CNC wood dust and the enclosure

Hello everyone,

I finally got the time to sit down and try to learn how to use the CNC router function of the Snapmaker 2.0.
Aside from the fact that I obviously have much to learn about speed/feed settings for different materials, something I feel I should really learn is how to clean wood dust off of the system and the acrylic enclosure.

I just completed my first ever CNC engraving (aside from the phone holder demonstration that comes with it) and there’s wood dust EVERYWHERE on my enclosure. I’m grateful to know that the enclosure protected me and my family from the microparticles, as the Snapmaker is currently set up in my kitchen dining area (I live in a small house with no other options at the moment), but I have no idea how to clean the dust off of acrylic enclosure. It currently looks like one of those petri dish experiments gone wrong.

If anyone has any suggestions for cleaning the enclosure (or if I should just not clean it for some reason), please let me know! - Also, if anyone has any suggestions for the best way to implement dust collection for the CNC with the enclosure in place, I’d love to hear that too. The dust is a nightmare. So far I’ve been halting the project every 20% or so to use my shop-vac to vacuum up most of the dust/chips so I can at least see what the end mill is doing.

And one last question for this post: is there anything I can do to prevent dust build-up in the linear rails? I know they’re enclosed to be protected against this sort of thing, but its quite clear that the dust is building up on EVERYTHING, so I figure its only a matter of time before it eventually finds its way into the motor modules and the rails.

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I find it irresponsible that Snapmaker promotes their machines for CNC on wood without any availability of a machine-specific dust collection system. Airborne wood dust is a significant health hazard that should always be mitigated for indoor air.

The very short version is that you need to do what larger woodworking machines do: collect air at the source and then either exhaust it outside or pass it through a multistage separator/filter system (or in some cases, both). Collection requires that you run a vacuum continuously while the machine is cutting, because without negative pressure difference to cause the dust to go into the collection system, it will definitely end up outside of it.

The very simplest system would be a small shop vac with an inlet hose affixed to the CNC head and an outlet hose exhausted to the outside. This simplest system is incompatible with the enclosure, although you can operate with the top panel removed. Nevertheless, start with the simplest system, because you’ll learn a lot about what you need from just that.

If you get serious, the best book on the subject I know of is Woodshop Dust Control: A Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Own System by Sandor Nagyszalanczy. It’s not oriented for tiny machines, but the techniques are applicable.

The one this I’ll advise about scaling down is about vacuum blowers. They’re rating on two figures of merit: air flow and pressure differential. For an application with small sizes, good pressure differential is more important that high flow. That’s because small tubes and hoses have higher pressure losses proportionally compared to their larger relatives. The cheapest blowers have high flow and poor pressure performance; be warned about going too cheap on the blower.

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Great write-up, completely agree.

Going to add my solution, which is an off the shelf inline 4" booster fan. It’s not high pressure but it does well enough to contain the fumes, and I’m not worried about collapsing the enclosure. I got this one: https://amazon.com/gp/product/B07VQZD8YJ, and mated it with 4" dust collection piping and some fittings to adapt to the 3" enclosure port and through the wall.

I selected that one because it was the only one I found on Amazon that posted the pressure flow curve.

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Snapmaker have produce a product at a price that a lot of people can afford if they had gone down the route of a full R&D and logistics (which are usually outsource) the price of the Snapmaker would have been a lot more. Yes, they could do better but what they have done is given people the chance to be creative at a price for less than a smart phone. Irresponsible no, could do better yes, but at the price that I have paid for the printer is priceless in the creativity that I have produced.

There have been some topics about this before and some dust shoe designs have already been made:

Maybe there are more.
(Haven’t personally tested them, my SM is currently being shipped)

I’m replying because you’re misrepresenting my position. I am not claiming they need to redesign their product, which would of course require added cost. What I claiming is that they talk about their products irresponsibly, which costs nothing to change.

What’s irresponsible is the way they’re promoting the machine. They don’t have a solution for wood dust collection available. They’re promoting the machine as good for CNC carving in wood. I’d assume that such a solution would be an extra cost option. All they’d have to do, lacking such an option, is to stop promoting this machine as suitable for CNC carving in wood without also informing a prospective buyer that they’ll need a separate dust collection system and that they’ll need to design and make it themselves.

This irresponsible behavior is compounded by the way they sell the enclosure, which was the source of the original post. The enclosure as designed and sold is incompatible with wood dust collection. At the very minimum, there would have to be two ports in the enclosure, one for exhaust (air and dust) and one for clean-air inlet (which could be the existing fan port, were it to use a reversible fan). SM has made no disclaimer or warning about this incompatibility.

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Thank you for the suggestion and the write-up. I’ll check out the book, too.

I understand where Kalmiany is coming from regarding the price point and performance level of the Snapmaker 2.0 and making this type of tool/creative outlet available to a much wider range of audience. However, I also completely agree with eh9’s statements about the product development team not providing any form of reliable/useful dust collection.

The enclosure system is excellent for mitigating dust and fumes (from CNC cuts and laser cuts/engraving respectively); however, it is definitely not sufficient to call it “safe” for the average user, particularly in enclosed spaces like bedrooms or in-home work spaces. Microparticle wood dust has been linked to a plethora of nasty lung problems. I don’t want to see commercials in 10 years saying “Did you or a loved one suffer from X-lung disease after buying a Snapmaker 3-in-1 Modular system? You may be entitled to compensation…”

What I would like, is practical dust collection and fume management solutions that won’t be expensive or compromise the integrity of the system or the enclosure, and maybe some comment in the user manual/quick-start guide about the risks associated with dust and fumes and suggestions for how best to manage them, because the little box fan with the enclosure is hardly sufficient.

For them to carry out all the points that you have highlighted and all the issues that others highlight they would need a CNC, laser 3D printer software and support, helpdesk teams along with all the other layers of logistical teams that fit into that environment.

Irresponsibility you just have to look at all the other adverts on TV and the internet, the soap powered that always gets your cloths white, smart watch keeps you informed of your health, the car that never gets court up in traffic the list goes on. There are loads of CNC machines which are sold with not even a cover.

My point is at the price they are selling the SM for, there is no way that they could cover all of bases. I have no doubt that they started this project to deliver a product which is safe and fun to use. The reality is the amount of email, phone call from all over the world with people having issues with using a product which is new to the market. That is why you do not see the likes of HP, Brother Epson, and other advertising 3D printers some of them even sell 3D printer mostly for professionals Even thou they done it before with the SM original they have ran into more issues with SM2.

There are many issues within Snapmaker but the product is the only product at this price which does all that it does. If they were to sell their product at £4000 and I have not just produced that figure (professional 3D printer sell for around that price, some cheaper some more). Them they could have all those teams in place to cover the issues.

I do not take issue with them because I understand what they most have hundreds even thousands of issues deal with. I am a creative person so even thou I have had some issues with my printer I can say that I have learned so much just by getting on with it.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Never did.

And even after that, Snapmaker’s promotion is irresponsible in a way that puffery alone is not. They promote this product for carving in wood without either disclaimer or mitigation available, and in doing so, they conceal a health hazard that’s irresponsible to hide. Puffery about other products does not, as a rule, try to cover up things that will put you on supplementary oxygen at the end of your life.

thankyou @brvdboss - the thread i made has lots of useful info by the replies (this community is awesome) and definately worth checking out . :upside_down_face:

i have a file with links in (on my computer) that i plan to make a thread detailing/showing/links of things to 3d print to make the enclosure more airtight (the big gaps), a shoe for the CnC head (take dust and fumes away). (and a drybox for my filament)

i haven’t done 3d printing before, and in the process of changing to 3d printing (hence why i havent posted the thread yet)

if you are interested in what i plan to 3d print and try - will give you a list to check out - just ask, and tell me which aspect you want - eg. dustshoe

If you do a search Etsy, you will find some interesting addons.

For clean ups I use a Worx WX030 which is a nice compact vax, fits nicely in the draw that I made for my SM2.

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I’m targeting an A350 model for my first steps into the field, albeit as a rank amateur/hobby user. I’ve also been checking out the options for dust collection. Please be aware that simply using a domestic-type vacuum cleaner during the cutting process is potentially dangerous.

I’m intending to mainly be cutting carbon sheets so the dust is going to be more potentially explosive than wood dust. I already own an industrial standard machine, which has a separate means of cooling the motor rather than that which goes through the dust bag. This machine will also contribute to the noise level in the work area so hearing protection is advised. I will also be wearing a dust mask not wishing to breath in anything having spent a lifetime of non-smoking :mask:

I use a Shark EVOPOWER handheld cleaner to suck up the wood chips while periodically opening the enclosure door to interrupt the process.
If you add a cyclone unit in between, it will separate the fine particles and eventually the vacuum cleaner filter will remove them.
The suction power remains the same:)

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Airborne wood dust is a significant health hazard
Hmm… I don’t know what to think about the years that I spent off an on with my Dad down in the woodshop before built the dust collection system.