The Department of Theatre Arts had been requesting the purchase and installation of a dust collection system in the theatre's scenic construction shop for over 20 years. With the many wood working tools used in theatrical scene construction, often all working at the same time, much sawdust is generated and the 38 years of no effective dust collection or disposal have left us literally covered in dust.

The specifications and design of the system has been the responsibility of our "Guru in Residence," Gene Funderburk. He worked closely with the staff and engineers at Oneida Air Systems (the primary suppliers of equipment for the installation) to determine exactly what we would need. He finally determined that if we did the installation ourselves with only the need for the electrical wiring to be supplied by the University, we could get the system we wanted and needed.

SO - the parts were ordered from Oneida and the work of installing the parts and pieces was schedulled primarily for the Christmas Break. Labor would come from Gene, Rhett Bryson (newly returned from three months teaching in the UK), Alan Bryson (then the acting Tech Director) and a number of our mutual friends willing to volunteer some vacation time.

What follows is a photo documentary of the stages of installation - from delivery on the dock of the parts to turn-on and testing.

The Department of Theatre Arts wants to thank the following installation crew for their excellent, expert and timely work on this project. It is estimated that the efforts of these people saved the department and the University over $8000!)

Gene Funderburk - Designer and Foreman for Construction
Alan Bryson, Rhett Bryson, Ed Culbertson, Eric Harrell, Tom Robertson

 The cyclone dust collector motor unit, spiral pipe and connectors were supplied by Oneida Air Systems of Syracuse, NY. The electronic blast gates and controllers are from Ecogate of Glendale, CA.

Gene's design of the dust collection system and shop layout.

The parts from Oneida are delivered and unpacked at the loading dock.

The 7.5 HP motor and impeller blades. (VERY heavy!)

Footings for the motor stand outside of the shop.

Detail of the concrete footing with 4x4 embedded.

"Buckets" making attachments.

The cyclone joined to the custom stand.

The re-routing of the sidewalk.

The stand bolted onto the footings.
(Bo and Mike from the electrical department helped stand it up using Furman's ancient crane.)

The wall is PIERCED!

The through-pipe attached.

The hole for the inside filter unit's connection to the cyclone.

A new "window on the world. (Rhett)"

Hoisting (with a "come-along", the HEAVY filter unit into place. (Rhett)

Preparations for the muffler pipe attachments. (Gene)
(Protection of the motor from the weather required the design and construction of a custom theatrical enclosure.)
(In the fullness of time, it MAY come to resemble an outhouse!)

Brace for the heavy bend. (Alan & Eric)

The muffler and elbow for the return air and connection to the inside dust filter unit.
55 gallon drum connected with translucent flex hose.

Filter unit braced into place.

One of the $$$$ .2 micron dust filters attached. (Alan)

Laying out the pipe runs (Gene & Ed)

Tom working on the electronics.

Pipes in the air! (Eric & Ed)

Gene & Tom getting something straight between themselves.

The spiral pipe run taking shape.

The end of run drop! (Eric & Ed)

Strap bracing.Drops for table saw and router.

Negotiating the sprinkler pipe obstruction. (Eric & Rhett - the "scaffold monkeys")

The radial arm saw drop.

Dust collection box for radial arm saw.

Connections for the table saw custom designed overarm saw guard pickup.

Two connections for table saw, one for router table.

One of the 2 drops equipped with a floor sweep attachment.
Gene installed magnetic switches to turn on the collector motor when the manual blast gate is opened!

ALL of the pipes in place, straight and level! (Wasn't easy to completely please the Guru - but we DID!)

LOTS of pipes and tubes at the drill press, band saw and other floor sweep station.

Ecogate control box for the 8 dust sucking stations.

Motor starter relay. (Don't even ASK why it does not match the Ecogate gate control box!)

Outside unit, completely wired and 55 gal. drum in place to receive the collected sawdust!

The FIRST duct collected in initial trial of all of the stations.

HEAR the sound of the cyclone starting up!

Some statistics about the system: The cyclone motor is a 16 inch air foil design and running at 7.5 horse power direct drive with a CFM of 2,700 at 8 inches of static pressure. The spiral pipe is 12" at the outlet, 10" at the inlet. There is just over 150 feet of spiral ductwork, graduating from 10" to 4". There is 260 sq. ft. of spun bonded polyester filter media which captures 99.9% of particles down to .2 microns in the returning air. The sound level (without muffler) is 82 Db at 10 feet and is 62 Db with the muffler. We are currently connected to the table saw, router, radial arm saw, band saw, drill press and 2 floor sweeps. Connections to come (which was provided for in the design and is in place now - just waiting for the connections to be made) will allow for joining the chop saw, lathe, mini tools, sanding stations and other creators of dust to the system. Gene has arranged for some quick disconnects which will allow us to move some of the shop tools around and still be connected to the dust collection systrem.

The Theatre Arts department is appreciative of the special assistance and boost given this project by Mrs. Mary Lou Merkt, Vice President of Business Affairs and Maggie Strickland of the Academic Dean's office. Without their help the project likely would have taken many more years to complete. Expert electrical connections were made by Furman electrical staff, Bo Layton and Michael Morgan and electrical foreman Larry "Tiny" Richardson. As a part of their responsibilities as majors, Charles "Buckets" Lucas and D.J. Seaman have provided some valuable help.


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