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Thread: Homemade downdraft table.

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    Homemade downdraft table.

    When I moved into the house that I now have, I replaced the 40 year old furnace. Of course, I kept the blower motor and squirrel cage fan.

    After about 4 years I finally figured out that I could make a downdraft table for my projects that need sanding.

    Its a pretty simple idea. Basically, the blower sits in a box affixed with the outlet blowing through a hole sized for the outlet. In front of the blower is an opening that is covered by two filters, a washable prefilter and a filter for very small micron dust. The top of the box has to allow almost the same amount of air in as is going out. Some downdraft tables that I've seen have 1/2" holes all over the top. According to my calculations, I was going to need something like 500 holes to equal the outlet side of the fan. So, I went with 1/2" slats instead. One key thing that helps direct the airflow is the slopped sides below the top. That allows for an equal distribution of the air suction.

    Just for fun, I added some storage on the opposite side of the blower fan. Also, I added an outlet on the front side so that I can power up my random orbital sander right at the table.

    Oh yea, if you make one of these, don't forget to caulk all of the seams around the blower fan. That way it won't suck dust right though the fan and back into your shop.

    This unit runs so quite, I can actually run it while working on the table saw to help clean up the air.

    Oh yea, when making one of these, if you think things through, you can make it the right height to act as a outfeed table for the table saw. To top that, I made mine just the right height to fit under my workbench.

    This project is a little hard to describe, so hopefully the pictures will help.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Homemade downdraft table.-saw-004a.jpg   Homemade downdraft table.-saw-005a.jpg   Homemade downdraft table.-saw-006a.jpg   Homemade downdraft table.-picture-033.jpg  
    Hobby builder and doido9 like this.

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    Premium Member Babb's Avatar
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    How well do the filters hold up for you? I've thought about building a downdraft table and using my dust collector but the idea of a nice quiet table sounds pretty attractive. The idea of using the table as a general air filter sounds pretty good too.

    Bill

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    The filters are holding up great. Its nice having the prefilter in front too. I just take it outside, bang it off and wash with soap and water. The other filter still looks pretty new. If I would have known that I was going to like it so much, I would have equipped it with one of the larger AirBear filters that come with most new furnaces. Since I already have a furnace with those filters, I could have made the filtering better.

    I am going to make one improvement though. I want to take the material you use to line your tool box drawers with and cover each individual slat with that. It will protect the wood that I am sanding better and keep it in one spot.

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    Junior Member Uncle Rons wood shed's Avatar
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    If my shop looked as clean as your, I'd have to do all my work outside! Classy!

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    Thanks Ron, but right now it is an absolute mess. I have torn out the storage on one of the walls and I am building some very cheap cabinets. It is so clustered in there right now that I am having an issue with getting the work done. I hate working in a cluttered area. I don't mind sawdust, but I hate clutter.

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    That looks great and I like the way you store it.
    I have been thinking about building a downdraft table. Most of what I have seen uses pegboard for the top. Why did you use slats?

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    Great question hloakes.

    The ones that I had seen were made with a solid top that had holes drilled into it with some grooves connecting the holes.

    I was trying to figure out how many holes I was going to need for the amount of air the furnace blower was going to push. I didn't want to overwork the fan motor, so I tried to take the area of the exhaust shoot and balance that with the area of the holes. My problem was that I was going to have to drill a whole heck of a lot of holes and I was worried about the top being weak.

    Slats were the simple solution to this issue. Also, the slats are strong enough for me to sit my 100+ pound jointer on top of it so that I can have another work surface.

    They are actually all tied together in a frame and sit on some rails. If I just remove 4 screws, the whole top comes right off and I can access the filters.

    I've been thinking about doing a video where I can walk everyone through what I did so whoever wants to copy it, can.

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    Premium Member The Box Store Craftsman's Avatar
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    Started building a downdraft table today inspired by John's version. I made it a little longer so I could put my spindle sander on the end and what the shop vac doesn't capture, hopefully the downdraft will. With the frame done I'm currently mocking up the blower box and the additional interior framing needed for the end storage and to seal things up.

    Homemade downdraft table.-2012-11-25_19-17-25_133.jpgHomemade downdraft table.-2012-11-25_19-17-48_121.jpg

    John, did you ever build the second top for yours out of MDF/with holes as apposed to the top with slats? Wondering which one performed or you liked better?

    I'm probably going with the MDF/with holes unless you guys have other/better suggestions?

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    I'm super pumped that you are going to build one of these. You are going to love it.

    John, did you ever build the second top for yours out of MDF/with holes as apposed to the top with slats? Wondering which one performed or you liked better?
    No, I have not. It has worked so well for me so far. I just haven't gotten around to it either. I'm sure with the right amount of holes, it should work great.

    What size holes are you going to go with?

    I don't know how well it showed up on my top pictures, but each end of the unit is sloped into the center to more evenly distribute the suction along the surface of the unit.
    You would almost think they were all Canadian.....HAHAHAHA
    ----cdnvet

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    Premium Member MichaelR's Avatar
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    What about using peg board for the top? Even if you have to drill more holes part of them would be already done. Just curious...
    "May your life be filled with quality shop time and an unending amount of lumber" Author J Miller

    You can follow my work at Underground Woodworking - https://www.facebook.com/UndergroundWoodworking


 
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