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Whole house shop vac as a dust collector

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Forum topic by Cory posted 01-08-2010 06:06 PM 5366 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cory

755 posts in 2879 days


01-08-2010 06:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collection whole house vac eureka question

I have a whole house vac (Eureka The Boss) mounted in my garage with part of the piping exposed.

I’m thinking of tapping into the piping and running an additional line for my drill press, CMS, and router table. Does anyone have any experience doing that? I was going to buy the 2 1/2” set from Lee Valley with blast gates, pipe, etc. and then hook up either my Dust Deputy or a Thien modded container before the dust would get to my vac.

In the house, I have the automated gates so that when you plug in the hose it starts sucking automatically. How do I hook up my tools and turn on the vac for intermittent tool use?

Thanks for the help!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.


16 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2528 days


#1 posted 01-08-2010 06:29 PM

It would probably work…......sorta. – lol

Vacuums work by generating a high air flow velocity (fps), but in a relatively small diameter hose. True dust collectors generate a high volume flow rate (cfm) in a larger diameter hose or duct (typically 4”). The difference shows up in the volume of air pulled in at the end of the hose. You gotta get pretty close to stuff to pick it up with a vacuum, but a decent DC will suck pets and small children from a few feet away from the hose. – lol

Your idea would probably work fairly well on your drill press, but probably not so well on your CMS and router table. These tools need a very high volume flow rate to collect the dust.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#2 posted 01-08-2010 06:37 PM

I get pretty decent dust collection at the router table using a Sears 16 gallon shop vac with a Dust Deputy. I don’t know how the suction power of your house vac compares to a good size shop vac, but if it is similar I think your idea would work pretty well.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Cory's profile

Cory

755 posts in 2879 days


#3 posted 01-08-2010 06:41 PM

My whole house vac sucks just as much, if not more, as my shop vac. I know it doesn’t replace a dedicated DC, but I’m not trying to.

My real hold up is in getting the vac to turn on when I’m using the tools, but still turn on automatically when I plug in the hose in the house. I can’t quite figure that part out.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2723 posts in 2892 days


#4 posted 01-08-2010 06:43 PM

I would check on this carefully. I think these machines would not survive much in the way of sawdust or other really fine dust. I think Charlie’s idea of a shop vac is a better one. I don’t think a whole house central vac is designed to do what you will be asking it to do.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

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CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#5 posted 01-08-2010 06:44 PM

Ellen, I don’t know if you are familiar with the Dust Deputy cyclone attachment, but it keeps virtually 100% of the dust from getting to the vac itself.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#6 posted 01-08-2010 06:48 PM

Cory, I’m no electrician. But in theory, the only way I can see to solve the automatic turn on problem would be to wire in some sort of a/b switch so you could put the vac either in house mode or shop mode.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4224 posts in 3194 days


#7 posted 01-08-2010 06:58 PM

The central vac in my old shop had a switch on the side of the canister, so it could be operated without plugging in the hose upstairs. My unit had a transformer supplying low voltage to the gate, and the circuit was closed simply by plugging in the metal end of the hose. I’d find the electrical leads to the gate and simply put another switch in the line so that you could turn it on or off manually. Mine was great for fine dust from saws sanders and routers, it only had a problem with planer or jointer shavings which were easily clogged in the 1 1/2” hose. A 2 1/2” hose and dust deputy is a great idea!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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ellen35

2723 posts in 2892 days


#8 posted 01-08-2010 08:03 PM

I have a dust deputy. My filter got clogged and my shop vac filled up – You do need to be careful!
I too have a whole house vac and I would not take the chance… a $60 shop vac is a lot cheaper to replace than a whole house vac motor! I’m just saying….

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Cory's profile

Cory

755 posts in 2879 days


#9 posted 01-08-2010 08:17 PM

Ellen: You’re absolutely right. I would have to be careful and the motor is a heckuvalot more expensive than a shop vac. I’ve been using the DD for quite a while and about once a month I check my shop vac filter. I’ve only had to “clean it” one time. That consisted of taking it outside and banging it against the wall. The fine dust in the filter just floated away and the filter was nearly as good as new.

Charlie: Good idea on the a/b switch. That would be really easy to do.

poopiekat: I don’t think my vac has a manual switch. if it does, I haven’t seen it.

I think I’ll try Charlie’s idea and see how that works. I’m not going to permanently mount anything until I’ve used it for a while.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#10 posted 01-08-2010 08:17 PM

I actually used to install those central vacuum systems when I lived in LA. they are very powerful for a vacuum system, and should be ok for your router and drill press, also should be decent for the CMS as long as you have a good setup that directs the chips/dust to the hose.

the automatic switch is wired to all the blast gages in your house. there are 2 metal contacts in each blast gate, and there’s a metal ring on the vacuum handle/hose which closes the electric circuit when plugged in (some models also have a switch on the handle which gives you another way to open/close that circuit). you could tap into that electric (it’s low voltage, and doesn’t actually carry the 120v on it – it’s just a remote switch mechanism) circuit and add manual switches near each machien that you want to connect to this piping.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#11 posted 01-08-2010 08:18 PM

PM me if you need assistance with this setup.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#12 posted 01-08-2010 08:31 PM

Ellen, that’s interesting. I use mine a lot, and every time I check the vac itself. it’s empty and the filter looks pristine. Now you’ve got me a little paranoid because I have not checked it in a while, so that will be the first thing I do when I get home this evening.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Cory's profile

Cory

755 posts in 2879 days


#13 posted 01-08-2010 09:09 PM

As usual, there’s an abundance of knowledge here. Thank you all very much for the help.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Viking's profile

Viking

878 posts in 2655 days


#14 posted 01-08-2010 09:15 PM

Agree with most of the comments above. Would not take the chance of damaging whole house machine which would, most likely, be disappointing with larger hose, especially 4”.

I also have the Dust Deputy attached to my 6.5 HP, 20 gallone Craftsman shop vac. I hooked up the Dust Deputy when the shop vac was brand new, about 6 months ago, and when I opened the shop vac last weekend it was as clean as when it came out of the box.

Also have the Woodcraft trashcan cyclone lid, on a 30 gal trashcan in front of my Delta dust collector. After over a year haveless than an inch of dust in bottom of dust collector bag but have emptied the 1st stage can several times.

I am very pleased with both.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2723 posts in 2892 days


#15 posted 01-08-2010 09:16 PM

I discovered my filter was clogged and my shop vac half full when my suction dropped markedly. I cleaned out all the hoses (they were clean to begin with!) and checked the DD – it was near full but not overflowing. When I checked my shop vac, it was half full… I’m not sure what happened but I too am a little paranoid and check it often!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

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