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Grinder Metal Dust Collection

#1
I have a Palmgren bench grinder with dust collection ports. Would I be safe using a shop vac on this if I put a cyclone collector in the middle? Just thinking of getting one of those Dust Deputy kits. Want to avoid burning down my house should any rogue sparks make their way into the vacuum. Had read putting a bit of water in the bottom of the bucket and/or a magnet covered in a bag too. Thoughts?

I should also premise that I was not thinking of getting a dedicated shop vac for this purpose and while I'd clean and remove the filter beforehand, it would have also been previously used with sawdust. Too Risky?
 

DPittman

Active Member
#2
Hmnn I would be nervous.... Hot sparks and dusty bits all fanned with great amounts of air is a recipe for a fire.
I was using household vacuum to vacuum up cold ash around my wood stove and half knowingly I vacuumed up a TINY bit of hot ember....i kept on vacuuming and moments later huge volumes of horrendously stinky smoke was billowing out of my vacuum. The vacuum bag of dust bunnies and hairballs was glowing and melting into the plastic vacuum canister. It was an ugly and stinky mess! Lesson learned the hard way.
Now your situation should not be nearly as volatile if all you suck up is grinder sparks and do not have any other dirt matter to ignite.
I think I would opt to just gravity pipe the dust down into a metal can and have no air assist and not worry about fire.

Don
 
#4
Thanks Don, that was my worry. Seems my concern was not unwarranted.

My shop is not that big, only about 8 x 15 and I have a lathe, mill, grinder, 3d printer, a few workbenches and a lot of electronics gear too and computer. It's a room in my finished basement. Suffice it to say, I don't want the shop or house covered in grinder dust. Even more so if I have to dress the wheels. (not sure if that is something I need to do outside) Having never had a grinder before, maybe I'm being overly optimistic that even with suction it won't be a total mess. Without suction tonight, I ground for maybe 30-60 seconds on some round bar and it was certainly not going out the back ports on it's own. I could feel a bit of air, but it's not enough to transport metal dust on it's own.

Any other suggestions on how to safely extract grinder dust without an extraction system that costs more than my lathe and mill together. LOL. The grinder is just for grinding my own lathe tool bits and sharpening drills and the odd part.
 
#5
A very good trick is to use a mister, it both cools the metal and cleans the air. I bought the mixer and the flex nozzle off a Chinese seller for $15 . I haven't hooked it up yet, it needs an air pressure regulator and pop bottle reservoir. Someone on Hobby Machinist forum, posted the address. I got it for my surface grinder, they need them. But carburetors use that same scientific principle, which I can't spell, so you could make your own. For my bench grinders I use a vacuum cleaner with a Hepa filter. I know , but it is by far,the lesser of two evils.
 

DPittman

Active Member
#6
Thanks Don, that was my worry. Seems my concern was not unwarranted.

My shop is not that big, only about 8 x 15 and I have a lathe, mill, grinder, 3d printer, a few workbenches and a lot of electronics gear too and computer. It's a room in my finished basement. Suffice it to say, I don't want the shop or house covered in grinder dust. Even more so if I have to dress the wheels. (not sure if that is something I need to do outside) Having never had a grinder before, maybe I'm being overly optimistic that even with suction it won't be a total mess. Without suction tonight, I ground for maybe 30-60 seconds on some round bar and it was certainly not going out the back ports on it's own. I could feel a bit of air, but it's not enough to transport metal dust on it's own.

Any other suggestions on how to safely extract grinder dust without an extraction system that costs more than my lathe and mill together. LOL. The grinder is just for grinding my own lathe tool bits and sharpening drills and the odd part.
Good for you for ensuring your safety, one can never be TOO safe.
On that note you will be glad to know that you likely won't ever have to set foot in my shop cuz the hazards abound in great quantities! For example, I often have a cloud of grinder dust when I'm dressing my stone, it settles fairly quickly and I eventually sweep it up. I'd be willing to bet that some else is going to kill me before I get miners lung (at least not from the grinder dust)!
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#7
Here is a strategy: at a commercial Janitor supply, you can get a 'bypass' vacuum motor. The are not cheap, but none of the air goes through the motor, but the motor has a separate cooling fan. Vent the output to outside your shop, perhaps?
 
#8
Thanks all for your feedback. Been doing a lot more reading, mostly on knife making forums as they live on grinders. Found quite a few different options, but still not sure which route I will go. Some use metal cyclone dust collectors into a metal pail with an ash vacuum, others create a "bong" water trap that forces the air/sparks to flow through a water trap in the bottom of a 5 gallon pail. The latter seems to be quite messy as the vacuum sucks up water in the process and constantly has to be refilled.

Did not anticipate using a grinder safely and without a lot of dust was going to be this much of a PITA. The consensus is a "proper" dust collector has to have minimum of 1000 CFM, which is not happening without something industrial and half the size of my shop LOL. I just don't want dust and not to burn my house down. I have about the worst luck of for these sorts of things as one can get. For example, I just had my 3rd water related damage (all unrelated and different) in 18 months. Even my house insurance has effectively cut me off from claims!

@Downwindtracker2 have you ever had to worry about sparks getting into your vacuum and causing damage or fire. Will be curious to know how well your mister works and how much mess that creates inside the grinder. I think with my grinder water would end up collecting in the shrouds as they are sealed on the sides and only exposed on the front. Maybe if the vacuum is strong enough it will all get sucked up. Wondering how well my grinder will do with water. I assume they were not designed to be operated in a wet environment like a belt grinder.
 
#9
Here is a strategy: at a commercial Janitor supply, you can get a 'bypass' vacuum motor. The are not cheap, but none of the air goes through the motor, but the motor has a separate cooling fan. Vent the output to outside your shop, perhaps?
Sadly I don't have a way to vent anything outside unless I run a hose out the window...which could get a bit chilly in winter :) I noticed our central vac uses a bypass motor and has LOTS of CFM. Don't think I'm going to risk catching the entire house on fire by using it though LOL. Would be handy as I have an outlet in my shop! They are pricey for sure. Double the price of the grinder!
 
#10
I'm more on woodworking then metalworking forums. My hobby is more of the repairing, making and modifying machinery for use, then of the joy of machining . We think of sawdust as fairly harmless, well with there have been a number of hobby woodworkers who have had to give up their hobby because of lung problems. It's either that or die. It's the silicate in the wood, the stuff you can't see, that causes it. It makes smoking look benevolent . We had a couple of die shops in our mill, both had very serious dust extractors. Big woodworking shops have good dust control systems with the doors open a lot. Of course how long did it take workers comp to admit asbestos was dangerous?

I should use a double bin like you are suggesting to do on my vacuum, but I don't and haven't. Maybe a good suggestion might be to use one of the old metal 5 gallon pails instead of the plastic, that way if there is a problem, you can easily carry it out and melt the snow on the walkway. Those 2 1/2' hoses are fairly long. So I haven't had any issues. It's a powerful old Canadian made, 12 amp Craftsman. Also, we live in a mild climate, so after grinding, I just open the door, put the box fan on, and leave for half an hour. The air in the workshop is changed. I use a Hepa filter on my shop vac.

Projects. Owe , It seems I always have to fix a machine so I can use it. I haven't had to use my surface grinder, so the mister project awaits. On a surface grinder it's doubly important, both to control dust and cool the work. My surface grinder is just a Delta Toolmaker. The real surface grinders work in 1/10 of a thou, mine works in 1/2s. Which is better than me, chuckle. It was more designed to sharpen lathe tools.
 

Bofobo

Well-Known Member
#11
Sadly I don't have a way to vent anything outside unless I run a hose out the window...which could get a bit chilly in winter :) I noticed our central vac uses a bypass motor and has LOTS of CFM. Don't think I'm going to risk catching the entire house on fire by using it though LOL. Would be handy as I have an outlet in my shop! They are pricey for sure. Double the price of the grinder!
Use a small fan blowing out the window and cardboard to block the rest if the window opening, the poor mans smoke room. Just an idea
 
#15
@Janger interesting setup. I have a ceiling mount bathroom fan (highest CFM I could find) in my basement shop that exhausts to the outside, but I don't think it's near enough power to suck grinder dust even if I rigged some crazy contraption up to duct to my grinder.
 
#16
@Janger interesting setup. I have a ceiling mount bathroom fan (highest CFM I could find) in my basement shop that exhausts to the outside, but I don't think it's near enough power to suck grinder dust even if I rigged some crazy contraption up to duct to my grinder.
I think the fact that grinder dust is heavy and settles fast makes it safer than we might be lead to believe, I think it's the dusts that tend to remain airborne that are most hazardous. But that's just my opinion and I'm probably the one that will die of miners lung.
 

Tom O

Active Member
#17
You could always buy or make a sandblast type of cabinet to put your grinder in!:D
I’m not too worried about it, for the amount of grinding I do in a lifetime it doesn’t even compare to a week in the mines
 
#18
You could always buy or make a sandblast type of cabinet to put your grinder in!:D
I’m not too worried about it, for the amount of grinding I do in a lifetime it doesn’t even compare to a week in the mines
I'm less worried about the health impacts as I am just keeping grinder dust around the house. My grinding will be limited too.
 
#20
Question.... would it be feasable to place the grinder outside?
Not impossible given how often I will use it, however, given the grinder is bolted to the stand and they each weight about 40-60 lbs, not super convenient to unbolt and drag them up a flight of stairs every time. Don't really have anywhere to store it except in my workshop.