Making dust collection quieter
September 19, 2018 | 12:55 pm UTC
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The Stacking Sound Filter from Oneida Air (black cylinder above HEPA filter pictured) can cut 6-7 dBA from the noise of the dust collection system.

Woodworking machines are notoriously noisy, and adding the roar of a typical dust collector on top adds to the din. That’s one reason I was so surprised at how relatively quiet my new Oneida Air dust collection system was. But then the folks at Oneida called and asked me if I wanted to make it even quieter.

They’ve developed a new add-on silencer – officially a Stacking Sound Filter in their catalog – that they said could reduce the noise level of the dust collection system by 6-7 dBA. I had my doubts, but was anxious to try it out for such a significant attenuation of the noise level.

The Oneida Air dust collection silencer is basically a metal cylinder with acoustic foam inside.

Simple cylinder

The silencer is a heavy-gauge steel cylinder with a black powder coat finish. Inside is a layer of foam designed to trap the sound before it exits the collector. You simply install the cylinder between the exhaust port on the collector and the final HEPA filter. Of course, this does add 16 inches to the filter stack, but I had plenty of ground clearance to accommodate the addition.

Installation is quick and simple, involving just eight sets of bolts and adhering a foam gasket to the top of the silencer. It took only about 15 minutes to disconnect the filter and insert the silencer between the filter and the dust collector.

Before adding the silencer, the dust collector registered about 82 dB; after adding the silencer, it registered around 75 dB.

Pleasing my ears

Before adding the silencer, I was already impressed at how quiet the Oneida system was. The sound level app on my iPhone rated it at around 82 dB, which was much lower than the sound level of the previous collector I had been using.

After installing the silencer, my sound level app measured the system at just 75 dB. Since the decibel system is a logarithmic scale, that’s a significant drop in sound level. That’s right around the level that most experts say will not cause hearing loss with lengthy exposure. Sounds of 85 dB or more are considered likely to cause damage. That means the silencer is a great final addition to the system.

Oneida’s Stacking Sound Filter is available in 18-inch and 13-inch diameters to match different systems. For more information, visit www.oneida-air.com.

 

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.