Indoor Fume Hood Tutorial

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or safety professional. Everything you do, you do at your own risk.

Making a Budget Fume Hood:

Supplies:
  • A few large cardboard boxes
  • Blower fan and flexible duct. I used these:

Directions:

The steps are actually pretty simple. In short:
  1. Build a big box using your cardboard
  2. Cut a hole to plug ducting into
  3. Plug the duct tube into the box and connect the fan
  4. Blast the fan out a window
  5. Use fume hood.

Here's some more details.

Build a big box.
When building the box, you should add a lip to the top so that fumes don't escape as the travel upwards but rather get redirected towards the exhaust port. I also found it very useful to attach a cardboard door to the side that can either be half-way or full open. When building the box, be sure to put duct tape along as many corners and edges you can, not only does it help with structure but it also helps prevent vapor leaks.
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Next you need a hole at the top so that you can plug your ducting into it. I put the tube against the cardboard, traced it out, and cut the hole. It's doesn't need to be perfect but get it as close as you can.
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I added cross bars as a little bit of support to help hold the tube up.

Now just duct tape that tube down real good to the fume hood
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Connect the tube to the blower fan.
I had a little bit of difficulty with this, and ended up just using a ton of duct tape to seal it in there good. Make sure you pay attention to which direction the fan is facing (there's an arrow on the side indicating the airflow direction) to make sure it's blasting OUT of the fume hood, not IN.

SAFETY WARNING: This fan does not have blade guards in place. NEVER stick your fingers inside the fan (even if it's off or unplugged), or place it in a position that someone may accidentally place their hand into. I recommend placing a guard fence on the exhaust side for precaution to prevent finger loss. The blades in here are sharp and metal, and spin very fast. It's perfectly safe if you're respect the hazards, but if you don't it turns into a blender.
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Point the fan out a window. I sure hope it's not cold outside, because this will cycle your room's air with the outside (which is the goal).
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Fan Controller:
If you get the optional fan controller, you can turn your fan on/off and even control the speed. Otherwise you only get max speed and have to unplug it to turn it off. Here's what it looks like:
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Led Lights:
If you wish to add LED lights, simply buy a strip (with power adapter) and stick it inside the box. When making turns with the strip, avoid sharp curves because the strips don't like to bend or stretch, and you may also want to add some super glue into the mix to help keep it up there. I used an led strip I had lying around with a batter powered pack, but I'd recommend buying one that plugs into the wall to avoid having to buy and use batteries.
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Final Notes and opinion on performance:
According to the volume of my fume-box and the rate of airflow produced by my blower fan (CFM) it should be cycling through all the air in the box every 15 seconds, and according to the size of my fume-hood and speed of my fan I'm also consistent with the fume hood airflow standard described here. What does this mean in practice? I can comfortably glue, goo, and spray indoors and rarely pick up a scent of the fumes. It is particularly great at completely eliminating the odors from Barge contact cement and Shoe Goo. I have noticed however that aerosols come out with so much velocity, that the vapors can bounce right off the walls of the fume hood and into the room you're trying to protect. I have not yet resolved this, but I believe lining the walls of the fume hood with sideways corrugated cardboard (like honeycomb) would trap any paint and gas that hits it and I plan on picking some up to make it better for aerosols. Even though I have confidence in the fume-hood's ability to protect me from vapors, if I am doing a lot work in the fume hood, or I know I'll need to get my head in there, I wear an organic vapors certified respirator for extra safety. The fume hood combined with a respirator is so effective, that I worked with consistently for 2 months without ever knowing what it smelled like (until I did a 'quick shoe-goo' and neglected the mask, for shame). I have also found it useful to lay temporary paper and such down on the working surface of the fume hood, considering I mostly work with adhesives. This helps keep the work-space clean and avoid mistakes or parts sticking the fume hood.

As always,
stay safe out there!
(Goggles are to protect my glasses from aerosols, lab coat to protect my clothes from paint, headphones to protect my ears from boredom)
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