A few days/weeks(?) ago Casmir posted a link to a "clean box" that he made to keep debris and dust out of the air to maintain a cleaner working area. The very next day MAKE posted an instructable about this very thing. This was a project I had been putting a lot of thought into since I work with resin pieces extensively and when you sand it the stuff gets everywhere!
After seeing Carmir's work and then the post on MAKE, I decided it was time to tackle this project, not only to keep things clean but also for my health. I take precautions to not breathe in resin dust but you can never be too careful with such things.
Here is a small gallery of the finished product.
I made some significant changes to the overall design to try and make this a bit easier for me to use. The main change I made was to cut the base of the HEFTY tote I used at an angle so I could attach a piece of clear acrylic as a window into the box. The box was made of clear plastic but for doing fine detail work the blur of the plastic was too much. Also trying to get a good look through a bent corner of foggy plastic was not something I was willing to try and work around so I had to make the cut and add the window.
This not only allows me to see things better but also allows me to get closer to the piece I'm working on so I can see it more up close, which is good because my eyes are terrible.
I ended up using a 6 inch diameter pvc pipe coupling cut in half for the arm holes. I wanted something that would give a good fit without any sharp edges like just cutting holes in the box would do. This also makes a tight enough seal around my forearms to create a good bit of suction when the vacuum is turned on.
I also used pull ties to attach the plexi along with hot glue to give it more strength. Granted this thing isn't meant to hold any weight per say but I wanted it to be sturdy and last as long as possible.
Next up, I cut a hole in the back of the box to insert the hose from a vacuum into the box. Pretty basic stuff here really, used a dremel cutting wheel after marking the shape with the end of the hose and then cut it out.
The main ingredient, a vacuum! This was another one of those moments of syncronicity whereby I had just installed a new wood floor these past couple weeks and had no need for a vacuum any longer. Everything came together at just the right time. I took the vacuum apart and attached it to my work table and now I have a nice new "clean box" setup.
Also, in between the lid and the tote box I ran a line of weather stripping. By no means is this box air tight, but the weather stripping helps direct the airflow through the arm holes and creates better suction from the vacuum which makes the whole thing work a hundred times better.
I plan on taking this on a test drive later today and I'm honestly pretty excited about having a new tool in my arsenal, one that was easy to make, at minimal cost, and is something anyone can do.