In its most basic form, a dust collection system consists of ductwork that carries dust away from a workshop machine, such as a lathe or table saw, and into a collection bag.
A dusty workshop not only impacts the quality of your finished product and the labour costs incurred in cleaning up manually, but it can also endanger the health of your workforce. Health effects can include skin, eye and nose problems, allergic reactions and even cancer. A dusty workshop is also a fire risk and can increase the chance of worker injury.
The first step when designing a dust collection system is choosing a material for your ductwork. Metal is the logical choice here, whereas plastic pipe is not a suitable material for your system for a number of reasons.
Suitability of fittings
Plastic or PVC fittings are not available in the diverse range required to design a quality dust collection system. Moreover, the short bend radius of plastic elbow fittings can cause clogs in the system, preventing efficient operation.
Static charge build-up
Plastic is non-conductive. This would cause static to build up as dust particles passed along a plastic duct and could lead to the risk of injury and explosion. Small dust particles suspended in air is an explosive mix, and it only takes a small spark to cause a devastating explosion.
Any money that is potentially saved by using plastic rather than metal pipe can usually be offset by the expense of grounding your pipe work by wire-wrapping inside and out.
Spiral steel pipe is an excellent choice for ductwork. It is conductive and therefore easy to ground your system, even if you are using flexible rubber hose to connect the duct to your machine. There is a huge range of fittings available that are engineered with long bend radiuses to avoid clogging. Custom fittings can easily be designed and manufactured, and a range of quick-release fittings are available.
Components for your system, whether you are looking for a ductwork blast gate damper or a filtration system, can be sourced from companies such as https://www.dustspares.co.uk/Blast-Gate-Damper.html.
Investing in an efficient dust collection system soon pays for itself in your workshop, and spiral steel pipe is a safe, cost-efficient and easily-maintained product to use.