Small Shop Dust Collection

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Forum topic by Todd1561 posted 02-23-2011 09:21 AM 10701 views 2 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Todd1561's profile


38 posts in 2715 days

02-23-2011 09:21 AM

Hi Everyone, this is my first post on LJ but I’ve gathered quite a bit of useful information by searching through old posts. I came across quite a bit of good information on dust collection approaches so far but wanted to get some opinions on what I have planned for my small garage shop. My biggest problem is a severe lack of space (seems to be pretty common around here!) in my 1 car garage, I just don’t have the room to put a large DC, so I’ve had my eye on wall-mount units like the one Rockler sells.

I know these units are intended for portability and only being connected to one device at a time. But I’m not too thrilled about having to relocate hoses and move the thing around the shop all the time, which is basically what I do with a shopvac at the moment. What I would like to do it mount this thing high on a wall in the corner of the shop and immediately run a Y-fitting; 1 leg of 4” tube down to a combination jointer/planer and the other of 2.5” hard tubing along the ceiling with tee drops down to a drill press, a router table and finally a contractor table saw (which has a 2.5” dust port). So, 3 tee’s in total for the 2.5” devices. The jointer/planer will be the closest to the DC using about 8’ of flex tubing. The drill press would use about 9’ of hard tubing then a few feet of flex. The table saw and router table would use about 12’ of hard tube and then a few feet of flex. Each device would have a blast gate to direct air flow to whichever device is currently being used. All of these tools are located along one wall of the garage. I’d likely upgrade the 30 micron bag on the DC to a 5 micron variation and possibly add a ceiling mount air filtration system if necessary. This is a light use hobby shop, I’m not going to be planing hundreds of feet of wood or turning out projects every other day.

I know tee connections aren’t ideal, but I’m looking at a kit from Woodcraft that has most of the components I need for this and that’s what included:

Does this sounds like a decent proposal or am I asking too much out of a little DC?

Thanks guys, I hope I did an adequate job of explaining what I’m trying to do, if not let me know and I’ll try to clarify.



14 replies so far

View ncdon's profile


220 posts in 2898 days

#1 posted 02-23-2011 01:40 PM

Todd: First let me say, I am no authority on dust collection. I am only speaking from my experience.
About a year ago i picked up a 1 hp. harbor freight 13 gallon portable dust collector. I believe I payed $89.99
for it on sale. (item # 31810, now on sale for $124.99) find a 20% off coupon and it’s $100.00. I also picked up a 5 micron bag from Rockler. (about $30.00). My goal at that time was to knock down my clean up time.
I removed the wheels and wall mounted it. It now serves 2 branches of 4 inch PVC with blast gates at each machine. One branch necks down to 3 inch runs up to the over head then 15 feet to a hose drop for my Planer,table saw, router table and shop made thickness sander. All these machines are served by a 3 inch
RV sewage hose with bayonet fittings for easy transfer from machine to machine. I know I’ll get flack about the 3 inch hose, but the increased velocity seems to carry the debris away very well.
So what did I get for my money. I have more than adequate chip and saw dust removal. My clean up time has been cut by 75%, but I still have the fine dust in the shop. (that’s the bad stuff) I have placed the bag in a trashcan and that helps. It does catch and hold some of the fine dust. A 1 micron bag or less and a separator are the answer.
I am now in the process of totally rebuilding my shop. The plans include dust collection as a priority. Air filtration is also on the to do list. My goal has changed, it now is to eliminate all of that fine dust.
So….. I’d say the wall mount units are okay for the big stuff, but unless you can find a better bag than I’ve been able to locate I’d keep looking.
I know that in a small shop real estate is priceless, but so are your lungs. Good luck Don

-- Don, North Carolina, Working full time at retired.

View Todd1561's profile


38 posts in 2715 days

#2 posted 02-23-2011 03:40 PM

Hi Don,

Thanks so much for your information. That is exactly what I was looking for, someone who has real world experience with a similar setup to the one I was proposing, in fact it seems you are pushing that little DC further than I would have to. It sounds like your results are inline with my expectations, I realize there will still be a fine dust issue which is why I’ll likely go the route of an air filtration system in addition.

FYI, Penn State Industries sells a couple portable units with 1 micron bags and . The latter is also one of the stronger portable DCs I’ve come across and as such it’s the most expensive. They don’t seem to sell the bag independently, but they do sell full-size 1 micron bags for their larger DCs that might be adaptable. I’ve also heard that someone (can’t remember who) sells 1 micron felt material so you can make your own bag if you’re good with a sewing machine.

Thanks again for your reply!


View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2798 days

#3 posted 02-23-2011 04:16 PM

I mounted a dust collector on the wall – twice. the first time the vibrations cracked the wall. The second time, I removed the sheet rock around the area that the DC would be mounted, screwed 2×3s to the studs with 3” deck screws and in the remaining offset I screwed 3/4” plywood to the 2×3s. Put the sheetrock back. This made a really strong support to bolt the dust collector to using 1/2” lag bolts.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Todd1561's profile


38 posts in 2715 days

#4 posted 02-23-2011 04:37 PM

Sounds pretty substantial, David. I figured if I went this route I’d at least want to hit studs on either side of the DC for a secure mount. At most I might put some cleats on the wall between two studs if the spacing didn’t work out and secure the DC to those.

Thanks for the input.


View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3795 days

#5 posted 02-23-2011 04:39 PM

If you go to my blog “Dust Collection In”, it will give you some ideas about layout and how I put it in. I don’t know if you want to go that big or spend that much. I would think the unit you are talking about would be a little light for the job. A friend of mine has a Grizzly 1 1/2HP unit with 4” duct work that does a good job for him. Delta also has a 1 1/2HP unit that has good tool reviews. Have fun putting in your dust collection.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Todd1561's profile


38 posts in 2715 days

#6 posted 02-23-2011 04:58 PM

Tom, I checked out the blog entry, that appears to be a very extensive system you’ve put together. Probably a little overkill for my needs at the moment but some good ideas nonetheless. You may very well be right, as it is I’m probably at the limits of what a portable DC can do and I’ll only be taxing it further as time goes on.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3195 days

#7 posted 02-23-2011 05:13 PM

I’m going to go into “broken record” mode, here, for a bit, so … forgive me.

There IS a (bit of) science to this DC stuff.

I would strongly recommend you look at a site like …. this one, and try to figure out what “right” is.

THEN, you can deviate from “right” all you want, based on a million things that you can best decide.

But the “science” makes a LOT of sense, and is based on the same principles as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning).

The other thing about dust collection that I think matters a lot: ClearVue Cyclones are among the best dust collectors. THEY recommend that—no matter HOW good your DC is—you wear a good respirator while you’re in the shop.

They mean … all the time.

Lastly, if you have bags, and can switch to a canister filter, (and you have the $), you should consider that.
If you can just blow the fine stuff outside of the shop, and catch the bigger stuff in a chip separator, you should consider that, too.

Good luck !

-- -- Neil

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3195 days

#8 posted 02-23-2011 05:13 PM

Oh, and …. WELCOME !

-- -- Neil

View Todd1561's profile


38 posts in 2715 days

#9 posted 02-23-2011 05:36 PM

Thanks, that’s an interesting site. I’ve been in the habit of using a face mask when working with especially harmful materials like pressure treated wood or MDF, but I can see the benefit from using one continuously. Unfortunately, venting outside is not an option – my neighbors probably won’t like sawdust and chips blowing all over their yard!


View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3195 days

#10 posted 02-23-2011 05:56 PM

Just an FYI, Todd … if you use a chip separator, then … from LOTS of reports … what goes outside will not even be noticed.

On another forum, I chatted with a guy with a similar concern, but … after a fresh snowfall, he ran a TON of MDF through his machines. The dust was SO minimal … despite the “dryer vent” pointing the stream downward … right AT the snow … that he could ONLY see a faint trace of different color IN the snow.

In other words … the fine stuff … just disappears in the wind.

A few others chimed in, and said that this was their experience, too.

I’m about 9’ from my neighbors’ house, so … I shared that concern.

-- -- Neil

View Todd1561's profile


38 posts in 2715 days

#11 posted 02-23-2011 06:09 PM

Hmmm, that’s interesting to know as that would do away with a big expensive filter or bag getting down to < 1 micron, etc. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!


View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 2692 days

#12 posted 02-24-2011 06:30 PM

Welcome Todd, I just installed the HF dust collector in my garage. It’s a two car but I only get to use my side for the workshop. I too purchased the $189.00 HF collecter, used the 20% coupon and bought the accessory kit for $44.00. It was that or the Rocker one for $214.00. I’m very please with my purchase but knew that I would have to make it expandable as time went on. I want the 1 micron bag and a chip separater. I’m limited to floor space also and considered mounting it on the wall but thought in was too large. Now after looking at ND2ELK and his set up I’m rethinking that option. Just be sure that your purchase won’t limit you in the future.

-- Bryan

View Sawdustmaker's profile


295 posts in 3819 days

#13 posted 02-24-2011 07:34 PM

Todd, I also think you ought to look at a machine with a higher CFM rating and once you pick out your machine, don’t cheep out on blast gates. If they don’t close properly and leak by, the overall system will be compromised and not work as efficient on any one piece of equipment.

-- Brian, Virginia Beach

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 2713 days

#14 posted 02-24-2011 08:36 PM

Hey, Todd. I’m sure you have enough info to keep you going, but I gotta make a pitch for an air filter/cleaner. Even with my dedicated dc system, I am constantly amazed at how much accumulation there is at my ceiling hung air filter…better for me to dispose of it outside than to store it in my lungs. Just for your consideration.

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

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