Harbor Freight Dust Collector Upgrade: Super Dust Deputy and see-through bin

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Project by DadoDog posted 07-06-2017 12:06 AM 8651 views 20 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

With due credit to all that have come before, here’s yet another way of upgrading your bargain-buy Harbor Freight Dust collector into an more efficient 2 stage unit that uses a pleated filter from Wynn Environmental and Oneida’s Super Dust Deputy cyclone. I’ll advance the evolution of this popular combo by adding a a see-through dust collection bin, and idea that was borne out of my utter frustration in trying to find an affordable container. Seems that all the bins and containers I could find online, on Craigslist, at recycle center, etc. were one or more of the following:

-Way overpriced
-Cheap but with overpriced shipping
-Difficult to make airtight
-Difficult to mount hose flange onto
-Difficult to cut a dust-level view port into
-Too big
-Too small
-Too tall
-Too heavy
-Too flimsy
-Too ugly

The pictures here may not be totally clear, but my bin is basically a 25 gallon plywood box with 1/2” sides on a 3/4” bottom, and with a clear acrylic sheet (Optix brand, I believe, about 1/4” thick) used as a front. The top is 3/4” plywood and sits on weatherstripping and held tight with toolbox-type clamps. I used rabbet joinery, glue, and silicone caulk on the seams (but that’s probably overkill). The hard-to-find 5” “flanges” for the hose are separated sides of a plastic blast gate that I found on Amazon. The unit sits on casters for ease of movement.

Sure, there’s a fair amount of time that goes into this, but it meets my needs better that any other option I had, and it fits the bill.

I’m quite pleased with the final project. It works really, really good in my small shop and I breathe much cleaner air! But in the interest of giving fair warning for those considering such an endeavor, here are the costs that I recall for various components, which I’m sure many folks don’t consider when they’re flipping out their 20% off coupon at Harbor Freight:

Harbor Freight dust collector: $160
Wynn Nano 35A filter: $200
Oneida Super Dust Deputy: $170
Reducers / Coupling $25
Latches, fasteners, w-strip $20
Plastic $20
2×3’s and ply $30

So a total of over $600, not to mention all the running around (and the time). Worth it for me, but you be the judge.

8 comments so far

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3806 days

#1 posted 07-06-2017 01:26 AM

Nicely executed! That should do a very good job of dust collection, including the elusive, damaging fines.
What is the footprint of your unit?
What is the volume of the dust box? If you have a planer, the box will probably fill very quickly, so keep an eye on it. Cleaning out a pleated filter clogged from allowing the bin to overfill is not a fun exercise…........DAMHIKT!!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View Chuck Anstrom's profile

Chuck Anstrom

92 posts in 4269 days

#2 posted 07-06-2017 12:46 PM

Well done. I made something similar and am very happy with it. But, I am considering making an air-tight box (as you made to collect the dust) to replace the clear plastic bag at the bottom of your filter. I envision the box about 2’ square and 6 to 8 inches deep under the filter with a lid on the side to support occasional cleaning. Using the same basic set-up as yours, I have about 3” of dust in the plastic bag after 2 years and wonder if the time to add this final box is worth it. Thoughts?

-- Chuck Anstrom - Virginia

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4112 days

#3 posted 07-06-2017 01:15 PM

You did a nice job on this dust system.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View HassanMirza's profile


58 posts in 2086 days

#4 posted 07-06-2017 03:08 PM

Great Work! I have the exact same set up, I will have to share pictures of my set up. I have replaced the plastic bag on the bottom for a bucket.

-- Hassan Mirza

View EarlS's profile


4754 posts in 3593 days

#5 posted 07-06-2017 05:29 PM

Certainly less expensive than the Laguna I bought and probably more functional as well. I’m curious how you clean the filter?

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

View smitdog's profile


471 posts in 3351 days

#6 posted 07-06-2017 05:41 PM

I have about 3” of dust in the plastic bag after 2 years and wonder if the time to add this final box is worth it. Thoughts?

- Chuck Anstrom

Chuck, look at it mathematically. If there is no added performance by doing the modification then I go by this: (Time it takes to make new box) divided by (Time saved each time by using new box) = the number of times you have to use it before you start to save time. So with only messing with it every couple years you could easily be 10 years or more before you’d see any gain… Now, if you have the time to spend and it’s something that just drives you crazy then forget the math and just do it!

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View Nick's profile


29 posts in 2492 days

#7 posted 01-12-2018 01:26 AM

How has the acrylic panel held up over the last few months? I’m looking at doing something similar but I’ve heard that acrylic scratches very easily.

-- My moustache filters wood chips and sawdust out of my scotch - Nick Offerman

View DadoDog's profile


10 posts in 2421 days

#8 posted 02-13-2018 03:20 AM

Nick— I’ve used this fairly regularly during the past 6 months and have seen no evidence of scratching or clouding of the acrylic panel. Sometimes dust will cake up a bit over its surface, but with just a tap it falls off and I can easily see how full the container is.

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