Evolution of a Shop #8: HFDC Upgrade

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Blog entry by Cory posted 03-06-2010 03:04 PM 19535 reads 8 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Some progress in the shop, though never enough. Part 8 of Evolution of a Shop series Part 9: Mobile Carts...A Godsend in a small shop »

I have been wanting to get a trash can separator for my Harbor Freight dust collector since I bought it. I still don’t have the separator built, but I did make a great improvement to the unit, IMHO. I’m sure many of you have seen the stovepipe mod, or the Delta collector with room underneath the blower for a separator where the motor and the ring are in line. I wanted to try the same thing on the HFDC.

The challenge is that the DC motor is really heavy and I wanted to keep the unit portable. I would guess it weighs 50 pounds. I racked my brain for a while on how to come up with this support system for the motor without building a huge contraption. I used only materials that I had on hand (old door for the bottom, misc 2x’s and plywood for the support) so it’s definitely not pretty, but it works! The 2x’s and plywood are glued and screwed to each other. The whole unit is bolted and lag screwed to the base. I am going to paint it, but that’s about all I had planned for improvements. I’d welcome any suggestions for how to improve the design/functionality.

After some trial and error on the alignment, I bolted down the motor and got it lined up nearly perfectly with the inlet on the ring. I cut a small section of the flex hose that came with the unit to cover the almost none existent gap. Now that the blower motor and the ring are in line, it makes a HUGE difference in the suction. I mean HUGE. As soon as I get a chance I’m going to get the separator built (ala Thien) and put the can under the motor. I’ll have more updates then.

Here are the pictures:

Thanks for looking.


-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

8 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8648 posts in 4662 days

#1 posted 03-06-2010 03:52 PM

very cool. it’s an interesting question – why do the larger DCs indeed have their motors and blower installed vertical instead of horizontal like the smaller ones. this one will make an easy way to incorporate a pre-separator. looking forward to seeing how it works out.

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

View Oakfan's profile


39 posts in 4050 days

#2 posted 03-06-2010 03:55 PM

I think that is a great design. I just bought the same collector and I want to add a seperator but I didn’t want it sitting on the floor next to it. I’m going to copy your idea, If U don’t mind. Keep everything in one compact package and mobile. Great job

-- It's not the breaths U take but the moments that take your breath away !!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5260 days

#3 posted 03-07-2010 02:40 PM

Great job Cory, I too want some follow up pics if you will.

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

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4187 days

#4 posted 03-07-2010 05:13 PM

Nicely done!

I’m kind of sorry to hear about the huge increase in suction. That’s going to bother me … until … I do the same thing to mine :-)

Here’s to More Power!!

-- -- Neil

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4686 days

#5 posted 05-13-2010 01:06 AM

Nice idea.

View ub8up's profile


1 post in 3704 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 03:30 PM

Looks Great
Good Job

-- Nicky Boy

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4302 days

#7 posted 01-16-2011 03:33 PM

nice, i need one of these myself

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Chuck McIntyre's profile

Chuck McIntyre

81 posts in 2287 days

#8 posted 06-04-2015 02:12 AM


I was just taking a look at your outfeed table project and started going through your blog. Looks like I am in the same situation you found yourself in five years ago. I just bought this dust collector (based on all the positive comments here on LJ) and was thinking about a modification similar to this. Thank you, once again, for the ideas.


-- Wood is a gift from God that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

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