Harbor Freight 2HP Dust Collector

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Forum topic by Lee Imbimbo posted 03-20-2010 07:14 AM 34266 views 17 times favorited 87 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lee Imbimbo

69 posts in 3068 days

03-20-2010 07:14 AM

So I went into Harbor Freight Today, many just to pick up some cheap wood clamps, and low and behold they are selling a Central Machinery 2HP 1550 CFM Bag Dust Collector. Now I know Harbor Freight is the cheapest of the cheap, and that you can’t exactly rely on it’s capability. However, I’m thinking that this current sale they are having on the item would be worth taking advantage of as a decent interim solution until I can really afford a true dust collector.

The item is currently on sale

Even if it works at half the capacity that it claims we are talking about 775 CFM which is pretty decent.

Ultimately what I really really want is a cyclone from Clearvue, but that is at least several years away. And in the meantime if I could come up with a cheap option than that’s even better.

I maybe able to even make my own cyclone for it, and use it. Even if the thing only lasts a few years I would think it could still be worth it.

So what does the Lumberjocks forum think. Not even worth trying, or decent interim option until you can afford something more reasonable?

I could even upgrade it a little with a trash-can lid separator and a 1 micron canister filter rather than the crappy 5 micron bag filter.

87 replies so far

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3299 days

#1 posted 03-20-2010 07:20 AM

They are the best value DC available.

The best part is if you get your finger stuck in the impeller you can sue them for not having an impellerstop.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3170 days

#2 posted 03-20-2010 07:23 AM

Lots of us have one.

I do.

I would—in all sincerity—suggest a forum search.

The overall opinion is uniformly pretty high. Many have added a cartridge filter for increased air flow and better filtration.

If you do a Google search, in addition, you’ll find other mods (eg, “stovepipe modification”) that other users have made to get even better performance out of theirs.

Mine has the Wynn 35A cartridge filter, and is hooked to a remote control. I also run a Woodcraft Trash Can Cyclone Lid sitting atop a 30gal metal trash can. Does a great job.

I’m a one-man shop, so … no ducting or blast gates. I just move the hose from machine to machine. Works quite well, for my needs … and … for my $$$!

You did good!

-- -- Neil

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3454 days

#3 posted 03-20-2010 07:25 AM

I was looking to buy this with the coupon in a recent issue of Wood Magazine… now I don’t have to cut up the magazine :) Just ordered one, thanks for the heads up :)

-- San Diego, CA

View Lee Imbimbo's profile

Lee Imbimbo

69 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 03-20-2010 07:33 AM

But abbott if I only loss one finger than it will look like I was cautiously trying to hurt myself, seeing as I’d have to sacrifice my left pinky. I think I might have to make it more believable, maybe be willing to loss an arm or something =D.

I just found myself starring at the thing and thinking well crap it’s almost worth it just to scrap it and turn it into a modified cyclone. Thanks for the advice guys. Does anyone else have any suggestions.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3299 days

#5 posted 03-20-2010 07:42 AM

Does anyone else have any suggestions.

Yes, put one of these in front of it, you’ll love it. Thein cyclone

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 3236 days

#6 posted 03-20-2010 08:56 AM


I have one with the aformentioned Thien Separator. Works great! GO FOR IT!!

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View pneufab's profile


113 posts in 3076 days

#7 posted 03-20-2010 02:31 PM

Just in case anyone needs a coupon for the store to honor the pricing. This was in my inbox yesterday (so you don’t have to cut up your WOOD magazine like I did a week ago). Good through 3/24.


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#8 posted 03-20-2010 06:23 PM

I have the HF collector with bags (1 micron) that I bought from Highland Woodworking. Works just fine for my applications.


View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3127 days

#9 posted 03-20-2010 06:26 PM

I’m using it as is, and it’s a significant upgrade from my old Craftsman 600ffm collector. I bought it with the intent on using the motor and blower to build a cyclone. If you use Bill Pentz’s plans, it’ll result in a fairly large cyclone. An alternative is the Wood magazine cyclone plans. Not sure if or when I’ll ever do it, but it does work great as is.

-- Gerry,

View Lee Imbimbo's profile

Lee Imbimbo

69 posts in 3068 days

#10 posted 03-20-2010 07:25 PM

I’m just staring at the $140 price tag and thinking man that is about as cheap as it gets. From other’s posts on the website it would even appear that it is possible to upgrade the filter quiet significantly which would help come close to meeting Bill Pentz’s filtration specifications.

I was also thinking that it would be easy to either one build a cyclone or use something like the Super Dust Deputy in combination with it to get a trying cyclone separator.

Anything thoughts from the peanut gallery.

View Drew's profile


350 posts in 3096 days

#11 posted 03-20-2010 07:26 PM

“Lots of us have one.

I do.”



View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3170 days

#12 posted 03-20-2010 07:34 PM

Lee Imbimbo:


Mine’s just a f’rinstance:

I can’t speak for CFM changes directly attributable to either the cyclone/separator OR the Wynn. Maybe others can.

All I can say (reiterate) is that … the setup works quite well, for me, given I only ever ask it to work with a single tool, at any given time—table saw, band saw, planer, jointer, router table, etc., etc.

Would I keep this DC, if/when I decide to plumb the entire shop, using blast gates? Probably. It’s probably also possible to use TWO machines, in parallel, to work in such a system.

I think I have $260 into the whole thing … plus another $50 for the remote control. I’m perfectly happy with the performance AND the price (a/k/a value).

-- -- Neil

View dmorgantx's profile


70 posts in 3079 days

#13 posted 03-20-2010 11:48 PM

I’ll weigh in too- I have one of these and am very pleased. I do have to say that rather than ‘cheapest of the cheapest’- I am AMAZED at the quality / what you get for the money.

I did put a Wynn cartridge on mine because I am concerned about the finer dust (@ $110 or something for the .5 micron paper blend).

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3581 days

#14 posted 03-21-2010 12:27 AM

I think this is a great buy for the money I have similar and paid nearly £300 uk each tell me with these fine catridges you can buy for them do they not restrict air flow a lot? I had a friend had one and it kept clogging up.I use mine both indoors and don’t have any problems as yet without them.However they are quite newish.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Lee Imbimbo's profile

Lee Imbimbo

69 posts in 3068 days

#15 posted 03-21-2010 07:08 AM

I’m thinking I’m going to try the setup that NBeener is showing, before modifying it it further. Do the trashcan separators work on par with the more traditional cyclone design? Or is there a downside to using the trashcan designs?

I’m hoping that the whole mess will work out for me, seeing as I’ll only really be hooking it up to one machine at a time.

I wonder if modifying it to handle a 6” duct, like what Bill Pentz suggest would do anything for it?

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