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What Kind of Dust Collector to Buy

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Forum topic by JerseyTiger posted 01-24-2015 01:48 PM 1258 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JerseyTiger

10 posts in 733 days


01-24-2015 01:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collector basement cyclone thein dust

I’m looking for advice regarding which kind of dust collector I should buy.

I have a basement shop that I’m just setting up. I have ample floor space, but limited headroom. (83” from the floor to the joists, and another 5” between the joists that I could spill into if necessary). The only major dust/chip producers I have now are a Ridgid R4511 TS and a router table, but I anticipate adding a 6” jointer and a planer eventually. I will never need to run more than one tool at a time and I can configure my shop so that the major tools are no more than 10 feet from the dust collector. I have an available 220v outlet, but I could do 110 as well. My main concern with a dust collector is filtering out as much harmful dust as possible, preferably down to 0.5 micron. Given the way the house is constructed, any dust in the basement will find its way up into the rest of the home. While I can wear a respirator while I’m down the in basement, I don’t think my wife would be too happy wearing one in the living room. She also has some mild asthma issues that I assume the dust will aggravate.

Considering that this is a health issue, I’m somewhat flexible on cost. I think I could stomach upwards of $1000 for the dust collector, filters, and all ducts. Given my desire to filter down to .5, I feel like I either need (1) a big single stage collector (2hp or better) with an added baffle, and an aftermarket filter to replace the top bag, or (2) a 2hp or better two stage cyclone.

My concern with a single stage is that it may not move enough air to capture all the fine dust while the machine is running and that an added baffle may decrease efficiency and not filter out enough dust to prevent filter clogging.

My concern with a cyclone is cost and height. Ideally I’d find a less tall, used cyclone that would suit my purposes, but given the rarity of short cyclones and their general newness I wonder if that’s a possibility. A lot of the low end cyclones seem to only move 800 CFM max. I wonder if that’s enough to keep the really harmful dust from escaping the negative pressure created around the tool while running. I realize that this may sound like overkill to a lot of people here, but I’m of a mind to set things up right from the beginning and to not skimp on health and safety issues.

As to any suggestions that I build my own whatever, I’d be comfortable making a baffle or a Thein separator, but not comfortable doing the metalwork necessary to make my own cyclone.

I’d greatly appreciate any comments about my thoughts as well as specific make/model suggestions.


21 replies so far

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1456 days


#1 posted 01-24-2015 02:20 PM

Folks always consider finely filtering the air coming back through the collector, typically relying on whatever dust collection is built into a machine to capture the dust. Some machines do very well, most do not.

Do the basement and main floor share the HVAC system? If not it’s much easier to keep the dust in the basement. If not shared, you can go cheap (the large HF DC) and wear a respirator. If shared, you will need a lot of air volume and specific hoods over machines to capture dust that escapes at the cut. Find some millwork or other woodworking shops that use dust collection and observe how well the dust is collected and how are the collection hoods designed and positioned, as well as the air volume (easily measured with a hand held HVAC duct meter). With my kids out of the house I considered moving my woodworking from the garage to the basement, but with the house having a combined HVAC system I knew it would be very expensive to buy and operate a dust collection system that would keep the dust out of the rest of the house, so it isn’t going to happen.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3949 posts in 1960 days


#2 posted 01-24-2015 02:36 PM

A couple of points, a SS DC can move just as much (or more) air as a cyclone. What happens is that the bags or filters will clog and reduce the air flow over time….that is the purview of the cyclone. Supposedly, it removes anything that could clog the filter, which maintains that high air flow. They don’t all work that way, many of them are so poorly designed they let a lot of the finest dust get to the filter and it quickly clogs. When I had a drum sander, it wasn’t unusual for me to have to clean the filter twice per 55 gallon drum of dust/chips. A thein seperator helps a SS with this, it will remove most (not all) of the finest dust, and you might get away with having to clean the filter only once a year (during the summer, outside) or less. So my recommendation, given your criteria, is to get a good SS DC with tight filtration, and fir a Thein to it. I also suggest an ambient air cleaner, these won’t hepp with your personla health in the shop (by the time the air cleaner gets the dust, it’s already in your lungs) but it will reduce any remaining dust that might migrate to the living quarters. Even a world class DC doesn’t get everything, this is just added insurance.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

19180 posts in 2142 days


#3 posted 01-24-2015 02:50 PM

Fred nailed it with the ambient air cleaner!!!
Like he said, NO DC will capture all of the “fines” at the source.
That and some machines (CMS, RAS, sanders….) are notorious fine dust generators!!!

Along with a “good” DC system, hoods for CMS/RAS and an ambient air cleaner, you should consider a downdraft table for sanding.

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

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crank49

3981 posts in 2437 days


#4 posted 01-24-2015 05:01 PM

The HF 2HP DC will fit in 83”. In fact it will fit through a standard door, which is usually 80”.
I would add a room air filter and add carbon filters to help nutralize odors.
I used to have a shop in the basement and got a lot more complaints from SHWMBO about the smell of cutting, planing or sanding various wood, and finishing than I did about dust.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1783 days


#5 posted 01-25-2015 12:25 AM

Unless you can do external exhaust, any system capable of removing all the fine dust will be very expensive. I’d say a minimum of $3,500 for the duct and collector for a small shop unless you get lucky on used equipment.

Air cleaners are a good idea but the downside to relying on them is that they won’t pick up the dust laying around the floor. Moving around the shop will continuously stir up more fine dust. If you can’t afford the time and money to get really good dust collection, then supplement with the air cleaners and make frequent use of a HEPA filter equipped shop vac to clean the shop.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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JAAune

1646 posts in 1783 days


#6 posted 01-25-2015 12:29 AM

One other point to consider…

Short cyclones aren’t nearly as good as the tall versions.The Murphy Rodgers high efficiency I recently purchased is at least 11’ tall if 55 gallon drums are used under the cyclone.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View JerseyTiger's profile

JerseyTiger

10 posts in 733 days


#7 posted 01-26-2015 01:48 PM

Thanks for all the responses. To add one fact to this: my basement is not connected to my HVAC system, so to speak. The system is located in the basement and there are a lot of ducts exposed in the basement, but no return air comes from the basement. Given the way things are constructed, I assume that dust from the basement will find its way into the system, through gaps in the duct seams, or up the stairs and through the basement door into the rest of the house.

My general feeling now, based on the comments that I’ve received is to go with a powerful single stage dust collector and use an aftermarket filter from the start along with a Thein separator. Later on I’ll consider adding an ambient air cleaner.

One bit of progress this weekend is that I’ve added a second 220 circuit to the shop as two more 110 circuits, and taken down a partition wall that was diving the shop in half. Now the TS can sit in the middle of the shop with a workbench doubling as an outfeed table on the other side. That should set things up so that the DC can go off to the side of the TS in a more favorable position.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2437 days


#8 posted 01-27-2015 02:29 AM

The Thein separator will do nothing to improve the capture of fine particles. It will reduce the frequency of needing to empty the dust bag because it will deposite the bulky coarse dust into a can which is easier to empty than a bag..
A Thein separator will increase the static load on the fan in the same way a cyclone will, because it works on the same principle. The higher the pressure drop, the better the filtration.

Although some people argue that a Thein separator or a cyclone first stage make the final filter more efficient because they remove the finer dust, this is simply not true. These first stage measures remove a large volume of the coarser dust and the reduction in volume of the dust going into the final stage might make you think the first stage is removing most of the dust, but it is the final stage that is catching the most harmful finest dust.

The only things that increase the removal of fine particles are finer mesh and larger bags, or pleated paper type cartridge filter canister replacement for bags, or adding a high efficiency cyclone stage (which will require a more powerful fan), or adding a separte air filter independant of the dust collector. The air filter is actually the best method of all these choices because it uses far far less energy, makes much less noise, and can be left running on a timer after you leave the shop.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View SawdustTX's profile

SawdustTX

240 posts in 1790 days


#9 posted 01-27-2015 06:42 AM

I spent way too much time (months) researching online, reading hundreds of articles and posts, and calling numerous DC manufacturers (and even the Pentz people). In the end it became clear to me that unless I was willing to spend multiple thousands of dollars, and had at minimum 9 feet of vertical, the cyclone route wasn’t going to get me better results than a quality 2hp single stage DC.

So I found a used Delta 2hp single stage, and bought the Wynn filter. Also picked up a used ambient air cleaner. The whole combo was under $1000, and I’m quite pleased with the results. Good ducting helped. I even rearranged a few tools to create shorter dust collector runs. Soon I’ll be adding a Thien seperator.

Yea, if I ever build that dream shop, it’ll have 12 foot ceilings and a killer cyclone dust collector in it’s own separate room, but for my current 2 car garage shop, my much less expensive setup works very well.

View vXhanz's profile

vXhanz

11 posts in 689 days


#10 posted 01-27-2015 08:00 AM

I read through a lot of the posts on here and ultimately went with the Harbor Freight dust collector. It was in my price range, and even after the modifications I’m going to do to it (Wynn filter eventually), it will still be cheaper than buying a unit from one of the major names out there. I’m still gathering my supplies though, so I have a lot of assembly to do before it’s finished. I have a super dust deputy that will arrive in another week, then I need to work on the duct work itself and the cart I’m going to build for it.

V

View JerseyTiger's profile

JerseyTiger

10 posts in 733 days


#11 posted 01-27-2015 01:22 PM



In the end it became clear to me that unless I was willing to spend multiple thousands of dollars, and had at minimum 9 feet of vertical, the cyclone route wasn t going to get me better results than a quality 2hp single stage DC.

Feel like I’m basically coming to the same conclusion. I guess the question now is what SS DC to buy. I can do 110 or 220, but it can’t be larger than a standard two bag setup.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1456 days


#12 posted 01-27-2015 03:03 PM

You said your HVAC indoor unit is in your basement, but there are no registers dumping into the basement. The only places for dust infiltration are return air ducts and the filter slot in the indoor unit box. Use aluminum duct tape to seal any visible seams in the return air ducting and the filter slot, and your won’t have dust migration to the main floor. Keep the door to the basement closed. You do not need DC to prevent migration to the main floor. It’s just a question of what you want to do. Unless you get elaborate with a powerful DC and extra hoods etc., you will still need to wear a respirator to ensure you are not breathing fine dust – too much escapes at the machine cut. I figure my DC is for shop cleanliness not my health.

View SawdustTX's profile

SawdustTX

240 posts in 1790 days


#13 posted 01-29-2015 02:34 AM


Feel like I m basically coming to the same conclusion. I guess the question now is what SS DC to buy. I can do 110 or 220, but it can t be larger than a standard two bag setup.

- JerseyTiger

I ended up with a 110v single bag model (Delta 50-850) bought off CL for $250 in like-new condition. It’s been more than enough for my Unisaw, 14” bandsaw, and 8” jointer. Part of that is because with a “point use” setup, the duct runs are all just 10’ smooth flow flex hose. No long ducting runs.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2437 days


#14 posted 01-29-2015 05:18 PM

It’s hard to beat the 2hp Harbor Freight which can be had for about $150, brand new. HF has a simple “no questions asked” return policy and if you want to pay for it they have extended warranties. It is virtually the same machine as sold by many different manufacturers. It can be modified with the cartridge canister filter the same.

I have had one for 5 years and it, along with a homemade shop air filter, is all I want or need.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3949 posts in 1960 days


#15 posted 01-29-2015 06:07 PM

I would suggest you look and compare carefully. The HF isn’t a 2 HP, and only has a 10” impeller. I’m not knocking it, but most of the others in the “2 HP” class have a true 2 HP motor and a 12” impeller….and that’s where I suggest you start. After that make sure it has (or you install) tight filtration, 1 micron or better. Such a unit would do well with 6” ducting to your tools….if you don’t want to do that, the HF will perform just as well with 4” duct. It’s a matter of setting what you expect from the system and trying to match the unit to it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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