Tag Archives: cleaning

Vacuum Attachment For Removing Dust From Small Parts

The new SPARDUSTER™ Small Parts Dust Remover looks like a simple vacuum attachment, but it is actually nothing less than a revolution in studio and workshop cleanup. With this simple tool, cleaning up a work surface covered in mosaic tile goes from 45 minutes of tedious sorting to a few minutes of casual effort. You can remove the glass dust from all your storage jars in a matter of a few seconds per jar  –without sucking up and loosing any pieces.

Sparduster small parts vacuum attachment

SPARDUSTER™  Small Parts Dust Remover Vacuum Attachment has a replaceable fiberglass mesh screen that prevents you from sucking up small pieces of tile and other parts.

SPARDUSTER™ Small Parts Dust Remover Vacuum Attachment

I had to clean up a room full of Legos and kept putting it off because it would take hours and hours to wash all the cat hair and dust out of it. I created a small prototype that eventually became the SPARDUSTER™, and with that simple tool, I was able to clean all of those boxes and boxes of Legos in less than 30 minutes and did not suck up a single piece!

Fits Most Vacuum Cleaners

This attachment works on household vacuum cleaners and shop vac with hoses 2 inches in diameter or less. The only restriction is that the attachment’s 1-inch diameter insert tube must be able to fit inside the hose.

For Tiny Parts

The openings in the mesh screen are 2mm, and the mesh is double ply, so you can clean some very small parts with this.

You can also pick up spilled containers of beads and screws and similar items quickly with this attachments.

Durable Construction / Replaceable Screen

These are made from heavy duty PVC plastic for long life. The fiberglass mesh screen is replaceable, and the unit ships with enough spare mesh to make 10 screens.

Simple Cleaning

Pet hair and lint will accumulate on the screen. To clean it off, simply pull the attachment out of your vacuum hose and vacuum it off. You will be surprised how quickly the filth builds up. The good news is that this attachment will have you living and working a lot cleaner because it takes so much of the tedious labor out of cleaning up after a studio session.

I still can’t figure out how managed to work in my mosaic studio without it. This simple attachment makes clean up so much easier!

 

 

Cutting Pan For Mosaic Tile

Cutting glass tile with a mosaic glass cutter is a relatively quiet and gentle process because not much force is required to make the cut. However, glass is a brittle material, and cutting it with a compression tool causes pieces to snap off and bounce across the room. In addition to usable pieces of tile, tiny slivers of glass are also produced and traces of dust. While this waste isn’t produced in large quantities, it does need to be contained, especially when the work is being done at home, because the slivers are extremely sharp and dusts of all type should not be breathed (including generic materials like sand and sawdust).

Fortunately, the wastes from the cutting process can be contained easily using ordinary household items such as a shallow plastic tray or pan and a damp dish towel.

mosaic cutting pan

Plastic dish pans and litter boxes make great cutting pans, especially those that are fairly shallow and wide. The sides do not have to be high at all to contain flying pieces of tile. An old dish towel can be dampened and placed on the bottom of the pan to help trap dust and slivers. A spray bottle filled with water should be used to mist the pan periodically. The tile and cutter are held down in the pan or just over it when the cut is made.

Glass Slivers and Old Towels

Pricked fingertips are a common injury, especially when you attempt to pick up a freshly cut piece of tile with a sharp triangular point instead of using a pair of tweezers as recommended. While virtually every injury I had of this type over a 15+ year period was superficial, it can be annoying especially if you work with mosaic on a daily basis like I do for long periods.

But pricked fingertips aren’t the real problem, at least in my experience. The most common form of injury experienced when working with glass mosaic are cuts from tiny glass slivers that lie hidden on work surfaces until you run your hand over them or rest your forearm. Fortunately, cuts from stray slivers can be completely avoided by common sense practices such as cutting over a pan lined with an old hand towel or dish towel and using a vacuum to periodically clean up the surrounding worksurface.

The dish towel at the bottom of the cutting pan helps prevent cuts when you pick up pieces of tile because the slivers resting on the soft terry cloth material of the towel don’t have a hard surface to push them into your skin.

Make sure you don’t reuse the old dish towel for other purposes because slivers can become tangled or embedded in the fabric. Also make sure don’t shake it out in a way that creates dust of flings slivers around. I prefer to rinse mine out in a basin of water. If I do have to shake out crumbs, I do it by holding the towel INSIDE a large trash can. I also mist the towel thoroughly beforehand to make sure the shaking doesn’t make dust fly.

Humidity and Dust

Dust can be controlled by humidity. While dry air allows tiny dust particles to become airborne more easily and stay in the air longer, moist air tends to make dust precipitate out of the air faster and helps keep dust stuck to surfaces. That is why factories often have misting sprinklers running in the ceilings, especially at times of the year when the AC or heat is running continuously.

You can do similarly by using a spray bottle to occasionally mist over your cutting area and keeping your dish towel moist inside your pan. The damp dish towel serves as a reservoir of moisture that keeps the air above it relatively humid. The humid air helps any trace amounts of dust created by cutting fall out of the air and onto the towel. The terry cloth fabric of the towel helps trap the dust once it settles.

Cutting Pans And Stray Pieces

While the safety issues mentioned above are usually ignored as a nuisance, the problem of having to chase down a loose piece every time one shoots across the worktable and onto the floor is a lot harder to ignore. Stray pieces of tile are sometimes sharp, and they can scratch floors or cut bare feet if walked on. A cutting pan made from a shallow litter box (purchased new) or plastic tote can help contain these useful pieces in addition to any waste that is created. I keep my mosaic and glue right beside my cutting pan so that I can transfer the cut pieces directly to the mosaic  -without having to get up every few minutes to find strays!

How To Store And Reuse Dust Masks

Mixing up grout and thinset require that mosaic artists wear dust masks on an occasional basis.

I wear an N95 particulate mask, which is the same one I wear for sawing wood with power tools and many other shop and studio tasks that involve non-oily dust. An N-95 captures 95% of the particles of a certain diameter. Controlling the amount of dust you create is also essential for minimizing exposure, but that would be true even if the masks were rated 100%. No mask can protect you once you take it off.

dust masks can be stored in plastic bags

An ordinary resealable plastic bag is excellent for storing dust masks.

If It’s Done, Can It

The vacuum-and-bag method below is how I store and reuse dust masks used occasionally for lighter duties.

Of course you might not want to try to do this with a mask you wore on a twelve-hour shift in hot sweaty weather or if the amount of dust you were in was so extreme it affected visibility.
The mask should be disposed if it is saturated with dust or body salts or if it is mechanically worn out (torn, worn thin, creased severely).

Vacuum And Store In A Plastic Bag

Vacuum your mask (without damaging it or feeding it to the pig) and store it in a plastic bag.

The Important Tip

The important tip is how to vacuum it without ruining it or sucking it up in the vacuum. Remember, the pig will snatch up and eat anything, especially if you taunt him with a snack right in front of his suck hole, and his innards were made for contaminating dust masks. Always make sure the elastic band of the mask is twisted around your wrist.

You can also destroy your mask in a less obvious way.

You could create invisible rips and pinhole tears in the mask if you let the vacuum hose get stuck on it. Letting the hose get stuck on the mask also increases the risk of it getting sucked up.

Use brush fitting not bare nozzle. This helps prevent the mask from sealing or sticking to the hose.

Vacuum The Outside First

You also don’t want to suck dirt into the cup of the mask or deeper into the fibers of the mask. Vacuum the outside of the mask first. Then vacuum inside.

Don’t Make A Dust Inhalation Device

A dirty mask is a dust inhalation device, even if all the dust is on the outside of the mask. The act of handing it and putting it on can be enough to clog your sinuses if the mask is dirty enough.

This includes dust from storage as much as it does from previous wearings.

Keep your mask in a plastic bag to prevent dust from settling on it. The plastic bag can be a reused bag (shopping, bread, ziplock).

Don’t Swap Germs Until The Studio Christmas Party

Label bags with a black permanent marker to avoid exchanging germs with coworkers. I’ve found that some people are blind to most forms of labels on personal safety equipment. Capitalized initials in block letters seem to be the most effective, but razor wire probably wouldn’t stop some people from wearing your stuff.