Po mans dust collector

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 03-23-2009 12:15 AM 5772 reads 12 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in 1993,I was just starting out creating intarsia and I had just gotten an order from Leichtung Workshops for 440 of my intarsia project kits. I could no longer work out of my little 8×10 shed behind my house so I made the decision to rent a space to set up shop. I found a building for rent for $350.00 a month so I moved everything into it and set up my production line. I had a Delta 14” bandsaw,Delta 6” jointer and Delta 12”planer plus a couple of router tables and a few shop vacs. I took a leave of absence from my job as an electrician and went into full scale production of my Woodworking Plus Intarsia Project Kits. I soon found out that dust was a problem that I really had to take care of so I priced a couple of commercial dust collection units and realized that I couldn’t afford to buy what was needed plus the available power was not adequate to handle a large dust sucker anyways. The shop vacs were sufficient to handle the dust from the bandsaw and the routers but the planer and jointer just made too much dust and large chips for the vac to handle. I had been just letting the chips hit the floor and sweeping and bagging them up every couple of days.After doing this for a couple of weeks and with more orders coming in I knew that I would have to come up with a viable solution.What I really needed was something that could utilize the suction of the 6hp vac but would also bag up the larger chips produced from the planer for easy disposal. After doing a little dumpster diving for parts plus a good portion of yankee ingenuity I came up with my first prototype of the shop vac powered self-bagging chip collector . The barrel is made from a box of T+G hardwood flooring that was thrown in the dumpster.The hose is a piece of 3” used for blown -in insulation,also found in the dumpster.I did buy the fiber barrel and the sieve so the whole thing cost me about $15.00.

This next photo shows the top of the collector.
The sieve prevents large chips from entering the shop vac.

I made this adapter to connect the 3” hose to the planer

The fiber drum keeps the bag open in the collector

Chips bagged up

New bag in the collector—doesn’t get any easier than this.

-- Mike --

8 comments so far

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3673 days

#1 posted 03-23-2009 12:50 AM

That is a wonderful solution! As a dumpster diver myself I love to hear great success stories like this! I like the simulated vat appearance too.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3580 days

#2 posted 03-23-2009 12:54 AM

Another great solution for a very small price. Great job on this sucker…...........LOL

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Popeye Jr.'s profile

Popeye Jr.

120 posts in 3444 days

#3 posted 03-23-2009 02:27 AM

that is a great solution, I think I might just have to borrow your design and build one for myself. Emptying that little shop vac all the time gets very frustrating. Thanks for the great idea.

-- People who say it cannot be done should not interup those who are doing it

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 3449 days

#4 posted 03-23-2009 02:48 AM

This is a great idea. Thanks for posting this.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 3820 days

#5 posted 03-23-2009 06:10 AM

Howdy. I love reading about ideas such as these. I always find them fascinating plus hopefully some where down the line I can incorporate something out of it. Thanks for sharing your po man dust collector. I know it gave me some great ideas.

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4268 days

#6 posted 03-23-2009 03:31 PM

Do you think this would work with two air sucking devices attached. I have a 1 hp Harbor Freight dust collection system and a 6 hp shop vac. Could I plug both of those into something like this and make it work? What do ya think? Great idea by the way. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View wdkits1's profile


215 posts in 3374 days

#7 posted 03-23-2009 03:55 PM

Hi Mike
This system works great to collect the big chips from the planer and jointer and depending on what kind of wood is planed are usually not too heavy for the bags. It would not work for finer sawdust from a bandsaw or table saw but I did find a solution to that problem also.I call it the vac powered dust separator .Because I use Filter bags in my vacs[$6-8 each] I made the separator to cut down on having to replace bags as often.

Now I replace the filter bag once for every two fill-ups of the separator
BTW the vacs are operated from the same switch as the tool via a switched duplex receptacle.

-- Mike --

View Hauls's profile


1 post in 71 days

#8 posted 04-07-2018 04:56 PM

Great dumpster finds and ingenuity! Another LJ had a great dumpster grab on this post. If these are the kinds of materials y’all are finding dumpster diving I think I’ll start scouting for some materials of my own. I’ve done some background reading on dumpster sizes like on this site but now I’m just wondering where to start looking. Does dumpster size matter or do you just look in every dumpster? And is there a way to do it without ending up on the wrong side of the law?

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