Woodworkers, Craftsmen, and shop air quality

The DC1100 Pro Air Quality Monitor is for anyone who is a craftsmen whether you’re a woodworker, glassblower, bookbinder, ceramicist, upholsterer, fabricator, welder or mechanic, etc. The DC1100 Pro is the diagnostic tool to use to monitor and know the particulate levels of your workshop environment. This is a true laser particle counter with real-time readings. You can also order the DC1100 Pro Air Quality monitor with optional PC Interface, pricing for the .5 version starting at $260.99.

As soon as you plug in your unit you will get real-time readings and after reviewing the counts stored in the history, you will be able to make adjustments to your dust collection system. Knowing your particulate counts is extremely important especially when your workshop is directly connected to your home. These very small particles can be dangerous and damaging to our lungs over time, especially the elderly and small children.

For woodworkers, the version of the DC1100 Air Quality Monitor calibrated to .5 micron (small particles) and 2.5 microns (large particles) has proven very popular (click here). This version has all the features of the standard version, but calibrated to count smaller size particles. The following graph shows the relative increase in particles over the ambient after a power sanding operation with 240 grit sandpaper.


This sanding operation produced relatively many larger size particles. Particles between 0.3 and 0.5 microns approximately doubled in number, but particles greater than 10 microns increased by 34 and 41 times. The DC1100 Pro with its sensitivity down to 0.5 micron will be able to monitor most of the particles created during such operations.

Here is a test that will help you better understand your air quality in your workshop. Allow your workshop to remain unused for 24-48 hours prior to testing as this will provide plenty of time for the dust to settle. First, take a sample reading outside and in your home for a baseline. Now turn on the Air Quality Monitor in your workshop (try not to “kick-up” dust/particles) and take a sample reading as well. Now, turn on your dust collection system and see what the large and small particle readings are. If your readings go down or stay the same this means that your filtering system is working adequately. However, if the numbers go up, this means your system is just pumping the air right through the filters, and you need to improve your filtering system. This can be achieved by replacing your existing filters or using a better quality filter. In the extreme case you made need to rethink the type of dust collection system you are using - perhaps upgrading to high efficiency system such as from Clear Vue Cyclones of Kent, WA.

After you have determined that your filtering system is working properly with the machines turned off…it’s time to make some sawdust. If you perform tests at each of your machines while the Air Quality Monitor is on, you will be able to see if your filtering system is working properly at each machine. If you need to make any improvements contact the manufacturer or distributor of the filter or the dust collection system for recommendations.

Remember that smaller particles remain in the air longer. They can stay suspended in the air anywhere from several hours to several days. To better your air quality in your workshop, at the end of each day run your dust collection system for a short period of time to several hours (your system also works as an air cleaner) depending on how long it takes to bring the readings down on your Air Quality Monitor.

The most important thing is to know what the particulate levels are in your workshop. This way you will be able to work longer and have peace of mind knowing that your dust collection system is working optimally. You can view a demonstration of the Dylos Air Quality Monitor in a woodworking environment on fine furniture craftsman and designer Hendrik Varju's latest teaching videos here.