Central vacuum system for dust collection?

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Forum topic by Ryan Haasen posted 08-27-2012 10:30 PM 17219 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 2637 days

08-27-2012 10:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: duct collection central vacuum system

Hello, as some of you may know, my new shop is in the making. I am planning on putting dust collection in the new shop and my dad has suggested putting a central vacuum system in for the full shop (the WW shop is only a wing of the entire shop). I am not a production shop by any means, and would only be running one machine at a time. The machines I would be hooking up to the dust collection are my bandsaw, mitre saw and table saw, but I would also like to be able to hook up a planer and jointer if I ever get them. I am not sure how much power the central vacuum would have or how big the bag would be but my question is: Would it work for dust collection in the wood shop?

Thanks a lot,


-- Ryan

13 replies so far

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3932 days

#1 posted 08-27-2012 11:20 PM

Dont go less than 2-1/2 hp. A 3 hp would be a lot better.I have a 2 hp. and I wish I would have gotten a 3 hp.
Good luck with your new shop.
Wisconsin Wood Chuck

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2635 days

#2 posted 08-27-2012 11:28 PM

I have a 2 1/2 HP Super Dust Gorilla from Onedia. I have two bandsaws, 2 miter saws, a table saw, a 26” dual drum sander, a router table, an 8” Joiner, a lathe, and a 15” planer hooked to it. It handles all of this well with blast gates. I would highly recommend this unit for your application. Good luck on the new shop.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View AandCstyle's profile


3185 posts in 2493 days

#3 posted 08-27-2012 11:31 PM

I don’t believe that a central vacuum system meant for a house would have sufficient power or capacity to handle the demands made by the tools you have mentioned. Check out for everything and more than you ever wanted to know about dust collection in a wood working shop.

-- Art

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3884 days

#4 posted 08-28-2012 12:01 AM

There’s a difference between dust and chip collection.

Even if you get a dust collector rated for woodworking for
big machines, a vacuum provides more focused suction
for hand-held power tools.

You can get by with 2.5” vacuum hoses ok in hobby woodworking.
You can set up a pre-collector with a 4” hose going to
your machines and a 2.5” hose going to a shop vac and
you’d be surprised at how well it works if you keep the
hose runs short.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3159 days

#5 posted 08-28-2012 12:32 AM

I’m with Art. I don’t think a central vac system would be too practical. Especially when using a planner or jointer.
I think it would plug quickly.

-- Life is good.

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2421 days

#6 posted 08-28-2012 03:13 AM

i would suggest a hanging dust collector such as the one from grizzly ( or rockler ( both are relatively well priced and are plenty capable of handling one if not 2 tools at a time. also, instead of running a full system, get the dust right collapsable hose ( and the rockler quick connect kit ( that way, it is very easy to just walk around with the hose and hook it up to any tool.

PS. you DEFIANTLY do not need a 3 hp dust collector. for your circumstances even 2 hp would be overkill

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2425 days

#7 posted 08-28-2012 03:21 AM

Centralized dust collection runs the risk of long runs that reduce suction by increasing drag. You need more HP to offset this and then you are running a big motor for just one tool. I use a number of smaller collectors and keep the runs short. If your collector is using more power than your tool it’s a bummer . . .

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2718 days

#8 posted 08-28-2012 07:50 AM

Hey Ryan. Recommend you install a stand alone cyclone dust collection system with a 15” impeller and 5 hp continuous duty motor. Run 6” piping and reduce to fit your machines at each location with blast gates installed as required. Read the Bill Pentz information provided in a prior post. I installed a clear vue dust collector with 5 hp motor and 15” impeller with 6” piping after reading it. I built an insulated closet for it and noise level is under 65 db, very quiet. I have all my tools on it and it has no trouble with either my 15” planer or 8” jointer.

Suggest you stay away from dust collectors under 5 hp, as they loose suction power over distance and you will need to sweep up after. Stay away from bag systems as well, as fine dust particles escape through the sacks and into your shop and lungs. Plus you have the hassle of cleaning the bags.

It’s way better to have an over powered dust collector system you can count on.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 2637 days

#9 posted 08-28-2012 06:20 PM

Thanks everyone for your detailed responses! It is clear that an actual dust collector is the way to go. While I don’t think I need something as powerful as 5hp, or even 3hp, I will take a look at everything you guys have suggested.

Thanks again,

-- Ryan

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

395 posts in 3318 days

#10 posted 08-28-2012 10:47 PM

Keep in mind that a 5hp motor will only consume 3hp worth of electricity if it is only doing 3hp worth of work. It is nice to have the full 5hp when you really do need it.

I put a 5hp ClearVue cyclone in my 1 person shop and love using it every time I turn it on. It allows me to open a full 6” vent to the shroud around my lathe and really suck the dust when sanding.

-- Steve

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3932 days

#11 posted 08-28-2012 11:22 PM

Dont forget about down the road when you add more tools ,that is when you will be glad you went over sized now..

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View AandCstyle's profile


3185 posts in 2493 days

#12 posted 08-28-2012 11:29 PM

Some wise person said: Buy your last tool first. I wish it had been me. :)

-- Art

View djg's profile


160 posts in 2398 days

#13 posted 08-29-2012 01:48 PM

Vacuums and dust collectors play very different roles in the workshop. Vacuums move a small amount of air under very quickly under high static pressure, while dust collectors move a massive volume of air with low static pressures. They are different beasts. Vacuums tend to be better drawing dust chips in more enclosed spaces such as a enclosed table saw blade dust shroud. They can divert the flow of dust material by moving air quickly. A dust collector can divert the flow of material by using volume. You need both as part of an integrated dust collection solution.

I agree with Art’s comment: “Some wise person said: Buy your last tool first. I wish it had been me. :)”. Dust collection is usually left for last even though it should be considered first. Fine particulate matter created while cutting is probably the most dangerous thing in the shop. You can’t see it or hear it but it’s there. Read Bill Pentz’s site. His philosophy is that in order to collect all the fine stuff you need to collect a large volume of air. This means several things, A large dust colector that can filter out all the 0.3 micron stuff, large ducts (at least 6”) to support the volume of moving air, and modifying tool shrouds to better capture dust. 4” ports need to be upgraded to 6” to get volume. I have 7” mains and 6” tool drops in my shop. It cost money up front but was well worth it. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner. I will say that I did start with a 1 hp machine but quickly realized that it didn’t work well. Now I have seen the light: Bigger is better.

-- DJG

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