Dust collection question

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Blog entry by Vincent_Von_Gotcha posted 01-12-2010 03:23 PM 1525 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m getting ready to assemble a dust collection system. I’m concerned that my 16 Gallon craftsman shop vac might not have power to collect for my 16X16 shop. I am planning to use a combo of PVC pipe and flexible 2 1/2 or 4 ” hose. Has anyone ever done this? any problems?

-- Jeff

10 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3750 days

#1 posted 01-12-2010 04:04 PM

a DC is the way to go.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3417 days

#2 posted 01-12-2010 04:11 PM

I’m somewhat leery of a shop vac having the power to clear dust in the whole shop. My recoommendation is a cyclone DC with larger pipe, 4 to 6 inches in diameter.
If you’re serious about dust collection you should consider a decent system and not try to squeeze everything out of a smaller vac.

Best regards,

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3441 days

#3 posted 01-12-2010 04:11 PM

Your shop vac won’t have the suction to really collect dust. HokieMojo is right: you need a real dust collector. A popular choice for a limited budget it the Harbor Freight 2hp model. It’s on sale right now for $139. You’ll need a coupon, but they’re easy to find in Wood Magazine.

Good luck!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View mnguy's profile


193 posts in 3420 days

#4 posted 01-12-2010 04:27 PM

I echo the opinions to go with a dust collector vs. your shop vac. The vac is great for clean up, or to service something like a miter saw, but it just doesn’t have the cfm to move dust from a table saw over several feet through a central system. Plus, it’s awefully loud and the universal motor won’t last in that kind of semi-continuous service.

If you want to build a central system, go with a DC with at least 1.5 hp. I would be leery of the Harbor Freight and other exceptionally low cost machines because they likely come with a 30 micron bag, which doesn’t capture the truly harmful dust. Look for bags that capture down to 1 or 2 microns, or a canister filter. I’ve had good luck with my Penn State unit with a canister.

View Vincent_Von_Gotcha's profile


6 posts in 3079 days

#5 posted 01-12-2010 06:06 PM

Gents thanks got the input I had orignally planned on using a small Delta vac , but had the shop vac an looking to cut corners. I see now this is not the area to do it. Strangly enough will be going to my local Harbor frieght store this weekend I will look there. I use the shop vac for a protable set up. Thanks again.

-- Jeff

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3289 days

#6 posted 01-12-2010 06:08 PM

you can get by with a shop vac but youll want to keep the pipes as short as possible and youll want to stay with 2-1/2” if thats what your vac has now (some have 2-1/4 or smaller) a phil thein seperator is also a good idea.

4” is way to big for a shop vac

having said that i also recommend going to a real dust collector and also recommend the harbor freight 2 hp model. i just made the switch from a ridgid vac to this dc and its amazing the difference it makes

View bigpops0259's profile


302 posts in 4171 days

#7 posted 01-12-2010 06:31 PM

Well the shop vac would have to go. Not large enough. I used a Grizzly G1030 with 6” infeed with 4, 3 and 2” PVC to all my machines, have blast gates at each machines. The only problem that arose with my system was “static” and believe me was strong would arch as mush as two foot and leave a mighty welt if it hit me. To solve this problem I used 18 gauge copper wire to wrap all my pipe at about 4” spread in wraps and grounded each machine to it and vac ground. My system works perfect no clogs, no arch, remote start, I’ve added floor sweep hoses 14’ in four locations with blast gates, All this helps keep my shop very easy to keep clean and dust free, I spray a lot of Laquer finish, and just vac and use air handler for perfect results. I have a Cyclone system for my new shop went I get ready this summer to set up, But I really don’t think it will work as well as my existing setup does.

-- Marty Ohio

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3153 days

#8 posted 01-12-2010 08:57 PM

You’ll need the Harbor Freight coupon from the Nov Wood magazine. The coupon is for $110 off of the regular price of $249. Good until Feb6, 2010. You can order the magazine back issue for $11, and still save $99. The back issue I ordered came in 3 days.

-- Gerry,

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3750 days

#9 posted 01-13-2010 01:11 AM

if you get the HF DC, you need to upgrade the bag or you will just be recirculating the finer particles (the ones that get stuck in your lungs and cause serious health problems). Some people go the HF route and replace the bag. Others buy a name brand unit with a better filter to start with, but either way, please don’t use the stock filter/bag.

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3190 days

#10 posted 01-13-2010 08:04 AM

I got a cyclone off craigslist for $350, one of the best tools in my shop. I watched for the right one for almost two years and had to drive about 275 miles away to get it. I knew I wouldn’t ever save up the money for a new one. Now I want to get a good shop vac just to hook to my small power tools like my plunge router, sander and biscuit joiner. You might also check out the small cyclones that a lot of Lumberjocks have built for their shop vacs (like the dust deputy). This second stage keeps your shop vac filter clean.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

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