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Which is better? Aluminum alloy impeller or steel impeller in a dust collector.

by DocSavage45
posted 02-19-2017 04:04 AM


32 replies so far

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

874 posts in 3715 days


#1 posted 02-19-2017 04:22 AM

You will see more and more aluminum impellers since they are non-sparking and meet NFPA standards. From an air movement point of view it is the design not the material. The impeller in cyclones don’t get pelted with large chunks so wear is not an issue and since you say it will be your last upgrade I assume you are looking at a cyclone.

If you are indeed looking at a cyclone two names should be at the top of your list, Oneida and Clearvue, the cheaper Grizzly cyclones have poor filtration and the ones with HEPA filters are actually more expensive than Oneida and Clearvue.

The above assumes you are NOT going to vent outside, if so separation percentage and filtration are much less of an issue.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117627 posts in 3971 days


#2 posted 02-19-2017 04:28 AM

Hi Tom
I’m not an expert but I know what has worked for me. I’ve had more expensive units than what I have now .
I had a higher end Oneida years ago and found it did a fine job and I now have more than one HF unit and find they working fine. I know that there’s a big to-do about how fine of dust your DC unit will collect or block depending how you think about it. of course that’s important in the long run. I have chosen to run all of my units outdoors eliminating the need for collecting fine dust particals. I have found I could eliminate costly ducting by having three HF units, all said and done these units cost less than one higher cost and have done a great job for years. If your trying to impress people HF DC units are not the way to go,but if you just want to remove the dust from your shop then save yourself money and frustration of reading tons of reviews and how to’s and keep it simple run your DC unit outside and get A HF unit and see how it works for you.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2292 posts in 3338 days


#3 posted 02-19-2017 04:32 AM

I suspect weight isn’t too much an issue, since most reputable companies would account for it in designing their system.

The main thing I’d be concerned about would be debris across the impeller and what it does to the impeller. However, if it’s a system worth having, it’s worth making it a two stage, which solves the debris across the impeller problem. You seem to have solved that problem, so I would not be too concerned about the material the impeller is made from.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#4 posted 02-19-2017 04:58 AM

Thanks AHuxley, Jim, and Kelly!

My dust collector is outside the shop ( in the garden shed next to the shop), with the Thein chip collector that removes particles other than fine dust.

Jim I am looking at space (footprint) of the collectors. Bought a Harbor Freight dust collector (still in the box) as I was thinking about doing what you have done. I’m planning on selling my Delta and the Harbor Freight and opting for a 2 hp unit without a cyclone as I will be using a Thein chip collector.

I’m wanting to get enough suction to pull it away from my cabinet saw or my new 17 inch bandsaw.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View CharlieK's profile

CharlieK

590 posts in 4187 days


#5 posted 02-19-2017 04:59 AM

It’s a great question, Tom. I wish that I lived in a climate where ducting outside was an option. Unfortunately that isn’t practical in Minnesota.

I think the big questions are real world airflow performance and filtration. The test results that I’ve seen in the past would lead me to an Onieda cyclone. Personally, I think they are probably worth the extra cost. That’s easy for me to say though because I am not currently in the market for a new dc.

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans http://www.Jack-Bench.com

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#6 posted 02-19-2017 05:03 AM

Charlie! Hey wondered if you went underground except on facebook…LOL!

If you have read the thread ( maybe? LOL) My dust collection is exhausted to the single stage bags in my garden shed, after the thein chip collector. The Onida is nice and if it would be in the shop I’d think about it.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2292 posts in 3338 days


#7 posted 02-19-2017 05:14 AM

Just for reference, my Oneida Gorilla three horse cyclone had an aluminum impeller. It weighed a bunch.

Another side note is, I, like Jim, got rid of my big boy and now have three little collectors (a HF 2hp and two Jets, a 1-1/2 and 3hp). It made more sense than turning a monster on, which is not designed to be turned off and on repeatedly.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4001 posts in 2382 days


#8 posted 02-19-2017 05:54 AM

The design of the impeller is more important than the material.

However, the important thing is to match your dust collector to your needs and goals. In my opinion, Oneida publishes some pretty accurate performance curves. Also, Wood magazine has done good testing.

You have to decide what you want to do, how much cfm and static pressure you need, what type filtration and then pick a unit. Yes, a lot of work or just buy one and guess.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7836 posts in 3697 days


#9 posted 02-19-2017 06:16 AM

now Doc you said something that im not sure about, you said this would be your last upgrade, now after watching your track record im not sure i can go along with that, you really think this will be your last upgrade, now i dont want to be a doubting thomas herebut….the proof will be in the pudding….lol….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3762 days


#10 posted 02-19-2017 06:47 AM

Doc, I don’t know about all the things others are talking about, but I do know your question. Your DC was designed and built with a steel impellor. Changing to an aluminum will not give any advantages to your machine as far as performance is concerned. The biggest difference is when that little chunk gets past the separator and does go through the impellor. The damage to the aluminum could be total lose. I had a 2 hp grizzly for about 10 years. It was under a shed roof beside my shop/garage. the whole time. I had one 4” hose that went throught the wall and hooked to the dc. no seperators or anything. When I had to move and couldn’t use it at my new home, I sold it on craigs list for almost as much as I paid for it new, No damage anywhere other than the paint wore off the impellor and the inside of the case. I say stick with the steel, cost less and hold up longer.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#11 posted 02-19-2017 08:32 PM

Hey Grizz
You didn’t get back to me about best time to Skype? Good to hear from you. I think LOL!

Past often predicts future. My last saw was well maintained, and 10 years old. If past predicts future I’m not sure of my condition then? (Not laughing here.) But you personally know the turns life takes. That’s why I’m ramping up.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#12 posted 02-19-2017 08:37 PM

Kelly

You posited a great thought here. ”Bigger may not be better.” I have been of the mind to upgrade for hardwoods, for awhile to make the pieces I’ve got in my ”dream book.”

The cost of power tools is exponential from hand tools. And power consumption as well?????

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#13 posted 02-19-2017 08:51 PM

papadan,

Your experience is pretty close to what I’m talking about, and I like Grizzly for my next step up.

I will always have a chip collector in front of my dust collector. I’ve got a 50 foot 4 inch hose that is connected one at a time, but I’m getting too much dust coming off my 1023 cabinet saw right now.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#14 posted 02-19-2017 08:53 PM

Redoak49,

I have a lot of 6 inch metal ducting that I never returned to the store when I put in my forced air zoned system in my 4 room shop. It seems to be a logical step to install it to increase my air flow, and I was going to upgrade to the 2 HP Shop fox which appears to have better parameters than the Grizzly 2 hp. The only difference appears to be the impeller. The Grizzly impeller is aluminum alloy and the Shop Fox is steel.

Is the Woodmagazine article online?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#15 posted 02-19-2017 08:56 PM

Thanks for this food for thought ! It’s like Thanksgiving, a lot to consume. LOL!

Reading about negatives for Grizzly in a smiliar model on Amazon… Consistant damage in shipping? That’s a pain in the Butt!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2292 posts in 3338 days


#16 posted 02-19-2017 09:41 PM

Just a few tidbits regarding the collectors in my shop:

- I have a 2 hp HF unit dedicated to my miter. It replaced a one horse Delta and the difference is night and day. For the price, the [so called] two horse is an impressive unit.

I upgraded to the HF on a whim and a gamble. I had put hand truck type handles on the Delta, along with large back wheels. this allowed me to wheel it out in the yard, along with my similarly equipped Super Dust Deputy to vacuum pine cones.

The Delta did the job, but often plugged with cones. It worked better was obvious is was under powered for the task of vacuuming off a twenty foot, four inch hose. It was for that reason I went to the HF unit. Again, it was a night and day jump.

Over by the band saw, scroll saw, edge sander, oscillating sander and drum-disk sander is a Jet 1-1/2 hp unit with a canister that babysits all of them.

Rather than gates and Y’s, I swap at the collector by connecting the hose I need. It’s, debatably, a little more effort than just opening and closing gates, but the loss I avoid having extra Y’s is substantial (said from experience).

At the opposite end of the work area is a Jet four bag, three horse feed by a Super Dust Deputy. It babysits the two lathes, the top and bottom of the table saw, the jointer, the sanding station, the planer, the table router and the carver.

Just for reference, regarding the three horse:

- With the box over the bottom of the table router and a 2-1/2” hose to it and the fence, I, rarely get more than a table spoon of chips and such.

- The sanding station, which has sides, a back and a top, makes sanding a non issue. It even makes a huge difference when routing up to three foot boards (longer things can be stuck out through the nylon draped over it).

- Not much is left behind when I use the [8”, spiral head] jointer,

- Most my lathe work is spindle work and a small hood there catches everything all the dust from sanding and as much as seventy percent of everything significant tossed by the knives.

- With it attached to the over-arm and the base of the table saw, and with the over-arm actually in play, a days work on sheet stock might leave a cup or two behind (far more if working edges).

Hoses are permanently attached to each of the above items and all terminate at the Super Dust Deputy. The hoses are all suspended through eye-hooks in the ceiling. Essentially, two hoses are on one piece of paracord. If you pull down on the sanding station hose, it raises the table saw hoses (a Y to which the over-arm and cabinet are attached). So it goes for the jointer, lathe and floor vacuum hose.

Regarding the floor vacuum hose, running a four inch hose and wand on the end of a three horse spoils you. You can vacuum in far less than half the time it would take using any shop vac.

For the drill press and the sanders, I have a Ridgid 2-1/2 gallon vac running through a Dust Deputy. I was running a sixteen gallon monster, but the increased efficiency of the Dust Deputy allowed me to drop to a small unit and still increase efficiency over just using the sixteen. Both the vac and the Deputy hide under my miter station.

The hose off the Dust Deputy is twenty feet and reaches to the sanding station, the drill press and so on. This works find for everything off the drill press.

Too, the longer hose seems to work for the Festool sander (reducing force). Temporarily, I have a couple holes drilled in the end of the hose to reduce suction a little more for the sander. Later, the end will be cut off to rid the hose of the holes and an adapter with an adjustable opening will replace the drilled hole section.

blah, blah, blah

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#17 posted 02-19-2017 10:18 PM

LOL!

Kelly Wow! All the bells and whistles. I don’t have the floor space in my shop for all the dust collectors. You have quite a few…a resident expert????

The harbor freight appears to meet the needs up close and personal. Probably the same for Jim.

As I mentioned I have 6 inch piping left over from ducting four rooms. My logistics and chaos appear to not allow for the limited suction in either the HF or Delta that I have? The impeller size increasing cfm and pressure seems like the way to go, given my situation?

another forum topic suggested changing the HF impeller for another brand which significantly improved the smaller HF impeller.

Lots to think about?

going out to take advantage of a nice day to finish assembly of doors I am making for my Lawn Tractor/wood shed.

Be back later!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

5548 posts in 2887 days


#18 posted 02-19-2017 10:22 PM

A couple of points about aluminum impellers, some repeat of what has already been said. The Aluminum is lighter, and the advantage to the less weight is when the collector spins up. I have a real time amp meter on mine, and during start up it can reach 90 amps (it’s on a 30 amp circuit). Can’t imagine what it would draw with a steel one, though with any luck I may find out this year. Maybe more importantly, the aluminum ones can be cast (at least my Oneida looks like it is) and they can do some pretty sexy (functional) shapes that way a lot cheaper than the steel ones (I guess). The Oneida impeller is almost a work of art with it’s smoothly swept back vanes. But I would bet this months SS check (all $1.53 of it) that if it got hit by a fair sized chunk of hard maple, it would be missing some teeth. More important to me than the impeller is the overall design of the cyclone. IMHO that is where Oneida loses it. My SDG is built like a tank, and high quality construction, but looks like it was designed by a 3 year old (and seperation if fine dust is not good). Being a big Pentz fan, I want one more like his design criteria; with any luck I may be able to get a CV this year. The Grizzly is very close and I see them as a better choice as well. Both of them have steel impellers (I think) adn I’m sure they aren’t the artful design Oneida uses.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2292 posts in 3338 days


#19 posted 02-19-2017 11:26 PM

If desperate works for you, I’ll be your expert. At least until someone who really knows what they’re talking about comes along.

Meanwhile, some of the best suggestions I could give were touched on by my rambling post – minimize restrictions as much as possible to get everything you can from whatever system you have. For example:

- keep bends to a minimum. This includes avoiding Y’s as much as possible;

- make bends as sweeping as possible (for my [temporarily] permanent hoses, I’m going to cut out wood strips and strap them to the bends to get them as far from a 90 as is reasonably possible;

- keep runs as short as possible (centrally locate the collector, if you can);

- use the smoothest interior walls you can.

The four bagger in my shop had Y’s [and blast gates] off a straight for each item mentioned above. When I removed them all and just went straight to hose swaps, it seemed like it brought the pull up thirty percent or better.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4259 posts in 2955 days


#20 posted 02-20-2017 12:04 AM

Doc

I also do not think the metals are an issue, but the size of the impellers are and the bigger the more it moves.

I also was looking at the HF but now really considering these two

http://www.grizzly.com/products/3-HP-Dust-Collector-with-Aluminum-Impeller-Polar-Bear-Series/G1030Z2P?utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com

http://www.grizzly.com/products/3HP-Double-Canister-Dust-Collector-with-Aluminum-Impeller-Polar-Bear-Series/G0562ZP?utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com

There are also ones on Ebay which are like HF and about the same price and thinking they are from the same manufacture.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#21 posted 02-20-2017 01:54 AM

Arlin,

Some great suggestions in this thread. Do you have a cost issue in the electricity used to power the machies? Turning a 3 hp motor on and off is a big surge of power. I’m limiting myself to 2 hp. The impellar size affects the pressure and volume of the air flow.

As Kelly has brought forward there are issues with what is used to funnel the wood and saw dust. You can use 6” plastic pipe, and that needs good grounding due to static electricity and the y pipe is where the cost comes in.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#22 posted 02-20-2017 02:05 AM

Arlin,

There is a lot of good information in this thread. For me the cost of running a 3 hp machine is not efficient unless I can be paying for it with my woodworking. Right now that is not the case.

The ebay dust collectors are central machinery and the same as from Harbor Frieght only more money!

Two major factors to consider which are influenced by the motor and impeller are cubic feet per minute (cfm) and air pressure. the grizzly machines are in 10 to 11 range. with the aluminum impeller.

As I mentioned before getting a machine that isn’t damaged in transit is a lot of problems to expect depending on the shipper.

The Shop Fox version of the 2 hp Grizzly has a steel impeller and more volume and pressure for a 2 hp machine.

You can read the specifications at the bottom of this page.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Portable-Dust-Collector/G0786?utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#23 posted 02-20-2017 02:17 AM

Kelly,

I’m with you all the way. I am planning to change the inlet and outlet on my Thein chip collector to 6 inches. I plan to use 6 ” metal flex tubing from the chip collector to the dust collector. I’m keeping the angles to 45 degrees re: elbows and a y in the direction of the air flow. There will be a reducer to 4 inches at each machine and metal blast gates.

Between the tool and the blast gate I’m considering non ribbed flex pipe. The maximum length of the run of the 6 inch pipe is about 30 feet at the farthest end which terminates in a y pipe and 4 inch feed.

It’s a one person shop so the fact that only one blast gate at a time is open should keep up the efficiency?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#24 posted 02-20-2017 02:24 AM

Fred,

Are you running a 3 HP motor or larger? My Thein collector preceeds the dust collector so all I get is fine dust coming through to settle in the bag.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117627 posts in 3971 days


#25 posted 02-20-2017 02:37 AM

I’ll really be interested to see if after you buy whatever unit you buy Tom if you get a much-improved collection and if you feel the investment was worth the time and money. All said and done I’m not sure you’re going to get even a higher end unit to get all the sawdust collected out of your Table saw, even with a well engineered Oneida unit with it just collecting from my table saw I was never able to get 100 of the saw dust collected. The other thing that seems to be a fallacy is the grounding on PVC pipe to avoid static charge,I’ve used it for over 30 years and have never gotten and static charge off of it and have read here on Ljs that others have never had a problem either. I think if I ran a saw mill where my DC unit ran all day it might be and issue.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2292 posts in 3338 days


#26 posted 02-20-2017 03:00 AM

Being by yourself will help a lot. If a friend comes over and runs something you’ll see a huge drop. As such, if a friend does come over, always choose the closest machine for a bit better collection.

The whole CFM things aside, a three horse unit is the smallest unit I’d expect to handle two machines well, keeping in mind the things we touched on, like long runs and bends.

As to the table saw, it is a tough beast to tame. How tame you can get it has a lot to do with what you are doing. I suspect much of the related stuff is already known to you, but I’ll drop it for those who might not. For example, cutting out on the edge of a board really kicks up a lot of dust. I have the same problem on my bandsaw (which is why my circle cutter goes all the way to the support arm).

I do note that when my upper collector is as low as I can get it, it REALLY cuts down the problem. However, to use it all the time requires using holddowns and chaser sticks to push stuff on through.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#27 posted 02-20-2017 03:13 AM

Hey Jim,

Welcome back! My investment is planned to be “More time than Money!” LOL! I experience the extremes in humidity here in Southern MN. Have to run humidifiers in two areas of my shop and 80 % plus humidity, that is not removed by AC.

I have gotten zapped while sanding in my shop in the winter . Probably not enough to start a fire. ? LOL!

I’m trying to do the best with the least and be more efficient in my small space. You have dedicated machines to dust collection and that works in your space? My dust collector is outside in the building next door. that gives reduced sound issues and I don’t have to worry about the dust particles.

I will sell off my two dust collectors to buy one. That reduces my costs? I have another option which involves more time and tinkering. Some LJ’s have had success puting a better impeller on their HF dust collector.

My decision is based first on poverty, then time, and then improved health and clean up.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#28 posted 02-20-2017 03:16 AM

Kelly,

3 HP is beyond me right now like getting a carbide tooth bandsaw blade…I want it but can’t afford it. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117627 posts in 3971 days


#29 posted 02-20-2017 03:28 AM

I guess your own experience proves me wrong on the static discharge issue , so it must have to do with where you live an atmospheric conditions . Good luck on your upgrade Tom

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#30 posted 02-20-2017 04:53 AM

Jim,

In the winter months it’s about 50 degrees in the shop. I kick it up to about 60 when I work. Last year I made a dust extraction table and while I was working on it I’d attached my shop vac to my oscillating sander. Maybe humidity was low or the fact I was using two opposing suction methods. I saw the spark as it zapped me. I now have two humidifiers going and it takes about 10 gallons of water daily.


For me this thread reinforces my faith in the LJ community. Those that just check it out and those who have knowledge to share.

It helps to see what others like yourself have gone through . ;to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

I’m hoping to put all this knowledge to use in my situation.

Thanks for your input and support!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

5548 posts in 2887 days


#31 posted 02-20-2017 12:23 PM

Doc, mine actually has a 5 HP motor, but it’s on a 2 HP model DC (very long story). I meant to mention that in the info, sorry. Just a comment on the grounding….it might help with personal comfort (not getting your butt kicked if you touch the pipe) but otherwise has no value. I grounded my first system years ago, and quickly found out that it was mildly expensive, but more importantly a colossal PITA everytime I made a change to the system. I scrapped it fairly quickly.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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DocSavage45

8816 posts in 3236 days


#32 posted 02-20-2017 06:27 PM

Fred,

I’m using metal piping left over from my heating system installation that I never returned to my box store (Menards) I will run a wire from the blast gate to the different machines.

This is the place for stories. LOL! Helps the rest of us gain from another’s experience?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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