Adding Dust Collection To A Circular Saw

Am I the only one who goes into the shop thinking I’m going to have plenty of time to knock out a project only to realize I just spent 2 hours making another project that was totally unplanned?…. Didn’t think so. I had every intention to knock out a toy box but ended up getting carried away with an old idea I had. An idea of hooking up a 4” dust collector hose to a circular saw.

My circular saw has the “throw it everywhere” type of dust collection built in. It’s a pretty neat version of the “dust everything later” kind. I’ve been wanting to hook up some type of dust collection to this saw for a long time. I use my circular saw and a homemade track to break down all of my sheet goods and seeing that I have a MDF project coming up now is a great time to work on that idea.

I started with cutting a piece of 1/2” plywood oversized for the base of a sled. It was important to use 1/2” plywood for the base as I have a piece of 3/4” plywood for the rail of the track. This will allow enough room for the circular saw base to reference off of the original rail so that the kerf line of the track is still accurate. After clamping the sled down I made a slight plunge cut into the plywood and screwed the saw down using existing holes in it’s base.

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With the saw secure it was just a matter of making a box to fit around it. The box that I ended up with is only 3” deep This way I’m only enclosing the saw blade and not the handle.

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I made sure the box had enough room so that it could pivot forward on a couple hinges to allow the depth adjustment of the saw to be accessed.

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Old cabinet door hinges were used for this. This entire project was made from using junk in the shop so it was a $0 project. Those are the best kind.circular saw dust collection  (4)

Next a piece of 1/4” plywood was cut, and cut, and cut, and cut, and cut to straddle the saw itself and allow the dust collection to actually work. Notice that the saw handle is completely exposed.

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For a 4” dust collection port half of a Harbor Freight blast gate was used.

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The first test cut was not a success. I forgot to take into consideration the space between the work piece and the saw sled base, which was the thickness of the 1/4” plywood track.

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To patch this gap I actually cut off a small piece of the track base. On the opposite side of where the saw rides I have a 1” strip showing to use as a surface to clamp the track to the work piece. I just snagged a piece from there and attached it in such a way that it covered the blade and was lined up with the kerf on the track itself. This way the new zero clearance cut is extended down to the work piece thus filling the gap between the sled base and the work piece.

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The second test run was a success. No visible dust on the work surface.

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I know this isn’t “one size fits all” solution for most circular saws out there but hopefully you were able to get some ideas that will help you in your shop. While this is a HUGE improvement in regards to circular saw dust collection I think I will still wear a respirator when cutting MDF (Yes, I know I did not wear a respirator in the video. Shame on me).

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3 Comments

  1. AdamR

    Jay that is so simple yet so cool! Do you think that added weigh of the box actually increases the accuracy & quality of the cut?

  2. B Miller

    Next time, use Lexan like I did. It’s thinner, lighter, stronger and you can see inside. About 18 bucks at the Depot will buy a sheet large enough. Then get one length of right angle aluminum (very light gauge) in the metals aisle and pull out your pop riveter. Yes, Lexan pop takes pop rivets AWESOMELY. So well in fact I’m looking for other uses now to pop rivet Lexan around the house (think about it, it’s easily made waterproof with some silicone (use the special Lexan kind tho) and you can fit it to anything). Lexan will literally bend in half and lose hardly any strength. Anyway, use small strips of the aluminum for all the corner joints and just drill and pop rivet the whole thing together. Since I have a Eurekazone track and base under the saw, I was able to bolt some of the aluminum to the base which let me attach the Lexan cover. Will have to put it up on Youtube one day for all to see…

    Everyone needs to get it now that cutting Plywood is EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS to your health as the GLUE contains Formaldehyde which is carcinogenic when BREATHED.

    Everyone in the trades needs to start pressuring the circular saw makers to VASTLY IMPROVE their DUST COLLECTION capabilities in their saws to block this hazard… ’til then, box up your saw, make a dust cyclone (see Youtube for a great one made with a 5 gallon bucket, a length of HVAC metal duct and some PVC pipe that works FANTASTIC), and VENT THEIR EXHAUST AIR OUTSIDE THE SHOP after the dust is SEPERATED IN THE CYCLONE. Everyone should have dust collection in any workshop but most everyone makes the mistake of trusting the dust bag to grab all the dangerous particles and no matter what micron rating they have, they don’t get them all! Simply use a dust separator in front of the collector and instead of a bag on the exhaust, vent it outside using 4″ PVC (or 6″ for better airflow) to go up into the attic space and then over and down facing in the soffit with a vent to keep critters out. Doing it this way means that you are NOT recirculating the air in the shop to allow microscopic particles to still float in the air you are breathing!!! A home built $20 dust separator (cyclone like mentioned) will leave only tiny amounts of dust over several months of cutting exiting your building and will neither make a mess outside nor pose a hazard. Much better than breathing it in!

    Work smart and be safe!

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