Question about machining FR4

I intend to machine FR4 with my Shapeoko 3. I am waiting for my cyclone separator to come in and have the OSHA compatible filter set for my Ridgid shop vacuum.

With this setup in mind, would it be ok to run this inside a 1 bedroom apartment unit? Although I do have alternative options, running it at home is the most convenient. But I’d rather not damage my lungs in the process either, which is why I’m asking.

I’m no expert but whenever this question has come up here, there are usually two recommandations:

  • using a 0.3micro HEPA filter. This thread has plenty of details on machining FR4 and how to do it safely (it covered milling carbon fiber, but same difference)
  • milling underwater (bathing). If I had to do it, I would definitely do it that way. There is an ancient thread that covers one way to do it.

I think that when it comes to respiratory health, being borderline-paranoid is a good thing.
I would also recommend simply testing your dust collection & filtering setup. Mill MDF for an hour, go away for a few hours, come back then run your finger on a flat surface nearby. If any MDF dust can escape dust collection, then I would not mill FR4 on that setup either. And definitely not if the machine was near my bedroom.


Ah, thank you. I already have 0.3 micron filters for my shop vacuum. At least. But it sounds like I’ll have to do more tests.

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