Smallest Dust Shoe Ever?

I’ve designed this dust shoe to have the smallest footprint possible. It’s a combination of ideas I’ve seen over the last few weeks researching different CNC shoes. It’s purpose is for cutting flat stock with a cutting Z height of less than an inch. The inner tube is free floating and self adjusts to the stock height. It obviously won’t work if you plan on removing lots of material leaving behind tall edges. I’ll be testing it in the upcoming days. I’d like to hear anyone’s opinion to improve the design.


I’m intrigued. How did you make it / what’s it made of?
I’m looking forward to an update after you test.


It’s 3D printed using resin. It actually comes out crystal clear, but hardening the resin using UV light turns it cloudy. Once cured, it roughly has the strength of acrylic. I’ll post a video of it in action possibly this weekend. Thanks!


Looks cool!

Are you planning to share the design?

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If it works well and there’s interest I was going to throw it up on for people that can’t print their own. I would like to give it out for cheap just to cover my time put into it. This shoe is a necessity for me and I’d like to share it with others that would find it useful. I’ll have to check material prices to see if it makes sense.


Scratch that, the price to have this printed would be over $200. I’ll think about other options.

any chance of a video in use ?

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This is a very clever design. You could also make a variation with the ring and back half being one body, so that the front half can be removed with one hand when changing tools.

Just keep in mind that spindle-attached dust shoes are best suited for 2D cuts. You have to be very careful not to crash it with 2.5D and 3D work. On the other hand, independent dust shoes can handle everything, but require a more complicated mounting solution and therefore are a lot bulkier.

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I am curious how it is attached?

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And the floating hard-material inner tube is likely to catch on cut edges.

I’ll post a video this weekend.

The top ring seen in the photos fits around the bottom portion of the Dewalt. There’s a small hole to clamp using a bolt.

We’re about to find out. I don’t think it will for what I’ll be using it for. I’m sure it would handle height differences better if it had a large fillet around the ring or a short bristle ring. Should be interesting to see if it hangs up on anything, luckily it’s held together with magnets and it’ll just pull itself apart and eat the ring haha.

I agree that this is a pretty nice design. But, I’m also concerned with the hard-material, floating center ring interfering with the material being cut. Why not use something like a dust brush attachment from a mini vacuum cleaner similar to those used for cleaning keyboards. Or, use some flexible brush strip that could be wrapped around or cut into pieces making a square channel for chips/dust to be extracted. I like the approach here to make it compact and employ the use of magnets.

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I uploaded a short video demonstrating how it worked in my original post above. Here are a few things I learned.

  1. Way too much suction. I’m using a 5hp shop vac and it wants to suck up the inner ring. (Not sure why I didn’t think about that.)
  2. The hole is restricting the volume of air the shop vac wants. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s concentrating the flow around the bit.
  3. After watching it in use I don’t think I need an inner ring. If anything, I may open the bottom hole up even more.

I’ll let it bounce around the old noodle for awhile but I’m surprised how well it worked. The ring could be fixed by using springs to hold it down, but I don’t think it’s even necessary. I’m either going to enlarge the hole around the bit or drill perforated holes. Most of my work is done on small stock with no more than an inch of travel on the Z axis. With this setup, it seems to be sucking almost everything up. Of course it needs a better test, maybe hog out some foam with a 1/4 inch bit. I was using default settings on my Piranha CNC with a 1/8th bit.

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Looks like it worked pretty good. Would be the hot setup for signs and shallow cutting.

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I agree, I’d imagine it would do great with sign cutting. It’s great that you can actually see what the bit is doing. I think making this out of acrylic would be a winner. 100% transparent and quick access to the bit.

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This would be magical to use for cutting out MDF letters/numbers! Love the design!


That’s an excellent video! I would think MDF would be a better test because of the prolific dust it generates. The material in the video looked wet and much of the milled material really wasn’t being taken away by the vacuum. Still, it’s a good demonstration that, maybe, good suction is all that’s needed to control the dust.

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Mine (the Dust Dragon) is even smaller and it is transparent, though the bristles of the brush are opaque. The dust shoe body is made out of milled plexiglass sheet and tubing parts glued together. It comes as part of a combo mount for the Makita RT0701C trim router. The vacuum hose is friction fit like a house-hold vacuum cleaner attachment. People on this forum gave me grief because the shoe moves with the router’s Z Axis like yours does. But it works well for me. I have enough parts to make seven kits but only four dust shoes are assembled and only the one shown has its brush.

EliasPolitis wrote this:

…independent dust shoes can handle everything, but require a more complicated mounting solution and therefore are a lot bulkier.

This is not completely true. Carriage-mounted dust shoes work best for inset writing on mostly level background but they don’t do any better with raised writing on sunken (cut away) background. To lower them to remove dust effectively, they will crash into the raised letters. Leaving them above the raised letters, the growing gap between the bottom of the dust shoe and the cutting surface (the “background”) will progressively defeat the vacuum. A small dust shoe attached to the Z-Axis will do a better job at collecting dust when cutting a “rolling hills” terrain as it will follow the contours of a 3D terrain map. This is arguably a rare scenario but this kind of project would generate a whole lot of dust.

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