No announcement yet.

Homemade Fume Extractor For About $100

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Homemade Fume Extractor For About $100

    I'm tired of the smoke from my welding practice getting all over everything in my garage (not to mention my lungs!). I try to keep the garage door open about a foot or two and use a little fan but the smoke still gets all over everything and my feet get kinda cold on those really cold days.

    The fume extractors I’ve seen online are pretty expensive and their cfm’s are not all that good for the money. I've been checking Craigslist for one for a while with no luck so I decided to build my own fume extractor today.
    I used 3 50cfm bathroom fans for a total of 150cfm. I bought the cheapest ones I could find - $13.97 each at Home Depot. I wired them in series and installed an on/off switch. I made a manifold to vent them all together and used a 4" enlarger/reducer for the exhaust (the fans have 3 inch outlets). I made a bracket to attach the unit to my Stronghand Tools Nomad welding table. I made the bracket removable so I could detach it whenever I want to. The whole project cost me $93 + tax. I did some stick and flux-core welding today for about 2 hrs. and it worked great – better than I had hoped. What a pleasure it is to weld without all that smoke!

    I haven’t decided whether or not to put a filter on it. I exhausted it outside today and it was no problem at all, but if I filtered it, I should be able to keep the garage door closed in the winter and not have to worry about the fumes.

    Any comments pro or con would be appreciated…
    Attached Files

  • #2

    Nice work, (as an other forum user says "necessity is mother of invention") but i doubt that will work if you add filter, it wil cause a major restriction to your air flow.

    You might also want (well maybe not) make a hole in your garage door to add some kind of dryer type exhaust cover... Keeping the door slightly open is not an option.

    I also plan to try to reduce smoke in my shop and the use of a plasma cutting unit makes me think harder, plasma is really messy...

    My choice for fans tend on radial blowers like that:
    but it is way noisier than yours and these specs are erratic saying 914 cfm, it's probably 350-400. might be enough to go thru charcoal filtering...not really sure.
    I wonder if it is cheaper to vent outside or maintain filters ? My shop is an industrial area, so noise and dust in reasonable proportions will not affect neighborhood.

    I hope other members will share their genius and experiences..;o)


    • #3
      Thanks for the comments. I don't think I can justify a hole in the garage door, but I did think about cutting one in the outside wall though.

      That Harbor Freight Mini Dust Collector actually looks pretty good. 914cfm is quite a bit if that's accurate. I think it might be a little too much for my needs. The price is right though. I think that a high cfm unit is somewhat unnecessary for light to medium welding. It really doesn't take much to pull the smoke away from the workpiece. For some heavy duty work, you would need a high cfm machine. I wonder how that would work with Mig. Would it pull the gas from the weld?

      I'm going to experiment with some different furnace filters and such just to see how restrictive a filter would be. When I was testing it today, most of the smoke seemed to be pulled through the center fan so I'm going to turn the 2 outside fans off and see how running only 1 works. Then I'll take a look at running 2. I'm wondering how just one 120cfm unit would work.


      • #4
        Homer what do you expect to catch with furnace filters other than solid contaminants, i think smoke will go thru with no effect, i know for sure that for paint shops it let the solvent odors thru. Non ducted kitchen fans may have some activated charcoal filters... could that work?

        I agree with you 914 cfm is too much and i will bet it can not achieve 914. they use these type of fans on welding smoke extraction arm like plymovent very very performant and high output, does not affect mig gases when used properly but...noisy and takes all your heat out...

        Every time i turn fan off... such a releif when it stops, i realise how irritating it was , that's why i like your system the, quietness.

        edit: i was assuming you will use the fibre type of filters, if so it might be safer to make a falmmability test before...;o))
        Last edited by snowbird; 03-02-2013, 09:01 PM.


        • #5
          Some good points there. The filter system may not be as simple as I originally thought. I had a small powder coating business for about 7 years and our powder/paint booth had a series of internal filters in a plenum and a hepa filter system on the top and that worked really well, but it wasn't cheap so I'm guessing that I'm kinda stuck where I am. I was hoping at the very least to be able to keep the fans clean by trapping what I could in front of them. I noticed that after I was finished welding that the center fan had caught quite a bit of soot on the outside of the grille. The inside didn't seem to bad, but I vacuumed it out anyway. Probably a good idea to do that every time I use it since I have the GUV vacuum system in my garage.


          • #6
            Great idea, I've got a foam insulated shop its extremely air tight. When I stick weld it covers the place with smoke. I've been looking a vent fans but I didn't want to cut a big square hole in my shop. And sticking a fan at the window just don't work. I think if I put one of these in the middle, 1 above my welding table and 1 above where I got my plasma cutter and vent them all to the same place outside the shope it will work. Thanks for the cheap idea!


            • #7
              Glad you found it useful. My garage is usually cleaner than the house and all that smoke has been killing me...literally!


              • #8
                good idea now im thinking about building one. i probably will use one of thease though
       HF also offers a yellow collapsible tube for it to. i like the dryer vent idea to


                • #9
                  That looks like it should work nicely. The only detriment that I can see from the reviews is the db levels. You could build a stand for it and you'd be all set. Thanks...


                  • #10
                    That's a very sharp idea! Nicely done.


                    • #11
                      Thanks. I washed down the garage last week and now it should stay clean. I hate a dirty garage. Now if only I could get my wife to stop parking in my shop...that way I'd have room for a few more tools!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HomerJSapien View Post
                        Thanks for the comments. I don't think I can justify a hole in the garage door, but I did think about cutting one in the outside wall though.
                        When I was a mechanic the garage doors in our shop had these:
                        2007 Miller Dynasty 200 DX
                        2005 Miller Passport 180


                        • #13
                          Let me just run that past the wife and see how see likes it. Naturally, I would put it on her side of the garage. I think it would look great over there. I could put some lacy stuff around it for her. Seriously, that's a great idea, but...


                          • #14
                            Nice project. What about venting it through the roof? You know, put a cap on it like ya do for a furnace or stove.
                            Professional firefighter (retired). Amateur everything else I try to do...
                            Oh yeah: GO BIG RED!


                            • #15
                              That would work. I have an attic above the garage. A vent could be run up into the attic and then out the roof. Now that's something that's feasible. Thanks for the idea. I'll have to ponder that one...