Overhead Trolley Helps Clear the Air over CNC Router

[Frank Howarth] has a shop most woodworkers would kill for, stuffed with enough tools to equip multiple hackspaces — four radial-arm saws alone! But while the CNC router in the middle of the shop, large enough to work on an entire sheet of plywood, is a gem of a machine, it was proving to be a dusty nightmare. [Frank]’s solution was as unique as his workspace — this swiveling overhead dust extraction system.

The two-part video below shows how he dealt with the dual problems of collection and removal. The former was a fairly simple brush-bristle shroud of the type we’ve featured before. The latter was a challenge in that the size of the router’s bed — currently 8′ but soon to be extended to 12′ — and the diameter of the hoses needed to move enough air made a fixed overhead feed impractical. [Frank]’s solution is an overhead trolley to support the hoses more or less vertically over the router while letting the duct swivel as the gantry moves around the work surface. There were a few pitfalls along the way, like hoses that shorten and stiffen when air flows through them, but in the end the system works great.

Chances are your shop is smaller than [Frank]’s, but you still need to control the dust. This dust collector for a more modest CNC router might help, as would this DIY cyclonic chip separator.

Thanks to [Richard] for the tip.

11 thoughts on “Overhead Trolley Helps Clear the Air over CNC Router

  1. Looks really good, excellent build. I probably wouldn’t have the skills (or patience) to do anything as professional as this, but its given me the idea of doing something similar using ‘off-the-shelf’ curtain rail/track/roller type things for the moving trolley, not sure how strong they would be though?, this trolley looks fairly sturdy. Serious workshop by the way.

    1. Check out 1700 track from a place like Rosebrand or BMI; that’s the stuff used for theatrical style curtains. All sorts of carrier & mounting hardware options available.

  2. Hi There.
    I Believe I know the plastic you were using.
    and you had said that you could not find a glue to stick.
    I had gotten a lot of pieces of this plastic from work they use it as spacers for concrete blocks.
    And they seem to drop a lot of them so I ended up with about 40 lbs of the stuff. Cool for free.
    I’m going to complain now. ( They did not have the area under them blocked off. And in canada it is illegal to drop anything form a high height. And of course not having the area under you taped off.)
    Ok back to the plastic.

    I did find a solvent that did glue it together but I’m sorry for not remembering were I got it from.
    I just wanted to let you know there is something out there. And if anyone know let him know. so that everyone know.

    And yea safety is a problem in the videos I could go over all the things wrong but NO.

    And to the people that complain about my writing I’m sorry. This is life for me. And it takes a long time for me to write this.\

  3. Looks good. As hacks become more and more industrial they’re going to get in to the realms of industrial problems, for example, static from the fast flowing dust causing the fine wood particles to ignite.

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