Shop Vac dust collection?

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Forum topic by WillTheEngineer posted 07-03-2010 04:55 PM 6393 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 2305 days

07-03-2010 04:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip jig trick

All, this is my second post, so sorry if this has been discussed before (I searched before posting, but no luck). My question is:
Use my big Ridgid “shop vac” 6.5 hp with 190 CFM in a 2.5” hose, with a home built 5 gallon bucket separator (cyclone type) ~$20, or just buy a 2.5 hp/gallon small shop vac from Lowes on sale this weekend for $20, 130 CFM in a 1.25” hose….?
I keep all my tools on casters, and wheel them from the garage to the drive way (at least most of the time..). So I usually don’t have to worry about dusty air accumulation..

Tools it will be used for are :
10” table saw
14” band saw
Router table
Miter saw
…and used for basic clean up…
The idea, is to keep wear and tear, down on my big vac….even though I just do about 1 project every two months or so..
Now that I write this, I’m probably just going to do both…..but, I’m interested to know any additional points you experienced people could point out to me…..the pressure/air flow/volume is probably going to over rule.

Thank You

6 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2491 days

#1 posted 07-03-2010 07:29 PM

When you say “keep wear and tear down on my big vac” are you talking about a conventional dust collector?

If so, I don’t see the need to worry about wear and tear on the dust collector. They are built to run many, many hours.

Personally, I don’t like shop vacs because they are so much noisier than dust collectors (Festool is the exception).

If you don’t have a dust collector, I recommend them over shop vacs. Grizzly as a couple of 2 hp models for under $300. They even have a 1 hp for $149.

Park a dust collector in one location and use the Rockler Dust Right system to connect to your tools (or clean up the floor). You’ll live happily ever after.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbhost's profile


5589 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 07-03-2010 08:00 PM

I started out with shop vac (Ridgid 12 gallon 6.5 HP, most likely the same unit you are talking about) rigged with a HEPA filter, and a Thien separator. It worked okay, but the planer and jointer jammed it up something fierce every time I used it…

Harbor Freight sells a 2HP dust collector, rig up a Thien separator based on 4” from there, put a pleated filter, or at least a 1 micron bag, and have a good go at it…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2491 days

#3 posted 07-03-2010 09:43 PM

By the way – Be leery of claims that something has 6.5 hp. There is no standard way of measuring hp. Often these claims of 5+ hp from a relatively small motor is based on “dying power”.

They consider the force exerted for the micro second that the implement hits a stationary object and, based on that force, they calculate a hp. It’s meaningless.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3065 days

#4 posted 07-03-2010 09:49 PM

1. I would just ad a separator to your existing shop-vac. there is no need to add a 2nd one for ‘wear and tear’ prevention. those machines are build to run, and when eventually they run out, they can be replaced. with your volume of work as you described it – I doubt you’ll overwork your shop vac anytime soon.

2. A shop vac will be adequate for certain jobs, but if you really do plan on taking this hobby more seriously, then for anything that is considered a stationary tool (Table saw, bandsaw, planer, jointer, router TABLE) you should really invest in a dust collector. they are less noisy than the screaming shop vacs, and they have a much much higher CFM which those machines will require (esp. planer and jointer). this will leave your shopvac for what it’s best at – shop vacumming and general clean up.

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

View William Bentley Jr's profile

William Bentley Jr

79 posts in 2303 days

#5 posted 07-03-2010 10:08 PM

hEY EVERYBODY, I use this set up 5.5 hp shop vac for dust collection, the 2 inch hose fits perfectly into my miter saw. On the table saw I got a roof vent and mounted it to the uderside of the table I built and the hose fits perfect. Seeing how i have a small shop this works great for me

-- William, ,

View WillTheEngineer's profile


67 posts in 2305 days

#6 posted 07-03-2010 10:42 PM

Thanks for the points….you now have me looking at dust collectors…of which I never thought I would buy! I may just go with a separator/shop vac, but I do like the idea of less noise.

Any suggestion on a space saving (vertical), low noise dust collector?
Dbhost, do you have experience with Harbor Freight’s DC?
Anyone used Rockler’s?

Thanks for all the help, most of the work I did before college was just outside, not using dust collectors.

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