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October 11, 2018 – Automated Dust Collector System by Joe Kunzman

At our October meeting Joe Kunzman presented an automated dust collector system which he built earlier this year for his own shop.   A conventional dust collection system was already in place and consisted of 4” PVC pipe and plastic blast gates connected to a 4-bag Jet dust collector.   

The dust collector has a switch at the base of the motor tucked in back out of sight.  Finding the on/off switch required reaching around the motor and blindly fumbling around until it was located.   Keeping track of which blast gates were open or closed on several tools was becoming inconvenient   There were no commonly available products to address this situation. 

Joe’s solution integrates three components.   At each tool is a current sensor and a pneumatic actuated blast gate.  He purchased the current sensors from Amazon and attached them to the outlet that the tool is plugged into.   He built the pneumatic blast gates from Parker air cylinders, 12-volt 3-way solenoid air valves, and plastic blast gates from Woodcraft.   There are 4 tools outfitted with these sensors and gates.  Everything is controlled with an Arduino microprocessor and some specialized code that he wrote.

The logic behind the system is quite simple.   When any machine is turned on the current sensor sends a signal to the controller which opens the blast gate and turns on the dust collector.   When any machine is turned off the blast gate is closed after 10 seconds allowing wood chips to fully clear.  When the last machine is turn off, then the dust collector will shut down after 3 minutes.  This is to avoid cycling the dust collector unnecessarily.   

Joe has deposited the PowerPoint slide deck and the Arduino code on our web site for anyone interested.   See the following blog Post: 

Joe Kunzman

Joe is a retired CPA and Sr. IT Data Storage Architect. He resides in Lake Helen, FL with his wife Marie. His woodworking interests include cabinetry and building 18th century reproduction furniture. He is also the Florida Chapter President of Society of American Period Furniture Makers. When not making sawdust, he also spends his time building embedded systems with microprocessors, such as Arduino.

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