Dust/Chip Collection advice for lowest noise

I saw this thread: Incorporating a dust collector that indicates that there is accessory attachment for such things as dust collection.

This is fabulous as it allows for a more semi-attended operation than having one of my engineers standing around with a vacuum cleaner trying to get around the bit to suck up debris when it builds up too much.

My “lab” is a room between the office areas of my facility. There are closed doors which should allow for non-metal machining to occur during working hours without disturbing everyone. What I’d like to have is an equivalently low noise/reasonable cost/compact dust/chip collection system. I’ve done some googling for low noise shop vac units but I have absolutely no idea what I’m looking for and what “low noise” actually means.

Any advice on what I should be looking at would be appreciated!

What kind of price range do you have available? By “low noise” in general, they seem to mean “unlikely to actually cause permanent hearing damage,” not really “comfortable to be around for an extended time.” At least, the “QSP” shop-vac that I have is still pretty noisy, enough that I wear hearing protection when I’m using it for any length of time. In an office environment, I would class it as ‘way too loud’. I suspect it’s mostly a case of having to move large amounts of air with a small fan being inherently a noisy process. Perhaps you could build a stand to set the X-Carve on, that would have a sound-insulated lower portion that could hold your shop vac to muffle the noise? Put the exhaust vents on the bottom, perhaps…

There’s another thread floating around where a fellow is discussing almost precisely that, building a stand that could integrate a shop-vac…

You could look at the Fein or Festool “dust extractors”. They are quieter than many shop vacs but you certainly pay for it! You could also look at building a shop vac silencing enclosure like http://www.startwoodworking.com/post/how-silence-your-shop-vac

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I could spend $500 without having to do too much justification.

I was afraid that the QSP shop-vacs where still going to be too noisy.

I’m somewhat limited on space so building a stand for the X-carve/shop-vac might be a bit too much but may have to become an aspirational goal.

I will take a look at the Fein/Festool equipment. The noise containment box is an option but will likely be a longer term goal if I have to go that route.

If you have $500 available? I’d definitely second @TylerOwen’s suggestion about the Festool dust extractor. They’re a LOT quieter than a regular shop vac, and are designed with useful features like filter-clearing and automatic start / stop.

You could also try something like these videos and build a silencer cabinet. Something like these cabinets plus a Fein would make for a pretty quiet system.

These are quiet - https://www.inventables.com/technologies/fein-turbo-i-wetdry-vacuum

Now this is a wicked question to try to define, but “how quiet?” I’ve never had a chance to play around with the Fein extractors, I’ve only ever worked with the Festool ones. Obviously, trying to answer that in numbers isn’t really practical, so can you give us some baseline? As in, are we talking something that you could comfortably hold a conversation around? Something like a standard indoor vacuum?

How dare you ask me to define some objective thing! Just, like, you know, quiet. :smile:

Seriously, the ideal would be to be able to hold a conversation standing next to it, for it to be only mildly annoying from 5-10 feet away and barely noticeable if the doors are closed to the office portion.

Obviously, acoustics at the location have an effect and the definition of what is mildly annoying has a wide range of variability.

This seems to be calling for a YouTube video in the Inventables shop. We have 3 vacuums all different brands.


I agree, that would be a great way to give at least a good, general idea of how they relate. Possibly by comparison to something fairly common? Say a box fan or something like that for a low-range?