AP400 filter upgrade!

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 07-01-2009 02:33 AM 17542 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I got an exciting shipment in today – a canister filter for my Delta AP400 Shopmaster 1HP dust collector!

new filter for my dust collector

Suction has been declining a lot these last months. The bag has been getting dirty but I just hate spending an hour blowing dust out of the thing. I’m always in a rush, stealing time wherever I can to work on something. It’s also a really filthy task. Some people have backyard decks as big as my entire back yard, and I end up getting dust all over my house, garage, patio, shed, and teeny lawn when I’m out there cleaning out the bag, seen here:

old filter bag

That was 30 microns. The new filter brings me down to 2 microns – way better:

new filter in place

The little pleat-smacker’s pivot handle just makes it between the cabinet, wall, and door, if the machine is pulled out a few inches from the wall.

dust collector setup

I gave it a test after getting the filter installed, and suction is back to the way it was when I first bought it. I’m very excited. Two questions for you, if you’ve read this far, as the instructions failed to mention:

  1. should I be twirling the smacker arm after shutting the machine down every time, or just an occasional swiping when it starts to slow down?
  1. how long should this thing last? It was about $150, and it seems that I’d have to replace most of it someday, as I don’t think the filter really comes out, but is rather part of the whole unit.

Now I have 5x the filter surface area, a cleaning flapper, better suction, and greatly reduced dust particle sizes. This will be my last acquisition for awhile, as I’ve realized my bank balance has been dropping for awhile now, and I want to build up the reserves again!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

13 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5073 days

#1 posted 07-01-2009 03:44 AM

congrats on the new filter.


View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3897 posts in 4933 days

#2 posted 07-01-2009 04:18 AM

Gary, I’ve got this same dust collector. I’d sure like to know if this addition works out over time and if it keeps improving the air flow. I might consider an upgrade. And for the cost of the filter it would have to last awhile. I purchased this unit at Lowes when they were discontinuing it and the small metal brace crossing the vertical beams were missing for $120 after bargaining; a considerable discount over the original cost. This filter would be more than the cost of the unit. It’d have to be worth it over the long run.

Thanks for the post.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5144 days

#3 posted 07-01-2009 04:21 AM

congrats. this filter should outlast you unless you abuse it. just don’t wet it, or blow high pressure air on it – and you shouldn’t need to worry about it.

on another note – I notice that you still have the lower collection bag – this bag is actually a filter by itself, and is supposed to work with the top filter bag. once you switch to a cartridge filter – you should use a zero porosity collection bag that will NOT let air through it – this will make the cartridge do all the filtering which is what you really want.

it’s recommended to twirl the flapper after every use, this will help it avoid over-accumulation, and a good habit to start off the get-go.

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

View mmh's profile


3703 posts in 5218 days

#4 posted 07-01-2009 06:17 AM

Nice set up. We need to go that direction soon.

Does it yell “Danger! Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!” while it waves it’s arms? }:)~

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4877 days

#5 posted 07-01-2009 06:30 AM

Jim – Thanks!

Craftsman – sounds (according to Lev) that it should last a very long time. I’ll report back any issues as I encounter them, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a really great machine now.

Lev – I was thinking that. It doesn’t say it anywhere, and people online just gave good reviews without mentioning it, but the other can filter setups I’ve seen also have a clear plastic bottom bag, which I’ve always wanted. It would be fun to see the dust and small chips filling it up, instead of deducing from the shadows, or going over to squeeze the bag. I think I’ll swap that out next. My only fear was that it would overpressure the filter a bit – not much, but maybe bad in the long run – but as this has 5x the surface area, then I should be fine. Thanks for the tip about flapping it each time – will do. It’s fun, so it’s no big deal.

mmh – It will yell that now that you’ve convinced me to add animatronics to it!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5484 days

#6 posted 07-01-2009 06:34 AM

Good deal Gary! I upgraded my DC about a year ago with a canister also. I rotate it when ever I remember to and sometimes when I notice that I’m not getting the suction I should. Make sure it’s off before you do it. I always rotate it a few times in both directions also.

I have also found that as the bag gets full the suction seems to go down. I empty mine when it gets about 1/4 full.
Mine has plastic bags though. Being a cheap bastard I just empty it into the trashcan (outside) and re-use it.

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

View bern92's profile


71 posts in 4850 days

#7 posted 07-01-2009 04:02 PM

I love the T-shirt in the first pic…

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5144 days

#8 posted 07-01-2009 04:18 PM

Gary – if you use a plastic bag with a fabric filter you’d probably overpressure the filter – but not the case with the canister. if you underpressure it – it means that the collection (fabric) bag is letting out air through it – which means , you’re not really getting the filteration level of the canister as it should be.

I’m as cheap as GaryK though – once the plastic collection bag is full, I just empty it and reuse it. not only cheap – I also don’t like the idea of trashing all that plastic material. Green thinking.

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

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4877 days

#9 posted 07-01-2009 10:04 PM

Gary – I’m going to track down that plastic bags used for these, and will also be reusing them. Thanks for the tips on keeping it clean.

bern – I don’t think I have any serious tshirts :)

Lev – It all makes sense. I, too, hate the idea of filling up landfills, and even recycling isn’t super green with all the energy that goes into it.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 5081 days

#10 posted 07-01-2009 10:10 PM

I have a friend who has one of these and his started leaking after a short time. I hope yours works out better they need to be cleaned after a while anyway I should imagine just like the bags maybe not so often.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5484 days

#11 posted 07-02-2009 02:28 AM

I just looked at your last picture and notice that you had a separator. I have one also and the same thing applies to that about getting full and losing suction.

I don’t know about a plastic bag option for the Delta. I upgraded my generic 2HP DC with a kit from jet that included plastic bags.

You can see how I setup the DC in my shop before the upgrade here:

You can see my blog for the upgrade here:

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

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4877 days

#12 posted 07-02-2009 11:36 AM

Alistair – leaking!? That’s not good. Do you know if it was leaking out of any particular area? Top, sides, bottom? It seems really sound, but who knows? I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks for the info.

Gary – I’d love a 2HP! I’m ducting this around the shop, and it loses considerable power by the time it goes up to the rafters, across the shop, and down the back wall. It’s still a lot better than nothing, but not killer awesome, as I’d hoped. I’ll upgrade in a couple years, perhaps. Have you found your little DC room filling up with tiny dust particles, or has the 2-micron canister kept it all fairly clean?

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Woodknack's profile


13594 posts in 3876 days

#13 posted 01-10-2014 10:33 PM

How has this worked out over the long haul?

-- Rick M,

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