Reply by Manitario

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Posted on Unbiased cyclone dust collector reviews and comparisons?

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2724 posts in 3148 days

#1 posted 10-07-2014 03:56 PM

Bill Pentz came up with his cyclone design based on his own research (and his own money). Both the design and his website were developed long before Clearvue came along and used his design, so his info is about as unbiased as you can get.
Interestingly, Clearvue started off as a father/son team copying Bill’s design and making the cyclone out of plastic in their garage. For a number of years, Clearvue cyclones were sold “made to order” in their garage and advertised by word of mouth. I made my decision on what cyclone to buy by reading through Bill’s site and then taking the DC principles he outlines and researching for myself the specs of the major cyclone brands on the market. Dust collectors are actually pretty simple machines with consistent principles that govern their performance.

-impeller size and motor HP govern the performance of the unit; larger impeller and motor are needed to maintain CFM at higher static pressures (ie. the “friction”) of the dust collection piping etc. Fairly easy to find an online static pressure calculator, but for most weekend warrior sized workshops the static pressure (with 6” ducting) is going to average around 7-8”WC. This number can be used to look at a specific company’s DC’s fan curve to see what sort of CFM you’re going to end up with.

-cyclone unit: no magic or mystery here, just a fancy tube to separate out dust from the air column, which is the whole reason to get a cyclone in the first place. More dust hitting the filters = decrease in airflow/drop in CFM and more frequent filter cleaning. Most are very similar in design; less efficient designs result in most dust hitting the filters. I have less than a tablespoon of fine dust in my filter clean out every time I empty my dust collection bin.

-filter size: larger filter size = higher airflow. The most efficient DC’s simply blow the air outside. For some reason, Oneida cyclone units have some of the smallest filters on the market, which is one of the principle reasons why I didn’t go with Oneida when I bought my DC (110 sqft vs 600 with Clearvue/Penn State Ind. vs. 225sqft with Grizzly, Laguna/General International don’t post filter sqft).

I went with Clearvue b/c it offered a 5hp machine that was cheaper and had a much larger filter size than Oneida. Would have gone with Penn State Industries if they’d offered larger cyclone units (only offered up to 3hp when I bought my DC) as their specs are similar or better than the other major DC’s on the market but less expensive.

My shop is ~600sqft with 6” ducting, the longest run is about 25’. Testing with a pitot tube and a digital manometer revealed my setup to be 10.5” WC of static pressure; average CFM on my machines with a 6” duct is over 700. For my machines with 4” DC flanges (jointer/tablesaw) the CFM is around 400 (which is a pretty good reason to upgrade the DC flanges to 6”). Small (<2.5micron) particle count measurement during a typical full day in the shop averages around 400, which is better than my household air.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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