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Dust collectors - buy & modify vs. build

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Forum topic by William Shelley posted 09-21-2017 06:15 PM 1298 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William Shelley

479 posts in 1308 days


09-21-2017 06:15 PM

Hey all,

I know the topic of dust collection is a daily occurrence here, so my apologies for bringing it up again.

I’ve determined that the only real place I can put a dust collector is outside my shop. Then I realized I’d need to either build a shed or something around it, to protect it from the elements, or buy one that is weather-proof/resistant (designed to be installed outside). Weatherproof DCs are typically the huge cyclones that stand 20ft tall or more and cost $$$$$.

I currently have the 2HP harbor freight DC, and it works okay but I really want something with a chip separator, and I am concerned that if I built a cyclone or Thien baffle and added it to the system, the HF unit will start to lag behind in CFM.

I also realized that if I’m going to the trouble of building a cyclone and doing extensive modifications to this DC, and building a shed to house it, then at the end of the day I’m not sure what I actually accomplished by buying a cheap dust collector. I might as well have just bought a motor separately and done the rest (impeller, etc) from scratch too.

I found some surplus 3-5hp washdown-rated motors on ebay for an affordable price and was thinking that if I built a DC from scratch using a washdown-rated motor, it could go outside without issue. I’m very comfortable working with motors and electricity and related things (such as buying a VFD to control a 3ph motor bought through ebay).

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective


12 replies so far

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

989 posts in 2815 days


#1 posted 09-21-2017 06:18 PM



... Weatherproof DCs are typically the huge cyclones that stand 20ft tall or more…

That would be SOOOO cool. Go for it :)

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William Shelley

479 posts in 1308 days


#2 posted 09-21-2017 06:24 PM


... Weatherproof DCs are typically the huge cyclones that stand 20ft tall or more…

That would be SOOOO cool. Go for it :)

- hotbyte

I’m not in an HOA or anything, but I doubt my neighbor’s would be fantastically happy about a giant ugly machine in my backyard that’s as tall as my house.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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hotbyte

989 posts in 2815 days


#3 posted 09-21-2017 07:49 PM

Actually, I’m in similar situation with standard 2HP Harbor Freight collector and struggle with buying a complete new system, building a Thein, or buying SDD. Then, do I buy cartridge filter or just vent outside. I have a small shop and thought about the lean-to shed option, too.

I was hoping pictures of your 20’ cyclone would inspire me :)

View brtech's profile

brtech

1006 posts in 2762 days


#4 posted 09-21-2017 09:25 PM



Actually, I m in similar situation with standard 2HP Harbor Freight collector and struggle with buying a complete new system, building a Thein, or buying SDD. Then, do I buy cartridge filter or just vent outside. I have a small shop and thought about the lean-to shed option, too.

I was hoping pictures of your 20 cyclone would inspire me :)

- hotbyte


This is somewhat of a thread jack, and I don’t have a whole lot of advice to the OP other than look at the Ebay sheet metal cyclone or DIY with the info on Pentz’ site.

But, if you have a stock HF, you need to improve the filter or vent outside. Venting outside is preferred but consider how the air you are dumping outside is going to be made up by your HVAC system. The Wynn cannister filter is a good option if outside venting is not done. Either will IMPROVE performance.

Adding a Thein or SDD is not wise, IMO. It decreases performance, and the HF is underpowered to begin with. The convenience having an easier time emptying chips and fewer filter clean outs is not worth the health issues that lowering the performance does to you. If you use a respirator, then all you want from the DC is a cleaner shop, and the bag will probably be fine, and losing even more performance with an SDD or Thein baffle won’t matter much. But if you don’t use a respirator when you are using your power tools, then I suggest you vent outside or upgrade to the Wynn filter and don’t get a separator.

My shop has the 2HP HF DC, with the Wynn, and no separator.

View Sparks500's profile

Sparks500

95 posts in 170 days


#5 posted 09-22-2017 12:17 PM

HVAC system will not make up for lost air pumped outside for dust collection unless they are specifically designed to. Ever walked into a restaurant and had a hard time opening the doors? They turned off their make up air unit, or it broke. Then, you realize that creating a giant vacuum chamber in your building has some pitfalls: Flue gasses will be sucked back into the enclosed space, any dried of traps in the sewage system will result in sewer gas being pulled into the space. Go into that same restaurants bathroom, and they usually stink like hell….
Place the cyclone outside, but place good filters for the exhaust back inside.

-- Rockhound: You realize we're sitting on 45,000 pounds of fuel, one nuclear warhead and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder? Makes you feel good doesn't it?

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7464 posts in 2168 days


#6 posted 09-22-2017 01:26 PM

The answer to the following question holds the key to your decision.

Do you want a dust collector? or … Do you want a dust collector project?

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

4497 posts in 3083 days


#7 posted 09-24-2017 03:37 AM

If you are innovative, inventive and know how DC’s work, then this project is for you. If you had to ask questions like you have done, then maybe you should take the pay and play path.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7661 posts in 2753 days


#8 posted 09-24-2017 04:29 PM

Not knowing how big your shop is, and the layout (particularly for DC), it is hard to make much in the way of recommendations. While I have a 24×30 shop, I have been able to make my HF DC work by adding a Wynn filter and a Thein tophat to the system. I make this work by moving the DC collection hose to the machine in use, as needed.
  • I use a single 4in X 10ft hose to reach my TS, BS, & Jointer.
  • A double hose for reaching my planer table, and for general vacuuming up floor dust
  • A short hose to reach my TS-mounted router, or my palm-sander.
  • My Mitersaw has its own shop-vac DC with a Grizzly tophat.

This works because I keep the run as short as possible. If I were to add permanent DC tubing (which I do not plan on doing), then I would need a stronger DC system. That said, it all depends on what your goals are with DC, that and how much effort you want to put into it.

Beyond traditional DC, Burt has a neat idea for super-fine air filtration system for the shop. This is still on my to-do list:
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/45679

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

479 posts in 1308 days


#9 posted 09-24-2017 04:57 PM

Mike – I like the idea of a smaller, more modular dust collector setup. Unfortunately my current “new” shop is only 14×25 and because I’ve stuffed it with tools that are, in all honesty, probably too big for the space, I would find it difficult to drag my DC around to each machine.

I like the air cleaner project you linked, though. I actually have a furnace blower leftover from when I tore my houses’ central heat out last year.

In retrospect, I may actually want a “dust collector project” and not a “dust collector”, but we’ll see how it goes. Already, I have too many projects going at once.

If I had an external DC unit (entire thing outside), would it be feasible to have a wye with a flapper that could direct exhaust back into the shop (into a Wynn filter), or outside into the air? That could solve the air-make-up issue in extreme weather.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7661 posts in 2753 days


#10 posted 09-24-2017 09:08 PM

You might want to consider:
  • Building the exterior DC closet w/HF-DC that has both a Wynn filter and a Thein tophat separator.
  • Building Burt’s air filter box AS THE RETURN AIR form the DC closet.
  • Barring that, build all of the above but use a higher HP-motor DC system.

This way you can/will get the air from the saws/machines being filtered twice. That should take care of any heat/cooling loss from only venting outside. You may also have to add a second fine-air filter system for “just” the shop air filtration. Just an idea…

FYI, if you look to the left of my DC, you can see my old heater unit that I plan on robbing the squirrel cage fan out of, for my shop-air filtration unit.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View ChipperBob's profile

ChipperBob

10 posts in 83 days


#11 posted 09-24-2017 09:56 PM

I see a lot of home-built tools that use a low-dollar tool as the foundation with the builder adding well considered features but not connecting them together to work well together. I figured I would spend a lot of time and money making something that worked poorly. You might do better than I would have.
I bought a 2-stage dust collector and that works for me.

View newwoodbutcher's profile

newwoodbutcher

711 posts in 2689 days


#12 posted 09-24-2017 11:06 PM

I have a 2hp Delta, I added a cartrige filter and an Onida cyclone, both fairly inexpensive. The system supports (one at a time) two bandsaws, drum sander, 8” jointer, 15” planner and a 10” contractor saw, all permantly hooked up with 4” sewer pipe and Ivac blast gates. I would be hard pressed to justify any further upgrade or investment in dc for my shop

-- Ken

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