My HF dust colletor build

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Project by VintageFlatulence posted 04-23-2017 02:20 AM 1458 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started woodworking in November 2016. From scratch, with just a few hand-me-down tools I inherited from my dad. I have spent these months acquiring tools and outfitting my little basement shop.

I researched dust collection from the beginning and finally went to it. I bought a HF unit and modified it into a two stage unit with a Thien baffle, a 55-gallon drum, and vent out the window.

My shop is in the basement of an old house, with a small window near the ceiling. So I built a frame to hold the fan unit so that it could vent directly out the window. I replaced a glass pane with a plexiglass, and sawed a hole in it. The frame is built so that the fan blows directly out the window with about six inches of hose.

A 55-gallon drum holds the baffle made from the baffle that came with the unit with a Thien baffle cut in 3/4 inch plywood. The baffle is hinged from the rear so that I can lift it and remove the barrel for emptying easily. I created 5- to 4-inch stepdowns using the hose that came with the unit and reducers I bought from Amazon. The one hose will move from tool to tool as needed as they are all close together in my small shop.

The combination HF/Thien baffle work so well I can find no evidence of dust making it out the window. Whatever does make it out is very fine and I am pleased I will no longer be breathing it!

I bought a radial arm saw without the base with a mind to make one that has dust collection included. Works okay but the RAS still makes a mess. Will work on table saw next.

I was so proud if my first big project I wanted to share. I have read a lot about dust collection here and gained a lot of ideas that went into this project.

2 comments so far

View jayseedub's profile


231 posts in 3297 days

#1 posted 04-23-2017 03:56 PM

I have the same setup (Harbor Freight dust collector, basement shop, and the dust collector is near a small window).

We live on an acre, and I’m a little sensitive to the neighbors getting a bunch of dust blown their way—and we do have a first floor window above the basement window—and I wonder if there’s enough dust to also get into the house. It’s encouraging to hear that you find “no evidence” of dust after the Thien baffle….

The more I look at your pictures, though—is that just the stock HF “baffle” on top of the drum—or did you entirely discard it, and construct a Thein baffle on top of it—any pics you can share of that detail?

Thanks for sharing!

View VintageFlatulence's profile


12 posts in 1842 days

#2 posted 04-24-2017 12:14 AM

Hey jayseedub. The baffle is a HF baffle with a Thien cut-out underneath. So it is a modified Thien, I guess. The stock baffle is shaped to direct debris down, and so directs it against the Thien slot. It works exceedingly well.

This photo shows the baffle lifted by the hinge so you can see the Thien slot from the underside. The HF+Thien baffle perform excellent together.

As for dust going outside—I ran several tests by vacuuming swept up dust from the room, and from a bucket. Mixed plywood, boards, and MDF. Once I saw through the window something go outside but it was very fine. Most of the time I saw nothing. I went back there and looked on the ground but found no trace of sawdust.

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