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Dust Collector Choice

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Blog entry by rockinmichael posted 02-28-2012 02:51 AM 6772 reads 2 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve recently been in the market for a new dust collector. I really care about filtration, but do I really need a shop fox or grizzly portable cyclone, or should I go for a cheaper single stage model. I am just a hobbyist with a small shop in a two car garage. Any recommendations?



24 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)

DIYaholic

14584 posts in 1423 days


#1 posted 02-28-2012 03:14 AM

The important part to the “filtration” equation is; What size particles does the bag/filter filter down to & how efficient it is at that size? Some OEM bags only filter down to 5 microns, while others will vary all the way down to 0.5 microns. The cartidge filter I have(Wynn Enviromental 35A274NANO) will filter down to about 99.999% at 0.5 microns.

-- 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 Andy Panko's profile

Andy Panko

88 posts in 1070 days


#2 posted 02-28-2012 03:29 AM

I have the Jet single stage 1.5 HP w/ 2 micron canister, and I love it.

http://www.amazon.com/Jet-DC-1100VX-CK-Collector-230-Volt-2-Micron/dp/B004T86NAK/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1330398967&sr=1-1

I have a one car garage that is about 10’ x 24’. The dust collector is in the far corner of my garage, and I have one of the 4” outlets capped off. The other has an approximately 4’ length of 4” flexible hose that runs to a metal 4” WYE, which has two 4” hard pipe ducts running off of it. Each of those ducts is about about 15 feet of run and each with two 90 degree turns in it. Both are blast gated. One connects to my table saw, and one to my miter saw. I have no complaints about suction, and for saw dust, the bag lasts a long time.

I know I’m probably not supposed to, but I also use the collector to connect to my planer and jointer, when needed. I figure those chips are small enough that they shouldn’t damage the impeller too noticeably, especially since I don’t do a lot of planing or jointing. But if you happen to get a knot that breaks off and bashes through the impeller, you’ll definitely do some damage. But the dust collector has no problem sucking up all the chips through my 15’ hard pipe run, AND with the Rockler 10’ long 4” flexible dust right hose attached to that. Suction is definitely not a problem with the Jet.

If I didn’t mind spending almost double the money, I would have gotten one of the JDS or Laguna smaller two-stage models. And depending how you plan on running your ducts, in a two car garage, you may want to consider a two-stage cyclone. But if you’re not doing long runs or with lots of turns, and if you’re using hard pipe, I’d definitely recommend the Jet that I have. I would obviously like bigger, better, stronger, better suction, etc. But honestly and practically speaking, what I have now is plenty good. No regrets. Just make sure you get the canister instead of the cloth bag. If I remember correctly, the cloth bag only filters down to 30 micron. I can practically fit my fist through a 30 micron hole. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but not much…

- Andy

-- Andy Panko, Edison NJ, www.pankowoodworks.com

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rockinmichael

34 posts in 1132 days


#3 posted 02-28-2012 03:39 AM

The shop fox cyclone I’ve been looking at is only 100 dollars more than the jet and suction is increased. In addition, it filters 99.9% of 0.2-2 Microns ( got percentage from email from woodstock).

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Sawdust4Blood

368 posts in 1769 days


#4 posted 02-28-2012 03:44 AM

filtration is one aspect to consider. It’s important to remember though that the filter only captures particles that are sucked from the tool into the collector. You can have great filtration at the collector but if there is insufficient volume of air movement at the tool, the finer particles may become airborne into your shop without ever being draw into the collection system. Just within the same company, if you look at Grizzly’s 1-1/2 hp portable cyclone it moves 775 CFM of air while a single stage with an upper bag filter moves 1300 CFM for a price sufficiently lower to allow you to also buy a hanging air filter for your shop. The new Jet single stage with the “vortex cone” is supposed to provide some of the characteristics of a vortex in a single stage unit that moves 1100 CFM with a 98% efficiency 2 micron canister filter for about the same price as the Grizzly vortex. The size of your shop, lengths and diameters of the line runs, number of tools connected and other factors can all influence the size/kind of collector you need. A number of companies will help you design a collection system for your shop. I’m not sure there is a correct answer for everyone but don’t get seduced by any one performance measure.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

494 posts in 1887 days


#5 posted 02-28-2012 05:13 AM

Its hard to beat the Harbor Freight 2HP DC in terms of cost/value. It goes on sale from time to time for about $139 and you can sometimes use a 20% coupon from the magazines (This Old House Magazine has one) on top of it. (I got mine when they had a specific coupon for $139 so I couldn’t use the 20% on top of it.)
There are plenty of blogs here about different mods ppl made to their HF DC. I would recommend getting the Wynn Environmental canister filter, adding a thien baffle to the existing inlet ring that holds the bags, and reorienting the motor so that the blower housing blows right into the inlet ring with almost not pipe. This will give you the most cost effective/portable DC with a high separation efficiency.

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rockinmichael

34 posts in 1132 days


#6 posted 02-28-2012 05:14 AM

Yes but you are able to run planers and jointer and planers on cyclones because the chips never even touch the impeller. On a single stage the chips directly hit the impeller. I am more interested in the shop fox cyclone rather than the grizzly because I can get it locally. Would the cfm increase from 800 to 1100 really make a difference?

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

494 posts in 1887 days


#7 posted 02-28-2012 06:44 AM

I run my planer w/ the chips hitting the impeller without any issue. These are welded and riveted steel impellers designed to get hit by little pieces of wood. I’m pretty sure you will burn out the motor before you ever wear out the impeller. Its true that pre-separation will save on the wear and tear of the impeller, but I think we’re under-estimating the durability of them too. Of course if you are planning to incorporate a floor sweep and you might be sucking up large blocks/nuts/bolts/screws then yes it makes sense to pre-separate.

View Sanity's profile

Sanity

169 posts in 1438 days


#8 posted 02-28-2012 02:41 PM

Rockinmichael – I have the Shop Fox 1.5 hp cyclone and am pleased with it. However I would suggest that you look carefully at your needs first. The Shop Fox is only designed to be hooked up to one large machine at a time or several smaller ones. In your shop are you intending for the DC to be mobile, or stationary and hooked up to a large collection of ducts? I just connect the Shop Fox to whatever machine I happen to be using at the time. What I like is the relatively small foot print, it is a true cyclone, the remote control, build quality, etc. It is a little top heavy when moving it around in the shop but that is about my only complaint. It works well with my Unisaw but to make it even better I need to plug in a Y adapter for over the blade collection also.

-- Stuart

View Sawdust4Blood's profile

Sawdust4Blood

368 posts in 1769 days


#9 posted 02-28-2012 02:54 PM

I also use my dust collector with a jointer and planer both of which actually produce shavings rather than chips. While larger than dust from a cross cut saw or sander, they aren’t a problem for a dust collector other than the guards that protect the impeller on some single-stage units can get clogged by them. As Sarit points out, you don’t want to use a single stage unit as a vacuum cleaner without a pre-separator for exactly the reasons mentioned.

An increase of 800 to 1100 might make a big difference depending on your shop set-up but that’s impossible to say without knowing how it will be used. If it will only be a single line connected to one tool at a time, then 800 (or less) CFM would be more than enough and a larger unit likely wouldn’t see much increase in efficiency. However, if there are two parallel line runs to multiple machines, then the difference might be huge because 800 CFM could be below the draw you would want.

Adding a pre-separator (or anything else in line) will reduce the amount of draw at the tool but the mix and match of a larger, cheaper, single-stage with a pre-separator might give you better a cost/performance ratio than a small vortex.

Of course all this is caveated as they say “individual results may vary”.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1980 days


#10 posted 02-28-2012 03:18 PM

IF you can afford it, a true cyclone is a good investment, as long as it’s a good one. While I typically like Grizzly products, I have not seen very much positive in regards to their cyclones. For my money anyway, a Harbor Freight 2HP single stage dust collector, fitted with a Wynn canister filter, and a Thien type pre separator does the job very nicely with more than sufficient suction.

While this list is far from inclusive, I have seen fairly positive reviews of the following Cyclones.
Clear Vue, pretty much all models, they are kind of the standard bearer in cyclone design.
JDS. Don’t recall the models, but there is a fairly short, as cyclones go, model with good suction, separation and filtration..
Oneida, not sure model names again, I don’t own them, but Oneida owners seem happy with their cyclones.

No matter the setup you get, you WILL get some airborne dust that gets missed by the collection system, you are going to want to add an ambient air filter as well. This can be as simple as a Filtrete filter duct taped to a box fan, or as complex as a remote controlled commercially built unit…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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rockinmichael

34 posts in 1132 days


#11 posted 02-28-2012 03:22 PM

My shop has only the nessacary power tools. I’m going to run lines no longer than 25 feet long of hard pipe.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1980 days


#12 posted 02-28-2012 06:15 PM

Oh that’s easy…

Harbor Freight #97869 2HP Dust Collector. $149.00 with the coupon…

Wynn Environmental 35a Spun Bond Poly pleated filter. $158.00 + S&H and well worth every penny.

Thien Cyclone separator (some assembly required!). If you don’t mind the noise factor, build one in the inlet ring of the DC itself. No added plumbing to reduce air flow… Can be free if you have the scrap laying around.

A LOT of guys make new intake plates to open up the duct work to support 6” ducting, with 25’ or so runs you should be good…

Since you are worried about running a planer and chips hitting the impeller however, then build a pre separator like mine... For what it’s worth, since I posted that project page, I have since upgraded the separator to 5” duct with a side inlet.

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1922 days


#13 posted 02-28-2012 06:20 PM

I think dbhost knows a lot about this subject.

My only additional $0.02 … has pretty well already been offered: buy as much dust collector as you can afford, and never look back.

If I could have a 3-5hp Cyclone—say an Oneida—I would. If you think you’ll grow your shop, upgrade your tools, get a drum sander, plumb your shop’s DC system, or anything like that … buy once … cry once.

This is one of those cases where more is rarely worse—just more $$$$ ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Tom Coster's profile

Tom Coster

120 posts in 1586 days


#14 posted 02-28-2012 09:55 PM

HF 2hp works great for me → Hobbiest, weekend wood butcher.

-- Tom, MI, SC

View rockinmichael's profile

rockinmichael

34 posts in 1132 days


#15 posted 02-28-2012 10:57 PM

Cfm with single stagers is initial. When I looked at a recent issue of fww, cyclones have lower initail cfm but after a only 20 minutes cfm drops below that of single stagers. I am extremely limited on space and only can fit a small cyclone like the shop fox, or a single stager (without a seperator). In addition, I am not sure if I will ever use pipes for the shop, and if I do I would definately use blast gates as effeciently as possible. Also, where can I get hard metal pipe at a reasonable price?

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