Routers and dust extraction

 

         
         
  Dust extraction vacuums  
         
         

 

Hand-held routing, router dust extraction and collection

 

If you have never used a router before, you may be surprised at how much dust they create. It’s not just large chips or shavings either, routers also produce a large amount of very fine dust that can find its way absolutely everywhere. The most common solution to this problem is a dust extraction system, usually in the form of a vacuum, which will suck up the chips and dust through a hose attached to your router or router table. Common household vacuums are not suitable as dust extractors unless specified for this use.

 

         
 

Trend T31 wet and dry vacuum extractor

 
  Wet & Dry Vacuum Extractor 1400 watts 230V from Wonkee Donkee Trend T31  

Trend currently produce a powerful semi-professional wet and dry vacuum extractor that’s designed for various hobby, DIY and light trade uses for workshops, or garages. It has a powerful but quiet 1400 watt silenced motor (max. 1600 watt). It features auto-start power tool socket with power take off, so you can plug in a power tool (max. 2200W, min. 50W) and it can be run directly off the unit and a 5-second run-on delay.

 
         
  Wet & Dry Vacuum Extractor 1400 watts 230V from Wonkee Donkee Trend UK supplier  

This T31 vacuum has a large capacity of 35 litres and container outlet plug for emptying liquids easily, with an impact resistant plastic container with castors, and an extra-long seven-metre power cable and a five-metre hose with a power tool adapter. It is a dust class category L extractor, rated to EN60335-2-69, for dust with work space limit values of less than 1 mg/m3. It comes complete with a floor cleaning kit, crevice tool, power tool adapter, upholstery tool, no foam filter, and HEPA cartridge filter with nylon pre-filter.

 
         
 

Why use a dust extraction system? 

 
  Dust and debris, dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, table-mounted  

To keep things clean

The dust created when routing can cling to hair, clothes, tools and other items in your workshop and is difficult to sweep up or clean away fully. This is particularly true when routing plastics, as the shavings become statically charged and cling to any surfaceNo matter what your routing task, a dust extraction system helps to remove the waste at the cutting stage, so any cleaning up after is kept to a minimum.

 
         
  For your health, dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, table-mounted  

For your health

Prolonged inhalation of dust and debris is harmful. A top-quality dust extractor will remove not just the larger chips and bits of debris, but also the particles that cannot be seen with the naked eye, which are just as harmful to your lungs. If you rout a lot of treated woods, or materials with coatings, you are especially at risk as the toxic chemicals in these finishes enter the air when the material is cut. You should also consider a dust extractor if you rout a lot of oak or beech, as the dust produced when routing these is considered carcinogenic.

 
         
      Buy vacuums for dust extraction  
         
  Router mounted in table, dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, table-mounted  

For the health of your router

If not for yourself, then do it for your router. Over time, dust and resins can build up in the machine’s housing and create problems. This is particularly common when table routing, as waste material drops down into the machine and cannot be removed as easily. An accumulation of dirt and dust on the motor can be especially problematic as it can cause the internal parts to overheat and become less efficient. 

 
         
  Hand-held routing, dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, table-mounted  

To increase visibility

Having everything coated with dust and chippings can decrease your visibility when routing, making it harder to see the bit or the markings on your material. As well as this, when you are concentrating on making a cut, you don't want chips flying up and hitting you in the face.  

 
         
  Routing MDF, dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, table-mounted  

For some applications, such as routing MDF (medium density fibreboard), using a dust extraction system of some kind is absolutely essential. MDF is made by fusing tiny fragments of hardwood and softwood together using a wax or resin binder, before subjecting them to extreme temperatures and pressures. When cut, MDF produces a large amount of very fine dust, so where possible, any routing in this material should be done outside or in a well-ventilated area.

 
         
  Buy vacuums for dust extraction  
         
 

Methods of dust extraction? 

 
  Built-in port, router dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, stationary routing, help and advice  

Hand-held routing

Some routers have dust extraction ports built-in to their design. At the base of the column is usually a plastic ring which helps to enclose the dust and chippings, and direct them towards the port, to be extracted. Some manufacturers claim that built-in ports can extract more dust compared with separate extraction adapters but, the weight of the hose can make the tool feel top-heavy and make it more difficult to use.

 
         
  Extraction adapter, router dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, stationary routing, help and advice  

A lighter option is to use a dust extraction adapter or spout. A dust extraction adapter usually comes in the form of a plastic ring which fits into the base of the router and is either clipped or screwed in. It has a port at one end, designed to fit around the hose of a vacuum. When the router and vacuum are switched on, the waste material expelled by the router bit travels up through the adapter’s port and into the vacuum. High-quality routers will usually have an extraction adapter included.

 
         
  Extraction adapters, router dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, stationary routing, help and advice  

Router tables

The extractors mentioned above are not solely for hand-held operations, you can also use them when table routing. After you have mounted your router upside down in a table, fit the dust extraction adapter into the router’s base, and simply attach the hose. While this will help to alleviate some of the dust, a lot can still be flung out over the top of the router table.

 
         
  Fence-mounted port, router dust extraction and collection, hand-held routing, stationary routing, help and advice  

For more efficient extraction, you should consider a fence-mounted dust extractor. This involves connecting the hose of your workshop vacuum to the back of your router table fence, in order to catch the waste material flying off the router bit. This system is most effective when routing the edges of materials, as the bit’s rotation tends to throw the debris back towards the fence.Buy vacuums for dust extraction

 
         
      To help reduce the amount of dust and chippings falling beneath the table, try and make sure the hole in the insert plate is as close to the diameter of the cutter as possible with the correct size of insert ring.  
         
 

Why shouldn't you use a regular household vacuum for dust extraction?

 
  Sawdust, workshop or household dust extraction and collection  

Though you probably can hook up a regular vacuum cleaner to your router and use it for dust extraction, there are several reasons why you shouldn't:  

 

  • Most household vacuum cleaners are not designed to take in the large amounts of dust, and potentially large wood chippings, coming off your router when it's working. Not only is this likely to clog up the vacuum, it could also damage the vacuum's internal parts, leaving you with a broken machine.

 
         
  Control shop dust, workshop or household dust extraction and collection  
  • As well as this, many household vacuum cleaners should not be run for long periods of time or the motor could overheat. This means that if you used a household vacuum, you would have to cut your routing project short to let the machine cool down. 


  • Finally, a household vacuum cleaner is likely to be a lot louder than a workshop vacuum. When working, it's useful to be able to hear the router to check that it's running smoothly and that you are feeding at the correct rate. Workshop dust extractors tend to be much quieter for this purpose. 

 
         
  Workshop dust extractor, workshop or household dust extraction and collection  

Though a proper workshop vacuum may cost more than a regular household one, you can rest assured that you're using the right tool for the job. Many workshop vacuums come with features designed to make workshop dust extraction a lot easier, such as power tool adapters and special filtering systems to prevent clogging; some models can even suck up wet materials as well! Buy vacuums for dust extraction

 
         
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