This week I encountered an application involving a cutoff saw and a Chip Vac. The cutoff saw is used quite often to cut some shipping tubes to length, along with other various cutting operations by this customer. A problem they have been noticing is, the dust simply goes everywhere in the area and is very time-consuming to clean up. With a few hours of time and a little ingenuity they were able to custom fit a Chip Vac to the saw for dust collection.
Before they started the saw the area around it would be covered in dust and debris from any length of use. The debris would even build up on the saw stop sometimes and cause the saw to have limited operational stroke. This is a problem because they would have to shut down the saw, safely and securely remove the debris, then start the saw back up. Also the immediate area around the saw would get swept but in all the remote areas the dust would still build up and become a housekeeping issue.
The solution, use a Chip Vac because they are dealing with light weight debris that is not abrasive. The first step to outfitting the saw with a Chip Vac is to see where the debris is traveling and try to encase the area so you can pull a vacuum on an enclosed space rather than a hose that is pulling vacuum in an open area and will not catch all the debris. The method they used for this is the old cardboard and scissor template method to closely fit the “chip guards” to the saw to minimize the debris’ chance of escape from the vacuum flow.
Once the templates were close for each side of the blade guard they selected the material to make the actually guards from. For this application the customer still wanted to be able to see around the blade and they had some excess Lexan sitting around that was just the right size, so they chose Lexan to make my chip guards. Here again they are dealing with very light debris that shouldn’t scratch it up all that bad and there is no liquid coolant involved so the Lexan should be perfectly fine. They outlined the templates to the Lexan then used a Scroll Saw to cut them out. The reason they used a scroll saw was due to the fact the guards had several contours and tight corners that needed to be followed. Once the guards were cut they made sure to do a test fit. After a little manipulating with some sanding the guards seemed to fit perfect. Next was a critical step, placing the vacuum port. I ensured them they wanted the port to be towards the back of the guards as all the debris went to the back. At the same time, they wanted to make sure it could pull from each side of the saw stop. Once they decided on a placement they used a hole saw to drill a hole that is just big enough for the hose cuff to fit through.
With the guards made and hose fitted all that remained was to affix the guards to the saw. To do this they drilled two holes on each guard and then drilled and tapped two corresponding holes on the saw guard. With the guards bolted up you can still see the full blade motion, and with four bolts you can removed them for any maintenance or stop adjustments that need to be made. You can see the vacuum area that has been created in the picture below.
The dust in the area has been cut to a minimal amount, and the length of time it takes the operators to process the cuts has been reduced because there is no need to sweep the surrounding area. All the debris is contained within the 55 gallon drum of the Chip Vac.
The final step to their process was to automate the system to turn on and off with our pneumatic chuck that is on the saw. This was fairly easy as all they had to do was tie the air lines into the existing piping that was being used.
The final benefit to this design is you can remove the hose from the chip guard and still use the unit as a portable vacuum.
If you have a chop saw in your facility and are having dust and debris issues you may be able to perform a very similar retrofit to your saw. Also we offer the Chip Vacs in 5, 30, 55, and 110 Gallon sizes so we can fit the saw with the size that works best for you.