New Product: "Downdrafter System" for proper dust collection of the sliding miter saw.

   This is the final photo just to show you what the Downdrafter does. It collects the nasty sawdust that is ejected from your sliding compound miter saw. The hood is yellow but, in fact, it is designed to work with all miter saws. The picture shows my first sawing with this setup. It "swallowed" about 90% of the MDF dust and probably can do even better if I alter the Hitachi's outlet.

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    To the left is the product shot taken from the website for The Downdrafter. [http://www.downdrafter.com/]. The unit costs $299. It seemed expensive, but I guess the question is, what is the price for clean lungs or worse, what is the potential cost of dust laden airways? The little insert picture is of a dust collector I just bought from Woodcraft. I intend to mount it under the miter saw station and have it suck the sawdust through the Downdrafter.

     Here is my present miter saw station. The saw's table is level with the bench counter on the left. The bench has a 6' fence with an adjustable stop that is very useful.

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   Presently, the saw's internal dust collection bag works pretty well. But, even then a lot of dust gets shot both to the back wall and into the air. MDF and particle board are particularly bad dust creators. I hate to be crude, but you know it doesn't work when you cough up brown   stuff.

     Here is the present chop saw bench. It is made of 4" X  4" and very solid. The top ("A") is 3/4" ply — doubled up. The bench is fastened with lag screws to the back wall studs and to the bench to the left. The Hitachi saw is bolted to the table once adjusted to the fence.
   Underneath ("B"), I would like to add one or two trays that will hold the miscellaneous cutoffs and have the trays on full extension slides. Yes, I do save cutoffs. I hate to put even the smaller ones in the trash. Frequently I find myself going into the scrap pile for wood or MDF that can be used for jigs or backer boards.
   I can't do anything until I have the Downdrafter installed. Then I can measure some of the clearances more exactly.

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    I have dismounted the CMS and moved it to the other side of the shop. It rests of the Festool MFT worktop. You can see the size of the yellow hood. It is large, but if it catches the dust, I will install it on the old bench, but I want to find out two measurements: 1) how wide a station do I need and 2) how deep must it be.

    I start the assembly process by reading the instructions. They are brief. I tried to follow them step-by-step and found that I thought I was doing the steps right, but about 4 times had to disassemble and try again. It may have been a "bad hair" day for me.
   I won't show all the false attempts but try to just show the basic steps as I finally did them.

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   First, I assemble the airflow chamber. As you will see, all the parts to this system, other than the hood, are made of rugged steel. That will help the yellow hood  roll back and forth with the CMS without sagging. It is a good thing.

   I am completing the assembly of one of the two trolleys. The airflow chamber that I just assembled will be inserted in the trolley and the other half of the trolley will be added.
   The numbers "1" and "2" are the steel tracks that bolt to the underside of the box frame. You can see that I am using an Allen wrench to get the bolt into position. It takes a bit of dexterity to ease the bolt through the channel. It works, but is tight. The lock nut has to be from the arrow's direction. If reversed, the trolley won't trolley — how do you think I found that out?

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    I have in my hand the completed assembly. It is heavy and will certainly stand the test of time. By the way, this side is facing away from the CMS and dust ejection. My guess is that dust getting in here will be minimal. A good burst of shop air will probably be all that it takes. I plan not to lubricate the wheels and bearings. They are dry now and travel very little. Oil or grease will just catch dust.

   The instructions say that the top of the unit should be 1 1/2" below the back edge of the bench to which it will be mounted.

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   I had thought I would mount the saw on the Festool MFT but since the mount includes screwing to the back of the stand, I have switched my plan and will use this shop cabinet for the trial installation. It is 30" wide, but it will work for the test, I think.
   I am using an adjustable square that I have added the 1 1/2" to. The Downdrafter assembly is heavy, so I am temporarily mounting this ledger board.

   The kit includes four large 1" screws. I am pre-drilling for them and then using a nut driver to secure them. The unit has many holes to use and more screws can be added, but I think the four give adequate security.

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   The end is near. I am tightening the last of 4 bolts to secure the airflow outlet. The arrows point to two large keys that are molded into the black piece.

      I am attaching the 4" hose that is included. It is a heavy duty one that will take the little back and forth action well. At this point, I am just using a quick connect.

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You can see those keyways better here. They are large and have a great grip on the hood.

Yep, that is the same picture that I used at the top of this story. The dust flow is about 90% into the hood. The flow is from two sources: 1) from the blade directly through the fence and 2) from the chute where the dust bag was fastened. If I  can extend that chute by an inch or so, I think I will be able to get close to 100% of the dust captured.

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   Now that I  have positioned the saw so that it "fits" the Downdrafter well and can swing both directions fully, I can take measurements. I will need 26" from the front side of fence to the back wall and 30 inches from right to left. The 52" back assembly will have to be replaced. Thankfully the manufacture also has a 30" section. I think that will be perfect. I also estimate that it will take me about 8 minutes to install it. After 3 hours of making every possible wrong move, I am now an expert.
   As to how I feel about the Downdrafter. I like it. It may seem hard to spend   $300* on any "accessory", but our health is priceless.
   * This price includes free shipping in U.S.

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