Hot Rodding a Harbor Freight DC #3: Cory to the rescue

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Blog entry by newTim posted 03-21-2011 06:59 AM 7249 reads 15 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Verticality Controversy Rages On Part 3 of Hot Rodding a Harbor Freight DC series Part 4: Clean Up »

Thanks to Cory and input from other LJs, I was able to figure this thing out. Once you get past the idea of flipping the motor a number of possibilities become available. So I tossed the cabinet idea and went with Cory’s design. I did not include a Thein separator, and as you can see , I’m still using the flex hose as a conduit. Still and all, with a commercial cyclone lid from Woodcraft and about fifteen feet of 4” flex hose with a couple of ninety-degree bends, this things works awfully darned well. You’ll have to trust me, but there is very little dust collecting in the bag.

I used my assembly table to line up the motor and waist to get some measurements.

After building the cart I used a lift to place the blower in line with the collector.

Just like Cory, I cut down the large hose and used it for the two connections. There are no clamps. Since the hose itself is spring loaded the compression fit works just fine. In fact, the downward force probably helps seal the cyclone lid to the trash can.

Attaching the lower bag is a real pain, but I’ve discovered an easy way. I just used two large spring clamps to hold the back side of the bag in place. I inserted my thumbs along the sides of the bags and pulled them together working around the rim while pulling up on the bag. This was a new bag and had not been stretched, yet it was amazingly easy.

Note how the tip of each clamp is positioned above the level of the spring belt. I threaded the belt through the clamps then simply raised it into position to tighten and then removed the clamps.

Here’s a couple of shots of the final product.

I plan to install a run of 5” duct to the middle of the room along the same path as the flex hose, and I have to rewire the plug for a remote controller. Eventually I will also build a Thein separator, but for now it seems to be working fine.

Thanks to all for the comments and advice.

-- tim hill

17 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2697 days

#1 posted 03-21-2011 07:50 AM

Excellent tip regarding hanging/installing the plastic bag. Good use of the lift also, wish I had one! Aligning the blower outfeed to the seperator/donut intake is the only part of this build that appears relatively difficult. Would you be able to supply a dimensional drawing? I’m sure many LJs (especially me) would find it quite helpful.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#2 posted 03-21-2011 01:40 PM

I’ve noticed you have a Grizzly jointer there. Looks like an 8”....
Do you like it?
What model is it?
How long is the in feed/out feed tables?
Thnx for your answers

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3289 days

#3 posted 03-21-2011 03:18 PM

i copied cory’s design as well and it works great

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3254 days

#4 posted 03-21-2011 03:48 PM

I need to get my hands on one of those lifts.

Just a suggestion, they are quick, easy and cheap to build, if you aren’t satisfied with the separation of that commercial separator lid, try the Thien. They are very easy to build, and very effective…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3628 days

#5 posted 03-21-2011 07:42 PM

DIY… Re dimensions: the bottom and side are 22” x about 48”. The width of the 2×4s and 3/4” plywood allow the motor to hang 4 1/4” from the edge so the weight is well inside the wheels. It seems to work well. You may notice that Cory left the space under the motor mount open. I had not noticed this detail. It allows room for the cyclone lid or Thein lid of the trashcan to overhang the bottom of the cart. This will allow you to shorten the distance between the blower and collector ports. In fact, I had originally had them bumping together, but the trashcan lid was squeezed between the collector upright and the plywood side. I moved the collector back, but may go back and cut out a section of the plywood side. It doesn’t effect performance, but you can reduce the unit’s footprint which in a small shop is always desireable. Another thing I’d do is to reinforce the bottom with 2×4s or something else to help the bottom resist or eliminate the flexing due to the weight of the motor. I used 4 3” locking swivel casters and they make it easy to roll anywhere and lock in place.

Roger… Re Grizzly jointer. I forget the model, but it is the one where the infeed table is longer than the outfeed. It is 8” with spiral cutter. So far it is working great. Now that it is in the shop and I can see the relationship as it is nested with the tablesaw, I might consider the model with the equal infeed/outfeed table to see if the overall length is shorter. The long infeed table is a nice feature though. I just traded my table saw up from a DeltaX 52” Unisaw to a Sawstop Industrial 36”. I rarely used the added table length and 36” saw allowed me to move it closer to the center of the room while pushing the jointer/bandsaw away from the center. This gives me more room to work and I can still park a car in the space.

dbhost… I bought the lift at an auto supply store a couple years ago and use it often. It is a big help in a one man shop. I’ve seen them in Harbor Freight and you can probably pick them up used. Before I remembered about the lift I had intended to just tilt the unit on the side and use bungy cords or something to hold the collector/waist/donut in place. One thing I noticed, however, is while the side was stout and the ninety-degree angle did not flex, the bottom did flex which caused the blower port to hange an inch or so lower. I should have run 2×4s around the bottom to prevent this but it still works okay.

Re the Thein. I’ll probably build one, but so far this lid is working great. One thing I like about the Thein is the claim you can fill it higher with chips/dust and still be effective. The other thing is I’d like to make a 5” connection between the blower and the lid instead of a 5” to 4”. I’m also going to run some 5” ducts so hopefully that will make it more efficient.

I meant to take a before and after decibel reading with my iphone, but forgot. In any event, it does seem to run noticeably quieter.

-- tim hill

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3289 days

#6 posted 03-21-2011 08:37 PM

on mine i used the factory base and just added some extensions to make the extra room for the trash can and bracket that holds the motor

you can kind of see it in this picture

i had to empty mine for the first time the other day, no real surprises. i pull the outlet connection off and pull up on the center inlet, it just fits snug in the hole. then i simply scoot the trash can out and pull off the lid to empty

i was concerned that the center connection might leak so i put some door gasket wrapped in duct tape around it and it seals fine. you can see that in the picture too

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#7 posted 03-22-2011 05:27 PM

Seems to be a common theme here. Here’s mine in my AZ shop.

I used a 5 gal plastic pail with th bottom cut off as a central updraft core and a 90 degree elbow mounted horizontally in the can as an entry. Only fine dust reaches the bag.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Moops's profile


5 posts in 2644 days

#8 posted 03-22-2011 05:39 PM

Looks good! I built a similar cart based on all the ones here and at the Thein separator forum.

DIYaholic, when I built mine I attached the bag ring to the base of the cart, and then built the wall/motor support and also attached it to the base. Then I just laid the cart down so the “wall” was on the floor and the ring hung over it (it’s not heavy at all and the supplied legs are plenty strong enough to support it hanging like that). Then it was easy to drop the motor on the “wall” and slide it to directly line up the outlet with the inlet on the ring. Marked and drilled the holes, attached the motor to the “wall” with some beefy bolts, and then stood the cart back up. Any minute slop is taken care of by using the flex-hose to go between the two ports (they are only 2” apart on mine).

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3628 days

#9 posted 03-22-2011 06:12 PM

shipwright… great use of materials and space. Maintains the original footprint. I suppose lifting the motor to empty the can is a bit of a hassle, but you probably don’t have to do it very often. Did you build a Thein inside or just use the sideport? Wouldn’t it be great if somebody made a clear trashcan? I’d like to see more pictures if you have any.

-- tim hill

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#10 posted 03-22-2011 06:56 PM

Tim, Since it’s your thread I don’t mind posting more photos. My thought was that a larger diameter central updraft ie: the five gallon can, would create a lower velocity air current and less chips would get sucked along with the dust. The reinforcing ring around the top of the pail fits onto the blower housing nicely and gives a mounting face to the MDF top The can is sealed with pipe insulation.

The only modifications to the original cart are:
1) A piece of 3/4” plywood on the original blower mount that fits the recess in the bottom of the garbage can.
2) I had to move the leg supports a couple of inches to let the garbage can center on the old blower mount.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3628 days

#11 posted 03-22-2011 07:09 PM

How did you come up with the bucket idea? I’m no engineer, but it makes sense. Thanks for the post.

-- tim hill

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#12 posted 03-22-2011 07:10 PM

I have a strange mind.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 2714 days

#13 posted 03-24-2011 04:27 AM

Where did you get the pleated filter for your harbor freight D/C?, and what is the diameter of it?

-- Chuck

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#14 posted 03-24-2011 05:20 AM

Wynn Environmental

It’s way quieter and works much better than with the bag, even before the pack rats ate big holes in it.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3441 days

#15 posted 03-25-2011 04:28 PM

Great execution Tim! How’s the separation with the pre made lid?

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

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