Dust Collector Improvement (big time) Shop Made for $10

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Project by DonH posted 05-18-2011 01:33 PM 9013 views 67 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a quick and easy dust collector improvement (upper canister or bag type) that has unbelievable performance benefits and costs about $10 to do. It is a wood working project as it contains a block of wood.

This mod is based on the new Jet Vortex dust collector technology which is basically a wok type plug in the airflow between the lower and upper bags. To get a proper picture of this, now is the time to go to their web site or Popular Woodworking web site – editors BLOG and search for Jet Vortex. The PW site includes a video and other material that demonstrates the performance improvement. What basically happens is that the vortex of dust particles in the lower bag is prevented from rising into the upper filter area and considerably reduces filter clogging with no apparent effect on air flow. Following is my experience and tests.

First, I could not find an affordable wok of the right size that I was willing to drill a hole into. So my first try was a stainless steel salad bowl 14 inches in diameter. This bowl extended deeper into the lower bag area than the Jet “wok”. After filling the lower bag to about 10% full I removed the canister and found some performance improvement but not up to what the Jet video showed. Apparently the shape of the salad bowl was intercepting some of the incoming airflow and deflecting it upward. When I removed the canister I got about a handful of dust on me and there was some coating the filter. So I cleaned it up and inserted a 14 inch flower pot tray instead. This is a heavy duty version of fairly sturdy plastic and its shape is much flatter than the Jet wok.

I ran the dust collector while planning and sawing some wood until it was about 1/3 full without turning the flapper that cleans the filter – there was no noticeable loss in suction performance (in fact after the thorough filter cleaning it was better than I can remember). I then removed the canister and WOW!!! Less than a tablespoon of dust fell out and the canister was almost as clean as when I started.

I don’t know how well this compares to the Jet performance but it must be close. I am going to run the dust collector, without using the flapper thing until the bag is full and check it out again. I am confident the performance will be about the same. At that time I am going to add a cross brace at 90 degrees to the existing one with blocks under to better brace the dish. I cant see it but it must wobble a bit (this was just a test in the beginning). However, at the 1/3 bag point there was no apparent wear and tear on the dish.

Check out the video and other info and try it – you WILL like it.

By the way, I have a stainless steel salad bowl with a 1/4 inch hole in it for sale – cheap.


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

45 comments so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3536 days

#1 posted 05-18-2011 01:46 PM

That’s pretty smart thinking. A lot less expensive than the Vortex. Well done.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3294 days

#2 posted 05-18-2011 01:47 PM

Thanks Doc

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View sras's profile


5154 posts in 3606 days

#3 posted 05-18-2011 02:43 PM

Thanks for the tip, I might have to try this.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View jburklow's profile


96 posts in 3151 days

#4 posted 05-18-2011 02:56 PM

Thanks for posting looks very interesting! I will definately give this a try. The dust collector is definately the 600 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to emptying it so anything to keep that fine dust in the lower half is very much welcome.

-- Jeff Midlothian. Texas.

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3294 days

#5 posted 05-18-2011 03:01 PM

Thanks guys – and you are right jburklow, having the upper canister dump all over you while changing bags is a big drag – especially as it is the finer stuff in the top.


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View sarahss's profile


258 posts in 3126 days

#6 posted 05-18-2011 03:02 PM

I noticed that you have an upper filter. I just have the cheapie HF 2 hp collector—no upper filter. Would this work for it as well?

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3294 days

#7 posted 05-18-2011 03:03 PM

No problem – I assume you do have a fliter bag in the upper position?

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3056 days

#8 posted 05-18-2011 03:41 PM

This is a neat trick, thanks a lot.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View Jahness's profile


70 posts in 3241 days

#9 posted 05-18-2011 04:01 PM

Being not to knowledgeable with Dust Collectors, dosen’t this cut off air flow to the upper filter bag? I just bought the HF 2HP recently and am looking foward to improving it as soon as I have a break from work.
Now I just have to steal one of my wifes potting trays to test it.


-- John

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3294 days

#10 posted 05-18-2011 04:41 PM

Hello Jahness

The airflow does not seem restricted in any way. The 14 inch tray has sufficient space between it and the “collar” that it is mounted to. The square inches of air path is larger than the duct coming in to the machine.



-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Ken90712's profile


17706 posts in 3666 days

#11 posted 05-18-2011 04:45 PM

Nice work Don I like it!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3294 days

#12 posted 05-18-2011 04:47 PM

Hi Ken – glad you do!!

How is that weather coming? Rain is beginning to let up here and temperature is climbing to 22 degrees Celsius today. May get to the boat soon.

All the best


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

527 posts in 3993 days

#13 posted 05-18-2011 04:53 PM

Rain? What is that? And I love the post about filter/collection improvement. I will soon be setting my old style DC 1100 back up again (no room).

-- jstegall

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3294 days

#14 posted 05-18-2011 04:55 PM

Hi John

Good to see you are going to get back into dust collection – that is one tool that must have room found for it.


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 3169 days

#15 posted 05-18-2011 05:25 PM

I can’t wait to try this on my dust collector.
I have been making a lot of upgrades and I think this will be a big help in keeping my filter clean.

-- Chuck

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