The Basics of Ventilation, Part Four: Temperature and Altitude adjustments

Altitude and air temperature make a substantial difference in the performance of any ventilation system. The calculations I have provided in the Ventilation Primer, Part Two, are based on sea level and 70 degrees F.

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The Basics of Ventilation, Part Three: Overhead hood design

Overhead hoods have a problem: they are non-functional over most of the width of the hood. The only part of the hood that actually functions as designed is an area about 1-2” wide surrounding the suction duct. This is fine for small torches while making small beads, but what happens when you upgrade your torch and start working with larger pieces of glass?

Insertion of large pieces of glass into the flame plume deviates it and the open duct in your hood is no longer functional. And once you start working with powders, enamels and/or fuming, the only draw area is directly in line with the duct opening. How can the standard overhead hood be made to work more efficiently for the lampworker? Continue reading

The Basics of Ventilation, Part Two: Doing the numbers

Ok. We’ve talked about the basics, now let’s take a look at some basic design issues.

Exhaust System Design

So, where do we start? Well, let’s talk first about a couple of important numbers and calculations that have to be made first.

CFM: Cubic Feet per Minute. The amount of air that a ventilation system can move. It is based on how much air a given fan can move against a given amount of pressure.

Velocity: The speed the air moves inside the duct. It is measured in Feet per Minute.

Velocity Pressure: The pressure created by trying to force air at a given Velocity through a given duct size.

SP: Static Pressure. The total pressure against which the fan moves air. SP increases as the size of the duct decreases, with the addition of bends, and with any amount of turbulence. As SP increases, the efficiency of the fan to move air goes down, or, to state it differently, the higher the SP, the lower the CFM from design.

Loss Factor: A multiplier, usually fractional, that is the amount of friction induced by ducts. This is number is a constant for specific duct types and is usually presented in a look up chart form. The chart we will be using in all these calculations can be found in here:  .

Each one of these numbers or calculations factors into the design of an exhaust system.

I will present several different designs to show how each affects the total design.

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The Basics of Ventilation, Part One: Overview


Greetings, fellow glassworkers!

This is the first in what will be a series of spotlight articles covering a wide variety of safety and technical topics for the glass studio. Throughout this document and those to follow, the issues discussed will adhere as closely as possible to meet and/or exceed any existing national (United States) codes (be it building codes, mechanical codes, electrical codes, recommended practice, etc.). Occasionally, a method of doing something will be pointed out as being outside the codes and if your studio is following a method like that described, you would be well advised to change your method to follow the codes.

The things that will be discussed in this series of articles will not be cheap, inexpensive quick fixes. Doing it right the first time is expensive. Nevertheless, it is better to do it right the first time than have an accident or, heaven forbid, a death. The books and videos never tell us what the real cost of glassworking is and that’s a shame. Our craft is a continuously evolving monster with many heads. There are so many directions that the glassworker can turn in their personal discovery of glass art that keeping up with safety and technology can sometimes take a back seat to the artists’ passion for their craft. The best example of this is our knowledge about ventilation.

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On in-line fans…

In the past, I’ve been an outspoken critic of in-line fans for a lot of reasons, many of them annotated elsewhere in this blog. Lately, I’ve heard of a company that manufactures in-line fans that are far beyond anything else available in this style of fan.

The company in question is Fantech. They are located in Sarasota Florida and provide a variety of fans that can easily be used by glassworkers almost anywhere. Continue reading

Grainer exhaust fan lineup

Last year, Grainger either changed suppliers or their supplier changed designs. In any case, many of the fans that “we” needed are no longer available.Here is a quick lookup chart ordered in increasing CFM velocity (Free Air). Keep in mind that once installed in a ventilation system the fan NEVER operates at the Free Air CFM rating, and in fact operates at a lower rate.

Use this chart to cross reference old number to new numbers and to select a range of possible fans. Note that these are considered small blowers, and are usually not suitable for wet locations, outside or explosive atmospheres. Continue reading