Workshop Tour #2: The dust collection system

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 11-25-2009 05:13 AM 18208 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The 10 minute tour of my workshop Part 2 of Workshop Tour series Part 3: The attic and office »

I think that I have kind of a unique dust collection system so I did a separate video on just it.

What makes it different from most is that I built it under the concrete slab. I was able to do this because I designed and built the shop from the ground up for just being a wood shop. I wanted to do this for a couple of reasons. the first and foremost is not to have a bunch of pipes all over the walls and across the floor.

I put pipes under the concrete going across the floor from left to right in straight runs. Just an elbow at each end, The reason is just in case something gets stuck, it’s easy to clear out. If it’s too long to get around the elbow I can just reach in and take it out. I can’t really see anything getting stuck in the middle of a straight run so if it does get plugged with anything it will be at either the beginning or end at the elbows. If by chance something did get stuck in the middle I could run an electricians fish tape through the jam and out the other end, and then attach something and pull it back bringing back the jammed up stuff.

I ran pipes along the bottom of the walls, front to back so that I could make all the attachment points I needed. They are a few inches off the floor making it easy to clean around them.

I have two outlets pop up in the center of the floor. One for the tablesaw and the other behind my workbench. The one behind the workbench is not being used yet, but I plan on putting a downdraft sanding station there. I also ran electrical wires there for power.

It’s real nice not having either pipes or wires across the floor of dropped down from the ceiling.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4857 days

#1 posted 11-25-2009 05:51 AM

good tour Gary lots of good details and interesting aproach to dust collection.


View Herbiej's profile


66 posts in 4633 days

#2 posted 11-25-2009 05:52 AM

Good planning, Gary. When I built my shop 30 years ago, I didn’t know what a dust collector wasw. The concrete floor was a last minute decision. I am planning on piping mine in the ceiling and blowing the chips outside.

-- Acts: 2:38

View Built2Last's profile


234 posts in 4757 days

#3 posted 11-25-2009 08:11 AM

I don’t know how long you have been using your system or how much but, having unloaded rock dust and other materials from tanker trucks for many years, one thing you learned quick was to try and never have a flat run. Gravity may acutally be working against you instead of helping. The material needs to stay airated to move thru the pipes and when you have flat runs gravity pushs it to the bottom of the pipe instead of it staying mixed in the air and moving. The only thing that may save you is the volume of material moving thru the pipes. You should probably try to make sure that you never let to much go thru at one time or to let bigger dust particles go thru. I hope none of this happens but if it does, then this will probably be the reason you have trouble.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5268 days

#4 posted 11-25-2009 10:28 AM

Built2Last – That’s interesting. I have been using for over three years now without any problem. I even use a flexible hose to pick up big piles of sawdust giving it a worst case scenario. We’re talking fine dust, regular sawdust, chunks of wood, paper… all at the same time. Works like a charm.

I think that with rock dust it would settle and compact. It has a lot more weight to it.

Sawdust isn’t really dust in that sense. It’s a lot more coarse and doesn’t really compact. There is a component of real fine dust but I imagine the coarse sawdust agitates it enough to keep it moving.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5102 days

#5 posted 11-25-2009 01:24 PM

This is a nice system that you have installed in your shop. It appears to be well planned and engineered and putting runs under the floor was a good idea. Hiding the runs like this along with putting the other trunk lines along the wall behnid the tools is a good way to conceal the runs.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4621 days

#6 posted 11-25-2009 01:57 PM

this really sucks (LOL) !

in my last shop ,
i had everything in the ( wooden ) floor ,
every 10’ i had a ” service station ” .
i made boxes in the floor joists ,
that had 6” vacuum ,
2 separate duplex 220 v outlets ,
2 separate duplex 110 v outlets ,
and an air line .
the boxes had a removable top flush with floor ,
that could be custom cut to allow any cords or tubes to be brought up
to the tools or work stations .
the plugs were all in the box sides ,
so no dust would get in them .
i’m in the process of building a 30’x40’ shop now ,
and will do that again in it too .

thanks for your tour .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View charlie48's profile


248 posts in 4449 days

#7 posted 11-25-2009 02:52 PM

Nice shop & DC video Eastwood has nothing on you.
I’m putting together my shop and this will come in handy to reference from.
Did you ground your DC system before you poured the concrete?

-- Charlie............Only time will tell if it was time well spent.

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 4478 days

#8 posted 11-25-2009 08:44 PM

Appreciate the tour, your info is very good. Thanks. I always figures for a setup like you have a guy would need a 3 hp cyclone. Once again you have given the info to prove that the top of the line stuff is not necassary and probably overkill. Well thought out system thanks

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View degoose's profile


7285 posts in 4634 days

#9 posted 11-25-2009 10:14 PM

Thanks your very much Gary. Nice to hear a voice to put to the face… and well done on both the DC and the video… one point tho… I notice that I am not the only one who wears Japanese Safety Boots.. LOL

-- Be safe.

View king's profile


71 posts in 5227 days

#10 posted 11-26-2009 02:23 AM

Thanks for the tour,I enjoyed seeing your shop.nice dust control I was very inpressed with the way you ran the pipe under the floor.

-- [email protected]

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5268 days

#11 posted 11-29-2009 09:05 AM

degoose – That was very observant about the “Japanese Safety Boots”. They were only visible for a split second.
BUT, I was just doing a video not working. :-)
I always throw those on just to run out to check on things.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TwoThumbBruce's profile


55 posts in 4296 days

#12 posted 03-23-2010 09:54 PM


Great shop! I’m working on doing my basement and currently planning the dust collection system. Do the PVC pipes cause any problems regarding static electricity? I’ve read that the pipes have to be grounded somehow or one might have an explosion. Did you do anything special?

-- Bruce, Florida

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5268 days

#13 posted 03-23-2010 10:31 PM

Bruce – Some will say that you need to ground it no matter what the evidence.

If you were going to use a 3HP or greater motor, I would say yes also. Anything less that that I wouldn’t worry about it.
I don’t. If it will give you peace of mind go ahead and ground it.

Do some google searches and you will find that you really don’t need to if you’re under 3HP.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4136 days

#14 posted 02-01-2011 12:29 AM

Gary, thank you.

I’m busy planning my extraction and never thought of going under. Doh!

Crazy thing is the new shop has a 24”crawl space under.

I was looking at square to hide the ducting, now I can rethink my plan.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View degoose's profile


7285 posts in 4634 days

#15 posted 03-09-2011 11:23 PM

Gary, I am just now ready to set up a ducting system and had another look at yours… some very salient points.. thanks again..

-- Be safe.

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