I haven’t done any shop work in a long time, mostly because I am very lazy but partly because every project I do generates a huge amount of dust, which makes the whole house dusty because my shop is in the basement, and the house stays dusty no matter how often I change the furnace filter because it just doesn’t move enough air, especially not in the basement. My Darling B’s allergies make it hard enough for her to breathe without me making more dust, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of it before it spreads through the house.

an air cleaner for the shop

I bought a squirrel-cage fan at a second-hand store many years ago, which I put to good use ventilating the corner of the basement where I used to brew beer. I don’t do that any more, so I unshipped the fan from its mount and built this air cleaner around it. It’s the same idea as taping a furnace filter to the front of a box fan, except that I built a frame for the face of it that was big enough to hold two furnace filters because the fan can move a lot of air. Then I built a box big enough to span the frame with a hole in the back which the fan can suck the air through. 

I made a few mistakes along the way, the biggest of which was that when I added up all the dimensions in my head, I made the box behind the frame an inch too wide! The fix for it was to add some cleats inside the box that I could screw the frame into, kind of an awkward kluge but this was never meant to be a work of art, just a functional air filter. Lesson learned: always sketch ideas and add up all the numbers on paper.

I bought furnace filters last week and taped one to the front of a box fan so I could work on this project. That’s why the filter on the right is dustier than the one on the left. 

I got the inspiration for this project watching YouTube videos. One of the people I watch regularly has a shop in his basement, so he built a couple of air cleaners to keep the shop and his house from getting dusty, although the video that inspired me to build this particular air cleaner came from a guy with a shop in his garage. 


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