Dust Collection by the Numbers #1: Where to Start?

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 04-14-2018 01:02 PM 3132 reads 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Dust Collection by the Numbers series Part 2: Terms and Definitions »

You are probably wondering why there is yet another dust collection blog, forum, review, or question. It seems like the topic comes up a couple of times a week asking mostly the same questions and giving mostly the same answers.

I was switching out the blade on my saw and noticed that there was a a pile of saw dust and chips in the cabinet space under my Delta Unisaw. The 4” port to the dust collection system was covered as well. At first I thought there might be a larger piece of wood plugging it. Nope, nothing plugging it. Then I checked the 4” hose, blast gate, garbage can collector and DC inlet. Nothing was plugged So why was the DC not removing the chips and saw dust? The top of the table saw was covered with dust despite using a Sharkguard blade guard. That got me thinking about the design of my system, or rather, the lack of a design. When I bought the Laguna C-FLux1 dust collector last year I simply attached all of the 4” components from the old Delta dust collector to the new one without taking any time to consider what the appropriate size duct and components should be. After all I only run a single tool at a time. How hard can that be? Obviously, my preconceived ideas about what should work got in the way of figuring out what I really needed in order for the new DC to work properly.

Fellow LJ TungOil mentioned doing the math on DC system design and I decided I might as well start the process. I have the technical background with nearly 30 years of engineering experience designing, installing, and troubleshooting equipment and processes in the chemical industry. I’m also hoping for others to add their experience and expertise. I’m also going to include links to the top sites for dust collection “how-to” and other helpful tools. If you know of links to sites like that, please make a comment and include the link. I’m planning to read through a number of of the on-line articles and sites as I work out the details of what my system should look like and then put the pieces in place to see if they actually work.

Here’s the first batch of links: - brush up on dust collection systems – article on basic dust collector design dust collection needs by the numbers – article on basic dust collector design

Air Handling Systems dust collection vendor site – more technical information and approach Dust Collection Basics – one of the most widely read sites. He knows his stuff and there are plenty of things to read. A bit long winded but technically sound with plenty of practical examples. There is also an excel spreadsheet that can be used to evaluate a system. I haven’t went through it yet. dust collection – basic how-to article ductwork tutorial dust collector vendor site – more technical information and approach avoid-common-duct-design-flaws – another article with troubleshooting tips woodworking filter selection – filter information

This is just a sampling of the on-line resources available. The next installment of this series will include a review of my existing set up using design information for the components to determine the actual performance of the current system and compare the numbers to what is occurring in the shop.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

5 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8728 posts in 3918 days

#1 posted 04-14-2018 02:09 PM

Looks like you have the situation well under study if not control just yet. The only thing I will add from my experience (with a similar unisaw) is that you need to use the DC every time or at least often with them. I need to walk across the shop to turn mine on and consequently I often don’t, especially for short cuts. If you let it start to build up the DC won’t clear it by itself. It does seem like a nice shiny chute but it’s not that efficient.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


8536 posts in 1832 days

#2 posted 04-14-2018 02:35 PM

AH YES ….. WOOD DUST …..thee woodworkers worst enemy i will be following this post …as I’m getting older i hate dust more and more ….looks to me like your doing good homework lesson …BUT to me the more i read the more confused i get LOL :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Rayne's profile


1319 posts in 2660 days

#3 posted 04-14-2018 02:47 PM

One other pitfall to think about when setting up or resetting up snaplock ducts, if you have them. Make sure the pipes are facing in the right direction for optimal air flow (connecting end that goes IN the pipe is facing towards the DC; not the tool). I did not consider this when I set mine up and sometimes wonder just how much CFM I lose on some stretches. It would be a nightmare to flip some of the stretches so, for now, it’s working and don’t see the need to flip them…yet.

View TungOil's profile


1384 posts in 1615 days

#4 posted 04-14-2018 04:10 PM

Glad you are doing this blog Earl. It will be good to have a resource to point people to since, as you mentioned, this come up several times per week.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View MKH's profile


53 posts in 1247 days

#5 posted 04-14-2018 08:34 PM

I was told that this is the best book available on the subject -

Woodshop Dust Control by Sandor Nagyszalanczy

-- Marshall --------------------------- In with 10. Out with 10.

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