Dust Collection Plans

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Forum topic by David Grimes posted 03-12-2011 01:31 AM 11498 views 4 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2059 days

03-12-2011 01:31 AM

My shop is actually the 3rd bay of my 3-car garage, but I put a wall and door between the first two bays and the end bay that is the wood shop. All three have 9×7 doors. This bay is about 14 1/2 wide by 24 feet long. There is a 4×7 closet on the side wall that will be the home of the dust collection system. One wall of that closet is an exterior wall.

The DC system will be one of the Harbor Freight 2HP systems, one 20 or 30 gallon steel open top drum with lid and rim lock, and one Thien-inspired (but not a total copy by any means) separator.

Based on the verbage and videos I have seen on the separator, after installation and testing I well might just lose the micron bag off the top of the HF unit, modify the top and port that through the wall to outside (with a surface mount dryer vent and check flapper.

Okay, take aim and please shoot holes in this plan before I start gathering materials.

Thanks in advance.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

9 replies so far

View George M's profile

George M

118 posts in 2184 days

#1 posted 03-12-2011 01:46 AM

That’s what I did. I left room to the right to add another unit if I think I need it. Still have a coupon for $139.

-- George, Parker Colorado

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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2059 days

#2 posted 03-12-2011 01:53 AM

I like that ALOT. Very nice job !!! Thanks for the pic. You got rid of the whole lower and upper bags !!! Too cool.

PLEASE tell me in detail how it has worked for you. How many tools or outlets do you have? What percentage of the dust and shavings make it into the can ? Nearly all I hope.

Do you or can you garbage bag the can so emptying of the can is neater and quicker ?

Please tell me all about it. I’m excited.

And to everyone: Are the motors of these HF units long-lived ? Any problems ?

Oh ! ... and how I go about getting a $139 coupon as well.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2593 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 02:02 AM

I think you thought it through, and did it well.

What else can I say ?

Nice job !

-- -- Neil

View DIYaholic's profile


19136 posts in 2094 days

#4 posted 03-12-2011 02:51 AM

I just got the HF 2HP DC and was considering the Wynn canister and a Thien separator. That setup would definitely save a few bucks on the Wynn canister filter (= more tools!). How much dust is actually vented to the outside? What kind/amount of debris is deposited outside?
Inquiring minds (and nosy bodies) want to know!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View George M's profile

George M

118 posts in 2184 days

#5 posted 03-12-2011 04:55 AM

I’m glad you like it. I have 7 tools hooked up from two overhead supplies. Each tool has a gate so that only one gate is open at a time. It works pretty good – but not perfect. A lot depends on the attachment at the tool. For instance the planer and jointer are fairly new and the collection from them is very good – in fact I would say excellent. The table saw is not as good because a lot of dust is on the top that does not as yet have a collection cover. The drill press is just a hose sitting above the drill so is hit and miss. The router table is one I made and am still fine tuning that collection.

I don’t think you could use a bag in side the seperator unless you figured out a way to keep it against the sides, and then deal with that when you pull the bag out. I have found emptying it is not a problem. I just take it outside and dump it into another trash can with a bag.

Some of my runs are about 30 feet counting horizontal and vertical. I am still contiplating adding an additional unit to increase the CFM. You can see in the picture the space I left for this contingency.

If you get a copy of Wood magazine, HF always has a coupon for certain tools. The current one is valid until 5/19/2011.

I cannot verify how much goes into the seperator and how much goes out, but a guess would be 95% goes into the seperator. I do not see any signs of sawdust outside the building – even if there was a bit of wind would dissipate it.

Another item that works really well is how I have it switched. If you look at the uppe right corner you will see a wooden wedge (for lack of a better term”. It holds a foot switch (again from HR), and I have light nylon rope run to different tools. A simple pull on any of the rope leads can turn the unit on and off. I can add any number of ropes to any area with a simple hook to run a new rope through.

-- George, Parker Colorado

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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2059 days

#6 posted 03-19-2011 08:38 AM

Just to update: I got the coupon from the March Wood magazine and placed the order. $139 plus 14.95 shipping, but back-ordered. I emailed asking when they would be back in stock and got a reply that it had shipped that very day, so HF DC should be here next Thursday or Friday.

Decisions made: metal drum (20 or 30) with removable lid… top hat separator mounted to the lid… collector output vented to outside through brick wall. I hope lowquat trees and banana plants like small amounts of fines from time to time ! If it becomes anywhere near a problem, I’ll just move the compost bin to that area. lol

BTW, I will only be permanently plumbed to a table saw, the other tools (router, sliding miter saw, scroll saw, bench grinder, etc.) will get theirs from the expandable hose. It will be a few weeks but I promise pics after all in place and working. Gonna be held up a bit first epoxy coating the floor, then moving some electrical around, and then building the separator, etc.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View toddbeaulieu's profile


779 posts in 2423 days

#7 posted 03-19-2011 02:10 PM

Hi David,

I have yet to hook my DC up, so I have no personal experience to share, but I’ve been reading a fantastic writeup from Bill Pentz on the subject.

It seems that many common practices can seriously cut into your system’s performance, as well as your lungs.

View Rondb's profile


1 post in 584 days

#8 posted 03-19-2015 12:07 AM

David I like your dust collection setup. Can you share some more info re “Thien-inspired (but not a total copy by any means) separator.” I am interested to see what modifications you have made.


View joey502's profile


482 posts in 937 days

#9 posted 03-19-2015 04:43 AM


Do you plan to use a jointer or planer on this system? I don’t see them on your list.

I built my system using a single stage Delta DC, a super dust deputy and a 30 gallon plastic barrel. The table saw, jointer and planer are used on this system, smaller tools are separate.

Looking back I should have bought the 55 gallon barrel. The 30 gallon fills too quickly for my taste. One afternoon in the shop, if surfacing lumber is involved, will fill the drum.

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