Delta Dust Collector Upgrade: From Bag to Cartridge Filter, Plus some extras

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Project by CaptainKlutz posted 08-02-2019 07:31 AM 6572 views 14 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project post is about a series of upgrades to my ancient Delta 50-850 1.5HP dust collector.
Since I used wood for the filter conversion parts and vertex cone, assuming it is safe to post it as project. :-)

The upgrades include 3 parts:
- Conversion from original dusty clothe bag to a Donaldson P181038 cartridge air filter.
- Addition of ‘vertex cone’ to improve separation and reduce large material reaching the bag/filter.
- Addition of DIY remote switch

Part 1 – Convert bag to filter:
Made a couple of rings from BB plywood and stacked them to fit down over the bag mounting ring, and allowed a Donaldson P181038 cartridge air filter to sit flat on top. The filter is attached to ring via a 30” long piece of 5/16” all thread attached to cross brace inside the collector ring. Can see the wooden ring(s) in 1st and 2nd pictures above, and cross brace in 3rd. The groove in the adapter fits tightly over the lip of ring. There is 1/2”wide strip of weather stripping in the slot that is not pictured. Have only used this for ~6 hours in shop so far, can not believe I waited so long to dump the bag.

Part 2 – Add vertex cone:
Ever since Jet introduced the vertex cone to single stage dust collectors, and I saw some online posts suggesting use of WOK as DIY vertex cone; It was on my list.
I owned a large heavy steel wok that was used for outdoor cooking and camping, and one day the handle broke. Voila! Instant vertex cone! Well almost, my wok had a small flat on bottom. Had to use a ball-peen hammer and tried to make it round. Made a cross brace from some oak, and attached everything to collector. The ‘bolt’ holding the Wok is same piece of all-thread as that holding the filter. This is what is looks like from top:

and this what it looks like to the dust entering the collector:

The principle behind the cone is simple: it forces the incoming air stream to travel straighter, and then curve around the ring. This motion slows the air movement, and like a cyclone the particles drop; while the air goes up the center. As soon as I installed this, there was almost total elimination of any large particles reaching the bag filter. Did take some adjusting initially to get position right. If it’s too low, large particles are driven up. If it is put too high, the pressure increases out the top and flow reduces. It worked best for me with bottom of wok edge in line with bottom of the 6” input hose from the impeller.

Have been using the vertex cone for over a year with bag, and in short time I used it with paper filter; havent found any large dust particles in the filter.

Part 3 – Remote power switch:
Used to be that a remote dust collector control costs ~$125, today they are <$100. I initially bought one of the early iVac units at $50 intro price, and it was total waste of money. The in-rush on the 1.5HP motor fried the overrated unit in a couple weeks. After 2nd warranty replacement, iVac folks said my dust collector motor was to large; and they changed the rating on the units to support 1HP motor max. The offered an upgrade to new design for another $100, which was same price as new long ranger from Penn State? I lived without a remote for awhile, until I decided to build my own. Spent ~$40 on my remote control, would have been less without extra power switch.

Here’s parts list:
- Remote is a $12 remote control from Amazon (was cheaper than fleabay)
- Packard C230B 2 Pole 30 Amp Contactor
- BUD Industries JB-395 metal box
- POWERTEC 71008 switch
- Green 120V indicator light (for when power as applied to remote)

It looks like this:

To keep the addition of remote simple, did not remove or change anything in standard dust collector switch box. The switch is an always on type, and it just stays ON all the time now.
The only trick I learned with my remote: when the 433Mhz RF board was inside the metal box; my range was 5-6 feet. I moved the RF switch to outside the metal box, and range changed to 70ft+.

Sorry, but I am not going to post wiring diagrams, or box construction instructions. Anyone who reads this project and has the capability to make one; can buy the above parts and easily reproduce it.
Don’t want the liability of helping less educated folks play with electricity, and possible start a fire or hurt themselves. Thanks for understanding the lack of details.

General Back Ground FWIW:
- Have serious pollen allergies for 40 years, and have read every thing I can find on wood working dust collection, and always wanted the better ‘hepa’ grade collection system.
- Unfortunately, ongoing space limitations sharing shop with family has always forced me to use small roll around dust collector with singe 4” hose that moves to each tool being used.
- Bought the Delta 50-850 1.5HP collector used almost two decades ago, when I was rebuilding a shop after a divorce and move across country to AZ. Paid $150 for it via a CL post.
- I work in garage with doors open, and dust collector sitting outside my work space with 15 ft of hose. So using a dusty clothe bag has been acceptable. As long as wind was blowing right direction, almost didn’t need a dust mask. :)
- The motor bearings in my ancient dust collector started making noises when spinning down, and I decided that I would finally make couple of long overdue upgrades and document them as part of the repair.
- Never took a picture of my Delta dust collector before the upgrade. Best I can do is show dusty retired bag hanging in shame after being replaced.

Thanks for reading all the way to end.

Have a Great Day!

Long live the real Captain Klutz!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

11 comments so far

View Underdog's profile


1687 posts in 3191 days

#1 posted 08-02-2019 10:52 AM

That’s interesting. Does the Wok work better than a Thien baffle?

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

515 posts in 5124 days

#2 posted 08-02-2019 12:33 PM

Here’s another mod – get rid of the bag …

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View sras's profile


6238 posts in 4285 days

#3 posted 08-02-2019 02:08 PM

Interesting upgrades. I might have to add this to my list…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Mike_in_STL's profile


1431 posts in 1689 days

#4 posted 08-02-2019 06:02 PM

Thanks for the part numbers Captain!

I’ve been contemplating upgrading my DC unit as well. I made the switch to 220V on the green machine I have and noticed a HUGE change in performance. I’m most curious if the addition of the filter increased your air flow.

I don’t have pollen or dust allergies and I want to keep it that way. I use the dusty bag on my unit too and I’d like to improve smalls collection as well as air flow.

I’ve got a few ideas for improving my DC’s mobility as well, and if I can justify the other mods I’d like to do it all at once.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7166 posts in 4350 days

#5 posted 08-02-2019 11:24 PM

Capt. Klutz,

The picture you posted looks exactly like my unit that I did an upgrade to about 6-7 years ago. I’ve got the same Delta dust collector that you have (50-850) that I bought about 1990, or there abouts. When I upgraded mine, I went to the Wynn filter website, and someone had posted a picture of the plywood doughnut he had made for his, and put the Wynn filter on. Wynn had recommended using these crappy little toggle hooks, but they sucked, so I used some very small Bessy clamps to hold the doughnut down. It’s the exact same thing you did minus the threaded rod (which I like, I think, better. My pictures of mine are lost in Photobucket, and I can’t get out w/o paying for them. I’ll take some pictures and post on LJs one day…..The d.c. worked so much better after I did that, and better suction, too.

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4659 posts in 2650 days

#6 posted 08-03-2019 12:01 AM

Derek Thanks.
Funny you mention getting rid of lower collection bag. I actually had a 30gal steel drum & plastic skirt instead of bag for awhile. Stopped using it for several reasons: added 35lbs to weight of dust, was narrower then collector ring, and filled up faster than bag alone. My local waste collection requires all refuse in bags, so I still had to use a bag inside the drum regardless. As I get older it becomes a bigger PIA to remove a bag from the can. Went back to using standard 3mil heavy duty trash bags to catch the chips.
TBH – if lived somewhere I could compost my wood dust safely, would use a naked drum like you use too!

MikeinSTL Your welcome for part number details.

The only secret part is the cheap wireless remote. Fair warning, it ships direct from China and only instructions are buried in the pictures on Amazon. LOL

Regarding parts:
- You can use any electrical box big enough to hold the contactor plus wires. Only used that Bud box as they are CHEAP and plenty of room. Could even use one of those weatherproof plastic boxes (commonly used for sprinkler controls) if you want, and then could mount the wireless unit inside the box!

- That contactor only switches 30 amps. This limits the motor size to < 3HP 1PH. Suggest a 40 amp unit for 5HP 1PH motors. If you need to control a 3 phase motor, also need a different contactor relay, with a 3 pole 30-40A rating.

- If you want to make a 240v version of my remote switch, need to do something different? The remote above is 120v. So either need to include neutral in your 240v wiring, add a transformer, or use a different wireless remote that switches 240v. As much I hate suggesting Amazon for anything, suggest this wireless remote for 240v system: ! It’s the 40A rated one for $18.99.
It uses a real relay, not solid state; which can supposedly switch a 1HP motor load directly with out need for separate power relay.

Hope this helps.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Kelly's profile


3636 posts in 4100 days

#7 posted 08-03-2019 02:52 AM

Derek, I love the sock to the drum solution. Soooo simple it escaped me.

On this mod, Capn, consider using the self sticking foam used between campers and pickup beds to make sealing the bags to the metal of the collector easier.

View RDW's profile


59 posts in 4242 days

#8 posted 08-08-2019 03:46 PM

I have the same dust collector and have wondered how to upgrade it to a filter on top. This is a great project. I’ll have to study it while I’m looking at the insides of my dust collector and see if I can make the vortex. Thanks.

-- Common Sense is the study of the obvious. Everyone should take Obvious 1001 and Obvious 1002 their freshman year.

View Kelly's profile


3636 posts in 4100 days

#9 posted 08-08-2019 04:15 PM

Getting the bags out of mine is much easier than at first. Of course, lifting them just causes the bags to bulge, and you tear even the heavy ones rocking them out. HOWEVER, by closing the bag and tipping my barrel over, the sawdust flows out, in the bag.

As I get older it becomes a bigger PIA to remove a bag from the can. Went back to using standard 3mil heavy duty trash bags to catch the chips.

Hope this helps.

- CaptainKlutz

View EarlS's profile


4612 posts in 3504 days

#10 posted 08-14-2019 12:04 PM

Thanks for the comment on the other thread. Not sure how I missed your post as it is only a few weeks old. Makes sense that the wok addition doesn’t need to be installed if a SDD is installed upstream of the DC. It would just be a pressure loss for very little dust removal gain.

I’m hoping the 50-850 provides good DC for the TS as the Laguna DC I had really never did the job.

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

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