Dust collection advice

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Forum topic by Cory posted 03-13-2009 08:25 PM 5343 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3384 days

03-13-2009 08:25 PM

I need some help trying to decide what dust collection system I should buy. My shop is really small and I only run one tool at a time. Most of those tools are either benchtop and mounted on a workmate or my rolling work table. So, I need something flexible that I can wheel around the shop. Do you guys think I should get:

1. a shop vac (Fein or similar) with a dust deputy
2. a small (3/4hp) dc system like the wall mounted one from Rockler and the small one on wheels from Delta
3. a 1ph or 1 1/2hp “full blown” unit

I think it will be a long time before I have a dedicated shop space with multiple tools piped into a dc system. I’m content to move the hoses from the dc to the tool I’m using for the foreseeable future.

Any help/reccomendations would be greatly appreciated.


-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

14 replies so far

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3638 days

#1 posted 03-13-2009 08:40 PM

I don’t know what really small is to you, but a shopvac with a Thien baffle ( ) does a pretty good job. Just get something compatible with a cleanstream filter Craftsman currently has a unit that has good sound properties (a lot quieter).

If you’re going to go with more than a shop vac I say go full hog with a 2HP+ unit something that gets the really fine stuff too.

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3384 days

#2 posted 03-13-2009 08:47 PM

Sorry about that, I should’ve been more specific on my shop: I’ve got a 2-car garage and I wheel the cars out to make room for my tools and tables.

Which craftsman are you talking about? I’ve got a gift card there that’s been burning a hole in my wallet.

Also, budget is under $500.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View khop's profile


134 posts in 3641 days

#3 posted 03-13-2009 08:50 PM

I use a Dust Deputy with a small shop vac (6 gallon) for general clean up. The vac has a bag in it but the Deputy catches near 99 percent of the material. With the bag, you never need to clean the filter and you always have good suction from the vac.
You can buy 1-1/2 or 2” Deputies, plastic or metal and use increasers on your machines. Check out Oneida Air for their products.
Good Luck

-- How am I doing? Better than I deserve. Dave Ramsey

View WhitePineLane's profile


5 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 03-13-2009 09:26 PM

Here is a cool idea that Rockler is showing: Mount the dust collection system on the Pack Rack so you can wheel it around.

-- WhitePineLane

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3384 days

#5 posted 03-13-2009 09:28 PM

I saw that and I was thinking about building a frame rather than paying $150 for theirs. Pretty cool idea provided the unit will create enough suction. I really want to have a separator on whatever I get, so I’d need to make room for that, too.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3638 days

#6 posted 03-13-2009 09:41 PM

Cory, make a thien then, it scales from shop vac to 6” dust collector (I made a 6” version) cheap to make, efficient as all heck.

I think this is the craftsman, might want to go a step up.

Those should be compatible with a cleanstream filter (washable gortex hepa)

Shop vacs vary in noise level, see if you can try a few out to get an idea. My Ridgid is LOUD, works well but LOUD.

i think all in you will probably be at about 150 if you build a Thien. you COULD buy something less efficient for a lot more money but…

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3729 days

#7 posted 03-13-2009 10:42 PM

Cory, I looked at your wood shop, and it doesn’t look like you have any machines that have a 4” dust port, your table saw looks like it has the largest port, and I’m guessing that it’s about 2 1/2”. I would go with a dust collector with atleast around 800 CFM, it might be a little more than you need now, but if you ever buy something that has a 4” port, which is real common on alot of stuff, you’ll have it.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3730 days

#8 posted 03-13-2009 10:48 PM

Cory, check this one out. I bought it a while back and it does great. I have a really small shop and it’s just about more than I need for now. I have a Y on the DC. One goes to my table saw and the other goes to the jointer (or planer). That one has a quick disconnect fitting on it so it makes it easy.

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 3830 days

#9 posted 03-13-2009 11:00 PM

The Rockler idea is awesome. That seems to me to be something that would be the next step up from a shop-vac. Just about the same space as well.

-- He said wood...

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3367 days

#10 posted 03-13-2009 11:52 PM

As marcb says go with the Thien seperator, whether you use a DC or Shop Vac, the two can be installed together on a rolling cart. This is the best bang for the buck, only a good cyclone system works better than the thien seperator and a good DC.

Good Luck.

-- -JimmyC...Clayton,NC- "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave"

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3739 days

#11 posted 03-14-2009 02:04 AM

I would go with a fein unit. Did a tool review on the one I got. I also did a blog on my dust collection system. Go to my sight if you care to look.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3384 days

#12 posted 03-14-2009 05:26 PM

Thanks for the advice, guys. Woodchuck, the largest port I have on any of my tools right now is 2 1/2” on my table saw. I imagine that’s the way it will stay for a while.

How many of you guys have built the Thien system? How hard was it to build? Is the lid that I can buy from Oneida or Rockler comparable?

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3367 days

#13 posted 03-14-2009 10:18 PM


The Thien unit is not complicated, just follow the photos and you can use mdf for the top, masonite or thin plywood for the bottom, and threaded rod to hold it together. dust collection fittings for the inlet and outlet and you’re done. Rout out a channel on the top piece, to match the lid of your can first, then you can cut the center hole for the outlet to the vacuum. The aftermarket lids don’t work as well because they don’t have the scrubbing action or the baffle, and you’ll lose more product from the seperator to the vacuum.

-- -JimmyC...Clayton,NC- "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave"

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3726 days

#14 posted 03-14-2009 10:48 PM


I have a Fein TurboII vac and love it. It is great for the smaller tools. You can even directly attach it to an orbital sander and it will literally suck up 100% of the dust as you work.

My shop, here in Gainesville, is only 225 sq ft. I use Shopsmith’s DC3300 dust collector, which comes with two 2 1/2” x 8 ft hoses, floor wand and dusting brush. Woodchuck and I have had a lot of fun going around and around on this subject, but the fact of the matter is that the DC3300 has enough capacity to carry away 98% of the dust and chips generated by my planer, saw, and jointer. The DC3300 occupies less than 4 sq ft of space in my shop, has a 42” one micron hood, and a noise level at least 10 decibels lower than the Asian products on the market.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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