Oneida Dust Gorilla archive
Tuesday 19 October 2010
I am not sure which of the environmental effects of woodworking I dislike most but it is a pretty close run race between the noise of power tools and the dust. But while the noise may deafen you, the dust may kill you because it is carcinogenic. I have for years put up with inadequate dust control from cheap extractors. Not only do these tend to struggle with large-volume machines like the planer thicknesser, but they also use horrendously noisy brush motors. It was time to do the job properly.
Traditional extractors tend to be good at chips but not dust. It is possible to add large fine filters but these restrict airflow and can clog quickly. However, cyclones are claimed to be good at chips and dust because the cyclone carries nearly all the dust into the collector with only a small proportion making it to the filter, so I decided to take a look at the Oneida Dust Gorilla which at the time was the only cyclone system available in the UK.
Steve Peters, who runs Oneida Air in the UK, put me in touch with a customer with an installed system. I visited his workshop and was impressed.
Package dealOneida will supply just the Dust Gorilla but also offers a package that includes a customised duct design service. Oneida was happy to go through several versions so as to get the design just right.
The Dust Gorilla, a daunting collection of spiral metal ducting in various sizes, elbows, Y-junctions, blast gates and more arrived on a well-packed pallet as a kit of parts that must be assembled.
This is a very substantial piece of kit. The powder-coated sheet metal is thick and the induction motor unit and fan assembly very heavy. This bullet-proof construction coupled with the inherent height of cyclone designs mean you would not want to move a fully assembled Dus. Joints are seam welded and all flanges are one-eighth of an inch thick to resist distortion when bolted down. The purpose-made cast aluminium-magnesium alloy fan has riveted-on balancing washers for smoother running and maximum bearing life. The metal band with over-centre clip makes removal of the dust drum simplicity itself.
AssemblyAssembly is straightforward. It bolts together in layers starting with the cone- shaped chute at the bottom and working upwards.
The hardest part is lifting the motor-fan unit about 5ft onto the top of the drum, chute and cyclone assembly with space for the dust drum underneath. This is very definitely a 2- or 3-man job, but son-in-law and I managed it. The whole process is quoted at three hours but I am slow and meticulous at these things and took a weekend over it.
All that remained was the not so small matter of installing the ducting to helpful supplied plans, a job that was completed over several weeks of intermittent working.
PerformanceFiring it up resulted in serious suck at all outlets and with a bearable noise level.
Extraction from the planer-thicknesser was a huge improvement with very few chips escaping. Bandsaws are often difficult because the dust porting is poor, but with a modification to provide a port under the table, extraction is now good as it is also from the router table that has ports in the cabinet and fence.
Overall my workshop is a vastly better working environment. Something that has greatly contributed to this is the inclusion in the design of a couple of floor sweeps. The flap is opened, extraction turned on and the dust and shavings swept towards the inlet. Just do not have small dogs standing nearby.
In a multi-worker shop where two or more high-demand machines may be in use at the same time, the 3 or 5hp versions might be needed but for a single person in a fully equipped workshop the 2hp is more than adequate.