Dust Collection Issues. #2: Make your own big PVC "Y's" ... Cheap !!

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 09-07-2012 10:57 PM 14514 reads 13 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: 100% improvement for $100 and a couple of hours. Part 2 of Dust Collection Issues. series Part 3: Some different blast gates »

Have you ever looked up the price of an 8” to 6” PVC “Y” fitting? These are in stock and shippable today but If you are planning an extensive DC system that involves several of them as well as 6” to 4” and 6” to 6” ones, it may be that $256 each is a little steep for your budget. I know it was for mine.

(Edit: it is 2016, three and a half years since I posted this blog, I just clicked the link above and the price isn’t $256 anymore. They’re $369.16 now.)

When I built my “dream retirement shop” in 2004, two of the big must have items were:

1) A raised wooden floor. I’ve spent enough years working on concrete floors. No more.

2) If you are going to have a raised floor then get the dust collection and the wiring for the floor tools under it.

I settled on PVC for my system for reasons of cost, availability and because the bore is so smooth. Then I discovered the cost of the fittings.

The obvious choice was abandon the PVC idea or figure out how to make my own fittings.

Here are a few photos I took in the crawl space today. Sorry, I didn’t take any when I was building it. They will give you an Idea of the size of the system. The main is 30’ long x 8”. The secondaries are 6” and there are a few 4” stubs that go to dust only things like my downdraft bench.

As you can see I didn’t actually make “Y” fittings. Instead I avoided both the cost and air turbulence by simply joining long pieces of pipe at whatever angle suited my needs.

Here are close ups of two of the joints.

Making them is easier than you may think. PVC glues well so really all you have to do is figure out how to fit it. My Idea was to turn some drums to the OD’s of the 8” and 6” pipe and then after covering them with sandpaper, remount them in the lathe and use them to “sand to fit” my pieces. I rough cut the pieces and the holes with a jig saw and finished the angled branches with the sanding drums. The through pieces were smoothed with a file.

Here’s about the only photo I have showing the sanding. Man, the static electricity makes that dust stick to EVERYTHING!!!

Because I didn’t have the interlock that normal PVC fittings have I added some epoxy and ‘glass cloth to re-enforce the joints on the outside. The joints were assembled in place and are well supported so there is very little stress on them. They have never given me any trouble in eight years and I would recommend the method to anyone.

Just an addendum to the first part of this blog:

I added some residue collection today to complete the re-fit. The filters I used were closed on one end so I was able to test them for flow yesterday but I felt I could make cleaning them easier if I cut the bottoms out and added some see-through ice cream tubs. Now to clean all I have to do is loosen the bottom nut to remove the tubs and empty them. The filters will remain clamped in place.

I saved enough room to store my ShopSmith 10ER.

Thanks for looking in.

I hope this will help someone. It sure has made my life easier / cheaper.

Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.


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

21 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10153 posts in 4107 days

#1 posted 09-07-2012 11:07 PM


More poetry in motion…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View SPalm's profile


5321 posts in 3936 days

#2 posted 09-07-2012 11:42 PM

Wow. Drool.
Can I come work for you? You are a Class Act +2.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2858 days

#3 posted 09-07-2012 11:55 PM

That is some serious pipe layin for that awesome dust collection system. I’ve been thinking of putting a wood floor overtop of my concrete in my garage shop. Maybe one o these days.

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

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3194 days

#4 posted 09-08-2012 12:15 AM

That’s a great cost saving idea.

Here’s a cool app that lets you print out a template that you can wrap around each pipe and cut out the exact holes needed to join the 2 pipes together.

View DIYaholic's profile


19624 posts in 2729 days

#5 posted 09-08-2012 12:45 AM

Simply brilliant!!! Instead of “Why ask why?”, the phrase is now “Why PAY for Y”!!! Your construction technique combined with Sarit’s link, make this a simple cost effective solution to many a LJs DC (& financial) headaches. I think many are going to be implementing (read: copying) your approach to running DC!!!

Thanks, for quickly blogging your DC innovation.

-- 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 shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2852 days

#6 posted 09-08-2012 12:53 AM

Sarit, That would have been helpful back when I was doing this but it’s not that hard to just scribe it from the work.

Thanks for the link.

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

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3363 days

#7 posted 09-08-2012 01:00 AM

I like the ice cream buckets…in fact I really like ice cream…! When my wife and I go shopping I can now have a reason to buy a couple of the large containers of cookies and cream instead of the measly 1/2 gallon containers…
Have you connected any blast gates to your PVC Y connectors Paul? I want to add a 8” Y with two blast gates just before the filter intake…This way I can have one directed outside weather permitting and the other directed to the filter when the A/C or heat is on.
My cyclone system has a cleanout at the bottom but I still have to remove the filter each time I empty the 35 gallon drum and take it outside and blow it out with the compressor. I probably create a lot of finer dust with all the grinding I do on my boxes.
How frequently do you find yourself cleaning your filters?
I have been considering converting over to 2 filters in hopes of reduced back pressure/increased suction.

View sedcokid's profile


2733 posts in 3653 days

#8 posted 09-08-2012 01:16 AM

Paul, you have a beautiful shop and a dream dust collection system! You are a very talented craftsman.

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3133 days

#9 posted 09-08-2012 01:54 AM

What a system Paul ! ! ! ! Since my shop is the garage, I would have to secure the pipes along the ceiling. Thanx !

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2744 days

#10 posted 09-08-2012 02:14 AM

Paul, This setup is so practical (typical of all your innovations). Even your PVC joinery is flawless! Is there anything you can’t build?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View rance's profile


4259 posts in 3215 days

#11 posted 09-08-2012 02:41 AM

I was given the compliment “The brilliance of simplicity!” on my disposable kerfmaker. Paul, you’ve past that by miles. And a very elegant solution. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Yeah, given your clever antics here, I too would be interested to see what you did for blast gates.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3767 days

#12 posted 09-08-2012 03:54 AM


Brilliant . . . like all your innovations!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2852 days

#13 posted 09-08-2012 05:00 AM

I’ll shoot some blast gate pics tomorrow.
Some of them are a little different.

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

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3140 days

#14 posted 09-08-2012 03:29 PM

I really like that raised wood floor in your shop, it does make it a lot easier on you feet and legs. Your early
work on boats and ability to think and plan ahead has really paid off for both you and those of us who you
share your ideas with. While you can not take us on as apprentices in your shop, by sharing these ideas and
skills with us in your blogs and projects, I feel that you have a large number of apprentices scattered across
the world who are learning a lot from you. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View mafe's profile


11739 posts in 3144 days

#15 posted 09-09-2012 03:36 PM

Nice setup there, I love your order.
I think the template program is brilliant (thx for link).
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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