There are many videos on YouTube showing some pretty ingenious dust collectors for radial arm saws. Most use a fairly small enclosure located just behind the fence, with a shop vac attachment for forcefully inhaling the sawdust. They appear to work extremely well for cuts that are at 90° to the fence and to the table surface. Maybe my interpretation of the dust collectors is wrong and they adapt to any angle.
Since I only have a small shop vac and do not like to have to turn it on every time I make a cut, my solution is a more brute force approach that provides a large sawdust collection backdrop that accommodates any combination of cutting angles as well as any saw arm height. It does not capture the mess as completely as the vacuum schemes, but it sure cuts way down on the amount of clean-up needed most of the time.
As with the other types, my dust collector does not help a whole lot when making a rip cut, but even then it al least helps keep sawdust from falling on the floor behind the radial arm saw.
I have designed and built two similar dust collectors when I owned two other radial arm saws(both Craftsman, both sold prior to moving to a different house in a different state). The first one I made of plywood and pine sticks like this one, and the second I made using the cardboard box the saw shipped in. The cardboard one was easier and faster to build, but it was nowhere near as nice looking or rugged.
I did not take the time to draw plans for this newest of my radial arm saw dust collectors, but you can tell from what is shown in the photos what the basic construction consists of. I went to a lot of trouble to assure a tight fit around the vertical arm support column and around the two brackets that the table surface attaches to. The bottom plywood of the dust collector slides under the back of the table surface and is held on by its friction fit. All of the pine framework is glued to the plywood and to adjacent frame pieces, so the structure is very strong and easily supports its own weight while sitting on the radial arm saw's main metal frame.
The plywood is 1/4" mahogany plywood floor underlayment, and the pine sticks are cut from 3/4" x 1-1/2" framing strips. Elmer's carpenter glue was used throughout.
Posted October 18, 2014