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Thread: Bill Pentz and Cyclone Test

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    157

    Bill Pentz and Cyclone Test

    I feel like I won the lottery! Bill Pentz came and evaluated my dust collection system and shop today. I can't believe how much time he invested (over 3 hours) and how thorough he was.

    He started with an overview of the process, what he was measuring, and why. Next, he inspected all of the transitions to my tools and made many recommendations. Next, he tested the air outside of my shop for an ambient baseline, and then the shop air before running any equipment or the opening of any doors. Next, we fired up the cyclone and tested the air without cutting anything (my filters exhaust inside). The next test was done after cutting a 3 foot long piece of MDF, 18 times. Finally, the last test timed how long it took for the air quality to return to the baseline measurement.

    What I learned: (Please keep in mind that I am a layperson and I am trying to process and regurgitate a TON of information).

    1. All dust hoods and guards must do two things: They MUST be an effective physical barrier to dust being spewed away from the blade, and thus away from the air collection stream. If you don't have this first, then no matter how much CFM you have at the tool, you simply are not going to catch the harmful dust.

    2. There was, is, a significant residual dust problem with my shop....meaning that I haven't been in there for two days prior to the test and there was enough total suspended particles (by weight) that I was almost halfway to requiring a mask, and I had 100,000 more particles in the 0.5 micron range than the outside air! Eeeeek!

    3. I learned that my filters do an excellant job of cleaning the air in my shop. By running the cyclone and not cutting anything, the filters reduced the total particles from comment #2 by half.

    4. After cutting the MDF, the particulate matter (both in size and weight) doubled to just past the point of requiring a mask for my safety. This means the cyclone and filters are doing their job, but my dust hood needs some improvement.

    5. By just opening the garage door, and putting fans in the back door, I reduce my exposure significantly.

    6. For those of you who have a Pentz' design cyclone. I have the 14" impeller and my real world, direct measurement came out to be 1,099.564 CFM, with the 5hp Lesson motor at only 10.8 amps. That means I can upgrade to the 15" ClearVue impeller and get another 300 CFM when I expand my shop and still not overload the motor. smirk!

    I hope this is helpful.

    Jay

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    West of Ft. Worth, TX
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    WOW!!! That is cool!! Makes me wish I lived in California so Bill might visit my shop....Nah.
    That is a very good test. I like the idea of measuring before you did anything to get the base line, and also to test outside.
    You say your filters did a very good job...what filters do you have? I'm thinking seriously about exhausting outside as I don't condition the air in the shop. but there might come a day when I will need to filter it and keep the air inside.
    Thanks for the post! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...Exclusively Irish! When Irish Eyes are smiling....They're usually up to something!!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas.
    No, I'm not an electrician. Any information I share is purely what I would do myself. If in doubt, hire an electrician!
    Member of the G0691 fan club!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...Most likely I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, s3.

  3. #3
    Thanks for sharing and a thanks once again to Bill Pentz.

    Bob
    bob m

  4. #4
    Jay,
    I have the Clearvue, some recycled filters and muffler in a sound board lined closet. I got similar results although your CFM's were little higher that mine. I have a not so ideal duct system (newbie), and some leaks around the blast gates , but still at over 900 CFMs still over what the biggest dust makers need (with proper hoods). I like the idea of having a fan in the back if the garage (on nice days), and blowing out the shop every week or so too. Bill gave me lots of sound advise for improvements. I am extremely satisfied with my system, and feel lucky to be included in Bill's studies.
    Did he get any chocolate chip cookies at your place?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    157
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim O'Dell
    WOW!!! That is cool!! Makes me wish I lived in California so Bill might visit my shop....Nah.
    That is a very good test. I like the idea of measuring before you did anything to get the base line, and also to test outside.
    You say your filters did a very good job...what filters do you have? I'm thinking seriously about exhausting outside as I don't condition the air in the shop. but there might come a day when I will need to filter it and keep the air inside.
    Thanks for the post! Jim.
    Jim,

    When I say that my filters did a good job, I mean they filtered the residual particulate down below the baseline, but when I cut the MDF, I still had a rise in everything to the point of being unsafe. I'm not the expert, but I don't think I can attribute all that rise just to what I am missing at the blade hood....the filters are still passing stuff. I have the Wynn Environmental filters that Bill recommended at the time I built the cyclone. He said the Torit filters are better, but I couldn't afford them at almost 3x's the cost.

    Bill said that with my results, I should try to vent outside and that so far, that has been a common recommendation with a few exceptions. I am really looking forward to his conclusions when he is done testing all these shop. I would like to see how my set-up compares to what others are doing.

    Jay

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
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    Did he get any chocolate chip cookies at your place?[/QUOTE]


    Jan,

    No cookies!...He wouldn't let me. He did brag about the elk you served though. I offered to have anything on hand for him and of course he politely refused. I mean the guy drives down here all the way from the Sacramento area to test my shop for free, and the only thing he would let me do is buy him lunch?!!!! Wow!

    He said you have a beautiful set up.

    Jay

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Cookeville, TN
    Posts
    81
    Based on your statements #3,4, and 5 above, I'd say your filters are working, and it's your hoods that need improving. I don't see how venting outdoors will cure that, other than diluting the air with lower particle count OA.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chadds Ford, PA
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    583
    hi Jay, Thanks for the informative post in a real life situation. MDF can be nasty stuff. If you are going to cut a lot of this stuff then the investment in those .2micron Torit filters would be worthwhile.
    take care,
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    1,050
    Like Jim I'm envious, Great to know mine has the 15" impeller. Standard now now on all Clearvue's. But like Bill said even the best equiptment doesn't work well with out proper dust hoods. Wish I could have Bill check my system out. Bill if your ever in the Great midwest. The SWMBO makes great chocolate chip cookes.

  10. #10
    My thanks to Jay and his lovely wife for having me come visit and our nice lunch together. Jay has a shop that he is using to rebuild a home and folks he is not just good, but doing incredible work. If I had a tenth his energy some of my backlogged projects would be getting done.

    This last few days was quite an adventure in terms of testing as I managed to log just over 1,100 miles since Thursady and look at a few shops. Without mentioning any names how about a 60x40 shop with tons of refurbished old iron, meaning a 1000+ pound lathe and more? Came home and saw my lonely tools just sitting waitng for me to rebuild ducting, install another cyclone etc. and think I am going to go rest up for a while.

    Test results are showing some very consistent things. Those who setup their shops with a regular through airflow (open big door in front and fans in the rear) have no significant buildup of residual dust, but every one who closed the doors had had residual dust problems regardless of dust collector, cyclone, filters, or air cleaner. Evern more imporatnt, every shop I've tested no matter how good the airflow ended up with problems if their hoods did not do a really good job of blocking, trapping, and collecting the dust. Likewise, even with good hoods, those systems that did not move enough air also had problems with very high dust levels following our test cuts. I just cannot emphasize enough that our hoods have to block, control and capture the dust plus we need to move the air and then get rid of that fine dust. The only other issue this testing is showing is the huge numbers of very fine particles that are going through the filters along with a few failed filters that woodworkers thought were working just fine.

    bill

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Pentz
    The only other issue this testing is showing is the huge numbers of very fine particles that are going through the filters
    OK now I'm confused... you spent most of your post talking about how the residual dust is caused by insufficient airflow and/or poor dust hood design allowing dusto to escape and never reach the DC.

    How do you make the jump from that long-winded explanation to a "huge number of very fine particles" going through filters???

    With all of the controversy and accusations about Filter performance of late, I would hope you would go a little deeper into explaining your statement rather than just throwing it out there like you did.

    What kind of filters??? Bags? Cartridges??? Rated filters??? What do you consider "Very fine particles"??? What do you consider a "huge" amount??? And probably most importantly, how are you differentiating between dust escaping from the hoods and dust escaping from the filter?
    Last edited by Alan Simpson; 10-21-2006 at 11:55 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    a short distance from my body
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    Bill,

    Is all this testing leading up to a magazine article?

    Or maybe a summary of system / component dust collecting efficiency for your web site?

    Or have you won the lottery and now just plan to tour the country in a self financed crusade to protect hobbyist woodworkers from that vermin Lignum Pulvis?

    I'm looking forward to your final summary.

    rick
    "There is a fine line between hobby and mental illness." - Dave Barry

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    West of Ft. Worth, TX
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    Goodness, jump on the guy for doing a little research...I applaud Bill for doing his in house study. It appears to me that he is looking for information. Maybe the recent threads on filters and such prompted it, maybe it was in the works for a while. It also looks like he is talking about things he has found so far, but hasn't made any conclusions yet. He may still need more data, he may just not have had time to crunch the numbers yet. I mean he did say he he drove 1100 miles in 3 days, plus the time setting up at each location, all this on a man who's health isn't perfect to begin with. With lunch (and cookies!) that would have to be about 11 or 12 hours each day> So be thankful he is doing it. Is it a scientific controlled study? No. (Though it sounds like it has some controls. ie: 18 cuts on a three foot long piece of MDF) Is it information that may be useful to us, and to those that recommend the type of equipment and filters that are best? Time will tell. I hope it has some very useful conclusions for all of us.

    Until Bill finishes his work, I wait in anticipation of his conclusions. I hope he will publish his findings on his web site, and include the sizes of each of the shops, what kind of saw, what kind of blade, and what type of hood the tool used, along with any modifications made to it. AND THEN, what he would recomend for each of the owners to do about their systems. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...Exclusively Irish! When Irish Eyes are smiling....They're usually up to something!!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas.
    No, I'm not an electrician. Any information I share is purely what I would do myself. If in doubt, hire an electrician!
    Member of the G0691 fan club!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...Most likely I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, s3.

  14. #14

    O.5 micron dust 100, 000 times higher in the Wood shop?

    Bill,

    What test procedures and test equipment did you use on Jay’s shop you visited where you reported 100, 000 times more dust in the 0.5 Range.than outside? How did you isloate the 0,5 micron material? This takes some preety sophisticated equipment. Will you publish the actual values?

    Are you saying to blow the air outside in this case because the Wynn filters Jay uses are not capturing the fines? I didn’t understand that part

    I have always read that wood dust is not particularly small as dusts go. Only a tiny fraction of the airborne wood dust is sub micron.
    I will site a wood shop air sampling study from University of Vermont , Burlington VT Dept of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.
    They ran 13 different machines: belt sanders, drum sanders, routers, shapers, and various saws classified the airborne dust by size. 22.5, 14.1, 5.5, 3.2, 2.0, 1.2 Microns

    For Example:
    In 9 tests they recorded zero % of the material was below 1.2 micron in size. On 4 tests the amount of dust below 1.2 micron was one tenth of 1 % of the total air borne material. By weight.

    How does this compare with your tests? How are you getting 100s of thousands times more 0.5 micron material?

    Also, It looks like the amperage and CFM tests reported by clear vue owners show that they run only about 10.8 Amps @ 230V for 1100 CFM. This is only half the amp rating of a 5 HP motor.
    This is well within the limits of a 2HP 11- 12 Amp motor at 1100 CFM. Are these reports correct? If so why are you running a 21 amp 5HP motor to get 1100 CFM and wouldn’t a two or three HP accomplish the same thing?

    Sincerely,
    Robert Witter

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Simpson
    OK now I'm confused... you spent most of your post talking about how the residual dust is caused by insufficient airflow and/or poor dust hood design allowing dusto to escape and never reach the DC.

    How do you make the jump from that long-winded explanation to a "huge number of very fine particles" going through filters???
    I think, if the filters are deficient, then the last phase of Bill's test (waiting for a return to safe levels with no cutting but DC running) will take forever or will never happen. It is during this phase that they are essentially using the DC as an air filter, and the suitability of the hood is pretty much out of the equation.

    It is possible for the hoods to also be deficient and for that to be detected earlier by the detection of larger particles during the cutting tests. Larger particles suspended in the air would indicate that these particles are getting past the DC altogether.

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