Dust control and Respiratory protection

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by LMB, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. LMB
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: North Carolina

    LMB Junior Member

    I might invest in just a few new tools soon. Small budget, but I would like to work towards a clean work environment. Any suggestions for a cheap but effective way to achieve this? Anybody had experience with the dust collections vacuums like Fein or Festool (expensive). Also, there are plenty or air sanders with vacuum assist. Which way to go?

    Also, I've been thinking of upgrading my respiratory protection for sanding and spray applications with use of a belt powered air supply system. 3M and a few others make them. Experiences anyone?
  2. TripleCrownNC
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Location: Apex, NC

    TripleCrownNC Junior Member

    I have used the 3M power air supplied system, we use them at work for chemical protection and I used them here at home for dust (grinding) and solvent (Awlgrip) protection. You just use the approprtate cartridge and you are in business, work great.
  3. keith66
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    keith66 Senior Member

    Back in 1984 i bought a Racal Airstream AH1 powered respirator it has served well ever since. Safety helmet, full visor eye protection & superb dust control. Racal were taken over by 3m who market some virtually identical models albeit at a price. If you do a lot of fibreglass grinding these are the respirators you need. Cheaper than a new pair of lungs.
  4. Deeman
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Deeman Junior Member

    Don't skimp on a respirator or eye protection dealing with FG. Skimp on the other tools you may need. Ruined my lungs over the years (not just FG) and it's not fun.
  5. LMB
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: North Carolina

    LMB Junior Member

    Thanks guys. I've been using a full face 3m mask for heavy stuff and half masks for lighter jobs. Also, tyvek suits. I have a beard and can tell you the full face is nice for eye protection but none of these keeps all the dust/fumes out. I'm real keen on safety, so I've been wanting to upgrade for some time. Just wanted some input before dropping a grand on this set-up. As far as dust colletion on sanders, I've heard some say it's too much hassle to drag the vac hose, but cleaning up the shop is a hassle too. Seems like a reasonable trade off to me.
  6. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    waikikin Senior Member

    LMB, in my workshop I use a Festo vac on every thing I can, saves cleaning, abrasives cut better & longer, even if the tools not set up for it I'll tape the hose end in the "zone" & even have a grinding box with a window as an on site aid with the vac running into it for keeping the dust down & marina managers & EPA off my back, the bags cost a bit but worth it for going home cleaner etc. All the best from Jeff.
  7. mastcolin
    Joined: Jun 2005
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    Location: The Netherlands

    mastcolin Senior Member

    You grinding or sanding? In fact what are you wanting to do?

    The reason I ask is that vacuum attachments will prolong working time with the paper (it clogs less).

    It will sand faster and you get a more uniform scratch pattern (no clogging bits to gouge into surface).

    Festo are good but all there bits are single source/expensive. There are plenty of other industrial vacuums and sanding machines. We use mix of electrical sanders (rupes) and air (dynobrade and now 3M), with vacuum.

    Air fed battery powered kits are great. Keeps you clean and keeps you cool. The only negative when using it for spraying is that it eats filters (it's working 2x faster than just breathing).

    As I said what do you actually plan to do? Have you considered a sanding bench? It has forced air from above and sucked through a rack. You set your piece on the rack and get to work. Has added benefit of being good working height, it has great lighting above it, you wire it up with all connections you need so you no longer have to go searching for that extra extension cable. Obviously only practical for small pieces in a shop.

    Shop around. I imagine it will be good time to pick up some bargains:rolleyes:
  8. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: MD

    bntii Senior Member

    For general grinding on glass I use a full face or half face respirator with the P100 pillows from 3M. These really work:


    Pay attention to the check valves on you respirators- a bit of gunk and you will be pulling in dust. Take a look at a guy coming off a big grinding job, you will see little lines of dust down the sides of the nose from respirator leaks. Most just keep on trucking and get the job done, but coughing up glass fiber for the next week is no fun.

    A important part of the capture is in the grinder and vac setup. I use the Fein grinders and vacs. The grinders have a very efficient boot which picks up most of the grinding debris. In the vac, I always use the HEPA fein bags which trap any particulates that get to the bag. Cheap worn out 'shop' vacs will blow by some of the glass fiber that gets to them and fill the shop space will dust.
    This is a great sander- buy it, the Fein vac and don't look back:


    CLEAN UP! Regularly wash down the shop floor, vac off surfaces with a brush on the vac hose, keep rolls of glass fiber covered.

    Keep your clothes clean- wear a tyvek suit and have a compressor handy to blow dust off while still wearing a respirator.


  9. Jimbo1490
    Joined: Jun 2005
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    Location: Orlando, FL

    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    There's a BIG difference between the old 'N95' and the newer 'P100' type filters. Definitely stick with the P100 type for more dangerous dusts like fiberglass and silica. Primer dust contains silica, BTW.

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