CNC Router Up & Running

Discussion in 'CNC machining projects' started by Al2O3, May 25, 2020.

  1. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member

    Dust collection!

    I have a larger central bag type dust collection system in my shop. But, the dust shoe on the Router only has a 1 ½” port. Though my central system had very high flow, my shop vac can pull much higher vacuum/flow rate in that small port size, so I use the shop vac on the CNC router. Problem is the filter will foul in short order with heavy rough cutting so I added a cyclonic dust separator.

    9 Dust Collector Ducting.JPG

    Wow, that thing really works well! I can now run for hours or maybe even days without having to stop to clean the filter and just occasionally have to dump 5-gal bucket under the cyclone when it fills. I can empty and replace that bucket in about 30 seconds. Big time saver and huge improvement in dust collector performance.

    I was going to build my own cyclone separator, but since they were fairly inexpensive, I bought the Oneida Dust deputy and the lid that fits typical 5-gallon buckets and made two brackets to mount it on the post on my CNC Router.

    10 DD and Bracket.JPG 11 Base Bracket.JPG

    It functions well but the plastic and mounting flange was pretty flimsy. I made these mounting clamps because the flanged base on the cyclone deflected 1/8” when tightened against the foam gasket.

    12 Base Clamps.JPG

    Now it’s a nice, tight, flat, and well supported. Since space is always at a premium in my shop it’s mounted out of the way…..and yes, grounded every segment.


    I got tired of turning the shop vac on and off with the router so I added this autostart for the vac.

    14 Autostart.JPG

    I went through several dust shoes before I found one that worked well.

    15 Dust Shoes.JPG

    The machine was supplied with #1. Though it was aluminum, it was a total POS. The hose adapter fell off, and since it was this large oval, it would uncover a large part of the area under the brush when cutting at or near the part perimeter, and when this occurred, would eject and spew chips everywhere. If I increased the vacuum level to move more air it would suck the bristles into the vacuum port opening, attract and retain chips, and quickly plug up the vacuum port and not work at all.

    After a search, I found #2 on Amazon, for $27 delivered. It’s an amazing value for that price and has some great features like being able to remove the front half for tool changes but it was massive had a 4” dust port, and wouldn’t fit.

    So, I tried #3. Since I mostly run small diameter cutters, the smaller circular pattern means the brush perimeter and surface area is smaller, which means higher air velocity, volume, and general performance for a given level of vacuum and flow. It worked very well, and better as I increased vacuum level, but it started to suck the bristles into the vacuum port. So I glued in the little baffle in the vicinity of the port. It extends half way down and supports the bristles near the port.

    16 Dust Shoe Baffle.JPG

    Now I can run very high vacuum without plugging the vacuum port, and have the best of all worlds, with excellent performance and nice soft brush contact.

    Still, occasionally you have a combination of cut depth and pattern shape that doesn’t allow optimal dust shoe setting and you will get some dust.

    It’s a lot of anal-retentive detailed BS but the difference in overall performance is fantastic, and the invested time will return big savings over the life of usage.

  2. I was troubleshooting an ancient 1980's Wadkin CNC router with RS-232 comms problems and interference errors and found the comms cable had no physical earth wire between the PC and the router and there was only the mains earth between the two. Sticking a multimeter probe on the chassis of both at the same time showed an 11 volt AC difference. Once an earth wire was established between the two all the problems disappeared. That cyclone looks great!

    Also while I think if it, some vacuum cleaner systems have a bare earth wire running the length of the suction hose to prevent static buildup, if you're sucking certain materials like plastics and in my case carbon dust, the shower of sparks was non stop, like a Van de Graaf generator in a way. you could try routing a bare earth wire down your hose and maybe a few turns in the cyclone chamber to reduce static build up.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
  3. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member

    Before the last move of my residence, the dust collection system in my last home shop originally used corrugated plastic duct. When running machines that produced a lot of chips and fines, the static charge on that duct could make a 3" long splinter stand on end on the outside of the 4" plastic duct! It was in the basement of my home and I grew concerned about the possibility of a powder explosion. Replacing the long straight runs with metal HVAC duct, and then wrapping the flexible sections with a spiral per foot of copper wire, and grounding all with the metallic sections was sufficient to eliminate static cling on the outside of the duct.

    So on my CNC machine, I'm hoping that grounding the support wire in the hose along with interrupting the circuit with metallic sections will sufficiently bleed off and prevent accumulating static (dis)charge.

  4. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    I FEEL THIS PAIN! That picture you posted brings back nightmares...shudders. Really happy that you are finding some working solutions. Always guessing whether your 2-hour op is going to finish or not; is not a place to be.

    My vote is the pseudo air curtain, nothing physical to get in the way. One could also plumb in a timed pneumatic dump valve to pulse, so every 30 seconds or whatever, your rails get a blast. I think Red Hat is the industrial brand work uses.
  5. crazybillybob

    crazybillybob Silver Banner Member

    Where did you find the goldy locks dust shoe for the router? I have the same router and have been on the hunt for a good shoe as well.
  6. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member


    If you search dust shoe and your DeWalt 611 on Etsy you'll find quite a few. This one does not have a Router body clamp but does incorporate the OE DeWalt height adjustment collar which is actually petty nice to have in use. Others do. Without the clamp it does requires a rather thin section of the PLA print to manage the hose and slew rate loads. I borke it once but CA glued it and added more vacuum hose strain relief and no problems since. If you can 3D print, you can download this model from Thingverse and elsewhere. Let me know if you need a steer on that.


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