Improving Dust Collection on a Widebelt Sander

For better suction, use shorter, straighter runs of wider-diameter rigid duct (not flexible duct hose) September 24, 2006

I am having trouble with too much dust from a single head 37" widebelt sander. It's not getting all the dust off the panels, especially panels that have shelf or construction holes, etc. People are reverting to blowing the panels off with the air gun as they leave the sander. Not only does this take too much time, it leaves the entire shop covered in dust (which means it was airborne and breathed at one point).

The sander has 3 4" ports on it. I have it hooked up to a 5 horsepower bag type collector. The hookups come off the 4-way manifold on the intake of the collector, and each hose is about 10'. Will it help much if I install the proper metal ductwork and eliminate as much of the flex hose as possible? I also tried making a panel cleaner made out of PVC pipe with holes on 2" centers and mounted it inside the sander. Didn't seem to get enough air flow. Are there any commercially made options available?

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection and Safety Equipment Forum)
From Curt Corum, forum technical advisor:
I would take off the 4-way fitting and run an 8" pipe up and over and 90 down to the sander. Locate a fitting with a tapered body from 8" to 4" with a 4" 45 degree tap on each side staggered. Hit the middle pick up with the end of the taper and the branches will feed the other 2 pickups. Your hose connections now could be only a foot or so. I think you will get much more volume (cfm) out of that 5 horsepower and not have anywhere near as much dust laying out. If the inlet collar under the 4 way fitting is other than 8" diameter, just adapt it. Also, you don't want to let your filter bags cake up. You may have to pat them down a few times per day.

From contributor R:
I was up against the same problem. I had 2 4'' metal ducts running 8 ft to sander. I went to the large oversized felt bag. My thinking was that it wasn't breathing, which was part of my problem. I installed the promotional clear plastic bag that came with the oversized felt filter bag. I could then see the turbulence in the bottom bag. I would have never, ever believed the reduction that the two 4'' metal ducts 8 ft long creates. While watching the clear bags air turbulence, I ran several tests between 4'' plastic flex and 4'' metal and two 4'' metal ducts. I was blown away (not sucked away). After the oversized felt bags, I found that I could increase the size of my duct work to about 50% of my machinery, and have far more effective dust collection, not to mention the life that it would probably add to my dust collector's motor.