Taking a load off the Felder

As a way of background, in my former career I was involved with fluidized bed reactors that used cyclones to keep expensive, fine particle catalysts contained. My activities included cyclone design.

I am a huge proponent of cyclone dust collection for woodworking operations. I think it was a mistake to install the Felder as a first stage collection device, but that horse was already out of the gate before I joined DMS. (I’ll add a brief Felder history lesson at the end.)

I’m offering to help DMS add first stage cyclone collection as follows:
If Woodshop leadership sends me a set of minimum specs I am reasonably confident I can design a cyclone based dust collection system that would address these points:

  1. Take at least 90% of the debris load off the Felder filters & collection bins.
  2. Capture the cyclone solids discharge in plastic bags sized to hold a manageable weight of debris.
  3. Alert shop personnel when the bag is full and needs to be changed.
  4. And provided enough space is available, have the system automatically switch to a second bag after the first one fills.
  5. Cost friendly.

I can design, design & build, or design, build & install. Would guarantee to meet the mutually agreed to specs. Let me know if you want to pursue.

Felder History …
I’m adding this because there is an unfortunately large amount of mis-information about how the Felder came to be. It started sometime back in 2017 after the Fire Marshall required DMS to better capture woodshop dust. As part of the Fire Marshall conversation, he recommended DMS install a Felder system. There was much debate about size, cost, practicality of a Felder installation (see Talk and BOD discussions in 1Q2018). Eventually a system design was selected and approved for the Woodshop as it existed before the expansion plan came out. DMS made a significant down payment at the time of the order ($5000?). Then the Expansion became a thing which was going to require a significant ductwork redesign. Felder built the system but was requested by DMS to hold off on delivery until the expansion plan was finalized. Many iterations later (and still with no firm expansion plan), Felder issued an ultimatum: take delivery of the unit as initially designed or forfeit the deposit. A Woodshop Committee meeting somewhere in 1H2019 debated forfeiting the deposit versus accepting delivery. There was discussion about switching to cyclones in this meeting, but the fact that Felder was favored solution of the Fire Marshall carried the day. The BOD approved the balance of the purchase. Then just to keep things interesting Felder has the whole system delivered with zero warning on July 1, 2019. Getting it out of the Auto bay and stored somewhere was a circus. Then lots of discussion about the warranty period being wasted as it sat in boxes unused while expansion plans went in circles. At the next Woodshop Committee meeting, it was decided to cobble together a bare minimum installation in the existing Woodshop to: 1. make sure the unit worked, 2. get some relief from dust and noise of the old systems, 3. save as many of the specialty parts (auto gates, etc.) for whatever the post-expansion Woodshop turned out to be. This “minimum” installation took place in August 2019.
Memories being what they are, not a lot of folk remember the initial weeks of operation … quietest and cleanest Woodshop had been in a long time. (There was a major circus around Felder heat generation since the new gadget gets the blame, but turned out to be massive problems with the AC coils on the roof.)

HOWEVER, the expectation that the Felder could be the sole dust collector for the entire shop wasn’t reality. Many if not all the subsequent Felder problems originate from the mismatch of actual dust load versus capability. While the Felder would be a great polishing second stage device … it NEEDS a first stage system to grab the bulk of the load.

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There is what appears to be vortex dust collector among the auction fodder. Might it be a useful basis for a proof of concept test? I did not get a foot overall picture, sorry.

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You should not need another motor. An unpowered cyclone designed for low pressure drop should be sufficient. In any event better to try unpowered first to avoid adding yet another noisy motor to WS.

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And I put the guarantee to meet mutually agreed specs in my offer on purpose. I have done these kinds of things before and am more than willing to put my money and time on the line.

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I agree we need some cyclone seperators, especially at the multicam, jointer, and planer. We should reconsider whether we really should be selling that 5hp cyclone for pennies in the auction.

We also need dust collection at the wood lathes, the fine dust from sanding is the most dangerous dust, I met a guy at a woodturning meeting dragging a bottle of oxygen who retired, got into wood turning, and within two years had a severe reaction to the dust. I bought a 3hp cyclone after talking to him.

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Randy, WS used to have 3 dust collectors. Two were large powered units and the third was the standard bag/cyclone combo. Noise was awful and getting the bins emptied was ever bit as much a challenge as exists today. I cannot state strongly enough that a single well designed first stage with easy to handle collection bags has the best chance in the DMS culture. I certainly hope DMS doesn’t revert to a version of the prior approach.

To add to the history I know from the BOD standpoint it was sold that it could have a remote pickup where it takes the woodchips and deposits them into an outside dumpster.
Rotary Feeder

Absolutely correct. That wasn’t included in the purchase, but could be added. During the multiple variants of expansion options, discussion of how the Felder could be located near a back wall was mentioned often. I never heard how much that capability would cost to add to the investment, but I doubt it is cheap to buy or maintain. As a rabbit trail, I’ve heard comments claiming the Multicam is the most expensive and complex expenditure in WS. The reality is the Felder was way, way more expensive and has proven to be plenty complicated when used as it is currently installed.

Since this was during my time. I can set the record straight the Multicam was 29,422 and the Felder was 18,459.

I also financed the Multicam to start establishing our Dunns and Bradstreet credit history to allow for some financial history as the makerspace business model was and likely still is unique and wanted good credit history. The Felder was a cash deal also notably Felder did give us a 5K discount as a good partner. I personally think the failure was just implementation and the reality is there was an opportunity to have a paid install but it did not make sense as the expansion project was underway. I just never expected the expansion to take 3-4 years!

Also I hope the woodshop takes you up on your offer to assist!


Guess I should have been more careful with my wording, but wasn’t the total including ductwork and install at or above $50,000?

Ducting was 5K and we did the install ourselves.

Hmmm, I hear you and don’t doubt you’ve got some facts to back that up. I will say that the actual install was never done. Most of the duct work and all of the auto gates were still in boxes. When the unit was delivered it was accompanied by the guy who was going to do the install. The $5,000 for ductwork seems pretty suspicious to me as well because DMS got a quote to revise the ductwork for the new shop layout and that came in at 10 grand. And the discussions at least according to talk when the whole purchase was being debated back in first quarter of 2018 was throwing around numbers in the 50 to 57,000 range. That’s what I was relying on and if that’s incorrect shame on me for believing what had been reported.

Just to add, the minimal install that was done in August of 2019 strived to use as little of the new ductwork as possible so that the remainder would be available for the new shop layout, whatever that turned out to be. And exactly zero of the auto gates were installed.

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