Alan Schaffter is a retired Naval Officer and a lifelong wood worker and tinkerer. He lives in Washington, North Carolina.
They're cheap! All you need is some PVC and plastic laminate.
by Alan Schaffter
A CENTRAL DUST COLLECTION SYSTEM is a big improvement to any shop, but the cost can really add up. With commercial gates going from $4 to over $50 each, building your own can help lower the bill. I make my own gates from a little bit of MDF, some PVC pipe or coupling, a few scraps of plastic laminate and plastic laminate adhesive. This design will work for 4", 5" or 6" blast gates (the dimensions below are for 4" gates).
Before you begin, note the diameter of the hoses or pipes that you're planning to hook up to the gate. With this design, you can make the inlets and outlets of each gate any diameter you wish, to fit your system. On most commercial gates, the inlet and outlet sides are the same diameter.
In my shop, I run 4" or 6" flex hose between each machine and the gate. That means that the PVC inlet side of the gate must fit inside a hose. I've found that flex hose with plastic reinforcing works best. (If the fit is too tight, try warming the end of the hose with a heat gun to stretch it.) The outlet side of my blast gates is a larger diameter. I use PVC pipe between the blast gate and the dust collector, so I made the outlet side from a short piece of PVC coupling, which fits around the PVC pipe.
1. Cut two 6" x 6" squares of 1/2" or 3/4" MDF for the gate body halves. You can also use plywood that's flat and smooth or melamine-covered particle board.
2. Drill an access hole and use a jigsaw to cut holes in the center of each gate body to fit your inlet and outlet (Fig. A). My inlet is a piece of 4" PVC pipe, which requires a 4-3/16" dia. hole. My outlet is a piece of 4" PVC coupling, which requires a 4-1/2" dia. hole. Use a spindle sander or file to achieve a good fit.
3. Apply laminate adhesive to the backs of two 6-1/4" x 6-1 /4" pieces of laminate and one face of each gate body. When the adhesive is dry to the touch, apply the laminate to the gate bodies. Trim the edges with a router and flush-trim bit, but don't open the hole yet.
4. Cut the inlet and outlet pieces to length (Photo 1). Make a large V-shaped cradle to hold the pieces of PVC, and attach the cradle to your tablesaw's miter gauge. Raise the saw's blade so it barely cuts through the PVC's wall. Push the cradle into the blade and rotate the PVC to cut it apart.
5. Roughen the PVC, then use epoxy or polyurethane glue to secure each piece in the cutout in each gate body. Make sure the pipe pieces bottom out against the laminate.
«rlcuWoodworker.com juni/jult 2010
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