Dust collectin and plastic pipe

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Forum topic by snowdog posted 04-27-2009 12:37 PM 2746 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1166 posts in 4180 days

04-27-2009 12:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collection plastic

I read somewhere (here probably) that pastic pipe for duct work can be dangerous to ones survival, a static charge can build up and BOOM! no more shop. How over rated is this fear? Mettle seems to be very expensive and plastic so very cheep.

Any cost effective alternatives or can I build with plastic?
20×20 garage shop
JET DC-1100, 1-1/2 HP 1,100 CFM Dust Collector with Remote and Canister

I sure am tired of all the plastic hosing on the floor :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

38 replies so far

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3519 days

#1 posted 04-27-2009 12:52 PM

You can pick up an anti-static/grounding system at any woodworking shop or on-line. It works like a lightning rod in a home by discharging any build-up. I don’t have one installed in my system and every once in a while I get a good annoying zap. I don’t work with any fumes or flammables so have not put it high on my priority list. The grounding system might be a good alternative to investing in ductwork.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3593 days

#2 posted 04-27-2009 01:54 PM

After reading and participating in ANY discussions on this subject I have an opinion.
You may have as much caution as you will in regard to opinions.
You may also know some of the things they say about opinions.
Anyway, here goes.
There isn’t much liklihood that there would be enough charge built up in a home shop based DC to create a spark.
If such a thing did occur (very unlikely, I repeat) there is a similarly low liklihood of ignition of dust.

The causes of ignition in small and medium sized DCs can be blamed, for the most part, on ferrous metal drawn into the system, striking the impeller wheel and thus staring a small fire. Tools can also start fires by striking a nail or screw and then the sparks get sucked into the DC piping. But the chance of having those sparks stay hot enough to start fires is very low, too. Think about it. These little sparks MIGHT ignite nearby wood dust IF there is not a lot of moving air in the area, but a DC pulls a lot of airthrought the area and the tiny sparks cool quickly.
Careless smoking has also been the source of ignition in DC systems, especially in schools where the student may be sneaking a smoke in a bag house.
I have yet to hear of a properly documented case of static electricity generated in a home shop DC starting a fire or explosion. Dust explosions CAN happen in very large scale environments like grain elevators, but even they are rare.

That’s all!


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 3987 days

#3 posted 04-27-2009 02:01 PM

I have 4” PVC plastic run throughout my 20×24 shop. I’ve never had a spark or any hint of a static shock. I would highly recommend using PVC. And my shop is in the basement so if I get a fire, my whole house burns down. I’m not worried at all. It’s cheap and easy to work with. Go for it.

-- Tony, Ohio

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3656 days

#4 posted 04-27-2009 02:17 PM

My stepfather used to work in a furniture factory (Broyhill), he was laid off since they moved a majority of their operations overseas. But I do recall the Sawdust building blowing up once. This building is basically 250’ long by 50’ wide, one end is open for trucks or front end loaders. The saw dust is dumped in by giant piping feeding into the roof and dumping on the floor. Lucky nobody was in the building when it happened.

-- San Diego, CA

View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 3570 days

#5 posted 04-27-2009 02:18 PM

I have metal pipes but only because i couldn’t find 6” schedule 20 S$D in my area, I think the latest thoughts are that PVC is safe and the fire danger is fairly small. I have also read the anti-static system are fairly ineffective but couldn’t hurt.

The following web site may help

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3723 days

#6 posted 04-27-2009 02:40 PM

I have 6” pvc in my system, and I used to get shocked from the static charge all the time if I was close to the flex pipe running from the machine to the pvc pipe. To remedy it, I just wrapped a piece of stripped copper electrical wire around the last foot of flex pipe, and hang it on a piece of metal on the machine I am using. Problem solved.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3599 days

#7 posted 04-27-2009 02:50 PM

MIT did a study on the explosion factor of PVC with dust collection and their study showed that the chance of an explosion happening was pretty much nil. But the chance of getting a static shock on ungrounded pipe is high, but just uncomfortable for the recipient not enough to cause an explosion. There is a much bigger danger in picking up a screw or something causing a spark ,or causing it to get hot, while passing through the DC impeller. This can eventually start a fire in your dust bin or bag.

Good Luck.

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

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3961 days

#8 posted 04-27-2009 02:55 PM

A 1 1/2 hp portable DC is probably a little on the light side for a overhead layout. You will want to keep ducting to a minimum, use large radius elbows, and kept them to a minimum number of also. Mounting the blower on the wall close to the cieling will shorten the main branch and eliminate elbows. Or you could buy a 2 hp Cyclone which are built more for overhead layouts.

View Bartee's profile


16 posts in 3941 days

#9 posted 04-27-2009 03:18 PM

I have a 6” PVC installation. It works great. I used screws and friction fit on most connections.

I have had NO problems with static.

This keeps coming up. In all the discussions I have read NO ONE has ever had a problem with any kind of explosions. I once read a post from a fireman who had never heard of a problem with home shop pvc static causing a fire.

All of the manufacturers are covering themselves legally with statements and warning in their warranty documents.

So…. I think PVC is great. Easy to work with and a great solution.

Here is my install LINK

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4497 days

#10 posted 04-27-2009 04:38 PM

I used to use pvc for my dust collector, but have recently switched to metal.

Here’s a good article on about grounding, in WOOD Magazine.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View stahlee's profile


4 posts in 3522 days

#11 posted 04-27-2009 04:52 PM

I also use PVC (ASTM 2729) with no problems. There hasn’t been one case where PVC has caused any explosions, it’s safe. The static shock can be a PITA, but there are ways around that.

Go ahead and use it if it’s cheap in your area.

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4037 days

#12 posted 04-27-2009 05:26 PM

I have read that plastic has a natural “drag” to it, and metal is the best. You lose a little CFM with plastic I’ve read. Metal is inherently anti-static. There are anti-static grounding kits sold everywhere if you go the PVC route.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3951 days

#13 posted 04-27-2009 05:49 PM

I am using 4” PVC. I grounded both inside and out and tied to the cold water pipe that is in my shop. I am planing on re-working my dust collection to my shop. When I do, I am going to pull out the grounding wires from inside the pipe and just leave the wires on the outside. The wire inside of the pipe catches too much junk.

This has been discussed mutiple times on this site and the conclusion seems that you don’t need to ground at all. However the DC will then be prone to static electricy dischages to the end user. :) I don’t like that and have already invested in the wire so I am going to use it to help keep this end user from getting litely zapped all of the time.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3961 days

#14 posted 04-27-2009 05:53 PM

Odie, I could believe the drag factor. I wonder if Blankman has a calculation for that too. lol

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4497 days

#15 posted 04-27-2009 06:01 PM

One thing I didn’t like about the plastic it always accumulated dust on its surface.

But maybe that’s a good feature.

It’s attracting all of the fine dust that gets missed by the suction.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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