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Dust collection for small shop

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Forum topic by Ian S posted 01-14-2017 05:49 PM 929 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ian S

33 posts in 537 days


01-14-2017 05:49 PM

I’ve been trying to do due diligence by researching through all the archives here and elsewhere … but could still use a little advice, on getting dust collection properly going in my new, small shop.

So let me give you some info on the shop:
It’s a freestanding building, about 10×20, with two windows and a fairly low (~7’) insulated ceiling. Some of that floor space is taken up by a 5×3 rolling workbench, and by my r4512 table saw. The main things we’ll do that generate dust are:

I could imagine we might eventually add a small planer, but probably never a jointer bc there just isn’t space in this footprint. Also important: we are intermittent hobbyists here, and only use the shop a couple weekends each month (at least so far).

All that said, I am trying to figure out how much dust collection we really need.
We already have a 6hp Ridgid shop vac + Dust Deputy, which seems to work pretty well when attached to our sanders. We haven’t tested yet with the table saw but I would guess it would capture much of the visible stuff. I am aware though, that shop vacs aren’t great for capturing the tiny stuff. We also wear masks sometimes AND more helpfully we have a hanging Powermatic air cleaner.

The main question is: given our machines and level of usage, how much DC would you think we really need? Is the shop vac + dust deputy adequate, or not?

And then, if we DO upgrade to a real DC, I am guessing that starting with the [Harbor Freight model + Wynn cartridge + adding a separator baffle into the center ring of the DC] will get us going pretty well. All that can be done for maybe $300 – $400, including the Wynn filter and extra fittings and hoses.

Thoughts? Am I on the right track here? Thanks in advance.


17 replies so far

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Ian S

33 posts in 537 days


#1 posted 01-14-2017 05:51 PM

Follow-up: I have also seen some of the noted distinctions between the Harbor Freight DC and the more reputable step-ups such as Grizzly—realism of the HP rating, size of the impeller, etc.

So IF you’d recommend that we do upgrade to a real DC, you are welcome to give a recommendation and reasoning for something nicer. Ideally we’d get our entire DC situation sorted out for $500 or less, and with a small enough footprint that it isn’t taking up an inconvenient portion of our shop.

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Carloz

989 posts in 431 days


#2 posted 01-14-2017 06:23 PM

Your Ridgid is good enough for a sander. With a table saw it is as good as nothing.
All dust collectors work similarly I really doubt there could be anything significantly more effective on 120V than Harbor Freight dust collector. It has a 2HP motor which is the larger motor you can feed from 120V as for the impeller size it is appropriate for the 2HP motor. Going with the more expensive brands you get get better build and reliability but not necessary better suction. Stick with HF when it is on sale it is a nobrainer.

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EugdOT

214 posts in 395 days


#3 posted 01-14-2017 07:16 PM

I found it that as your projects increase, so will your inability to deal with dust, I use both my dust collectior and shop vac for different parts of the project. Shop vac mostly to hook up to a sander, pocket holes, router, all big power tools are run with the dust collector system

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bigblockyeti

4698 posts in 1560 days


#4 posted 01-14-2017 07:25 PM

Sounds like your current vac/dust deputy system would be adequate. If you do get a planer and plan on using it much, that setup could become very inconvenient based on the sheer volume of chips a planer can generate. IMHO, I would take the plunge and get a Grizzly when you have the need and skip the HF collector completely as you’ll likely want to upgrade from that some time after you put it to use. It’ll be cheaper to buy the more expensive one first instead of buying it second and a lesser machine first.

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onoitsmatt

368 posts in 1016 days


#5 posted 01-14-2017 07:51 PM

You might check out the Rikon 63-100. Small, reasonably quiet and filters to 0.5 microns out of the box at about $200. General International has a similar unit for about $125.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

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Ian S

33 posts in 537 days


#6 posted 01-14-2017 07:52 PM



... I would take the plunge and get a Grizzly when you have the need and skip the HF collector completely as you ll likely want to upgrade from that some time after you put it to use. It ll be cheaper to buy the more expensive one first instead of buying it second and a lesser machine first.

- bigblockyeti

What would you say is the reason(s) that I will want to upgrade so predictably?

And when you say the Grizzly … is even the basic 1HP Grizzly superior to the “2HP” Harbor Freight? Or do you mean I’ll want to upgrade to the 1.5HP one?

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bigblockyeti

4698 posts in 1560 days


#7 posted 01-14-2017 09:34 PM

I think the main reason you’d want to upgrade is for better performance and better build quality. I do believe the HF from a performance standpoint would be slightly better than the 1hp Grizzly, I do not believe the build quality is even close to what Grizzly offers. While the 1.5hp Grizzly looks very similar to the HF, the performance is allegedly better and the build quality, again, far superior.

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Kelly

1821 posts in 2784 days


#8 posted 01-15-2017 12:19 AM

I have three dust collectors and as many vacuums. The biggest is a three horse with two filters and collection boxes. The smallest is a Jet Vortex 1-1/2 horse. In the middle is a Harbor Freight “2 horse.”

The HF replaced a one horse Delta dedicated to the miter, and was a night and day jump. I pulled the old miter hood in anticipation of replacing it with a more compact, nylon one. Meanwhile, the hose is just wired near the back of the blade and it grabs all but a little coming off the blade.

The short of it is, the HF will not compete with my big boy, but is a pretty decent unit and well worth considering.

As to the night and day difference between the HF collector and a one horse Delta, the difference would be times a bunch, if I compared going from a shop vac to even the previous one horse. Because the HF is far superior to a one horse, the difference between it and a shop vac would be indescribable.

As others pointed out, the shop vac is still gold for other applications, like sanders. You may have to create a connector that will allow you to reduce suction. For example, I drilled holes in a hose end, near the tool, to reduce suction when running my Festool random orbit sander. If you don’t, you’ll slow the spin down when the vac pulls it against the wood (experiment).

Because your shop is small and you’ll have a small collection system, regardless of how you go, keep the hoses short to avoid line loss. That means forget fancy permanent lines and blast gates, since those would require longer runs and turns, each of which is a big reduction on draw.

In the end, good dust collection will spoil you. I’ve lived with it and [decades] without and cannot picture going back. For example, I vacuum my floor with a four inch wand in half the time, or less, than with a vac. When I run my router table, barely a teaspoon of dust escapes (one pickup at the fence and one off the box covering the router). Too, I built a sanding station and put a hood over and around it and don’t have to deal with the mess that would, without it, be a problem.

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Ian S

33 posts in 537 days


#9 posted 01-15-2017 12:24 AM

Super helpful, thanks folks. I think I’ll go ahead with the HF. Since we’ve never even used a proper DC before and are simply used to a shop vac, going with the HF will probably be a huge jump in performance already. I’ll add a center-ring Thien baffle as a first step, and see how that works to reduce the crap that gets into the top bag. Adding a Wynn cartridge will (remarkably) be more expensive than the HF unit itself, so I might try the Donaldson truck filter approach and see if I can hack something together that’s worth the time.

Grazie!

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jimintx

513 posts in 1424 days


#10 posted 01-24-2017 02:47 PM

... All dust collectors work similarly I really doubt there could be anything significantly more effective on 120V than Harbor Freight dust collector. ...

This may well be correct. It does make me feel a little bad about having spent the money a couple of years back to get a PM1300TX-CK w/cannister. This machine will not fit in the budget that Ian S has in mind.

I got it as I was putting together a “real” shop, and I wanted to be as dust free as I could manage. I do think it works really well, and pulls a lot of air through. It is equipped with a 120/220v motor, rated at 1.75HP. I currently run it by itself on a 120v circuit. Converting it to 220v would only make it get up to full speed slightly faster when it is switched on, and would not change the HP or RPM of the motor.

Sitting here right now, I can’t readily access the air flow, CFM, data for any collection machines.
I suggest that CFM ratings offer good comparison points.
.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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TungOil

748 posts in 335 days


#11 posted 01-24-2017 03:03 PM

One thing to consider is whether you can locate the DC outside your shop, on the other side of the wall, and run duct through the wall. 10×20 is about the size of a 1 car garage so space will be at a premium. It will be much quieter outside the shop s well.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Ian S

33 posts in 537 days


#12 posted 01-24-2017 03:16 PM

FWIW I did end up buying the HF DC. Have yet to assemble it yet. Right now I am busy building a thien baffle insert for my shop vac, kind of like the one pictured at the bottom of this thread. Admittedly it’s a bit of a distraction.

Thanks for all the feedback though. It is indeed a small shop and it’s getting crowded in there. But, everything is mobile on wheels and I’m trying to store as much as humanly possible up off the floor on the wall or ceiling, or even on the exterior of the building. We’ll see how it goes. If the DC is just impractical then I can always locate it outside later :-)

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Kelly

1821 posts in 2784 days


#13 posted 01-24-2017 06:23 PM

To solve the problem of dust escaping around the bag and bag clamp, I bought and installed foam used for installing car campers. It worked on my HF “2hp” and my Jet four bagger too.

A roll of the stuff is only about five bucks, so, with shipping, you can get in for under ten.

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woodbutcherbynight

3650 posts in 2249 days


#14 posted 01-25-2017 03:00 AM

Watch a few of Matthais Wandel videos on the subject of dust collection. Now he makes his own collectors and such but as of late he has forwarded the idea of a shop vac type deal for each machine. Great idea if you have the space, or perhaps a hybrid idea for those machines like a Tablesaw that are in the center of a shop and harder to get a fixed DC to. Unless you have access under the floor. The idea is sound in that you get more suction from a short run verses longer. That said you also have more places to empty as a result. I do not have a perfect answer but give it a look, perhaps a little of both is a good fit.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Kelly

1821 posts in 2784 days


#15 posted 01-25-2017 04:13 AM

I have three dust collectors, a horse and a half Jet with a canister, a two horse HF with an aftermarket bag and a Jet three horse four bagger. The HF exists for the miter. The little Jet works on the band saw, edge sander, spindle spindle sander or the PM drum-disc sander. The Jet four bagger works for the planner, jointer, sanding station, lathes, or the router station. It also doubles as my doubly fast floor vac.

I tried the vacuum on my cabinet saw, back in the day. Was, barely, worth the bother. I’ve had a vac on my miter and it’s disappointing, but my two horse collector does great. My three horse works great for the cabinet saw, pulling off the top and bottom at the same time. In short, a vac is no real competition for a collector for most equipment, including router tables. A vac would be worthless on my sanding table.

In contrast to all the foregoing, a shop vac is much better than any of my collectors for most hand tools, though I do set up a four inch hose near some operations, to supplement the vac.

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