Dust collection option?

Is there a dust collection option for the Carvey, or has anyone done such a modification? I’d like to use a Carvey at home as I have no outdoor or workshop space, but I have a 2 year old daughter who I would not want to be exposed to harmful particles.


Carvey is enclosed so that cuts risk.

I was told shipping for my order would be late January so not sure if any units have been received yet.

Unfortunately the enclosure does not cut the risk :frowning:

The large particles are contained but the small (and dangerous) particles are not.

Friable (“easily crumbed”) materials (e.g. wood, fiberglass, FR4, carbon composite) generate small/fine particles when machined. The particles are extremely hazardous to your health. They are sized such that they affect the lungs in a very negative way. Asbestos can seem healthy in comparison.

The particles from wood can carry/release toxic compounds (e.g terpenes) and potentially dangerous viruses (those beautiful tropical/exotic hardwoods).

Handling the particles generated by CNC is not hard, but it does require care and proper handling. A dust collector (i.e. vacuum element) is necessary, one with a HEPA filter rated for 0.3 micron in order to be safe. HEPA filters are expensive so one usually adds a dust separator - a dust cyclone - to separate the particles before they clog up the expensive filters.

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I’m not wanting to argue as I have no interest in such time wasters, and I agree about hazards from particulates we will generate from our CNC machining, however saying that…

From the Product FAQ:

Will Carvey get dust all over my office?

The cutting area of the machine is fully enclosed and will contain the dust during the machine operation. The dust can be easily vacuumed up once a job is completed.

Fully enclosed does cut risk. It doesn’t mean it eliminates it, it does cut it however.

You have options. You can run a room air filtration system and have no one in the room for a while.
You can build one yourself, buy an expensive commercial model or spend $120 on one from eBay, and replacement Hepa filters for that are only $20

Thanks @RobbieMacgillivray, my apologies I was in no way intending my post to sound argumentative! I am however taking the safety risks very seriously. I had read the FAQ’s many times.
It’s not clear if the enclosure confines the harmful particles as well as the larger visible dust during milling? If so that’s great, but unfortunately it’s only temporary until you have to open the enclosure.
Your suggestion of a room air filtration system seems like a very cheap solution compared to other solutions on the net often including a Festool vac (or similar), a system to separate large and small particles, heavily modifying the mill enclosure and building and fitting a dust head around the milling bit itself.
So would it be safe to just carefully lift the lid of the enclosure after milling, switch on the air filtration unit next to Carvey, leave for a few minutes, and then hand vacuum up the mess?

Thanks again for your assistance

Thanks Ant.
I think we are like-minded. All good :grinning:

I purchased a dust-cyclone & shop-vac to use to suck/soak up the remnants from my Projects and only started looking into Safety after stumbling across a link similar to the one you posted. It’s fascinating stuff and I feel very much noobie.

But what I have learnt, and what delights me in a strange way, is simple things like running a powerful box fan with a HEPA filter standing in front of it actually works very effectively for whole-room filtration. It makes sense but beforehand I thought I needed complicated devices.

I’m a one-armed guy, so take risks a bit more seriously but half the fun is building something to reduce risk or imprive something. Here’s a sound isolation box I built for my air-compressor. It was the first wood-working project I’d done in about 25 years!

I’m going to build something for my Laboratory to help with whole-room filtration, and exhaust fumes from laser engraving. I’m not sure what yet but will blog about it in case inspires others.

Cheers Robbie

The back panel of the Carvey is about a sixteenth inch thick metal plate. I have thought myself aboout just cutting a hole in the back and attaching a vacuum.

I would like to know if there are particular materials recommended by Inventables to work with Carvey that are less toxic. Are plastics better, worse? I was going to use Luan, but perhaps any plywood is problematic? More specifics would be helpful. Does anyone recommend a particular filter system?

I did my own dust collection using a cheap plastic China cyclone and a plastic barrel.

Works like a charm.

Can you post pictures?

I have a barrel resembling the below image. Made a plywood circle that I bolted the China cyclone to and then bolted that assembly onto the lid of the barrel.


But this does trap the bigger particles, not the smallest ones, right?

I am sure there are microscopic particles escaping the system, yes.

What the HEPA filter in my shop vac cannot stop will go right through the whole setup. If cutting a lot of MDF I would connect another hose to the exhaust on the vac and dump that stuff outside.

What about cutting a hole in the acrylic top? easier than the metal and you can make a dust shoe for the spindle too!

Hi guys,

This is an issue that I am very much interested in.

Most vacuums and filter systems that describe themselves as HEPA also describe themselves as allergen filters… is an Allergy class hepa filter system adequate here or do I absolutely have to go with a higher grade HEPA systems? As far as I can make out Allergy class filters are classed at 0.5 microns, is this sufficient or is there a higher degree of smaller particulate matter produced when milling? I do notice 0.3 microns was mentioned but is that just an ‘overkill’ level for absolute safety or would that be an actual everyday requirement?, I ask because when you do hit HEPA systems that cope with 0.3 microns they are orders of magnitude more expensive than allergy classed systems.

Thanks, guys

In my experience 1 micron filter bags will keep all the dust out of the air.

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I thought my query was obvious enough that I meant ‘to be fully protected against the particulate matter’, I’ll be more clear in future.

Thanks for your reply.

So an allergy level filter of 0.5 microns should keep me protected as much as is reasonable. Well that level of filtration is easier to obtain.

Much obliged for your answer.

If you boil my question down, it’s root is “How small does the particulate matter get?” What levels of filtration do I need to get it all, or at the very least, to get the vast majority of it so that any left is less of a risk than what already may be in the air.

This may help you make a decision


I also found this data about what health problems different types of wood dust can cause

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