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Thread: Grit Automation Automatic Blast Gates - Automating my Dust Collection

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    I had low dust levels for years but what I found when using the automatic blast gate system we developed was how it made working in the workshop so much easier, almost liberating if I can use that term. Being able to change from machine to machine and not have to worry about blast gate operation is something that really can't be appreciated unless you experience it.
    Couldn't agree more, Chris. But chalk it up to getting old with a bad back, and having to climb under some machines (my table saw) to get at gates to close them at the right time, and just plain forgetting, I was assuming that my 5HP Oneida cyclone would get rid of all that airborne dust even if I left a few gates open. Turns out, wasn't true at all. Having just the gate I need open and the rest closed has made a tremendous, measurable difference in air quality in my workshop.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  2. #32
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    I also have found out it takes more than one device to keep the air clean in the shop.
    1- used furnace fan built into/under the workbench, has 2 24x24x18 bag filters with 2 24x24x4 prefilters. turn on when first walking into the shop, turn off next day or two if machining lumber, sometimes when I leave at end of day if not making much dust
    2- dust collector, Dust Deputy+ with home-built filter cabinet (30 cartridge filters), manual blast gates. hard piped almost to machines. Turns on automatically when machines are started, also with wall switch if needed to keep running to eliminate too many starts per hour
    3- large shop vac/cyclone hard piped, 2" sched 40 pvc to 11 points for hand tools, routers, sanders, etc.

    Firmly believe spending money on a dust collection/filtration system is important. Started out collecting chips from planer, then jointer, Radial Arm Saw, Contractors saw no, Cabinet saw hooked up immediately after buying it, wide belt sander etc as buying them. Waited way too long to set up shop vac system for hand tools. Air filter from day one when bench was built.
    Don't bury yourself financially but spend as much as you can and put other tools on hold. You don't get to enjoy good breathing as you get older if you breathe too much dust and dirt along the way.
    Ron

  3. #33
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    I haven't posted lately about my Grit Automation system, but I've now had several months using it and wanted to post again.

    It really has changed my shop routine for the better. The Air Quality Control sensors have evolved tremendously, and are even more useful than before. They now can be controlled to turn on at different activation levels based on the measured PM2.5 and PM 10.0 readings (hopefully Dylos readings to follow as they do measure the same particle counts that the Dylos does.) They have also added an Override On timer so that you can set your air filter to stay on for 30 minutes (perhaps when you leave the shop, or early morning on your way to enter the shop so that you have clean air upon arrival.)

    I have two of the sensors. One controlling my Jet 1000B and one controlling my Jet 2000. On different sides of the shop. I have them set to both turn on when I'm generating serious dust (Wide-Belt Sander, Kapex SCMS, Table Saw) and just one turning on for other less dust-generating machines.

    Looking at the measurements on my Dylos monitor, I'm walking around in far cleaner air when I work in the shop.

    I don't have it controlling my homemade box filter fan (I refuse to use the eponym for it) as that is on a timer and runs for 45 minutes 3x per day. Yes, I have lots of air filtration. I'm very fond of my lungs.

    The gate triggers and gate controls for the machines work pretty flawlessly. I found that lubricating the gate slides every few months is a good idea, but otherwise haven't touched them. They just work every time automatically.

    So, in short, after owning and expanding my Grit Automation system for a number of months, I am thrilled I bought it.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  4. #34
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    I just saw this thread. You are 8 months on and none of the actuators have broke yet? Looking at the design, there is a lot of pressure on the motor to move the wiper to open close the gate. I can see how lubricating the gates makes a difference.

  5. #35
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    No issues at all with them.
    Actually, I don’t think there is much stress on the actuators at all.

    Certainly when I was flying remote controlled airplanes, in flight had much more stress than these do.

    The app allows you to fine tune gate positioning, which minimizes that too.
    So at least in my experience. A non-issue.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    No issues at all with them.
    Actually, I dont think there is much stress on the actuators at all.
    There is a TON of stress. Granted I haven't seen the bottom of the actuator, but I don't think that it is a large leap to infer that the gear box or motor shaft is directly connected to the wiper which is connected to the blast gate. 1/8" diameter shaft driving a load 4" away gives a force multiplier of 32x (force supplied by the motor is atleast 32x force to close the gate). The force to close the gate while the DC is running increases the friction and the load.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Whitesell View Post
    There is a TON of stress. Granted I haven't seen the bottom of the actuator, but I don't think that it is a large leap to infer that the gear box or motor shaft is directly connected to the wiper which is connected to the blast gate. 1/8" diameter shaft driving a load 4" away gives a force multiplier of 32x (force supplied by the motor is atleast 32x force to close the gate). The force to close the gate while the DC is running increases the friction and the load.

    Thank you for your updated review, Alan. We are pleased to hear that GRIT has made you love working in your shop even more! We also care about your lungs!

    Anthony, thank you for your interest in our system and gate control devices! The servo motors are of course under load when opening and closing the connected blast gate. We specifically design our gate control actuators to withstand that load, and offer three different sized actuators.
    • 2.5''-4'' gate - 35kg servo at 9v
    • 5''-8'' gate - 65kg servo at 9v
    • 9''-12'' gate - 120kg servo at 24v


    Our gate mechanism continuously measures the current draw of the servo motor and the system can identify gates that are unable to open/close due to physical debris or too much suction. This allows us to disengage the servo motor and avoid damage. We also have settings in our dust collector configuration that can assist in dealing with high suction setups.

    These include:

    • setting 'Turn On Delay' to ensure all gates are in the correct position before turning on the dust collector.
    • setting 'Minimum Number of Gates Open' to help relieve gate stress from an over-powered collector by keeping more gates open when needed.


    The power supplies we use for our gates have enough current capacity to ensure gates have the needed amps when moving under suction. Our 9v power supply comes in 20amp and 40amp models. Our 24v power supply is 20amps.

    Of course with enough suction you can keep any of our gate actuators from opening. However, we performed 5 years of in the field testing before we brought our product line out to the national level.

    To address gate sizes larger than 12" we have been working on linear actuator versions of our gate mechanism, these are currently in testing with some of our early adopters. We have also had customers ask about pneumatic versions of our retrofit gate mechanism, this product is not complete, but would love to work with shops that are interested.

    To summarize, at GRIT we appreciate the difficulty in automating blast gates and have developed many products and system functionalities to address the problem space. I would love the opportunity to help with your shop and you can see for yourself how well they operate!

    Thanks
    Joel

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Whitesell View Post
    I just saw this thread. You are 8 months on and none of the actuators have broke yet? Looking at the design, there is a lot of pressure on the motor to move the wiper to open close the gate. I can see how lubricating the gates makes a difference.
    We used rocking BG's when designing our automatic system as they cannot load up with debris and require minimal torque to open and close the gate. Production is also simplified which was a major factor in choosing to use the rocking BG, another factor was they can be placed high in the duct system because there is no need to access them for maintenance. The only downside is that they are a bit slow to open and close which is a factor that needs to be considered in any auto system especially when a mitre saw is being used.

    Mitre saws are a PIA in an auto system especially if the dust extractor is started by the machine being used, it is easy to do a cut before the DE has come up to speed and the air is moving. I used to recommend idling the DE at a lower speed so it can be ramped up a lot quicker, this way the air has some speed already and full flow happens quickly. The GRIT system has had a lot of thought put into it and it is about time someone did that for dust extraction and they should be commended for it.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    We used rocking BG's when designing our automatic system as they cannot load up with debris and require minimal torque to open and close the gate. Production is also simplified which was a major factor in choosing to use the rocking BG, another factor was they can be placed high in the duct system because there is no need to access them for maintenance. The only downside is that they are a bit slow to open and close which is a factor that needs to be considered in any auto system especially when a mitre saw is being used.
    The Grit portion of system is less likely to load with debris, as that does not inclide the gate itself. The fact the system is an addon to any gate is great market position due the the types and sizes of gates out there(material, size, and standard), and Grit doesn't have to make them all (hehehe!!). When the gate and the actuator are combined, then they are all about the same (except the iris design which comes out the worst having overlapping moving parts in the dust stream). Independent of the system, they all need maintenance or at least cleaning. Sawdust is a creepy little bugger and gets into every crack and crevice. As for torque, this rocking mechanism requires quite a lot more torque than is required for a leadscrew based linear system. How that is acheived depends on the motor and gearbox (if used). If it has not been guessed yet, I have made designs and calculations to fabricate many of the automated blast gate designs on the market, including the rocker arm design (Grit), the rack-and-pinion slide gate (iVac), the green gate swing gate (pivot drive), and Eco gate swing gate (circumferential drive), and linear actuator drive. I assure you all each has its pros and cons. There isn't a perfect blast gate/automated blast gate out there. Somewhere along the line you will have to pick a minus to go with (what you consider is) a plus.
    Last edited by Anthony Whitesell; 03-20-2023 at 11:02 PM.

  10. #40
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    Anthony, thanks for the clarification, my comments were a general overview of why we chose rocking blast gates instead of sliding ones. To clarify more I am speaking of rocking blast gates and not a rocking operating mechanism as you seem to be. A rocking gate has no track at all only one pivot which the blade moves on so requires zero maintenance. I can't see any advantage to using sliding gates even in manual form. Rocking gates in manual form can be overhead and operated via drop cords, I had this for many years even running the cords through pulleys to get the drop cords where I needed them for convenience. Auto Blast Gates PTY LTD
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  11. #41
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    The air quality sensor to automatically start up the air cleaner is quite interesting, will be checking that out.

  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    The air quality sensor to automatically start up the air cleaner is quite interesting, will be checking that out.
    Our Air Quality device works with air filters that are simple on/off switch style, IR remote, and RF remote controlled. It senses the particulate matter in the air and displays real-time metrics on the air quality in both PM2.5 and PM10. It can be setup to also automatically turn on when any one of your tools turns on. This allows it to preemptively begin cleaning the air even if the dust hasn't made its way to the sensor yet. An example of this is when using an edge sander, I have my air filter turn on whenever I use that tool. Here is a screenshot from the app that shows the real-time graph.

    mobile (8).png

  13. #43
    I have the ivac system but love what you have going on here. The green and red lights is brilliant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    I'm not a posting a review kind of guy, but this system and especially their level of tech support deserves this. And right off the bat, I have no association with Grit Automation, and paid full price for this system.

    So, after reading a short thread elsewhere about automatic blast gates, and knowing that my previous research into automatic blast gates for my Nordfab ducts was expensive, and really, really didn't want to have to remove all my present gates and replace them with new ones (like if I was using a IVAC Pro system, or Eco-Gates) I was intrigued by the Grit system.

    The way the system works, is by attaching servos with swing arms attached to your blast gates, and these are Wifi controlled by a Grit Hub and triggers on your equipment.

    Now, there are challenges to hooking up to my dust collection system. My SawStop, Felder Jointer, planer, bandsaw are all 3-phase, as well as my Grizzly wide-belt sander. All with 6-inch Nordfab ducting and gates. Add onto that a router table at 110V with 4" ducting, with the gates all near the floor, far apart, and you can see that my work was cut out for me.

    Here's a few pictures of the system:
    This is what all the components look like out of the box:
    Attachment 482868

    So, lots of stuff, to say the least. And it was packed beautifully, with a cute little present. Clearly they wanted everything to arrive safely.

    I first powered up the hub and having it find my wifi, etc... Worked pretty well. Saw my router without issues.

    Next I attacked installing the blast gates, one by one. You do this by drilling a hole in the blast gate arm with an included template and drill bit, installing a few screws/bolts and attaching power via some provided wire and DC power supplies. On to the web app, make microadjustments to the gate positions (setting open and closed limits), and awesome - it works great being controlled from my iphone. Getting the machine's power setting to control it comes later.

    Here's a few pictures of a installed blast gates:
    Attachment 482869
    Attachment 482870
    Attachment 482871

    As you can see, the gates light up red when closed, and green when opened. During calibration, they flash to show you they are receiving the micro-adjustment commands.

    I'll break this into a number of posts, to avoid TL;DR

  14. #44
    Alan - very interesting setup and reporting. If I’m reading things correctly you can have the system set up to turn on the cyclone DE and open a gate when a tool is activated or simply open a gate when the cyclone is already running…how frequently do you start and stop the cyclone when you are working in the shop for an hour or two?
    Thanks,
    Jeff

  15. #45
    I have taken some time with the GRIT automation system before writing anything about it.

    I have my shop currently in a 400 sqft garage. I have a 3hp Oneida super dust gorilla that has been a great machine for the last 16-18 years. I have always just had manual blast gates in the past. As I have accumulated more machines and more complex arrangements on the machines, I started to want something simple. I knew of all the standard automated systems and even dabbled in building my own. At IWF last year, I ran into GRIT automation at the show. I was intrigued by the fact it could be added to any blast gate (within reason).

    I am building a 990 sqft shop now, so I figured it was time to try something. I reached out to GRIT and had a conversation with Joel. I was rushed at the time and did not listen appropriately to what the system could do. I reached out again to Joel (when I had more time) and he spent more time with me on how it works.

    I have a mixture of 240 volt 3 phase machines, 240 volt single phase and a few 120 volt machines. Joel set me up with the appropriate setup for now and for the shop after it is built.

    I made the plunge and soon added a few more things to complete what I would need. The level of communication with GRIT was first rate and they shipped me the system (two shipments because I added some stuff). Then I got busy with my day job and life. Joel kept asking how it went, and I kept having to say, It would be the next weekend.

    I finally got around to installing the system.
    3- 3 phase machines with 5 total blast gates (I have 2 more 3 phase machines with 2 more blast gates that I will add to the shop when it is built)
    3- 240 volt machines with 3 blast gates
    3- 120 volt machines with 3 blast gates
    240 volt central dust DC
    Air quality monitor

    The whole installation took a day, mostly because the shop is so tight for space that the blast gates were hard to get to. Joel (and Jaclyn) told me that if I needed any help that they could facetime me to get it done. The instructions are world class. It is a bound set of pictures and layout with easy to read instructions for every piece of the system.

    I owe Joel some pictures of my 3 phase machine control bays to show how I integrated the controls into the setup. That part went well, very straightforward. The Dust Collector contactor instructions were straightforward and well documented. It was a Sunday and I could not get the system to turn on the dust collector (they warned me this was the most challenging part). I texted Joel on Monday and he set up a facetime call. He validated the wiring was good and he forced a firmware update and we were good to go!

    They have been awesome to deal with!

    The system works amazing. The fact that they can update the system is also amazing. The setup is via a webpage connected to your system and the flexibility that it offers is really cool. I use my phone to set up and adjust the system.

    The system was not inexpensive, but I feel it is the same as the competitors with much more flexibility and functionality. No regrets at this point.

    I know Joel is on here - Thanks Joel!

    I will put some pictures up when my new shop is done and I assume some YouTube videos will have the system in it too. I am moving to a clamp together system from the blastgateco for the new shop and the system will easily switch to the new blastgates!

    PK
    PKwoodworking

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