CNC milling can be a messy job. A dust shoe is a great way to suck dust up as you mill and makes final cleanup easy.
A dust shoe is a device that couples with a vacuum system and sits near or next to the cut area to take chips and dust away. In a way, it is a fancy vacuum attachment for your CNC machine.
Pros of having a dust shoe:
Cons of having a dust shoe:
Here are some considerations for setting up a dust shoe.
What dust collector/vacuum am I using?
Your dust shoe will need a source of suction. Most users will be able to use their existing Shop-Vacs or dust collectors with their dust shoes.
Most vacuums and dust collectors will have enough power for most applications, however, you may want to look at your system’s CFM and suction lift specifications depending on your needs.
CFM (cubic feet per minute) denotes the amount of air your vacuum can pass through. The higher the CFM, the more volume of material you can move. You will want a higher CFM rating if you are cutting a large amount of material.
Suction power (sometimes called Water Lift, Static Lift, Static Pressure…) indicates how fast the air is moving through the system. The higher your suction is, the harder the dust is pulled through your dust shoe and hose. You will typically want a higher suction vacuum if you are cutting heavier materials like metals, need to draw chips out of narrow cuts, or are using a Z-axis dependant dust shoe.
What size hoses should I use?
Your vacuum or dust collector will probably come with a hose of a certain diameter. Your system will probably work most optimally if you use hoses that are similar in diameter.
Dust collectors for example typically have higher CFMs but lower suction, thus better suited with larger diameter hoses. Using a smaller diameter hose can constrict airflow and reduce its efficiency.
Shop-Vacs, on the other hand, have smaller CFMs but higher suction power. These types of vacuums are happy with using smaller diameter hoses.
Depending on the design of your dust shoe, you may need to adapt your hose to match. You can find adapters that can help switch between hose diameters.
The design of your dust shoe can greatly affect how well it collects dust. There are hundreds of different designs for dust shoes, however, one of the largest differentiators is whether it is Z-axis dependent or independent.
Whether a dust shoe is Z-axis dependent or independent relies on where it’s mounted:
Pros of a Z-axis dependent dust shoe
Pros of a Z-axis independent dust shoe
Cons of a Z-axis dependent dust shoe
Cons of a Z-axis independent dust shoe
For general purpose cutting, we recommend using a Z-axis independent dust shoe as it is significantly better at collecting dust and debris, and relies less on how powerful your vacuum system is to work.
To make dust collection easier for your LongMill, we spent the time to design it its very own dust shoe. The Sienci Labs Dust Shoe is a great add-on for your machine that can keep dust management easy! This dust shoe is designed specifically for the LongMill and works with 1-1/4″ and 2″ hoses.
This dust shoe is a Z-axis independent style dust shoe designed to collect dust and debris efficiently.
The video below covers the assembly and use of a dust shoe.
At the end of October, we re-designed the dust shoe that we’ve created for the LongMill. Some improvements include:
All of our customers who ordered a dust shoe will recieve this version of the dust shoe.
The instructions for mounting the aluminum extrusions and steel plate remains the same. However, there are different steps to putting the dust shoe itself together.
All of the parts to put the dust shoe together come with your kit, and you will need a size 3 allen key to assemble everything.
First, mount the M4 nuts into the bristle ring. There are two spots, indicated by the red circles.
Next, mount the bristle ring onto the plywood body using two M4-16mm screws. These are the shorter of the two screws provided in your kit.
We will now attach the two arms. These are two printed parts that help connect the dust shoe to the extrusion. Put four M4 nuts into the nut catches in these parts.
We can now attach the two arms to the machine. The left hand side arm uses M4-20mm and the right hand side arm uses M4-16mm screws. The left hand side uses longer screws as it connects both the bristle strip and the arm together.
When mounting these parts, make sure to keep the sides of the part flush with the edge of the plywood.
Grab the two knobs and two T-nuts and install them onto the arms.
Lastly, we’ll put the hose mount to the dust shoe.
And that’s everything! You are now ready to mount it to the machine as in the video.