XXL Enclosure Advice, Please

(Temujin Kuechle) #1

Hi All,

I need to create an enclosure for my XXL, because the dust issue is about to become over whelming.

What are the “keep out” dimensions that you all are using? Height / Width / Length?

I’m trying to also figure out the Human Factors issues in combination with other improvements.

I do have a few ideas:

  1. Create a replacement cap, custom 3D printed part, for the Makita, that has features to attach a 1.5" hose to the top of it, the other end of the hose would attach to underside of the enclosures roof / top panel. The idea is to let cleaner cool air to the spindle. The sock filter over the top of the Makita isn’t working for me yet.

  2. I am thinking that the front access door should be at an angle, such that the top edge of the doors is further back than the front edge. This would improve visibility.

  3. For side access to clean and what not, I’m thinking that the sides should also be a combination of door and wall. The lower part would be the wall, maybe as high as the Y-rails top surface? The window-door would be above that height all the way to the ceiling.

  4. Maybe, there should be a back access panel that is similar in function to the side access idea (#3.)

  5. At the moment sound is not an issue so much, but if there is a thin sound absorbing material that would drop the noise down a bit that would also be nice.

Thank you in advance for your advice!


(Luke) #2

I can’t comment on the X/Y dimensions but on mine I made the height around 45cm - I wish I increased that to over 50.

I also make a lift up lid that allows access to all of it.

Check out the enclosure zoo

(Dan Nelson) #3

I don’t have an enclosure, but my XXL sits on a bench that is almost exactly 48"x48". Left to right if you include the electronics box it is “just under 48” wide, up front a have a small space of maybe 5" or so. Pictures can be seen here:

As for height I’m thinking that many of the designs I’ve seen are too low, to me it looks like it would be difficult to get to the back of the machine. Also, my bench is a little too high from floor to top of bench, which also makes it a bit difficult to reach the back of the machine, unless I roll it out (it’s on wheels). Side access would be a pretty nice feature as well. I’ve been thinking about an enclosure for awhile now, but my dust boot picks up most dust and the sound isn’t really too bad.


(Temujin Kuechle) #4

Thanks for your feedback.
My homemade worktable is also 48"x48", so I will probably build off of this. I like the idea of the entire top opening or at least in such a way that I can easily access the workarea and clean up too.
50cm top height seems too low, considering that I want to use a flexible hose to provide a way for Cleaner air to the Makita Router, but it is a good starting height.

(Matt Freivald) #5

I use a dust boot with no enclosure on a 48x48 table. I think of an enclosure as being for noise control more than dust, but your mileage may vary.

(Dan Nelson) #6

I don’t have the Makita, but assume it’s not really different on the Dewalt, but I’ve always considered router brushes and even routers at some age as consumables. I’m more worried about capturing dust at the source, for my own breathing and also to keep that thin layer of sawdust from building up around the shop, on V-wheels, and on my other machines like my lathe that wants to rust even by me looking at it. I don’t run a sock although I’ve read it can help, and I regularly run my router up past max speed with the SuperPID at 30,000 RPMs…but I have two sets of spare brushes ready for the next scheduled maintenance, haha!


(Adam X) #7

I’m just finishing up an enclosure for my XXL and size is going to depend on your work. I don’t really do anything larger than (or even pushing the limits) of my table, so my enclosure is pretty tight - something on the order of 48x48 interior, I’ll get the exact’s tonight when I’ve finished lighting and put the whole show together.

After much thought I opted against any kind of dust boot and went for the enclosed model. Dust boots aren’t great with the ultra-fine (and most dangerous) dust, and if being able to see the bit well means I’ve got to vacuum up the box, no big deal. Plus the sound control.

(Temujin Kuechle) #8

Thanks for your advice.
I look forward to seeing your completed enclosure.

I agree that using a dustboot with an enclosure seems redundant and problematic for many applications. I will probably remove mine except for when milling very shallow parts, which it works great for.

I’m on the fence regarding material for the side panels. If I go the plywood panel path, then I will need to implement lighting. If I go the translucent material path, it will likely be more expensive but lighting would be less of a concern.
I see acrylic sheets being used which cost more, but there is also a type of translucent vinyl sheet that is cheaper and might also work. Still investigating.

On the subject of the front door.
I know that hinges are affordable, but it seems like a slide-up, or slide down, door that has a counter weight system with a latch might be tidier?
I suppose that is up to me, and my limited budget.

(Matt Freivald) #9

I suppose mileage may vary with dust boots. I use an air quality meter and see good results on the meter. (Turning off the Festool dust collector verifies that things get nasty without it).

Sometimes the big chunky stuff gets left behind though.

(Jeremy Fischer) #10

I recently built an enclosure and cabinet for my XXL. The exterior dimensions are 48x48, so interior is 46.5 square. Keep in mind, if I hadn’t moved the control board to the inside of the cabinet, that wouldn’t be enough room side to side. Here’s a link to the Sketchup file if you can use it. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model/ed5eff05-fd18-4a5d-a303-c521246d290e/Enclosure-and-cabinet-for-a-Shapeoko-3-XXL-CNC-router

(Tony) #11

You definitely need a dust boot. That will capture 95% or more of the fine dust.

Size and construction details for an enclosure here. … SO3: XXL Mega-Enclosure and Dust Collection

Air quality and sound suppression testing here https://youtu.be/EEJ-C8S7TvY

Updated enclosure mods here. …

(Temujin Kuechle) #12

Hi Tshulthisise,

Thank you for your feedback and the link to your post.
The gas springs look interesting. A simple cable system attached to the base and top cover to keep the cover from hyperextending will work for me at this point.
Do you mean dust collection or dust boot?
When milling complex 3D surface parts, the dust boot collects very little dust, as the one I use has a fixed height.
I use a Suckit! dust boot already, but for parts with a change in depth/height of over 1" dust and chips still spray all over the waste board and above.
I was thinking that blowing the dust away from the work area, in conjunction with a particle filter that dusty air is drawn through with a vacuum assist, might work better. I am not convinced yet about the need for filter because I use a dust deputy dust collector already.

(Dan Nelson) #13

Look inside whatever vacuum you’re using to draw air through your Dust Deputy. I run one too and while I’d say 99% of everything goes into the Dust Deputy, the 1% that doesn’t is really fine dust, the kind that will do your body the most harm. I started with a brand new vacuum, and after cleaning the DD bucket out I took a look into my vacuum and while it was mostly empty, what was there was nothing I’d want to be breathing. Depends a bit on what you’re cutting too, MDF is supposed to be bad, but something I have first hand experience with is hard woods and exotics. I have a close friend, professional woodworker, non smoker, who has put himself in the hospital from breathing fine sawdust. He’s always worn a dust mask or respirator, but in recent years has moved onto a full blown forced air respirator. I’m definitely no saint when it comes to this, just relaying some of what I’ve seen. The Dust Deputy is awesome I agree, but I wouldn’t consider what comes out as anything near filtered air. I’m actually looking at buying a couple of the hanging type air cleaners to hang in my garage. I’ll get down off my soapbox now and return everyone to their previously programmed evenings, haha!

Oh yea, I actually have two dust boots, a fixed height and one that mounts to the router and moves with Z. I totally get what you mean about the fixed height during 3D cuts.


(Winston) #14

Don’t skip the dust boot. I’ve run jobs where so much crap builds up from cutting that I’ve jammed a V-wheel. Dust and wood fibers got packed between the wheels and rails to the point that the machine stalled.

To say nothing of air quality once you open the enclosure. Both for you, and your router.

(Tony) #15


A simple cable system will work fine. It may not end up being cheaper than gas springs though. You might want to check costs before you decide.

Regarding dust collection…
Cyclones (none of them) can’t catch most of the very fine dust (under 2.5 microns) so you still need to have a good filter on your vacuum system. USE A FILTER DOWNSTREAM OF THE DUST DEPUTY! I made the same mistake of thinking that a cyclone that I designed was taking all of the dust out of the air because I couldn’t see or smell anything coming out of it even without a filter. However, when I used a laser particle counter to test the air I found that the cyclone didn’t catch hardly any of the fine particles and my shop air would go to 10x the maximum safe level in a matter of 1 minute. The dangerous dust is so small you can’t see it. The cyclone was essentially just acting as a dust pump, filling the entire shop with dangerous particles of dust.

If you keep your Suckit boot within a couple inches of the cutting area of the bit it will capture most of the fine dust particles. They can’t go very far because they have almost no momentum so the vacuum will catch more of the fine stuff than it will the heavier particles. The fine particles (10 microns and under) are the ones that are the most dangerous because they can get past the natural filters in your lungs and cause long term issues due to inflammation. I have an enclosure around my SO3 XXL and I placed a laser particle counter INSIDE of the enclosure while I was cutting MDF and the counts did not rise at all even though some of the larger particles were getting past the dust boot. Here’s a video showing the testing… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEJ-C8S7TvY&list=PLg_lAmARK3Q6Ji23NYPpbC0FTWbLZ4gsF&index=2

I use a cyclone connected to a Ridgid brand shop vac http://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-16-Gal-6-5-Peak-HP-Wet-Dry-Vac-WD1851/100638360 with a bag filter AND a cartridge filter. The bag never has to be emptied because the cyclone separates most of the dust out but the bag offers an extra level of filtration. You can get by with just a good cartridge filter (either of the top two Ridgid brand filters will filter out the fine dust to a safe level) but the bag keeps you from losing flow rate over time and offers even better filtration in conjunction with the cartridge filter. The “blue” Ridgid filter works fine and gives you a little higher flow rate. The “green” filter is rated for finer particles but once the filters get a dust cake on them they both are very efficient at removing particles down to at least 0.5 microns (that’s as small as I can measure).

I’ve tested the output of the vac using a laser particle counter and the shop air particle count stays the same while the router and vacuum are running. Some people will push HEPA filtration but its not needed and will end up costing a lot of money in filters and lost air flow over time. I’ve also tested my shop air using HEPA filtration and ambient contamination from outside air is enough to make the HEPA filtration results not look any different than the setup I described that I use. My shop air is typically about 10x cleaner than the outside ambient air and I keep it that way using very little energy.

(Temujin Kuechle) #16

Tony, Winston, and Dan

Thanks for all the feedback concerning Dust collection.
You all have provided very important information, a little of which I was aware of, and have all gone beyond that in the level of very helpful details regarding affects to health and so on. I do appreciate your feedback and experience very much!
I will continue to use the dust boot, just at Maximum height.
I have a Dust Deputy between the Socket! Dust boot and a Fein Turbo 1 with the felt bag installed already.

QUESTION: the Makita router seems to blow dust down, in the vertical, onto the work area below it, so isn’t that blowing more of the fine dust all over the place?

So, it is now apparent that, even wearing my basic dust mask (I have a vapor mask BTW, but haven’t used it) is not enough. I haven’t been cutting a lot (I guess that is relative?) and not every day. I do have a compressor to blow off the dust on parts and myself while outside my compact garage workspace.

GOING FORWARD: It seems like a modified vacuum table might be a way to collect dust?
I made my work table a while ago, 48"x48" with 4"x4" posts sided with 2"x6"s. This is a heavy and stable table.

Maybe, it is time to modify the table, or just create an enclosure from scratch?


(Tony) #17

I use a Dewalt router but I think it blows down also. Maybe that’s enough to overcome your vacuum catching the fines. Do you get good airflow through your boot?

After using an enclosure, I couldn’t imagine using the SO3 without it. I get a huge noise reduction which allows me to work comfortably on other things while the SO3 is running. Even if your boot misses some of the dust, with an enclosure, your vacuum will pull clean air into the enclosure so you won’t breath dust when you open it.

I use my vacuum hose connection to clean any dust that gets past the boot. Occasionally I use compressed air to blow everything off but it’s rarely needed.

(Dan Nelson) #18

I cut mostly sheet stock, flat signs and such, so I don’t lose much dust around the Suckit. If I was doing some deep 3D cutting I have a boot that moves with Z that could be better. When I’m done cutting I disconnect the dust boot hose and vacuum my table up. Mostly what I see the Suckit miss is big stuff that blows out the sides when the boot moves off the edge of the work. I’m using the Fein Turbo I as well with the fabric bag, pleated filter, and a Dust Deputy inline. I don’t think my setup is at all ideal either, that’s why I’m considering the hanging air cleaners for the garage. I’m pretty sure there’s some additional filters I could install on the Fein, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’ve watched Youtube videos where people use a Dust Deputy and call it good, while also removing any bag or filter media from their shop vacs for better air flow, I don’t think this is a winning idea after seeing what has accumulated inside my original brand spankin’ new Shop Vac prior to the Fein purchase…honestly that’s what I thought you were saying, no filter/bag in the vac.


(Temujin Kuechle) #19

I think the the vacuum flow from the dust boot is good, but I don’t have the gauges or sensors to test.

I was also considering adding some kind of vacuum effect features around the perimeter of the waste board, that would then bring dust to the dust deputy for collection. I am hesitant to use my compressor to blow air into a dusty enclosure, even with the vacuum on. Maybe, I am over thinking things?
Also, I was planning on sealing up many of the seams with foam tape, at least around the door. So, maybe a filtered opening will be a good addition?

I am still considering adding a clean air hose to the top of the router somehow. The idea is to modify a copy of the top cover (carefully measure and print out a new cap) of the makita router so that a 1.5 inch flex hose can travel with it and provide air from outside of the enclosure to the router air intake. Maybe, this is over doing it?

(Tony) #20

You shouldn’t need any of that. Just hand vacuum any dust that escapes the boot and occasionally (after 20 hours or so of cutting) blow the moving parts off with compressed air after you hand vacuum.

If you do a lot of deep 3d cutting then you need a boot that moves with the router that has 3" bristles so none of the fine dust can escape. The coarse dust that you can easily see isn’t going to hurt anything unless it gets between a belt and pulley.

If you watch the video I linked you will see that none of the fine dust escapes my boot so I don’t need anything to protect the router from dust.