Dust Collection Overload

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Forum topic by angelis posted 04-15-2009 12:23 AM 7372 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View angelis's profile


54 posts in 3877 days

04-15-2009 12:23 AM

Well after spending the last few days searching this forum and reading about the dust collection, reading Bill Pentz site, and searching other forums I am fairly overloaded on the information provided.

So far I have not had a dust collection system, I just bought a 1 1/2 HP DC from Steel City. Now after reading everything I am wondering if this is sufficiant for my shop. I am working out of a two car garage with the following tools and locations(away from the dust collector):
10” table saw (15 feet away)
12” portable planer (6 feet away)
6” jointer (4 feet away)
14” bandsaw (4 feet away)
Drill Press (10 feet away)
Router table (2 feet away)

Now here are my dilemas that I thought I would throw out to the Lumberjocks community:

Is the dust collector adequate to be connected to each machine through a permanent header with blast gates installed before each machine?

The dust collector has a 4” wye connection, should I connect everything with a 4” duct header or remove this and retro fit a 6” connection for 6” duct header then downsize to 4” right at the machines?

Can I install a cyclone trash can seperator right before the dust collector or will I be loosing to much CFM?


43 replies so far

View Albert's profile


508 posts in 3558 days

#1 posted 04-15-2009 12:50 AM

I think you’ll be just fine, blast gates at each tool and 4 inch tubes to connect the whole thing. No reason you can’t connect a trash can in line with the tube as long as all the connections are fairly tight you should get plenty of suck from the system. Let us know how it works out.

View Sean's profile


156 posts in 3584 days

#2 posted 04-15-2009 12:52 AM

Permanent 15’ away? I suppose it depends on what you mean by sufficient. I have a 1.5 hp Delta dust collector. if its not sitting within a few feet of whatever its hooked up to, i might as well not hook it up and just use it like a shop vac when Im done. I’ve been pretty disappointed by it, Im saving for an upgrade, a big clearvue or an Oneida within the next year.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3529 days

#3 posted 04-15-2009 01:55 AM

Coincidentally I poked around on the Bill Pentz site last night for a few hours, and my head is still spinning Based on my understanding of his general principles, I’d say that you are asking for problems as follows:

1. Downsizing to 4 inch from 6 inch at the machines is not good because the air velocity in the 6 inch pipe would be too slow.

2. Four inch header is too small

3. Changing the dust collector 4 inch wye to 6 inch might overload the motor and cause it to burn out/overheat.

4. It seems like he doesn’t like any hobbiest dust collectors and only recommends a Clearview.

5. The dust collector should be in the middle of everything, not at the end – and vented to the outside after collecting the “big stuff.”

I was all set to plan on adding a DC to my shop, but now I’m in a reset mode due to the cost if it is to be done using his methodology.

My main bjective was to get rid of the small particles that zap your lungs. After reading his blog it would seem the only practical way for most hobbiest woodworkers is to wear an appropriate mask (the little paper jobs with rubber bands won’t cut it either) or powered respirator.

-- Joe

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3370 days

#4 posted 04-15-2009 05:02 AM

1 1/2 hp SC dust collector will work fine on the tools that you mentioned, though I would try to get closer to the tablesaw. The tablesaw, portable planer and the jointer are your largest makers of dust and the DC should be as close as it can be to those machines. The 4” pipe should work fine ( a 6” system w/6” outlets would be better), and I would recommend a Thien ( ) seperator before the DC. Pleated filters work much better than bags for filtering the fines. Bill Pentz is very knowledgable, but don’t let him stop you from building a DC because you can’t afford one, even his systems allow fines back into the shop air. The only way to stop all fines is to exhaust outside your shop.

Good luck with the system.

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

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3682 days

#5 posted 04-15-2009 05:09 AM

go to reviews and check on ‘dust collectors. I have a 1&1/2 hp with a vortex separator and its great.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3644 days

#6 posted 04-15-2009 10:24 AM

Sounds like it would almost be better to just have a small fan blowing the fines away from the work station and sweep it all up when you’re done.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3321 days

#7 posted 04-15-2009 11:18 AM

I was a early adopter of dust collection in my workshop, the main reason being, I hated to sweep. So, the more sawdust that was picked up at the time of creation, the better it be. So my first dust collector was 1HP import, main reason being, there weren’t a lot of affordable choices at the time.

Then, all of a sudden, everybody jumped on the bandwagon. So I bought one of Delta’s first 1-1/2HP units. I plumbed it in to all my machines using 4” PVC (I ran a 6ga bare ground wire throughout it) with blast gates at each station. It did ok, but I wanted better.

So I bought one of Oneida’s first cyclones with the internal filter and re-plumbed everything with 5” steel and blast gates. Still in use today, but I’m in the process of upgrading it to one with an external filter units that has a filter 3 times the size of the internal filter.

My point in sharing this is, been there, done that. Don’t get caught up by all the new fangled ours is better then their’s and don’t ever believe advertised CFM ratings. Ask the manufacturer for a CFM verses static pressure graph and use that to compare the real performance.

And if they can’t or won’t provide you with that graph, say bye, no matter what excuse they give you for not being able to provide it, because that graph will show real performance and if they don’t want to provide it there’s a reason for that.

And if you really want a good dust collection system, look at Oneida, now. Not after you buy your first dust collector, or your second (like I did) and waste(d) your money, do it now. They will help you design your system and your ductwork free of charge. I’ve been there, done that, came full circle. Penn State or all these others are playing catch up to Oneida. Oneida does one thing, dust collection, that is their specialty. And I do believe they sport the Made in USA emblem.

Ask Oneida for comparisons of their equipment to all the rest, you’ll get them. Ask all the rest for comparisons of their equipment to Oneida and…

All I can say, is I ran the route, and I’m just passing that on.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3529 days

#8 posted 04-15-2009 03:38 PM

Thanks for your input, this is good advice, I’ll definately check Oneida out.

Your’s is one more example on why it is better to buy quality and performance the first time. Everytime that I have compromised and bought something based only on advertising hype and price I have been burned. It’s a false economy to buy something cheap now with the idea to replace it later when you have more money.

-- Joe

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3617 days

#9 posted 04-15-2009 04:43 PM

indeed it’s a lot of info. since I read Bill Pentz articles I have been holding off till I figure out my ‘final’ setup… in the mean time I use my Jet 1.5 1100CFM dust collector one tool at a time with a flex hose.

I think you’ll do fine with the 1.5 SteelCity collector in a garage shop your size, but for best performance, move it closet to the big chip makers – Tablesaw/Planer/Jointer. 4” pipes would work ok, but 6” would be a better choice, and in the long run will give you a better base (plumbing) to work with if you ever do choose to upgrade the collector.

PS. Oneida definitely has their hold in the market, but I’ve read some rave reviews on the smaller JDS cyclones well

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View angelis's profile


54 posts in 3877 days

#10 posted 04-15-2009 10:05 PM

Thanks for all the advice, since I have already purchased the dust collector I am going to install the permanent dust collection system. With your suggestions I am going to install the 6” main run up to each machine the necking down to the port size. I will also install blast gates as close to the main header as possible. For right now I think I will for go the seperator due to the fact I would have to reduce size to 4” the increase back up.

After reading your responces and making the above decision I decided to call Steel City’s tech support and get there advice on the performance of the DC (knowing that they would also want to sell their equipment). They stated that normally you would want to run a cyclone (like Larry stated) but due to the short runs the DC will work fine and yes to go ahead and run 6” duct. I also asked if this would overload the motor, they stated no.

Thanks for the help, I’ll post pics when I get it all complete and find out how the performance is.

View RajinCajun's profile


42 posts in 3308 days

#11 posted 04-20-2009 07:26 AM

As you can see from my picture, I’m an Oneida fan. Its my second upgrade, and worth every penny.
If you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck and don’t want to upgrade to a cyclone, then
1. make sure you upgrade to a fine filter bag instead of the junk that comes with most DCs. I bought them from Oneida in my first system, and they greatly improved airflow and cut way down on the dust layer around the shop.
2. yes, you should retro fit a 6” connection for 6” duct header then downsize to 4” right at the machines? Its not ideal to downsize to 4”, but frequently its all you can do.

-- Its a HOBBY...I already have a job.

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3321 days

#12 posted 04-20-2009 03:56 PM

Hey angelis, before you run 6” duct check it out, that might be too big When you increase duct size, or use too big of duct size, air velocity decreases. When air velocity decreases the stream is no longer capable of keeping material suspended in the air stream and it will settle in the duct work. Don’t increase to 6” if the dust collector has a 4” or 5” inlet. Even if it has a 6” inlet (or even bigger) you might want to still use 5” Unless you want to clean out your ducts periodically..

When I got my Oneida cyclone I was buying my duct work from Oneida, it has a 6” inlet so I was inclined to use 6” duct work. I was talking with an engineer there and was told to reduce the runs to 5” it increases air velocity,. So at the fist major junction, within 3’ of the cyclone, I used a 6” to 5” to 5” reducer. Then at each machine reduce to what you need, My table saw stayed at 5”, my jointer, RAS, chop saw, router table, drum sander, and planer all have 4”, oscillating spindle sander 3”.

Also, don’t use HVAC duct you can get at you home improvement stores, it’s typically too thin and can collapse if the duct collector is powerful enough. Use duct work that is designed for dust collection. I’ve seen pictures where the duct actually collapsed, flattened like a pancake, looked like a stream roller rolled over it.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3370 days

#13 posted 04-20-2009 05:13 PM

I too have seen the pictures of collapsed 6” duct and would like to know how they really crushed it. I personally think that it’s some sort of urban legend kind of like how pvc pipe can cause explosions in conjunction with DC with less than 3 hp, which is another fallacy. I took three lentghs of 6” hvac pipe and connected it to the inlet of my Grizzly 2 hp DC and then put a piece of 2” foam insulation over the inlet toact like a stoppage and glory be there was no collapse of the pipe. not scientific, but it worked.

Remember, “Only believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.”

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

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3321 days

#14 posted 04-20-2009 07:33 PM

When I purchased my first Delta 1-1/2HP dust collector I too used 4” PVC pipe, but I was aware of the explosion risk and ran a 6ga bare wire throughout it and grounded it to my electric service panel ground. Wood dust is just as volatile as grain dust and I’m sure you’ve heard of grain silo explosions, or is that something we’re only half supposed to believe?

High velocity air produces static electricity, if not grounded properly that static electricity can find a path and discharge in an arc, if there’s wood dust in that arc’s path that wood dust can ignite. As an example, take a handful of sawdust and throw it in a fire, you’ll see how easily and fast it ignites. Now, consider much finer wood dust, the sort that is created by woodworking machines and processes, definitively a recipe for disaster. Just running my shop vac with a long hose I can feel the static charge when it builds up on the hose. It is real, not imagined.

Also, because wood dust does have the risk of explosion, the National Fire Protection Association takes it very seriously and I would suspect insurance companies that provide homeowners insurance take that seriously too and follow it.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Code 664; Prevention of Fires and Explosions In Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, which states “The collection equipment shall be designed and constructed entirely of noncombustible material suitable for the use intended.” “Non conductive material such as PVC shall not be permitted.”

As for duct work collapsing, take look at this:

JimmyC, there’s a good explanation at the above link of what it took to collapse it.

Here’s an excellent guide for designing a dust collection system:

But I guess I should only believe half of any of that eh? Oneida may not be a reputable company and may have staged that eh?

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3617 days

#15 posted 04-20-2009 08:04 PM

blankman that pipe collapse image is not PVC, thats A/C metal duct… it’s very thin gauge metal and I’m surprised someone actually used that for dust collection purposes… PCV ASTM2729 should be suitable for dust collection on the ‘cheap’ side. 4” or 6”

I used to install that type of plumbing for central vacuum systems in homes/businesses (although the 2” version) it’s a lightweight ridgid material that performs well.

oneida does have a good resource of info on their site, def. worth checking out. thanks for the reminder

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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