Photographing workshop dust particles

After I jigged up my macro lens setup, I photographed some of the dust in my workshop. I was curious about particle size, and my macro setup was just powerful enough to really capture what my workshop dust looked like.

Dust from one of my table saws. It's pretty coarse dust as dust goes. I photographed it on top of a ruler. The black lines behind are 1 mm apart.

Coarse dust like that isn't likely to go airborne. Of course, a table saw also makes lots of finer dust, but most of it is pretty coarse.

Dust from my bandsaw. A fair bit finer, but I find the dust from my bandsaw settles pretty quickly and doesn't spread far from the bandsaw. The band saw is slow enough to not stir up the air that much, and the dust is still coarse enough to settle quickly.

Dust from under the sanding belt of my belt sander. I'm only using a 100 grit belt on it, and the dust is coarser than I thought it would be. The image is 5 mm across. At 500 pixels wide, each pixel is 10 microns. Most of the dust particles are larger than a pixel. 10 micron dust gets caught in the nose and airways before reaching the lungs, so it's not a serious health hazard.

That sample may be biased though. Any of the really, really fine dust would probably have stayed airborne longer and not settled as closely.

Dust from using 300 grit sand paper. A lot of very fine particles there. The image is 1.8 mm across, so each pixel is about 3.5 microns. The finest particles are small enough to get deep into the lungs.

Maybe a good reason to go lazy on sanding, or just use a scraper to smooth the wood instead.

Dust that had settled on the black enamel of one of my lamps in the workshop. All the dust in this photo was airborne at some point.

The image is 1 mm across. Each pixel represents two microns in size. There are plenty of dust particles that are two pixels in size or less, although limitations of my setup causes them to fuzz over a slightly wider area.

Dust particles smaller than five microns are considered hazardous to one's health because they can make it all the way into the lungs, although wood dust is not as harmfull as other forms of dust, and apparently, the lungs can still slowly clear it out.

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