Rousseau 5000-L dust hood for SCM


Mark J

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I bought a Rousseau 5000-L dust hood for my Makita sliding compound miter saw.  My chief goal was to eliminate the pile of sawdust that would accumulate on the floor and the dust in the air that the seems to settle on everything.

I have now used it a few times, so I thought I would share my early impressions.

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Installation was not terribly difficult.  There are two metal supports and you have to find a place on the left and right sides of your saw to attach them.  Every saw will be different.  My install was a little tricky, but not to the point of swearing.  

The supports are then attached to the bonnet brackets and the bonnet itself is suspended internally by spring steal battons.  The fabric of the bonnet is then spread and stretched around the saw base.  It appears to be sturdy and stable.

As you can see it is big, physically and visually.  My saw is mounted on a saw stand rather than a bench so I can accomodate the bonnet.  My saw already needs clearance from the wall for the rails so I only had to pull the stand away from the wall a few more inches.  While I could reach around to the wall outlet the bonnet blocked my view so I also moved the stand a few inches laterally.

The Rousseau has a 4 inch fitting at the bottom of the bonnet and I have this connected to one of the three intakes on my 3 HP dust collector.  But I have to keep one of the other blast gates open while running the DC otherwise the fabric at the base of the bonnet around the 4 inch opening folds over and gets sucked into the opening.  

In use it performs as you might expect.  When cutting the saw throws a lot of sawdust out its dust port and directly off the blade.  Almost all of this dust enters the hood and because of the air currents moving into the hood (as result of the DC) the sawdust stays in the hood.  

While a good portion of the dust is sucked into the DC, the air flow is not sufficient to pull all of the dust into the "drain" at the bottom of the bonnet (that is asking too much).  A good portion of the dust thus settles on the back of the saw and on the sides of the bonnet.  But it's still in the hood and not in the rest of the shop.

The dust can then be swept down the drain with a brush, but I found that it is easier and more effective to blow the dust off these surface toward the drain with compressed air at a modest setting.  

Here's a pictures after blowing, on the right you can see I missed a spot so it's sort of a before and after.

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Here's a shot showing the drain at the bottom.

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The hood blocks a lot of light, leaving shaddows along the cut line.  I bought the unit with the optional LED lights.  These work well, but you could do some other lighting for less.  But whichever, you'll want some lighting.

The Rousseau LED lights come with a short cord that is only a few inches long so you will need an extension cord.  Also there is no light switch (the small white block on the cord is a transformer). I put an inline switch on the end of an extension cord to solve both problems.

I don't know that this is the silver bullet solution for everyone's dust collection problem, but it seems to work for me.

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By way of comparison, Tom King has a post on his own hood design ("bumped" to my attention).  

The Rousseau unit is portable (as is Tom's).  I don't intend to move my saw so I had not evaluated the portability.  It is light weight so you could unfasten the the bonnet brackets and remove the hood.  It comes with a carry bag that you are supposed to be able to put it back into by folding/coiling the spring battens.  Or you could just take it as is and not waste any time.

I don't know how well the Rousseau would perform with a shop vac.  I suspect it would be about as good as systems that rely on gravity and collect dust in a garbage can (with the vac simply replacing the garbage can).  These will collect a lot of sawdust, but with a high CFM DC there is a gentle current of air flowing into the hood opening and I can see particles of dust floating at the opening that are being drawn in.  

Looking at Tom's  DeWalt saw I will also suggest that the efficacy of the system will also depend somewhat on the design of your saw's dust chute design.  On my Makita at least half of the sawdust comes off the back of the blade and is thrown against the back structure of the saw, which does not help the cause.

I should also mention that my test pieces were some 3/4 plywood and 2 inch poplar.

Two improvements I would suggest if Rousseau were to stop by: 

Attach the 4 inch port to the bottom of the bonnet with a 1 or 2 inch wide steel flange.  The width of the flange would keep the fabric from being sucked into drain and allow me to close a blast gate.  And the weight of the flange would tend to hold the fabric down in a more cone shape directed at the drain.

The second suggestion is provision in the bonnet to pass through a 1 1/4 inch flexible hose directly to the saw's dust chute.  This could come off a wye on the 4 inch DC fitting.  After all you've already put the sawdust in the dust chute.  Why blow it out into the hood and hope to get the particles organized again and into the DC hose.

 

In summary, I think it does a good job.  I wouldn't return it even if Rousseau were offering.  If in the future for some reason I needed to replace it I'd look at the market place at the time to see what was available and I'd consider designing my own, but I would buy another one of these (with confidence) before I did nothing.

 

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1 hour ago, Tom King said:

I did make a simple modification to the saw's dust chute.  I think it's in one of the pictures.

Yeah I gotta look for a PVC elbow and see what that does.  But the dust chute on the DeWalt was already better than my Makita out of the box.  In fairness the Makita is from 2004.

1 hour ago, wdwerker said:

Maybe a pvc flange or reducer fitting could fit inside the tent and keep the fabric from getting sucked in ?

I was thinking of something like that, maybe a flat steel ring held in place with magnets.  It does work pretty well as is, though, but it would be interesting to see if there are any simple improvements.

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