Keeping Enclosure Cool

Has anyone set something up to keep their enclosure cool?

My enclosure has two layers of 3/4” plywood with an inner shell of insulation. This keeps the noise down quite a bit. However I notice it gets pretty warm wen the vacuum and router are running. The vacuum is also within the enclosure but in a separate compartment but creates some heat. I recently built an end grain cutting board and noticed some warping I got to believe all from the heat. Curious if anyone has installed fans or anything else to cut down on heat.

I had the same concern and recently installed a fan to extract air from the “shopvac/cyclone/bucket” compartment of my enclosure, it turned out to also be a solution to enable auto-start of my Festool vac. See this thread for details and a picture of the fan ($25 air extractor normally installed in kitchen/bathroom)

I cut a hole the diameter of the fan near the top of the left side of the compartment, and cut another hole the same size on the right side near the ground, for air intake. I thought cutting a large hole (~4") there would defeat the soundproofing, but honestly I cannot really tell the difference.

What I have not done is quantify the benefit in terms of how hot the shopvac compartement gets during long cuts, but now at least I know there is constant airflow there, it can only help. What I like most is that with the Festool plugged on my BitRunner, and this air extractor plugged on the Festool plug, both the dust collection and the air extraction fan turn on and off automatically at the beginning/end of a job. Very convenient.


Interesting. I’ll look for something like this and start with the keeping the vacuum compartment cool. Believe this could cut down a lot on the heat without messing with the CNC enclosure part. Thanks for the help.

I find it hard to believe that the heat would cause that kind of issue…here’s why:
Humidity is the enemy…and heat contributes to the amount of water that the air can hold…but heat by itself is not going to cause your wood to warp. It’s an imbalance of drying that causes warping. If that heat is concentrated on one side of the board or another, then it’s possible to create an imbalance of moisture content and cause the wood to warp. Rapid overheating, in general, could cause checks in the wood around the end grain, as the wood dries too quickly, but I would think that’s an exceptional situation and would usually take a lot longer than a CNC job. So rather than trying to cool it down, see if you can circulate the air in the enclosure, to avoid hot spots on the workpiece.

That said, for the health of the equipment, excessive heat should likely be avoided anyway.

Curious, are you using the fan to extract air from the compartment or the pull air in?

(@GJM: I guess you were replying to Ryan. But I agree! :slight_smile: )

@Rdevine: I use it to extract air out of the compartement. I am utterly incompetent when it comes to air flow management, so I’ll let someone else chime in whether sucking air into the compartment would be better or worse. It “feels” wrong to me but who knows…

Yes…Hit the wrong Reply button by habit…I USUALLY want to respond to you…but in this case, I was replying to Ryan.

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Snakes and Ladders here…

You shouldn’t be getting enough pressure differential to significantly affect the impeller performance, if you are choking up the airflow, then the compensating vent that goes with the fan needs to be bigger.

If you’re using a typical ventilation fan whose motor is cooled by the ventilation air flow then it’s probably not rated for accumulation of flammable, heat insulating wood dust on the motor and may fail in interesting ways. It probably won’t but…

edit - clean air blown in by ventilation fan will be OK, dirty air sucked out may not be, sorry, that wasnt’ clear

If you blow air into the enclosure then anywhere it leaks dusty air is going to come out, if you suck air out of the enclosure then any leaks will have clean air leaking in.

I use the outlet of my dust extractor vented outside to dump the heat from the extractor enclosure and it stays reasonably cool. I am fortunate to have a patch of inaccessible overgrown weeds behind the workshop where I can vent that hose though.

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Yet another idiom I need to learn about. Wikipedia only told me this is a well known kid’s game (not in Europe, apparently) where you go forward with ladders and backward with snakes, but what does it mean in the context of your post? (honest question, I like learning new sayings and hopefully not using them in the wrong way later on :slight_smile: )

Told you I had not idea what I was talking about. This makes sense, but I really hope that the quantity of wood dust that gets through my cyclone and HEPA filter is close to zero, or else it’s not that (enclosed) motor I need to worry about, it’s my lungs…

I would definitely have done that if I could, but strangely my wife won’t let me drill a large hole in the garage wall (or door).


Not sure how widespread my usage is, what I meant by it was that there were as many drawbacks as advantages to many of the approaches, and not all of them were obvious. “Swings and Roundabouts” might be a better recognised form, but my English is so messed up from years of working life talking to people all over the world, I filtered out many words which just confuse non-native UK English speakers, try saying “multi storey car park” to somebody in the USA for example… (multi-level parking structure)

Sounds like you’re using it sensibly, if you’re on the other side of the cyclone and filter the air is probably no worse than a kitchen or bathroom for extraction, if it were to be installed just sucking air from the general enclosure where the Shapeoko is on the other hand, the motor might well clog up and object.

Have you considered purchasing a cat? They are a great excuse for cat-flaps to be installed and those are very similarly sized to dust extraction hoses :wink:


Thanks !

Ah, now I get it, I should have said that my “enclosure” is actually made of two very independent areas, the part above the Ikea table, where the Shapeoko lives, and the part underneath the table, where the cyclone/shopvac/air compressor are. This air extraction thing is happening in the lower section only.

I would not want to end up with a cat stuck in my air extraction system though :slight_smile:


No, that would both block up the airflow and get you in trouble with your wife, and there is absolutely no Wile-e-coyote & RoadRunner type amusement to be had here, none at all.


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