Keeping dust under control in a workshop is a challenge because many dust control systems are expensive and complex. However, there are several homemade dust collectors that you can pull together with minimal cost and excellent results.
Having a dust collector in a workspace is important for health reasons. When wood is cut, tiny particles go into the air and settle on surfaces. A worker in the shop will inhale these particles as well. The dust particles will settle in the lungs and damage them as the body tries to expel the foreign substance. A dust collector in the work area can greatly reduce the number of particles in the air.
To make a simple homemade dust collector, you'll need a box fan. These can be purchased at large retail stores and home improvement centers for under $20. Purchase a furnace filter that fits onto the back. While ordinary filters will do, you can also find anti-microbial filters designed to help people with allergies cut down on dust in their home. Using one of these specialized filters will capture even the smallest particles.
Secure the furnace filter to the back of the box fan with duct tape, bungee cords or rubber bands. Turn the fan on and place the dust collector near your workstation. It will catch a lot of the dust before it spreads too far. To change the filter, just unhook it from the fan, bag it and throw it away. Replace the used filter with a new one and change it out when it becomes full again.
If your woodworking projects tend to generate a lot of dust, set up two of these homemade dust collectors in the work area. To further reduce the chances of getting dust in the lungs, you can wear a respirator while working. For those who work in shops all day every day, a commercial grade dust collector is recommended, as well as a respirator.
If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies, dust is not just the aesthetic annoyance it is to most of us.
I've had to abandon my ideal vision of spotless floors and sparkling countertops to follow the great advice of many: "Don't sweat the dust bunnies."