A good idea for minimizing dust in the workshop.
SHOP OWNER: Roger Lance
LOCATION: Grand Rapids, MI
Today’s current batch of random orbit sanders with built-in dust collection are a vast improvement over what was available just a few years ago when I decided to build this down draft table. The abilities of modern sanders almost negate the need for such a table. However, there is still a need when sanding curved work, or hand sanding finishes, or working through the final grits by hand and there is never enough one can do to combat dust. So this table was made using ¾" Baltic birch ply that was laminated to form the legs, ½" Baltic birch ply for the funnel, and ¾" poplar for the grid along with some common air duct fittings to plumb to the dust collector.
The first step in making the table was to make the grid, which I cut on the table saw with a jig similar to a finger joint jig. It incorporated a ¾" pin and spacing to create the square holes in the grid surface. I used ¾" poplar that was two inches wide with my dado blade set at one inch height to make the slots in the grid parts. The grid was assembled and secured from below with screws. The grid just sits in the table resting on a cleat that goes around the inside perimeter at the top.
Next comes the funnel, which is comprised of four ½" Baltic birch plywood panels. A little experimenting and trial and error determined the slopes.
I simply screwed the panels together and beveled the bottom and top to fit against that cleat that the grid rests upon. The funnel just sits in the table and rests in place by fit and weight.
The table is plumbed with common heating fittings that span a short distance to hook to the dust collector hose. A reducer fitting that goes from 6" to 5" passes through a support panel, which gives rigidity to these fittings.
The frame of the table was a good exercise in mortise and tenon construction in which I used a plunge router with a ½" straight bit to cut the mortises. This table is a nice addition to the shop as it helps to make an unpleasant task a little more pleasant and a lot healthier.
. . . Roger Lance