Steel City 1HP dust collector

  • Advertise with us
Review by kaferhaus posted 07-30-2008 01:03 AM 6281 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Steel City 1HP dust collector No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Just bought this yesterday at the local Woodcraft (good folks here)

With the exception of the the four bolts that hold the blower assy to the frame, assembly was rather uneventful.

After assembly I immediately put the collector to use attached to my table saw and it seemed to work “ok”, not great. Even though I was using a zero clearance insert, a good amount of dust managed to escape from every nook and cranny from the cabinet. The collection only seems to be marginally better than the large shop vac that I was using prior.

About 5-6 minutes into using it I noticed a transient change in the sound of the motor almost a “groaning noise” this sound only lasted a few seconds and then disappeared. A minute or so later the sound returned only to disappear again. This continued for the rest of the time I used the collector. While investigating the sound, I touched the motor only to find it extremely hot…. I sent off an email to Steel City customer service which was replied too this afternoon with a name and number to call. Called the fellow in the service dept who stated that the motors “run hot”.... he was at a loss to explain the noise which is reasonable as he couldn’t hear it. Bottom line is I was told the unit has a 5 year warranty, should the motor fail they’d be happy to send me another… other than that, use it as is until then.

The only other issue I have with it is the plastic collection bag…. the bag’s diameter is so much larger than the opening that you clamp it too that you cannot get a good seal as the bag ends up with several “pleats” in it. A good amount of dust escaped around the clamp and after an hour or so the entire bottom of the unit was covered in dust. I removed and replaced the bag several times, cinched the clamp as tight as I could and the problem remains. Not much use in a 1 micron filter bag if the collection bag won’t seal…

The pros are:

It’s attractive

Easy to assemble (less the aforementioned blower housing)

Fairly quiet as dust collectors go.

Manual is sufficient but does not have a wiring diagram for 220 conversion even though the motor is dual voltage.


Motor noises (as I explained to the service dept in my 40+ years of using things electrical, motors that run hot and or make noises are not long for this world)

Collection bag won’t properly seal (maybe why the unit doesn’t perform well at the saw)

No way this unit is moving 700 CFM of air as claimed… my shop vac produces a fraction of that and this collector is only slightly better at removing chips and dust.

While prompt in their response, Steel City really offered no solution to any of the issues I’m experiencing.

If and when this machine gets straightened out, I’ll update this review.
I’ll give this machine another week or so and if I can’t get it sorted out I’ll likely have to return it.

-- Taking wood butchering to a whole new level

View kaferhaus's profile


5 posts in 4358 days

8 comments so far

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4790 days

#1 posted 07-30-2008 01:17 AM

Take it back!
1 hp machines should sell around 100- 150 max no matter what brand they put on them.
It’s a motor attached to an impeller attached to a bag (s)

I have one and I hate it but it is what I bought at the time.

O.K. for a single machine but then again so is a broom!


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View ChuckM's profile


649 posts in 4435 days

#2 posted 07-30-2008 03:03 AM

Take it back is indeed the right thing to do for these reasons:
a) I bought a 1 HP D.C. (a different brand) for $155 (the cheapest because I’m in Canada), made in Taiwan but it has none of the heat and noise problems you reported
b) Mine’s suction is very strong for a 1 HP motor, meaning SOMETHING is wrong with yours and it’s not normal
c) Don’t wait till something goes wrong – what if a fire is one of the consequences? I’m surprised the CSR from Woodcraft gave this kind of advice to you. ERR ON THE SAFE SIDE – bring it back. If you do plan to keep it for a while, have a fire extinguisher nearby!
d) There’s no way a shopvac can match your 1 HP D.C. unless yours is not working properly.

Finally, if you’re using a zero-clearance insert, it’ll affect how much dust can be sucked in by the d.c. Use this tip: drill a 1” dia. hole on the insert in front of the front tip of blade and this will help dust getting sucked down. My two cents.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View bigdog72's profile


16 posts in 4578 days

#3 posted 07-31-2008 12:45 AM

I would suggest getting some foam tape similiar to what you use to insulate window openings etc. Put the tape on the ring, the bag over the tape and tighten the clamp down. You get a good seal that way.

-- Geoff, Lillington, NC

View kaferhaus's profile


5 posts in 4358 days

#4 posted 07-31-2008 12:58 AM

” would suggest getting some foam tape similiar to what you use to insulate window openings etc. Put the tape on the ring, the bag over the tape and tighten the clamp down. You get a good seal that way.”

Wow! great minds think alike I suppose, that’s exactly what I did this morning…. I bought some 3/8” x 1” foam tape at the big box this morning. I probably should have bought 1/4” as it made the bag a bit tough to get over the ring.

However it worked and the collector is no longer spewing dust all over the shop. The intermittent “groaning” noise is still present but seems to have subsided to a small degree. The motor is still very hot to the touch.

The tape around the sealing ring also made a noticeable difference in the efficiency of the collector…. it’s now pulling much better and very little is escaping the cabinet saw orifices. I may try sealing around all the small openings with the exception of the goove the miter wheel rides in… a split piece of rubber may be in order there.

I have a lot of tools and supplies that are not protected by cabinets or drawers and being the “neat freak” that I am, I’m really tired of having to dust everything in the shop everytime I do anything.

A downdraft table is next on my project list.

-- Taking wood butchering to a whole new level

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

574 posts in 4658 days

#5 posted 08-08-2008 04:09 PM

Is your fan-cooling unit on the end-bell of the motor working properly? While the unit is running, place your hand near the point where the motor is attached to the impeller housing, and you should feel quite a breeze from the cooling fan. If not, something may be seized up in the cooling unit, possibly explaining the funny noises and the hot motor…

I’m by no means an electrician or D.C. expert, but I do enjoy troubleshooting.
Just my 2 red pennies worth! ;-D

-- Alex...builder of wooden wings for vintage sport biplanes...I'm your wingman :)

View Jason Gerard's profile

Jason Gerard

3 posts in 4343 days

#6 posted 08-12-2008 07:45 PM

I have the same dust collector. I picked it up from Woodcraft also. It was a floor model so it was already assembled. It works great on my 6” Jet Jointer and my Delta Portable Planer. Gets all the chips. The noise is consistent, not at all what you described. I haven’t noticed any heat from the motor either. I would definitely have Steel City send out a new motor.

I just got my new cabinet saw, Steel City also. I’ve only cut MDF on it so far and the dust collection seems poor. I had to vacuum out the cabinet. All the dust just caked up in the bottom, seems like virtually none went into the collector. Not sure what the problem is. I had a benchtop saw on a stand before so I’m used to the dust going everywhere.

-- Jason Gerard, Jacksonville, FL

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


489 posts in 4396 days

#7 posted 08-15-2008 07:52 PM

Upon reading all the posts, I would wonder if the dust collector/cabinet saw is getting sufficient air flow. I know my horse and half dust collector can move some dust but if I starve it for air, it won’t move the dust. You stated that you have a zero clearance insert and have sealed all of the openings so that’s why I think it could be air flow. You also stated that it didn’t work any better than your shop vac. Could be the same deal. Air flow.

My table saw is a contractor’s saw so it’s open everywhere! I run about 8 feet of 4” hose and have very little dust problems. When I use it on my Craftsman Radial saw that only has a 2 1/2” opening, I see a marked difference in performance of the dust collection.

Try running your dust collector without attaching it to a machine. You know, let run free and see if the motor still runs hot. If it does, box that puppy up and take it back. You’ll see what kind of “nice” folks are really at Woodcraft when you return something. The WC stores I have shopped at are “good” folks and I would guess yours is also. You shouldn’t have to work in fear of losing your shop due to fire.

Let us hear from you on the outcome.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

View kaferhaus's profile


5 posts in 4358 days

#8 posted 08-15-2008 09:19 PM


Steel city had reluctantly offered to send me a replacement motor but by then I had decided their were likely also other issues with this machine so I returned it for a another one.

The replacement works just fine. No appreciable heat from the motor and the airflow is MUCH better. The only dust left in the saw cabinet now is the suff that sticks to the trunions and gets into small corners. I’ve also had a chance to use it on my planer and it works just fine there also.

I did attach a piece of self stick foam tape to the collection bag mounting ring… that was a great idea and I’ve had no issues with leaks.

I’m now well satisfied with the unit. In my opinion SC’s customer service while prompt really didn’t offer any solution other than to wait for the unit to burn up… until I pressed the issue… by then I just didn’t want the thing anymore.

To address some of the issues posed by you fine folks that replied to my original review.

The cooling fan appeared to be woking fine… plenty of air moving from it.

While I did have some of the openings “sealed”, the ZCI has a 3/4” finger hole in it and has a 3/4”x1 1/2” slot in it at the back for the splitter… smoke was pulled into those openings instantly. And the new unit has no problem pulling the vast majority of even the finest dust out of the cabinet. Further the motor doesn’t appear to be under any additional load whether attached to the saw or not… so I don’t think “airflow” was ever an issue.

The folks at woodcraft were very courteous with the return and quickly told me that if I had issues with the replacement to bring it back too.

They have sold several of these units as well as the 1 1/2HP model and said they’ve had one other returned. It was also the 1HP unit. However that customer had expected too much from it and had tried to use it as a central station DC with several runs of 4” pipe throughout his shop. this is a one machine unit that needs to be within 10ft or so of the machine it’s servicing to be real effective. Using it within those parameters it works as advertised.

-- Taking wood butchering to a whole new level

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics