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What is a Dust Collection System?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Dust collection systems are collection devices found in many commercial and home settings. The systems are usually developed for us in shops where woodworking take place, such as sawmills, cabinet shops and plants where wood furniture is manufactured. Smaller versions are used by woodworking enthusiasts and other hobbyists where some type of residue is created during the pursuit of the hobby.

There are significant differences in the structure of home and commercial dust collection systems. Home models are usually constructed with what is known as a single stage vacuum unit. The single unit generates suction that draws saw dust, clippings and other types of residue into the dust collection system. After passing through a filtration component, the collected dust is deposited into some type of container, such as a bag or canister.

Commercial versions of the dust collection system often employ what is known as a dual or two stage design. Rather than running all the collected wood dust through a single filtration unit, the larger systems effectively trap larger particles in a separate holding area of the system. This makes it possible to trap the larger particles as the air is filtered through the system and returns into the space. As a result less particles are re-circulated into the area. Many designs call for using some type of flexible ductwork to channel the larger particles to the outside, or route them to a collection container for easy disposal.

In a work environment, the dust collection system functions in tandem with other devices that help to minimize the opportunity for employees to inhale minute dust particles. Many professional woodworking shops require that employees wear protective masks while working with sections of wood. In addition, there are usually filtration systems connected to the air conditioning ducts to help keep the air relatively free of airborne dust particles. By utilizing all three of these devices, it is possible to work in the space with relatively little worry of causing damage to the respiratory system.

Pricing for different makes and models of the dust collection system will vary, depending on the size of the motor driving the unit and the capacity of the containment chamber or canister. A dust collection system for the home will be only slightly more expensive than a good quality vacuum cleaner, making the systems practical for even occasional hobbyists. Commercial models are much more expensive, but tend to last for many years before replacement is necessary. Many industrial supply stores carry several models of the dust collection system, allowing customers to choose the unit with the right capacity and horsepower for their needs.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon356680 — On Nov 27, 2013

Modern cyclone dust collection systems for woodshops are pretty amazing. Almost all the sawdust drops into a bin and almost none of it makes it to the filter. Once the bin gets full, you just empty it out - no filters to clean!

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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