Supporting the Dust Collection Hose for a CNC Router

Ideas for sliding support to suspend the vacuum hose in a way that lets it freely follow the CNC machine's travel. November 8, 2007

We just installed the suction system for our Jet 3006 CNC. During installation we centered the head over the work area to reduce slack. However, when at its extremities, the hose is just long enough, and when centered, seems to flop. I suspect this will eventually lead to premature wear of the hose. Just looking to stir discussion about possible methods of troubleshooting issues with hooking up CNCs to suction.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor D:
Do you mean pickup suction or hold-down suction?

From the original questioner:
Sorry, I was referring to the pickup suction (dust collection).

From contributor D:
I prefer to see the hose a little long and attach a bungee to keep the slack up off of things and out of the way. For wear, there is always duct tape, but I expect to get quite a bit of mileage out of our hoses.

From contributor M:
Ditto what contributor D said. You can also attach a unistrut channel and insert a roller shoe to follow along to support the hose and still use the bungee to hang it from the shoe. This works well and will extend the life of the hose. You can also put a ball joint connection at the end of the rigid ductwork to reduce fatigue at that end of the hose as well.

From contributor B:
The bungees are a good idea, which I use as well. However, I once saw an additional feature that I've added to my system that works in conjunction with the bungees. I installed an approximate 5' length of 1/2" electrical conduit horizontally on the ceiling, centered over and running the length of the table. The ends are mounted to the ceiling, leaving a clear span between the two ends that is about 1" below the ceiling.

Next slide a PVC 1" electrical coupling on the pipe before attaching the second end. The coupling needs to have a hook attached to it; I used a cable tie with an incorporated screw mount hole. The PVC coupling will slide easily back and forth along the 1/2" conduit pipe.

Next thing is to find the right spot on your typically 4" diameter dust collection hose to hook to the sliding coupling. Trial and error will find the point that allows the machine head to travel to all 4 corners of the CNC table without crashing the coupling into the conduit support ends.

Wrap a twist tie or two around the 4" diameter dust hose at this point and then connect it to the hook on the PVC coupling. This system gives you sliding support over the center of the CNC table that moves forward and back with the router head. Then a few bungee cords can take up the slack between the sliding coupling and the permanently mounted dust fitting where the dust hose connects to the dust system.

Here's a photo of the slide rod system.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From contributor R:
If you have a strong dust collection system, you might end up getting encoder error messages when your head is parked at the extremes of a taught collection hose and you step onto the safety mats. Apparently stepping on the safety mats disconnects the drive motor and allows a tight dust collector hose to pull the head slightly back towards the center of the machine. The non-powered movement throws off the encoder reading and results in an error message. Even with a ball joint and a fair amount of slop in the collection hose, we encountered this problem. We had to close the dust gate about half way to eliminate it.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor S:
I have a good friend who owns a truck parts company. The springs that they use to keep the air hoses from getting caught between the cab and trailer work exceptionally well at supporting the hose at the midpoint or wherever it works best. The springs are long and not very stiff so it puts little tension on the hose. Also Rockler has clear hoses in 10' lengths for reasonable pricing so the wear factor is not an issue for me. Truck parts are reasonably cheap compared to what you would pay at a hardware store or McMaster etc.