Workbench base with dust collection


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I just completed a new base for my workbench and I thought it might be interesting enough to share. The previous base was over twenty-five years old and was made from dimension lumber, 4x4’s and 2x6”s. As one of my first ever woodworking projects it served me well but it was time for an upgrade.

I really liked a bench I found on line that was done by Popular Woodworking. This was the basis of this project. I was satisfied with the top I had so this only involved the base. You can look at the Popular Woodworking article and the plans here. I also was intrigued by the the wired workbench that was featured in Fine Woodworking. At the same time I was considering adding a cyclone and a shop vac to my shop to work with my sander, chop saw, pocket hole jig, etc. I really hate the noise that a shop vac makes so I decided to see if I could enclose the vac in the bench base like they did with the Fine Woodworking wired workbench. I wanted the finished top of the bench to remain at the 35 inches that I was used to. The top I have is 1½ inches thick so that left 33½ inches of height to fit everything in.

I made a SketchUp model to work out the dimensions. I’m an amateur with SketchUp but it was very helpful to work through everything. Getting the cyclone and the five-gallon bucket into the bench was the most interesting challenge. I ended up cutting a hole in the floor of the cabinet and the five-gallon bucket now rests on the floor. The vac I bought is a Ridgid model WD1450. It’s fairly large but it just fit. The base ended up being two boxes, one for the vac/cyclone and one for some drawers. If someone wants to see the SketchUp file let me know.

I added an i-Socket auto switch to turn the vac on and off automatically. It works great. The outlet you see in the pictures is wired so the left side is always hot and the switch controls the right side. If I want to use the vac without a tool I unplug it from the auto switch and plug it into the outlet on the right and turn it on and off as needed. I am using the small port hose kit from Rockler and I’m very happy with it. The suction takes a bit of a hit but the convenience is worth it. Running a sander with the system produces almost no dust in the shop.

The bottom line is that the suction noise is much louder that the vac noise. The bucket is fairly easy to access for emptying and the whole bench is extremely sturdy.

Final.jpg

Open.jpg

Inside.jpg

Side.jpg

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Treeslayer,

The hair is exhausted through the bottom of the cabinet. the picture shows the bottom of the bench as it was being constructed. This picture was taken before i drilled the holes in the floor of the cabinet. You can just see them in the one of the pictures above. It seems to work fine. There is not difference in suction with the cabinet doors opened or closed.

The computer is sealed against the wall. It is an older iMac and the ventilation is in the back. There is space behind the wall to provide some air. 

AirFlow.jpg

Dyami,

Your ahead of me on that one. I love the dust collection but dragging the hose around the bench/project has proven to be a bit of a pain. A boom or a sliding rail might be an improvement. Any ideas? 

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