If you’re a woodworker, you know a good shop has all the tools and equipment you need, laid out in a space-efficient way. If you have a great shop, it has a dust-removal system. “What?”, you say? “Isn’t woodworking without dust like swimming without getting wet?”. Well, no. Dust-removal vacuum systems are either built-in to selected pieces of equipment, like table saws, or shared amongst many with a central suction unit. To make the dust removal more efficient, it is ideal to only enable the suction on the equipment being used. The way to do this is to have a baffle that is open or closed as needed.
As we have been installing piping for our woodworking shop’s dust-removal system, we thought there might be a better way. We came up with the following design.
This shows our blast gate, with a sandwich of MDF for an acrylic cam. The gear which acts on the cam is 3d-printed (of course) and attached to a small DC motor. This view shows a mostly-closed one. Notice that a blast gate is different from a blast door.
We laser-cut a cam with teeth on the edge, which could be moved by a small motor. This is sandwiched between two pieces of MDF, which have holes for mounting on ductwork.
Here you can see the teeth on the edge of the cam.
Here you can see the cam in a closed position (blocking the vacuum).
We’ll be installing units like this on all the ducts. A future refinement might be to make the operation automatic with a current-operated switch, which would sense which piece of equipiment is actually drawing power, opening the appropriate gate.