How To Deal With Connecting Non-Standard Sized Dust Ports To A Dust Collector

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Forum topic by Targa posted 11-21-2013 10:26 PM 2386 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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118 posts in 1769 days

11-21-2013 10:26 PM

As I have mentioned in a few previous topics I started since I joined this forum about 3 months ago, I’m new to woodworking and am in the process of setting up my basement shop. I had hoped to have made more progress at this point, but back surgery 6 weeks ago put things on hold until now.

I’ve acquired a few pieces of equipment in order to be reasonably prepared to take on a few projects probably starting with a bookcase for my daughter.

Today, with the goal of trying to keep my shop reasonably clean, I took delivery of a new Harbor Freight dust collector although it won’t be set up until after Thanksgiving. I bought it because of its pretty good ratings and with a 25% off coupon for $149.00. My plan, at least at this point, is to locate the movable DC in the general proximity of the shop with enough hose to connect to any machine I have rather than build a piping system.

In any case, in measuring all of the various dust ports on the machines I’ve purchased, there does not seem to be any commonality between the 4” intake ports on the dust collector, my old 16 gal craftsman shop vac and some of the machines. Nothing seems the same. In checking through the archives, I see others have wrestled with this issue as well.

So my question is whether there’s a easy way to make the connections with a common, readily available adapter such as the stepped universal ones (accommodates many sizes) that Woodcraft, Rockler and others sell? Or is there another easy way to make the connections? Or does each connection that’s not 4” have to be a “Rube Goldberg” creation?

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.

-- Dom

16 replies so far

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 2470 days

#1 posted 11-21-2013 11:15 PM

For my 4” ports, I’ve found this works pretty well:

It’s rubber and slightly oversized, so the clamp does a good job of cinching things down to the right size. I’ve got 6 different things with ever so slightly different 4” ports and on the largest, it’s a little bit of a struggle to get on tightly, but it still provides a good seal on the smaller ones.

View SebringDon's profile


95 posts in 1969 days

#2 posted 11-21-2013 11:23 PM

I’ve only got a shop vac to act as a dust collector, so I’ve got similar problems with some of my gear. I’ve used those step adapters when they fit, and they work fine. If not, try a donut-shaped piece of 3/4” ply, with the ID the same as the OD of the smaller of the two connections, and the OD the same as the ID of the larger connection.

For example, my bandsaw has a “donut” that’s 4” OD and 1 1/2” ID, to fit inside the 4” port on the bandsaw and accept the hose from the shop vac.

-- Don

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3172 days

#3 posted 11-21-2013 11:34 PM

I had some hose struggles with the dust outfeed on my Dewalt miter saw and also with a hose on my Laguna dust collector (they designed it so a separate hose attaches to the outside of the dust collection bin to help keep the internal bag in place). I had good luck at Home Depot with their assortment of wet vac hoses, which come with a variety of attachments.

Any portable pieces you have, take with you…any nonportable pieces, carefully measure both the ID and OD and take that information with you. Check out some of the wet vac hose kits at HD, you can open most of them up and check the fit in store.

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3172 days

#4 posted 11-21-2013 11:35 PM

I also had to invent this adaptation for my spindle sander:

View Targa's profile


118 posts in 1769 days

#5 posted 11-22-2013 11:35 PM

It looks like I’ll need to treat each connection individually and figure out what it will take to adapt it. Just thought I’d ask the question in the event there was a easy solution.

Thank you for the comments and ideas.

-- Dom

View tvrgeek's profile


23 posts in 1678 days

#6 posted 11-23-2013 12:04 PM

Brute force seems to work for me. I just smash down the next larger size hose. I have also slit a hose and wrapped it with foil tape, reinforced with gorilla tape then clamped. Sometimes all problems look like a nail.

View macatlin1's profile


78 posts in 2972 days

#7 posted 11-23-2013 12:57 PM

I bought the Woodcraft connection kit with fittings and hoses and then bought “extra adapters” from Woodcraft. I have trouble getting the hoses to stay on the plastic fittings. The molding taper causes the hoses to slide off even with the band clamp very tight. I tried to put a couple of turns of electrical tape at the end and clamp the hose over that but the tape slides off too. I finally resorted to screwing in a small sheet metal screw into the end of the fitting and screwing the hose over that. The screw and the hose wire keeps the hose from sliding off the fitting. For other adapters I have had to take PVC and cut a saw kerf through one side of a piece of pipe to remove enough material to slide into the same diameter pipe. I have even built up PVC pipe ply to get enough thickness to turn on my lathe. We all feel your pain and cope in our own ways.

Slightly off topic is that one can no longer buy individual splices and adapters for “Shop Vac” brand vacuums at Lowes. Instead they sell “kits” at nearly $10 rather than the adapters at $1.50.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2795 posts in 3467 days

#8 posted 11-23-2013 01:28 PM

for 2” to 3+” stuff, if you’ve got the right sized hole saws, deep ones, you can actually make them out of stacked glued together pieces of plywood. I also, use RV sewer pipe available lots of places, (Walmart) 3”. It’s flexible and not expensive for connecting some of my tools. Sometimes ribbed plastic flexible tubing can be found at various hardware stores by the foot in various diameters.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1977 days

#9 posted 11-23-2013 03:10 PM

In all honesty you will get better performance from putting 4” ports on all your tools. I know its heart breaking to modify your tools, but the performance you will gain is amazing. I himed and hawed for a while before I cut a 6” hole in the back of my powermatic 66, but I haven’t regretted it once. With a DC by sizing down the port you are slowing the air speed and it will cause dust to accumulate in the line.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2879 days

#10 posted 11-23-2013 04:38 PM

This subject can be overthought and over wrought.

First of all, bear in mind that your lines are under suction rather than pressure. The best method of joining unlike (or slightly illfitting) components is 3” shrink wrap. No sticky, no messy, holds find and easily removable.

I have used various adaptors and I’m proud of it. I find stuff at the Habitat ReStore and such places and stockpile it. Cottage cheese cartons (large curd) are present. Various-application PVC and ABS fittings are here and there. Aluminum dryer vent pipe—the more rigid kind that comes neatly compressed—is present.

It is easy to work with 4” aluminum chimney pipe; it comes in relatively short sections. You can make cone shapes if you need to.

Pop rivets are good, silicone is semipermanent, most caulks are a nuisance, though rope caulk would be effective and removable.

Remember blast gates in your planning. Easily purchased and/or fun to make.

Ultimately, you don’t want to be walking hither and yon to change hoses. It can ruin your work flow and focus. The intermediate woodworker whom I mentor was doing this and I idly suggested he get a remote switch. He ordered it the next day and is dazzled with how it has improved his shop time enjoyment and the quality of his work.

(BTW, nice work on the spindle sander, Elizabeth.)



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View tvrgeek's profile


23 posts in 1678 days

#11 posted 11-24-2013 09:14 PM

Don’t pop rivet your ductwork. Just use a screw foil duct tape. As soon as you put in a rivet, you will get a blockage and have to drill it apart.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2056 days

#12 posted 11-25-2013 12:01 AM

Ill echo a response in for Rocklers dust right quick connect system, and it is on sale right now. You can get the handle and 2 connectors pretty cheap and than add connectors as you need. The handle just slides over a plastic part of the connector which fits into a rubber sleeve that you put on your tool along with some hose clamps so if the tools port is a little off, it not a big deal cause of the rubber sleeve. The only fault in the system is supposedly the connectors do not need a clamp on the rubber sleeve, but this is not so, as many will tell you, you do need a clamp on both sides of the rubber sleeve. You can also get a connector which does a quick 4 to 2.5 conversion for those tools and still use your nifty handle which just slides on and off. There is also a master kit which has the handle, long tube, and a bunch of little accessories to use your system for vacuuming a floor or work bench or tool etc. That is also on sale.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2056 days

#13 posted 11-25-2013 12:11 AM

Another cheap option when connecting odd mismatched sized parts if they are close to the same is if you go to a place that sells tractor and mower parts they have rubber hose that is a stick in all sizes. I put a dust collection port in my mortising chisel cabinet I made with a 2.5 port and close sized PVC pipe. to connect the PVC to the dust port I just took the port and a sample of the PVC down and told him I needed to connect them. For just a few bucks I walked out with a 6 inch piece of the hose he cut off and the clamps I needed to connect the parts. Very cheap and easy.

View TaybulSawz's profile


157 posts in 1711 days

#14 posted 11-25-2013 02:15 PM

I use 4” PVC fittings from the Big box stores on all my tools that need 4” adapters. They are undersized. I then use the Universal handle fitting for the dust collector. My blast gate is mounted just behind the handle. I can move the hose from tool to tool and open and close the gate as needed.

Then I wrap duct tape around the PVC fitting until it fits the Handle fitting. I get a custom fit that seals extremely welll and lasts a long time.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View Targa's profile


118 posts in 1769 days

#15 posted 11-28-2013 08:25 PM

A lot of good ideas and suggestions which will get me pointed in the right direction.

Thank you

-- Dom

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