VOTE - $160 level sensor for dust collection bin

Vote to get a level sensor to indicate when the dust bin is full.
Looks to be specifically made to do this job. :grinning:

I vote yes

FWIW, with about $20-30 in parts from eBay and a few minutes twisting wires together you can do the exact same thing. If you really want to get fancy you can solder the connections though that might add a few minutes.

eBay link to photoelectro switch:

The light I bought has since been removed, but should take anything that works with 5V. Also you’ll need a wall wart power supply from anything that does 5V power.

Ha, I was waiting for this.

TL;DR - it can be fabricated but needs someone to do it. We can buy a proven part for not too much money.

I totally support you doing this. I’m happy to delay the vote, but it will need to be completed quickly and you will be on the hook if it doesn’t work.
My experience with this stuff has been that if someone is passionate and skilled (and has the time) it can work (and be fun). Usually life gets in the way and things end up being half (or never) done. The real life example was the air compressor controller, it kind of worked and then didn’t work. We ended up spending some money getting the correct part.
We have the money and limited time.
I’m all for hacking stuff together, I just don’t have the time.

Let’s keep it fun.


We talked about make vs. buy in the warden meeting, and those of us there felt it was worth just buying an existing plug and play product, since we urgently need something to prevent overflows venting the sawdust onto the roof below us. That being said, if you feel motivated to get the DIY version set up as soon as the vote passes, that sounds like a viable option.

Yes. Might need a loud klaxon too. Or to cut power to the dust making tools. :slight_smile:

I’ve got one at home. Took exactly what I said, $40 in parts, 5 minutes build time. It works. Not sure a good way to demonstrate that.

I understand the make vs buy argument, but it’s not clear if anybody has the same experience I’ve had with it. Often times it’s a huge time sink for little return.

At the present time I am not a member, and not interested in donating the time for this. However this should be well within the means of any existing members of the hive.

No worries, I appreciate the input.
Hope you are doing well. You should swing by, the new place is huge. Your carpentry table is used almost every day.

Is this really needed? I probably create more dust than anyone and could be better about making sure it gets emptied. Feels like it’s some over engineering for a simple problem.

With the bin on the far side of the wall, it’s less common for most members to check the level, I’d say it’s necessary.

It just seems like an easy solution. I’m sure a webcam and a display on the wall could be setup with effort and time.
I like a flashing light/horn to “encourage” people to empty the bin. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m also in favor of doing some testing to see if this is happening all the time or only when the bin is X full. Maybe MDF is worse or the weather plays a big factor, I don’t know.

I’ll see how things shake out. At present I’m expanding the home shop, and the commute is pretty nice. :slight_smile: OTOH, I miss talking with you and the other members. The COVID-19 situation hasn’t help either.

FWIW, my experience has been that the planer and jointer produce the most chips, not CNC, though it’s a distant 3rd. It’s surprisingly easy to fill the collector with just a few passes, as both machines take a large, shallow cut which makes a lot of fluffy chips. The saws don’t even come close.

Currently the only machines hooked up are the CNC, Lathe, and Table Saw. The stuff that’s blown all over the roof is very fine, consistent chips too, like the CNC and Table saw make.

I’m hoping at some point you’re going to hook it up to the jointer and planer. Without dust collection the planer in particular is difficult to use for anything but the smallest projects. I managed to generate about 10-15 gallons of saw dust making two doors at home. I did have to take them from 8/4 to 6/4, but even jointing or planing the face of a board will often generate a ton of chips. The other issue is a number of planers will emboss chips into the wood with the rollers as it’s coming out if they’re not removed, potentially damaging softer woods like pine and cedar.

We are actively working on getting everything hooked up to dust collection, the next work day is tomorrow.

Vote yes.

John O

I’m going to vote YES knowing that wise people end up adjusting things as needed.

After looking at the wood chips in the outside exhaust port, I’m concerned that we do not yet have a root cause diagnostic for the chips and sawdust getting past the cyclone.

Because many industrial cyclones incorporate a secondary bag filter, I suspect the cyclone design only collects a percentage of the material. Further it was never capable of catching all of the sawdust.

The fact we didn’t see this at 2929 may be more a lack of awareness than better performance of the cyclone.

A decent cyclone with the design of the Penn State cyclone should be sufficient to capture 99.99% of material. Some of the shorter cyclones as seen on the new portable models from Grizzly and Laguna don’t function as well, but still manage to capture 99% or so.

When we originally went to an approach of venting outside there was a series of tests to make sure that no significant chips were vented outside because of concerns about coating the neighbor’s cars and boat. None were seen at that time. I’m also not aware of a way for a functioning cyclone to degrade to the point that the vented air would have more chips other than a collection backup.

Generally speaking the chips that don’t fall out during the cyclone separation are going to be very small to the point of being hard to see with the naked eye. They might appear in large quantities, but otherwise should be invisible. Further they’re going to be easily dispersed by the air currents outside the building.

A final filter is a compromise of the air quality to avoid problems with venting conditioned air outside the workshop. The best solution from a health prospective is to always vent outside. If excess heating costs is a concern then it might make sense to vent internally via a filter. Even then it’s been my experience that the thermal mass of the workshop is usually sufficient to overcome the change in air circulation, unless the cyclone is left on for a long time.