Dust Collector System - Looking for feedback

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Blog entry by Woodworking4dummies posted 02-11-2015 07:27 PM 2106 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally completed the dust collector system in my home shop. I recently acquired the infamous 2 HP Central Machinery Dust Collector from Harbour Freight. I finished running 4” PVC to my tools and left some room for expansion.

I must admit that I’m a little disappointed with the effectiveness of the dust collector. I think that perhaps that I had too high of expectations for my new Dust Collector purchase. I opted to purchase a shop vac and thought I’d go straight to a dust collector system for my small home shop.

I’ve posted more photos and details on my blog:

Please check it out and feel free to comment.


-- Ian,

6 comments so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3896 posts in 4890 days

#1 posted 02-11-2015 09:15 PM

I have a delta 1 hp that has several feet of hose/pipe. I found that going up to the ceiling adds a head that the collector must overcome. Keeping it at eye level and mine sucks up good.

Did you seal the seams at the joints? I can’t tell if you did and don’t see any tape. Maybe their glued right?

Blast gates so only one machine open to the collector at a time. Can’t tell if you did that.

And of course the big trick is getting the dust to the pipe… miter saw, table saw, belt sanders most notorious. Jointers and router tables it’s easier.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Dutchy's profile


4370 posts in 3621 days

#2 posted 02-11-2015 09:57 PM

The problem is the way you have made your tube system. In particular the transitions to a smaller diameter. These transitions should be tapered. And when you split a pipe your M2 may not get bigger. (Think on a water system). The way you did it will significantly reduce wind speed.


View Grumpymike's profile


2504 posts in 3767 days

#3 posted 02-11-2015 11:31 PM

I think you are on the right track, you used 2 45’s to make your turns instead of 90’s this will lower drag and radius bends are really costly.
I think what you used here is ABS pipe that is usually black as PVC is usually white. But no matter, they both work just as well.

I was a bit disappointed with mine when I first hooked it up because I was looking for the suction like my shop vac, but then I thought about it we are moving 4” of volume instead of 2” ...

Your reducers should work just fine as long as you are reducing … there will be a small vortex at the shelf letting some dust collect there, but it is contained and will be negligible. Tapered reducers really wont increase air flow that much.

I used mine for about 6 months before I foil taped the joints and did notice a bit of difference. But keep in mind that we all install our dust systems and then tweek and tune them till we get what we want …

I do recommend that you install blast gates at each tool so that you direct the max air flow to that tool and not be sucking ambient air.

And when you split a pipe your M2 may not get bigger. I don’t know what Dutchy is referring to here, but you can use a 4” Y , just blast gate them so you can select your port.

You have the lion’s share of the work done now, and just need some tweeking … Congrats on your new DC system

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Woodworking4dummies's profile


25 posts in 2696 days

#4 posted 02-12-2015 12:57 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. I didn’t seam all the joints, that’s an easy modification. I guess I’ll use foil tape. I had used a few self taping screws to hold some of the tubes together. Yeah, it’s a mix of ABS with PVC elbows.

I do have blast gates for every tool/port. I have more pictures on my blog that show the details:

I would rather not have the tubes running at eye lever since I was planning on hanging some cabinets and tools on the wall spaces.

As for splitting pipes, I guess that’s a debate. I saw many people using wye splitter online so I just followed the same…

thanks again – appreciate all comments.


-- Ian,

View ronniebo's profile


130 posts in 4117 days

#5 posted 02-13-2015 11:26 PM

Judging by the insulation on your walls you have to be serious about staying warm at some times.
Might I suggest a couple of tweeks here too.
Firstly check out the Thien cyclone system. I have fitted this to a 44 gal drum. This replaces the plastic chip bag.
Secondly I eliminate the filter bag which unfortunately still fills the workshop with dust.
I have done this by sending all of the exhaust gas outdoors to the garden.
The thien system is so efficient that only the absolute slightest amount of dust is blown outdoors.
When I installed the thien system while still having the plastic chip bag I realised that after filling the 44 with thicknesser dust I was only left with half a cupful of fine dust in the plastic bag—pretty efficient I think.
I know it means discarding some bits and pieces, but I`m sure it was worth it.
Good luck from Drizzly Hobart.

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 4523 days

#6 posted 02-14-2015 12:24 AM

The run in your picture is way too long for the HF dust collector. Plug everything into a static pressure calculator and you’ll see that you need something a lot more powerful, perhaps in the 3HP range—especially if you add a cyclone or separator.

The HF DC works best when you roll it from tool to tool; it isn’t up to snuff once you start talking about a nice centralized dust collection system.

The run from my HF DC to each tool is less than 10 feet because that’s about what it can handle. I still have to wear a respirator because the calculations say the HF DC still can’t overcome the dust-slinging ability of my table tools. Because of that, it doesn’t really even pay for me to replace the filter bag with a sub-micron filter.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

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