Telescoping Lathe Dust Collection Arm

There’s one advantage to a fixed head lathe; the source of dust and chips is always in the same spot!  Given a dust hood that can cover 10″ you’re set for most projects.  Given a sliding headstock lathe and now your dust collection needs to be a lot more flexible, it will have to travel a few feet in either direction.

When I first got my new lathe I made a dust arm that mounted to the lathe body but I didn’t like it because it was always in the way of the banjo.  The next version is a telescoping arm that mounts to the wall via a French Cleat.  So far it’s worked really well, here are some photos.

It’s a pretty simple design.  The arm is sandwiched between two boards, pinned with a 1/4″ carriage bolt and plastic knob.  Notice how the cleat is quite long, this was done to accommodate the side-to-side wobbliness of the collector as it’s moved.  An earlier version had a narrow cleat (~5″) and it would tend to tip out.  The extra boards on either end also help it stay put.  The surround is four pieces of wood glued up to form a rectangular tube.  A piece of 1/4″ plywood glued on top provides a mounting point for the plastic hood.

The arm is about 10″ long while the surround is about 9″ long.  I found that the surround only needs to have about 1/3 of the arm inserted into it in order to provide a stable connection so I cut the arm back such that at maximum extension the surround has this much engagement.

Careful sizing of the parts help it slide smoothly as does a good coating of paste wax on the arm.

The plastic dust hood is  the magnetic jobber sold by many vendors.

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