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Forum topic by Will Merrit posted 03-09-2016 10:42 PM 1011 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Will Merrit

86 posts in 863 days

03-09-2016 10:42 PM

I have a need for a dust collection system in my shop, the dust in my lungs has me coughing roughly. I really need a whole system for the shop not just a roll around shopvac with seperator. I have a large 220v squirrel cage furnace blower but not sure if it would work out as a dust collector. Any one tried this?

I also could buy a blowup castle blower too.

I don’t mind sweeping so might be best for me to use the furnace blower to make a air purifier instead of going the dust collector route, thoughts?

Shop – 16’x32’ 8’ceiling.


16 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1422 days

#1 posted 03-09-2016 11:15 PM

There is dust & there is dust. The lumpy stuff should fall out at the cyclonic separator. The lumpy stuff makes a mess in the shop but doesn’t cause the lung harm that ultra fine dust causes (5 to 1 micron). It’s the small stuff that messes you up. I have a 0.5um filter bag that captures most everything. If you can only afford one, get the filter bag on anything you come up with.

Notice the hose clamps on the fittings. Most outer halves of the ‘slip fit’ fittings had to be X cut and band clamped to physically hold and stay sealed.

Buy metal blast gates.

The first T is the 2-1/2” small tool port. The lower 4” legs goes to the saw and the end port is on flex hose to the planer.

Wear a mask for the ultra fine that comes off the top of the blade while cutting.


-- Madmark -

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1121 days

#2 posted 03-09-2016 11:19 PM

You need both, a dust collector to the machines and air filtration. For air filtration I have 3; 20” box fans hung from the ceiling with Merf 8, 2” pleated filters on them, filters cost 4.00 at the BB stores and the fans 20.00 each, and they are quieter then the regular air filtration box items and move more air. After 6 months in a basement shop, 15×15 ft, hardly any dust on horizontal surfaces, with a DC with a 30 micron bag in the same room, if it was 5 or less micron I bet it would even be less dust in the air.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View Lazyman's profile


1891 posts in 1357 days

#3 posted 03-09-2016 11:34 PM

What’s the horse power of the blower motor? Do you also have the squirrel cage fan and enclosure? You can usually move a lot of air fairly quietly with those which would probably be good for a good air cleaner with intake and exhaust filters to help clean what is already floating around in the air. There are a bunch of plans out there for building those. Depending upon the HP, might not be good for a dust collector. You can find a some examples on Youtube of people who have built their own dust collectors but most are relatively small. You may be better off buying a dust collector depending upon the size of your shop and the number of machines you want to add dust collection to. Lots of people swear by the the Harbor Freight DC (don’t have one myself) and if you catch it on sale they are probably the cheapest one to buy.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Will Merrit's profile

Will Merrit

86 posts in 863 days

#4 posted 03-09-2016 11:42 PM

Thanks for all the replies. The furnace still has the frame I plan on putting it in a enclosed with filtration. I just had a friend find me a free DC. See below.

Now all I needed to do is make thedits filtration with the blower motor.

View becikeja's profile


870 posts in 2783 days

#5 posted 03-10-2016 12:30 AM

I recently built a box filter using a furnace motor works great at pulling the dust out of the air based on the frequency I have to clean the filter.
But even with that addition to the shop, I still found myself using a sinus decongestant most evenings after being in the shop. I finally broke down and purchased a 3M respirator model 7503 and P100 filters. Best money I ever spent. I have not had any sinus issues since. Dust collectors and air filters help, but the respirator was the final answer.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View JBrow's profile


1350 posts in 890 days

#6 posted 03-10-2016 05:02 AM

Will Merrit,

I agree with MadMark, the dust you cannot see is the dangerous dust. The body does a decent job of filtering larger stuff before it hits your lungs, but the larger stuff does get into the sinuses and can lead to infection or more serious problems long-term, but is mostly a nuisance for me. Since you are coughing and have linked it to your woodworking, it sounds to me like you are getting dust in the lungs.

To fully address your problem, especially with a large shop, will be expensive and a four prong approach is presented. Least to most costly the upgrades are:

First is a NIOSH 95 dust mask. If clean shaven so the mask fits tight, it is extremely effective.

The second is air filtration. The squirrel cage fan you have could work well for this. Equipping the air filtration system with a filter rated for extremely fine dust filtration is best.

The third is outfitting the shop vac with a dust separator, like a cyclone. This will keep the HEPA filter that, if installed in the shp vac, will remove most of the really fine dust when used. The cyclone will capture the large particles and protect the HEPA filter from clogging. Otherwise the fine dust picked up just gets blown into the air where it can be breathed in. Gore makes shop vac HEPA filters.

Last is a powerful central 2 stage dust collector that will pick up most of the dust generated by tools at the source, keeping a lot of dust out of the air. The cyclone or properly constructed thein baffle will protect the HEPA filters in the second stage, keeping the dust collecting performing well longer. The dust collector should have a large specially designed impeller powered by a 3 hp or larger motor and move a lot of air at high static pressures to be effective. Coupled with the dust collector is construction of dust pickups at each machine. Unless you have an industrial high hp rated large squirrel cage fan that moves 2300 cfm at 0 static pressure, I doubt that you can achieve effective at-the-tool dust collection.

View Will Merrit's profile

Will Merrit

86 posts in 863 days

#7 posted 03-10-2016 05:49 AM

Thanks to all of you I will be putting this to use. Anyone recognize the pic of the dust collector above?

View AZWoody's profile


1325 posts in 1193 days

#8 posted 03-10-2016 06:10 AM

If you say you’re already feeling the effects of dust then you really shouldn’t try to go cheap and do half measures. A cough may seem inconvenient but it could also be the start of some worse problems that are caused by exposure to fine dust particles.

Do your research and then you can decide what’s the best way to protect yourself. Most people will spend many thousands on expensive machines for their shop and then spend as little as possible for dust collection and convince themselves it’s doing a great job.

Look up Bill Pentz and start reading his research. That will at least get you on the right track. Then you can make a decision on which way to go. In the end, each person has to make a decision as to their own health and what’s worth it to them.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#9 posted 03-10-2016 07:58 AM

Furnace fan will work for an air filter, will NOT work for a dust collector.
A good dust collector will have the ability to capture particles down to below 1 micron.
That is best done with a cartridge type filter element.
Since a cartridge filter will plug up with fine dust over time they are often combined with a cyclone as a primary filter and then the cartridge as the final.
Unless you do a lot of reading and have a very good understanding of the physics involved you are better off to buy a full package professionally designed and built.

View rwe2156's profile


2886 posts in 1450 days

#10 posted 03-10-2016 12:21 PM

What crank ^^ said + personal respirator!!

Installing an OSHA/Pentz type DC system is thousands of $$’s. A full face mask is <$50.

If you’re having respiratory issues, it may not just be dust it may be the type of wood also.

If you are working with MDF or Chinese made plywood I’d say be very cautious.
I think a mask + lots of ventilation + and air filter is a must.

Best just not to use that stuff. You’re smart to do something about it quickly.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View JBrow's profile


1350 posts in 890 days

#11 posted 03-10-2016 03:15 PM

Will Merrit,

I was thinking about your coughing. While it may be attributable to dust in the lungs, it could be something different. If the cough has been a persistent on-going problem, seeing a doctor to make sure you remain healthy is something to consider. Maybe the cough is unrelated to woodworking.

View b2rtch's profile


4851 posts in 3018 days

#12 posted 03-10-2016 03:31 PM

In the past I would step in my shop in the morning and I would immediately start coughing.
I built a air cleaner, it solved the issue= no more coughing

I also have a Clear View, which helps a lot.

-- Bert

View Will Merrit's profile

Will Merrit

86 posts in 863 days

#13 posted 03-10-2016 03:45 PM

Thanks for all the concern but I have bigger fish to fry right now. We made national news yesterday here in Monroe, LA due to flooding. Literally have inches to go before it comes in! Prayers appreciated

View b2rtch's profile


4851 posts in 3018 days

#14 posted 03-10-2016 03:54 PM

Praying for you and for your neighbors.

-- Bert

View Lazyman's profile


1891 posts in 1357 days

#15 posted 03-10-2016 03:59 PM

Thanks to all of you I will be putting this to use. Anyone recognize the pic of the dust collector above?

- Will Merrit

Looks like a Delta. If you look at that black label right below the motor, it should have the model number and you can probably find manuals and specs online.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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