A better dust skirt for your CNC mill

[Joshendy] wanted to get a better look at the cutting head on his CNC mill when it was running. The problem is that the rotating blades throw up a lot of junk which you don’t want flying around the shop so they’re usually surrounded with a shroud connected to a shopvac. He just milled is own transparent dust skirt to solve the problem.

The original dust skirt uses black bristle brushes to contain the waste from the cut. In addition to obscuring your view of the cutter this didn’t do a very good job of containing bits and pieces. The solution seen on the right uses clear, flexible PVC as the skirt. The video after the break details the build process. [Joshendy] cut out a replacement plate which is then fitted with magnets to connect to the cutter. The skirt is affixed to that plate with a series of screws, making it easy to replace if it ever wears out.

[via Reddit]

Comments

  1. Ben Wright says:

    I don’t know if either dust shield material is better than the other. I think it’s more about personal preference. I don’t know if I would of made the flaps so long that the bit can hit them.

  2. No One says:

    It’s rather pretty, but I wish the video had him cutting with the new skirt. It does, however, remind me that I need a CNC router.

  3. Camille Goudeseune says:

    Just like the flaps on the back of refrigerated tractor-trailers, or on the doorways to department stores in smoggy Xi’an. Clever.

  4. Ken says:

    Router… |ˈroutər| R. O. U. T. E. R.

    Mills have things like flood or spray cooling or old guys holding brushes drpping with oil that a dust skirt would interfere with.

    • hojo says:

      It’s a router, but for none of the reasons you stated. There’s plenty of mills that use vacuum skirts, and plenty of routers that use coolant.

      • Ken says:

        Uh… The complaint was serious – the reasons, not so much. Blame me if my sense of humor failed to get across.

        Personally, I think a router is a lot like pornography: You know it when you see it ;-)

    • hojo says:

      Watching this video is cringe inducing. I’m hearing lots of missed steps. Also, I’m wondering if the chip load is calculated before or after that massive slowdown of the rotary tool. Might explain the gnarly finish and breaks. There’s a massive amount of very good information out there for free about how to produce a good cut.

      • Joshua says:

        I have no problem with missed steps, my stepper motors are matched perfectly for my machine and are supplied with their rated voltage and amp requirements. However you are right, I did roughly guess my feeds and speeds, but the cut did actually come out nice. The endmill I used was also a real cheapy.

  5. Mike says:

    Very clever design. You might have to replace those side flaps frequently. But, it beats not seeing what’s going on.

  6. Nova says:

    Way to not turn on the dust-strips vacuum while cutting it’s new replacement. that’s gotta be adding insult to injury.

    The magnets are a great idea, I’m actually about to build one of these and I’ll try and do that. I knew screws would likely cause all sorts of grief.

    As far as flexibility goes you could also just thin the bristles out some. make them too dense and I’m sure you’ll get all kinds of suction jitter between the work piece and the routing head.

    Also I just had a thought on the new skirt… when you apply the vacuum is it actually working as intended or getting sucked towards the vacuum? I’m thinking bristles might be used for a reason now. Interesting take all the same.

    • Doug says:

      yea you are right, if you have a more power dust suctio then he does, it will suck up the pcv strips in a heart beat, ask me how i know?: lol back to brushes, no wonder they are stiff :) sad i cant see anymore but the pvc way in the vid wasnt effective enough for me to change.

  7. Grovenstien says:

    Might fit this sort of thing to my CNC mill ultimately if you can get rid of chips as they happen then the quality of the cut goes up dramatically especially with Aluminium. Hence the use of compressed air.

  8. James says:

    This is nothing new. I made one for these for my mill 3 years ago and I just copied an existing design. Truth is the flexible material doesn’t make a very good seal and I went back to using brushes.

  9. James says:
  10. Joshua says:

    Thanks for the comments people. Just a few things, the vacuum was on. You can barely hear anything over it, including the Kress spindle.

    The flexible PVC doesnt get sucked in because my dust vac has pothetic suction. But if I had a more powerful dust collection system your right, thats just what would happen.

    If a moderator reads this, I am youtube user joshendy. Could you put my website address in with the above post? It is http://www.cnc4everyone.com

    Cheers

  11. bristling says:

    Sure, it’s great being able to see the machine cut.

    But think of the advantages of bristles. Not just any bristles, but genuine boar bristles. Nothing sweeps and brushes like wild boar bristles. I’d like to see a video with some wild boar bristle machining action, with a live wild boar.

    Thanks!

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