Getting serious about dust collection

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Blog entry by Furnitude posted 12-27-2011 03:30 AM 1425 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I think it’s time for me to get serious about dust collection. I’ve been really lame about it for a long time. That’s not good for me and it’s not good for my basement, so I’m motivated to make some changes. One thing I’m doing is trying to sell my Delta 50-760 dust collector. It’s a fine machine. The only problem is that it is too big for my space. The filter can’t inflate fully because of the low ceiling. Also, it’s got a really large footprint, and is proving difficult to get around. The other major change is that I want to use dust separators.

I’ve got two areas in the shop that have clusters of tools, so I’m thinking of what I can do with shop vacuums and separators. Each cluster has an anchor tool that definitely needs fulltime dust collection. The first is my chop saw. A few feet away is a 14” band saw. I want a dedicated shop vacuum with an automatic switch connected to the chop saw.

The other anchor tool, located on the opposite end of the space, is my table saw. I want a dedicated shop vac and separator for it, along with another automatic switch. Nearby I’ve got a 12.5” planer and a router table. Those also create lots of dust/shavings. Aside from the table saw, I use the planer quite a lot – much more than the router table. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Chop saw: shop vac, separator (Dust Right Vortex) and automatic switch. I could split the hose (using a Y-fitting) and use a blast gate that would allow me to hook up the band saw.

Table saw: shop vac, separator (Dust Right Vortex) and automatic switch.

I’m wondering if I should also get the same set up (with a Y-fitting) and use it for the planer and router table. That would be 3 shop vacs and 3 separators. I want to buy two Dust Right Vortexes because I don’t have time to build two separators. I might build any other separators I need. The other things I need to address are a vacuum for general shop clean up and one for an oscillating spindle sander. I want a system that is flexible and modular so I can buy it one chunk at a time. On the other hand, I don’t want to always have to stop what I’m doing, bring over a shop vac/separator and set it up when I change tools. I can’t afford a big cyclone system and don’t have room even if I could. Anyway, that’s just what I’m thinking. I appreciate any input.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

2 comments so far

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2872 days

#1 posted 12-27-2011 05:05 AM

Have you looked at Bill Pentz's site? I think a canister filter on your DC would do a better job on the small particulate than any number of shop vacs. A separator or cyclone would be a good idea. My shop is in the basement too. -Jack

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2912 days

#2 posted 12-27-2011 05:33 AM

I second Jack’s comment. The key to capturing fine dust is to have a high CFM at each of your machines; a shop vac has high suction but very low CFM; it’s fine for capturing chips with a separater but poor at capturing fine dust.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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