Dust management for Nomad and future shop

Hi there, just got my Nomad a couple of days ago, really excited about it. After reading a bit about dust extraction in the forum in great posts like Potential Health Effects of CNC and Machining by @mbellon I’m still a bit undecided on which way to go now:

Initially I was thinking in getting a handheld vacuum such as the kobold vc100 for dust management with my nomad but it seems now that it won’t be enough. The nomad is the first step towards a full timber workshop including some power tools and a larger cnc machine -shopbot type- for timber furniture, my plan is to buy all the equipment in the next couple of years.

Now I’m looking at festool dust extractors and the recommended separator, I’m based in Europe so no easy access to Oneida, festool has one that fits nicely with their extractors https://www.festool.com/products/dust-extraction/pre-separator/204083---ct-va-20. Any opinion about it?

Will the festool extractor will be enough for my future setting? Dust extraction of power tools and a shopbot for hardwood and ply, using maximum one tool and one cnc (either shopbot or nomad) at a time. Everything will fit in a 30sqm (300sqf) workshop with not intensive use. Any other recommended dust management equipment for reasonably safe work?

Many thanks!!

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There was a lot of discussion of the Festool when it first came out at: http://festoolownersgroup.com/ — consensus as I understand it is that it was intended for contractors cleaning up plaster and similar jobsite dust.

I have a similar thing, the Oneida Ultimate Dust Deputy which I’ve been very pleased with, but I shuttle it in-between a Nomad and a Shapeoko XL.

Given the disparity in scale, and the differing needs for airflow, I don’t think the same system would work for both a Nomad and a Shopbot unless there was some mechanism to limit the vacuum provided to the Nomad while still maintaining flow. Usually a Shopbot gets set up with an industrial dust extraction system suited to woodworking equipment.

I know an afternoon’s work with a contractor’s table saw will let me re-saw a truck load of lumber and result in a mound of sawdust which reaches up to the bottom of the saw and would fill my Oneida up several times over.

Even in a shop with a dust extraction setup one usually needs a small vacuum for cleaning up little messes, so I think the Festool would be a good starting point, and would continue to be useful.


Great, many thanks @WillAdams. Which festool extractor model would you recommend? I saw the ctm 26 mentioned in the forum, would the 36 or the 48 fit better my future needs? I don’t think I can find the Oneida in Europe, it is half the price of the festool, any other recommended separator? Thanks again, I really appreciate it, so much new stuff and can feel daunting at the beginning

I have a CT Midi, and it’s fine for my (hobbyist) needs — the great thing about the Festool Dust Extractors is that they are variable speed, so adjustable — for the Nomad even a CT Mini w/ a pre-separator would be fine. You’ll want to size by your other expectations I guess.

Given the expense of bags, if you’re intending any kind of serious use, I’d definitely suggest running the math on whether or no a separator makes sense.

I will note that the 36 and 48 include a cord management part which I really wish my Midi had.


The Nomad and small CNC machines have very different air handling requirements than those of setting up a full wood shop. The differences are in particle volume and particle size. CNC machines generate a great many smaller particles - those detrimental to health - than say, a table saw. That said, most wood working power tools DO generate those dangerous particles - far fewer of them than a CNC machine but there none-the-less. The wood working tools and larger CNC machines generate a LARGE amount of large particles (i.e. “saw dust”).

Wood particles that you see can still be dangerous! Some hardwoods and tropical/exotic hardwoods in particular, can contain viruses and toxic compounds that making handling them nasty and breathing them VERY nasty. Sap from common woods often contains terpenes and other toxic compounds. Some compounds found in woods - common, tropical, exotic - are also carcinogenic and/or teratogenic.

In general, “saw dust”, dust collector filters, and dust separator contents should be handled with a HEPA filter mask and disposable gloves. Avoid contact, ideally doing such work outside while standing upwind from the devices being handled.

Modern air safety expectations for particle collection are that both cases are covered.

The Festool dust collectors are designed for handling small, portable tools. As such their air flow is more than sufficient for the Nomad and small CNC machines. For larger CNC machines and wood shop tools (e.g. a table saw) one needs MUCH for air volume to be moved.

Both solutions require a dust separator, a device which drastically decreases the volume of particles getting to the dust collector. How the dust collector disposes of its air depends on where the air is released. Obviously, a dust separator for large volumes is going to be able to store more particles - let’s be honest, emptying them isn’t something we want to do often… and cost more than a lower volume unit.

If the air is released back into the room with humans, one requires HEPA filter to ensure that the most dangerous particles are not released where they can enter the lungs. The dust separator also serves as a cost saver as HEPA filters are expensive… less particles getting to the dust collector, less filter replacement costs.

If the air is released outside the room with humans, we can do away with the HEPA filter… but only if the air cannot easily get back into the room where the tools are. In this case, a 5 to 10 micron filter - often a cloth bag that is easily cleaned - is used. This is to prevent “snow” from accumulating outside the air vent. This is what virtually all wood shops do. It’s just too expensive to handle the volume of particles via HEPA filters.

I would say that you’ve got (partially) conflicting requirements. The Nomad can get by with small units but your wood shop is going to require some serious air handling, including piping (which has to be set up properly to ensure air flow and preventing dust explosions). Something set up for a wood shop can thus handle a Nomad… provided that proper restricted vacuum is used (otherwise the Nomad will implode).

Since particle handling is managing RISKS, one COULD consider using low volume units for their wood shop, knowing that the RISKS are only partially mitigated. That is a personal choice - one that I, personally, would not be willing to make based on what I know about this subject. Perhaps ones budget is not sufficient for near perfection so one could decide to do the best they could. That is to be accepted and respected. An educate consumer.

Another approach is go with a Festool unit now, knowing that it will not be suited for the wood shop later. The Festool would still have a place in the wood shop. No matter how good the dust collection system is, particles do get all over a wood shop. One needs a portable unit to clean up - for physical and air safety requirements - and so a Festool like unit is “demanded”, even in the wood shop. The air is discharged back into the room and so a dust separator and HEPA filter are required.

Can you tell us more about which wood shop devices you’re planning to use? That will help with discussing particle volumes.

With some care, it is possible to design and implement good air handling systems that do not cost an arm and a leg, especially if the air can be dumped outside the work space.



Many thanks Mark, really detailed and helpful. I see your point and realize now that cordless vacuum cleaner wasn’t really a solution for the Nomad. The future workshop will have a circular saw, mitter saw, hand router and orbital sander, I don’t think I will be aiming for a table saw and will try to work around with some of those cool diy panel saw that you can watch in YouTube. I agree that the mobile festool and separator will be useful in a future workshop with centralized dust management. Any suggestion on whitch festool I should go with? I’m looking at the catalog now and there are like 16 different options! Any opinions on the festool separator? I can’t seem to find a compatible one like the Oneida in Europe. Many thanks!


On hot job sites it is hard for me to keep a dust mask (worth wearing) on my face for very long and that bad habit followed me home.

I made the mistake of building cabinets one winter inside my small shop without adequate dust collection and made myself incredibly sick. I was out of work for over a month with severe cold and flu symptoms. My wife was so mad at me for being so dumb and for tracking tons of fine dust back into our house. I vowed to fix the problem immediately. I bought a dust collector and an overhead air filtration unit that cycles the air in my shop roughly 10 times per hour through a HEPA grade filter. I built a dedicated downdraft table for sanding and enclosed the bottom of my table saw. I also purchased hose couplers for my table and miter saws, and finally got a better shop vac for cleaning up small messes and for use with my handheld power tools.

I found that site very informative during my research. I run a cheap 2hp dust collector through a “garbage can” cyclone which only catches roughly about 60% of the dust and 75% of the chips I produce. That includes a majority of the chips produced by 1/4" and 1/8" endmills that most woodworkers would almost consider dust. I am running a Wynn Environmental HEPA grade canister filter on the collector since I cannot vent to the outside. All on 4" tubing down to an angled 4" to 2" reducer coupling at my dust boot. The reduction to a 2" opening kind of chokes the dust collector (planning to switch to a 4" opening on the dust boot once I upgrade to a spindle, but may have to upgrade to a true cyclone at that point or the increased flow will pull more chips through to the filter requiring more frequent cleaning), but it also allows me to hook up my table saw or downdraft table and get good suction while the cnc is running and collecting dust as well. I do think the dust collector being able to pull more air volume regardless of some “suction” loss compared to high powered vacuums (some which produce higher suction than dust collectors but actualy move less cfm of air) contributes to less fine dust all over my machine. It may get flung outside of the dust boot momentarily, but the sheer volume of air being pulled through my “enclosure” forces the very small, and lightweight dust particle back into the boot and where its supposed to go. I very infrequently have to clean off my rails and vwheels and have had no more health related issues. My masks only come on during spray finishing (outside in the driveway) and I use carbon pre-filters on my overhead filter unit to battle the VOCs outgassed during drying and curing. Mind you, all of this is hacked together and not pretty looking in the least. Bottom line, IT WORKS and I am happy to no longer be suffering from constant allergy symptoms and susceptibility to seasonal colds due to increased dust exposure.

Hope this helps!


The future workshop will have a circular saw, mitter saw, hand router and orbital sander

If you’re willing to purchase Festool, they make their tools such that they connect to their dust collectors. Festool equipment isn’t the cheapest but it is some of the best.

It’s important to purchase a Festool that supports the 50 mm tubing. It is critical to use the largest diameter tubing possible for the longest run one can possibly use. It’s all about the physics of air flow and dust pickup.

I have an Oneida dust separator myself so I’ve never worked with the Festool dust separator - it’s relatively new (to the time of my purchase). That said, I checked the stated ratings and find it to be very good. Not quite the level of the Oneida, but MUCH BETTER than nothing. The accessories look quite good, and harmonize well with their dust collectors.

There is little difference between the CT 26, 36, and 48 other than dust holding capacity. With a good dust separator, capacity is much less a factor than without one (as one has the capacity in the dust separator). As such, I would recommend the CT 26. These units have a higher air flow than the mini line and that’s an important factor for air safety,

Be sure to use your Nomad to build a dust head as this helps with the particle pickup and also confines the mess a bit. Perhaps you might even consider the design I submitted? :slight_smile:

Adding fittings to the Nomad enclosure isn’t hard - create some holes, then screws and caulk.

The Nomad enclosure isn’t the best for creating negative pressure to ensure particles do not escape; consider modifications or an alternative enclosure. I’ll be happy to discuss any options.



People may comment on the lack of height in the Festool dust separator. While it uses cyclonic action, the lack of height makes me suspect that it is Thien baffle. This is an excellent design, but this design cannot filter out as much of the dangerous particles as a proper, quality true cyclone can.


There are Oneida resellers in Europe. Here are two examples I found:


Carries a full line of Dust Deputy® products including the DIY, Deluxe, Super, and Ultimate models.

and another in Belgium:


Carries a full line of Dust Deputy® products including the DIY, Deluxe, Super, and Ultimate models.


Many thanks @mbellon!! It seems that CT26 is the way to go then, will check the european resellers for the Oneida.

Yes, I was thinking in your dust head design as one of my first projects :wink: I read about the smaller space of the Nomad pro –for the moment I want to keep in its own enclosure, bamboo looks quite cool in my current setting– what about mounting the tube on the top dibond plate instead of the back, has anyone try that?

Thanks again!!

I would look at some of the modifications to the Nomad enclosure posted in the forums for ideas for how to mount a fitting for the vacuum. There are limited places one can bring in a 35mm or larger hose into the Nomad enclosure… also remember the inner fitting take up space as well.

Remember that you need two holes - on the bring the vacuum in, the other to let air in. The later should be somewhat smaller than the former so as to create a negative pressure (relative to the outside) - this keeps the particles within.

When a job ends, it is good idea to let the vacuum run a few minutes before opening the enclosure to increase the chances the particles are removed, avoiding exposure.



With the standard enclosure, I have found that sufficient air is available from under the machine up through the slots for bed supports. Partial blockage may be needed to maintain negative pressure, in fact. Advantage to letting hte air enter this way is it controls dust getting underneath to the y rails


Many thanks @Microwave_Monkey! I’ve been reading bill Pentz website for the last couple of nights and it is really an incredible resource, I felt quite overwhelmed now as I thought initially that I could solve dust management with a simple hand vacuum but thanks to the community I’m getting a good understanding of all this.

For now I think a festool ct 26 with a Oneida or festool separator is a good way to solve the nomad and the other portable porwertools dust management. The bigger cnc will surely need a bigger system, either Oneida or Clear view cyclones seem the way to go. Thanks again and let me know others great references such as pentz’s website!


You cant go wrong with festool dust collection. I dont own any, but while working on many a job site they were the only setups i saw that would allow you to run power tools inside a home without leaving a fine coating of dust everywhere! My brother runs a painting and trim company that recently bought a few festool collectors and drywall sanders and they are incredibly good a catching most of the gypsum dust, which is notoriously tough to collect efficiently.


Hi again @mbellon, there is a festool cash back sale at the moment in Europe so I m trying to buy it ASAP. I have some doubts regarding CTL 26 and CTM 26 models it seems they both use the same filters but the second ones includes a sensor to measure the airflow and gives a warning if it goes below a threshold. It seems that this feature rated its dust class Medium instead of light (http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-tools-accessories/dust-extraction-l-class-vs-m-class/msg419844/#msg419844) but it costs over 300 euros more, would you go for this? Many thanks for your advice!

I would say that the feature is a “nice to have”. if you’re not budget constrained, go for it, otherwise, check your bags periodically.

If you’re doing CNC work in wood, the feature would be very nice as there are many medium particles along with the fine stuff one cannot see.

Me? I have a CT26 and check things periodically. If there had been a sale at the time I purchased, I would have grabbed a CTM 26… if the price wasn’t too much.



Great, many thanks Mark!

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