Apprentice Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-14-2010

Shop dust filter

You can make your own dust filter for about $100, much less than commercial filters. The main part of the filter is a squirrel cage blower. in the northern tier these can usually be obtained for free from furnace companies who replace furnaces. The first thing to fail in a furnace is the heat exchanger, leaving a perfectly good blower. The furnace company just junks the whole thing. In addition you need a prefilter and a bag filter that can be obtained on line from Penn State Industries. A timer switch allows the filter to run after you leave the shop. Finally a 1/2" plywood case is made to fit, with a door to allow removal of the prefilter and bag filter for cleaning. The minimum size furnacesquirrel cage blower is 1200 cfm and the bag filter cleans out dust particles down to 1 micron. With the filter running in my garage-shop there is no dust accumulation on my car. Photos and answers available from
Posts: 482
Registered: ‎10-20-2009

Shop dust filter images

[ Edited ]

Here are a couple of images of Don's dust collector. He asked me to post these for him. Marlen




















Senior Advisor
Posts: 1,581
Registered: ‎04-15-2010

Re: Shop dust filter images

For getting the fine dust out of the air I just use a 20"x20" box fan with a 20"x20" filter. Turn on the fan to the number 2 setting and place the filter on the intake side--the fans suction will hold it in place. If I am doing work that's generating more than usual levels of dust, I'll place a second fan/filter on the other side of the workshop so that the air circulates (and filters) quicker. When the filter needs cleaning, I use the shop vac or just bang the filter on the floor to shake out the dust. Make sure you use the pleated filters for best results.

I admit it's probably not the greatest air cleaning system, but it does the job pretty well. And if you don't have the cash to shell out for a better system, this setup will do the job till you can upgrade. If nothing else, removing saw dust from the air with this simple system still works better than removing the dust with your lungs. Smiley Wink



Apprentice Contributor
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎08-12-2010

Re: Shop dust filter images

[ Edited ]

6964i836822675D7951C8I used small window fans, stripped the extendable side pieces and built a narrow box with a slide in 12 by 24 by 1 furnace filter for filtration. Hung it from the ceiling with french cleats and they are wired into my shop lights. Whenever shop lights are on, the air filters are on. You can get different degrees of filters to use in them. My basement shop is 12 by 20 and there is one near each end.



Apprentice Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-07-2010

Re: Shop dust filter images

I need some advice from my fellow woodworkers. I am building a mantel for my fireplace. The fireplace is elevated about 8" to 10" off the floor on a brick hearth. The width, including off set and pilaster width will be about 78",and the fire box is about 38" high. What would be an appropiate height for the mantel. I am 6' tall and my wife is 5' 6" tall. I guess what I'm asking is there a standard ht. for a mantel? Thanks.

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Honored Advisor
Posts: 15,023
Registered: ‎01-15-2010

Re: Shop dust filter images

consult minimum clearance re code for yur area... adjust from there
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Veteran Advisor
Posts: 1,885
Registered: ‎11-03-2009

Re: Shop dust filter

I too am building one of those using a furnace blower and pleated filters.


I am currently building a "sanding table". My benchtop sander will sit on top at the right, and to the left of that will be an area 5' long x 20" wide for hand sanding or for using ROS. The top of table is 2 layers of peg board supported by cross braces for strength. Three 20" filters slide in from one end, and above that is a track to slide a 19" x 48" piece of 1/4" luan as a baffle when I am using the benchtop sander, to concentrate the suction at the sander instead of all over the tabletop.

The suction is provided by a blower motor from a clothes dryer.

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Senior Contributor
Posts: 950
Registered: ‎01-25-2010

Re: Shop dust filter images

I run a low speed ceiling fan, drawing up toward my air cleaner, that seems to help with my 10 foot ceiling. Smiley Happy

Senior Reader
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-29-2010

Re: Shop dust filter images

I made a similar filter using a furnace blower. You could save money by making the box a size that fits normal sized pleated filters rather than the Penn State ones. I use 20 x 20 filters ( 3 layers from very cheap washable type first to a 600 - 700 3M rating 2nd filter to a 1000 rating as final). I can vacuum several times before replacing.



Senior Contributor
Posts: 240
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Shop dust filter images

[ Edited ]




This post is in relation to the question about the mantel evevation... this question got stuck in with the un-related question about SHOP DUST FILTERS.


The normal purpose of a mantel is for displaying appropriate keepsakes/pictures etc.  The best elevation above the f.f. (finished floor) is eye-height.  In your wife's case I-HI is about 48"-60".  Since the top of the firebox is pretty close to the 4' mark, it would be prudent to elevate the mantel as mych as possible to maintain a good viewing evevation for your wife.

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