How are you controlling dust?

I have been a blacksmith for 41 years. It seems lately that controlling dust is a major concern. I am doing a lot more fabrication work these days so that involves grinding. I also have a warehouse space type shop rather than an outdoor garage situation. Dust is driving me crazy though. How are you controlling dust in your shop?

The filters in those get clogged fast with grinding dust.
The only way I know how is to make a grinding room.
That’s what I had to do
And instead of sweeping use a magnet roll around from harbor freight 36” one works great
My 8 year old showed me that and that’s what I use not more sweeping the dust back in the air.
Works amazing!

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I’m with @Whitesteel. Going to be hard to control unless you have something vent the dusty air outside or build a grinding room in your space to keep it separate from the rest of your workshop. I’m in a garage and I do 95% of my grinding outdoors to keep the dust in the shop to a minimum.

A couple large switchable magnets in the path of the debris might cut down on how much floats around when you grind steel, but won’t help with aluminum or other nonferrous materials.

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Dust collection is a huge topic and it’s more complicated for metal than wood I think. I’ve been watching a bunch of woodworking videos and trying out variations of their stuff.

For grinding I started out with a giant funnel made of HVAC ducting from Home Depot/Lowe’s. It was okay, but it really only worked for certain situations and angles. Currently I’m working on a downdraft table for grinding. I’ve had to go on some sidequests to make some tools to work around the fact that I don’t have a CNC plasma or any of that fancy stuff, but it’s already helpful just to have a place to do grinding with a backsplash and catch pan.

For cutting I mostly use carbide tipped blades instead of abrasive and I’ve been working on improving the chip collection. I build a track saw with a chip collector that hooks up to my shop vac and it cut way, way down on how much cleanup I’ve got to do for cutting sheet metal and plate. I can’t afford/wouldn’t have the space for one large enough to deal with full sheets in my garage, but the track/chip collector system is working great for me and my needs as a DIYer.

There’s a knife guy whose grinding dust collection system I saw on YouTube that was really impressive. I forget where it is right off the top of my head, but there’s some great stuff out there if you kinda dig for it.


If you get a min post some pics of your down draft table I would to see it.

A good down draft table is an excellent suggestion.

Side note:
BTW, I’m a Henry too. Based on my past experience, you are most likely 20-30 years older or younger than me. I’ve only met maybe one other Henry in my life around my age. It seems like they’re all old men or little kids.

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Yeah, I’m happy to share. It’s pretty rough since I’m new to fabrication, but I’ve been posting videos about some of my projects hoping it’ll help others at a similarly-low level of skill as myself get some ideas and inspiration. When I was looking I didn’t find much information on the internet about dealing with metal chips and dust.

Here are some pictures of it:

and here’s a link to the playlist on the downdraft table: DIY Downdraft Table for Grinding Dust Collection


I second the downdraft table and the designated grinding area/room.

I’m sure this post is maybe only concerned with the dust accumulation around the shop, but another aspect to consider, if you haven’t already, is the airborne particulates from all the fabrication processes, and their ability to be inhaled, absorbed, etc.

I’ve typically used an N95 respirator for long fabrication sessions, in combination with ventilation. But what I can’t recommend enough, after spending quite a bit of time with my current setup, is the 3M PAPR system with the welding hood and grinding face-shield setup . No more blowing black snot out of your nose or picking out black sleepies from your eyes.

Who really knows how much has to be inhaled before it becomes noticeable. But I’m sure we can all agree that anything that may drastically decrease the likelihood of future pain and discomfort is worth investing in.

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I have the 3M PAPR you mentioned and it’s absolutely wonderful! I also have a low profile mask from Miller and a traditional N95 depending on the situation. The 3M system on my G5-01 is by far My favorite of the three, though. I spent more on PPE than I did for either of my welders and it’s been totally worth it. Speedglas all the way.

Carbide blades also really cut down on the airborne contaminants vs grinders and they make cleaner cuts. It’s night and day easier to hit dimensions with cutting blades instead of cut off wheels, at least for me. I’m sure there are folks out there with lots of experience who can do amazing things with a cut off disc but I’m definitely not in that camp at my level of experience.

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So I am curious, if there is not filter isnt the dust just blowing out the bottom?

Or is the filter just not installed?

It’s just not finished yet. It’s been hard to find the time so this has been slow. I’d never done sheet metal before so I had to build a break to do that, too.

The filter will be inside the middle part closer to the pull out drawer and the sheet metal pieces that go between the fan and the filter are pretty much the last part of the bottom that needs to be done to get it finished up. Then I just need to start making different tops for it.

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in re to 3M PAPR

the link below is an awesome deal

you can make an adapter to connect air hose to your existing helmet or face shield, for a budget option.

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I haven’t done any deep-dive research on this particular piece of kit, but this looks like an incredible deal. I’m pretty sold on the 3M system having experienced how not ghetto-rigged it is, but for that much price difference I’d definitely give this a shot!

I snagged one a little while ago with a Best Offer. Have never used a PAPR system so will be interesting to see how it works. I like 3M stuff as well, but at the price I figure it is a great opportunity to try something new.


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