm going to mount it on a low table with casters and use it as a floor sweep.

Thanks,

DrD
Dr.D

Offline Laminator

  • Posts: 264
I have a small one that runs 24/7 and a large one that runs while I'm working and for a couple of hours after.   A good way to see the effectiveness, get a good flashlight and walk through your shop at night with the shop lights off.  Hold the flashlight about eye level and admire the blizzard of dust in the air.  The difference with air filtration and without is amazing.  This time of year in East Texas it looks like a blizzard at night if you got outside wearing a headlight.  My shop air is so much cleaner than the outside air.   

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 2899
I'm going to mount it on a low table with casters and use it as a floor sweep.

That's exactly the route I took. I made a simple aluminum frame with casters for a Jet. Then I'll roll it into position in the area I'm working in and turn it on. The thought was that most of the escaping dust will settle towards the floor rather than becoming airborne at nose/eye level. That way the Jet at knee level pulls dust past my knees rather than past my face if it's mounted on the ceiling.

Offline mike_aa

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@Cheese about how high is it off the ground?  Do you have any pictures?  Thanks, Mike A.

Offline Cheese

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Hey @mike_aa ,
The bottom of the aluminum frame is just a smidge under 2" off the ground. I used the shortest casters I could find to keep the profile low and not make the assembly too top heavy. I also wanted that dust evacuation to be done at the lowest possible level.

The frame is just simple 1 1/4" x 2 3/4" aluminum angle which is just wide enough to allow the casters to be bolted to the frame directly without any additional plates or fixings.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 12:55 PM by Cheese »

Offline Master Carpenter

  • Posts: 29
In a perfect shop, with perfect dust collection at the source a ceiling mount collector is useless. In my shop with a mixture of tools and not enough dust collection the ceiling mount collector makes a difference. I know because of how dirty the filters get. Like others, I often leave it running when I'm done for the day and wear a mask when working with any tool that doesn't have good dust collection.

A better source dust collection system is on the wish list, but you have to make the money before you can spend it. I think a lot of these things are about budget, I can buy a lot of dust masks for the cost of a good dust collection system.
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Online DrD

  • Posts: 366
  • I might not be fast BUT I sure am slow
@Cheese I didn't think to mount mine vertical; vertical shouldn't have negative effects on fan/fan operation should it?  It sure takes up less space than horizontal like I just did for mine.

@Master Carpenter sure do understand the money part.  Now that I'm retired, the boss has told me expendables can be budgeted, and NO MORE shop tools, period, thus I definitely relate to the masks idea.

DrD
Dr.D

Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 1025
Hmmm, Cheese just gave me an idea...a Harbor Freight moving dolly and some angle iron....and voila.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1623
When I purchased my Oneida cyclone the told me to stop using my ceiling mounted unit and instead use the floor sweep.  This way the fine dust is pulled away from my nose and mouth and to the floor.  That sounds logical to me.  So I run my filter system when I am done for the day on the timer for a few hours and I do notice the amount of dust that settles out on equipment is reduced.  For me both systems are a must have.

I do this when I want to make sure any remaining dust in the air is taken out quickly after I'm done with the task I'm working on. I have a drop with a hood near my lathe and I have opened that gate and let the Oneida cyclone run for a 5 - 10 minutes. The cyclone has a HEPA filter and pulls more air through it in a shorter period than the ceiling hung cleaner. So that is a great idea. I still feel that the ceiling hung unit helps and, since I already own it, I use it regularly just to make sure. I really don't have much dust all over my shop. Even with everything I do to collect dust, some still escapes. That's why I generally try to wear a mask while in the shop; at least while I'm working and making more dust.
Randy

Offline antss

  • Posts: 767
I've got a couple of them also.  And they work. I tend to use them near the end of my shop time and leave them running on a timer after leaving.

I agree with Oneida that collection at the source is best, but the rest is just a sales pitch.  And it's coming from someone who doesn't have that particular product to sell you !  ::) ::) ::)  ::) ::)

I also have face respirators that I use on occasion also, mostly with exotic woods.

Offline RussellS

  • Posts: 161
Have not read the articles posted.  But the ceiling mounted filters and all others too, rely on air movement to draw the dust through the filters.  The dust must be suspended and in the air for the dust extractors and filters to work.  And the dust must be suspended in the air for you to breathe it and harm you.  Piles of dust on the floor or tools does not harm you because you are not breathing that dust in and out of your lungs.  Of course if the dust is on the floor its easy to kick it up when walking and then it will get into the air and you will breathe it.  The ceiling mounted air filters stir up the dust that is settled on the floor and machines.  It creates a stream of air and that stirs up the dust.  Do you have fans running in your shop to stir up the air?  The ceiling mounted filter is a big fan with a filter on one side.  The dust does eventually go through the filters where it is removed.  But stirring up the dust also allows it to go through your lungs before it gets to the filter.  The previous responses about using the filter after they leave the shop is the best.  It will filter the air for the next time you get into the shop and breathe the air.  Opening the windows and doors and having a breeze blow through the shop would work if you do all your dust creating on one side and allow the stream of air to blow it out the other side.  Bringing in clean fresh air for you to breathe while creating the dust blown out the other side.  Doubt many people have this ideal situation.

Offline WastedP

  • Posts: 320
My only experience with a ceiling-mounted ambient air cleaner was in a solid surface shop I set up in a hospital.  I don't remember what brand it was, but it looked like all of the units that take a 12" x 24" filter.  I mounted it directly above the area where all routing and sanding was happening, about ten feet above the floor.  The first thing we did was replace the filter with one that looked like this, given to us by the hospital's plant maintenance director.  It was very effective in the space (roughly 5000 cubic feet).  Even with dust collection on the sanders, we were still swapping filters out every 90 days or so.  Pricey, but the hospital was paying for it.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1623
Guess I've never put a pile of dust on the floor or bench and watched to see if it eventually disappears with just the air cleaner on but I doubt it would. There just isn't enough air flow from a ceiling mounted air cleaner.

Does it move the dust already suspended in the air? It should because that is it's function - to move it into the air cleaner and catch the dust in the filters between the front and back of the cleaner.

Using the cyclone with one of the gates  open is a great idea and I'm sure it moves the dust in the air but it also moves it quickly into the collector. The air exiting the filter should be as clean as it is possible, assuming the collector has a HEPA filter.

If I do work where it appears that more dust has escaped from the tool itself than usual, I usually run the air cleaner and the dust collector with the gate open for about 5 - 10 minutes and try to take a break while I'm doing it either with my dust mask on or out of the shop.

The fact is that there is always some dust that escapes, but I don't want a lot of dust piled on the floor or benchtops. That dust will eventually be disturbed by me and then it does get back into the air.

I just firmly believe in using all possible means of collection with the best filters available and, because there is some that escapes, I also protect my lungs with a mask of some sort.
Randy

Offline josephgewing

  • Posts: 114
Every machine I use puts some dust into the air, especially my table saw.  I know this because I have a Dylos "dust meter" and can take a reading before and after I use a given machine.

Using my JDS shop air filter always reduces the dust significantly, again as measured by the dust meter.

Joe
Joe Ewing

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1851
Every machine I use puts some dust into the air, especially my table saw.  I know this because I have a Dylos "dust meter" and can take a reading before and after I use a given machine.

Using my JDS shop air filter always reduces the dust significantly, again as measured by the dust meter.

Joe
. Me too.... No matter how I 'think' my various dust collection methods are working, my Dylos meter gives me a baseline to keep track of things instead of a gut feeling.
My JDS air filtering unit does seem to really help and is not excessively noisy either.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline TSO Products

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I'm going to mount it on a low table with casters and use it as a floor sweep.

That's exactly the route I took. I made a simple aluminum frame with casters for a Jet. Then I'll roll it into position in the area I'm working in and turn it on. The thought was that most of the escaping dust will settle towards the floor rather than becoming airborne at nose/eye level. That way the Jet at knee level pulls dust past my knees rather than past my face if it's mounted on the ceiling.
after reading the entire thread, especially the solution posted by @Cheese, allow me to point out that the best and most effective fine particle filtration systems seem to be downdraft closed system paint booths. I have never seen one that attempted to capture fine particles, aka overspray, at the top - FWIW
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Offline mike_aa

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@Cheese  Thanks for the pictures and explanation.  Turning it sideways is a smart space saving solution that I didn't think of!     
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