Computers on shop floor
How to protect computers used on the shop floor from damaging dust. September 26, 2000
I want to be able to send (and receive) e-mail to/from everyone on the shop floor. I have been told dust can cause continuing problems with PCs. Has anyone overcome this issue?
You are correct. Keyboards, floppy drives, CD-ROM drives, mice, and cooling fans are all susceptible to damage by dust.
Not to mention monitors, which would be a natural collector with the vents in the top. They also generate lots of heat, which may be a hazard. You can get plexi enclosures for your hardware, covers for keyboards and touch mice that may work though.
We built a box to house our monitor and computer. We put an additional fan in it and used furnace filters at the 3 sides, along with a plexi face. We put the keyboard in a drawer underneath, and it has worked fine for years.
We have been using dust shields for two years. You can find them online by doing a search. Make sure you buy one large enough to also house your monitor. It works great!
I have 15 computers in my technology lab (industrial arts shop). I teach ceramics, plastics, CNC machining, etc. They get really dusty, and I open them up each June and blow them out. I still have a TRS-80, that's been working since the 1980s.
At home I have my old 286 with a 486 chip in it right next to my CNC router. I blow it out at least once a month, and use a vinyl keyboard protector.
The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).
Comment from contributor A:
We have a dozen or so computers controlling our CNC routers, and they all get pretty much coated with MDF dust. I open them up and blow them out every year or so, but don't do anything too special with them. The only item that should be watched is the CPU cooling fan. Those seem to die very quickly from dust in the bearings. We are mostly running slower computers (266Mhz or so) and are able to use an oversized heatsink without a fan. Faster processors probably won't be able to do without a fan, but you should at least keep an eye on it and replace it when it quits.