Swiss Army Knife Of Power Tool Carts

When you’re into woodworking in a serious way, you’re going to eventually want some power tools. With such efficiency of operation, things can go pear-shaped quickly, with wood dust getting absolutely everywhere. It’s not always practical (or desirable) to work outdoors, and many of us only have small workshops to do our making in. But woodworking tools eat space quickly. Centralized extraction is one solution, but all that fixed rigid ducting forces one to fix the tool locations, which isn’t always a good thing. Moveable tool carts are nothing new, we’ve seen many solutions over the years, but this build by [Peter Waldraff] is rather slick (video embedded below,) includes some really nice features in a very compact — and critically — moveable format.

By repurposing older cabinets, [Peter] demonstrates some real upcycling, with little going to waste and the end result looks great too! There is a centralized M-Class (we guess) dust extractor with a removable vacuum pipe which is easily removed to hook up to the smaller hand-held tools. These are hidden in a section near the flip-up planer, ready for action. An auto-start switch for the small dust extractor is wired-in to the smaller tools to add a little ease of use while reducing the likelihood of forgetting to switch it on. We’ve all done that.

For the semi-fixed larger tools, such as the miter and table saws, a separate, higher flow rate moveable dust extractor can be wheeled over and hooked up to the integrated plenum chamber, which grabs the higher volume of dust and chips produced.

A nice touch was to mount the miter saw section on sliding rails.  This allows the whole assembly to slide sideways a little, giving more available width at the table saw for ripping wider sheets. With another little tweak of some latches, the whole miter section can flip over, providing even more access to the table saw, or just a small workbench! Cracking stuff!

Need some help getting good with wood, [Eric Strebel] has some great tips for you! And if you’re needs are simpler and smaller, much much smaller, here’s a finger-sized plane for you.

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3D Printing A Cyclonic Dust Separator

[rctestflight] recently purchased a big CNC router, and that meant it was time to arrange for some dust extraction in the workshop. Naturally, he set about building this himself!

Using a shop vac is fine at smaller scales, but they can quickly be filled up on bigger jobs. To stop it getting filled up as quickly and wasting vacuum bags, [rctestflight] wanted to build a 3D-printed cyclonic separator to catch and dump the heavier-than-air particles from the routing process into an attached bucket.

[rctestflight] trialed a variety of designs, from a quad cyclone, to a large single cyclone and even a triple-series design. A diffuser design was also built, that aims to slow the air flow to the point where particles drop out of the air stream. At the end of the day, the large mono-cyclone design proved to be the most effective at removing particles from the airstream.

Fundamentally, if you’re making lots of dust, a cyclonic separator is a great way to go about dealing with the problem. We’ve seen similar builds scaled up to deal with the needs of a whole workshop, too. Video after the break.

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Jet tools air scrubber

It’s A Hack: Air Scrubber Controlled Using The Room Lighting

Some products just seem to be designed to be annoying. [hardmar] discovered the air filtration system installed in his son’s basement woodshop was orientated for the best airflow, but rather poorly positioned to actually turning the thing on and off. For some reason the unit has its single line-of-sight IR receiver on one side, which when mounted in some positions, forces the user to be the completely wrong position to use the supplied remote.

We find it a little unhelpful sometimes that devices specifically designed to be mounted with varying orientations don’t come fitted with IR receivers in different locations to ensure good controllability. It would get annoying really fast to have to contort oneself into some specific position just to turn something on, and some people just might not bother at all.

Proper control of dust is paramount for continued good health, and essential in any workspace or shared area. When you work wood, it produces a lot of dust. It cannot be avoided and gets into everything, your lungs included. PPE is not enough.  Even in your own shop you still really should manage dust production as best you can. Options are varied from centralised extraction, per machine solutions, and often augmented with air scrubbers mounted on the ceiling to grab those fine particulates.

Instead of solving the IR placement issue, [hardmar] wanted to have the unit tied to the lighting system so that it would power on as soon as someone turned on the appropriate light and would then stay on for a fixed amount of time after the user left in order to continue scrubbing the air some more. His simple hack was to first record and analyse the IR protocol used by the remote, and program an Arduino to be able to send it on/off commands. Next, he hooked up a phototransistor aimed at the light, in order to provide the necessary ‘user present’ trigger to tell the Arduino when to activate the scrubber. Super simple and effective. We love this non-invasive approach of adapting off-the-shelf equipment to our specific requirements, without even showing it a screwdriver.

As [hardmar] admits, the hack is not elegantly implemented, it’s just enough to make it work, and that’s just fine, sometimes you just have a job to do and no more.

An Automatic Shop Vac Dust Extractor

Finding cheap or even free tools in the second-hand adverts is probably a common pursuit among Hackaday readers. Thus many of you will like [DuctTape Mechanic], have a row of old woodworking bench tools. The experience we share with him is a lack of dust extraction, which makes his adaption of a second-hand shop vac as an automatic dust extractor for his chop saw worth a watch. Take a look, we’ve put the video below the break!

The system hooks up a relay coil to the saw’s on/off switch, which controls the vacuum’s power. It’s thus not the most novel of hacks, but there are a few things to be aware of along the way and who among us doesn’t like watching a bit of gentle progress on a workshop project? The 120V current taken by both vacuum and saw sound excessive to those of us used to countries with 230V electricity, but the relay is chosen to easily serve that load. What’s nice about the automatic system is that being at the bench is not accompanied by the constant deafening noise of the shop vac, and save for when the saw is in use the bench is both dust-free and mercifully quiet.

If you happen to have a solid state relay in your parts bin, here’s another way to achieve a similar result.

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