Which is better? Aluminum alloy impeller or steel impeller in a dust collector.

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Forum topic by DocSavage45 posted 02-19-2017 04:04 AM 6570 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8734 posts in 3082 days

02-19-2017 04:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question dust collection milling

Hey knowledgeable LJ’s

I’m reading up on dust collector specifications. I would like your experienced input on which is better and why? I’ve talked to the tech guys at Grizzly and the aluminum alloy has less weight. But is that a good thing?

Planning to upgrade the suction and air movement in my dust collection as I now have heavier duty tools and more dust collection requirements.

I have an older 1.5 hp Delta dust collector with a 30 gallon thein particle collector attached in the garden shed I built next door to my shop.

Wanting to make good practical decisions as it will be my last upgrade.

I appreciate you knowledge and experience.

Thanks !

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

32 replies so far

View AHuxley's profile


874 posts in 3561 days

#1 posted 02-19-2017 04:22 AM

You will see more and more aluminum impellers since they are non-sparking and meet NFPA standards. From an air movement point of view it is the design not the material. The impeller in cyclones don’t get pelted with large chunks so wear is not an issue and since you say it will be your last upgrade I assume you are looking at a cyclone.

If you are indeed looking at a cyclone two names should be at the top of your list, Oneida and Clearvue, the cheaper Grizzly cyclones have poor filtration and the ones with HEPA filters are actually more expensive than Oneida and Clearvue.

The above assumes you are NOT going to vent outside, if so separation percentage and filtration are much less of an issue.

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3816 days

#2 posted 02-19-2017 04:28 AM

Hi Tom
I’m not an expert but I know what has worked for me. I’ve had more expensive units than what I have now .
I had a higher end Oneida years ago and found it did a fine job and I now have more than one HF unit and find they working fine. I know that there’s a big to-do about how fine of dust your DC unit will collect or block depending how you think about it. of course that’s important in the long run. I have chosen to run all of my units outdoors eliminating the need for collecting fine dust particals. I have found I could eliminate costly ducting by having three HF units, all said and done these units cost less than one higher cost and have done a great job for years. If your trying to impress people HF DC units are not the way to go,but if you just want to remove the dust from your shop then save yourself money and frustration of reading tons of reviews and how to’s and keep it simple run your DC unit outside and get A HF unit and see how it works for you.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Kelly's profile


2187 posts in 3183 days

#3 posted 02-19-2017 04:32 AM

I suspect weight isn’t too much an issue, since most reputable companies would account for it in designing their system.

The main thing I’d be concerned about would be debris across the impeller and what it does to the impeller. However, if it’s a system worth having, it’s worth making it a two stage, which solves the debris across the impeller problem. You seem to have solved that problem, so I would not be too concerned about the material the impeller is made from.

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3082 days

#4 posted 02-19-2017 04:58 AM

Thanks AHuxley, Jim, and Kelly!

My dust collector is outside the shop ( in the garden shed next to the shop), with the Thein chip collector that removes particles other than fine dust.

Jim I am looking at space (footprint) of the collectors. Bought a Harbor Freight dust collector (still in the box) as I was thinking about doing what you have done. I’m planning on selling my Delta and the Harbor Freight and opting for a 2 hp unit without a cyclone as I will be using a Thein chip collector.

I’m wanting to get enough suction to pull it away from my cabinet saw or my new 17 inch bandsaw.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View CharlieK's profile


587 posts in 4032 days

#5 posted 02-19-2017 04:59 AM

It’s a great question, Tom. I wish that I lived in a climate where ducting outside was an option. Unfortunately that isn’t practical in Minnesota.

I think the big questions are real world airflow performance and filtration. The test results that I’ve seen in the past would lead me to an Onieda cyclone. Personally, I think they are probably worth the extra cost. That’s easy for me to say though because I am not currently in the market for a new dc.

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3082 days

#6 posted 02-19-2017 05:03 AM

Charlie! Hey wondered if you went underground except on facebook…LOL!

If you have read the thread ( maybe? LOL) My dust collection is exhausted to the single stage bags in my garden shed, after the thein chip collector. The Onida is nice and if it would be in the shop I’d think about it.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Kelly's profile


2187 posts in 3183 days

#7 posted 02-19-2017 05:14 AM

Just for reference, my Oneida Gorilla three horse cyclone had an aluminum impeller. It weighed a bunch.

Another side note is, I, like Jim, got rid of my big boy and now have three little collectors (a HF 2hp and two Jets, a 1-1/2 and 3hp). It made more sense than turning a monster on, which is not designed to be turned off and on repeatedly.

View Redoak49's profile


3742 posts in 2228 days

#8 posted 02-19-2017 05:54 AM

The design of the impeller is more important than the material.

However, the important thing is to match your dust collector to your needs and goals. In my opinion, Oneida publishes some pretty accurate performance curves. Also, Wood magazine has done good testing.

You have to decide what you want to do, how much cfm and static pressure you need, what type filtration and then pick a unit. Yes, a lot of work or just buy one and guess.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3542 days

#9 posted 02-19-2017 06:16 AM

now Doc you said something that im not sure about, you said this would be your last upgrade, now after watching your track record im not sure i can go along with that, you really think this will be your last upgrade, now i dont want to be a doubting thomas herebut….the proof will be in the pudding….lol….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3607 days

#10 posted 02-19-2017 06:47 AM

Doc, I don’t know about all the things others are talking about, but I do know your question. Your DC was designed and built with a steel impellor. Changing to an aluminum will not give any advantages to your machine as far as performance is concerned. The biggest difference is when that little chunk gets past the separator and does go through the impellor. The damage to the aluminum could be total lose. I had a 2 hp grizzly for about 10 years. It was under a shed roof beside my shop/garage. the whole time. I had one 4” hose that went throught the wall and hooked to the dc. no seperators or anything. When I had to move and couldn’t use it at my new home, I sold it on craigs list for almost as much as I paid for it new, No damage anywhere other than the paint wore off the impellor and the inside of the case. I say stick with the steel, cost less and hold up longer.

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3082 days

#11 posted 02-19-2017 08:32 PM

Hey Grizz
You didn’t get back to me about best time to Skype? Good to hear from you. I think LOL!

Past often predicts future. My last saw was well maintained, and 10 years old. If past predicts future I’m not sure of my condition then? (Not laughing here.) But you personally know the turns life takes. That’s why I’m ramping up.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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8734 posts in 3082 days

#12 posted 02-19-2017 08:37 PM


You posited a great thought here. ”Bigger may not be better.” I have been of the mind to upgrade for hardwoods, for awhile to make the pieces I’ve got in my ”dream book.”

The cost of power tools is exponential from hand tools. And power consumption as well?????

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3082 days

#13 posted 02-19-2017 08:51 PM


Your experience is pretty close to what I’m talking about, and I like Grizzly for my next step up.

I will always have a chip collector in front of my dust collector. I’ve got a 50 foot 4 inch hose that is connected one at a time, but I’m getting too much dust coming off my 1023 cabinet saw right now.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3082 days

#14 posted 02-19-2017 08:53 PM


I have a lot of 6 inch metal ducting that I never returned to the store when I put in my forced air zoned system in my 4 room shop. It seems to be a logical step to install it to increase my air flow, and I was going to upgrade to the 2 HP Shop fox which appears to have better parameters than the Grizzly 2 hp. The only difference appears to be the impeller. The Grizzly impeller is aluminum alloy and the Shop Fox is steel.

Is the Woodmagazine article online?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3082 days

#15 posted 02-19-2017 08:56 PM

Thanks for this food for thought ! It’s like Thanksgiving, a lot to consume. LOL!

Reading about negatives for Grizzly in a smiliar model on Amazon… Consistant damage in shipping? That’s a pain in the Butt!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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