Vanivac Jet Port Attachment

by Tamra Gentry

Part I
As a jewelry artist and metalsmith with a relatively small studio, I was concerned with two issues that have the potential to cause respiratory problems for me—inhalation of metal dust generated from fabrication processes, and inhalation of fumes from soldering.

Of course there is dust from the polishing lathe, but I do not use it as much, so spending money for a ventilation system for that, too, was not an option.

In seeking out a solution, I did a lot of research in an attempt to figure out whether I needed one system or two for the separate operations.

Many people suggest simply opening windows, but opening windows to ventilate is not an option for me because I have asthma along with very bad year-round allergies to seasonal pollens and mold.

Additionally, it is an energy drain to have the windows open during winter. And most importantly, opening windows might provide a way to help dissipate fumes, but it does nothing for the dust generated from metals, filing and sanding equipment, etc.

There are a ton of recommended DIY ventilation solutions suggested on the Orchid forum and elsewhere, but I really wasn’t interested in trying to construct my own system.

I know me, and I would end up taking forever to research the “best” DIY setup, and then it would take even longer for me to actually sit down and put it together because I just simply didn’t have time or the interest. As such, I knew that I needed something reliable, something that would work immediately, something that was quick and easy to put together, and something that is easy to use and maintain.

The Van-I-Vac for Dust Collection

The system I chose for handling the material particles generated during fabrication is the Van-I-Vac, manufactured by Vaniman. It is a “single-station” system—that is, it is not expandable to multiple bench stations; however, they do have a second model that is, called the Voyager.

The intake hose is mounted on my bench through an attachment called the Jet Port bench-top adapter, where I do a lot of my filing and sanding.

The clear plastic shield of the Jet Port is situated directly between me and whatever I am filing, with the intake suction hose directly in front of the work surface. It is not the most convenient arrangement, but it does its job and I work around it, literally. I still must do my sawing and some filing at the bench pin.

I also chose the Van-I-Vac because it is a lot easier to recover metal dust particles for refining once the accumulator is full. Vaniman claims that the system collects 95% of all dust, and they claim it is “100% efficient in salvaging gold dust.” The system uses a HEPA filter that collects particles larger than .3 microns.

I purchased mine from Rio Grande, and in doing a cross-comparison on pricing, the entire system runs in the neighborhood of $1000—this includes the motor, accumulator, bench-top adapter and shipping.

When to change filters depends on frequency of use; however, they should be replaced at least once yearly and are relatively inexpensive.

Click here to visit the Vaniman site.

Vanivac Motor Housing

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