Rotary enclosure

Who’s built an enclosure for their rotary axis? What materials / what details would you recommend from your experience?

My rotary axis is mounted at the back of the machine, where I calculated I’d lose the least amount of Y-axis distance. I have a nominal 5x10 machine which has 10’-4" Y-travel if you max it out. The rotary axis takes up about 14"-16" itself, yet by placing the rotary axis at the +Y end, some of the rotary aluminum frame sits in the dead zone with the X-gantry and the back of the spindle. I still have nearly 9’-4" clear for the Y-axis, so I’m only 8" shy of cutting a full 10’ of Y distance.

I built an initial test enclosure out of cardboard. Super-cheap and it has lasted for several weeks while cutting rotary jobs. But the cardboard slumps, it’s big and unwieldly to move, and takes quite a bit of time to move in and out of position, especially when I have to home the machine.

I hooked up two 6" diameter dust hoses to the enclosure. One is the normal dust hose that I have normally hooked up to the spindle. It’s on magnets on plywood and can be repositioned from the spindle to the enclosure, although the connections could be easier. Even with these two hoses though, I notice that most of the sawdust generated from the rotary axis is thrown along the x-axis, not in the +Y or -Y direction towards the dust hoses. So there is still a large amount of dust that loads up on the sides of the enclosure at the table height.

What does work well from my test build is the half-cylinder cardboard basin screwed to the bottom of the table aluminum. It keeps the dust from dropping all over the floor below. It can stay in place permanently and is easily vacuumed out.

I’d like to make a future enclosure from clear acrylic that is more durable and allows me to see what is going on. However, it would need multiple access doors - if only from the front -Y side, they would have to be break-away in case I accidentally hit “home” and the gantry lurched back to Y=0. Having operable sides would help to have more room to get stock in and out of the rotary axis.
One idea was to hang a primary ceiling enclosure panel from the roof of my shop and connect the side enclosure panels with metal L-channels on magnets or piano hinges.

On Avid’s website, under their rotary page, there is a video that has a small clear enclosure with pistons for the side panels. Anyone have any ideas how or where you might get that type of equipment? Can you buy those things as kits? See at the 28 second mark.


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Yeah, that offset dust manifold everyone makes is for the birds :rofl:

You lose 85% to 90% of your airflow just 1.5 inches from the end of the hose.

The piston on the Avid enclosure on gas struts and you can get them at McMaster-Carr

Why not take advantage of gravity on do a down draft collection under the rotary/table. Then you really just need chip deflectors up top to keep from throwing chips on the floor.

@Loren I decided against placing the dust hoses below the table where I have the half-cylinder cardboard basin. It’s far too easy to drop something and get it sucked away. Granted, when the dust collection is on, I am not usually tinkering with little parts like screws or endmills (well, not normally), but I’ve even dropped the rotary chuck’s T-tightener more than once. I don’t want that to get sucked partially down the hose and stuck. Even if a job goes bad and a piece breaks off my stock and falls, I might be able to glue it on. If it got sucked away though by a dust hose below the rotary, well, start over or go fishing in the sawdust garbage bin. Plus, it seems most of my sawdust goes horizontally at high speed, even off the ends of the X axis, rather than falling down.

@subnoize When I run the rotary, I take the dust hose off of the spindle. Not because it wouldn’t be useful when routing on the rotary, but because I do not want to lower the spindle -Z on my workpiece and and accidentally crash the duct bracket into a higher part of the workpiece or crash into the chuck.

Oh, I understand. Sorry if you took it as criticism.

It was merely an off the cuff remark that was probably best kept to myself.

@subnoize No criticism taken. Actually, your comment made me wonder what design you have for your own dust boot for normal XY usage.

Further reasons why I don’t use the dust hose connected to the spindle when using the rotary:

  1. I don’t use the dust brush, because I would have an even greater possibility of smashing the dust brush into the workpiece than smashing the dust hose bracket into the workpiece, especially since I can use the rotary as a manual 3+1 (going off the A-axis and then further Z down the side of cylindrical stock.

  2. Without a dust brush, sawdust is not blocked from flying off horizontally at high speed, going way too fast for a top-oriented dust hose to suck upwards before the sawdust was beyond the hose’s reach. That’s why I disconnect it and place it (and another hose) horizontally on either side of the rotary table. It kind of works, but kind of not. It really depends upon which direction and which side of the stock you are cutting, whether or not the chips fly off in a direction that the hoses can grab.

I am allergic to wood dust. Well, not technically “allergic” but I sneeze and weeze after exposure for days and weeks afterwards.

I just do not go into shock and die. Just swell up and get green and red blotches all over my body…

Here is a quick video I made because my spindle after years of operation suddenly developed a sticky release. So ignore the pop when the first tool is released but that is my dust manifold;

That’s one of the sweetest dust boot/ATC solutions I’ve seen. What drives the boot open? Did you make it yourself?
I prefer a Z independent boot, but your design would adapt to it. I’m working on a design that swings the whole boot out.

Actually I have tried both, servo controlled height and swing up.

The problem I had with it was the loss of suction. You lose 85 to 90 percent of the airflow just 1.5" from the 4" tube.

You can try a really thick brush to form a skirt around the base but you are only about 20% of the original flow.

You basically have to stick the tool into the center of the airflow for it to be effective.

I don’t have one but I kinda like the idea Excruded aluminum frame with an acrylic paneling hung from the ceiling so you can move it out of the way :wink: