Dust Collection

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  • Dust Collection

    I only have a small set-up, but I'd like to add some dust collection capabilities. I suppose I could use PVC pipe with conductive ground straps or metal ducts (maybe 4-6") mounted to the wall with drops at different spots, or possibly just do the same with flex hose.

    What have you guys used and have you been satisfied with the results?

    (Right now I'll just use a Shop Vac and Dust Deputy cyclone until I need something more. )

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    4” thin wall pvc ( known as schedule 10 and irrigation pvc) installs nicely and won’t break the bank. That said, expecting a small system to power up a hard piped system in a shop is asking too much. At some point you will see that dust is overtaking the shop and you need more dust collector capacity.


    • #3
      I have one of those Harbor freight DC's (120VAC, claimed 2 HP) connected to my table saw with two 4" hoses, one to the dust shroud and one to the belly pan. Changed out the 5 micron top bag for a 1 micron pleated filter canister. The DC is on a 3-ch remote control switch along with the air compressor and the main lights.
      I have a small shop vac dedicated to the miter saw and jointer and router fence; I can switch over the 2.5" hose easily.
      I have another small shop vac attached to the bandsaw and drill press with a tool activated switch.
      I have an overhead mounted air filter on an outlet with a 12 hour rotary spring timer - I usually set it for 4 hours when I turn it on when working so it runs for a couple of hours after I leave.
      I think having the shop vacs do an OK job on the smaller tools and keep the hard plumbing down to a minimum. Its $60 bucks to put a shop vac by the tools rather than spending a lot on ducts to bring the suction to the tool.
      Last edited by LCHIEN; 12-01-2020, 03:19 PM.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


      • #4
        Just picked up a Craftsman 3/4 HP 500 com “portable dust collector” for cheap. Based on comments above it sounds like I should not plan on this being the head unit of a fixed piping arrangement. Maybe build into the miter saw station would be better?


        • #5
          Thanks for all the responses. If you do have an overhead mounted air filter, what type to you use? I have been looking at a Rikon that occasionally goes on sale at Woodcraft for a few years, but never pulled the trigger.


          • #6
            I have the Rikon 61-200 overhead filter in the older green color. It had an issue with the electronic controller board failing that caused electrical current to flow through the motor improperly - made the motor warm but not excessively hot. I emailed Rikon about it as it was still under warranty at the time. Since opening up the unit is so easy, I said I could replace the board myself if Rikon would just send that part. Which they did. The new controller looks a bit different so it was updated, hopefully to be more durable. And everything happened very quickly. That was several years ago and the unit has been working fine ever since.

            I've switched my shop dust collection from "moving the hose to whatever tool I'm using" to a hard-piped setup fairly recently. So most of my experience has been with the "move the hose" technique. Sanding was often done at the bench using just the bag attached to typical random orbit sanders without a downdraft table or full dust collection - stretching the old hose that far was a nuisance. The overhead unit at the end of the day showed significant dust collection on the input filter. Even when I did take the time to hook sanders to Rockler's small-tool hose (that really heavy one) the overhead collector still found a lot to collect. The one issue I have with my Rikon overhead is the noise. It's a low frequency rumble, not a typical whine of a vacuum or dust collector. On anything but the low speed (it has 3 speeds) the noise is tiresome. Unless I'm doing something I know is dusty, the low speed is sufficient however. I haven't done much woodworking in the shop since converting to full hard-piping so I don't know if the overhead unit will find as much dust as it used to. Lately... most of my shop time has been time working ON the shop rather than making projects IN the shop!

            When positioning overhead collectors, ideally they get the shop air moving in a circular pattern around the shop... so placing them closer to one wall or diagonally across a corner is often suggested. Make sure though the exhaust isn't pointing towards a work table - it'll be uncomfortable on your neck and it will stir up fine dust right where you're working... not good. Also make sure it won't be in the way of cabinet doors, that it won't be a low-hanging-object when you need to move long boards or sheet goods around, and that it doesn't block light/cause shadows. My shop doesn't lend itself to a circular flow pattern as my shop is the back third of a long garage (former owners built it to store a speedboat on a trailer) so I've got the unit sucking air from the workbench area and exhausting towards the regular dust collector.



            • #7
              I have a Delta unit I picked up many years ago. A single speed unit. I plug it into an outlet with a mechanical wind up timer of about up to 12 hours, Usually I turn it on for 4 hours and don't think about it after that, it runs a couple of hours after I leave the shop.
              Its hung from the ceiling with the intake sort of centrally located.

              I have one of those Dylos air quality monitors and I can see when the dust level is kicked up when I start up the tools it stirs up dust and then cutting really spikes it..
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-14-2021, 03:34 AM.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


              • #8
                I have a small shop (12'x22') and have for years used a good sized ShopVac for dust collection. The current one is a 16 gallon, 165 cfm unit with CleanStream filters. It is powerful enough to handle my 13" planer. Since I have to set up the various tools for each operation, it's not much of task to switch the vac and hoses for each tool. I use a tool triggered extension cord I made using a Craftsman tool triggered outlet box to turn the vac on with the tool it is attached to. I have a shop built two speed ambient air filter that sits on the floor in the corner of the shop with two outlets. One circulates air around the shop floor and the other one blows diagonally across the ceiling. I also have a shop built exhaust fan in the joist space diagonally across from the shop door for pulling finishing fumes out of the shop so they don't migrate up into the house. Click image for larger version

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                Jim Frye
                The Nut in the Cellar.
                ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”


                • #9
                  Too bad Sears stopped making those tool triggered outlets so many years ago. I have two.

                  P.S. But I see you can still get similar ones.

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                  Last edited by LCHIEN; 12-03-2020, 04:04 AM.
                  Loring in Katy, TX USA
                  If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                  BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


                  • #10
                    I've been through every possible iteration of DC, from a cheap vac connected to one tool at a time, to my current setup with 5" backbones everywhere backed with a true 3HP DC in a shed outside. I'm super happy with the current setup. The dust and noise stay outside, and I can just walk to any tool and use it. The power is controlled with RF remotes that signals a box with a relay.

                    Having the DC outside means almost zero dust inside, so I got rid of my ceiling-mounted air cleaner. And I work with the garage door open 95% of the time, so air is always moving and clean. I do have a floor-standing automatic HEPA filter for when I have the door closed or partially closed.


                    • #11
                      Has anyone tried to build/buy a Thien dust collector? Details here http://www.jpthien.com/cy.htm and many details on the web for DIY. I built one and I use it with my JessEm router and also with BT3000 connected to a Ridgid shopvac. I just move it around from tool to tool as needed. And, if you already have a big DC, you can inject the Thien collector in the middle and trap most of the debris going to the DC dust fine powdery material such as dry earth or pollen that can be blown about in the air More (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation) with accompanying More (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)


                      • #12
                        I built one long ago for my HF 1.5 HP collector. I stopped using it when I moved up to a bigger DC, and currently use Oneida cyclones on both it and my shop vac. My build worked well, the Oneidas work better.


                        • #13
                          Click image for larger version

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ID:	842141 I added this Thein separator to my delta unit when I got rid of its dust bag and installed a nano filter in its place. It worked remarkably well but still sorely lacked the high volume cfm require to keep the shop from becoming one big dust bunny!


                          • #14
                            I am running the Harbor Freight 2HP dust collector like so many others. I have it outfitted with a Wynn 35A filter so I am not just spewing the dangerous dust back into the air, and I come out of the unit's 5" port to a 5" Thien drum cyclone, and then split from there to 2 4" circuits using DWV (PVC irrigation pipe) and fittings. In high humidity environments, the risk of static is almost zero, so here in Texas it is simply not a concern for me.

                            I am planning on upgrading the unit with a replacement impeller, the Rikon impeller is a known drop in, and in doing some more research it looks like Wen has one that fits too. Will upgrade to a 6" inlet at that time, and run the mains using 6" DWV, splitting to 2 4" runs for things like the table saw, and router (above and below collection).

                            The trick here is keep your runs as straight, and uncorrigated as possible. 2 45 degree bends are MUCH better than 1 90 degree etc...
                            Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.


                            • #15
                              My DC now lives outside, one of the best things I've done and wish I'd done it much sooner.